A Special Running Valentine

Whether single or alone, you can always find love.
runner finds love
Okay, Happy Valentine’s Day…whether you find this a jank holiday or not probably has more to do with your relationship status than anything else. But we can all agree that the love between a runner and their legs is something sacred. To be cherished and adored, to be respected and never taken for granted.

Love what your runner body can DO for you, that it’s far more powerful than merely something hot and pretty to look at.
runner feet hearts
Be grateful for the incredible way a body can adapt and repair itself…build it stronger.

Celebrate the rush of endorphins.

If love is making your heart race…look no further.

Be you loving your legs in pairs or rocking solo, grab a chocolate heart and bite it’s flipping head off…you ran, you deserve it!! ;)

[Hearts may not have a head, but you get the picture.]

1) Finish this sentence: I love my legs and today I will show them that love by…
Forcing them to run. They know they like it…bwahahaha.
2) How are you treating your legs right so they rebuild and repair?
Stretching, Baby!
3) Favorite chocolate treat?
Any and all. S’mores Pop-Tarts are always a choice I fully endorse!

Full Holiday Onslaught: Cartoon Style

Just in case you haven’t reached your maximum capacity for the Holiday Spirit…you know us runners always have to err on the side of excessive. “Not quite totally maxed out yet? Welp, we know what to do!” So I’ve got a couple more holiday cartoons for you. Or COURSE, I’m wishing you, your running shoes, and all your family and friends my best!!
politically correct holiday card

gingerbread man running
…unless you’re on the receiving end of some grievances. In which case, hang in there. ;)

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More Comics and Cartoons HERE!!
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1) What Holidays are you celebrating?
2) What foods are you currently OD’ing on?
3) If your family had a race for the last gingerbread man…who would win? Be honest.
Probably my bro. He’s got all the fast-twitch.

The Quickest Way to a Runner’s Heart…

It’s that special time of year where every runner everyone is a little kinder, a bit more generous, and hopped up on hot cocoa and sugar cookies!! Amidst all the list making, if you REALLY want to win over the hearts of your family, friends, or that certain someone…you better have stashed away in that gift pile some brand spanking new running shoes!! ;)
rudolf running
Other acceptable presents that are sure-fire ways to rock the recipients’ holidays are:
* A Garmin
* An AWESOME running shirt
* BodyGlide
* A PR

…actually that last one you have to go out and win for yourself! ;)

Happy Holidays my runner friends!!

1) What’s something that you’re excited to be giving to someone this year?
2) It IS the spirit of giving but let’s be honest, is there one item in particular you’re really hoping to get?
3) Best holiday gift you’ve ever gotten? Best one you’ve ever given?
Gotten, wow, there’s a few. I think I’d like to share that I was SOOOOOO pumped when a talking PeeWee Herman doll was was unwrapped. “I know you are, but what am I?”

I Ran After The Easter Bunny

Because holidays are just better the runner way.
running cartoon
Happy Running Easter…may you make it through the intervals before you barf and may you eat your weight in chocolate eggs and avoid a refund. :P
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More awesome cartoonage HERE!
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1) Do you tend to throw up after hard workouts or races?

2) Favorite kind of candy or chocolate goodie?
Cadbury does indeed rock, but Junior Mints are quite nice. But nothing beats Pop-Tarts. ;)

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Super Secret, Amazing, Scientific Answer To Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain: RUN

Every year around this time I admit to getting up a little on my runner’s high horse and thinking, “Gosh dang, you people, shut up about all those ‘Avoid Holiday Weight Gain’ articles the answer is simple: RUN!”
no fat in running
I’m not shy and fully own up to being a neurotic runner who does run every day, the holidays are no exception. And you want to know a little secret? One of the BEST perks of being a runner = eating like a runner = looking like a runner and not a sumo wrestler.

There is a little thing called balance, moderation, and then license to grub hard. That last one also applies to special circumstances (ie: holidays) where you eat foods and amounts (ie: foods in trough-sized plates) you wouldn’t normally…but that also circles back to the law of averages and your nutrition for the entire year.

runner eating pizza

Eating steak pizza isn’t going to be enough iron, in addition to diet you should be supplementing.


