Posts Tagged ‘ Running ’

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by the fabulous Sheila @ Book Journey. Need a good book to read this summer? Swing by check it out!

I spent the weekend with my family in PA celebrating both Father’s Day and my little bro’s birthday. I love getting to spend time with my nieces and nephews. They’re at just the right age where everything they say is hilarious. Very entertaining.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – I love Libba Bray’s work. She’s snarky and witty and I enjoy every minute of her books. Beauty Queens is no exception. It took me a few chapters to get used to the tone of the book but once I did it made it easier to read. The crux of the book, at least from what I can tell being about 3/4 of the way through, is how women of all ages are made to feel as though they should act, think, and be a certain way in our society. But when a plane filled with beauty pageant contestants crashes on a supposedly deserted island, they begin to shed their societal confines and start making decisions for themselves instead of letting others decide for them. Another Libba Bray gem. 🙂

  Boy by Roald Dahl – Dahl is one of those authors that I read a lot of as a child (as all children should) and his books have lingered in my mind since. Boy is autobiographical and filled with great stories from Dahl’s youth. I’m listening to this book on CD and the narrator does a great job as well.

  Run! by Dean Karnazes – Karnazes is an ultramarathon runner. Ultra meaning anything over a marathon, but Karnazes takes it even further by running to his breaking point. He runs 100-milers without batting an eye. Someone called him to run 360 miles through the Australian outback and he jumped at the chance. He’s run through deserts and mountains, then throws his medals in a box in the garage. For him it’s about pushing his body and mind to the ultimate limits and seeing if he can make it to the finish line. His anecdotes are funny and inspirational and make for a quick read.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to get some great Clockwork Prince loot! Happy reading! 🙂

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Boston = Runner’s Mecca?

My girlfriend and I headed to the beautiful city of Boston for a wedding this weekend. Driving through the city to our hotel in Cambridge I noticed something odd. Everywhere we looked people were running. A lot of people. Big people. Small people. People in full running gear. People in T-shirts and soccer shorts. Old. Young. It didn’t seem to matter – everyone in Boston seemed to be running!

After pointing out the umpteenth person running through the streets, across the bridges, along the river, my girlfriend, “Okay, Sam. I see them. There are a lot of runners…” So maybe she didn’t share my awe and wonder at such an exciting spectacle, but that didn’t dull my enthusiasm.

At the hotel I noticed a map in the pile of welcome materials for guests. I pulled it out and looked at it. A gasp of delight escaped my lips. “Look at this! Look at this!” I ran over to my girlfriend and waved the paper in her face. She smiled patiently as I hurried to explain my new found treasure. “It’s a jogging map!” I breathed in reverence. I’d never seen a jogging map provided for hotel guests before. So cool.

What better way to get to know a city and mingle with the locals than to jog along the same paths they traverse every day? Feeling like a giddy kid I laced up my sneakers and went out on a running exploration of Boston.

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What’s In a Name?

I’ve decided it’s time for a change. A name change to be specific. I started this blog primarily to chat about running, but as I progressed I realized I kept gravitating towards books. I love blogging about what I’m reading and writing and visiting other blogs that shared my bookish interests. And, let’s face it, my fellow book bloggers ROCK! 🙂

So as I pondered my new name the light bulb went off – why not combine two of my favorite things into one blog? Thus my new blog name – Booking It With Runner Sami. Sweet! 😀

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Run for a Cause

  One of my favorite aspects when it comes to running is that many races sponsor charities or help raise money for different organizations. It’s an extra bonus. I get to run all kinds of different races in new and exciting locations and my race entry fee goes to support worthwhile causes.

Some races like the NYC Marathon allows automatic entry to those running for a specific charity. Team in Training is an organization designed to help raise money and awareness for cancer research, especially in regards to leukemia and lymphoma. When you become a member of one of their teams, you are provided with advice, support, running partners, etc. Thus not only are runners provided with extra programs to help them succeed in their races but they can raise money for cancer research at the same time.

I recently ran a 5k (3.1 miles) at a local park that raised money for the Matheny Medical and Educational Center. The center is located in Peapack, NJ, but helps people with severe developmental disabilities throughout the state. It’s a really amazing facility staffed with a team of nutritionists, doctors, dentists, therapists, etc. that devote their time to caring for the patients of Matheny.

