Archive for the ‘ Outdoors ’ Category

Firecrack 4-miler

firecracker4

I’m so EXCITED! I officially signed up for my first race after my injury. It’s the Firecracker 4-miler in Cranford, NJ. Guaranteed to be, well, a blast! 🙂

The race boast tree lined streets and bike trails complete with water stations and a USATF certified course. The festivities don’t stop with the end of the race though. There’s an after party with refreshments, balloons, popcorn, music and face painting. A perfect gathering for the whole family! Best part? Entrants not only get a commemorative race t-shirt, but a Firecracker pint glass as well!  I can’t wait! 🙂

Happy running, my friends! 😀

Spring Weather = Outdoor Fitness Fun

springbikingMy mood always improves as the weather grows warmer, the days grow longer, and the sun shines more. This means I can take full advantage of all the other outdoor activities I love. So while I continue with my strength training routines at the gym, I’m eager to bask in the sunshine. Biking, disc golfing, walks, maybe even a little pitch & putt.

Recently, my wife and I found an amazing place a short drive from our house called Duke Farms. At 2,740 it’s one of the largest areas of privately-owned undeveloped land in the state. With 18 miles of trails, paved and unpaved, it’s ideal for walks with children, biking, running, or hiking. There’s even a family of eagles you can watch or view over the farm’s Eagle Cam! Cool! You can hop on a little tram that goes around the trails if you get tired of trekking. While it’s open year-round, we visited for the first time a couple weeks ago – it was absolutely beautiful! Our family is already looking forward to our return visit. 🙂

 

Running Wisdom

winterrunning

Saw this picture from 32north.com and had to repost it here. So true! Let’s go for a run!

Happy Running 😀

Falmouth Road Race

  This past week I went on a wonderful vacation to Falmouth, Cape Cod. I spent as much time as possible outside enjoying the ocean breeze, our B & B was right next to the ocean, walking around seeing the sights, or lounging on the beach. Glorious! While there I noticed how many runners and cyclists there were. Every morning as we enjoyed our breakfast on the outside deck, we saw many people of all ages cruising up and down the hilly roads next to the ocean. The only other time I’ve seen so many runners, outside a race or organized run, was when I went to Boston the summer before. Maybe MA culture breeds avid runners, but my guess is that where there are old, established races – i.e. Boston Marathon and Falmouth Road Race – there are going to be runners.

I didn’t know much about the Falmouth Road Race before my visit there this past week, but couldn’t help but want to run it myself after learning more about this historic event. In 1972, After watching Frank Shorter become the first American to win the Olympic marathon since 1908, Cape Cod resident Tommy Leonard thought it would be great if Shorter were to run a race in Cape Cod. Thus the Falmouth Road Race was born. With 100 participants its first year, 1973, the race threads its way along the Cape Cod coast up and down hills for 7 miles. Now it has become known as one of the best non-marathon races in the country, if not the world, with 10,000 people gaining entry through a lottery system each year. And with the Olympics in full force, it’s even more impressive that the race has attracted many past and future Olympians, both American and international, through the years.

Lottery opens online in May. For more info check out the website.

Happy Running! 😀

Eat & Run and the Allure of Vegan Living

  I recently finished Scott Jurek’s new memoir, Eat & Run. I love reading memoirs, especially ones that center around sports or athleticism of some kind. Jurek is a renown ultrarunner (ie. running longer than a marathon distance, 26.2 miles). He’s won many events he’s entered such as the Western States 100, Badwater (135 miles through Death Valley), and the Hardrock 100. In his book, Jurek chronicles his adventures and passion with ultrarunning and the people that most influenced him on his journey to ultra-greatness.

What’s even more impressive than not only finishing, but winning all these races is that Jurek does it all on a plant-based, vegan, diet. No meat. No dairy. Nada. Wowee! Before Eat & Run, I read Finding Ultra about another ultrarunner named Rich Roll. He also competes at an elite level while basing his diet completely on plants. Both these men make compelling arguments for living a vegan lifestyle. They also both impressed upon their readers how simple and, more importantly, profoundly healthy it can be, Jurek even includes recipes at the end of each of his chapters. But when I see a pancake recipe that calls for seven (SEVEN!) different types of flour, I’m a little hesitant that this is the lifestyle for me.

I’m a vegetarian, so perhaps I’m a little unjustly judgmental here, but I’m not sure I could ever convert 100% to a vegan diet. While I don’t eat a ton of dairy I definitely eat enough of it that it would be a big change for me. As I read these books I contemplated making the switch, but at the end of the day between the time it would take to find and learn how to make non-diary meals, the hassle of not having as broad a menu selection when eating outside my home, and knowing that I buy 99% of my dairy at local or family owned farms, I don’t think it’s worth it to me. But that’s really the crux of it, while it’s not right for me I can see why people would chose to switch to vegan living and I give them props for taking the time and energy to live what many deem a healthier lifestyle.

