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October 2008

My Half Marathon: A Break From Reality

Today was the Des Moines Marathon and Half MarathonI showed up at the line today overweight, undertrained, injured and violating the #1 principle of racing - wearing new shoes, socks and my least favorite pair of tights.   Doesn'tImg_0760  that beginning sound like the perfect storm for a crappy race? 

But even so, I was giddy thinking about the half today.  You know it is my favorite distance so that brought part of the excitement.  But more than just the event, I was treating this race as a wonderfully, fully selfish few hours for myself.  It has been crazy around my house the last few months and I could tell that I was in dire need of a few brainless hours all to myself.   Last week when my friends asked me what I expected to run, I told many that I hoped it would take me hours and hours to finish.  The longer the better!

They would look at me so perplexed.  I know what they were thinking - "aren't you supposed to want to finish as fast as possible?"   And in my 50 or so other races that has been a goal.  But today, I wanted a chance to breath deep, take in my favorite songs, sweat a little, meet some inspiring people and lose myself in the middle of 7,000 other runners.

Img_0764 Today was about the other side of running.  The side that doesn't care about splits, pacing, PR's, gear, racing or past runs.  This is the side of running where you run for yourself - like you want to - and enjoy the simple of act of running.   The side of running where you do only one thing at a time in a repetitive, almost meditative fashion.  Just right, left, right, left, right, left.  That's it - no higher expecatation of it.   It's running at your internal "cruise control" speed that requires what seems like no significant energy.  And it's running as an escape.  An escape from the nonstop family calendar, laundry, dishes, errands, sick kids, work stuff and chores.   This is the side of running that gives you a 3 hour spirtual retreat to recenter yourself and at only the cost of a Tshirt and medal.

In the novel, Once A Runner, there is a passage where the runner describes the "orb of running" you enter into when running.  It is like time stands still.  It feels like you live many life times in the span of a few hours.   That is the side of running that I live for.   The god given gift to escape for only a few hours but emerge on the other side like you have retreated to another land in your head for days or weeks.

In my vacation from reality, at about mile 3, I ran into a running acquaintanImg_0766ce from Dam to  Dam.  Remember Brian - the guy who lost alot of weight but kept finding new ways to push himself?  He was out there today - with a goal of finishing the half today and the marathon next year.   He finished the half in a faster time than the Dam to Dam 20K in June.  Fantastic!  And at mile 10 I made a new friend who was my soul mate.  She runs to eat more, loves tri's and du's and used colorful language alot about many things.   We pushed each other the last three miles.   There were countless other inspirations along the way.

I also met RazzDoodle in person - very cool!  And saw our friend Bowulf, as he led the 2:10 pace group, and Dennis - who brought in a very speedy PR.   A special thanks to Tom who sacrificied his rarely free Sunday morning to come out before the start and stay through my finish.   You are a good friend. 

All in all - a fabulous day!  Time wise, it was my slowest 1/2 marathon ever (by 20 seconds), but it felt like my best.  I did the race completely within myself and very easily - which tells me I still have a little speed left in me.  If I can just find a little time to bring it out someday soon...

Post race, I went straight from the finish line to the beer line. You gotta' love these races - when else is it acceptable to stand in the middle of downtown, smelly and gross, in need of a shower, on a Sunday morning drinking free beer?!?!   

But after my beer and chatting with Tom, it was time to head home.  As I reeented my reality at home, facing an afternoon of grocery shopping, laundry, kids homework, pumpkin carving, chores and more, I gotta' tell you...my only thought was...damn, I wish I had run the marathon.   I would still be out there enjoying the other side of life and running.

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Open Mic Friday: Meet Viper

Open_mic_fridayBy night he drinks heavily.  During the day he—well he drinks again and waits for the night to continue drinking heavily. 

This week's guest is Viper, a self-described marathon runner and marathon drinker.  Not your traditional running or fitness figurehead,  he's always advancing the mission of BHI, Booze Hounds Inc. 

