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November 2008

Open Mic Friday

We are off today enjoying the holiday and will be back next week with another interview of a great runner.

In the meantime, if you need an Open Mic Friday interview fix, check out the 38 past interviews from this year.

Take It and Run Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

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 .... "Happy Thanksgiving!"  Drop off your Thanksgiving wishes.  As you enjoy Thanksgiving (or just another Thursday for some), drop off Thanksgiving wishes for your extended running family. 

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

Next weeks theme is .... Make a wish.  Share your dream.  Holiday season wish lists aren't just for kids.   They are for runners too!   In the spirit of the season in which anything is possible, share your running dream.  Maybe it is a destination race or vacation/race package all in one.  Or maybe it is meeting a running hero.   For others it may be the chance to be a race director for your own race.   Or maybe it is about making running easier or better for you or others.  There are no limits - except your imagination and ability to dream.


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I am so thankful!

  I skipped out of work a little bit earlier today for just one reason - to get inIMG_0806 a run.  I had planned to do just a few miles, but found myself in the midst of a perfect Thanksgiving Eve day and a perfect run so I did 5 instead.  Look at that sky!  Man we live in a big beautiful world.  See those little building in the background.  That is where I spend much of my daylight - I think I like it on the trails much better.  Heck with getting Thanksgiving Dinner #1 on the table on time - this run was just what I needed.

And as I ran, in the back of my head, I had my son's "I am thankful" picture he had brought home from school.  He is thankful for family, friends, food, water and shelter - pretty basic stuff.   But pretty profound.  Because as I ran today, I was reminded not to take those things for granted.   At mile 1, I passed by a husband and wife who were obviously living in their car.  And between miles 2 1/2 and 4, I passed by a growing homeless camp.   Years ago I remember seeing a few tents but today I saw at least a half mile worth of campsites.

IMG_0813  I am so thankful for my own home.  And humbled.   And reminded to continue to find ways to help those in our community.  And with that my thoughts shifted to our Runners' Lounge community.

I am so thankful for the Lounge.   Not the physical web site or blog or podcasts - but more so the friendships, the support and the knowledge.  I had someone ask me a pointed question a few days ago about when I thought the Lounge would be "successful" or "popular".   They were looking for me to give them answer in terms of Google search results, traffic, page rank, twitter rankings, podcast popularity in iTunes, number of members - they wanted something specific.  

And while I am so thankful that those measures continue to grow, that is not what makes me thankful (nor will it make it successful).  I am thankful that runners are connecting with other runners.   Everyday I am lucky enough to get an email from a runner - most I haven't met - who asks a question, needs to connect with someone or something.  I am thankful that I know all of you and can point them in the right direction.   I am thrilled out of my mind to read a current thread and hear the connections you have made with other runners and know some of that was because you met them through the Lounge.

A nonrunning friend sent me a quote this week related to my nonrunning work life.  It should be a cheer for the Lounge.  It is an African proverb:

If you want to get there fast, run alone.

If you want to go far, run together.

Today I was able to run 5 miles instead of 2 because of you. 

I am so thankful to have the constant inspiration, support from you.  And I am thankful that the Lounge is providing a way for others who want to "go far" have a way to "run together" even though we may never be on the same physical road, path or race.

Have a great Thanksgiving! 

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Runners LoungeCast - Episode 3 - "Be Funny"

Episode 3 - "Be Funny"Loungecast logo

Summary - An in-depth and hard hitting look at running topics such as:
  • Llama hatred
  • When and where to pee during a race 
  • Stretching in front of co-workers 


Note - This episode is more of a PG-13 kind of episode.  If that offends you, you may want to skip it.  If not, laugh away.

Also available on iTunes!

Expressing thanks: a way for you to gift others

Ever had someone send you a surprise gift? 

Happy Thanksgiving Remember your delight when you heard the words, “I thought of you and wanted you to have it.”

This week’s giveaway forum has that sort of twist.

With the holiday season upon us, Amy and I would like to say "thank you" to some special runners in the Lounge!  We would like to gift other runners with a few items:

  • A SpiBelt
  • A copy of The Runners Guide to the Meaning of Life, autographed by the author
  • A copy of The Complete Book of Beginning Running, autographed by the author
  • A 26.2 license plate frame
  • A Runners’ Lounge T-shirt
  • A $15 iTunes card
  • A $15 Starbucks gift card

But instead of having us picking the runners, we invite you to share your thoughts of other runners you would like to recognize with a PDA—public display of appreciation.

