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March 2008

Collective Wisdom for Racing

I’m not a collector. 

Mayflower_moving In summers during college years I worked for Mayflower Movers, where I packed and loaded other people’s belongings.  You’ve never seen so much useless crap than when you go into someone’s home to pack every last item they own.  So as an impressionable young man I made a promise to myself to never accumulate a lot of “stuff.” 

Today, all my worldly possessions—mementos, pictures, sentimental items—fit nicely in a single Rubbermaid tote.  When I die, survivors will find it easy to locate and sift through my stuff.

However, I do accumulate running wisdom.  So I’ve spent the last few weeks combing through some articles I’ve saved, and notes I’ve jotted down to compile some advice and tips for runners. They are the stuff learned by trial and error and only after too many "well duh" and disastrous race moments. 

The significance of these lists of advice is that where it’s a mistake, I’ve fallen victim to it.  And where it’s good advice, the benefits are predictable and highly useful.  So from a runner who has learned the hard way, hopefully there are some nuggets worth sharing.   All the articles are in the Know How section of Runners' Lounge.

Tips the Week Before the Race

Race Preparation

Executing Your Marathon Plan

Common Race Day Mistakes

Post Marathon Tips

Tips for Being A Great Race Supporter

Of course, these lists aren't complete because there are always more lessons to be learned and shared about running.  But for now, they are the accumulation of my blunders and occasional wisdom packaged for easy storage and retrieval...

...plus they don't take up any space in my Rubbermaid tote.

Mayflower Movers on Flickr by Blackst073

Rubbermaid storage tote on Flickr by Voting Pebbles


Trails and Tales

It was a week ago.   A blinding pain.   I was running along and felt this strange warm sensation on my head and in my eyes.  It hurt to open my eyes.  I couldn't figure out what was different  - what was wrong.   I stopped a fellow runner (because after Tom's post - I know say a hearty "hi ya" to all runners) and asked him what could be wrong.  He very gently reminded me that it was the sun.   The sun was in my eyes.   Ohhhhh yessss I remember the sun!   

It's been a long time since I felt warm and light from the sun - much less when I was actually running.  But last week was different.   I escaped to Arizona for a few days for work related stuff, but took every chance I could to grab a run - 3 in 5 days - which is some kind of record for me lately.  And the best part - the sunny, wonderful temperatures.   Remind me why I live in Iowa in the winter again?  Surely there is a reason besides plain stupidity.

My husband stowed along in my suitcase - even he couldn't take another day of winter in Iowa.  Heck, it was -4 ' F when we left.  That just isn't right.  Things were freezing and falling off of our body from the short walk from car to the airport.   But once we stepped off the plane in Phoenix - the weight of winter was lifted.   It was a splendid 5 days.

In addition to running and pool time (and work, yes of course), we hiked on Pinnacle Peak and Camelback.   Pinnacle was a really nice way to spend a few hours on a Sunday.  Camelback?  Well, I found out that I am really scared of climbing up a really rocky trail high off the ground.  Who knew?  I made it about a 1/2 mile into the trail and then freaked out in the middle of one of the sections.   Hum...guess I am not so tough.   But that's ok, it gave me a chance to check out some other trails there - the easy ones!   Thanks to troot and Jmom for their suggestions and links to information.  After the great trails, we carbo loaded (ok, overloaded) at many fantastic restaraunts.   I am sure there is some water in wine....right?

In addition to coming away with a bit of color and slightly stronger legs, I also gained a huge appreciation for true trail runners.   My husband and I did the trails slowly and for fun - but those runners out there pounding up and down those trails were godlike to me.  Holy cow - amazing stuff!  Arizona runners - you rock!

Here are a few of the pics I took on our hikes.   For all the other cold climate runners - I hope these warm up your day a bit.   I have been warming my fingers over them as they load - hoping for a touch of warmth as the snow is falling again.    When is winter over anyway!?!   Happy St Pats Day!  The green on the cactus has me covered today!

