Open Mic Friday

Open Mic Friday: Welcome Jenn!

  Open_mic_friday Today's guest is Jenn, author of the blog 0 to 26.2 -On the Road to my first marathonNaturally, you can guess what's ahead with her running, but you'll want to learn from her what it is and why it's important to her.

Today is also a special day for Jenn and you'll want to find out why and what she's doing today.

We know you'll enjoy meeting her.

Welcome Jenn!



OKC Race for the Cure 2 Your blog is exploding with enthusiasm for running. How did you develop your passion for running and fitness?

First off, let me just say that I am not athletic.  In fact, I have never been athletic, not even in high school.  If you would have asked me a year ago to tell you about my "passion for running and fitness," I would have had to laugh.  How much things can change in just one year!

Although I am not athletic, I am surrounded by runners - friends… family… you name it, they love to run.  One of those runners was my sister-in-law, Amy.  Amy worked on me for years to pick up running and although she was very persuasive, I never succumbed to her tactics.  Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2008.  She did everything right, did the treatment, kept her bright positive outlook, and hoped to one day be back out there running.  In December, we learned that Amy's cancer spread.  It was then that I realized, if this amazing woman could fearlessly fight cancer, I could get up off my lazy rear end and do what she could not - I would run.  I would keep the pavement warm for Amy until she could get back out there again.

 I started from scratch - literally.  I began with running a few minutes and walking lots of minutes and grew to where I am today.  Over the last ten months, I've run four 10-milers, 2 half-marathons, loads of shorter races, and hundreds of training miles.  I guess you can say I AM HOOKED!  I would have never started on this amazing journey if it were not for Amy.  I feel like if I can just tell one person, get one person out there to dust off their running shoes, get out there, and experience the fulfillment I have received from turning my non-athletic self into a runner, I'll have paid it forward. 

I did it! You might be the most excited runner we know preparing for the Walt Disney World Marathon.  Why did you select WDW?

After learning in October 2008 that her cancer was in remission, Amy had selected WDW as her "I Beat Cancer Marathon."  My husband was going to run it with her and our entire family was going to tag along to cheer them on.  However, just two months later, we received the devastating news that Amy's cancer had spread and the outlook was grim.  It was then I decided to start running - I made the decision, I would run WDW for Amy.  Me, a girl who had never run a block in her life, would run 26.2 miles.  It was pretty scary, but I had such an amazing reason to do it.

Amy passed away on March 9, 2009.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her.  Every time I lace up my running shoes I say a quiet thank you to Amy - she got her way - I AM A RUNNER!!

Amy's dream to run the Walt Disney World Marathon lives on - on January 10, 2010, I will run 26.2 miles along side my husband, my two best friends, Amy's husband, and his sister.  I guess you can say I am just a teeny bit excited.  I will be accomplishing something I never thought humanly possible, accompanied by some of the people that mean the most to me in this world, and doing it for the woman who is my inspiration every day, Amy Ellis Oliver.

Picture You have a special running experience coming up this week.  Tell us about it.

Oh my goodness, I do!  Today, October 30, 2009, is my 34th birthday.  I couldn't think of a better way to mark this day than by running 17 miles - a half mile for each year I am old.  This will be the furthest that I have ever run in my life.  The old, non-running Jenn would have dreaded this day (getting older, no thanks, I'm done) and celebrated it with cake for breakfast.  For some odd reason, however, I've been looking forward to this run for weeks.  I took the day off from work, mapped out my 17 miles and I am ready to go.  After that, don't get me wrong, I will celebrate with cake … and blog all about it. 

What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself and about running since starting your training for WDW?

That anything is possible - but it takes a plan.  When I made my decision to run WDW, I had never run a block, let alone a mile.  It would have been easy to become overwhelmed by it all, but I took it bit by bit.  I started small and worked my way up.  I remember vividly the day I ran my first mile, my first 5 miles, my first 10 miles - each was a stepping stone to where I am today, and where I will be in January.  The crazy thing is, when I started on this journey, I was doing it for Amy.  I never thought I would actually begin to love running, but I do!  I miss it when I can't get my daily run in.  I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that would happen.

Army 10 miler What would your family and friends tell us about your passion for running?

They would tell you that I need to stop registering for races!  Every week I'm finding new races for my friends and family to run with me as I train for WDW.  I'm even finding races for us to run after WDW.  Currently, my best friends and I are planning a trip to Prague.  My best friend's husband has given me firm orders, I cannot register us for any races in Prague.  Fine, no races in Prague, I get it … but what he doesn't know is I am still going to put together a run for all of us to do while we are there.   


If money could buy you a running dream, what would it be?


Four years ago, my husband and I went to Ireland for my 30th.  While we were there, Dublin was hosting the Dublin Marathon.  I remember thinking, "How cool would that be?  I wish I could run a marathon."  If I could, I would love to go back to Ireland next year and run the Dublin Marathon as a way to celebrate my 35th birthday, a race that would be promptly followed with a round of Guinness.  

I finished! Who from your past would you like to know that you’re now a runner?

The coaches on my high school cross country team.  Boy, would they get a kick out of the fact that I am now doing something I complained about every day in school. 

Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

I've received tons of good advice.  I would say that the best practical advice I've received is:  Buy the right shoes for your feet.  I quickly learned that when it comes to running, unhappy feet = unhappy runner. 

The best motivational advice I've received is:  One person's 5K is another person's marathon.  When I first started running, it was hard for me not to be excited and proud of my first accomplishments - running my first mile, running my first 30 minutes without stopping, running my first race.  I wanted to shout it out to the world, however, I was a bit embarrassed.  The folks I would be shouting it to were ones who ran ten miles on a slow day and ran ultra marathons for fun.  One evening, after reporting that I ran three whole miles, and then promptly down playing it with the comment, "that’s good for me, I know that's nothing for you."  My friend wisely said, "Jenn, one person's 5k is another person's marathon. Celebrate what you accomplish - don't measure yourself by anyone else but you." 

After that, I quit using other runners as a ruler for my success.  Sure, I want to get better, faster, be able to run longer, further.  It would be so cool to one day qualify for Boston (dream on, sister).  HOWEVER, I am just so happy, so blessed, to be able to do what I can do.  There are people out there today that have never known the joy of signing up for a race, training for it, showing up, and finishing.  There are people out there that have, and for whatever reason, their bodies just won’t let them do it anymore.  I count myself as one lucky girl.  I may have been a little late showing up to the race, but at least I made it.  It took me almost 34 years to decide that I love running. I hope that I will be fortunate enough to enjoy the next 34 doing just that.

Thank you, Jenn!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

Open Mic Friday: Meet ExtraOrdinary Runner Award Winner Andrea

Open_mic_friday

This week's guest is Andrea, author of the winning ExtraOrdinary Runner Award for September.  In her story, Umstead 100 Mile Challenge, Andrea quickly abandons her own race story to tell us about an inspirational runner she'd never met and never expects to meet again.  We invite you to take in the rest of Andrea's ExtraOrdinary Runner story.

For her winning story, Andrea has won a free pair of shoes from our partners at Onlineshoes.com.  

Welcome Andrea!


What have you learned about yourself through running?

The most important lesson I’ve learned from running is to believe in myself. You can’t plan for every contingency that might occur on a 20+ mile run. One thing you CAN pretty much be sure of is that at some point on the long run it is going to get hard and it is going to get uncomfortable. I’ve learned that I can be okay with that and I can deal with it when it happens. This is a good life lesson in general - worry  less and just wait to see what life brings.

Finish How do you get through those long training runs?

Running in a group is the best way to pass the time.  It is surprising how those hours really can fly by.  We talk about everything but we mainly talk about food.  We talk about what we ate the night before, what we wish we could eat right now and what we are going to have as soon as we finish the run.  My running pal Heidi always talked about cheeseburgers and how one day she was going to bring money and stop at McDonald’s mid-run.  We’d been having this conversation for two years. Sure enough on our 20 mile run this past summer, she and her dad brought money to buy cheeseburgers at Mile 17.  During the run I kept asking her: “Heidi – are you sure you want to eat a cheeseburger and then run three more miles?” Well, she meant it, so I decided I could tough it out too.  We got ourselves all psyched up for the meal, stopped at Mickey-Dee’s, placed our order and were rewarded with the bewildered response: “You want what? We don’t serve hamburgers at 9 am!”

Best race experience?

Shortly after my first marathon my 23 year old daughter asked me to run a marathon with her.  I warned her: “You may be young and strong, but 26 miles is the Great Equalizer.  I WILL catch you before the end of that race!”  She flashed back: “I will die before that happens!”  Thus the gauntlet was thrown down.  I trained religiously.  Kaitlyn, then a first year medical student, ran when she had time. I don’t think she actually ran farther than 13 miles in training. She finished the marathon almost a full hour ahead of me.  She was looking as fresh as a daisy and full of beer when I finally made it across the finish line.  It was a happy success for the both of us.

Andreas Visit Favorite marathon mantra?

I can’t take credit for this one, but I love it.  It was written by someone named Marnie Mueller.  I keep it in mind during the long runs and the marathon.

I will start when the gun goes off.
I will run for five miles.
Feeling good, I will run to the tenth mile.
At the tenth I will say, "Only three more to the halfway."
At the halfway mark, 13.1 miles, I will know fifteen is in reach.
At fifteen miles I will say "You've run twenty before, keep going."
At twenty I will say, "Run home."

Most embarrassing race moment?

Being passed in my first marathon by a juggler.  This runner juggled throughout the entire Richmond Marathon. I also was passed in that same marathon by a beer-drinking, nine-iron toting runner dressed in an argyle sweater and golf kickers.  These were probably more memorable than embarrassing.  I’m not willing to put the really embarrassing ones in print!