He shrouds his actual identity in mystery, but he took some time away from running and drinking to share a bit about himself with Runners' Lounge.

Welcome Viper!

Viper2_2 What's the story behind your the Viper name?

The Viper was born in a used record store many years ago. He was quiet, but when he spoke, his words were quick and often deadly. The name was bestowed, and it has stuck, and it has spread. I'm pretty legendary. 

We see you've run several marathons in the past few weeks?  What's the story behind that?

Yes, if two counts as several. I ran the Akron Marathon on Sept. 27 and the Towpath Marathon last weekend. There's no story really as to why. I was hoping to break four hours at Akron and didn't. As my grandma always said, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And if you still don't succeed, have a stiff drink and forget about it."

Boozehounds_3 Team BHI seems very friendly yet serious about its purpose.  Tell us about some of the more memorable Team BHI times.

Friendly? Who gave you that idea? We -- and when I say "we," I mean "I" -- we're like that friend who gets you into trouble. We're double dog daring you to do something really stupid every day. We summon your inner donkey. And we're going to heckle you any chance we get.

But Serious? Yes, we are quite serious. And quite thirsty.

Now, let me regale you with the story of the moment I decided to run a marathon. The Akron Marathon route travels along the road on which I live. My not-a-figment-of-my-imagination friend Martini was running the race in 2006, and a few of us were spectating, which was really just an excuse to get up in the morning and drink adult beverages and scream at people we didn't know.

I had recently been to Pittspuke and brought back a case of Yuengling Porter (which you can't get in Ohio for some absurd reason) and was happily sipping from a bottle as all the marathoners passed by in the drizzling rain. Lo and behold, a stoopy, old woman appeared and ran by our raucous group. And then she spotted me. And my Yuengling Porter.

The woman turned around and trotted up to me. "Can I have a sip of that?" she said. Of course, I said yes. I knew at that moment, that I wanted to be her. I don't mean like with a surgical procedure or anything, but I so wanted a beer after running 23 miles. This year, thanks to my friends, I got it.

How did you develop your passion for running and fitness?

I use running to counter balance the awful things I do my body. I enjoy booze (shocker, I know) and I'm a consummate eater. Running helps me offset the beer, whiskey, red meat, dessert and whatever else crosses my lips that some deem unhealthy.

I had tried running a few times in the past, but like a bad organ transplant it never took. It wasn't until a few years ago, after I had quit smoking for good and was feeling hemmed in by the seasonal affectation disorder that is winter in Northeast Ohio that I finally stayed with running.

I rammed my feet into an old pair of cross trainers, curling my toes curled into the toe box, and I went out into the frigid March morning before work one day. And then I did it again. And I kept doing it until those shoes gave me shin splints. I was really committed when I had to spend money on fancy shoes. And then I decided I wanted to enter a race.

That's what really did me in. The first step is admitting addiction, right? Yes, I have a problem.

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

I have yet to break four hours at the marathon. I'm still looking to get under 50 minutes for the 10-K. Beyond that, I'm considering ultramarathons and competitive pub crawls. 

What gets you excited about running?

Running gets me excited about running. It is equal parts therapist and fountain of youth. 

What's the best part of running where you live?

The variety of scenery. I'm a five-minute drive from some very nice parks, and from my front door I can hit neighborhoods that vary from working class to the very wealthy, or I can run to more urban areas.   

Favorite race?

Though it is my nemesis, I love the Akron Marathon. It is a tough race, and I have yet to solve it, which keeps me coming back. The city supports it very well with raucous spectators. It is very well organized. I love the finish inside Canal Park, the stadium for the Akron Aeros, a AA minor league baseball team. And I love that Brooks has become one of the main sponsors and gives away free shoes to marathon finishers. 

Best running advice you'd like to share?

Make sure you celebrate your achievements.

And for my fellow drinkers, make sure those celebrations include good beer.