Around the Lounge: Selection Sunday & Win New Running Shoes

Yes, it’s selection Sunday for the Big Dance.  And with the weekly Around The Lounge check-in, we wanted you to know that a few new members of the Lounge community have been especially selected too. 

Sprint Two new members we believe you’d like to get to know are Bill, also known as Marathon Dude Bill, and Carol.  Bill has a big place for running and runners in his life, and his story is amazing of how he has skyrocketed to marathon success after only a few years running. 

An avid trail runner, Carol, who goes by Coyote Girl, joined the Lounge recently and has quickly won our hearts with her story Saturday Morning Fever.   We know you’ll enjoy getting to know them. 

Discovering a new and interesting running blogger is always refreshing.  So we’ve selected two new bloggers to shout out this week.   We know you'll enjoy the running blogging world of Jess at Run Girl Run, and Shelah at Hitting the Ground Running.  Both are great running bloggers.

To recommend a Lounge member to feature, just send Amy or me an email with your suggestion.  And don't be too modest; it's just fine to suggest yourself.

Free Running Shoes

Since it's Selection Sunday, how would you like to be selected to win free running shoes?  We’re pleased to announce a monthly giveaway of new running shoes awarded for the featured story selected each month for the Extraordinary Running Awards on the Runners' Lounge community site. 

To be eligible, please submit your story by April 4th.  All current stories are already eligible to win.  The winner of the first pair of shoes will be announced April 11th.

Hope your favorite teams make it to the Big Dance.

Take It and Run Thursday: Building Miles and Going Long

Take_it_and_run_thursday Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday!

It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

Today's theme is .... Building Miles and Going Long. 

It's that time of year when many of us are working on building our endurance by adding more runs in the week or more miles to a run...or sometimes both.  What are your tricks for fitting it into your schedule?  What is your advice for doing it without injury?  Share your favorite training plans and resources.   Pass along your mantras or tricks that keep you going when your body is ready to stop.It's quick and easy!   

Just post your name and the title/topic of your post in the first spot and the link to your post in the second spot.     And then read and enjoy!

Next Week's Theme is ... Running Communities.   With a new running season moving into high gear for training and races, tell us about your running community.  It could be a feature about your running club, your informal running group of friends and family, your online running supporters/group.  However you define your running community - give them a shout out and tell the Lounge what cool things are going on.    

Click here for a list of great posts on the topic of Building Miles and Going Long.

Running Long is a Gift

Long_runRemember when we started running and were in awe of those who ran lots of miles and could run what seemed like amazing long distances?  Well, increasing mileage and running long are the focus at the Runners' Lounge blog this week. 

Ramping up mileage and distance means all sorts of challenges and rewards for runners. A couple lessons come to mind for me.

Lesson #1:  Running Long brings multiple breakthroughs.  For years I ran the same course and distance every day.  It felt great, but my mind and body were held captive by the distance.  When I broke out of the rut and started running longer once a week, my running capability and enjoyment skyrocketed. 

Lesson #2:  Run slow on long runs.  Contrary to our natural inclination to speed up, the purpose of running long is to build endurance, not speed.  Plus, we burn more fat and finish the run with fresher legs.

Lesson #3:  Run short today so you can run long tomorrow.  The LR has very specific benefits—physiological stuff all the way down to the molecular level with increased capillary and mitochondria build up.  So either run easy or rest altogether the day before running long in order to get the most from the run.  Otherwise we short-circuit the benefits.

Lesson #4: Increase mileage gradually and acclimate.  A running friend once told me that he barely makes it through his long runs, and can't run another step further if he wanted to.  He’d been jacking up the length of his long run week after week, never fully recovering and never stepping back to adapt to and absorb the benefits of the increased mileage. Adding extra mileage shouldn’t cripple us.

Lesson # 5:  Running long is a gift.  Something special awaits a runner at the end of a long run.  When approached right, running long rewards us with a great sense of accomplishment.  It sets the stage for our legs feeling fresher on future shorter runs.  Running long also brings us closer to a next running goal, spanning the bridge to our next slightly longer run—another mile or another 5 or 10 minutes on the road.