Please take a moment to drop off your thoughts in the forum of the Runners' Lounge member(s) to whom you would like say "Thanks" or "I appreciate you."  These are difficult times and we hope your running and other runners are helping to sustain you.  If so, let them know.

Let us know who they are and why they deserve a "thanks" by November 29th.  We will gift the runners on November 30th and mail them to those you appreciatethanks to you.

On a personal note, both Amy and I are deeply grateful for the wonderful runners and friends we meet at Runners' Lounge.  We enjoy learning about your running, what's going on in your lives, and what's important to you. 

Hope everyone has an enjoyable Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and maybe even some running.

Happy Thanksgiving heart on Flickr by ilsebatten

Gifts For Runners (That They Really Want)

Thank you for joining in the discussion last week of what gifts runners really want!  

All your tips are compiled into the article, "Great Gifts Runners Really, Really Want!"

The information you provided has been assembled into a great list of what real runners really want (and need) this holiday season.   Along with the great tips we also received some emails of well intentioned but not useful running gifts they had received in past holiday seasons.  Gifts like:

  • "Victoria Secret"-like undergarments instead of running bras because the giver thought those were too ugly.
  • A hunting orange polyester jacket instead of a running vest because if a running vest was good then blazing orange must be better, right? 
  • Gatorade.  You are wondering what is so bad about that?  It was a packet to make 12 gallons at a time - the giver thought they would always want some on hand in a jug.
  • Poster size blow ups of race photos.  Well intentioned but the runner didn't want poster size recreations of those particular red faced, sweaty moments.

It was the significant difference between the good advice in the forum and the bad gift stories sent to our emails that made us realize that it isn't enough just to tell you about the compiled article, "Great Gifts Real Runners Really, Really Want".   While it is a great list of gift giving ideas that will work for even the pickiest of runners, it doesn't go far enough.

So the next thing we did was carve out a new category in the Know How section labeled, "Gifts for Runners".  This section is devoted to sharing articles, tips and discussions on gifts for runners.  If you have a great blog post that could be republished - let us know (amy@runnerslounge.com or leave a note on my profile)!  Or if you have a tip or link to a great gift giving tip, leave it in the Advice section.  

But it still wasn't enough.  We must spread the word!  Share the link to this post or to the article with Gifts runners really want your friends and family.   Send it on to your running clubs and newspapers.  Get the word out!

Feeling a little shy or too demanding about telling others want (you and) real runners want - then post this widget on your blog sidebar.  You know your family and friends lurk about your blog toward the holidays to try to guess what you might want.   Make it easy for them - show them the way.  The widget links right to the compiled article of gifts runners want!

Heck with world peace and ending hunger, we need to unite to stop bad gifting to runners.  It is up to us people!

Help us spread this Public Service Announcement today! 

Great Runners Deserve Great Gifts!

Special thanks to our contributors for adding their tips to this list:

fivekviv, cdnrunnergal,   curlyj, dennis, eyeballrene, spartan7, runatthemouth,  momofthree, axrun262, milanorunner, marlene, glen20910, felicepd, runnindb, lauras, roobabs, boucher, piecesofme1, absamaz, blainemoore,  mamartaslbplus, coffeebetsy,  marie1010, brook31  , melanie1300, distancerunner, debbie jrt        

Free Stuff Giveaway: Part I

This week is a favorite for both Amy and me. 

There’s so much to be grateful for and we’re having a great time getting ready to get into the giving part of the season.

But first things first—announcing last week’s winner. You contributed dozens of great gift ideas for runners in last week’s forum.  Now it’s just a matter of directing those ideas to those who have us on their list.

For her ultra-useful, super organized ideas, the winner is Laura.  Also known as Absolutely Fit, she even broke out the ideas into Big Ticket items, Moderately Priced, and Stocking Stuffers. 

Laura wan a 30-day supply of RPM formula from Runner's Pulse. RPM improves and maintains the body’s energy, endurance, and health while we run.  We’re grateful to have Runner’s Pulse as a Giveaway Partner and for their commitment to teach and inspire all people to change their lives through exercise and nutrition.

This week's Giveaway Partner

As for this week’s giveaway, we’re doing it a bit differently.  Stay tuned for the details.  The Thanks & the Giving will continue and you'll have a say in the giveaway.

Runners LoungeCast Episode 4 - Calling All Runners!

