The World Cup Reminds Me…the time I proved I had no coordination skills

The 2014 World Cup has begun!! Now here’s a fun fact, soccer was my first sport. Gosh how I loved it, I played for seven years and looked forward to every Saturday’s game (confession: the after-game snack a LOT too!) like nobody’s business. Why did I stop after seven years?? Enter exhibit A:
running sports cartoon
I sucked. Like I REALLY sucked. I can vividly remember scoring my first goal…mostly because it was my first and last. I don’t even have an excuse for one goal in seven years, like I played goalie or defense…nope, I was a forward and mid-fielder. Right where one with any iota of coordination would be set RIGHT up to score a goal.

Hey, at least I can own my suckiness. I know I can handle turning left and running in a straight line. So I stopped soccer when, totally honest here, the only team I could still make was the rec team. The qualifications for making the rec team is having your mom or dad write the $35 check to the community rec league. I was in junior high at the time, meaning my rec team would be all the 4th and 5th graders still too young for the Comp and Select teams.

That’s when my mommy-o suggested I try cross country. I thought it was a traveling team, “Cool!! I get to go touring around…I’ll bet I’ll find lots of fun new foods to try!” I though. Yea, even at that age it all comes back to foods and treats, right? I was in for a shock. No traveling done unless you run there. I got tripped pretty bad my first practice and later had to pick gravel out of scars I still have today.

i run. i'm hungry. cartoon

i run…do the math.


My first race I spent hovering over a bush for about 15 minutes certain I’d barf. I didn’t, but my dad still has a picture of me hovering over the bush. The thing is though, I kinda liked it. I sucked at anything with ‘real’ coordination skills but I kinda liked that I could grimace in pain and pass some girl up a hill. I would like to also mention I sucked at running too. That girl I passed up the hill, maybe was the only girl I passed. Like I was slow, but in my mind I didn’t fully grasp 1) how slow I was 2) how HORRENDOUS my form was!! Gosh, even my mom in later years admitted, “Yea, I’ll never forget trying not to laugh the first time your little club coach saw you run and remarked that you looked crazy.”

I owned my crazy then and I own it now though! ;) But hey, I stuck with this whole running thing. I do promise I kinda really hated it the first couple weeks, but I swear there was like this insane shift after you get past the ‘hump’ I call the hazing weeks. Basically once you become consistent enough to where your body and muscles don’t go into the shock of thinking, “Wait, she’s running…that must mean there’s a bear chasing her!!” resulting in unwalkable sorenesses the next day. Get past that and you’re golden. ;)

Look at running, turning into about my favorite thing to do. Shall we just be thankful that I actually DID have a little too much pride to out-age my rec teammates by four years? Best $35 my mommy-o didn’t have to spend. ;)
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Also on Want to Run in College? This is what it takes: Hakon DeVries of the University of Kentucky
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1) Are you a big soccer fan? Will you be unreachable and completely ignore any and all of your surroundings until the World Cup is over?

2) Were you good at other sports besides running?

3) Have you ever barfed after a race?
Hey, I hovered over that bush but nothing came up. Never have thrown up after a race or workout, that one time over the bush was the closest I’ve come.

My Running ‘True’ Is Off, Better ‘Toe In’

Yesterday I was reminded why I’m a runner and have no desire to branch out into cycling. I watched as one of my roommates did this and that to his bike; adjusting things, replacing the brakes, all that good stuff. I learned some fun new terms, which are probably the non-runner’s equivalent to fartleks and pronation.
runner face
There was something about ‘truing’ a tire, I probably have this wrong some 18 hours later due to memory lapse, but I’m pretty sure it’s just making sure the wheel is straight and aligned. The brakes have to be ‘toed in’; I liked that one because it makes me think of runner toes, but here it’s just that the brake thingy’s have to be at a certain angle.

See, I don’t bike for a good number of reasons but one of the paramount ones is that there’s just too much ‘stuff’ and too many ‘variables’ that could potentially impede your workout. The OCD runner-brain line of thought I have is this worst case scenario: “I’ve got to get my workout it, I’m mid-way through some intervals and BAM my tire goes flat, my brakes go wonky, or something else screwy happens and I can’t do my workout.” Yes, the end-all to all end-alls, I can’t get my workout in, I know, how tragic. ;)

With running you need shoes and that’s about it. Of course the KIND of shoes are of paramount importance, don’t let me under-emphasize that. But if you can tie a lace you’re pretty much good to go; if you’re still struggling with that there are little lace locks to really get you doing nil work.

Though in getting back to those cycling terms that I’ll pretend I can now toss around in everyday conversation. Runners have to be ‘true-ed up’ too I guess; here it’s our form that can get set off. You see those runners with their arms flailing around like they are doing the macarena, runners with a shuffle-stride and you just want to yell, “Do you NOT know how to lift up your knee?!”

runner on track

Nope, definitely not thinking about cycling! ;)


I’d call the central ‘true’ point of a runner (any cyclists are probably cringing at how badly I’m misusing their words here, it’s like if I were to say my shoe had a bad fartlek) the torso. The core of a runner; where if this is off you’re probably setting yourself up for an injury at some point. The hip region especially can get tight and lead to overcompensation issues like none other!