Finally, I like that there’s no fancy name for the long run, not like overtime, or extra innings, or sudden death.  The beauty of running long is simply that the challenge and joy is increased over the ordinary and routine distances we run.

We’re looking forward to everyone sharing thoughts, advice, and expertise for increasing mileage and running long at tomorrow’s Take It And Run Thursday.

Long run bracelet on Flickr by Degan

Running & March Madness

Quick, brace yourself. 

In just a matter of days the world of sports, media, and consumer products are going to erupt with expressions about March Madness

Pizza_coach_2 We’ll be bombarded by pizza chains, soft drinks, sporting gear, hot wings, and beer brands telling us how to spend our emotions, time, and money.  You’d swear that no one in the country will have a sane, moment of self control during the next three weeks.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the tournament, particularly with my alma mater,
Drake University, which has captured Iowans’ hearts with a spectacular season.  But it’s also the time of year when I sadly binge eat (aka March Sadness) during Spring Break.  Combine that with my unleashed, bad discipline (aka March Badness) for eating every Girl Scout Cookie in sight, and I’m doomed.

Actually, that’s me in other years. 

Bracet This year I’m taking a different approach to get through March Madness, Sadness, and Badness.  For the rest of the month I’m filling out my own brackets pairing me with some daunting daily challenges.  I’m going to:

  • Storm the streets with better running
  • Screen out the sugars
  • Fast break away from the office treats and candy dishes
  • Put on a full-court press against super-sized food portions
  • Use all my time outs for better stretching and core strengthening

My game plan is to run down the clock—okay the calendar—in the remaining 21 days of March (Hey, doesn’t it take 21 days to form a habit?).  My goal is to run consistently, and arrive at the end of the month in better shape to take on some better quality running in April and May.

Thin_mints_4 The regulation season of running on ice is over.  And I don’t need a pizza chain or beer bottler advising me to sprawl out on the couch and how to spend the rest of my March.

There will, however, be Girl Scout cookies in moderation.  Somebody please pass the Thin Mints.

Pizza and coach on Flickr by Wookiee

Bracket on Flickr by Vince Outlaw

Thin Mints on Flickr by Olivia Nicole

Around The Lounge: A Makeover for Runners’ Lounge

Remodeling2You know that feeling when you finish a remodeling job?  The contractors and decorators leave, but there's still something missing—having your friends come by to see the new look!

Well Amy and I are excited to invite you to check out the new home page at the Runners' Lounge community web site.

Friendly_loungeDon’t worry.  The remodeled Runners’ Lounge is still the same warm, friendly, enjoyable space for runners, only improved with a bundle of enhancements for your convenience. 

We have been listening to input from the community.  Thanks for your great suggestions!   We've tweaked here and there so now Runners’ Lounge offers more features on the home-page, making it easier to Connect, Share, and Discover! Imagine standing at the door of your favorite Lounge and scanning the room able to get a glimpse at what is going on inside. 

Below are some of the new features you’ll enjoy at a glance:


  • New Loungers.  See the newest members of Runners’ Lounge community
  • New Groups.  Check out recently-created Lounge Groups
  • Get to Know.  Featured runners you might like to know
  • Why I Run.  Insightful, serious, and not-so-serious reasons why others live the running life


  • Lounge Water Cooler.  A general open forum about all things running
  • Around the Lounge.  The latest posts from Runners’ Lounge Blog
  • Runners’ Lounge Poll.  Your chance to express your opinions
  • Ask The Lounge.  Share your insights on questions from other Loungers
  • Join a Discussion.  Links to the most recent discussions
  • Inspiration and Stories.   Grab your daily dose of running inspiration from real stories from ExtraOrdinary Runners.


  • Great Running Blogs.  Instant access to great running blogs from other Loungers
  • Widgets.  New nifty tools to customize your profile or blog
  • Know-How.  List of featured expert articles and advice from other Loungers
  • Running Resources.  A marquee of races, gear, media, clubs, and products to enrich your running

LoungewfThank you for your feedback and your regular involvement in making Runners’ Lounge a great community!   Your participation, advice, and conversations are what continue to build a one-of-a kind meet-up space for runners.  We hope you like the changes.