Run well and drink well.



Take It and Run Thursday: Running Quotes and Sayings

rTake_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 ....   Running Quotes and Sayings.   You can become instantly famous and published by creating your own memorable quote/saying or you can share some of your favorite running or inspirational quotes.   Lay it on us.Just fill in your name/title of your post and your URL below.

Next weeks theme is .... Running and Weight.   Getting down to or maintaining your ideal running weight seems to be a common challenge for most runners.  And it's time we take it on in the Lounge.  Share your tips of how you determined your perfect running weight and maintain it.  We are also really interested in your weight loss tips and stories.  Especially as we go into fall and winter (and the dreaded little candy bar time of the year), we would love to know how you get through temptations and other food challenges.

Click here for a list of the great posts on Running Quotes and Sayings.

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Running Quotes

When we were building the Lounge, one of the "must-have" spaces in the Lounge was a place to put quotes and sayings.   Both Tom and I like quotes and inspirational sayings, but in the past had relied on sticky notes, scribbles on the side of pages of a magazine or notebook, or even worse - belief we would remember the profound words we just read.

To keep them organized and easy to find, we added a "Quotes and Sayings" section in the Staying Motivated category in Running KnowHow.   We add quotes as we see them and hope you will as well. 

Surfing around the Lounge and blogosphere in the last week, here are a few of my favorite finds:

From Nat's Open Mic Interview:  When asked what she always runs with, her response was, "....cookies or oxygen, it is a toss up."

From the blog "Train Run Hope Cure":  a great list of quotes and sayings, a few of my favorites:  After this, I can have a cupcake. After this, I can have a cupcake. After this, I can have a cupcake. Make that ten cupcakes. (Courtesy of her friend, Mary.)  AND  Have you hit a brick wall? Aim higher and jump over it.    She also included a link to revelsports.com which has some great quotes.

From the blog, Sportminded:  "The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed."  --Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

From "NC mom on the run" came a fabulous quote from a local sports magazine:  "There's a secret, a secret that every runner knows.  I start at point 'A.' I end at point 'A.' And somewhere in between point 'A' and point 'A' is where I find ... the point."   ~Amy Kidder-Hayes

From Runner Mom a few months ago:  "Running isn't about how far you go, but how far you've come."   -- Bart Yasso

From the OfficeDiet - a series of great quotes including:  True life is lived when tiny changes occur.  - Leo Tolstoy

From The Laminator's blog:  I run because I used to be envious of people that could run, and now I am that person.  -– Kendra Thompson

We are looking forward to hearing your quotes and sayings as part of Take It and Run Thursday.  And remember, you don't have to wait for a special reason, add your quotes anytime to the "Quotes and Sayings" page on the Lounge.

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Another sultry marathon

84 degrees on marathon day!

After last year’s Chicago Marathon, is it too much to ask for some cool temperatures?

Chicago_marathon_08_3 Sunday handed me my slowest marathon time ever--3:55.  I still had more fun than a runner ought to expect in the heat in Chicago. 

This marathon report isn’t taking readers mile by mile.  Instead, it’s my top-of-mind musing.  Sorry, no pics.

The weekend began with a great time at the Expo on Friday and Saturday.  There I met Petra, Paul, Andrew, and his friend Chris.  It's funny how meeting up with others you've only known virtually is like meeting long-lost friends.

The heat was not as catastrophic as last year, but there were a lot of heat-related issues for the runners.  Prepared to the max this year, medical teams were abundant treating runners on the spot.

Race day 2008 was by far the best organized Chicago Marathon I’d ever seen.  The start was managed with announcements and ample coral space.  The  volunteers along the course and at the finish don’t just show up.  They’re trained to be good at what they do, friendly, helpful, and encouraging.

With the warmer weather, the spectators were the greatest in the world.  The crowds keep getting thicker, more enthusiastic, and spread out throughout the course.  They know how to welcome an entire street of runners as well as how to pick out a struggling runner and lift his spirits.