Thankfully us runners have built-in brakes; namely you just stop. Yea, we have the klutzes like me who have issues there, but for the most part us runners have the opposite problem with stopping and slowing down. We don’t ‘want’ to but our brain is perpetually trying to talk us into stopping, or at least slowing down.

So for us, maybe ‘toe-ing in’ our brakes is really just babysitting our brain and telling it to SHUT UP, SUCK IT UP and keep running even though, yes, it hurts.

Yes, I’m a runner, I have no desire to venture into cycling. Yes, it’s an awes-tastic form of cross-training and yes, my very best friend is a really competitive, hard-core cyclist, but even he knows by now not to try and talk me into it. The truth there though, is he probably knows with my coordination I’d wind up road-chow.
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BIG shirt news coming up here soon, I’ve got my latest design about to drop…so stay tuned!
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1) Do you do much cycling? Are you into triathlons or biathlons?

2) What is your favorite form of cross-training?
elliptical baby!

3) If you had to say your ‘true’ was off, where would it be?
My dumb, annoying left adductor…right where it inserts into my glute…oh how I wish I could auction it off for parts and get a replacement for it. Do you think ebay is my best shot? ;)

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Piecing Together the ‘Perfect’ Runner

If we could construct the ‘perfect’ runner from all of different events in the London Olympics, I think we’d have to start with the flexibility of a gymnast. While you probably won’t need to bust out the splits on the track having that kind of range of motion would be an asset. Plus you’d certainly be less prone to injury.

steeplechaser

Flexibility certainly helps double time for those steeplechasers! :)


Thanks to those skimpy Speedos I’ve seen the core on those swimmers and divers. Nowhere to hide in those uniforms. Having a rock solid core is key for a runner; it’s a huge oversight to think that all runners need to strengthen are their legs.

The quick responses of a ping-ponger (is that a word?). Hear me out, in the midst of a race a runner needs to be able to respond to any moves their competitors may make. Sometimes even an instant of hesitation can make or break the outcome of the race.

Remembering the drafting techniques of the cyclists certainly would help. Even in a slight breeze doing the work of pace-setting takes a physical and mental toll…far easier to just sit, zone out and get pulled along.

Explosive power like the jumps you see in volleyball and basketball. Having the ability to fire off those fast twitch muscle fibers translates into raw speed. Come the end of a race, a runner who’s got that is able to dig for that extra gear and kick for home.

boxer

Boxers tend to have a wicked game face too.


How about the game face of those lacrosse athletes. If I had someone running after me with a stick I certainly wouldn’t be able to hold it together like them. That takes confidence and a runner needs confidence in themselves, their training and their abilities when they step to the line.

But then, wait a minute. I believe they already have started piecing together the ‘perfect’ distance runner…I believe they call them Kenyans. ;)

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1) What trait would you add to the ‘perfect’ runner from one of the other Olympic sports?

2) Which of these traits do you have and has thus improved your running? Did you do another sport before running and thanks to that been able to get a, ahem, leg up?

3) Which trait are you lacking, or consider a weakness? Are you doing anything to improve on it?

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Some More Track Champs Talk and Snotty Dogs

Okay so today again, as a good little track nerd, I’ll need to bring up the Women’s 5k that happened over there at the World Track Champs. I’m partial to the women’s distance events, but there is tons of action and I’m sorry to not spread the love, but that’s how I’m going to roll…

I was talking yesterday about the A-FREAKING-MAZING women’s 1500 that brought home the first Gold for an American distance race in 28 years and today, while it was back to the slew of Africans leading the field there things worth mentioning.

Lauren Fleshman came out to be the first American (and person of non-African descent in the race) and she placed 7th with 15:09. Yes, the winner, Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (that’s a mouthful), deserves major props herself for pulling off the double win for the 5k and 10k and beating out tough fields.

That said, being an American chick-a-dee I think it’s pretty stand-out that Lauren actually placed 8th at the USA Track Champs, wouldn’t have even gone to the World Champs had not another athlete pulled out, and then she came out and was 7th in the World. Anyways, she actually has a really cool account of her entire experience over at her own blog, which I found fun to read.

Back to this lowly little runnerchick, no big hoopla or megatron, instead it was some Gossip Girl fueled entertainment. 10 miler on the tready followed by abs and core. Hey, I had forgotten in all this techie website drama that I actually added a new tap up top. It’s just a list of some of the workouts or suggestions that I’ve jammered on about so far. If you’re interested feel free, if not, no worries either!  :)

Sorry to keep this one short, but I’m feeling rather boring as of late, and sometimes it’s better to just put a fork in it rather than yammer on until the food is so cold and disgusting you never want to catch sight of it again!