So, Runners, I believe if we are then the kinds of runners who brave the weather, who don’t miss a day just because the gyms are closed (uhh, it’s called outside…hehe) or what the calendar says, let us all sit atop our little high horses and cringe at all those stupid article. Because the truth is we’ve solved the holiday weight gain conundrum…

Run. :P
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My article on dining out for runners also touches on the topic of nutrition, balance, and license to indulge: How Runners Can Stuff Their Faces at Restaurants and Still Perform at Their Best
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1) Do you do the eye-roll and head-laugh every time you read one of those ‘avoid holiday weight gain’ type articles or stories? Do you also realize that it’s usually rehashing the same obvious tips over and over again? :P

2) Do you adjust your running or dietary habits around the holidays? How do you keep balance?

3) What is your favorite type of holiday indulgence?

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Are You My Lefty? — The quest for the left to my right running shoe

There once was a little running shoe, no not one of those dorky Vibrams, an actual running shoe and he felt a little lost. It wasn’t so much that he felt confused about who he was, he knew he was a righty, meant for swallowing up miles for breakfast, some strength training for lunch, and dinner might be either more miles or a side of cross-training.fleet foot

But he knew he was missing out on something…oh, that’s right, it was his left. He knew he had to have his left match out there, he dreamed of what left would look like. Maybe he inherited some of his own designs from lefty, did he share her roomy toe-box, did his arch support come from her? Finally the day came when he could stand the wondering no long and so he set out on a quest to find his lefty.

Some odd hoppy, runner-strides later he was off down the road on his quest. After about 1.34 miles (thankfully Garmin came along to keep him company) he came to a halt; he looked at the shiny, red object in front of him. Now it didn’t exactly look like his mirror image, but there was a roundness to it that make him question if that could be the same roundness he inherited his toe-box from. “Are you my lefty?” our lost running shoe blurted out.

“Say, what?” the tall, cylindrical object replied.

“I’m looking for my lefty, are you her?”

“Sorry, kid, I’m not anyone’s lefty,” the red thing stated in a gruff tone, “oh crap, here it comes again.” At that, the red thing groaned as a huge pit-bull sauntered up, lifted its leg and proceeded to spray a long stream of yellow onto this red thing.
running shoes
The right sided running shoe took off again and some 2.05 miles later he stopped again. Seeing a white item laying on the ground he got a bit excited. Here was something that looked to be a case of some sort, could it too be meant to encase a foot? “Are you my lefty?”

“Say what?” this flutterly case drifted a bit closer when some wind blew it over; obviously if it was his lefty it was a lightweight trainer or racing flat the right running shoe thought.

“Are you my lefty?” he asked again. “You seem to be meant to hold something, is it a foot?”

“Sorry,” the stranger replied, “I am indeed empty, but its because someone ate a hot dog…they are also a liter bug it turns out.”
hot dog
It was then that our running shoe noticed the smear of yellow as mustard, he had at first thought it was just a cleverly placed Swoosh. He motored on for another 3.43 miles until he came to yet another object of potential. “Are you my lefty?”

“A lefty?” a female’s voice questioned, coming from the long roll of bright purple that was lying on the grass. By this point our lost running shoe had come to the park and there were lots of other people out running and playing; he felt a pang of loss as he saw all the other running shoes going along in pairs. The voice continued, “I’m not sure what a lefty is but I don’t think I am one.” As she finished a woman came over and pushed the purple roll, the roll then flattened out and the woman stepped on and into some kind of twisty pose.

Our lost running shoe knew this wasn’t his lefty and had almost abandoned hope of finding her. He hopped over to a nearby bench, only .07 miles away, and got on it. He started to really feel sorry for himself and thought, “I guess I’ll never know my lefty, I’ll forever be a one-sided running shoe. I know I could find my way to a fulfilling career and brighten the stride of a one-legged runner, but I thought I could find lefty.”

Just as right running shoe was about to leave a flustered man perched next to him on the bench and shouted, “Thank goodness! There it is!” The man scooped up the running shoe and in a flash had our righty down on the ground and was shoving one heck of a gnarly running foot into him. Righty felt his laces drawn taut and the warm heat of the toes in his toe-box, this was a joy unlike any other.