Never again will I show up to run a marathon over weight.  It’s hard to consume Gatorade, water, and GU when I feel like I’m toting extra gut. It just takes way too much effort.

I’ll never run another marathon, long run, or long race without Race Ready shorts.  That gear is way too comfortable and convenient.  If I saw one pair, I saw several thousand of RR shorts—of course they were all in front of me.

Due to the heat, I never even tried to hit my original goal pace—3:30.  I revised my goal time to 3:45 after listening to clinic experts at the expo.  But after mile 18 even that got hard.  8:20s gave way to 8:30s, then to 8:50s.  My final two miles were 9:20s.  I loved my marathon pace band with my splits and inspirational quote on it.  I was sort of expecting that wearing it meant I was guaranteed to hit my goal.

With 400 meters to go, my hamstring cramped up, paralyzing me.  No walking, not even a gimpy jog.  So I spent the next several minutes massaging and stretching out that misery.  No self-respecting man should ever spend that much time groping his own legs.

The crowd just a few feet away behind the fence was so encouraging.  They adopted me as their favorite marathoner for those few minutes telling me what a great job I’d done and how I’d make it just fine.  I waved in gratitude as I limped away to the finish.

The payback for cutting back on my goal was enjoyment.  I was able to take in more of the neighborhoods, visit with other runners, interact with the crowd, and worry less about when the wall might hit.  Surprisingly, as early as yesterday I was ambling up and down the stairs as comfortably as after a long run.

Seeing my son Daniel and his college friends on the course.  Most spectators are doing pretty well to spot their runner once or twice.  They hustled and boosted me along the way.

The unsung heroes of the weekend were my Chicago family.  For more than a decade of Chicago Marathons my in-laws have hosted me in their home, rolled out the pasta, chauffeurred me to and from Grant Park, and treated me like an Olympian.  My sister-in-law and her family cheered me on at the western edge of the course.  Then the extended family gathered at home around a feast to welcome me and make me feel like a celebrity.  This year my niece finished her first marathon so we all thrilled at her accomplishment.

Thanks to Amy for handling matters at the Lounge while I slipped away for a few days.

I've already been asked if I'm going back, and why?   The answer is of course.

If I had the chance to meet more runners, drool over running gear, talk about running, and pound the streets of Chicago again, it can't come too soon.

FREE STUFF! Giveaway: One More Mile Running T-Shirts

nother great article on Running Advice has been added to the Know How section under Basics of Running!  Thanks to your participation and advice, we have compiled your tips you "know now but wish you knew then."

Our three winners of the Marathon Pace Bands are:  axrun262, boucher, and coachkoo.  Congratulations!

Our next FREE STUFF Giveaway Partner: One More Mile!

One More Mile is a business born from a runners need. They didn't like having to pay so Nevertank much money for running apparel and it seemed difficult to find basic, everyday running clothes. They wanted exercise clothes to do the job, that is, to wick sweat, to be of good quality, and to be comfortable.

And they knowSeemed_sing_2 most runners want clothes that is fun to wear.  As they say on their site, "We’re running and walking   for the joy and fun of it so why shouldn’t our clothes express this?"  Stop by their site and check out the shirts, gear and running accessories.  All of great quality and great fun! 

And to share the fun, One More Mile is generously giving away a running T-Shirt to two lucky Loungers!

Everyone can become eligible to win

Since Runners’ Lounge is dedicated to sharing useful resources, simply contribute advice or a tip to this week's Giveaway Question. Your advice can be something you have tried, learned along the way, something you have read, a link to a great post (yours or someone else’s), or a link to others’ advice on another running site.

This week's Giveaway Question:

What are you listening to?

Drop by the forum and tell us what you are listening to before, during, after and between your runs.   It can be your favorite tunes or podcasts that get you through your runs, or those special songs that give you a strong kick at the end.  It may even be your favorite songs that get you pumped up before your run or cool you down after a run.  At this point in the running year, all the playlists are getting a bit stale, so good ideas on what to listen to will be really welcome in the Lounge.   

