5 Running Flash Factoids: Keeping it short and to the point for us lazy runners

Runners and Sundays; for some it’s the delegated long run day which then means: license to be totally lazy and slothful for the rest of the day. You don’t even have to move hand to mouth if you don’t want to, just train Fluffy to grab the spoon, Ben & Jerry’s and learn to shovel. ;)

runners

Eat the ice cream before it melts!!! :)


Just kidding, but to be fair to B&J cold ice cream isn’t the worst kind of post-run refuel, I mean there’s the whole chocolate milk movement…ice cream seems like a logical piggy-backer onto that, right? Regardless, Sundays are also known to be a little lazy and lackadaisical so in tribute I’ll spare your eyes much reading and give you some flashes of brain nugget wisdomisms.

* Running’s mental but not THAT mental. Running usually comes down to a battle of wills, but sadly you can’t totally imagine your workouts into fulfillment…there is visualization to improve what could be but you have to follow up with DOING it. Motivation wanes but when in doubt, kick yourself in the tush to get the first mile done…the first interval done…and get ‘er done.

* Lean, mean, protein machine. I’m a carbo-loving freak like none other; running burns lots of energy so for a long time I didn’t actually think about my carb to protein ratio and dived into Pop-Tart gluttony. BUT that changed after I graduated high school and once I made a conscious effort to up my protein (I still didn’t slack on the carbs though!) I noticed a big difference in the amount of lean muscle I had.
run for cake
* It’s a gas. Runner’s are always fun to chat up GI issues with…not in the moment though. Gas, the runs, bush dives, 6 pre-race port-a-potty stops, you name it. Don’t be shy about speaking up because we all struggle with it and if you don’t talk about it you may miss out on a possible remedy to your…runs. ;)

* My feet are SUPER! Actually, I’m a huge pronator, like the majority of people, and while I rock out supportive shoes I also have arch support inserts. I use green SuperFeet and they help. But shoes are incredibly personal to the runner so BE SURE to know your foot type before just diving into the discount shoe bin…mkkk!

* Always laugh. You can be a grouch on the inside after a bad run, horrible race, nasty workout, but pretend that whenever you’re around others, teammates, competitors, an audience…that you’re on the Miss America stage. Put some Vaseline on those teeth and bust out the fake smile. The thing is, negative attitudes are infectious, and if you happened to win a race and start pouting, think about how the person you beat would feel to see that…like they must REALLY suck. When you’re by yourself, or with coaches/close family, feel free to vent and reflect on the race…sure…but in the end learn from it and move forward.

Sorry if that last one got a little too wordy for Sunday! Get back to making Fido spoon shovel feed you! ;)
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Get Chicking shirt update! I’m down to my last handful of shirts so if you want one before I have to make another order act fast you speedy peeps! :)
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1) Do you have a flash factoid to share?

2) Is Sunday your long run day?

3) Do you make sure to get enough protein in your diet? Do you make sure to also get that full quota of carbo-loving goodness too?

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The Moment of Truth: The watch tells no lies

The watch tells no lies.

runner
There is that moment,
Less than a moment even.
The split second that hangs in the balance
Between crossing the line and looking to the teller of no lies.

Baited breathe, you hope for good news,
Slightly anticipate bad…
You pause…
Toeing the line between wanting to know and not
Unsure if you do, indeed, really want to know the truth.

All in less than that tenth of a second…
The decision is already made,
Because deep down you know
that you HAVE to know.

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Genetics Will Only Get You So Far…From There the Running is Up to You

daRUNism…survival of the fastest. ;) The topic of running and genetics…talk about opening up a can of sperm worms.
running sperm
FACT: Genetics will invariable play a role in how fast someone has the potential to become. It will effect which event they are predisposed to compete the best at.

FACT: You can’t change genetics.

FACT: Using the excuse of genetics alone for accounting that so-and-so is able to achieve an athletic feat is a cop-out.

