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July 2009

Open Mic Friday: Meet Lauren


This week's guest is a delight to know.  New to running, but she's already totally immersed in the challenge and success.  She's ramped up quickly to longer distances and shares a lot of excitement for running in her blog, When I get a little, run run run.  She loves her races and turns them into adventures and fun.  Currently, she's training for a marathon in the heat of the Southwest, but not complaining.  That's enough of an intro.

Open Mic Friday readers, meet Lauren!

Your running story is impressive. You’ve been running a relatively short time and you recently completed a HM. Tell us more about your progress.

RNRAZ finish I don’t know that impressive, running, and I all belong together in one thought!  Wow!  [shocked and flattered] 

I don’t come from a particularly athletic background.  In fact, I dreaded the annual one mile run we had to complete in high school.  Even though it was just once a year, it was enough to strike fear into my heart every time, and I struggled to beat the 15 minute cut off.  

In college I was a rower for the crew team because I loved to be on the water and share the camaraderie of the team.  When I wasn’t rowing in my final 2 years, focusing on school work, thesis, travel, and friends, I lost every last bit of fitness I had and packed on some extra pounds.  After school, I knew I had to get back into shape, I knew I wanted to challenge myself, and I decided to run the RNR Arizona half, pretty much out of nowhere.  I gave myself 6 months to train, starting with the Couch-to-5k plan, and built up from there.  In the last year I’ve run about a dozen races, from a miserable first 5k to the half marathon, and recently my second half marathon where I managed a PR well beyond my goals

Tell us what you’re looking ahead to.

I’m currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October, which will be my first marathon!  I have a few fun races scheduled between now and then, including a redemption run of my first 5k a year ago and a 15.4 mile trail run I’m using as a long training run. 

Mcm logo Why did you choose MCM?

From the time I started running a year ago, I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to do a full marathon, but I didn’t allow myself to really think about it until after RNRAZ.  My fiance’s family is a Marine Corps family – most notably his grandfather and late grandmother – and I really wanted to do this race as my first full marathon as a way to honor them and to have a stronger connection with his family. 

What are you most excited about running MCM?  Most nervous about?

I’m really excited for the challenge of the distance, and I want to prove to myself that I can do it.  My fiancé has decided to run the race too, so it’s very exciting to be able to go through the process with him and to see him progress.  I’m also very excited because DC is close to our home in PA, and I’m hoping to see all sorts of friends/family as well as a few blogger friends! 

I’m nervous about logistics of traveling and the race, but I know a lot of that is out of my control.  I’m also nervous about completing my really long training runs in the Phoenix summer heat.  I’m a slow runner, so they are going to take me a long time.  I’ll be up early to run for sure. 

B2B 005 You recently ran the famous and fabulous Bay to Breakers.  Most runners will never have a chance to run such a quirky race. Describe it for us.

Bay to Breakers is one part race, one part giant drunken costume party, run through the streets of San Francisco.  It’s one of the oldest and largest races in the country, at 98 years old this year’s race had about 30,000 participants.  Years past have had up to 110,000.

There are big name elite racers at the front of the pack, tearing through the city for big prize money.  In addition to final cash awards, there’s also an award for the first person to reach the top of the Hayes Street hill – a massive uphill from miles 2-4.

The center of the pack has a middle ground of people who want to have fun but run as well.  This is where I was this year.  The back of the pack is just one giant party with crazy costumes, nude old guys, floats, and plenty of booze.  This group traverses along the streets, lined with tailgaters, and maybe half of them complete the full distance.  

There are so many traditions that go along with the race; I recommend grabbing a group of friends, researching it all so you don’t miss out, and experiencing it for yourself.  And don’t run for a fast time, run for a fun time. 

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

RNRAZ I’ve learned that I really am an engineering nerd.  I can’t get enough of all of the number crunching that goes along with running.  I’m constantly reviewing different plans, distances, paces, races, splits, trends, totals… I can’t help myself.  Regarding running itself, I’ve learned that it’s really what you make of it.  Running can be casual and fun, it can be nerve-racking and competitive.  It will give back what you give to it.   

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

Most of my family limits their knowledge to ‘sometimes she runs pretty far and I don’t know why’ which I think is funny.  My friends are pretty active, outgoing kids.  I know my BFF is very surprised and proud of what I’ve done and she’s recently ran her first 5k!  Otherwise, I’m just like everyone else – just slower and occasionally further.   

BFF Wedding Any quirky running traits?

I pick up on every smell around me when I’m running.  Most of the races I’ve done have a smell or set of smells associated with them.  The Grasshopper Bridge 5k in Phoenix ran through a development. There was a house doing laundry that was clean and fresh, and then 3 others cooking bacon – it made me hungry!  

