Just Because I Love You: Running is the Ever Constant Cupid

Whether you are single or with a special someone, never fret because even if the fat, little Cupid didn’t come visit you with chocolates and arrows, running’s got you covered. True, it may not be able to spoon you in the middle of the night, but running can be an ideal partner in plenty of other ways. It will bring you presents all year round, not just one day in February…
cupid
Running will surprise you with…

* A dozen sweaty socks littered throughout your house. Actually these sneaky stinkers will pop up darn near everywhere, in your car, in your bag, maybe even static clung to your pants. Who can keep track of them all? Anti-blister, moisture wicking sentiments of miles past. Is that one clean or dirty?

Source
* Running shoes as far as the eyes can see. Or at least you can drool over them in the rainbow of colors…ghosts of runs past.

* A foot-full of callouses and blisters.
Really, who needs a box full of chocolates when you can look at these puppies?

* A training log scribbled with jargon. Fartleks on Monday (a little extra oomph thanks to the bean burritos on Sunday, no doubt), breakdown tempo on Thursday, a PR (or PB if you prefer) on Sunday…running’s little love poems.

* A lost toenail out of the blue. You peel off that sock and SURPRISE, running left you a little token of it’s adoration of your sweatiness.

You see, running loves us one and all…in pairs, in singles, and even in droves if you swing that way.
valentines girls
Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you…because I love anyone who comes and visits me, my gift to you is also that I hope you inhale unholy amounts of something delicious…hey, we work for dem miles we can eat just as hard too! ;)

1) What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Even if you don’t buy into the whole Hallmarky thing, please feel free to report the happenings of just a regular Tuesday.

2) What love tokens has running blessed you with as of late?

3) If you are in a relationship, is your partner active? Are they also a runner? Do you think runners tend to pair up?
I think like minded individuals naturally come together sure and can share the same interests. I know lots of runner couples but I also know couples where one just thinks the other is plain crazy for wanting to run.

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Santa Done Me Good! The Ho Ho Holidays Recap

Well, I have to say the big fat man was good to me this year! Bear with me as I take a quick moment to get a wee bit sentimental as I am one lucky runnerchick to have such an amazing family and wonderful friends…it’s been a great past few days as we’ve made the holiday tour of duty!

Woke up today and decided that it’s never too late to try and give Rudolf a runfor his money. I lost, but I did get in a little tempo run on the treadmill…even had the distraction of the last dregs of Christmas movies playing. Then because of this little foot of mine I did my cool-down on the elliptical, all in all a great way to start the day, though I was especially tooty-fruity, I guess those last bits of sweets last night put me over the edge!

on wesley's lap

Little bro's pretty close to Santa...

Now on to the REAL news here, THANK YOU Santa for the Garmin!! How did you know? Actually I was fully surprised since it must have cost you an arm and a leg, but maybe you were able to outsource and substitute the appendages of some poor, unlucky elf…I only hope for fairness he was on the naughty list.
paul frank pants
You also know that it’s the stocking of a runner when there are sports bars and socks mixed in with the candy-canes. Though, the Paul Frank pants wouldn’t make for a right pick for getting my sweat on…

I also really loved the bracelets my sis got me: Trust Your Journey charms, one for each of us.

I hope the parentals enjoyed what I got for them…I promise I didn’t get it all sweaty. My mom is a bit of a sucker for the ‘personal touch’ type things so I did her a bit of art and got it screened onto a purse. A portrait of my two younger sibs…

shay and wes

Little bro, little sis, little Tito pup

For the siblings I got them a little something but really I know there is nothing like adding in the cash money.

The gifts though aren’t the holiday (wow, I think I may actually mean this, which means I am no longer my 8 year old self…I’m getting old) and the true joy was in fact just sitting around and chatting it up with the fam bam.

1) How as Santa to you this year? Were you a good runnerchick or runnerdude?

2) Did your own workout offer you up a not so tasteful reminder of the last few days of foodfest, I only hope the burps had the air of candy-canes or something sweet?

3) Name one of your highlights from the holidays.
Me: “Which one is from Santa, which one do you want me to open up first?”
Dad: “The present that says ‘From: Santa’ on it.”