The last one there is what gets under my skin when people make any kind of remark, “You’re lucky, I wish I were a runner.” It really gets me fired up when people blame ‘good genetics’ as a sort of cop-out for runners who set records, win races or beat them. Like because they ‘look like a runner’ and may make it look easy while they run that somehow diminishes their accomplishment. Yes, I’ve jested along with all others that I may harbor the ‘wish’ to be a bit more Kenyan or Ethiopian…but I know that genetics alone will only take a person so far.

FACT: Even the most genetically blessed super-human, say we created it in a lab, would not be a record holder if they didn’t have the will, drive and dedication to do the training.

With running, mentality and work ethic are something that can’t be genetically programmed or forced onto a person. They are also what, I believe, will take you the furthest. If I could draw it to a metaphor of walking that Yellow Brick Road…

Genetics may take you TO the Yellow Brick Road by some freak, chance-happen twister and at least kill one of the witches to make your journey easier. But after that you’re on your own to chase those monkeys, make it through the poppies and get to your OZ.

runner

Follow that Yellow Brick Road…


Running isn’t easy and while yes, you can’t really change your muscle fiber ratio (I’ll never be able to sprint to save my life) you can always make the best with what you’ve got. Further, with hard work you will be able to pass up those ‘lucky twister’ genetically blessed runners who slack a bit.

Don’t let genetics to be your excuse crutch to not believe you can do better. Finally, do not ever, for one second, believe that the runners you see on TV, the ones heading off to the Olympics got there from a ‘lucky twister’ alone…if you saw how hard they work you’d learn that they are willing their way through those blasted poppies and bringing it when some crazy, flying monkeys try to get in their way.

1) Genetically, do you feel you are a little lucky with the gene pool in at least being predisposed to running? Which event do you feel you are best suited for?

2) I see genetics as sort of taking you to that ‘glass ceiling’…yes people can skate by off of talent alone but it does catch up to them. When do you think most people hit the ‘I can’t skate by any longer’ ceiling and have to decide to either ante up or settle?
I’d say mostly after graduating high school and working their way through college.

3) Have you ever used genetics as an excuse or crutch? OR if are really ‘lucky’ genetically and happened to skate by for awhile, what changed in you to make you be more accountable to your training?

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The Interconnected Human Running Machine: All those bones, tendons and muscles are working together not separately

The human body, the running human body, is a unit. It’s all interconnected and working together, it’s not some hundreds of bones, muscles, tendons and tissues working separately. When one muscle is shortening its counterpart is lengthening, eccentric and concentric muscle contractions. If something is off with one piece of this puzzle, even the tinniest of tendons, it’s surprising the ramifications this ‘weakness’ can set off. It’s all a chain reaction people.
women running
I’m not shy about saying I’m horribly tight and know I need to stretch more. My hamstrings are a glaring example of this. So when after a run where I tried to nudge the pace up one notch from ‘gimply kankle runnerchick’ and afterwards I was rocking the extra gimpy post-run walk because the back of my knee and upper calf was not happy, I knew the culprit wasn’t my calf…it was my hamstrings.

Those tight hamstrings staged a protest; they were tight and tugging extra hard right where they insert behind the knee. The trickle down effect resulted in my calf muscle getting upset and joining the revolt. So even though I wasn’t sore one bit in the actual hamstring muscle region and my lower leg was begging for some icing, I also knew that it was a not so subtle reminder that I’ve been slacking on my stretching.

Thus in addition to giving the icing TLC to my calf I got on those leg swings and hamstring stretches. The bugger though is that I best keep myself ON doing those stretches long after the sorenesses go away; ahhh, us runners tend to get lax when there isn’t a higher level of ‘injury’ threat on the horizon. More on that for another post, but a warning there is to stay on top of the ‘little’ rehab type things even if the ‘problem’ isn’t screaming at you over a loud-speaker anymore.
running foot
Back to the interconnection issue, muscle weaknesses and imbalances are ever-present. Everyone has them, to different degrees…we can’t be perfect after-all. Though avoiding these weaknesses is going to come to bite you in the bum eventually. This happens a lot when people fail to do any core work, then wind up straining some crazy, small muscle they never knew they had or that it could hurt that bad. (Cut to the psoas, adductors, and abductor muscles smirking on this one.)

