Posts Tagged ‘ Running ’

Olympic Women’s Marathon

  I’ve been looking forward to the Olympic Women’s Marathon for a long time. I’m an avid follower of Runner’s World and loved following the USA Olympic hopefuls on their journeys to the Olympics. It’s inspirational to read about these great athletes watching them train and become extraordinary competitors.

I set my DVR to record the live marathon this morning when it began at 6am (while I’m an ardent follower, I still value my sleep!). Then, avoiding all things Facebook, Twitter, and other potential spoilers, I eagerly sat and watched like a hawk as 116 women from 67 countries vied to become the next gold medal winner.

I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t had a chance to watch, but it really was a great race. The course itself was amazing as it took the runners through twists and turns through the streets of London. It also marked the first time that the marathon didn’t finish in the Olympic stadium instead finishing near Buckingham Palace on the Mall. And to add to all the unusual turns, it POURED for quite a while at the beginning and end of the race. Crazy!

While I’ve loved watching much of the Olympics, there is definitely a special place in my heart for the marathon. Can’t wait to watch the Olympic Men’s Marathon next Sunday! 🙂

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! 😀

Newton Running Clinic

  I wrote a post a few months ago that highlighted Newton Running Shoes and their growing emergence on the running scene. Last week I went to a running clinic at a local running store named The Sneaker Factory that was sponsored by Newton. One of the guys running the clinic was Ian Adamson, adventure racer, ultrarunner, and Guinness World Record holder. He was a great guy, very friendly and I was able to chat with him for a while before the event began. We talked about why he thinks Newton’s are a better running shoe, why I didn’t necessarily need my Nikes (these were my questions, he never tried to push me into buying anything!), strength training for runners among other things.

There are a lot of articles, and more popping up every day, on the benefits of running in a “minimal” shoe, ie. a shoe that doesn’t have a thick heel that essentially throws off your running gait and makes your muscles over compensate for your altered gait thus increasing your chances for injury. I’m always a little incredulous when a new trend pops up and wait to see if a. this is something that would work for me and my body and b. to see if there’s more to it than just a fad following. But the more I read and talk to guys like Ian, the more I’m realizing that it’s time for me to make the switch. Ian also mentioned not switching 100% in the beginning, but combining your runs with maybe a mile at first in a minimal shoe with the rest of your mileage in your normal shoes. I’m sure there are other philosophies as well, but that sounded like a logical method to me!

In addition to chatting with Ian, he and his colleague took the group outside to practice some drills that essentially mimic how you should be running. These drills, with practice, should allow you to run the way your body is meant to rather than the heel striking way many of our bodies have been conditioned to run due to added heel support in the majority of running shoes. To find more on how to run naturally check out Newton’s Run Better page or the book Natural Running by Danny Abshire.

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! 😀

The Joys of Being a Cheerleader

  Friends of mine ran the Broad Street Run, a 10-mile run in Philadelphia, this Sunday. I decided to not run this year and thought it would be a perfect time to go support them. It’s not very often that I get to be on the other side of a race and I know how amazing it is for me to have people cheering me on as I run. People who don’t even know me yelling at me to keep going and that I’m looking good among other cheers. It really pushes me to run harder and motivates me to finish strong. All the more reason to be present on the sidelines to give encouragement to those running. It’s not only rewarding for the runners but it makes me feel good knowing that I helped spur others on when they may not have felt like it.

Happy running and cheering! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Another wonderful weekend with great running weather. Hope you were able to get out and enjoy the weekend too! The nerdiest part of my weekend was when I took my long-haired dachshund Jackson to the local pet store to get his caricature done. It proved to be very entertaining. Lots of dogs of all shapes and sizes were there and Jackson had a great time checking things out. I’m still on the fence as to whether this was okay to do or if I should get out more…Regardless, I have a great picture of my pup now. 🙂

When I’m not playing the eccentric dog-owner, I’m reading and working on my novel. Here’s what I’m reading now:

  Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet -Daniel is an autistic savant born into a world that doesn’t quite understand what autism is yet. He falls on the highly functioning side of the spectrum and chronicles both his fascinating view of the world as well as how he learns how to become more socially at ease. It always interesting to me to hear stories of how differently people think and see the world. For example, Daniel has a unique relationship with numbers where he visualizes them differently than others, so to raise money for an epilepsy foundation he memorizes over 22, 000 numbers in pi. !!! I’m lucky if I remember my phone number most days. I listened to this book on CD and it was very well done.

  Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott & Sam Lamott -I’m also listening to this memoir on CD which is read by both authors, although mostly by Anne. She has a great dry wit that really catches me off guard, so I find myself laughing a lot (which probably looks pretty creepy to passing drivers, but oh well). This story chronicles her son’s first son. Sam is only 19 and dealing with school, a young girlfriend, and a new baby aren’t always a recipe for blissful peace. Listening to this one makes me want to read her memoir of Sam when he was young called Operating Instructions as I’m sure it’ll be just as entertaining.