Happy Running! 🙂

Summer Running – Beating the Heat, Part II, Gear

Part of staying cool during summer runs is dressing right. My running gear has morphed through the years (and will probably continue to as running gear continues to change and improve) both through the new products that come out/that I discover and my knowledge of what gear works best for my body when I run. Aside from the water bottles/hydration belts that I’ll comment on below, I could easily see myself becoming one of the women who wears their workout gear to Starbucks instead of just during a workout simply because my running wardrobe is that comfortable.

Head to toe (including accessories, minus undergarments) here’s a list of my favorite summer running gear:

  Nike Zoom Vomero 6 – I’ve tried several different types of shoes and this is the shoe that I’ve found works best for my gait – I supinate, ie. my foot tends to roll out when I run. The Vomero is designed for us supinators and has extra support on the outside to keep me injury free.

  Smartwool Lightweight Socks – I am in love with all things Smartwool. As a runner you quickly realize the difference and importance of having socks that keep your feet cool, comfortable, cushioned, and blister-free. There are a lot of running socks out there each one promising you the best comfort, but I’ve always gone to Smartwool simply because I’ve never had any issues with them. Long runs, in the heat, pounding asphalt, can really put your socks to the test and my feet have come through happy and blister-free.

  Nike Women’s Running Shorts – These shorts have great wicking material that keep the sweat away. They’re loose enough to not be baggy but give plenty freedom of movement. They also come with built in pockets which for me is a must as I often drive to my favorite shady trails to run and need a place to store a car key and a gel pack.

 

  Nike Fast Pace Women’s Running Tank Tops – I just discovered these shirts this year and love, love, love them! It’s hard for me to find running tank tops that are wicking and not super tight and these fit the bill perfectly. Not only do they keep the sweat away, but they hang loosely, not baggy, and are longer than a typical women’s tank top. Not to mention I love wearing bright colors and these come in a variety of cheerful (Hey, look there’s a runner!) hues.

  Sweaty Bands – It’s important to keep my hair out of my face as I run. I tend to sweat, a lot, especially in the heat and humidity of summer, and need something that will not only hold my hair back but will stay securely in place so I can focus on my run instead of fixing my hair every two miles. I’d heard great things about Sweaty Bands and ordered one to see if they were worth all the fuss. They are. I have a few now that I rotate through and they’re great. They can be also be rinsed in a sink, but I don’t put them in the washer as they tend to get stiff when they dry.

  Nathan Sprint Water Bottle – So here’s my disclaimer for these last two items: I am horrible when it comes to drinking and running unless I’m in a race. I drink water non-stop whenever I’m not running and while I’m well hydrated, I should drink more on my runs, especially in the heat. To confess even further whenever I’m doing a long run in the heat I make my girlfriend ride her bike and drink her water. Ha! It’s ridiculous. That being said, this water bottle and the hydration belt below are the two items I plan on buying this season. First, Nathan makes great products for runners and from the ones I’ve looked at in the store, this seems to fit my hand the best without being too constricting or hot. Best for runs when you don’t need multiple water bottles.

  Fuelbelt Hydration Belt – I tried this belt on recently and think it will work perfectly for my long summer runs. The breathable, padding makes it fit comfortably on my waist without moving around and chafing. It also has a removable race pocket that’s perfect for keys, cash, and gel packets. Fuelbelt also makes a four-bottle option as well.

 

 

 

Happy running! 😀

Summer Running – Beating the Heat, Part I

  First day of summer and the weather responded by climbing into the 90s replete with humidity. Lovely. I’m much better at running in cold weather than I am in heat. At least in cold my body gradually warms up to a point where I’m comfortable running. In the heat, however, it’s easy for your body to overheat and that can be dangerous if not fatal. Yikes!

Here are some tips I’ve gleaned over the years and try to implement throughout the dog days of summer:

1. Run early in the morning – This tends to be the coolest part of the day before the sun has baked the world all day.

2. Dress smart – Wearing light colors that will reflect the sun’s rays away and loose fitting clothing that breathes as you run. Also, fabrics other than cotton that will wick away sweat and keep you cool are a great idea too.

3. Water, water everywhere – Drink. Water. Lots of it. Your body craves more water more in the heat and the more hydrated you are the more your body will function as it should without shutting down. Shutting down bad. Water good!

4. Choose your path wisely – Asphalt radiates heat in the summer and while you probably won’t endure the sneaker-melting stories that you hear from the Badwater Ultramarathon it definitely will make your hot runs even hotter. If you know it’s going to be a hot, muggy day and the only time you can run is after work, choose a trail instead of hitting the road. You can find shade and running surfaces that reflect more heat than they absorb.

5. Protect your skin – Don’t forget to wear sunscreen whenever you go out. Sunglasses also help protect your eyes from the sun’s glare.

6. When all else fails, run (egad!) inside – Treadmills are often not the best friend of the outdoor runner, but when the mercury rises and the humidity envelopes you like a blanket it might be the smartest choice.

Remember your safety is your top priority. Training is key, but training smart is even better. Stay cool and happy running! 😀