Taking it down to the feet; an insane amount of injuries and issues can be traced back to those bipeds. Namely shoe issues; not having the RIGHT shoes for your foot type. Did you know that things so far up as back or neck problems can be traced back to not enough arch support? Not so fun fact.

The lesson here, folks is know your weaknesses and work on them. Also, the next time you have a pull, niggle, pain, or outright screaming pain that stops you from being able to run…stop for a moment and take a closer look. THINK while you ice that calf muscle, because the real problem may very well not be that calf at all. The calf is just a symptom…a muscle that got talked into joining the revolt so to speak. ;)

1) What is one of your weaknesses, imbalances, or issues that you need to stay on top of to stay injury free?

2) Do you tend to slack off, get cozy, after an actual injury or bad soreness goes away? C’mon, own up, we all are guilty sometimes!

3) What’s one example of a time you had an injury or soreness resulted in one area or muscle but the problem was traced back to another?
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Warning: These legs are faster than your’s

These running legs should come with a warning label. No, not mine but you get the quip. ;)
running legs
So thanks to sue-your-pants happy America, coffee cups with the whole ‘Warning: beverage is HOT’ label. We have the Happy Meal toys wrapped in the plastic sleeve marked with ‘Plastic bag is NOT a toy.’ What pushed me over the edge and warranted a laugh yesterday was when I went to grab a paper towel after washing my hands in a public restroom the container read: Step 1: Put soap in hands Step 2: Turn on faucet Step 3: Lather for 20 seconds Step 4: Rinse…I think you get the picture.

We get it. Do we need to be talked to like idiots? I guess it’s for our ‘own protection’…sort of like the words written across the toilet seat cover dispenser, no?

It got me thinking of warning labels or instructions that could be related to us runners and this little miles addiction we have going on.

On a shoe box for racing spikes/flats: Warning: Contents of box are not a toy, they are weapons to be used against the fools lining up next to you.

On the shoe box for trainers: Step 1: Insert foot Step 2: Lace up and double knot Step 3: Get to standing position Step 4: Left foot forward, right forward, left, right Step 5: Ensure that for at least some time both feet are off the ground at the same time, this separates running from speed walking Step 6: Continue running, never stop

Your new racing bib: ‘ME’- Numbers are for training logs, you’re not a number, you’re simply the best, right? And let’s be honest if you’re number is on your front no one is going to see it for long, they’ll only see your back. ;)
track
Sign at the track: If you’re not hurting you’re not doing this running thing right.

License a coach must carry: I am a coach. I want the best for you, but at times you probably won’t be able to see that. You may not understand; you can ask, I may answer, but if this relationship is going to work you have to trust me. Believe in me and what I’m having you do. If you can’t believe in what you’re doing then you are free to go; I’m okay with that, I said I want the best for you. And in the end a runner that is going to succeed has to have CONFIDENCE. Confidence comes from knowing you are doing what will, in the end, make you the best you can be. That comes from believing in what you’re doing.

To be inked onto your legs: These are awesome.
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In case you missed yesterday’s HUGE news…get in on it HERE! ;)
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1) Warning labels, instructions, licenses, signs…something of that nature, do you have one you’d like to add here?

2) When you slip into a racing flat or spike, do you instantly ‘feel’ the difference, the mental shift?

3) Training programs, coaches, running groups…how do you come up with your running ‘plan’ if you have one? How do you have belief in what you’re doing and then use that to bolster your confidence?

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Get Your Get Chicking Shirts!!

Watch out runners, you’re about to be CHICKED! ;)
Get Chicking Shirt FrontGet Chicking Shirt Back
They are here, my ‘Get Chicking’ running shirts have arrived so let’s start the chicking! Can you tell how in love I am with that word?

For those that didn’t pre-order or aren’t aware of the details you can school up HERE or read the recap below:

* Asics Core Running Tech Tee
* Sizes XS-L
* The Damage: $30 + shipping

I’ve added a new tap at the top of my page, Store, and you can always order there.

