The Trots

(The 13 year old in me is chuckling about the title of this post…)

THE TROTS – of course I mean TURKEY Trots!  Picture this:  early Thanksgiving morning.  Frost on the grass, sun shining brightly, the smell of coffee wafting through the parking lot, tens or even hundreds of local people you have a common tie with (running!) all smiling and chatting and stretching.  An announcement is made, the start line fills up, in front of you (unless you are taking this VERY seriously and you are toe-to-the line) you see people in turkey costumes and people with goofy winter hats.  You are elbow to elbow with the community – teachers and soccer moms and weekend warriors and the bag boy from the grocery store.  The start gun sounds, the pack edges forward.  The pace slowly picks up until the street under your feet becomes visible again and you can move from a shuffle to a jog to a run.  Your breath circles your head like a halo.  The sun streams through the halos of the runners around you.  You smile and find your race pace.  You run through neighborhoods that are just waking up.  On bike paths that shimmer with morning dew.  Before you know it, the finish looms ahead, and you hear the whole neighborhood rumbling with support, chatter and laughter.  You cross the finish and high five the kids lined up like hungry paparazzi.  You join the finish line cheering section and whoop and yelp for friends and strangers as they make their way to the finish.  When the race is over, and the last stroller has crossed the line, you head to the parking lot to hear the results.  Results for a fun run?  OF COURSE – when the prizes are fresh baked PIES (or similar, the race I run gives away coveted pies).  Dozens and dozens of crisp white boxes holding still-warm pies are ceremoniously awarded to runners and walkers.  Those who don’t get them can almost taste them – the taste of victory.

You leave with a smile on your face, realizing that while most of the community is barely stirring YOU have already had an EXPERIENCE, YOU have already burned 300 calories, you (if you’re lucky and/or fast) have received BAKED GOODS.  The rest of the day is gravy.  Bring on Thanksgiving!

I wish ALLLLLL of you a wonderful Thanksgiving, and fast, fun Turkey Trots!

RUN!

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Win-Win

I LOVE virtual races.  What’s better than signing up for a race, getting a race bib, and knowing you are running with/competing against hundreds of people, yet doing it in your own neighborhood?  Or in your own gym?  On YOUR OWN time?  For me it’s a win-win.  And when the money from the race will go to a good cause, EVEN BETTER!  So I seek out virtual races all the time, and today, this one popped up on my Facebook feed from Runner’s World.  I signed up before I even finished reading the post.  No brainer.  It’s the weekend after my Vegas Rock and Roll half, and it will be a good recovery run.  Plus, it’s another way for me to feel like I’m helping my friends and sorority sisters in NY and NJ that were hit so hard by that bitch hurricane Sandy.  So join me!  If you are a casual runner thinking about getting to the start line, this is a PERFECT way to start racing.  If you’re a seasoned runner, I OFFICIALLY DECREE that any PR reached in a virtual race stands, so use your home team advantage to run a killer PR!  And if you aren’t a runner, why not give this a shot?  Walk it, jog it – whatever.  Put $20 bucks toward a good cause and get a free endorphin boost as a bonus!

RUN!  RACE!

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Lost My Rhythm…

You know when you have a good routine going with something, and then some other thing gets in the way of that routine, and you get off track and you can’t get your rhythm back?  Well, that’s me recently.  Rhythm-less.

Oh, I’m not talking about running, though.  I’m talking about blogging!   Priorities, people!

I *have* been running.  Not quite as often as I’d like, but I have been running.  In fact, I logged about 15 miles a weekend each of the past few weekends.

But I loooooove to write about running, and read blogs about running, and talk about running…  I just got off kilter, busy, distracted… and suddenly stopped doing all of that.

I travel for my job, (sometimes I travel to escape hurricanes…) and since my last post, I’ve been in NY, MO, CT, CO, GA, PA, VA, FL, NJ, TX, TN and CA.  I’ve also been goofing around with friends and, of course, running.  All that to say, SORRY.  I love that people read my blog, and I hope that my passion and love of running comes through in my posts and motivates others to start running, keep running, or run more.

I’m back.  And I’m racing the Las Vegas STRIP AT NIGHT on Dec 2nd, so there’s plenty to talk about.  : )

RUN!

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If the Shoe Fits…

…do you re-buy it?

