« January 2009 | Main | March 2009 »

February 2009

Open Mic Friday: Extraordinary Runner Award Christy Whiteman


We're pleased to introduce Christy Whiteman, winner of the Extraordinary Runner Award for February for her story My Joints Are in Motion.  A runner who is devoted merely to about 47 other roles and interests, she spreads her enthusiasm in her blog Run Like a Girl.  You won't find many pics of her, but lots of her kids and the next best thing--some of the food she prepares. 

She's an example of the everyday greatness we admire in ordinary runners.

Meet Christy Whiteman!

JIM Logo Tell us about your affiliation with Joints in Motion.

After our daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 2, we learned of the Arthritis Society and discovered they had a great group called Joints in Motion Training Team.  Since I had been a runner before my children, I decided it was as good a reason as any to give it another try!  We picked the Walt Disney World Marathon event because what better place to do my first marathon with my whole family in attendance than the happiest place on earth!  I am embarking on my second event with Joints in Motion in December of this year – in Barbados!

Your blog focuses on your many roles—wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.  How do you find the time for all this?

Kids on the bench I try very hard not to put too much focus on things other than running in the blog because I am sure it can be boring to read for those without kids or those who are in a different place in life.  However, sometimes things slip in there!  I try to run in the morning before the day is underway because otherwise, everything else just takes over.   Often I have to run during my lunch because we have something in the evening or just because the snow and darkness takes over.  Running can occasionally take over all my time at the expense of other things so that’s why I decided to focus on the ½ marathon which fits better with my life.

You recently wrote about your excitement for your training plan.  What’s exciting about it for you?

I am excited because now I am focused on a time goal for the ½ marathon.  While the full marathon was extremely exciting and fulfilling, it consumed a lot of my time and didn’t allow me to finish exactly how I would want to.  I like doing the speed work and building my thresholds rather than just running for the distance which was all that was possible with the mileage required for marathon training.

You’re shifting plans from running a marathon to a half marathon this spring and maybe in the fall.  Tell us more about your thoughts on this.

I had a significant amount of debate with myself on this because I thought you were never a “true runner” unless you had done the marathon.  Once I accomplished that, I had a feeling like I had “graduated” which is of course ridiculous.  I know it is a silly concept because a runner is a runner but it was one objective that hung around in my head until it was checked off the list.  I accept that the ½ marathon distance fits more reasonably into my crazy schedule and I am excited to make it my regular race.

Christy and Reese What’s the greatest compliment someone could make to you about your running?

Many of my friends are working moms who were at one time involved in athletics (and some that were not).  They saw that I managed to train and fundraise even with a busy household so now they want to try too.  I had one friend tell me they were very impressed because she thought all marathoners had to have spry, leggy bodies but I don’t fit that mold so it must be possible!  I take that as a great compliment!

Best race experience?

During the Disney race I saw a sign that read on the back of a woman about my age that read, “This is my first marathon.  If you can read this, you aren’t going to finish either.”.  I thought this shirt was fun but I saw this woman in the final miles when we were both really hurting and we had a quick chat.  We shared a moment where we both knew it was going to happen.  I don’t even know her name but it was a great experience.

Finish Any quirky running traits?

I can’t run without a hat.  It might be indoors, outdoors on a treadmill..it might be dark outside or raining or whatever.  I always have to have some kind of hat.

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

My goal for the ½ marathon in the spring is is a faster pace than I usually do but I am really putting a lot of effort into it.  I am also doing my first trail run this June which is really exciting and I would love to more of the adventure type races.  I am more likely to try more of these races than a triathlon because nothing will get me into a giant body of water with a million legs and arms thrashing about. 

What gets you excited about running?

Participating with Joints in Motion gives my running purpose and every time I feel a bit discouraged or like I am losing my “mojo” I will remind myself of the reason I returned to running.  I commented on my blog once that everyone should have something that makes you feel extraordinary and that’s what running does for me.  Plus it is cheap therapy.

Non- running and non-blogging interests?

I love playing soccer and tennis and we spend a lot of time in the community doing things with our children.  Thankfully we live in a city with a lot of great activities available so we take advantage of most of them!

Disney 068 Greatest running moment?

I suppose the logical answer is the finish line at Walt Disney World marathon.  Actually, I was on a training run about seven weeks before the marathon and it was just me and a friend.  I ran 35k that day which was the furthest distance I had ever run and the first time I went over 30k.  I was completely overwhelmed with excitement.  It was the first time I felt confident that I was going to finish.  I think I had runners high all day even though I could barely move my legs for nearly two days! 