So make yourself at home and please let us know what you think.

Early stage remodeling on Flickr by Gildedrain

Friendly Lounge on Flickr by JGmundie

Finished Lounge on Flickr by Vesuviano

Open Mic Friday: Meet a Running Diva

Open_mic_friday_2 Amy and I met her early in our blog-stalking days.  Interesting posts about running, great pictures of nature's beauty, and a well-traveled runner who packs so much spirit and adventure into a trip to a race--who could resist getting to know her.  Meet Jodie, also known as Data Base Diva.

You’re a very active racer.  Tell us about your favorite races.

I am up for any race that has an element of adventure to it.  In 2006 we completed the inaugural Goofy Challenge at Disney World and the inaugural Disneyland Half Marathon.  We've run down the strip and through Freemont Street in the Las Vegas Marathon.  Jodie_2 We've run along Waikiki Beach and over Diamond Head in Honolulu.  We've run over the Golden Gate Bridge during the U.S. Half Marathon.  Now we've added Bourbon Street to the list of iconic locations!  I also enjoy small races that are in unusual places.  Last fall we ran the Spirit of Survival Half Marathon in Medicine Park, Oklahoma.  The town is so small and out of the way that Bonnie & Clyde used it as a hideout.  Perhaps the most unusual was the ET Half Marathon in Rachel, Nevada, near Area 51.  As runners go, I'm more of a "party girl".  By the way, I was so excited about this Open Mic Friday interview that I had a special photo taken.

What is your best advice would you give to beginning runners.

The hardest part is getting off the couch and out the door!

What challenges have your faced with your running.

The biggest challenge I face with running is remembering not to take i too seriously.  I might be a party girl, but I'm also very competitive with a work ethic that has been described as obsessive.  I'm always torn between thinking I should train harder and finish faster, and realizing that I've got all the work I can handle at my job, and that running needs to be my release valve.  My other big challenge is that my husband wants to run in the races, too, but he doesn't want to train, and he doesn't want me to leave him behind.  In his view of the world, I should want to go slow so I can be with him.  In my view of the world, I live with him, and can see him after the race ;)

How did you get started blogging about running?

By 2007, I was frequenting several message boards.  I created the blog so I could write race reports in one place, and just post a link.  Since then it has taken on a life of its own.

What are some of your dream running destinations or experiences you’d like to enjoy?

I usually pick races because they are in a location I would like to visit, or offer a unique experience, like running with buffalo, or aliens ;)  I keep a wish list on my blog, See Diva Run, and whenever I read a race report that sounds like something I want to do, I add it to the list.  I am planning for 2 really big adventures after I retire in 2016.  I want to run the Tahiti Moorea Marathon, and the White Nights Marathon in St Petersburg, Russia.  The venues are quite different, but both offer "big adventure".  We recently found out about a running tour of Ireland that sounds like another great adventure.

What are your other interests besides running?

I love to travel, especially to places that have sunshine, a coastline or really good food.  My favorite places to visit are Hawaii, San Francisco, Orange County and New Orleans.  We often travel with friends or family, so we can enjoy time together without the distractions of daily life.  We traveled long before I started running, but now we have a new excuse.  I've had the opportunity to meet and run with some of my blogging/message board friends while traveling.  That has been a lot of  fun. Speaking of excuses to travel, our grandson will have his first birthday this week, and a second grandchild is on the way, so we will be flying to Anchorage a few times this summer.

What are you going to try differently in 2008 with your running?

In 2008 I'm going to focus on recovery and injury prevention.  I ran myself into the ground last year.  Without fully recovering, I launched into the FIRST program, with a goal of running a "serious marathon" in Eugene.  My body had a different idea.  For now I'm just going to have to stick with shorter distances.  The half marathon isn't nearly as brutal.

What have you learned about yourself as a runner?

I should always run with music, or some kind of distraction when I am stressed.  If I use the run to think about what is stressing me, I just get more stressed.  If I listen to music, or run with a companion, I can let go of whatever is bothering me, which helps me get the perspective I need to deal with it later.