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Here’s How the Reindeer Games Went Down…

rudolf running‘Twas the night before Christmas, and across the North Pole,
Santa called all his reindeer, he had one special goal.
Stopwatch in hand the beasts lined at the track,
Dasher and Dancer were talking lots of smack.

Blitzen was shivering forgotten to warm-up,
Vixen true to name wearing a risque get-up.
Prancer there smartly testing the legs with strides,
Comet there bouncing, nerves wracked his insides.

Cupid by name a lover but fiercely competitive,
Donder also doing strides, sorry if it’s repetitive.
Dasher confident, our returning champ,
Though Rudolf’s been at training camp.

The fat man calls to their marks,
Elves fill the grandstand, happy as larks.
Poised at the line our reindeer are set,
The bookies confirm their last bet.

Off goes the gun and Donder jumps right in front,
Out too fast, he’ll be dying soon if we’re blunt.
Our race here’s a 10k,
In case we forgot to say.

They pass through the mile,
Poor Donder struggling sans style.
Vixen takes the lead, check out those sparkly spikes,
Surely custom made, gotta be the latest Nike’s.

Rounding 8 laps now,
Blitzen dying like a fat cow,
Too bad for him the next four miles will be the worst,
He’s learning the hard way he shoulda warmed-up first.

Cupid’s ego now bolstered he takes the front,
A sharp elbow from Dasher exudes a grunt.
Half-way and Santa checks the split time,
A low whistle and chuckle they’re on world record time.

Prancer takes it at the far curve,
Cupid plays dirty, goes wide, makes him swerve.
Safely ahead Prancer ratchets down the pace,
Uh-oh down goes Vixen lost to an untied lace.

Eight still in the game,
Though Blitzen looks lame,
Rudolf sits at the back of the top pack,
He’s looking fresh, pop his legs don’t lack.

With a mile to go Dancer’s turn in the lead,
Santa’s ecstatic, the deer’s picking up speed.
The splits are lowering, elves on the edge of their seat,
Most have bets on Dasher pulling a repeat.

Two laps to go it’s a three deer race,
Lapping Blitzen there’s no extra space.
Running up tight near the rail,
A burst from Dasher, the elves exhale.

The bell starts a’clanging,
Everyone wonders if the lead will be changing.
A gap starts to widen on the far curve,
But look here comes Rudolf racing with nerve!

200 to go they look neck and neck,
The stands in an uproar, what do you expect?
Down the final straight our two deer,
Who’s ahead is still a big unclear.

Hooves pounding with fury,
So fast that they’re blurry,
Then Rudolf finds that last gear,
Nearing the tape our winner to appear!

First past the line,
Santa’s jaw drops at the time,
It looks like Bekele’s record is uphooved,
Though we’ll still have to wait for doping control to approve.

Rudolf raises his head, a smile on his face,
Dasher kneels to the ground lactic acid in place.
Elves cheering, well at least those with winning bets,
A few toy builders will soon have souped up erector sets.

Santa claps his hands looking proud,
Lest for Blitzen trudging home a sad cloud.
The reindeer’s race is complete,
Until next year when there’ll be a repeat.

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Is There a Grinch in Your Stocking?

While I tend to be a positive person, I know there are times when even the most Cindy-Loo-Who’s of us get a little cranky. Even if the big fat man in a red suit is watching, I also know that sometimes it is fully warranted to let our Grinch flag fly.

candy

If only we lived in a gumdrop mountain meadow things would always be AWES-TATIC!! (Art: Cait Chock)


Now, before you start thinking I’m being a proponent for holiday un-cheer or being an unkind, thoughtless person (because I’m NOT…trust me sometimes things in this world stink but the best you can do is laugh about it and move on) my point is that there is also a line of what you should let roll of your back. Being that the holidays are super stressful for many people, let’s have a little mutual vent session and remind ourselves that we should pick our battles.

Pick your battles people, a wise little diddy because in life we always will come into contact with people that are difficult to get along with but we must. Whether they are a boss, a family member, or co-worker…you can’t go full Grinch status on them because there will no doubt be ramifications.

girl smiling

Am I smiling on the inside?