How does your running affect your family?

Sometimes my kids are upset if I am heading out for a run because they don’t want me to go.  My husband is very supportive and they often drive past me or call me on the cell to cheer me on but I often feel conflicted.  I have to remind myself that it makes me a better mom and wife.  Other times they are really proud.  I was so completely overwhelmed when I saw them at the marathon finish that I think I scared them a little!  They cheer just as loud at a 5k as they do 42k because they really don’t know the difference anyway.  Mostly I am very happy when I hear them talk to their friends or others about how Mommy runs races or how they are going to run too.  My son once drew a picture of our family and in the picture I was running so I know they get how important it is.  I hope they take that on themselves – especially our daughter because it is so important for her to have an active and healthy lifestyle to keep the arthritis under control.

JIM friends How has your relationship with virtual running friends helped you?

I have had so many great comments from people and excellent advice along the way.  Of course I relate to the Mom’s the most but I am regularly amazed and how committed all runners are.  I am not sure you see that in many recreational level sports and it is very impressive. I bow down to those, especially the women, with killer PB’s and the amazing stamina required for the mileage that so many put in with glee.  It is very humbling to be part of the running community but I am extremely glad to be there.

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

In 20 years, when they are old enough, I want to participate in a marathon in France with my children.  Considering I will be in my late 50’s by then will it still be possible?  Getting my husband to participate too, now that would be a dream that no money could buy.   He is an excellent spectator though!

Wet from rain Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

Every minute on your feet is a good run.  I have to remind myself of this often but I love this idea.

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Don’t get caught up in strict definitions of what it is to be a successful runner.  What makes you successful?  Most do not try to be Olympic athletes so be proud of what you are doing no matter the distance, pace or location.  Let running make you feel extraordinary.

So if you were going to devise a first-ever running event, what would it be?   What would you call it?

It would be a women’s race (either a 10k or ½ marathon) and course it would be called The Run Like a Girl ½ Marathon.  Could it be anything else??  It would allow strollers and have lots of opportunities for spectators to see them.  There would be plenty of chocolate and t-shirts cut for a women’s body.  It would be fantastically fun!

Take It and Run Thursday: Backwards TIaRT - You Ask the Question

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 .... Backwards TIaRT.   It's been too long since we turned around Take It and Run and gave you a chance to pose BOTH the question AND the answer.  Share the one burning question you have about your running and ask other TIaRT readers/contributors for their feedback.

Just add in your name and URL below.

Next weeks theme is .... Common mistakes and cardinal sins of running.   What are some of the most common mistakes you make with your running?  Why?  What did you learn from them?  And of all your mistakes, which ones have you vowed to never to again and would urge other runners to avoid this most evil pitfall.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Runners LoungeCast #14 - Virtual Races

Loungecast logo

After the Freakishly Flexible 5K, I decided that I needed to talk to the race director, the timekeeper and the person for whom we were all running.  Ben, Danica, Nancy and I discuss the logistics of organizing a virtual race, the importance of virtual races and the importance of RBFs in general.  Plus, Nancy gives us an update on how her freakishly flexible self is doing! 

Ben - US Jogger
Danica - Chic Runner
Nancy - Notes of a Non-Runner
Matt - Running Off at the Mind

Download Ep14virtualraces

You can download past Loungecast episodes via iTunes or through the Know How Podcast section in the Lounge

How Do You Learn?

Over my years of running, I have come to realize that all my great running lessons have either come one of two ways.  The easy way or the hard way,

If I sit down and count up and sort out all of my lessons, I find that I have a big pile of lesssons learned the hard way.  I have learned them, or how I like to think about it - earned them - myself.  These lessons came because I ...

  • ran too much,
  • too little
  • too fast
  • too slow
  • didn't eat enough
  • ate too much
  • didn't stretch
  • didn't listen to my body
  • didn't listen to reason
  • didn't know better
  • should have known better
  • didn't think
  • over thought
  • and on and on...

Runners can be stupidly stubborn people when it comes to running. And I think I can say that because I find myself falling into that category most days.  I am a perfectly logical, rational person - until it comes to my running.   And because of that, I have taken myself to school many times to learn the lessons of running.

But I also have a nice pile of lessons learned the "easy way".  Each lesson in the stack has been passed on by another runner.  Lessons of recovery, moderation, hydration, training, racing, stretching, strength training, great music.   These free lessons in running have been passed on quickly and generously from other runners.  Many times, they were lessons THEY learned the hard way and now want to share them with others.  