Favorite running shirt?

I don’t have a favorite shirt, but I am all about running SKIRTS.  At a race expo this year Heidi and I came across a new company (Spunkwear) that makes a great variety of skirts and shorts.  We couldn’t resist buying several and wearing our new purchases the next day in the race (half marathon).  The hot humid race.  It was a risk because if the new clothes turned out to be uncomfortable we’d be in for a miserable race.  But, hey, looking good is half the battle.  The skirts turned out to be a treasure and now I won’t run in anything else during the summer months.

Umstead100 Running Heroes?

Barb (the woman featured in my story) is my running hero.  Even though I’ve seen it with my own eyes, I still can’t fathom anyone running 100 miles.  Barb went quietly about the task and just got it done. She didn’t second guess her ability and she didn’t complain when it got difficult.  She just did it. She demonstrated to me just how powerful the human spirit is.

My other running hero is my training partner Heidi.  She ran a recent marathon with her dad (his first). At about Mile 18 she experienced a very painful injury – one that would sideline most runners.  But her determination to realize her dream of running the marathon with her dad kept her going.  She pushed on and finished the race and with a new personal record!

What’s going on in your life outside of running?

I am recently married (blush!) and I have two grown daughters that are amazing women.  I also have a horse (Libby) who loves to run and jump. She’s old now, but still always wants to goes just as fast as I will let her. When I am racing and get tired I just think: “What would Libby do?”… and I keep running.

I started running seriously after I turned 50. I love the idea that each year now I am getting stronger and achieving more. I think that too many people reach middle-age and expect a decline in their physical abilities.  They allow their worlds to shrink.  I am not willing to do that.

Most recent race?

The Wineglass Marathon 10 days ago.  It was a beautiful run through wine country in upstate NY.  My daughter bought me a running jacket to wear that said: “Will Run for Wine”.

Best running advice to share?

Make it fun so you always want to do it.  I don’t take myself too seriously.  There’s no such thing as a bad run.  If it’s not feeling right, I let myself walk.  I run with fun people or bring my ipod for company.  I even drink beer during a marathon when it’s offered (usually at Mile 23).  At that point I figure – what have I got to lose?  It hasn’t stopped me from finishing my race yet.

Finish line photo republished with permission by Brightroom.com

 

Open Mike Friday: Meet Lisa from Lisa Yarns

Open_mic_friday Looking for a recommendation for a great book to read?  Care to let your mouth water with tantalizing recipes and pics of food?  Looking for a new  great blog to enjoy crafted by an expressive runner?

Today's guest is Lisa from Lisa Yarns.  An avid reader, she uses her library card more than most runners use charge cards at a race expo.  Ambitious beyond belief, she just completed grad school, cooks up a storm, and still makes time for friends, family, running, and blogging.

We're delighted to feature Lisa for her energy and passion, and we encourage you to check out the great conversation going on her blog.

                        Welcome Lisa!

Lisa

How would you describe your blog, its focus, and what you’re enjoying most about it?

Unintentionally, my blog has become a hodge-podge of book reviews, running, cooking, and other miscellaneous thoughts/passions that I have.  When I started this blog, I thought it would only be book reviews, but it has grown to be a general creative outlet for me – which I love!

Bibliophile or just your run-of-the-mill book fanatic?

Total Bibliophile.  My friends joke that they are waiting for the day when I issue library cards and organize my books using the Dewey Decimal system.  I dream of one day having a library in my home, complete with sliding ladders and all!

What are your aspirations to publish your own book(s)?

I would love to someday write a memoir but my life isn’t interesting enough – yet!  If I didn’t do a memoir, I would write a novel of some sort!

Books We’re jealous of your capacity to find time to cook, read, run, and have fun. What’s your time management secret?

I fit it all in by planning and using a calendar.  I schedule a lot of things in advance – like get togethers with friends, and I schedule my runs.  I learned that I have to treat running like any other priority/time commitment, which often means turning down invitations to happy hours or dinners, but it’s important for me to get 4-5 runs in each week!

What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself through running?

I can actually say, to some extent, that I am athletic.  I have never been able to use that adjective when describing myself.  I grew up thinking being ‘athletic’ meant scoring the winning goal at a game or being MVP or something like that.  I’ve re-defined what it means to be athletic, though, and would now use that as a word to describe myself. 


How about recommending a favorite running book.  And a non-running book that runners would enjoy or benefit from?

I loved “Running with the Buffalo” – awesome book.  I also enjoyed “What I Think about when I Think about Running”.  A non-running book I love & re-read is “Lean Forward into Your Life” by Mary Anne Radmacher.  It has a lot of great concepts that she discusses that can be applied to your life. 

Self What would your family and friends tell us about your passion for running?

They would say I was the least likely person to run a marathon and find a sport that I will enjoy throughout the rest of my life.  My siblings were all athletic and were on various sports teams, but I never was, so I think they have been surprised that I’ve gotten so into running and enjoy it as much as I do. 

Best race experience? 

Tough question!  I’ve had lots of great races.  Best race experience probably has to be the Twin Cities Marathon in 2006.  It was my first marathon, and the only one I’ve ran so far, and it was an amazing experience.  I didn’t meet my time goal, but I was still so proud of myself for crossing that finish line with a smile on my face!

Any quirky running traits?

Oh yah.  When I run outdoors, I have to hold my keys in my right hand and I have to hold them in such a way so I can spin one of the key rings as I run.  If I don’t do this, my runs feel very ‘off’.

What’s your secret to running success?

Discipline and making it a priority.

Hal Higdon Favorite distance?

I think the ½ marathon is a great distance.  It’s not overly taxing on your body, but is still a challenging distance that requires you to train.

Greatest running accomplishment?

I was really proud of myself for beating my time goal at the Twin Cities 10 mile last week.  My goal was to run it in 1:40 and I finished in 1:36:10.  It was my first longer race distance since I finished grad school so was a great way to get back into longer distance running!

Current running goals?

I am running a ½ at the end of October and am hoping to finish in 2:10.  Long term running goals are to finish a ½ in less than 2 hours and run a marathon in the fall of 2010.

Running hero?

Hal Higdon.  I love the guy.  I got to meet him at the Twin Cities Marathon expo last weekend and I was completely and utterly star struck!

Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?

Amber with Girl with the Red Hair – I don’t think we’d ever run out of things to talk about so she’d be a great running buddy.

Sassy from Sassy Molassy – she is much speedier than I am so I think she would push me to really improve my times.

Degee2 What’s going on in your life outside of running?

I just started a new job this week!

Favorite running shirt?

I love the “One More Mile” shirts.  My fave is:  “In My Dreams I am a Kenyan”

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Make running a priority in your life.  There are some days when I really don’t feel like running, but I know that I will never regret going for a run, but I will regret skipping one.

                                                Thank you, Lisa!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

 

Open Mic Friday: Meet Julia of Chocolate Shoestrings

Open_mic_friday


Get your cup of coffee and sit down to enjoy an interview with a high-energy interview. 

Known for her blog, Chocolate Shoestrings, our guest is Julia, who is preparing for her first marathon.  Just by reading her experiences you'll feel her enjoyment for running and for discovering new lessons about her running--and her unabashed love for chocolate.

Welcome Julia!


Cimg1202u What’s the story behind the name "Chocolate Shoestrings" you’ve selected for your blog?


Would you believe me if I told you the name Chocolate Shoestrings came to me in a dream? It’s too wacky of a story to make up!

I had been thinking of starting a running blog for a couple of weeks, but hadn’t the slightest clue what to name it. One random night I dreamt about blogging, and in my dream I called it Chocolate Shoestrings. Totally random, I know, but I have really vivid, ornate dreams sometimes. Had I come up with the name in my conscious thoughts, I would have named it Chocolate Shoelaces, because that’s a more common word. But I really liked it, so I went with it. It highlights the two loves of my life; running and chocolate! (and yes, I have run and eaten chocolate at the same time!)

As readers, we’re having fun reading about your preparation for the Santa Barbara International Marathon.  How is your marathon training going?

Training is just about to get intense now. I am now in the 16+ miles zone. I’m terrified and excited at the same time. But I have a great training partner who keeps me entertained on the runs, so the miles don’t seem too long. Some things we do to make time pass is sing songs, pretend we’re running along some exotic location, think of the yummy foods to eat post-run, and the best one is fighting. Boy does that get your blood pumping! Haha (I’m only joking…. Kind of!)

Medal Why did you select Santa Barbara above others?

The Santa Barbara marathon was an easy choice for me. For one thing, I’ve been living in Santa Barbara for over five years now. Santa Barbara is where I first learned how to run, and is where I do 99% of my running.Also, it is going to be the first ever marathon in Santa Barbara. That made my decision easy for me. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to run my first marathon in the inaugural marathon in my city! I feel like both the city and I are popping our marathon cherries together! Haha. Plus, I get to practice the course every week, and I am hoping that will give me some home turf advantage! And when James my boyfriend/training partner decided he wanted to run it too, it was a no brainer.

What are you most excited about running Santa Barbara?  Most nervous about?

I am most excited about being able to call myself a “marathoner”. Running a marathon is a huge milestone for me. I had thought that only gnarly, hard-core, professional runners ran marathons. I had no idea that regular old people like me could run in them! I’m excited to see what my body and willpower is capable of. I’m also excited for the bragging rights, slapping a “26.2” bumper sticker on my car, and eating a mountain of pancakes and donuts post-run!

I’m most nervous about fitting in enough runs without getting injured. I feel like right when I get into the groove of things, I get sick, life gets too chaotic, or a bummer like tendonitis happens. But, I’m trying not to get bummed out about it, and just enjoy each run whenever I can fit it in. My goal for the marathon is merely to survive it! Haha. If I can enjoy it on top that, well, that would be like having the cake and eating it too!