And if you run sans music or podcasts, let us know what you listen to between runs.  We would love to know about your favorite podcasts or hanging out music.   

Go to the Lounge and leave a tip in the forum to become eligible!

All Loungers who contribute to the Giveaway Question from October 13 - Oct 19 will be eligible to win one of two Running TShirts. Runners’ Lounge will select and announce the winner on October 20th.

So do yourself a favor: Go to the Lounge and leave your tip today in the forum to become eligible!  Runners’ Lounge will compile all the responses in a combined article for all Loungers to enjoy.

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Don't Miss Your Chance!

The one and only Living History Farms Race registration is open!Livinghistoryracesmall

This race is the largest cross country race in North America and is 7 unforgettable miles of running.   It will be run on Saturday, November 22 in Urbandale/Des Moines, IA.

It is the perfect topper to a great season of running.  It brings the best of the spirit of runners to a challenging course that all can enjoy.  It's got crazy runners in costumes, wide open fields, narrow trails, 8 creek crossings, about a handful of straight up hills you need a rope to navigate.   And the best part, the course doesn't really care if you train for it or don't, it gives everyone the same rewards- wet, cold, muddy bliss.   See pictures from last year on our Flickr page.

And in the end, you are rewarded not only with a sense of accomplishment but also some of the best donuts and hot apple cidar I have all year long.  Not to mention the great tailgating.

And new for this year -

  • The traditional long sleeve shirt logo is designed by Jason Lehmkuhle, one of American's top male runners and 5th place finisher at 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials running a 2:12.
  • Chip timing!  (Drats - now I can't tell everyone it took me 10 minutes to cross the start line)
  • 7 mile finishers will receive a 30th year Living History Farms Medal!
  • For a $100 donation, you will also receive a special edition LHF Race stadium blanket, Farm Pottery, and guaranteed tshirt size.  And you can start at the front of the race.

You can't miss this one!  Sign up today!  There is a cap of 7500 runners!  If you want to be part of our team, enter "Runners' Lounge" in the team name in your registration.

Still not convinced, take a minute and hang out at this link which has a collection of some of the posts from last year.  If you have any to add, please do!

And for those who have been just waiting for the chance to do it (again), join me in the Living History Farms Lounge Group.   Swap some stories and let's get ready!   

Hope to see you there!   If you have questions or need someone to run with, don't hesitate to contact Tom or me.

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Open Mic Friday: Nat

Open_mic_friday Nat is the winner of the September ExtraOrdinary Runner Award for her story of training for and finishing her marathon.   We were lucky enough to find Nat's blog last year in the blogosphere and enjoy listening to her running adventures.  Being from the midwest, I have to read her blog in the winter just so I feel warmer here in Iowa.  And of course I share a personal connection -  she shares my love for running and cookies.   Now if I could run and write as well as her....

Welcome Nat!

First of all I need to thank you and Tom for finding my blog (god only knows how you did), and introducing me to this wonderful online running community, you guys have helped me through my rough spots. Physically, I don't look like a runner, and I'd been led to believe that the running community wouldn't be there to support me. Instead I've found nothing but tremendously wonderful beautiful people. *Cue tacky love song.* ha!

Why did you start running?

Well, I'm not a skinny minnie. Never have been. But post-Boy, I needed some serious work. I'd lost some of the 80 (yes 80) pounds I'd gained while pregnant but I was significantly overweight (still). Not good. I was still coming in way (weigh!) over what I wanted to be. Post-babe, looking good naked was struck off my resume.