Before the Lounge, my pile of lessons learned the easy way was quite small.  I had some running friends, but not the 1000's I know and love today.  Now, I find it much easier and less painful to reach out to many of you for advice and information on how to make my running better.   And for that I am thankful and lucky.

This theme in the Lounge this week is "Runners Helping Runners".  From the podcast tomorrow which talks about the support of virtual races, to Take It and Run Thursday which asks runners to post their running questions for others to answer - we hope you can find some lessons you can share and use.  The goal of the Lounge is to make sure your pile of easy lessons always out weigh your earned "hard lessons".    

So how do you learn best?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

FREE Stuff Giveaway: See-Me-Run reflective wear

Our goal at the Runners' Lounge online community is to connect runners with runners and useful running resources.  So we love it when a plan comes together and runners share their experiences and get rewarded with running stuff.

Last week's winners of the Far Gone Greetings were from those who shared their most effective excuses for not running.  Enjoying a set of greeting cards for runners were Emily, Melanie, and Pam,  It was actually a relief to know not everyone needs a running excuse.  But when we do, there are ample running comrades and excuses to support us.  A special thank you to Victoria, the creative dynamo at Far Gone Greeting, for depicting the all-too-real far-gone behavior of runners on her card and poster products.

See Me Run This Week's Giveaway Partner: See Me Run

We all have favorite gear—feels good, fits right, brings good luck—so we tend to wear it regularly.  Now a new partner in safety called See-Me-Run offers reflective transfer images that allow us to convert our favorite running apparel into gear that can be seen in the dark.

An alternative to the “construction-vest” look, See-Me-Run reflective decals are designed to be highly visible while remaining extremely lightweight and fashionable. They take minutes to apply, hold up well in the wash and adhere to a large variety of materials including polyester, cotton, poly/cotton blend and nylon.  In fact, the folks at See-Me-Run have successfully tested namebrand performance apparel such as Under Armour, Nike Dri-Fit, Brooks, Pearl Izumi and other popular wicking performance products. 

Each kit comes with a small extra iron-on which can be used to apply in an inconspicuous part of your apparel as a test. It’s wonderful to find a product that let’s us run safer wearing clothes that look great and that we already own!

This week See-Me-Run is giving away a package of reflective iron ons to three runners. To be eligible to win, just contribute your input this week.  All Loungers who respond to the Giveaway Question between February 23 – 28 will be eligible to win.  Runners’ Lounge will select and announce the winner on March 2nd.

This Week's Giveaway Question

With our giveaway focused on making our running safer, we thought it might be interesting to share our running stories of run-ins with drivers, pedestrians, hecklers, cyclists, animals, getting lost, or even getting found!  Tell us your story AND what you learned from the experience.

Go to the Lounge Forum to share your best running war story and what you learned.  Your response can be as short as a sentence and as long as a blog post or story.

Leave your response today to become eligible!

Open Mic Friday: Meet Xenia

Open_mic_friday She’s far more than a runner and a blogger.  She’s a scholar constantly looking over her shoulder fearing her haunting dissertation.  She writes epic parodies of classic stories using a cast of blogging personalities. 

She shrouds her identity in mystery and we don’t even know her name.  Put her all together and she has to be the most fun-loving, sarcastic, well-traveled, starving doctorate student and anonymous, irreverent blogger on the planet.

This week’s guest opens up to share her running, blogging, and life story, yet never reveals her identity.  The pics she shares are deliberately not of her, but of the places where she lives and runs. Welcome Xenia!

Trowel Walk us through your journey of how you ended up a doctoral candidate in archeology in England.

As with my running, it was done on a lark. I was finishing my masters degree in the states and applying to a bunch of US doctorate programs when I thought, well why not apply to one of the best archeology programs in the world just to see what happens. I did, they accepted me and I’ve been in academic hell ever since.

What would be your dream job after completing your degree?

You’re all expecting me to say Indiana Jones, aren’t you? Well, I have no skill with a bull whip nor do I have a particular fondness for being shot at, though I do look pretty fetching in a fedora. I just want to be a staid university professor. Get paid peanuts, achieve tenure, bully undergraduates. You know, the usual.

What’s the story behind your choice of virtual name Xenia?Xenia

Xenia means ‘hospitality to strangers’ in Greek. It was the name I gave to my one and only car, a blue 1996 Chevy Corsica. She wasn’t pretty, but she got me from point A to B for four good years. Then she tried to commit suicide (bad brakes) and take me with her, so I donated her traitorous carcass to PBS before I moved to England. Yay for tax right-offs!