Thanks to all you fast runnerchicks already chicking, without the term would have no meaning. Runnerdudes, you’ve been warned. ;)


Sizes



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Where Track Reins Supreme: Let’s celebrate because let’s be honest, runners are just better

Americans need to learn how to throw a proper track party. After New Year’s the next big shindig seems to be the Super Bowl…I mean we’re talking weeks and weeks of hype and grocery stores plugging hot deals for the party gluttony. Where is the same kind of love for track and field?
runner
Well it’s there, but us poor States dwellers have to travel over to Europe if we want to take part. Though don’t worry it’s more than worth the travel because it’s not just one party you’ll be privy too but a whole summer. Track season is Europe is something hard to explain unless you’ve been there; did you know there are actually countries where runners are bona-fide celebrities? Not just the kind that can quietly bust out the mile repeats on a track so fast a runner geek’s jaw would drop but that oblivious walker in lane one would fail to even move to the side?

I understand there are other sports, I’ve got friends and family who play in them, I do go to games and cheer and support…of COURSE. But I’ll be honest, track and running has my heart and I can really get my screaming pants on for even more. My screaming pants and my running shoes…bring it.

Call me a running elitist if you must but runners are cut from one heck of a ‘hardy stock.’ We run through kinds of pain like it’s ‘no big thang’…I don’t condone it, sometimes it’s more stupidity or refusal to acknowledge the obvious on our parts. But at the same time in the back of our minds we all can’t help but think, “Da##, that’s sickly awesome” when we know runners who raced on multiple stress fractures. The runners who, when they take off their spikes it’s a bloodified massacre underneath.

Who amongst us hasn’t taken a tad of perverse glee when they’ve gone in to see some kind of sports medicine doctor and they take a look at us and say something akin to, “Sooo, in looking back through such-and-such test I don’t understand how you were able to even walk in here, aren’t you hurting?”

Runners, yes, our stubbornness can translate into stupidity at certain times, nowhere do they give medals who can suffer through the most idiotic pain. BUT they do give medals to who can suffer through as much pain when it comes to the lactic acid burning, the lungs that want to explode, the legs wondering if they will actually be able to lift again and booty-lock so bad you sort of wonder if that javelin were to impale you on the spot if that would hurt less.
fortune cookie
Runners are ballers. So Europe recognizes that, what’s wrong with America? I mean, sure we have football players who get their share of brute force injuries, I know those have to hurt, but those things come usually from being smashed by someone else…runners, we’re out there smashing ourselves in a sense.

Track doesn’t take time outs. When you hit lap 10 of a 10k you can’t just pause to collect yourself, come up with a new game plan or even tie your shoe without losing distance…the clock keeps ticking peeps.

Maybe the US doesn’t have the attention span to sit through 25 laps. We do live in an age where most want to get to the point in a Twitter-alloted character numbers or less…but runners who ‘get’ it know there is plenty to sit through each of those laps. The subtle nuances, the elbows, the moves, who covers the moves, who thinks they’re hot enough to surge to the lead and stay there. The right race could have us blasting out multiple Tweets per lap.

Well, at least in Europe they would. ;)

I’m not saying we don’t have our pockets of track mayhem in the States, the Trials gave us a glimmer. But like I said, the majority of grocery stores weren’t pumping their promo’s for weeks on end about their sales on mini-weiners. And the Trials, what, isn’t that once every four years?

Don’t fret my fellow running fans, there are countries who recognize that running reins supreme. And at least we all know that our sport, and we are, the best…not that that makes us running elitists or anything. ;)

1) Do you follow track or running as a sport much? Do you follow any other sports?

2) Tell me something that makes running the best sport…c’mon you know you want to!