Beach What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself and about running since starting your training for marathon?

One thing that I’ve had slapped in my face again and again are all my muscular imbalances and weaknesses. I thought I was relatively fit, but I had no idea my lower back was as tight as my purse strings and that my hips were so weak. This led to a pinched nerve in my spine and tendinitis in my right knee.

This was a wake up call that reminded me of the importance of stretching and strengthening all my ‘inner” muscles, not just the biceps, abs, and butt that I went to the gym for. Running has made me more aware of the intricate relationships between all the muscles, food, sleeping patterns, and the mental and emotional fluctuations I have. I have a tremendous newfound respect for my body.

Favorite chocolate foods?

Wow. How do I even answer this question? Hmmm….. Chocolate is an entire food group for me. One time in college, I went a whole week eating nothing but chocolates. Reese’s PB cups, Butterfingers, Hershey’s bars, Kit Kats…. Of course, it ended up being a horrible idea and I felt sooooo bad by the end of the week! Haha. But that just shows you how much I love me some chocolate.

Right now, I don’t eat nearly as much chocolate as I used to (it’s not that conducive to running well) but my all-time favorites include the Apple Pie Truffle from See’s Candies, Milky Way Bars, brownies, and Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy is that ice cream delicious!

Couple What would your family and friends tell us about your passion for running?

I’m still new to running, so my friends and family are mainly surprised to find out that I’m a)even running, and b) racing long distances. My mom is freaked out about my health (maybe she thinks running is bad for my me?). My brother, a man of few words, said “good for you”. My father, who is an avid cyclist and runner, has been pleasantly surprised. My boyfriend and housemate have since picked up the running bug as well. Maybe I am contagious!

Any quirky running traits?

I am incapable of rounding up my distances when I run. My boyfriend makes fun of me about the time I got sooooo upset at only running 9.99 miles when we had planned to run 10. A 9.99 mile run is NOT a 10 mile run. (Even if it's only a difference of 10 steps!)

And when I run on the treadmill or with my Garmin, I have an inability to randomly finish my run. I can’t stop at 5.18 miles. I can stop at 5.0, or 5.25, but not 5.18. I don’t know why, but I only want to stop at convenient quarter mile marks, or a specific distance, like 5K, or 10K. So if I get back to my house at 5.18 miles, I’ll have to run a little bit past my run to make it 5.25. Yeah. Go ahead. Call me a weirdo! J

What have you not done with your running that you’re still looking forward to?

 I would like to start doing triathlons.

What gets you excited about running?

The runner’s high! And the fact I get to stuff my face with pancakes  :)

What’s your secret to running success?

I think having races to prepare for has been a key to my “success”. Without concrete goals, I don’t know if I’d be able to stick to any sort of running plan for too long. Having a race to look forward to keeps me on track, and thinking of finishing that crossing line gets me through the tough runs. I think if anyone is interested in starting running, signing up for a race of any distance is great motivation to help you get off that couch!

Favorite distance?

10K. It has all the makings of a great drama. There’s a beginning, a middle, a climax, and an end. A 5K is too short for all the intricate complexities. A 15K drags on too long. 10K is just perfect; you have the slow beginning. You pick up a little speed, get into the groove, and zone out. You see the end is near and kick it up into high gear, letting out grunts and panting hard. You sprint to the finish, and have a nice warm down. 10K gives me enough time to think, to lose myself, to love running, and to hate running, all in a nice little package.

Current running goals?

To not die in the marathon!

Market Non-running and non-blogging interests?

I absolutely love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. I actually think I enjoy the process of cooking more than the act of eating. I’m just a “throw everything together’ kind of cook; measuring cups and spoons don’t exist in my kitchen. Even when I bake, I don’t measure anything, and yet everything still turns out great! It’s so much fun to try different ingredients and flavors. I mean, who would’ve thought that barbeque sauce and teriyaki sauce tasted so good combined? Or curry powder and barbeque sauce? Or ketchup in your marinara sauce? If I had a few extra thousand dollars lying around, I would loooooove to attend culinary school some day!

What is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?

That my body represents three different countries on three different continents. My dad is from Denmark, my mom is from Japan, and I was born in the USA. I’m proud to be a hapa :)


What’s going on in your life outside of running?

I just got back from a great trip to Hawaii. Hawaii is my absolute favorite place in the world, and I am currently busy scheming plans to move there! If there is a job that could combine my love of running, exercise, and Hawai’i, I’d move in a heartbeat!

I’m also moving out of my house today… moving boxes counts as exercise, right?

Road If money could buy you a running dream, what would it be?

I would pre-pay all the registration fees and travel and lodging expenses for all my “dream” races. Those races include the Honolulu Marathon, the Disney Princess races, the Kauai Half Marathon, and all the California wine country races. And I would buy a different running outfit for all the races!
 
Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

Nicole from the Marathon of Life suggested to me to put a Shot Block in my mouth and just nibble at it slowly, instead of eating it all in one bite. This is seriously a genius idea. I once nibbled on one shot block for two whole miles. It’s like candy in your mouth, and just having that sweetness makes the miles pass by much more enjoyably.

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Go get a running gait test and get properly fitted for your shoes! Running in the wrong shoe can really hurt. I recently found out the hard way, when after 4 months of running in stability shoes, my feet stated to hurt. Turns out I need neutral shoes. It was such a D’uh moment.

                                                    Thank you, Julia!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

 

Open Mic Friday: Meet Dan, the Oz Runner

Open_mic_friday

Today's guest is a runner we've enjoyed getting to know.


His blog, Oz Runner , is followed by running friends everywhere because he posts about running, plus a variety of interests.  From Kansas, a state famous for great running legends, he shares his experiences why and how he took up running and where and how it's going for him.

A devoted husband and dad, he also has a great place in his heart for running and running friends. We're delighted to connect runners with Dan, one of our favorite runners and bloggers, and we believe you'll understand why.  He's a great guy and has gained and shares a lot of great insight on his blog.

                    Welcome Dan!


What’s your story about getting started with running?

I ran track in junior high, mostly because my friends and cute girls were all on the track team. My event was the 800m and I wasn’t very fast.    In high school the only running I did was around the bases as part of the baseball team. And since I didn’t get on base too much, I didn’t have to run very often.


And then in college I think I ran once or twice, not sure exactly why. Probably bored.

But I remember living with a guy right after college, Richard, who was a runner. He ran most mornings, and I remember seeing him get really fit. He lost a lot of weight and got into great shape. Though I didn't start running at that time, the running seeds were planted.

So years go by, and I'm working on a career, married with kids and overweight.    And it's been more than a decade since I ran. But I remembered Richard, and how running worked for him to lose weight. Besides, it seemed like all the runners I knew were in great shape. So I took up running. And got hooked. And I lost weight.

Dan after the race

I still remember the first time I went for a run, for exercise. I couldn't even go down the street and around the corner, which was about two blocks, without stopping to walk and being out of breath. I was way out of shape.

My first 5K was brutal. My body was not even close to being ready to run 3.1 miles. But I had a free entry offered to me through work, so I signed up. I don't remember my time, but I think I walked pretty much half of it, and felt soreness in my legs for a week afterward.

But, much as I would have liked to, I didn't give up. I kept running. My second 5K was much like the first. I wasn't ready, and my body got pounded. But it was at that race that I was first attracted to the whole "runner community" thing. So again, I kept running. And observing.  And learning.

I started to really enjoy going for runs. My one mile loop didn’t seem as far or as hard as it did before. I started running further distances. And, I started losing weight. I lost about 30 pounds in a year, largely attributed to eating right and running. I felt better about myself and I had more energy.

Somewhere in there I think I decided that I was a runner. At least I started to think of myself as a runner. I was reading running blogs and running books. I found some great running podcasts. I ran a couple more races, and started to feel like I was a part of the running community now.

I’ve now been running consistently for about a year and in April I finished my first half-marathon, the OKC Memorial Half Marathon.  I also ran my first 10K race in May, our local River Run.


Our family after running in the 2 mi. RiverRun

You have a great blog— a nice blend of friendly, community, and family-focused, along with running.  What do you enjoy most about blogging
?

I think what I love about blogging the most is the community aspect of it, and the mutual encouragement that happens.  There are runners all over the United States (and world) that I have connected with and can gain support and encouragement from.   And, I can offer support and encouragement in return.   We cheer each other on when there are races coming up, and sympathize with each other through various running injuries.  I have found that most runners are very generous and freely offer advice to new runners like myself.  I appreciate that.  I think all runners need ongoing encouragement and advice, and some runners get that from a regular running group or club, or from a running partner.  Mine comes from the blogger community and my running blogger friends. 

Icing


You’re still struggling with an injury.  Bring us up to date.

I have had Plantar Fasciitis for about 3 months.  Let me tell you that I wouldn’t wish this injury on my worst enemy.  It has been painful and frustrating.  Each morning I do the “furniture shuffle” to the bathroom, holding on to furniture the entire way because the pain is so intense.  For the last 3 months, I have been trying self treatment--massaging, icing my foot, rolling my foot on golf balls and tennis balls.  And, I haven’t been running.  I’ve been walking and doing some elliptical.   I also bought a sock to wear at night that keeps my foot in a flexed position to stretch the plantar tendon.  However, nothing seemed to be working.   