The bigger issue though was that I was out of breath and tired a lot. I reckon being overweight was getting in the way of a good game of tag, or even a good tickle fight. I didn't want to be the mom at the playground who couldn't keep up with the kids. Half the fun of kids is all the excuses you get to do the fun kid activities. I had to find Exercise (daNat_and_son   da dum) that was fun, challenging, and most of all flexible. (The Man travelled a lot at that time which meant that on any given month he'd be gone at least a week. So glad he travels less now.)

Running fit the bill. I joke about those silly "live your dream" HR seminar, (My dream: no more "live your dream" seminars.) But I'd had this idea of running in the rain stuck with me. (I don't know why running the rain. Also in this dream I am less Roseanne Barr and more Shakira.) As well, the idea of fat-girl like me running (body image I know) was really really really funny. At the very least it would make a really good newspaper column.

Anyway, I hired a (bad) trainer and signed up for my first marathon.  I found that with a goal in mind, I stuck with program.  So I ditched the trainer after the marathon but stuck with running.

Why do you run?
Cookies. Seriously though. At any given point in my day, there are people on me for something. Running is me time. (It may be why I like to run alone so much.)

What is the hardest part/most challenging part about running?
I'm not naturally good at running. In fact, while I am good mom (I think) and good at my job, running definitely not on the list of things I'm good at. But I love it. It's like some blogs, that aren't great writing but that the authors clearly love to do it. I have inner perfectionist so from time to time I am rather hard on myself.  I have to tell the perfectionist in me to shut up and let me run. Was that the question?

What do you enjoy most about your running?
That feeling of accomplishment that I can carry with me all day. It gives me that "So, what did YOU do today?" attitude.

What are your current running goals?
This is fNat_running_2un. I have few local 5Ks and 10ks this fall. Then in March I'm planning to do Around The Bay in Hamilton as part of training for the American Odyssey Relay .  It's a 200 mile relay from Gettysburg to DC. (This makes me laugh so much, it's like the first marathon.) This should be fun I'm running with a group of interpid bloggers including Pokey who I simply adore. The Man, Jeff, is coming with me just in case they turn out to be chainsaw wielding maniacs. I think I can run away from them if I have to, but most of them are much faster than I am so it could be a problem. (Holy crap, what if they turn out to be zombies -- then we're doubly screwed -- runnign zombies.)
How do you balance running with so many other things in your life?
We are all really really busy. I think one thing that I find common in most runners is an ability to fit it in. Running is a priority in my life. I just make it happen. (Usually at the expense of housework. I hate housework.) The Man and I share a Google Calendar to keep track of who is doing what when. He's very involved in the community, we try to keep in touch with friends, I used to volunteer, still do the odd thing at the school. So we have the chat on Sunday -- what's on tap this week. Sometimes I just have to get up really really early to run. (The coffee folks at work sees me three times on those days.)
Tell us about your newest addition to your running gear.
Well The Man went out for my birthday and bought me a new Forerunner 405. I had a 205 but it was doing some wonky things mileage wise. (The nice folks at Garmin did explain what happened.) Still. It was also having battery issues.   The Man billed it "as the gift I hadn't thought of yet." I was secretly coveting it. He's just the best with thoughtful gadget and gear. I am not a jewelry girl. Just give me toys like that. The Garmin's named Mike (after Mike McCready from Pearl Jam who I read does a 9 min/mil.)

What do you enjoy doing when you are not running?
I love big old snuggles with The Boy. (I am such a mom. He's my priority.) Well, I have two blogs -- See Nat Run as well as From Nat's Brain . They allow me to play with idea in my head and put them down to  cyberspace. I love to take photos, though don't have much time to indulge. I try to volunteer here and there. (The Man is far more involved than I am.) Music plays a really big part in my life, so I am always on the lookout for new tunes both running and otherwise.

I help out as well  with The Man's 5K. He's the race director for the Hintonburg Centenial 5K , it's one of those races that I'll probably never get to run. I did the volunteer coordination completely new appreciation for anyone who organize the big events. I am toying with helping out at Ottawa Race Weekend year. Knowing me, I'll decided to run some part of it, probably the 10k since it's the only event I haven't done there yet. 