1) Any fun weekend plans for people? Any races on tap?

2) I feel bad because I’m not really a well-rounded sports person. I have been to maybe one or two ‘real’ baseball or basketball games (the others were my bro’s so I don’t count those) and after about two minutes I get the ‘okay, now what’ syndrome and want to do something else. What sports are you a big fan of and love to watch?

boston terrier dogs

3) I’m sitting with my family’s Boston Terriers, I think it’s so cute/disgusting/hilarious that because their noses are so punched in, when they sneeze it’s like a full body convulsion, nasal spray eruption. That said I get grossed out if spit/snot flies on my face, but I know people who will stop short of nearly French-kissing their pets. How ‘licky-lovey’ comfortable are you with your pets? This is a really random one, so sorry.

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Warning: Lurker in Car Watching Runners on the Road

I had a couple funny thoughts yesterday as I was driving. I was coming up on a local community college (actually before they were stinkers and paved over it in lieu of a giant parking lot, there was a cross-country course that I probably ran the most races on during all of my entire high school school years) and as I was nearing the campus I see a looooong trail of guys running on the side of the road.

Because it’s horribly hot around these parts (actually record setting lows for summer in the Sacto area, but remember I’m a recent Portland, OR transplant, so I’m still adjusting!!) they were shirtless but sporting those heinously long shorts that go to about knee level.

dragon toasting toast

It's too hot and I'm NOT liking the 'toasty weather'

So thought process: these are obviously not the guys on the cross-country team, or if they are they are the first year guys who are still too embarrassed to wear real running shorts. Scratch that, this CAN’T be the cross team because this particular college cut both their cross AND track programs…for shame. Then, as I see this surfer wanna-be looking guy surge to the front, I think, “Oh look, here goes Rocky thinking he has something to prove.” Is it mean that I wanted to actually reverse the car and follow them to watch Surfer Rocky crash and burn and get swallowed up by the rest of the pack?

To Surfer Rocky’s credit I soon realized they were doing those Elephant Runs where the last guy in the line surges to the front. So I figured it must have been the wrestling team because for whatever reason I seem to find wrestlers are always out there doing those Elephant Runs, or they are the guys sporting full on sweat suits and running around the track trying to make weight.

So let’s back track here. The guys were probably at most a half mile from the campus…at most…but I’m sure they felt it was tortuously long. That’s okay, it’s all relative, you throw me on a wrestling mat and I’d crumble to the ground in about two seconds. Wow, I think the little runner elitist in me is showing…I’m being mean, and I didn’t follow them, for all I know they were out there running 6 miles.

Though, if they were I’m sure they were coming back with a mean case of chaffage due to those long PE style shorts. Now, it did take me a while to fully embrace running clothing, don’t get me wrong. I started with soccer shorts and worked to those ‘real’ runner shorts with the liners. And it did take me some time and prodding to wrap my head around the bunhuggers. But once I went there I never went back.

I promised my mom I’d never be a dork running in running tights. Though, the reason was more that I just HATE anything tight and constrictive, I don’t like feeling cased in like a sausage. But flashforward to the first cold-cold day and I was donning tights.

Running clothes aren’t made with the goal of parading in as little clothing as possible, showing off potentially embarrassing shorts tan lines for the guys. They are made that way because they’re more efficient and let’s face it, save us the pains of massive amounts of chaffage. They take us so far, BodyGlide takes us the rest of the way. ;)

Anyways, no, I wasn’t stalking this team out there running I was stuck at a light…but I will admit that I do look at and do a little mental assessment of anyone I see outside running on the road. Am I the only one that does that?

runner on road

If I’m injured at the time it’s with a little bit of annoyed envy, hey, I’m only human. If they are trucking I tip my imaginary hat to them and send them good mental positive vibes to keep it up. If I see them slow down purposely so that they ‘miss’ the light so that they can stop, I shake my head a bit. If I see them packing a camel pack, three water bottles, a gel cartridge belt, and a watch the size of a computer mouse, I take them for a newbie.

I can’t help but look. And I think I’m pretty good at picking out the people who are running because they are runners and those who are doing it begrudgingly (wrestling team). We’ll call it runner-dar. ;)

**Disclaimer: I will NEVER be so low as to roll down my window and yell, “Run, Forest, Run!” I have less respect for people than I do for Charlie Sheen. Finally, I would like to note that I give anyone who is at least out there working out credit for doing it…keep on moooooving people! :)

1) Do you look at and kind of ‘assess’ people you see running on the street?

2) Do you kind of laugh sometimes when you see what certain people are running in or running with?

I’ve talked about this before, but people who run in jeans continue to amaze me.

3) Do you remember being forced to do Elephant Runs in PE?

Yup. There are lots of other names for those I know.

4) Are you just as appalled as I am that this community college not only paved over the cross course, they mowed over the track for a bigger football training field, the cross country team was the first team to be cut, and finally, ya, the track team was soon to follow in being pushed into the black hole vortex of nothingness?

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