I was missing out on some prime running weather, and had to back out of our local half marathon (ran last weekend).  So, about 10 days ago, I finally went to my general practice doctor.  He said he’s had PF twice in his life and the last time he was given a steroid shot in the heel of his foot that fixed him right up, so I quickly asked him to give me the shot.  I can honestly say that now, 10 days later, I feel like my injury is healed.  The pain has almost totally gone away.  It is great.  I am going to do a fun run with my 7 year old son this weekend, and hope to begin running regularly next Tuesday.

104_2569

Best race experience?

I don’t know if it’s my best, because it was slow, but it’s my longest-the OKC Half Marathon.  And, it’s also the race that I learned the most from by far.   So in that regard it’s the best.  I learned some good lessons from this race.   I learned about electrolytes and sodium and potassium and how important it is to stay properly hydrated.  I only wish I had known about these things BEFORE the race.  

The race was in April, after I’d been training all winter, and race day was hot and humid, and I was not prepared at all.   I did okay the first half of the race, but during the second half I experienced major calf cramping and dehydration.  There were two times that I got weak in the knees and light headed and had to sit down to get my strength back.  I actually thought I was going to pass out.  I couldn’t run at all the last two miles because the cramping was so severe.  When I did finish, I drank 3 bottles of water, 2 bottles of Powerade, 1 bottle of orange juice, and 2 milks within 30 minutes.  I definitely learned my lesson the hard way on this one.

What have you not done with your running that you’re still looking forward to?

I would like to run at least one marathon in my life.  Just one, then go back to running shorter distances like half marathons/10Ks/5Ks, etc.   But, I’d like to at least run one marathon. Someday.   Just to say that I’ve done it.   I read a quote from Lance Armstrong in a Runner’s World magazine that went something like this—“anyone can sit around and do nothing for months and months and go out there and run a 5K or 10K, or even a half marathon.  But you can’t fake a full marathon.”   I think I want to run one or two more half marathons and then hopefully I’ll be mentally and physically prepared to tackle a full marathon. 

K-state pic redone2

Non-running, non-blogging interests?

I am an avid Kansas State fan, I love K-State.  I graduated from there and love following my Wildcats.    In fact my oldest son was born on 01-01-01 (New Years Day), and K-State was playing Tennessee in the Cotton bowl that year while my wife was having labor pains.  I coaxed her to wait until the game was over, and she was able to, so then we drove to the hospital and had a baby.  K-State won their bowl game and I had my first child on the same day. It was one of the greatest days of my life.

What gets you excited about running?

There are days and mornings when it is difficult to get out of bed and go for a run, especially in the winter when it is dark and cold, and I am sore from a run the day before.  My body tells me not to run and my bed is pulling me back under the warm blanket.  It would be very easy to skip a run (and I have skipped some runs). 

But---I have never gone for a run and regretted that I went.  I always feel more energized, more alive, more focused.  And I have a greater sense of accomplishment and a more positive outlook on life.

Running hero?

I just finished reading 50/50 by Dean Karnazes not too long ago, and he is now officially my running hero.  That guy is amazing and that book is very inspirational.  If you haven’t read it, and you are a runner, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  You will be inspired to run.   I enjoy Dean’s love for running--not just racing, but purely running.  And I love his heart and desire to get kids active and moving and off their couches and away from their video games and out the door.

IMG_2888

Best running advice you’d like to share?

  • To anyone considering taking up running, or racing in their first 5K, I want to offer some advice from my own experience. Since I have only been running regularly for about 12 months now, I am certainly not an expert, and this list is by no means exhaustive, but writing this list helped me to reflect and think about the things I've learned about running myself.
  • Don’t worry about your pace. In the beginning you will be slow. Everyone is. Heck, I still am. You will see others running faster and be tempted to become frustrated. Don’t. Just take it easy and run at your own pace. Over time speed will come and you will become faster, but don’t make that your primary goal.
  • Run where you are. By that I mean, make running convenient for you. Don’t make it such a chore that you have to drive somewhere to do it, or have to have someone with you. Just open your front door and start running. Put one foot in front of the other. Run around your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised at the things you’ll learn about your neighbors by just running around. And, you will eliminate some of the excuses for not running if all you have to do is open the door and put one foot in front of the other.
  • Be flexible. If the run you had planned doesn’t work out due to scheduling or weather, don’t worry about it. Do it another day, or at another time. It’s good to try to pre-plan runs, but if they don’t work out exactly as you had anticipated, don’t sweat it. Life happens and things get busy. Just work in your runs as you are able.
  • April 2009 185

    Listen to yourself. That means listen to what your body and mind are telling you, before during, and after your runs. The three things that I really try to pay attention to when running are my body, my breathing, and my mental state. Honestly, I think mental state is probably most important. When my mental state is right, it usually doesn’t matter how my body feels. And when all three things, body, breathing, and mental state, are clicking, then it makes for a great run.
  • Get the right tools. For me, this meant investing in some high quality shoes, buying some clothing that “wicks” (yes, I had to learn what that term meant), and getting some shiny things to wear when I run in the dark. In the winter here, it is dark pretty much all the time before and after work, so I needed to find a way to run safely on the streets in my neighborhood.
  • Track your runs. I have two ways that I track my runs. I know, it's probably overkill. I have a paper journal that I write in after my runs. I put down how far I went, how I felt, what the weather was like, and anything else I want to put down. It’s an old fashioned paper and pen journal, and it is fun to look back and read my thoughts about previous runs. I also track my running electronically.  Originally I used the my Nike+ sensor through the Nike+ web site, but about 6 months ago I upgraded to a Garmin and now I can’t run without it.  Garmins are the best, and it has proven to be a great way to electronically track and record my runs. There are also many other websites and tracking tools out there.
  • Get connected to the running community. Don’t be a lone ranger. Find a podcast, a blog, a website, a friend, or a running group, that you can get connected to. Support and encouragement is very important and getting connected helps with your motivation and continued success with your running. Getting to know others that love running gives you a place to share your experiences, both good and bad, with running. Runners are great people, and very welcoming to talk about running with others. I have learned a lot about running by just asking questions to others.
  • Get the right fuel. Think about what you are putting into your body. Running and exercise is just half of the equation. Eating right is the other half. If you eat right, you will be well fueled for a good run. And conversely, if you eat wrong, you will pay for it on that long run.
  • Stretch. This is something that I learned I was not very good at, and took me getting injured to realize it.    Your feet and legs take quite a pounding on the pavement, so treat them well and stretch them out. Stretch more after your runs. Do just a light stretch before your run just to loosen up, and then stretch more after your muscles are warmed up, either mid run or afterward.


                                                    Thank you, Dan!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

Open Mic Friday: Meet Cyndi, Rookie Runner

Open_mic_friday She goes by Rookie Runner.  However reading her blog tells us she's running wise beyond her years running.  We appreciate her insights about running, family, life, and how to get the most from them all.

She recently observed her one year "runniversary" and has unleashed enthusiasm for everything running.  We love featuring runners with her heart and spirit more than running elites, running legends, and running rockstars. We're delighted to introduce you to this week's guest.

Welcome Cyndi, Rookie Runner!


Profile Tell us about your experience getting started running.

I started running in July 2008 as a way to drop some pounds and to work my way towards a permanent lifestyle of fitness and wellness.  I have battled the scale most of my adult life – gaining and losing the same 20, 30, even 40 pounds.  While surfing the internet one day, I came across some very inspiring blogs about people who had adopted a lifestyle of fitness and had accomplished great personal victories.  I wanted a piece of that! 


I decided to try the Couch To 5K program.  I had never run in my life, and certainly was no athlete! So this would be interesting.  But I figured, I can do anything for 9 weeks.   I started my first blog, Tales From The Broken Scale, as a way to document my C25K journey, and report in on my weekly weight loss progress.  I took my first ‘run’ on July 26, 2008, and little did I know then….a runner was born!  It was not long before my focus moved from weight loss numbers to running stats.  I finally ‘broke up’ with my scale and started my new blog this summer, one year after I started running.  As long as I was running, cross training and eating well to support those efforts, the scale pretty much took care of itself.  Sure, I still weigh daily – but more out of habit than for any other reason.

You’re dealing with an emotional rollercoaster right now with an injury.  Tell us about it.

I am sidelined from running right now trying to get through an IT Band issue.  It has only been two weeks so far, but it has REALLY thrown me off mentally. I can handle physical discomfort…it is the not being able to run part that has been surprisingly challenging.  I knew I loved running, and not just for the physical benefits…running has become my spiritual and emotional sanctuary of sorts.  My time out on the road is the one thing I have that is all for ‘me’ – I think, pray, smile, I problem solve, I breathe deep, and sometimes I even cry a little. The frustrating part of being injured for me though, is that I made every rookie mistake in the book, and this should not have happened.  So now I am trying to be patient and smart about getting through this, and hopefully will be able to prevent it from happening again! 

First Half Marathon[1] Best race experience? 

In May this year, I crossed my first Half Marathon finish line in Cleveland – just 10 months after I took my first pathetic quarter mile jog around a track.  Crossing that line was the sweetest personal victory for me.  Exactly one year ago on that day, I was in a very serious car accident that quite frankly, I should NOT have walked away from.  It was an astounding miracle that I climbed out of my completely crushed van.  One year later, as I completed my first 13.1 mile run, I felt very much alive and strong - appreciating every breath and step I took to cross that finish line, and hungry for much, much more.

What are your current running goals?

For the short term, I hope I am able to participate in my scheduled half marathon on November 1st, because I want a new PR to close out the season.  Eventually, I would like to do a marathon just to cross that off the list, but it may be another year or two before I am ready for that.  I am looking into a running coach certification class (through RRCA) next spring.  I really enjoy helping other new runners and feel the need to share the ‘running love’ with others, especially people who would otherwise never expect to be a runner themselves. 

Running hero?