Then there’s the Superhero Half Marathon and Relay that raises money for the Christopher Reeves Foundation that focuses on spinal cord injury and paralysis research. It combines the fun of dressing like a superhero, running, and knowing the money is helping others. 🙂

  Keep running and be a hero to someone who needs it. 😀

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Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air…okay, well the air is still a little chilly, but the grass is turning green and spring flowers are popping up all around. Yay! 🙂

I’m training for a couple of great races this spring that I’m really excited about. One is Miles for Maheny which supports children and adults with severe disabilities. The other is the Superhero Half Marathon and Relay where the proceeds go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

I’m also participating in the Five Boro Bike Tour. My girlfriend and I are renting hybrid bikes at the start of the race to save the hassle of figuring out how to get our bikes into and around NYC. It’s a 42 mile ride through the five boroughs of NYC. Sure hope the weather is nice! 🙂

Add those special events to my usual running, biking, disc golfing, dog walking summer-time routine and I have a whole lot of fun activities to be excited about.

What about you? What do you like doing once the weather gets warm?


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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading is hosted by the marvelous Sheila @ Book Journey – check it out!

What a wonderful, wonderful weekend! The weather was gorgeous and I took full advantage – running, disc golfing (one of my all-time favorite warm weather activities), and plenty of dog-walking. 🙂 And, as I’m getting over a cold, being outside made me feel a whole lot better. Also, my girlfriend went snowboarding in VT with some friends of ours and although I couldn’t go because of work, it did give me a ton of time to work on finished up revisions on my novel. Only one more read-through and it’s ready to go out into the world of agents – yay!

I hope your weekend was as great as mine was! Here’s what I’ve been reading:

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley – Would it be profane to compare another mystery writer to Agatha Christie? And yet every time I read Bradley’s books I can’t help myself. While the similarities seem to begin and end with the English setting, Bradley has such an amazing way of crafting words I’m reminded of Christie’s works. Needless to say, I love Bradley’s mysteries. I want to devour and savor them at the same time. His latest is no different and I’m already looking forward to his next.

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld – What if it was your job to define cool? What if nothing went onto billboards or into commercials without your approval? So sets the scene for Westerfeld’s novel about why some things are cool while others are not. Part mystery, part social commentary, Westerfeld makes his reader think and question what our consumer society.

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke – This is a juvenile graphic novel filled with lively, colorful drawings and a fun story. I love the quote that opens Zita’s adventures: “There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there. The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place.” G.K. Chesterton. When Zita finds a strange object inside what appears to be a meteor and her friend gets sucked into outer space, she decides to go after him. Thus begins the Zita’s journey through space.

What have you been reading this week?

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Sunday Fun Day

I love Sundays. I try to make them the day that I don’t make plans or run around like a crazy woman. A typical Sunday for me is to go for a long run (my personal form of communing with God and of self-reflection), eat a big breakfast and catch up on my reading. It’s so deliciously uneventful and it’s wonderful!

Today is cloudy but warm. Perfect for running! It’s especially nice because the air is still cool enough to build a fire, throw on a pair of sweats, and snuggle under a blanket to read the latest issue of Runner’s World while HGTV is playing in the background. When it gets warmer I’ll break out my disc golf bag, play a round or five, go to a park with my dog, and play all day in the sunshine.

Do you have a day of the week that is your special day? What do you like to do on that day?

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Running Barefoot

“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.”

Thus sayeth Vibram Five Fingers. Well, thus their website sayeth.

A friend of mine swears by these shoes for her running needs and eschews all other running footwear. I remain skeptical. Vibram’s Five-Finger foot offerings go beyond running to meet all other footwear needs. The idea being that we need to keep our feet healthy and to do so we must forsake comfort and cushion and return to the barefooted roots of our ancestors. I think it’s all the latest gimmicky fad, but have never tried them either.

The jury is still out for me, but I want to know:

Have you ever tried Vibrams or know someone who has? If so what do you think of them?

Best Marathons for First-Timers

If you dream of running a marathon this year but aren’t quite sure how to choose from the multitude of growing options, here are some of the best races around the world as well as some tips to help you decide. 🙂

The Chicago Marathon – Sunday, October 9 – The perfect race if you’re looking to run in scenic downtown Chicago while getting cheered on by thousands of spectators. With multiple cheer zones and a charity block party at mile 14, there is energy abundant along the course. And with its flat, fast course the race attracts participants from around the globe.



The Flying Pig Marathon – Sunday, May 1 – One of the more unique marathons, Flying Pig runners will experience the high energy of a huge race crowd plus more than 100,00 spectators cheering them on. There’s also a half marathon and a relay. It’s worth it for the great pig themed t-shirt and finisher’s medal alone.





ING New York City Marathon –  Sunday, November 6 – Quickly becoming the most talked about marathon after Boston, this marathon is open to first-timers through a lottery where you pay a nominal fee to apply and if, after three years you haven’t gotten chosen, you automatically are entered. Another way, if you want to bypass the lottery and head straight to go, is to choose a charity and run for a cause. All charity runners are allowed entry. With a scenic run, 130 bands and 2 million spectators it’s easy to see why everyone wants to run the NYC Marathon.