The man didn’t waste a second and went straight into a runner’s stride. Right, left, right, left. With an elation he couldn’t even put into words our right running shoe looked to his left and there she was! She was all he imagined and more, she was perfect, he didn’t even have to ask because he knew…he had found his lefty. So he did all he had to do, he smiled and put his sole to pavement again, and again, and again, and again…
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Happy Mother’s Day! For the holiday I thought I’d put a bit of an Arty Runnerchick twist on the classic ‘Are You My Mother?’ My own mother used to read a book to me nearly every night as a child and this was one of my favorites. I’m thankful to my Mommy-O for many a things, but among them is of course for passing along an addiction affinity for running.
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1) Did you read, or get read to, as a child? What were some of your favorite books?

2) If you were a running shoe, what would be an object you might mistake as your lefty?

3) What are your favorite pair of running shoes?

4) What are you up to this weekend? Did you do anything special for Mother’s Day? If you are a Mom what was your favorite part?
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Plyometrics for Runners Part II – Jumps and Hops: I caught the Easter Bunny hopping away plyo style

Let’s talk some plyometrics.If you’re reading this and your face is already smeared with chocolate and Peeps sugar residue, you’ve done the Easter Bunny thing right. ;) Just kidding…Happy Easter to those who celebrate and Happy Sunday to those who don’t.

jelly bean runner

Jelly beans also work their way into those eggs! ;)

But because we have bunnies on the brain today I thought it fitting we revisit the topic of plyometrics, this time covering hops and jumps. You can read the Part I on bounds and skips.

This time of year also falls into early track season; here is a prime time to build strength by incorporating plyometrics into your training. Plyo’s, because they are intense, fast-twitch muscle focused are taxing on the body and even if you don’t feel sore right away that will usually change come the next day. Because of this you have to be careful not to over-do them and typically you’ll want to ease back on these plyos, or cut them out entirely, come peak racing season.

During base building phases and early season is your opportune time to increase you strength and work on areas you need to improve on. If you’re not racing track, or not racing at all, plyo’s are still great because they:

1) Build strength and power; this translates into speed and the ability to end your races faster with a kick
2) Build more muscle; more muscle mass and less fatty tissue is always a good thing ;)
3) Rev up metabolism;similar to interval sessions, intense bouts of plyo’s not only get your heart rate up there while you’re doing them but they create an after-burn effect where your metabolism is elevated for hours after you complete the workout

sprinter

Channel your inner sprinter; plyo's will build your speed and give you that fast finishing kick! :)

Let’s get into the hops and jumping variety of plyo’s:

* Rocket jumps: Start standing with feet about shoulder width apart. Bend down into a squat and touch the ground with your hands and then blast up into the air, extending your arms up over your head. Reach for the sky and try to get as high off the ground as you can. Get back down into the squat and blast again. Start with one set of 10.

* Single leg butt-kicker leaps: Start balancing on your right foot and keep your left leg bent and off the ground for all of this jump. For this jump you want to achieve two things: clear as much distance as you can AND get your right leg up high into the air and kick your bum. You will look funny doing this, but that’s okay. Do 10 jumps on your right leg and switch to your left.

* Star jumps: Similar in look to jumping jacks, the star jump is different in that you will raise your arms and legs out at the same time. Start standing feet together and arms at your side; jump up into the air, kick your legs out to the sides and raise your arms up until they meet over your head. When you land you want you finish in the same position as you started. As you build power you’ll want to test yourself to see how high you can jump and how far apart you can get your legs during each jump. Do a set of 10 to start.

* Single leg step-up blasts: Find a bench that when you place your right foot on it your quad is about parallel to the ground and both knee and hip bent at 90 degrees. Start in this position and with you left leg still on the ground, step-up and transfer your bodyweight onto your right leg and swing your left leg up towards your chest as you go. Once you are standing on the bench keep the step-up momentum going and then blast off with your right leg into a jump. Try to jump as high as you can, land back down on your right leg and then lower down into the starting position. Your arms during this will swing in the opposite arm/opposite leg motion you do while running. Do a set of 10 with your right leg and switch to your left.