My running hero is not even a runner!  But my 18 year old son, Chris, is my hero and inspiration when the miles get long and tough.  Chris has epilepsy, and a host of other special needs.  When I get tired or frustrated, or when I hit a progress plateau…I think of Chris and all the challenges he faces every minute of every day of his life.  He keeps on going every day no matter what the obstacles, with a smile on his face, and a ‘can do’ attitude.  Suddenly, my IT Band issue becomes insignificant!

Best running advice you’d like to share?

I still view myself as a ‘rookie runner’, so I’m still learning as I log the miles.  But I’ve learned that there are three important components for new runners to keep in mind always: 

1)  Be Consistent  – Get a plan, follow the plan.   Don’t skip runs unless you are injured or sick.  No matter how much I am dragging to get out the door to run, I ALWAYS come back feeling fine, every time.  Just do it.  I firmly believe that anyone…including 40 something moms who work full time and have 3 kids and a house to run….ANYONE can find 20-30 minutes minimum to run.  Find that time consistently, place a high value in it, and every aspect of your life will be that much better for it!

2)  Be Patient -   It’s easy as a new runner to get caught up in numbers, and wanting to be *fast* and go far.  But it takes time and dedication and effort to get reach goals safely.  Never compare yourself to other runners, focus on what you can do at this moment, and just keep running.  Progress is sure to come if you just run.

3)  Follow The Rules -  Stretch, follow the 10% rule for increasing time or distance each week, take rest days, do some strength training, invest in properly fitted shoes for your foot and replace them every 300-400 miles.  Very simple rules really….and not following them will eventually lead to injury.   I made the mistake of NOT following the basic rules, and here I sit with ITBS and wondering if I’m going to be able to run my planned November 1st Half Marathon.  Runners are fit people, but we are not invincible!

Cyn and Shosh Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?

Oh boy, there are so many!  I love the blogging community and have read so many inspiring stories.  I have developed what I know will be a life long friendship with one of my blogging friends, Shosh, from The Constant Trainer.  Hers was one of the first blogs I ever read, and her story was so much like mine, I felt immediately connected to her.  She was the one who encouraged me to sign up for my first half marathon, and she even flew fron NYC to Cleveland just to run it with me!  We chat and email daily, and she has also become ‘Aunt Shosh’ to my kids and one of my dearest friends in life.

I would love to spend a day with AKA Alice and her ‘Herd’. I mean come on, who wouldn’t?  I love reading about her adventures in running and mimosas, and her cycling adventures complete with flat tires and…well, flat tires.  She definitely puts the fun in run and I know every time I visit her blog, I’m going to laugh out loud.

Another blogger that I admire and hope to meet personally someday  is Mel from 2nd Chances.  She is another inspirational story that touches me on a personal level.  She has overcome epilepsy by having brain surgery, and she is now living every moment of her life to the fullest as a runner-turned-triathlete!  She is a true example of how we should all live our lives…blessed with the bodies we are given, and never giving up, no matter what gets us down. 

What’s going on in your life outside of running?

This summer I started experimenting with the rowing machine at my gym because I was looking for an alternative cardio activity for cross training.  I LOVE IT!  Rowing is such a great all over body workout, and it a very short time, I noticed an increase in my core strength, leg strength and overall endurance.  The biggest surprise is that rowing comes a very close second to running when it comes to endorphins.  I plan to keep working at rowing and hope to join a local beginners rowing club next spring so I can get out on the water!  There is never a line at the rowing machines at the gym, and I feel like I’ve stumbled on to this big secret!  Another bonus….  Want to bust through a weight loss plateau?  Get on the rowing machine!

Kolonicks What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself since starting running?

I have become more centered and balanced since I started running.  I’ve realized that I am much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for…physically AND emotionally.  I’ve learned that it is OKAY to take time to care for myself ‘first’ because it makes me so much better for everyone else that needs me.  I’ve learned that I can probably do just about anything I set my mind to do if I want it enough.  I’ve learned that it is not enough to simply go through the motions of life….I don’t let life run me…I run my life!  

                                                Thank you, Cyndi!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

Open Mic Friday: Meet Stuart at Quadrathon

Open_mic_friday 

Most runners ease into the mileage and distances they run.  Today's guest went from 0 to 100 mile races (nearly) in about two years.  We recognize that not everyone is interested or capable of running 50 - 100 mile races, let alone the training to prepare.  But there's something intriguing and curious about ultra runners, so we're delighted to introduce you to Stuart or SLB Plus whose blog is known as Quadrathon

Welcome Stuart!



Before you provide us your running background, you have some late-breaking news to share.

Yes, I got an email from the Angeles Crest 100 Race Director last Tuesday (9/1) announcing the race had been canceled! As you may have seen on the news there is a massive fire in the Angeles National Forest; currently 160,000 acres have burned. Putting aside the air quality issue, from looking at the maps the fire has impacted the last 30 miles of the course. This is only the second time in over 20 years that the race has been cancelled the first was in 2002 also due to a fire. After some suggestions and research I am now heading to Oregon to run the 100 in the Hood, the race is based in the Mt. Hood National Forest and runs along sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. Timing-wise it’s great as it’s just the weekend after AC100 was scheduled and I am really excited to be running on the PCT.

What was your first reaction when you learned about the race?

To be honest I initially felt numb; for personal reasons including the 3 months of training and being away from my family that I had invested and for broader reasons; the damage to the forest, the long term impact and the cost.  As the reporting of the fire has unfolded my reaction has turned to anger; Authorities are now looking for suspects as they consider the fire to be a result of arson, additionally two firefighters were killed so the is a pending charge of homicide.

Trail 1 An ultra is beyond most runners’ imaginations.  What moves you to run and compete beyond the marathon distance?

I get asked this a lot and I have yet to really come up with an answer that satisfies the question. Part of it is to see just how far I can go; the body is an amazing thing and we really only scratch the surface of our capabilities. Part of it is that Ultra races are typically on the trails so I get to see some amazing scenery and I get to cover it faster than if I was hiking and to be honest doing something that starts with ‘Ultra’ always sounded pretty cool to me!

Besides the endurance, what else is challenging about a 50 mile race? 

Hydration and fueling can be an issue, remembering to eat and sometimes forcing your self to can be hard; I set my watch to beep during every hour to remind me. The elements can be a real issue, I have raced in the mid 80s and recently I’ve been training in temperatures exceeding 100f which can really take its toll, I  have to carry a lot of fluid and that adds to the weight and for long training runs I plan where to stash supplies on the route, usually where there is a road crossing. I seem to have a lot more gear compared to road racing; I have a race vest with a bladder and one without a bladder, handheld bottles in two sizes and although not always needed trail shoes are advisable, as well as my trusty gaiters. Conversely my DNF last year at Twin Peaks 50m was the result of being caught in an ice storm without the right wet weather gear; it was in my drop bag! Drop bags can be an oasis in the storm (literally) and usually contain some ‘favorite’ things; bars, drinks etc as well as essentials – dry warm clothes, waterproofs, extra shoes etc.

Trail2 Describe the effort and toll a 50 mile race takes on the body and spirit compared to a marathon.

That’s a really hard question to answer. I’ve been lucky not have had any major issues physically; in 8 ultra-marathon starts I have only had 1 small blister, I did have some GI issues at the last one but I muddled through them for 15 miles and it got better. As with any long race you know you’re going to have highs and lows, just remembering that makes things go easier, and you know that you’ll always get a boost of support from at next aid station, (AS Volunteers are the best). As long as you are moving forward you’re still in the game; I had some rubber bracelets made up that I have given to friends that completed their first Ultra inscribed on one side with “Relentless Forward Motion” and on the other with “TTP-TPR” which stands for Tough Times Pass – Tough People Remain, so I try to remember that when I am at a low point. My DNF still haunts me.

For those who aren’t familiar with your blog or training schedule, what does a typical week of training look like when you’re preparing for a 50 mile race?   For a 100 mile race?

For my 50 mile races I have in the past broken my training out into three phases; base, speed and taper.

Base; 8 weeks:
Three runs a week Mon, Wed, Fri
Two road bike rides a week Tues and Thurs
Long rides alternating with long runs at the weekend
Long trail runs max out at around 31 miles (usually a 50k race) and then I back-to-back that with another run the next day of 10-15 miles. Back to back runs are a staple for Ultra runners (much like a ‘brick’ is for a triathelete),
Bike mileage maxes out at about 100 miles for a long ride and 30 miles for each midweek ride

Speed: 6 weeks
For the speed segment Wednesday’s and Friday’s runs become a tempo run and a set of intervals; I use the workouts and pace charts from the Run Faster Run Less book which is based on the FIRST program
My long rides are replaced with long runs so I am running long each weekend, with a back to back run on the next day

Taper; 2 weeks
I try to just wind down, although sometimes it falls off a cliff! I need to be more disciplined with my taper!

For my 100 miler I extended the base phase by two weeks, removed the speed work and have a three week taper. My longest training weeks were just under 80 miles running and 160 miles cycling; not in the same week though! Specific ultra training plans are few and far between so I end up basing it upon my previous training plans. With hindsight this was too long in duration for me, my body and mind start to break down around the 3 month mark of hard training, so this time I am having to really focus to have a good taper.

Trail3 What foods make a difference in the diet of an ultra runner?

Unlike most races where you get water or Gatorade, Ultra Aid Stations tend to be self serve buffets, I have to confess that I often start hit the Coke or Sprite about half way through a race; around mile 25-30 at least; I think it’s the carbonation that cleans my palette, 4-5 hours of gel etc kills your tastebuds! It’s not unusual to see boiled potatoes that you dip into a bowl of salt, M&Ms, trail mix, pretzels and whole variety of fare! I have my favorites which inc PB&Nutella sandwiches and I have also had success with Ensure and Fig Newmans, tempting as it is though the usual maxim of don’t try it on race day always applies, I’ve seen plenty of people over indulge and pay the price further up the trail!