Tell us about running in Canada - how do you manage the constant weather changes and cold/snow.
I hate treadmills. I really really really hate treadmills. So I try to avoid them when at all possible.

The weather is. It's one of those things you have to accept. It's part of living where I do. I look at the hurricane predictions and wonder why the heck anyone lives there. So it's all relative. I am not a hot weather runner. I like it cool. Ideal running happens at about 15C/60F but a bit colder is nice too. And I do enjoy a run in the rain and I look forward to pulling out my longer running gear.

Running in snow can be like running in sand, and then there is whole ice issue. I remember really "giving her", huffing and puffing sure I'd just run an 11 min/mil. I look down the mile had taken 16 minutes. You have to accept that it is going to be slow. I know some runners put things on their shoes for traction, but I don't.  I am not diehard really, tales of the run in the blizzard were greatly exagerated. (It was just the beginning of the blizzard.)

Cold weather running, well it doesn't get extremely cold here in Ottawa. We have the odd -30C /-22F day here and there but I tend to listen to the extreme cold advisories. If it's colder than -25C with the windchill, I tend to stay inside. The challenge is that your water/gatorade will freeze and your gu is like a fudgecycle. mmmmmmm... You don't feel as thirsty so you can get pretty dehydrated. On really long run, I'll loop by the house. Have a glass of water, maybe something to eat quickly and do a second lap.

The best way to handle it is with layers. So the top goes: body glide under the boobs, bra, tech shirt long sleeve, if it's like -5C/23F I'll tack on a windbreak shell. If -10C, I have a lined running jackets. If it's really cold I do the lined jacket AND the winderbreaker. (As well as a scarf, toque, gloves.) The bottoms are tricky because you don't want to get too bulky. But it's ironic that the fattest part of my body is usually the coldest -- my Lumpy derriere. I highly recommend the Sugoi running tights. (They don't pay me for his. I love them THAT much.)

Layers are important because inevitably I end up over dressed. So I end up peeling as I go. I think it was Gretchen who said she learned that is was possible to be cold and sweat at the same time. Exactly how it is.

But it's that layers or treadmills. I pick layers.
What must you always run with?
Good question, ummmm... don't know.  It's a toss up between oxygen and cookies.
You have a natural talent for writing and telling stories, do you have a chance to write in addition to your blog?
That's a really sweet thing to say. I write for work a bit mostly corporate stuff. But I don't write as much as I'd like. My mother said that I have novel in me, I asked her if she fed it to me as a child. I am really humbled by the amazing stories I hear out there. I hope I do them justice. I really do. Runners and running is such an amazing thing.

What does your family think about your running? 

Well, The Man is very supportive. He's on the injured list right now. He usually comes out at the end of the race. The Boy is cute, he loves to hug me after the race. I'm all about hugging usually but post race I don't want to be touched. (He knocks me over. And it hurts... ow ow ow.) I think he's mostly interested in (1) leftover Gatoradea and (2) oranges or post-run food. Running's been really good for our relationship, though we don't run together. Running together not good for the relationship.

My parents think we've got some form of brain damage. One of my uncles runs. When he heard that I'd finished my first marathon he sent me a congratulations card in the mail. It was really sweet. (Usually his wife sends all that stuff.)

Who inspired/inspires you to start running or keep running?
Other runners keep me running. It's post like the one about Amy's son finishing his first 5K, which made me cry. I love race reports. (Yes, I love the 18 parters and the big ones.) I love the stories, like this one:
I met a woman in coral at the Distance Run in Philly in 2007, who was raising her kids alone after her husband passed away in a plane crash the year before. They'd always talked about training and running this race with together. He was going to teach her to run and they would do the race together. But he passed away. So she decided to run the half in his memory.