Your running career began after you’d begun your doctorate.  What running experiences will you miss when you leave the UK?

I live in a very scenic small town in England with plenty of parks and trails. I’ll miss the beautiful scenery and especially the history I get to pass by every day on a run.

10k Race What running experiences are you looking forward to back in the U.S.

I’m a superficial soul, so I can’t wait to rake in the race swag that everyone in North America seems to get. I’ve only scored three shirts after having run in eight races and it’s not like registration fees are cheaper over here. I don’t even want to wear the shirts really. I just want them to clog my dresser drawers as a reminder of how bad-ass I am for being a runner.

Care to confide how much time you devoted to writing The Wizards of Blogland?

Way too long. As someone pointed out, I probably could have written another chapter of my dissertation in the time it took me to write WoB. Next time I’m going to use a much shorter storyline.

Can you give us a preview of what your next epic story will be?

I never properly skewered Vanilla in WoB, so he’ll definitely play a primary role in the next story. I also want to torture Nitmos some more, mostly for taking such a long blogosphere sabbatical. What will the story be? Well, Hansel and Gretel comes to mind but I’m open to other suggestions too.

Florence Marathon Best race experience?  

The Asics British 10K London Run. There was no official timing, virtually no race swag, and it even rained for part of the race, but it was so much fun running with 25,000 other people through the streets of London. At least half the runners were in costume too which just added to the enjoyment of the day. Particularly when those costumes called for significant amounts of nudity. I’m looking at you, Mr. G-String Man.

Any quirky running traits?

I have to chew gum while I run. It’s mainly to show off my mad multi-tasking skillz.

What gets you excited about running?

A day when the temperature isn’t at or below freezing, new running shoes, seeing the number of miles I’ve accrued since I first started running, stress, happiness, seeing other people run, reading other runners’ blogs.

University What’s your secret to running success?

Being a cheapskate. Slapping down money (whatever the currency) for a race registration ensures that I’ll be there on race day. And since running is one thing I can’t b.s. my way through, I’m definitely going to train for it.

Favorite race?

My favorite race was my first race—the Blenheim 7K. Not only do I love that it’s such an odd distance for a race, but I also enjoyed the fact that I got to trample the grounds of the Duke of Marlborough’s beautiful estate, Blenheim Palace. I get to repeat this desecration in May. I can’t wait!

Current running goals?

In general, it’s to be faster which shouldn’t be too difficult since I currently run at a pace that just barely passes for running. Ultimately, I want to run a sub-30 minute 5K, a sub-60 minute 10K and a 4:30 marathon. All reasonable goals and ones I hope to achieve within the next year or two. I also really want to run in a Turkey Trot, but that’s not going to happen until I’m stateside again.

Greatest running moment?

Most people would probably think it’s completing the Florence marathon last November. Even though that is one of my proudest accomplishments, my greatest running moment occurred on February 28th, 2008—the day I first ran two miles together. I will always remember how happy I was that day. It still brings a smile to my face.

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

I’d love to meet up with everybody. The RBF community is responsible for my running addiction and it wouldn’t continue as strongly as it does without them. Fortunately, I get to meet and run with Chia next month at the Bath half marathon. Out of everyone else, the two people that stick out most in my mind are Lily On The Road and Marcy from I Signed Up For This. Lily graciously provided me with a training plan when I was preparing to run my first half marathon. She’s the best coach a girl could have and I really want to thank her in person some day. And then there’s Marcy.  She’s hilarious and quickly succumbed to my desperate pleas to join me as a guest on the Runners Lounge podcast so I didn’t have to face the big boys alone. Also she’s super speedy, so I figure if I just lash some ropes around her and hang on, I’ll be a faster runner.

Most embarrassing running moment?

On a long run I had to stop for a loo break, so I headed into the woods for some coverage. Right when I was about to drop trow, I noticed a sleeping bag-covered figure off to my left. I realized I was about to pee next to a snoozing homeless man. Needless to say, I tiptoed away and found somewhere else to do my business.

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

To go back in time and start running earlier in life. I had no idea how much fun I was missing out on.

Take It and Run Thursday: Strength Training Made Simple

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 .... 6 1/2 minute strength training for runners.   If you could spend 6 1/2 minutes each day building your strength to benefit your running, what would you do?  What are some of the most effective strength training exercises you do to help you run faster, longer or more comfortably?  How do you fit them into your regular running and other workouts?  Share your favorite, simple strengthening tips.  Do tell. Just post your name and URL below.