* The fake smile: akin to the ‘charity laugh’ this is a good weapon to whip out…you may be dying on the inside to claw their eyes out with a candy-cane but plaster this on your face, breathe, let them say whatever they are going to say and bite your tongue. Best uses are for when granny starts telling you that your choice of clothing isn’t right.

* Kill them with kindness: similar to the fake smile this one is different in that it takes a little more effort HOWEVER you can get a kind of twisted sense of relief in telling yourself that you are ‘outsmarting them’ because you KNOW they are being jerkies but you’re going to be the ‘bigger person.’ Best uses are with people that are your ‘superior’…think a boss or someone you have to stay on their good side. Or an unstable neighbor that if you got on their bad side you’re afraid you may not live to see another holiday.

strong girls

Workout those frustrations and get stronger...a double win. :)


* Run away: literally…I have to say one of the best ways to vent frustration is to take it out workout style. Have a nice interval session and the feel-good endorphins can be a lifesaver.

* Just walk away: Leave the room, get out of there…if you sense a volcano is about to erupt do you stay at the base of the mountain? Best uses: really anytime, it’s sometimes better to be ‘rude’ and leave mid-conversation than risk saying something you really wish you could take back later.

* Pick the battle: now, don’t be a doormat and sometimes you need to stick up for yourself. But proceed with caution and here are some things to keep in mind: speak in a calm, even tone and don’t raise your voice…start yelling and no one is going to listen. Use ‘I’ statements…”I feel that….” avoid using the term ‘you’ or ‘you did this’ because that automatically puts the other person on the defensive and they won’t listen to you. Finally, it may sound sappy but stick with the ‘this is what I’m feeling’ or ‘this is how it makes me feel’ and here is why, people can argue or who said or did what, but they can’t dispute how you are feeling. Kind of a tricky little loophole. :P

The holidays are AWESOME yes, we love each and every one of our family members and friends, right? Of course we do…but the holidays can be very stressful too. Have you watched the Griswald’s Christmas Vacation as of yet?

1) Is there anything making you feel a bit Grinchy as of late, EVEN during this awesome above awesome time?
To avoid a TMI moment I will just say I have a roommate that just can’t seem to get their aim right when using the bathroom…seriously?!

2) What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? What are you looking forward to the least?

3) How do you plan on handling any potential volcanos?

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A Self-Massage Survival Guide and Running Through the Holidays

You know how I was saying not too long ago about runners being in a sort of constant pain from one thing or the other? If you want a real laugh take a gander at this chick the first few steps of any run…*snap crackle pop*…it isn’t coming from the Rice Krispies.
old person
I know I’m not the only one, it’s hilarious (in that kind of way) because regular runners and even record holders/world-class athletes alike have a tendency to look a bit like Frankenstein before they are ‘warmed’ into that run.

On-going ‘this’ or ‘that’ is part of the game but we’re riding a thin line between a flare-up or actual injury that can keep us out. Staving them off is a bit of a battle, if you will, and the best way to win is to stay ahead of the enemies…err, game…err, injuries…hehe.

In case you missed it in the January issue of Running Times I did a piece on one of the ways to stay ahead of the game and be proactive in staying healthy: self-massage. The article is now available online if you want to read it HERE: Self-Massage the Runner’s Way. We all can’t afford regular massage therapy sessions, although I think we’d all LOVE it, but we have two hands and can put them to our own use. :)

Moving on because there has been to much bummer injury talk as of late and there are much more happy and exciting things to talk about! Namely the holidays…no matter what you celebrate I believe there is at least one thing or the next that warrants holiday status.
dogs at christmas
I’m really lucky that this year I don’t have to do any of the big travel…I’m not a fan of being stuck waiting in lines for eternity at the airports or having a security check that’s just short of a body cavity search. I jest, never had that pleasure, but for whatever reason I’m ALWAYS that unlucky ‘random’ person who has to go to that separate line and have the personnel unstuff and sift through my bags. I’m beginning to think I must look like some kind of creeper??