Most embarrassing running moment?

Diva_and_the_law_2 Being followed by the "sag wagon" for the last 10 miles of the Seafair Marathon. It bothered me for the first few miles, and I really wanted to speed up, but my husband was done in and couldn't go faster.  I always thought if I were going to be chased by the police, we would be going faster than 4 miles per hour!

Tell us about running in your breathtaking area of the country.

Running the Birch Bay 25K was a nearly perfect running experience.  I was alone for most of the race, surrounded by water, trees and mountains, with the added benefit of sunshine and blue sky.  Even though I see mountains, trees and water on a daily basis, I am still in awe of the wonder of nature.

Fondest running memory?

Crossing the finish line holding hands with my son at the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2006.  It was his first (and last) marathon, and it was a huge thrill to share it with him.

Thanks, Jodie, for keeping us inspired, smiling, and envious of your great running life.

Take It and Run Thursday: Gear, Gadgets, and Equipment

Take_it_and_run_thursday_2 Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday!

It's our way to bring together the knowledge of all of us ordinary runners.  It's the virtual equivalent to putting our virtual heads together.  Even though many of us aren't elite athletes, coaches or authors, it doesn't mean that we haven't earned a well deserved PhD in running.   Whether you are starting out, have 50 years of running under your belt or somewhere in between - all of us have lessons learned that make us wiser and better runners.  

Today's theme is .... Gear, Gadgets, and Equipment. 

Have you gone Garmin?   Do you have a favorite shoe?  Tell us about the best hats, shirts, sunglasses, hydration systems, gear belts, heart monitors, treadmills - whatever it is that gets you through your training and races.

It's quick and easy!   Just post your name and the title/topic of your post in the first spot and the link to your post in the second spot.     And then read and enjoy!

Next Week's Theme is ... Building Miles and Going Long.    It's that time of year when many of us are working on building our endurance by adding more runs in the week or more miles to a run...or sometimes both.  What are your tricks for fitting it into your schedule?  What is your advice for doing it without injury?  Share your favorite training plans and resources.   Pass along your mantras or tricks that keep you going when your body is ready to stop.

Click here for a list of great posts who participated in the Gear, Gadgets, and Equipment topic.

I Luv 'Ya ... You 350 pound hunk of steel

A letter to my treadmill.....

Dear Tank Treadmill,

I know I have been difficult this winter.  I have called you every name in the book.  I have growled, yelled, stomped my feet and used your name in vain.   And for that, I am sorry.   

It's been such a long cold, icy season and we have had to spend more time Dscn2669 together than usual this year.    But it isn't your fault - you were just trying to help me.   I realize that now.   Now that spring is just weeks away - I can see now that you helped me make it through winter.  You saved me.   And more importantly, you saved my running.  This was the longest, darkest, coldest, icest, most unpleasant winter in many years.  Without you, I would have to endure the horror of winter AND give up my running.   But you were there 24 hours a day 7 days a week to give me a little relief.   You helped me log runs that were impossible outside so I didn't lose all of my fall fitness and more importantly my sanity.

At your old age of nine, I know it isn't easy to do what you do.   Many of your buddies have long since retired.  But not you - no sir - you have been a strong soldier.   It probably helps that you are 350 pounds of nonsense steel.   You don't need any of those newer models bells and whistles to prove your point.  Your motor is still stong and you never waiver from your pace.  And I appreciate that.

And with spring around the corner, we may finally have the time to look into the hotwheel that is stuck somewhere in your front end by one of the kids.  I am sure that is frustrating to be permanently stuck on a "1" incline for the last 9 months.  Only you know if it is a real "hill" or only your memory is going.

And because of your loyalty and support, from here on out I promise not to refer to you by the name of "dreadmill" or any terms of profanity or disrespect.     I will call you friend.

And now, until we meet again when the dark rainy season of spring forces me back inside -

Thank You Friend!

Note to the Lounge:  I think I have officially made it through all 5 Stages of Treadmill Running.  I have come to peace with my treadmill.

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