It took me a looooong time to find a running shoe that I loved, and that I felt made me a better runner.  It was Newtons that first made my heart go pitter patter.  But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  After they hurt me, I moved on to my next loves; Brooks Green Silence.  I had a deep and enduring love of these shoes, and I think I bought four or five pairs in various colors.  The only minor complaint I had with them was that I had blood blisters on my big toes after most long runs.  Small price to pay for love, though.  Then, one day, a shoe caught my eye and I honestly bought them without even trying them on, via a RoadRunner VIP introductory sale.  They were cool.  I was wooed.  And to my surprise, as I rotated them into my runs without any expectation whatsoever (except that people would say ‘WHOA those shoes are cool!’) I found that they felt great, were light and balanced, and didn’t give me blood blisters!  And (sniffle) I soon found I was tying them on instead of my beloved Brooks.

So now, with both pairs of shoes nearing the 400 mile mark or so, I am faced with a dilemma.  Re-buy one or both of the pairs I have, or go in search of a new love shoe that maybe holds even MORE magic.   I have my eye on the New Balance Minimus 10 Road, or the Nike Free 3.0 v4.  But the New Balance I have are hitting the sweet spot.

What do you do?

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Count ’em.

Most of my life, I only ran if someone chased me. I didn’t ‘get’ people who intentionally went out and ran… nowhere in particular. But now that I’ve fallen in love with the sport, I have learned the native language and customs.  I GET it.

So recently I’ve been noticing, reading and collecting some small quirks and quips that are pretty innate to runners. I’ll add more as they come to me or I find them.  So now, in no particular order, is my official “YOU KNOW YOU ARE A RUNNER IF…” list:

YOU KNOW YOU ARE A RUNNER IF:

#1 You talk about running to anyone who will listen… and sometimes those who don’t.

#2 You see someone running while you are driving and you get jealous.

#3 You can’t find time to clean the __________ (fill in the blank) but you can squeeze in a run.

#4 The word ‘Garmin’ in casual conversation makes you blush.

#5 You play/train in other sports just to get better at running.

#6 You’ve ever said “I only ran 5 miles today”

#7 You get up earlier on weekends than weekdays to run or race.

#8 You get offended if someone says they saw you ‘jogging’

#9 Your running shoes cost more than your work shoes.

#10 You get grumpy when you see/meet someone wearing coveted/expensive running gear who doesn’t run.

#11 You read “You know you are a Runner when… ” lists : )

That’s my starting list.  There will be many more, I’m sure.  How do YOU know you’re a runner?

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Dirty Secret.

I have a confession.

As focused as I am on running and being healthy, there was one bad habit I have had a hard time shaking.  Smoking.  It’s stupid, right?  I fine tune my running form, I eat for proper fueling.  I sleep well and I train consistently.  Smoking just does not fit into that equation.  I didn’t smoke a lot, really – just a few a day, but still…  So, I quit.  I QUIT!  Twenty eight days ago, to be exact.  And I figure since they say ‘it takes 28 days to form or quit a habit’, today is the day I can yell it from the mountaintops – I QUIT!

I immediately felt so much better that it was actually pretty easy.  My running felt good, and I added swimming to my training just to give it a shot.  (Swimming is awesome!)  I finally feel that I have a composite healthy lifestyle.  And now that it is here, on my blog, it is really official.  🙂

My next half marathon is in December in Vegas and I plan to CRUSH my PR!

Do you have any bad habits that affect your running?

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Nasty.

Today I woke up feeling mean and nasty.

I went to the gym and had an awesome, nasty 8 mile run – mostly just fueled by meanness and nastiness.  I highly advise using grumpy/mean/nasty/sad/evil moods as JET FUEL for running!

Now I feel GREAT – no more nasty!

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Change it up!

You could say I’m a control freak.  Layer on top of that the fact that I’m also a data junkie and you know what you get?  A treadmill runner.  We are a rare breed – the people who actually go to the gym on sunny breezy days.  But I LIKE knowing exactly how fast I’m going.  I LIKE adding hill work WHEN I WANT TO.  I LIKE running exactly as far I choose without having to plan a route home.  I know.  I’m weird.

So today, like nearly every Saturday and Sunday since I joined the gym a year ago and stopped running in my dark basement, I went to the gym.  And physically I felt great. I’m well rested after a week at the beach, I’ve been eating whatever I want (vacation, ya know) so I am certainly not carb depleted.  It should have been a GREAT run.  But it SUCKED.  I don’t know why but from the first step to the last, I hated running today.  I just wanted to get it over with.  So four miles in, I quit.  I can’t remember the last time I ran only 4 miles.  5 is my easy day, and 4 was almost more than I could take.

I sulked out of the gym.  I have never left feeling worse than when I got there… until today.  I drove home probing my brain to figure out what was wrong with me.  What I found surprised me.  I still felt like running.  I felt good, had energy, and my brain said ‘run more!’.  Confused as I was, I hopped out of my car when I got home and hit the two mile loop around my neighborhood.  It was overcast and somewhere between misty and drizzling, but from the first step of THIS run, I felt amazing!  It has been awhile since I’ve run outside and it felt so… right!