* Quick feet bench taps: Use a bench the same height as you did the step-up blasts; start facing the bench with both feet on the ground. Here you will alternate quickly tapping the bench with your right foot and then your left. You do this in a continued hopping motion; right tap, left tap, right tap, etc. The aim is to keep moving and to get those feet to fire off the ground, to the bench, and back down again as quickly as possible without losing balance. Your arms will follow the opposite arm/opposite leg motions you do as running. Start with a set of 20 toe-taps; that would be 10 taps for each foot.

These are 5 great jumping plyometrics to get you started in building a routine. If you’re new to plyo’s, remember it is QUALITY over QUANTITYand if you need to slow down or take longer breaks to complete them right that is better than doing more sloppily. Doing them with poor form will only re-instill bad habits and set you up for an injury. Secondly, for your first few times only do a set of 10, you may feel like it was ‘easy’ but typically you want to walk away from a session tired but not demolished; with plyo’s the fatigue sets in later and even if you don’t feel like it, the muscle tissues were broken down.

runner

Do a plyometric routine after your hard workout day; finish your cool-down them move into those plyo's.

For runners, here are points to remember:
* Do plyo’s on days you already did a hard workout. It sounds off, but you don’t want to add plyo’s to your easy days because that will defeat the purpose, you’ll never recover and then come your hard workout days you’ll be spent and tired.

* Start with doing plyo’s only 2, up to 3, times a week with at least one day between them. Start with only 1 set of 10 for the first week, if not the first few, and work your way up to 3 sets of 10.

* Allow full recovery between each set. You want to be fully recovered between each set so you can give each jump the most power; you’re working on your explosiveness not your endurance here…channel your inner sprinter.

* Mix and Match: If you’re doing more than one plyo session a week, do jumps and hops one day and switch to the leaps and bounds routine the next time you do them. Get a good variety of what you’re doing, as with any other training philosophy.

Once you’re done with your plyo’s be sure to refuel like a champ within 30 minutes to get the recovery window!

1) What’s your favorite Easter type candy…are you all about the chocolate eggs, the Peeps, or were you one of those kids who actually looked for the real hard-boiled ones and ate those?

2) Do you do plyo’s and if so, which are your top picks? If you don’t, would you be willing to try them?

3) If you don’t do plyo’s, what do you do to work on your power and speed?

4) Anyone race this weekend?

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April First Brings Some Shocking New Reports…

Sunday…up and at ‘em! Today’s a big day at the races, I’ve got friends up currently sweating it out in Portland’s Race for the Roses and of course down in California there is the Carlsbad 5000. Though, I guess it could be argued that EVERY weekend is a big day at the races somewhere…us runner’s can really never get enough action, right? ;)

Well, in reading some late-breaking news and studies, I am embarrassed to admit that a LOT of what I’ve thought to be fact and professed to others seems to be a bit off base. I know, even the best of us wind up with pie on our faces sometimes, so let me make a few corrections to anything I’ve said before:
eating pop-tarts
* Pop-Tarts really DO make you faster. In fact a recent study showed that the ‘Smores flavor in particular is going to be added to the list of banned substances. Apparently ingesting them has a similar effect to certain steroids. At this point the doping committee is being a little tightlipped at the moment because they are still making busts, but I’ll follow up on this as more news breaks.

* Warming up is for losers. Contrary to what every coach, sports performance theorist, athlete, and the like have thought for years you really shouldn’t waste any extra energy warming up with running, strides, and drills. From now on, pop in the car and turn up the heater if you’d like and then just get to the line and be ready to riiiiiiip!

* Bringing Records Back to the Ladies!! The IAAF and World Record rectifying committee (hmm, not sure if that second one is the exact term, but roll with it) has retracted their previous ruling to not count female records set in mixed races. I’m THRILLED to report this, as this finally gives Paula Radcliffe back her faster 2:15 Marathon World Record. Upon hearing the news Radcliffe remarked, “I’m glad those flipping buggers finally pulled their heads out of their bums.”
runner silhouette
Okay, okay…April Fools on ALL of that above!! I’m lame, yes, but thought I’d take part in some of the fun. I hope you’re all having a wonderful Sunday and aren’t a fool yourself!