Though when it comes to the holiday season and traveling, people admit to sometimes finding it hard to squeeze in their workouts. Personally it would take something short of the apocalypse for me to not do something, but then again I’m also rather lucky to have a family who are pretty understanding as they too are fitness enthusiasts.

But if you’re NOT from a family of runners or have some extended travel plans, here are a few tips and tidbits:

* Get up early. Or that can be even earlIER if you’ve got a morning flight. I’ve gotten in runs outside of 4am to hop a flight…it’s not easy prying yourself out of bed but at least you don’t have to stop for any street traffic. The getting up an hour earlier also comes in handy if you’re staying with people who don’t ‘get’ the whole running thing; if you’re up and done before it ever effects them or impede plans that can win you some brownie points or at least help you avoid getting any flack.

* Adjust. If you’ve only got a short window of time and you want a quickie interval workout, then opt for faster farleks. You can bust out a good speedy 8-10×200 meters (200 recovery jog), with a short warm-up and cool-down in that time and it’s a quality workout that you could use anyways.

* Rope in others. A big thing with the holidays is of course family and friends, do the whole ‘kill two birds’ thing and go out for a run…everyone likes some company, right?

In the end though, if you end up needing to scale back your workouts or *gasp* miss a few days it’s not the end of the world. Consistency over the long haul is the most important thing, and there ARE bigger things in life than running in the end…hmmm, even if that was a bit painful to admit. ;) jk.

1) Do you do much self-massage? Are you lucky enough to go in and get actual massages from others?

2) Best thing you do to be proactive on the running injuries front?

3) Are you traveling for the holidays? How do you get in your runs or do you take planned time off?

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Festivus…err, the Holiday Season is Here!! I’ll Even Give You Some Presents!

Christmas seems to take me by surprise as I get older. When I was younger I was counting down the weeks (who else made those epicly long chain ring?!) before November, but now it seems like when I start hearing the stores put Rudolf and Frostie the Snowman on the repeat loop I’m thrown, “What…already?!”

I still consider myself a five year old trapped in a 20-something’s body so I’m always ashamed and appalled that I’ve forgotten to make my chain ring. Where is that fat man so I can go sit on his lap? I hope I’ve been on the winning side of good this year, but who really knows…

In keeping with the season I guess I must put together my wish-list. But, with the risk of sounding too cliched and Hallmark that anyone will take me seriously, I really don’t have much to ask for. (Ummm, outside of having a bank account runneth over to pay my bills maybe?? hehe) Is that another sign of getting old? Regardless, I think I’ll scrounge up some things to get those elves a’working:

* Garmin: I lied. This is really the ONE thing that rolled right off the tongue when the parentals asked if I had anything I was asking for for Christmas. I want that 405 diddy because it is small enough to where I don’t feel like I’m doing an arm-curl the whole time I’m running.
running shoes
*Shoes: I wear an 8.5 in the Nike Structure Triax. That’s all I’ll say…I’m loyal to my shoes too, I’ve been in these suckers since circa 2004 and while I’ve been disappointed at some modifications they’ve been through over the years (I talked to one of the guys behind these ‘updates’ and let him know I wasn’t all too happy…too bad my opinion didn’t sway the masses…lol) I still stand by my shoes.

*Scanner/printer: art related, again my scanner is from the dark ages.

*Gimmie the green: I’m not greedy and I think my list is tapped out from here; so feel free to send along some flat little envelopes with season’s greetings…so long as there are some green pick-me-up’s inside. ;) (okay, please know I’m joking…unless of course you wanted to send something…)

girl smiling

Wow...aren't I so generous?! ;)


Because I’m so giving, here is my pledge to give YOU all for the holiday season…no matter what you celebrate, of if you celebrate nothing at all:

12 snarky side-comments
11 running shorts left out of the dryer and hanging on the banister (we all know they last longer if you air dry them!)
10 empty Pop-tarts wrappers…a day ;)
9 times that I lose track of time because I’m sucked into reading blogs and such
8 loogies you will have to dodge if you go on a run with me
7 times I get lost on said run…did I mention I’m a whiz with directions?!
6 times I’ll probably end up apologizing if you spend five minutes with me…chronic apologizer here…I dunno why, I’m sorry
5 tries it takes me to get my scanner and computer to get along in harmony and work!! sheesh, can’t these two take a cue from Cindy-Loo and the Who’s?!
4 times I’m sure I’ll tell you to go read an article in Running Times or Trail Runner Magazine…did I mention I’ve got a few coming out soon? ;) Did I mention you might wanna sneak a peek into this month’s Running Times?
3 times a week at least that I will do my core routine
2 minutes I spend sneak-strecting my psoas while waiting for the microwave to DING
AND 1 big sweaty stain that is THIS GIRL after finishing her workout. :)

1) Does it seem like the holidays sneak up on you too? What are you asking for this year?

2) Can you pledge to give us anything this year?

3) Which guy is a bigger meanie, Scrooge or the Grinch?

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Turkey Trots, Charity Bets, and Some Holiday Tomorrow…

Fair warning, this post will be all over the place. It’ll be dishing up a fine slew of sides, sort of it’s own little bloggy feast. In a break from any kind of tradition, we’ll start with the main course.
turkey trot
Gobble, Gobble, turkey wobble. Yes, Thanksgiving is tomorrow for those of us in the States and I’ll break out the festivities early. I’m pretty sure that yes, indeed, the first Thanksgiving involved a mad dash for the bird, racing bibs and all.

Whether you are partaking in a Turkey Trot of some kind or not, there are a slew around and a big one going on in California is the Run to Feed the Hungry in Sacramento. Now, this race is kinda special to me (cue sappy little music…haha) because back looooong ago it was one of the very first 5k road races I ever did. Actually, it was the first one that was more than a dozen or so runners and here is my funny little story:

I had just joined a local running club and had no idea what this whole running thing was outside of you ran until it hurt and you crossed a line. I was fuzzy on the kilometer thing but got that it was a little over 3 miles…pick jaw off the floor, yes, three miles was long back then!

I was young and following the leader, the other girls lined up in the front row and while the Run to Feed the Hungry wasn’t as colossal as it is today it was in the multi-thousands at that point and I wasn’t in any kind of fast-person-deserves-to-be-in-the-front shape, we’ll just say that. Right before the gun went off my mom grabbed my shoulder, white knuckled, “Honey, just so you know you need to get out fast. There are LOTS of people behind you and I’m not kidding if you go down you will get trampled to death.” Thanks, Mom.

BOOM…gun goes off. The good news is I am alive today. Anyways, I remember it was a lot of fun, but not going to lie a major highlight was probably the slew of eats afterwards…I remember pizza.

This year, the Run to Feed the Hungry has a fun little twist. For anyone who doesn’t know, Michael Stember (he grew up around these parts and it has a local appeal here too) is dusting off the racing flats and running for charity. There is a deal though, he is challenged to run a sub-18 minute 5k. Now, if you look at his past PR’s, he is a former Olympian after all, you’d laugh and say he should be able to run it backwards. But, he hasn’t been competitive for awhile, and I can attest that if you don’t use it you lose it. ;)

Anyways, I give him props for both putting himself out there and making a dash for charity. My bet is he does break 18 (I doubt he’d put himself out THAT far without some kind of gauge in his fitness) and the American Indian Model Schools get some charity proceeds.

Speaking of fast runners there are also some big guns racing in a Silicon Valley Turkey Trot; one of them is Dathan Ritzenhein. Trust me he’ll break 18 minutes and it’s one of his first races back from a long line of injuries so GOOD LUCK to him!

Told you this was all over this place, and we’ll end with some mashed taters and pumpkin pie. I am a fan of pumpkin pie, but mostly because I scoop out the top part and save the crust for last…it is the best part and I like it all soggy from the pumpkin stuff. Wow, yum.

On that note, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

1) Are you running in any turkey themed races tomorrow?
No, I’m not but trust me I’ll be putting in my sweat session.

2) Putting yourself out there and broadcasting a goal certainly ups the ante; if others know what you’re shooting for you can’t really take it back. Do you have one you’d like to share? Are you vying for any PR’s?

3) Something you are thankful for?
My family and some cool friends.

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