What’s your average pace (range) for a 50 mile race?

Not fast is the best way describe it; looking back at some of my race splits I have 7 minute miles and 20 minute miles in the same race. My 50 mile PR average pace is something around a 13:30, I tend to think of things in terms of speed when racing so 5mph is good, 6mph is great and 3mph is a bad day, Due to the terrain and the amount of uphill walking pacing is almost an impossible metric to use unless you’re constantly running the same course.

Any quirky running traits?

Not really quirky but I nearly always carry a camera with me, I try to document each run photographically if I can, the scenery is so good it would almost be a crime not to

Trail4 What have you not done with your running that you’re still looking forward to?

Other than first the 100 mile finish and one day running the WSER100 I am hoping to run a relay next year and I would like to do a multi day stage race like the Trans-Rockies Run or Marathon des Sables

What gets you excited about running?

I like to run in the morning early so once the initial shock wears off I know it’s going to set me up for the day, things always look better after a run.

What’s your secret to running success?

I am a positive thinker and I try to not let the distances freak me out, once you get beyond 20 miles it’s just a case of running one mile at a time.

Favorite race?

Oh good question and a hard one to answer. I have to say that any race that is organized by the Pacific Crest Trail Runners, (www.pctr.com). They are really well organized and the courses are challenging and fun without the pressure of a ‘race’. They usually have various distances ranging from an 10k upwards; so it’s a great introduction to trail running and Sarah the RD has a hug for every finisher! Favorite distance? Right now the 50k; I had a really good couple of races earlier in the year and I am starting to feel I can actually ‘race’ at this distance. In the two years I have shaved an hour off my 50k PR.

Greatest running accomplishment?

Finishing my first 50 miler, I really had no idea what to expect and I discovered that it was so much longer than a 50k; I am expecting the same revelation later this month also when I step up to the 100 mile mark

Current running goals? Right now I am pretty focused; a sub 11 hour 50 miler and/or complete a 100 mile race – all roads lead to a Western States 100 qualification, and then it’s up to the lottery. Off the trails I am kicking around the idea of trying for a sub 3:00 marathon next year.

Non- running and non-blogging interests?

Just hanging out with my family is great, my wife and I have two boisterous boys so there’s not a lot of room for other interests. By day I work in IT as a Project Manager so I like technology and I am always looking to improve my professional capabilities through training and courses etc.

Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?

Oh there are so many, there are people; from the Nike+ forums; which was my first foray into the run.net community, to the folks who read my blog and whose blogs I read and fellow podcasters. Most recently with Twitter that group just increased and keeps growing. There are seriously so many it would be unfair to list them. I have been fortunate enough to meet a few online friends and I’ll be meeting some more who have generously agreed to crew/pace me at 100 in the Hood

Where does the name Quadrathon come from?

It’s originally the name of a challenge on the Nike+ website that was started nearly three years ago. It consists of a mile, a 5k, a 10k and the most miles run in a month with points awarded and an monthly winner announced in the forums.. I took over running the challenge two years ago and it’s probably the oldest one still running since Nike+ went live. Originally the Quadrathon blog was based on those challenges but over time it became my own and the focus shifted from my running to trail running to ultra running. Although once based on the four Nike+  challenges it’s now about the challenge of finding the balance between another four things; family, work life and ultra-running   

Most embarrassing running moment?

Up until a couple of weeks ago that would have been a tricky question, but having fallen over a man hole cover and face planted I now have an answer! It was more painful to look at than it actually hurt. Falling over on a main road and getting a ride home from a kind driver who stopped – well I just felt embarrassed by the whole event!

If money could buy you a running dream, what would it be?

I would actually like to start a running mentor group to try and help combat the increasing obesity pandemic. Beyond the great circle of friends I have, both online and offline and the sense of achievement from racing etc it is fundamentally at its most basic element something I do that keeps me healthy and that’s something I would like to share.

Favorite running shirt?

I have a couple of turn-tos, a fellow blogger (Robin from Gotta Run Gotta Ride) sent me a “Run in Greeenville, South Carolina” shirt made by Brooks I’ve never been to SC so it always makes my smile and the shirt model is “London”, which is my home town, I have a Nike shirt with “Miler” written across it – I like the irony of that one! From a practical standpoint I love my Hammer Nutrition shirt; it’s like wearing silk.

Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

Never make any decision about your next race when running uphill or downhill or while in the car!

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Training will get you most places, maybe not as fast as you want but certainly to the finish line. There are lots of great quotes by people far more eloquent about the subject than I but realistically if you make the investment you’ll reap the reward, basically distilled down it’s; Train Hard – Race Easy!

Oh you’ll only ever forget the Bodyglide and Suncream once!


Thank you, Stuart!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

Open Mic Friday: Meet Emily, the Experimentarian

Open_mic_friday  

This week’s guest is Emily, the winner of the ExtraOrdinary Runner Award for August.  In her winning story she shares her challenge, A Step Against Ed, not a person, but an Eating Disorder. 

In her interview we learn more about her running and life as she faces her eating disorder head on.  More importantly, we learn that while she has an eating disorder, her disorder does not have her.

Welcome Emily, the Experimentarian!


The name of your blog is Experimentarian.  Tell us what that means and what you are trying to accomplish with it?

Post race “Experimentarian” was a word I originally made up because I love to find new and strange food products to try, and I tend to cook and bake using recipes as mere suggestions as opposed to strict guidelines. I keep what I eat very healthy for the  most part, but luckily, that hasn’t made me any less adventurous.

The blog was never meant to be solely about the eating disorder, but was started as I began to give myself the freedom to experiment with as many different “crazy” foods and eating styles as I wanted to. After years of restriction, there is almost nothing more exciting to me than finally making the concerted effort to truly eat what I want.

Sometimes my experiments are simply crazy for me—like when I first tried an avocado or confront a fear food. Other times, as in my weekly feature, Freaky Food Friday, I do eat things that most people would consider a little wacky. 

My ultimate goal with the blog is to continue to challenge myself with each new experiment, and encourage others to do the same. Every time I try something new, I feel like I take a step in my recovery as well in terms of discovering my true likes and dislikes, and letting go of so many ingrained restrictive behaviors. Food should be a fluid and enjoyable aspect of everyone’s life, and I believe experimentation can only make it more so.

What should others know about friends, family, and co-workers who have eating disorders, particularly runners?

B day

There is typically a lack of understanding for those suffering from eating disorders, but there does not have to be a lack of support! It is a widely held belief that ED’s victims, particularly athletes, choose their affliction, when in reality, nothing is further from the truth. Eating disorders are a compulsory disease that trap those that have them in webs of inaccurate and deep-rooted perceptions and routines. False logic and body dismorphia are some of ED’s greatest tools, and those attributes can be particularly mind boggling for a friend or family member seeing things from the outside.

Often, it’s so difficult to think of what to say or do to help, but just know that providing unconditional love and positively is the best thing you can do. Take the focus off food and eating, and try not to engage in “fat talk” or body comparisons as you interact with the sufferer. Helping those with ED’s to feel accepted and loved outside of what they eat and what they look like goes a long way towards building an identity separate from their eating disorder.

How does a love for food, cooking, and baking co-exist with an eating disorder?

Good question! I have always loved eating, cooking and baking. My dad and grandmother were always excellent role models in the kitchen, and I share my mom’s sweet tooth, so food has always been a big part of my life and family.

One of the saddest parts of developing an eating disorder was losing the ability to cook the things I liked or wanted to try. In addition to missing out on creating some great eats, I also lost part of the connection held with my family over food. It puts a great strain on meal times.

Race What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself since starting running?

The best thing I have learned about myself since I’ve taken up running is that I am stronger than I think! I have never really shied away from a challenge, physical or otherwise, but some things I don’t attempt because I already know that I can push myself to do them. Not so with running—I really wasn’t sure I could do it. As I explained in my story, exercising independently of a machine with a timer and a calorie counter helps me break out of the routines that ED has established. Knowing that I am able to move my body in a way that I never thought I could (and to accomplish things like my 10k) helps to give me the courage to battle ED and find the faith I need to keep going.

 Any quirky running traits?

I have to listen to music while I run which isn’t so odd, but I also looove to sing along to it. Mostly I sing in my head, but sometimes I’ve got to let it out! Usually just under my breath, but if I’m running with my husband, I will straight up sing him the chorus. He just shakes his head ☺

Current running goals?

My current running goals are just to keep doing it! I don’t know if I’m ready for any races longer than a 10k yet, but I want to keep up my level of fitness and keep challenging myself! I would like to try some speed work, and plan to keep varying my distances and routes so that I can always keep it fresh and fun.

Together in stream Non-running and non-blogging interests?

As you know, I love to eat, bake and cook! I love to read—it’s my favorite pastime! Right now I’m reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, but I have several on my bookshelf waiting for me to crack open. Next up: The End of Food by Paul Roberts and Jenni Schaeffer’s new one, Good bye Ed, Hello Me.

I also enjoy taking pictures, shopping, spending time with my family, hiking, kayaking, sunshine and serving in my church as a youth leader.

I’m also working on my yoga practice, which really helps me to tune in to my body and appreciate it for it’s strength and individuality.  

Most embarrassing running moment?

I alluded to this event in my story as well, but didn’t fully illustrate the experience: I have wanted to be a runner for a long time. In junior high, I even joined the track team for a little bit. For some reason, I ended up practicing hurdles, which was odd because as much as I wasn’t a runner, I was more certainly not a jumper!