3) What’s been a time where you were proud to be a runner? Could be related to an accomplishment that no one else thought you could do, a ‘stupid runner’ injury story that you are sickly proud of, that you know your pain tolerance is higher than most…or that you just look really good in your running shorts. :P

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Endorphins 2.0: The special running high that only awesome workouts, epic races and PR’s can bring

Boom. Crackle. Snap. No, for once that’s not the sound of me walking into a room…I do predict I’ll be one of those old people racing around on a Rascal for all other hours of the day I’m NOT running. ;) Juuuust kidding…Happy Fourth of July to all those who are also residing in the good old USA.

kicking butt

Kicking your own butt can feel oh so good…when you come out the ‘winner.’ :)


I’m thankful to be an American and not just because I get a chance to unleash my inner pyro for the day. Rockets are fun, yes, but do you want to know another way to feel like you’re high enough to touch the moon? No, the perfectly legal way but you’re still getting a fix in a way.

Rocking a hard workout, kicking butt in a race or a brand spanking new PR. I’ve long professed my love for endorphins but I SWEAR the ones that come from a particularly hard workout, race or effort are like endorphins 2.0. It’s a super high…and I feel THOSE kinds of pimped-out endorphins are what keep us slogging through the ‘blah’ miles, crappy runs and the workouts that kick our butts in the worse possible way. We’re chasing the right endorphins.

Now I’m not an elitist, trust me, I know for a fact I am no better than others, but can I tell you a little secret? On days when my running goes particularly well, the times I’ve gotten a PR (even a PR in a workout) for the rest of the day I sort of feel like I can walk a little taller. Heck I even feel happier and smile bigger, if that is humanly possible for me. When I’m just out and about in ‘normal people’ world (not around fellow runners) in the back of my mind, when I’m going through the check-out at the grocery store I’m thinking, “My legs feel wobbly and like jelly, I wonder if she’s ever felt that post-workout early-onset soreness that only comes from a tough run?” It’s not that I think I’m any better than anyone else in that line (for all I know there could be a World Record holder behind me!) It’s just that I feel like a ‘specialer’ version of myself that day. Thanks to those pimped-out endorphins 2.0 I suppose.
shooting stars
Don’t worry, my ego quickly gets snapped back, as do the rest of ours if you know what I’m talking about and can relate, the next day when we realize that with running there is always another day that begs to question, “You going running?” Running is an ongoing cycle, the PR you just hit, the workout you just rocked…well guess what, you’re going to be facing the same thing again soon and you’re going to want to one-up the previous. So yes, be proud, feel entitled to walk a bit taller for that day, ALWAYS celebrate your PR’s and awesome efforts because failing to do so will leave you feeling like you jyped yourself later. BUT, remember that there is always another day, another goal to be chased…even if that isn’t another PR, truth be told there will be a day when you inevitably won’t be shooting for your best overall PR and will have to shift perspective.

But you know what never has to end? Those souped up, pimped-out endorphins 2.0 that can leave you feeling like you’re shooting on a rocket for the rest of the day. People sometimes don’t understand why a runner who doesn’t really even race would bother doing a hard workout or test themselves. Yea, those hard workouts are hardly always fun…so the obvious question is, “Why put yourself through that?” To be honest that question is probably something going through that non-racing runner’s mind plenty of times themselves. The answer is…the quest for those endorphins 2.0.

So light those sparklers, runnerchicks and runnerdudes, those racing towards PR’s or even if you’re not. Have fun oohing and aahing over the fireworks but remember that some even better trips to the stars are waiting for you, riding those pimped-out endorphins 2.0…get chasing them.

1) Do you relate to feeling especially enorphinized high after awesome workouts you nailed, races you hit your goals or surpassed them or hard-fought PR’s?

2) Do you also feel like a bit of a shinier version of yourself on those days you have those runs? I swear it’s not egotism running rampant on all us runner feeling like we’re better than anyone else. ;)

3) Where are you with your running, are you currently racing, shooting for a PR, just running for the joy of it, running and maybe not racing but still get that curiosity bug to test yourself with some hard workouts and see what you can do?

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Is It Really That Bad? We’re runners but we’re humans too…are some of those ‘human bad habits’ really doing any harm to our running?