Rock n Roll Marathons – For those of you who want constant distractions to get you through your first marathon, a rock n roll marathon is the perfect choice. With a band performing each mile, cheer sections and a rocking after party celebration, these marathons, which are held all over the country, make for memorable races.


Walt Disney World Marathon – Sunday, January 9 – Nonstop action accompanies the runners of the Walt Disney World Marathon. Fireworks kick off the festivities while Disney characters, DJs, parade floats, cheerleaders and other fun distractions line the course. Run through Cinderella’s Castle and the Magic Kingdom and experience all the wonders Disney has to offer!




Napa Valley Marathon – Sunday, March 6 – Not many races offer wine at their events, but it flows freely at this marathon. Local high-school bands and classic music ensembles serenades runners through the lush fields of Napa’s renown wineries and scenic landscapes. One of the less crowded marathons means calmer seas to navigate as you enjoy the peaceful course. Finishers are treated to massages as they celebrate their victories.



Portland Marathon – Sunday, October 9 – For another scenic venue head north from Napa to the beauty of Portland, Oregon. Like other marathons this has a great vibe and a mostly flat course. Music and cheer squads pump you up as you run through the course. Best part? Announcers say your name as you cross the finish line!



Marine Corps Marathon – Sunday, October 30 – The first time I heard of the Marine Corps Marathon I thought that I would never in a million years participate in something that sounded so daunting! If there’s one race I hear more positive feedback about than the NYC Marathon, it’s this one. Dubbed the “People’s Marathon” it is the perfect atmosphere for first-timers who don’t like the intensity (or the lottery) of the NYC Marathon. And with 30 bands, 100,000 spectators and a mostly flat course, this makes an ideal first marathon. Oh, and a lieutenant drapes a medal over your head when you finish. 🙂




For other ideal first-timer marathons, check out Runner’s World for their article on 1st time Marathons. Have fun and run safely! 😀

Personal Training

One of my goals for 2011 is to run a marathon. A race that is 26.2 miles long. This was also my goal of 2010 but due to poor training I suffered from an IT band injury early on that waylaid these plans. (The IT band is a tendon-like band that stretches from your glute muscle/hip area and attaches to your tibia. When it gets inflamed it causes pain around the knee.) Of course it took me way too long to actually stop and rest and rehab my IT band which meant I just made it worse before I actually got any better.

This year I’m almost back to a hundred percent and have done a couple short runs without pain. I’m hoping that by going slower than I normally would and not pushing as hard as the rest of my body would like to, I can rebuild and come back stronger than before. I realized that if I wanted to accomplish this I needed a little extra help. That was why I enlisted the help of Angie, my new personal trainer/running coach.

As a reader, I read a lot about injuries and running and how to best approach both. I also talked to a lot of different people about my injury and asked for recommendations. Every single person I talked to, all training professionals in running, had different advice. Every so often an article would coincide with another article or a another book, but for the most part I tried a million different things because “I know someone who had an IT band problem and he said that – FILL IN THE BLANK – worked and he was running again in a month!”

Yeah. Right.

Let me save you some time and grief if you ever get an IT band injury – the only surefire solution is REST. If you don’t rest it will get worse. Other than that every body is different so what “most definitely” works for Joe doesn’t mean it will work for Josephine. You have to take the advice that’s given and do what you can to stay in shape while letting your body rest and heal. Other than rest, two factors made a huge difference for me: 1. Finding the right pair of shoes for my feet (every foot/running style is different) and 2. Using a foam roller. A high school track coach told me that one of his athletes had IT band issues and what typically happens is that scar tissue begins to form causing persistent problems. Once I began rolling my leg out on the foam roller every day (I thought I would pass out it hurt so much – it feels kind of like a ongoing charlie horse), I started feeling a major difference. My pain and tightness both subsided! Yay!

This may be way too much info, but just in case you too suffer from running injuries I wanted to be thorough. 🙂

Bottom line – to continue working my way to running a marathon, I knew I needed help. I heard about Angie and her running program NuFit through the magazine Runner’s World. She is a certified running instruction, yoga instructor, and nutrition consultant. She is based out of Seattle but has a great website that I thoroughly perused. She offered remote personal training packages that would include an 8-week training schedule, weekly check-ins, and nutrition tips. While she would be my guide, I needed to be self-motivated as well as hold myself accountable to sticking to the schedule. Sounded like the perfect fit for my personality! I figured this was the kick I needed and after several emails back and forth decided to go ahead with the personal training.

I’m in week one and am loving it! I feel better already (although exercise will do that regardless) and feel like I’m on the right path for this new year. I’ll continue to give you updates on my progress as well as any setbacks (like I missed a day already because I was sick) so stay tuned.

But I want to know – have you ever used a personal trainer?