One day during practice, we were doing some drills and everything was going along swimmingly—one, two, jump, one, two, jump. One, two, and the very last itty bitty centimeter of my shoe snagged on the hurdle. I was at the top of my leap, with both feet off the ground, and I was so completely thrown off balance that I somersaulted in the air, bounced off the track and skidded along face first for about 4 feet.

I actually have no recollection of this since, as you can imagine, in addition to nearly tearing my face off, I hit my head pretty hard. From what I hear, though, it was spectacular! The worst part was getting stitched up in the emergency room with that nasty heavy-duty black surgical thread. I looked like I had a spider sticking out of my nose! Fortunately, I do have quite the pointy nose, and landing on that probably prevented me from some other gruesome facial deformation.  I’ve not had any embarrassing running moments that top that yet, but it’s only a matter of time ☺

Yes What’s going on in your life outside of running?

Lots! I have a wonderful husband, a busy career, and we just purchased out first home! We have been very involved with renovating the house before we officially move in, so I’ve been building new skill sets by ripping up carpet, tearing out tile, patching walls and soon, painting!

Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

Have a goal! I had been running pretty consistently when I decided to sign up for the 10k, so I knew I would be able to do—I just needed a little push. Make sure your goal is realistic as well. Note that I signed up for a 10k, not a marathon!

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Keep trying!  You can do it! Running is your own personal experiment that you can structure any way you want! Even if you run two steps, that’s two steps you’ve never run before, and IT COUNTS!

Thank you, Emily!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Open Mic Friday: Meet Runner Dude

Open_mic_friday

We want you to meet today’s guest because he’s pouring his life into running.  Known as Runner Dude, he has transformed his life around running, enjoying every distance from 5k to the marathon. 

He’s designed his blog Runner Dude's Blog to provide information and inspiration to other runners and promoting some great running resources.   His friends call him Thad, but the online world knows him as Runner Dude.


Let’s get right down to it. Dudes ride skateboards, snowboards, wear Dude hair, and do other extreme stuff.  What makes you a Dude?

A Dude is also a “regular Joe.” That’s how I think of myself—a regular running Joe. I try to write about stuff that will appeal to any runner. Often training info is written in such technical mumbo jumbo that the average runner is left thinking, huh? So, I try to peel back the layers and make the information user-friendly.

Chicago2007 You have a blog just filled with running information and enthusiasm.  Tell us how you got started with your blog and what you are trying to accomplish with it?

In October 2008, I began the blog just as a hobby and a way to celebrate the accomplishments of the members of my running group—The BlueLiners. When someone completed a marathon or their first Ironman, I’d laud their accomplishments. During various runs, I’d hear my buddies talking about various running topics and it made me curious for answers to their questions, so I began researching and writing blog posts about those topics. Soon, the blog turned more into weekly and then a daily topical blog instead of journal-type blog.

What’s it like running in your part of the country.

North Carolina is a beautiful place to run. The summers can be a bit hot and humid, but all-in-all, it’s a great place to live and run. NC has mountains, plains, and the coast. I’ve run races in all three areas and each is very different, providing amazing views. Running in the fall, especially in the mountains and foothills, when the leaves turn their beautiful colors can be breath-taking. We are lucky here in Greensboro, NC because the city has a great network of greenways and trails perfect for running. Greensboro also has several large parks that are great for running.

Tell us how you got started running.

I was the “fat kid” in elementary and middle school and was far, far, far from being what you might call athletic. My biggest accomplishment was eating a twin pack of Lays Potato Chips in one sitting. In 8th grade, I ran the mile in 18 minutes! In High School, I lost weight but still wasn’t into athletics. All I knew were team sports and I wasn’t the team sport type. It wasn’t until college that I discovered local 5K and 10K races. I ran my first 10K in 1984. I was slow, but finished and had a blast. I was amazed at the sense of accomplishment and pride that it gave me. I continued running more and more races enjoying the competition with myself always trying to beat my previous time. In 1998 I began ramping up my running and actually began to place in my age group even winning it at times. This coincided with moving to Greensboro, where I joined my running group—The BlueLiners—who helped me greatly improve my running.

Danville2007 You love networks of runners.  How do you stay connected with so many runners?

I am a bit of a running-network-a-holic, that’s for sure. Through the blog, Twitter, and FaceBook, I’ve met so many cool runners that belong to the various running networks. Many have invited me to join, and so I have. Although all the networks are essentially achieving the same goal—bringing runners together—they each also provide something a little different. I’ve enjoyed being a part of all of them and I value all the friendships I’ve gained from them.

Who are some of the more interesting runners you know or have met?

Oh man, there are so many, but just to name a few…there is Jeff May in Canada. Jeff is a wheelchair athlete who uses his feet and specially designed chair to propel himself forward. Jeff is the founder of the Boiling Point Wheelchair Track Classic.

Then there’s Jeff Pickett in South Dakota who hosts a video blog about his journey to his first marathon. He has some very interesting theories about running that he often tests out on the blog such as “Does the color of your running clothes effect your run?”

Then there’s Danica Kooiman (aka: Chicrunner) who began running as a way to cope with her mother’s death from cancer. In honor of her mom, Danica has decided to take on an awesome challenge. She's decided to do the Avon Los Angeles 2 Day Breast Cancer Walk. This is 39 miles in 2 days throughout the Long Beach, CA area.

Then there’s Claudia Becque who’s used a job layout to her advantage and is an Olympic Trials Qualifier and has her eye on the 2012 Olympic Games. And then there’s Gina Harris a running grandmother who has more energy and passion for running than anyone I know. The list could go on and on…

RetroRunC Who from your past would you like to know that you’re now a runner?

I would love for my 8th-grade PE teacher, Mr. Wade (who thought I could do nothing) knew that I’m now in training for my 11th marathon.

What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself since starting running? 

I’ve learned that I have a lot of determination. I’ve also learned that I’m a survivor. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2001 and after being very ill in 2002 and a surgery during that time, I was able to use my running to help me recover. Nine months after the surgery I ran the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. Setting that marathon goal got me up and moving much faster than I would have otherwise. Today, healthy habits, good nutrition, my running, and medication have helped me basically remain in remission for the past 6 years.

What would your family and friends tell us about your passion for running?

They would probably tell you that I’m a running fanatic, but they would also probably tell you that running is a part of me and that they know how important it is to my well-being and health. My wife often tells me, “You need to go for a run….Please, honey….go for a run.” ☺

Thad Danville Best race experience? 

My best race experience was setting a half-marathon PR at the Danville Half Marathon in Danville, VA in 2007. I ran a 1:30:47. I know runners my age (42 at that time) can run a half marathon faster, but for me that was quite an achievement. Also that year, finally broke a 20-minute 5K at the Beat The Heat 5K in Winston Salem, NC with a time of 19:53. Now if I can just get back to those times again!

What have you not done with your running that you’re still looking forward to?

I so much want to qualify for Boston. I need a 3:30. I’m hoping to do that at the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

What gets you excited about running?

Just being outdoors and enjoying the moving of my body and knowing that I’m staying healthy. Also being with my running buddies. I’ve made some lifelong friendships through my running that I will always cherish. Also, sharing the knowledge I’ve learned about running through the blog gets me excited. When a reader tells me that some advice or information that I’ve shared has helped them, that is just the ultimate.

What’s your secret to running success? My secret? Well, I guess loving my sport, respecting my sport, and sharing it with others has been my secret. There’s no fun or joy in keeping all this healthy fun to myself.

Favorite race?

The San Francisco Marathon for the overall great experience and the Honolulu Marathon for its amazing beauty.

Favorite distance?

The Marathon

125420 Greatest running accomplishment?

I would have to say that my very first marathon (NYC 1997) was my greatest accomplishment. It was nowhere near my PR, but just finishing 26.2 miles for the very first time was such an emotional experience. I remember crying after I crossed the finish. I couldn’t help it. It was that overwhelming and emotional. I’ll always remember that first marathon accomplishment feeling.

Current running goals?

Qualify for Boston!! Also, I recently received my RRCA running coach certification and I’m currently in a 6-month diploma program to become a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. My goal is to open my own business and provide services as a running, fitness, and healthy-living coach.

Non- running and non-blogging interests? 

Spending time with my three kids (ages 8, 13, and 18). I also love reading, especially mysteries, legal thrillers, and even a little Stephen King every now and then.

Running hero?

Joan Benoit Samuelson. I met her at the NC Marathon this past May and had the pleasure to hear her speak at the pre-race dinner. What a humble and amazingly talented lady. Also, Frank Shorter. I met him at the NYC Marathon in 1998. While he probably won’t remember me, I surely remember him because he spoke to me, encouraged me, and made me feel like a real runner.

 What is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?

I love country music! LOL!

Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?

I’d love to meet and run with all the previously mentioned runners plus I’d also love to meet and run with Otto Voss (a runner in Mexico) who’s an avid reader of the blog, Jo Lynn from the San Francisco Bay area in CA who has the driest whit and keeps me chuckling with her comments on the blog, and Adam Ricklefs in Arizona who is an amazing inspirational young man.

Most embarrassing running moment?

Hmm…the most embarrassing moment probably had to be the time I was attacked by a Canadian goose. I unknowingly had run too close to mama goose’s nest and papa returning to the nest didn’t like it. He attacked me while in flight, rammed me in the back twice, just about knocking me over. I had a huge bruise on my back for about a week. It was embarrassing because this happened in the parking lot right outside my work. All my colleagues had a perfect view of the incident. I still don’t like Geese!

What’s going on in your life outside of running?