I’m a runner…not a nutritionist, I’m not a super scientific sports physiologist, I admit that the vast majority of what I know is through experience, what I’ve seen and what I’ve learned from others who are experts. I’m not ashamed to admit that, and I think one of the best ways to learn something is to admit your own brainiac limitations and seek out answers from credit-worthy sources.
running in forest
Now we are all runners here, but we’re also human; that human thing can offer up some battles of internal wills when it comes to our training. Being human means we have that brain of ours to wage the mental battle when the going gets tough. It also means that we have lives and other things that we do, indulge in, and want outside of miles, core work and sweating.

Balance is awesome and some of the ‘being human’ things actually help our running; focusing too much on a single thing leaves us much too one dimensional and over-thinking your training is another way to send it down the drain. On the other hand the human part of us can sometimes want things that may not exactly be the best for our training…we are human, we have weaknesses, but how bad are some of those ‘weaknesses’ really? Here are my thoughts on a few things…

* Soda. I don’t drink soda, I used to guzzle tons of diet but I had a really bad experience once where I think I must have downed darn near a gallon in a meal and I was gassy and bloated for so long after I kicked it cold turkey. Now there are tons of people saying soda is the devil, others that don’t care, and some that still think it’s totally fine. As for regular soda, I think it’s not doing any favors to the overweight masses, for runners though I still think it’s probably best to avoid because it dehydrates you and you could be drinking something far better for you. Diet, yea, the calories aren’t there but it’s still not an awesome beverage of choice. But I don’t think it’s the devil either.

* Coffee. If you’re totally frapa-macho-machiado’ed to the point where your drink is more like a sundae I think it’s like a dessert. But I’m pro-caffiene if done right, I’ve seen/know too many exceptional runners who swear by coffee not to be. I think that if you want the benefits it comes down to how much and when you drink it; if you build your caffeine tolerance to such a high level that you need an absurd amount to get any ‘perk’ then that’s not so good…caffeine may give you a little extra kick for your workouts but you don’t want to have to guzzle coffee to get in enough caffeine to get your ‘fix.’ So try to keep the intake moderate the rest of the day (if at all) so that when you do have that cup of coffee an hour or so before your workout you get the little boost.
pop tarts
* Junk food. This is opening up a whole can of worms, and I could argue back and forth for ages so I’ll try to keep it short. We’ve all read the Frank Shorter pizza and mayo combo, on the far other end we’ve got the vegans who only eat what they grow in their backyards. We all know cases of runners winning title on either ends of the spectrum, and elites too. The thing with distance running is that it takes up a lot of energy, and that takes calories; if you need some ‘empty’ junk calories to keep pace with your energy levels than I don’t see the harm in indulging with whatever. I’ve eaten through boxes of Pop-Tarts and know plenty runners who dig through the ice cream by the pints. The thing though is that for most of them they ALSO take in the good stuff (veggies, protein, etc) too…it’s all a balance kind of thing. Then there is the mental and sanity thing. That said, not every runner ‘can’ eat as many calories as others thanks to that little metabolism thing…it can be an unfair card but it’s the truth too and to not say it would be lying by omission.

* Sloth. I actually love this word and try to use it whenever I get a chance, so I did…hey, it’s my blog. Now you may think, “Me, lazy, never!” ;) For some that’s true, but there are some lazy runner habits that are running rampant. The warm-up skimper: HORRIBLE for your body and your performance, I’m not going to spend wordage arguing, do a real warm-up people. The cool-down avoider: HORRIBLE again, a bit less only because at least the race/workout isn’t sacrificed on that day but your next runs will be. Letting pools of lactic acid sit in your muscles is only going to make you feel worse and hinder your recovery process…move it no matter how tired you are. Standing during your recovery before the next interval: JOGGING is better in my opinion and I wrote on that HERE. Some may not share my opinion but the majority of top runners I know keep moving during their recovery.

There you have it…just a few things, and again my opinion. I’d like to hear from you guys, do you agree, disagree?

1) What are your thoughts on any of these?

2) What are some of your ‘bad habits’ that make you human; how ‘bad’ do you really think they are for your running?

3) Favorite not-so-’healthy’ food?

4) Own up, do you ever fall victim to the ‘sloth’ runner temptations?? ;)

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