Since we're embarking on the holiday season, we want to hear from you!  How do you survive the holidays? Are you still available to get your runs in?  Even your long runs?  Let's talk about it!  If you're interested to be on the Runners LoungeCast, give me a quick email at runningoffatthemind@gmail.com.  If you'd just like to chat (typing) during the live show, we'll be podcasting LIVE on Tuesday, November 25th at 8:45pm CST.  By clicking this link, it'll take you to talkshoe.com.  If you're having problems, just type in "Runners Lounge Podcast" and you should be able to get to us.  Hope to see you all there!

So much fun it shouldn't be legal!

Woo hoo!  Yippee! Yesterday was the 30th annual Living History Farms Cross Country Run in Des Moines, IA.   Without qualification, it is the best day of the year for runners - at least the 7500 who were lucky enough to get a spot in the race.

Not only is this North Americas largest cross country race, it must easily be in the Top 10 races for fun without giving up any of the challenge of a good race course.  It is 7 miles of cold, windy, challenging terrain.  This isn't a typical cross country course - this is one that requires you to scale many a hill with ropes or a good push on the backside from your running friends.  There are 8 creeks to cross, many of which were knee and waist high.  Simply said, it is the best race all year.  [And kudos to the race director for phenom! organization!!!]

I told you many times last year, but I think I can say it again - this race shows the true spirit of runners.  The runners assembled love running.  I over heard more than a few runners say that they were new to running and others who said this was inspiring the to keep running.  And then there were also many runners like me who use this as a way to "wrap up" their season as well as a fitting last run to our favorite pair of old running shoes.

I wish all of you could have joined in the fun!  Put it on your calendar for next year - hope to see you there!

Open Mic Friday: Meet The Joggler

Open_mic_friday When most of us go running, we leave our other passions and talents at home.  Not this week's guest.  He combines his running with a widely admired art, juggling, and he’s nothing short of amazing.

He’s a superhero to runners as he actually trains and runs races—his specialty is marathons—while juggling balls the entire distance. He makes both running and juggling look easy. 

His preferred name is The Joggler, and his mortal name is Perry Romanowski.  A competitive runner, a popular blogger, and devoted to juggling, The Joggler has a fascinating collection of stories, and you’re in for a treat reading about him.

Welcome The Joggler!

What’s your story getting started with joggling?

Perry 1 I learned how to juggle in 5th grade when a couple of hippies came into our school and taught everyone to juggle scarves.  After learning the basic pattern I was hooked. I got pretty good at 3 balls and kept at it through grade school and high school. In college I figured out 5 balls. But it wasn't until I started running back in 1992 that I figured out I could joggle.

The first time I ran a marathon was in Chicago, 1996. I knew I could joggle a little, so I thought it would be amusing to juggle during the marathon. The plan was to run with my bean bags the whole way and then joggle the last half mile.  This would really amuse the crowd as I joggled passed the finish line.

Well, the marathon was so crowded in the beginning that I started juggling for the other runners around me. We were going at a pretty slow pace and people started asking me if I was going to do that the whole way. I said, "sure". And that's what I tried to do. I made it about 19 miles before I had to stop joggling. But I thought that was pretty good for never having really practiced. From that day on, I decided I would do all my marathons joggling.

It appears there’s a growing interest in joggling.  Fad or here to stay?

As long as I’m around, joggling will be here to stay.  So, if things work out right that will be at least another 68 years.  The sport does appear to be growing buoyed on by press coverage and the Internet.  I doubt it will ever be a mainstream sport.  It’s hard enough to get people to run.  Adding juggling to the mix really filters the participants.

 How much does joggling slow down your best racing performance?

Based on my marathon times, joggling actually improves my speed.  Best joggling marathon (3:22) is better than my best non-joggling marathon (3:55).  Of course, there are a lot of factors involved but it’s possible the joggling helps me focus and allows me to go faster than I actually would.  The joggling motion fits in perfectly with the arm swinging required for running, so I doubt it slows me much.  In my early joggling career I had many more drops and my times were negatively affected.  Other jogglers have reported a speed loss of about 10% due to joggling.  That seems about right.

Perry joggling marathon If you had to give up one activity over the other, which would you stop doing—juggling or running?

Tough question!  But if forced, I’d say juggling.  Running helps keep me on track for my health related goals in a much more efficient way than juggling.  It would take many hours of juggling to equal the workout of a 5K.  Also, while running I can “read” by listening to audio books.  That’s not as easy when practicing juggling tricks.

What comment about your joggling do you enjoy hearing in races?  What comment do you get sick of hearing?