  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami -I’m long overdue in reading this highly touted memoir by novelist Murakami. He writes in a journal-like style with jotting down his thoughts on different dates and giving readers an inside look into how he thinks, why he runs, and how he became a novelist. It’s an interesting running book as it delves more into the day-by-day workings of a man’s mind rather than on a longer narrative. If you’re a runner or a writer, then you will like this little book.

  Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson – So said Winterson’s mother to her in regards to her daughter being gay. Adopted and raised by a domineering mother who prayed fervently and would alternate locking her daughter in the coal cellar or outside all night, this memoir captures Winterson’s unique voice perfectly. Readers walk with Winterson as she comes to terms with her upbringing and how those experiences shaped her life as a person and a writer today.

I just realized that all of these are memoirs! I love reading about people from different walks of life and the stories they have to tell, but this week was especially memoir-centric. All well worth reading too. Happy reading! 🙂

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

People always talk about the benefits of running, but what about for 15 minutes of fame? Zeddie Little’s “ridiculously photogenic” photo was snapped during a 10k race in South Carolina and has since gone viral on Twitter, Facebook after it was uploaded on Flickr. Little even had an interview on Good Morning America and his story has been run on news sites all over the web. Running really does have great benefits! 🙂

 

When the Going Gets Tough

  It’s not always easy focusing on all the tasks that need to get done on any given day. Work, kids, writing, blogging, exercising, errands among a litany of other items that will quickly fill up any agenda. And when all those things pile up it can easily get overwhelming. Often I find myself wanting to spend my free time plopped in front of my TV instead of accomplishing what I should be doing instead. And while I don’t think TV is bad, sometimes it’s nice for my brain to turn off for an hour or two, it’s when I know my brain doesn’t need a break and yet I gravitate toward that pastime first.

Everyone is different and will most likely need and use different motivations to get his or her butt in gear and do something productive. Over the years I’ve found a few things work well in respect to getting me motivated. Maybe some of these will work for you too!

1. Get out of the house (and away from the distractions of home)

2. Make a list – it’s always very satisfying to cross things off that list as I finish them.

3. Exercise first – for me if I don’t get my adrenaline pumping before I start my tasks at hand I end up feeling lazy, unmotivated, and unfocused. Working out (especially running) clears my mind for the day ahead and gets me excited to tackle those tasks!

4. Create deadlines or goals – If I’m unmotivated, especially with my writing, I’ll tell myself something like – “Write until lunch, then take a break to read while eating, then go back to work.” This works very well for me as it breaks my tasks into easy to manage chunks rather than seeing the task as broad and overwhelming.

5. Remind myself how awesome I always feel after completing or working toward a goal

Next time you feel stuck in completing a task, I hope you find that extra push to get you toward your goals! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Another amazing weekend! Not only did I get to go to my favorite trail for my long run, but I also went to NYC to watch the half marathon. Members of the American Olympic running team, Meb Keflezighi and Kara Goucher, participated as well as other amazing runners from around the world.

We got front row spots right along the finishing chute and were able to see the runners sprint (SPRINT!) past us then run back within touching distance with the flag of their countries draped across their shoulders in a victory jog. Incredible. I felt a runner’s high just from watching. 😀

I have to admit, I’ve been too distracted by bright and shiny cookbooks to finish any of the novels I posted last week. I love cooking and I wanted to integrate more seasonal ingredients into my dishes and find more fun vegetarian recipes to try. Here are some of the books I picked up this week:

  Bean by Bean by Crescent Dragonwagon – First, this cookbook might sound a little gassy, but it is chock filled with dips and stews and salads that are filled with healthy goodness that look and sound delicious! Second, how can you not read a book by someone named Crescent Dragonwagon? I mean, really.

  Cooking Light: Cooking Through the Seasons – A perfect start to more seasonal cooking, this cookbook offers a wide selection of dishes that make use of the freshest ingredients in every season. While this book offers a selection of meat based meals, it also has recipes like Roasted Baby Spring Vegetables and Banana-Rum-Coconut Cookies. Yum!

Farmstead Chef by John Ivanko & Lisa Kivirist – Highlighting foods that can be homegrown or farm fresh, the authors are the owners of the Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast and want to bring their passion for eco-friendly foods to people everywhere. This cookbook has recipes from pancakes to breads to pizza, pasta and sandwiches.

  Welcome to Claire’s by Claire Criscuolo – A collection of favorite recipes from Claire’s Corner Copia, a vegetarian restaurant in New Haven, CT. Some of the 350 recipes include: Spicy Thai Sunflower Noodles, Summer Tomato and Basil Quiche, and Grilled Cheese Florentine. I may need to run to the grocery store soon!

Despite all the healthy, fresh ingredients found in the pages above, all this food makes me happy I run regularly! 🙂

Happy reading!