I was laid off this past February from a job of 13-years that I loved in the educational publishing field. As hurt and dismayed as I was, I decided to turn it into a positive and make a complete career change to my passion—running and fitness. I’m well on my way, just having received my RRCA running coach certification and I’m currently in the National Personal Training Institute’s 6-month diploma certification program to become a personal trainer and nutrition consultant. I’m so excited to be able to pursue what was only a dream 7 months ago.

If money could buy you a running dream, what would it be?

To run a sub 1:30 half marathon, a sub 3:30 marathon, have the blog reach more and more runners, and have a hugely successful running and fitness coaching business.

Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

“Don’t pay attention to the mile markers,” Joan Benoit Samuelson

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Spread the “runnin’ luv.” Invite colleagues, friends, and family to go on a run with you. You never know when someone is just waiting for that nudge to get them up and into running for the first time.

Thank you, Runner Dude!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

Open Mike Friday: Meet Aka Alice

Open_mic_friday We have the most fun introducing runners to the online community.  Today's guest was recommended by several of her online running friends, Known across the blogging running community as Alice, she oozes with friendliness and enthusiasm for running. 

Fresh off a half marathon last weekend, today she shares about her running, racing, including her vast network of running friends, plus her background of becoming a runner.  The author of Hefferblog, Adventures Running with the Herd she's AKA (affectionately known as) Alice.  Welcome Alice!


2 Your bio explains that “once upon a time I was not a runner.”  How did you become one?

There is nobody who is more surprised by my evolution from non-runner to runner than I am. Even five years ago, I would have described “a runner” as someone who was young, had long legs, thin, and who was a little crazy...you know, like Paula Radcliffe, and that is decidedly NOT me (well, maybe the crazy part is right!). In fact, I became a runner through a convergence of events, most of which had very little to do with running.

In November 2005, my father in law asked the whole family to do a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot (The Run for the Hungry). I didn’t know a thing about racing or running or, quite frankly, that there were regular organized runs that people did on Sunday mornings. It took me over an hour to stroll the 3.1 miles, but there was something about the energy of the runners and the event that I just liked. I thought that morning that one day I’d like to actually run at an event like that, but I didn’t really do much about it.

1 A few days later I was telling Betty about what I did Thanksgiving morning and she said we should start running some 5K races. I’m pretty sure I just laughed at the idea of running 3 miles, but Betty can be pretty persistent and persuasive. Eventually, she convinced me and another friend, Elsie, to run the Carlsbad 5000 in April 2006. I ran/walked that first Carlsbad 5K in 36:36.

Also, those who read the Hefferblog have no doubt noticed that mimosas are a major staple in our running. After that first 5K, Betty and Elsie and I started signing up for other local 5K races, mostly as an excuse to go have breakfast afterward. Some other friends, who were equally interested in breakfast started to join us and at first it was just about the social part and the mimosas, but the truth is that I’m a pretty competitive person and as much as I enjoyed getting together with the girls, I also started thinking that maybe I if actually started training for a 5K, I could run faster, or maybe I could run the whole thing, or maybe I could eventually run faster than Betty (she’d love that) did. So I started running during the week as well.

3 About a year later, I ran a 5K race without walking, then a month after that, I ran an 8K race without walking. It was about then that Betty started suggesting that we run a ½ marathon. And again, at first I told her she was crazy, but again, she’s one persistent woman who doesn’t take no for an answer, so in August 2007, I ran my first ½ marathon...the America’s Finest City ½ Marathon.

OMG I was sore after that. I think it took me at least a week to walk normally again. I said at the time that I’d never run another ½ marathon again. But Betty, once again, started saying “let’s run a marathon!” And again, I said “you’re nuts.” But eventually, I said ok...with one caveat. We needed to join a running group because we really didn’t know how to train for a marathon. We barely knew how to train for a ½ marathon.

So we joined the San Diego Track Club, trained for, and ran the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon in June 2008. It was during the marathon training, and definitely after finishing the marathon that I started thinking of myself as a runner. That it had become a part of who I am and how I think of myself.

It’s also when I started the blog...after I dropped my iPhone in a toilet, but that’s a whole different story...me and my inability to not break or lose things.

Let’s see…in the last several months you’ve changed jobs, rehabbed your home, dealt with running injuries, and you’re expanding your cross training.  Stressful enough?

6 Hahahaha...yeah, as I opened Tom’s interview questions, my husband was trying to work a pretty solid knot out of my shoulder that I am convinced was result of stress. Right now, I’m getting ready to starting a new semester of teaching on Monday!. This last year I also dealt with my mother’s (so far successful) battle with lung cancer and of course the trials and tribulations of raising two kids.

In truth, the most stressful part of these past two months has been NOT being able to run due to injury. As I started running, I’ve found that it keeps me sane and balanced. Without running, I’ve been a wreck. Part of it is that running allows me to work off the stress, and part of it is that running gives me a social outlet that has nothing to do with any of my other responsibilities. It’s the most selfish thing I do. Some may say that running is a solitary activity, but it’s been the complete opposite of that for me.

Tell us what it’s like running in your part of the country.

It’s perfect.

No really, it is. I’m not originally from Southern California, so I just marvel at how lucky I am live and work and run in such an amazing, beautiful place...that being said, in the winter months, when it is sub-zero in the rest of the country, I do feel a little silly about complaining about freezing my butt off when it’s 50 degrees outside, and I also feel a little guilty about posting pictures of the palm trees, the oceans, and the bays, and of us running in shorts and tank tops, when the rest of the country is under 12 feet of snow, but I do it anyway...sort of as a public service.

8 Tell us about your blog title: Hefferblog: Adventures Running With the Herd and your nickname AKA Alice.

I’ve described the full story (or at least as much of it as I’m willing to tell) about where the name “the heffers” comes from on the blog, but the summary version is that we are just a group of women who met while teaching at a local high school in the past 15 or so years. Teaching high school is tough work, and over the years, we just became a really a close group of friends. We laugh (a lot, which you HAVE to do when you’re working with teenagers) and support each other professionally as well as personally. Some heffers have moved away, some of us no longer teach at that high school, but pretty much we say, once a heffer, always a heffer.

10 We all have heffer names. Since I was one of the original heffers, I got to choose my own name, and I chose Alice because it’s what my husband calls me when I’m being cranky (sort of like Alice from The Honeymooners). I call him Walter when he’s being curmudgeonly.  Most people, by now, know my real name (Cindi) either because they also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter or because I wrote about it a few months ago on the Hefferblog. But, because the rest of the “herd” are still high school teachers or administrators, and because we have the occasional mimosa, I continue to be discrete and not use their real names on the blog, although I suspect that if anyone really wanted to figure out who we all were, there are enough clues and slipups on the blog that someone could pretty easily figure it out.

When a few of us decided to train for a marathon two years ago, I decided to write about our adventures, mostly so that the rest of the herd who wasn’t running would know what we were up to...and mostly to record all the funny things that happened to us, or what the rest of the herd was saying or doing. 4 Sometimes people comment on my blog that I’m funny, and the truth is that Betty or Madge (who doesn’t run with us, but who occasionally comments on it) or Clarence are far funnier than I am. Betty once said that my role in the group was really to add adverbs (which I absolutely do!).

So, I first started the blog for the herd, but I soon found out that I wasn’t the only one with this idea to run and blog. I was completely surprised that there were so many running bloggers (or blogging runners) out there writing about their adventures as well. It’s an amazingly supportive community. I consider lots of my blogging runner friends sort of virtual-heffers.

Any quirky running traits?

I am a gadget junkie. If it’s a running gadget, chances are I currently own it, have used it, or am considering it, and at some point I’ll loose or break said gadget, whine and complain about it on the blog, and get something new to replace it.

Also, I really hate getting dirty. I carry face wipes in my running bag so that I can clean up after every run. The feeling of salt crystals on my face just creeps me out. Betty wants to do a mud run and I just can’t imagine it.

Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?
 
Gosh, there are so many! I’ve been so lucky that I’ve been able to meet up with several bloggers including Irene at Magazine Smiles, Jo Lynn at Single Track Junkie, Yas at See Yas Run, Penny at Planet Ynnep Running and Lisa at Discovering the Meaning of Stonehenge. I’m hoping to run into Glenn at Running Fat Guy in the next few months. We live pretty close to each other, so it’s bound to happen. I also know that one day I’m going to get to hang out with meet Mel at 2nd Chances, Al at You Run? No, Really, You Run? and Missy at Ironman, Ironthings, Trithings, even though I could never keep up with her...and there are lots more. Every person who I’ve ever left a comment on their blog is someone who I’d like to meet and run with.

7 Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

Some of the best running advice I’ve ever been given is what I’ve learned these last couple months in recovering from Plantar Fascitiis from Brett, my physical therapist at Rehab United and that has to do with the importance of stretching and strengthening to running. I never did much with strength training and definitely not nearly enough stretching before I got hurt, and that’s why I got hurt. I knew stretching was important, but doing strenght training, lots of squats and lunges, has been the real surprise. It’s what got me through the AFC ½ marathon last week having done minimal mileage training.

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Find some friends to run with...or join a running group and make some friends. Start your own running-herd. I’d have never started running if not for the herd, and I’d never have kept at it this long.

Also, at the end of a long run, it’s really important to have a mimosa with a friend to celebrate the accomplishment.

Thank you, Alice!

Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?

Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.

Send your suggestions to Tom@runnerslounge.com or Amy@runnerslounge.com

About Runners' Lounge

  • We are ordinary runners sharing our favorite passion – Running
    The lounge is our escape for conversation and connection to our favorite people – Runners.
    Join the conversation today at www.runnerslounge.com.

    Runners' Lounge
    An on-line community where runners Connect, Share, and Discover to more fully enjoy running!

Subscribe to RSS Feed