I love to hear people yell “Go Joggler!”  Years ago everyone yelled “Go Juggler!”  but apparently they’re learning.  I also love to see the looks of surprise & shock and the smiles of people as I joggle by.  I don’t tire of hearing any comments about joggling but as a runner, I tire of the same phrase that every runner gets sick of hearing, “Run Forest, Run”.

Do you ever race without juggling?

The last non-joggling race I did was the 1998 Chicago marathon.  It’s been all joggling all the time since.  This also includes all training with the exception of sprint workouts.  I’m a joggler.  I must joggle.

So what do you do when you’re not running or juggling?

I was formerly a cosmetic chemist whose job was to make formulas for hair and skin care.  A few years ago, I started writing a blogs including Just Your Average Joggler and The Beauty Brains and liked it so much, decided to do that full-time.  When I’m not writing I juggle, play the ukulele, and balance baseball caps on my nose.

Perry joggling 3 What portion of your training running do you actually spend juggling?

The majority of my training is done juggling.  Last year I logged over 2000 miles and was joggling for more than 1900 of them.  The only time I don’t joggle is when I’m doing sprint workouts.  It’s much harder to go all out when you’ve got to worry about the balls flying everywhere.

What’s the most common question you get about joggling a marathon?

The most common question I get about marathons is “How far is that?”  26.2 miles people!  The second most common question is, “Don’t your arms hurt?”  I say, “After doing a marathon, everything hurts!”

What’s the greatest challenge to joggling?

Jogglers face the same challenges as runners like tough training runs (especially speed workouts), sore muscles, lack of motivation, etc.  Uniquely, the thing that makes joggling harder is avoiding collisions with the herd of people in a running race.  When arms are flying around and people stop unexpectedly in front of you, it challenging to keep your pattern going.  This is why I always joggle off to one side and almost never in the middle of the pack.  It’s too tough.

Which blog posts have been the favorites of your readers?

I’ve gotten great feedback on some of my race reports including the London Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and the Lakefront 50/50.

Other popular posts have been:

25 Resources for Learning How To Juggle

7 Pains to Expect After Running a Marathon

How did you develop your passion for running and fitness?

When I got out of college I decided I wanted to live a healthy life.  I set of goal of living until I’m 107 years old and figured I had to start exercising to achieve it.  I began running 15 minutes 5 days a week.  I really didn’t like it much but it felt “healthy”.  A few years later a friend encouraged me to run my first 5K.  Then I did a marathon.  But it took me 8 years of running, joggling and racing before I actually “liked” running.  Now, I feel sad when I miss a day.

What’s your secret to joggling success?

Setting specific goals has fueled my joggling accomplishments.  Whether your running, juggling, or joggling, having a goal to work towards is the key to keeping up your motivation.  The hardest times I experience are the days and weeks after a big race.  My joggling suffers until I create a new goal and get started working on it. 

Perry joggling chicago 2007 Favorite race?

The Chicago Marathon.  My hometown race and the greatest crowd support of any marathon on the planet. 

Favorite distance?

Marathon.  When you finish one of these, you feel like you’ve done something special.

Greatest joggling accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment was breaking the World Record for the fastest 50-mile ultra marathon done while juggling.  This was last year in the Chicago Lakefront 50/50.  I joggled the entire way stopping only to refuel, had only 4 drops and finished in 8:23.

The other notable joggling accomplishment was becoming the first joggler to be entered into the United States Running Streak Association.  I joggled at least 1 mile for 444 days in a row.  The toughest was the day after the 50 miler.

Current joggling goals?

I still dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon as a joggler.  I’ve gotten as close as 2 minutes away.  Hopefully, next year.   My other goal is to joggle the 100 mile ultra marathon.  No one has ever done this.

Running hero?

My joggling hero is Canadian joggler Michal Kapral.  He set the standard by which all joggling marathoners will be judged.  A 2:50 marathon while juggling is just incredible!

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

I’m married to a wonderful, supportive wife who doesn’t joggle, but will occasionally run with me while I joggle.  We love living in the city of Chicago and frequently go out with friends.  I recently stopped working in corporate America and spend my time writing for websites I’ve created, inventing new products, and encouraging people to figure out what their dreams are & to follow them.

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

Setting the world record for the fastest joggling marathon.  Michal Kapral currently holds the record at 2:50.  I would love to be able to joggle a marathon that fast. 

Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

To get faster, you have to train faster. 

Best running advice you’d like to share?

You don’t get to pick what you’re good at.  If you happen to find it, no matter how silly it seems, go out and be great.  That’s why I joggle. 

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