Two miles in I still felt fabulous.  Three – awesome.  At the start of four, the coolest thing happened.  My husband drove by with my daughter and they pulled over, and my six year old asked if she could run home with me.  We were exactly a mile from the house so I figured even if we walked it, it would be fun.  But she RAN the whole way, and it was the happiest mile I’ve run in a long time!  And that girl has some heat!  I think we ran pretty close to my normal 9 minute mile.

So in the end, what started as a terrible running day ended up as 8 miles, capped with a big smile.

All it took was a change of scenery!

Do you run the same course often?  Are you a treadmill runner?  How do you keep it ‘fresh’?

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HOW FUN!!!!!!

I fly A LOT.  And thanks to magic fairy dust or pedaling monkeys or something, I can usually get wifi when I’m 35,000 feet in the air.  But when I can’t, I read.  And at least once a month I make it a point to read the Southwest Airlines magazine, Spirit.  It is a REALLY GOOD magazine.  I always end up taking it (shhhh) because I want to look something up or try something.  And this month, I learned about THE COLOR RUN.  It’s a 5K – they have them in many cities – and it’s an equal mix of RUN and FUN!   Here’s what the website says:

What is the Color Run?
Each kilometer of the event is associated with a designated color: yellow, orange, pink, or blue.  As the runners/walkers reach the Kilometer COLOR RUN Zones, they are blitzed by our volunteers, sponsors, and staff with COLOR.  The color is a special “elf made” recipe of magical color dust.  All products are 100% natural and safe.  You can eat the stuff if you’d like (we have tried it and don’t suggest it, it is surprisingly high in calories and leaves a chalky aftertaste).  Of course, we save the best for last, ending the race with a color extravaganza of epic proportions.

How fun does that sound?  And check out the pics below.  I’ll add mine when I decide which city to run it in.

Have you ever run this race?  If not, don’t you want to now?  : )

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Chi

I love running.  I think that’s obvious. But you know what else I love?  Finding small adjustments to my form that make my running EASIER.  Make me FASTER. Make me able to run FARTHER!  And I found just that.  Chi Running.

A month or more ago I was at a party and chatting with my friend Marla.  We were talking about running as she has been recovering from a car accident and is getting back to it.  She mentioned Chi Running, which I’ve heard of and even own the book.  But the book is SO DRY and frankly, boring, that I never got very far into it.  But Marla owns The Still Point Spa, and coincidentally had a Chi Workshop coming up.  So I signed up figuring at least it would give me a chance to meet other local runners, and see Marla’s spa.

In the 3 or so weeks before the workshop, I skimmed the book.  I put into practice a few minor adjustments from the book and VIOLA!  My runs improved immediately.  I couldn’t believe it, so I ran more.  And I felt fantastic!  So the workshop day came and I was very excited to learn more, and confirm what I’d been doing recently.  The workshop was 4 hours long and taught by Robyn Humphrey, a local running superstar.  And it was great.

So, while I am not at ALL an expert on Chi Running, and am still very new to it, I thought I’d sum up the three points that I learned that have really make a difference in my running.  I encourage you to watch videos, sign up for a Chi Running workshop, or (see warning above) buy the book.  If you try any of this, I’d LOVE to know how it changes/affects/helps your running.

1. Lean Forward.  This is a no brainer once you do it.  Leaning forward literally propels you forward, and by moving your center of gravity, suddenly your legs don’t have as much work to do!  This keeps them fresher, longer and allows you to run farther.

2. Keep your pelvis aligned.  In conjunction with #1, keep your pelvis in line with your shoulders, knees and ankles.  Or in simpler terms, don’t break in the middle when you lean forward.  If your lower body is straight and your upper body is tilted forward, you won’t get the benefits of Chi Running.

3. Think of the Road Runner.  You know the cartoon?  How the bird’s feet were always a blur BEHIND him (her?).  Try to emulate that.  Not in a dramatic way but intentionally try keeping your feet behind you.  Bringing your knees up in front of you is inefficient and uses energy you don’t need to burn.  Also, this almost automatically switches you to a mid foot strike.  Another key to Chi Running.

Chi Running is all about efficiency.  Using gravity to your advantage, conserving energy, limiting unnecessary movement.  It is really all common sense stuff once you put it in practice.  But a warning – changing your form in this way may take time.  It may make your calves hurt.  It probably will feel strange at first, and it will take concentration.  But I believe it will yield positive results.

Anybody else tried Chi Running?  What are your experiences?

RUN SMARTER!

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