It was the first time she'd left the kids alone (with a relative) since he passed. Her youngest, looked up at her and made her promise that she come home. (Sob.) I asked how she's managed her training with all the kids. She said she hadn't run much, the longest was a five or six miles.
There was another runner who asked me about intervals. And she looked confused. She explained that her husband has a running watch, but she couldn't figure it out, so she ran with what she new. An egg timer -- doing a run 1 walk 2. Puts it in perspective... I just wanted to see the Love sculpture.

Who are some of your virutal running friends would you like to meet and run with?
Well, not to suck up. But Amy, you, Nancy and I need to hook up and try a short run celebrated with munchies. ;)

What is your advice for runners?
Have fun out there. There is no point doing it if you don't love it. 

Take It and Run Thursday: Signs

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 ....   Signs you would love to see while running your race.   In our giveaway forum on Spectator Tips, many contributors left advice to spectators to bring signs.  We thought it would be interesting to hear what signs you have seen or you would love to see while running your next race.   You can bring the words or the pictures of the signs, or both.

Just fill in your name/title of your post and your URL below.

Next weeks theme is .... Running Quotes and Sayings.   You can become instantly famous and published by creating your own memorable quote/saying or you can share some of your favorite running or inspirational quotes.   Lay it on us.

Click here for a link to great posts about racing signs.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs...

Let's face it, when you are out running 2, 3, 4, or more hours - even the best scenery can get a little bland.   Spectator signs add support and cheer for runners.   Thinking about my race coming up in a week or so, I started visualize the signs I would love to see along the course.   Many included the signs from your suggestions last week.  But for me, I would like to see sayings that contradict the stuff going through my head, such as:

  • Yes, it is all worth it!
  • You should see how big the cookies are at the finish line.
  • Whatever you do, just don't stop.  Keep moving!
  • You're not slow, you just know how to enjoy a race course.
  • Finishing is winning!
  • Finish strong - your fans are waiting!
  • Millions of people never even started today.  You are one in the million who did.
  • You are my hero.
  • Run like you want to.
  • Come on, it doesn't hurt that bad.
  • When you are done, it won't hurt at all.
  • You've done harder things than this.
  • You've done worse things for much longer.
  • Think of all the alone time you are getting.
  • Kids at the finish - enjoy your peace and quiet.
  • Reality straight ahead.  Enjoy the moment.

Img_0452 The best sign I saw this year was at the Bix7 race, positioned as we started up the big hill in Mile 1.   It read, "This is where Champions Rise To the Occasion."  That one stuck with me for all the miles of the race.

While running, I am always on the look out for funny signs.   Humor can take Betsy_marathon_signme much farther  than Gu or water.   One of my favorite posts was from Nitmos in May when he listed a few funny signs.   He was kind enough to let us republish it the Lounge for all to enjoy as well. 

His sign ideas were as funny as this sign I found on Flickr (pic on right).   Now that is a friend.  Look how serious she is.  Something tells me the "take a dump in your pants" maybe Kickassphalt not be all in jest.   Wow, makes me realize how much our family and friends must put up with from us runners.

Another classic sign is on the left, taken by edex on Flickr is always popular at races.   Looking at this one gives me the idea to create a bunch of signs and then leave them laying around the course for others to enjoy.I_will_dig_deep

And some other classic running signs, from the 2006 Run London series were photographed by purplespace.   One of my favorites is on the right - I will dig deep.   If you go to purplespace's Flickr profile, you will find five others that are great too!

And last but not least, a good reminder of a great sign was mentioned by Michaela in her post about her marathon finish.  It is a sign every race should have one of, especially towards the end "Remember the reasons you are running."  After we enter our running orb and lose ourself in all the running, it is sometimes hard to remember why we started this crazy race to begin with.

Enjoy your race more!  Make and share a sign!  To see how runners' faces light up with signs, check out our Flickr pages from last years Des Moines Marathon photos with Loungers with our signs.

Looking forward to your posts about signs you would like to see while running for Take It and Run Thursday.   


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