Next weeks theme is .... Backwards TIaRT.   It's been too long since we turned around Take It and Run and gave you a chance to pose BOTH the question AND the answer.  Share the one burning question you have about your running and ask other TIaRT readers/contributors for their feedback. 

Click here for a list of great posts on strength training.

Runners LoungeCast #13 - Laugh Tracks - We're Organized! (sort of)

Mike's here!  Ian's here!  Matt's here!  But where the heck is Amy?  We thought that The Bachelor got over at 10pm.  Loungecast logo

We try out our new format for LaughTracks.  Topics include timing chip etiquette, the "Running Lexicon", those annoying Pizza Hut commercials and the three of us making fun of Amy. 

If you have any suggestions or questions for the show, feel free to email me at runningoffatthemind@gmail.com


Ian - Half-Fast

Mike - Feet Meet Street (it's still active!)

Amy - The Lawson's Did Dallas!

Matt - Running Off At the Mind

Download LT4FINAL

Past Runners Lounge podcasts can be downloaded from iTunes or from the Lounge Podcast page.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Don't Underestimate 5 Minutes of Strength Training

I am a relatively reasonable person.  I know the logic that shows that a stronger core equals better running.   And even if I wasn't swayed by the scientific arguments, I surely would be reminded as I reach for my monthly edition of Runners World and see the great abs of world class runners.

But even with the healthy doses of logic and emotion, I must admit that vigorous strength training falls to the bottom of my list of running to do's.  I had tried to add it into my running training, but find that I could conveniently find myself out of time or energy before I completed what I needed to do.

In an effort to outsmart myself, I finally found a way to marry my running and strength training in a consistent manner.   Now, after all my short runs (for me, anything under 6 miles), I have a pact to take a 5 minute "active cool down".  For 5 minutes, I alternate sets of pushups and situps, resting 15 seconds between sets.  When I started, I found that I could do small sets of 5-10 of each.   But as the weeks went on, I found the size of my sets and repititions have increased.   I still haven't swayed from the 5 minute deadline.  I find it is fun to see how many I can pack into 5 minutes versus the prior week or prior workout.

And when the 5 minutes is done, I treat myself to a 30-60 second stretch on my back.   It feels so good to lay down and stretch out!

While I still try to add in a more traditional strength training exercise day, I have found that these 5 minute sessions have made me a bit stronger.   I don't underestimate 5 minutes anymore.

This week in the Lounge, we have strength training as our topic for Take It and Run Thursday.  Take a few minutes to jot down your strength training tips and drop them off in the Lounge Strength Training section or as part of Take It and Run Thursday.   Show off your advice of how you fit a good strength training routine in a few minutes a day.

Here are a couple great articles you might also enjoy:

Strength Training - Keep it simple for runners

5 Tips for a Healthier, Stronger Core

How to do a pullup when you can't do a pullup


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Running Advice & Tips: Pay it Forward

We know the success of our running comes from within.  Growing as runners is about lessons learned in the midst of runs and races, triumphs and setbacks. 

Book project 4 Never wanting to waste a lesson learned, the Runners' Lounge Book Project is out to bottle and share as many kernels of running wisdom as possible.

With a few weeks to go, we hope runners everywhere are planning to participate—a way of paying forward to others what we have learned.  Here are three ways to get behind the book project.

  • Tell a running friend.  We all know runners who can capture their enthusiasm in words.  Invite a friend to share their lessons learned with what they’ve learned about running.
  • Enlist your local running club.  Pass along the details of the project to your local club, encouraging runners in your community to submit their “If-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now” pearls of wisdom.
  • Give your local media the scoop.  The media loves to cover health, fitness, and lifestyle news, particularly when locals are involved.  Forward the details of the book project to your local editors and even to talk show hosts.  Or send to Betsy (betsywasser@gmail.com) a contact name and number and she’ll follow up.  The project’s ace publicity team, lead by Betsy, scored some big coverage as the project was picked up by the LA Times in a blog post

Finally, please consider submitting an article for publication in the book.  How?  Simply make a short list of the keys to your running success and enjoyment and then explain them to the rest of us.  The project is built around this question:

If you could tell other runners what you know now that you wished you'd known when you started out running, what would it be?

You probably have no idea how you can help impact another runner trying to achieve a goal, recover from an injury, or find answers to enjoying running more fully.

The Runners' Lounge Book Project is a chance to minimize some of the trial and error of running by sharing your insights and talents and joining your fellow runners to write about running, be published, raise money for charity—all while collaborating on an exciting, innovative book on running.

Let's continue the outpouring of running advice!

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