I do want to take a moment to reflect on some a really serious matter and I’m not at all joking. In case you haven’t heard Micah True, an ultra runner made famous in ‘Born to Run’ was found dead yesterday in New Mexico. The native of Boulder had been missing for four days after setting out on a run. The loss of a runner should make all of us remember to be grateful for each day that we do have; fill those days with the people who matter and doing what makes you happy. It also should remind us to heed caution every time we do head out for a run, be it on the roads or on the trails, and take safety precautions depending on the environment you’re in. Always let people know where you’re going and how long you plan to be out. Do what you love but always do what you can to ensure you are able to get out there and continue to do it the next day.

1) Do you ever do any April Fool’s Day pranks?
Not usually, I’m usually gullible enough to fall for things all 365 days of the year.

2) If you could pick a food that turned out to be a huge performance booster and thus give you a reason to eat it in gluttonous fashion (but it wasn’t of course steroid-esque…lol) what would it be?

3) What is on your Sunday agenda?

4) Do you do most of your runs solo or with company?

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And a Wee Bit ‘O Luck to Ya…

Yes, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I could also say St. Patty’s Day but every time I do it makes me think there should really be a Happy York Peppermint Patty’s Day somewhere around here too. ;)
leprechaun runner
I hope you’ve all been having a great one and doing a little celebrating yourself. I’m not a drinker, so if you are feel free to have my leftover beers. I do love everything green, though, and you could find me noshing on some green chocolate chip pancakes. (My dad used to make those for us when I was a kid on St. Patty’s Day.)

It’s a fact that my all-time favorite color is lime green and so let’s hear it for a few more oh-so cliched Irish holiday inspired items:

* Don’t steal my lucky shamrock. Do you believe in luck? Do you have little trinkets, rituals, or things you swear to others you know don’t really bring you luck but you have them/do them anyways just because, well, it couldn’t hurt? Hey, I own up to the fact that whenever I see a clock reading 11:11 I make a wish to myself. ;)

* Leaping Leprechauns! Those little guys have springs on their legs, or maybe they have just been doing a ton of plyometrics. ;) I HATE doing those plyo’s, this girl can’t jump, but they work wonders for your speed. So get to jumping like a wee, green man!

* Corned beef and cabbage, say what? I’m not a big corned beef fan, I do like cabbage. But don’t shy away from all red meats if you do like them because they have iron, which is super important for runners! If you don’t like red meats (guilty) then seek out other iron rich foods…hey, spinach is a leafy green that contains a lot of iron. It could be cut into the shape of a clover too…maybe. Teehee.
prankster
* Pranksters! I wish I were really good at pulling off great pranks and such but I am so gullible that I usually end up being the one pranked. That said I use sarcasm like it’s going out of style and plenty of times people think I’m being serious and sometimes that gets me in a wee bit ‘o trouble.

* Spuds! I am in love with the spud, I’ll take me my fair share of potatoes and then some. My favorite is probably a big ‘ol baked potato loaded with chicken, broccoli…and actually cottage cheese. Is that last one weird? I don’t care, I like it. And for you skin haters…you’re missing out, the skin of the potato contains nearly all of the awesome vitamins and nutrients found in the potato…so choke the skin down if you have to. Jk.

* Friends and merry, good times. You picture people celebrating St. Patty’s Day and you think of parties, people, and good times. I’m all for that…whether you are a fellow sweat obsessed runner or not, you can be my friend. :)
skate boarder
Have a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day and I think I’m going to talk to someone about instituting a York Peppermint Patty’s Day too! ;) (naturally then, we’ll need a Junior Mints Day…just saying.)

1) What did you/are you doing for St. Patty’s Day?

2) What is your favorite St. Patty’s themed item?

3) Do you believe in ‘luck’ or do you have a lucky item/ritual?

4) Do you like potatoes? Are you a fan of corned beef and cabbage? How do you make sure you get enough iron? Pick any of those and answer…hehe.

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