RNRAZ was pretty miserable in this regard, since it was such a crowded race.  Every few minutes I’d pass someone with really bad smelling sweat or BenGay all lathered up.  There was a lot a gagging.  Since I’m so slow, the Cytomax spilled at all the aid stations had turned sour (and slippery!). 
I think the real reason that I run road races though – I love the smell of fresh rain on hot pavement, and this is exactly what you get at most water stations!  Best. Smell. Ever. 

What gets you excited about running?

I love looking forward to the challenge, and then conquering it.  I always know that I’ll feel good when I’m done.  I also get really excited when sharing running with my running partners, both real and virtual.

IronGirl Favorite distance?

I like the half marathon distance because it’s a manageable challenge.  Can’t wait to see how the marathon treats me though! 

Greatest running accomplishment?

I’m really proud of my recent PR at the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon.  I was hoping to best RNRAZ by 3 minutes, and I ended up taking off almost 8 – completely surprising myself in the process.  I feel that I started to learn how to fuel and pace myself well in training for the race, and I implemented it well! 

Current running goals?

Survive the marathon, and break 30 minutes in the 5k before the end of the year.  Speed’s obviously not my thing, but I’m going to do it!

Non- running and non-blogging interests?

Spending time with my fiancé and puppy, roadtrips and camping, hiking, miscellaneous art projects, and photography – luckily all of that can more or less be done at once on a good weekend!  There’s something about exploring new places and watching the country go by on a long drive that’s pretty fantastic. 

Running hero?

A friend from college ran on the varsity team year round while being an active student leader, completing one of the hardest majors at Penn State, in the honors college, and attending / throwing our fun parties.  He’s working full time as an engineer and running at a near elite level in his spare time.  We didn’t appreciate what he did while in school, but I think I can speak for our whole group of friends that we all are truly inspired and in awe of him. 

Greatest running moment?

The morning of my birthday this year, I went out early to do intervals.  When I turned around for the return portion of my out-and-back, there was the most stunning sunrise unfolding and I got to watch it as I ran.  It’s mornings like those that make me feel very satisfied with knocking out early morning runs, and it was a perfect start to my birthday.

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

I’d love to have the freedom to take time and travel to races, and to take my friends along with me, swapping them around every few runs.  I had friends fly from the East Coast to Phoenix and then we drove to SF for Bay to Breakers, taking the scenic route and 19 hours to get there.  Pretty darn fantastic.  For Bryce Canyon, the fiancé and I did another roadtrip, about 8 hours one way and camped.  So much fun. 

Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s ok to walk.  I’m slow, and I do walk in training and occasionally in racing.  In the end, I still cover the same distance that everyone else does.  I’m learning what works best for me, and running as I am now would not have been possible without the option to walk.   

Best running advice you’d like to share?

Find a plan and a race (or lots of races).  The accountability of “3 miles today, 6 miles on Saturday” is what really keeps me going.  

And find some really great people to share your running with.  If it weren’t for the support system of other runners around me, both real and virtual, I would not be where I am today. 

Take It and Run Thursday: Changing it Up!

Take_it_and_run_thursday Welcome to Take It and Run Thursday! 


Change is good!

At least, that is what Tom and I tell ourselves each day.   After a year and a half of Take It and Run Thursdays, we decided it was time for a change to keep it fresh.  After reaching out to some Loungers from ideas, we stumbled upon a great new twist.   Starting next week, here is how TIaRT will be evolving.

  • Instead of the question or theme being posed by Tom or I, it will be generated by you. 
  • Each week, a runner will have the chance to "sponsor" TIaRT and offer a question, a theme, or a current running dilemma they are dealing with and ask the Lounge to help them with it.
  • As for the "sponsor" part - no worries - we aren't talking about money.  The only thing we ask the runner to share is a bit of themselves.   The runner who "sponsors" the week will be asked to do a short post, orvideo clip, or picture slide show to give other runners a "tour" of their running in their community.   We want to learn about you!  We want you to share something about your running, in your town, in your races.
  • And to have a little fun with it, we will send you a Runners' Lounge t-shirt.   We hope you will "Take It and Run" with it!  Pun intended.   Think of it as a bit of Flat Stanley, Where's Waldo or how hometown newspapers ask you to take the paper with you to far away places.   We want the Lounge to get around too!

To get us started, we just need some "sponsors".   Please leave a comment at the bottom if you are interested in sponsoring a week of Take It and Run.   I would love at least four people before we kick it off in the next week or so.

Whatca' think - good change?   We love feedback so let us know if you like this twist or have other ideas for Take It and Run Thursday.

Runners' Lounge Live: Injury Prevention

Frayed Laces is back with some great tips on injury prevention.Runnerslounge live

Run Well: Plantar Fasciitis


We are excited to kick off a new series in partnership with Sports Injury Clinic.  www.sportsinjuryclinic.net   This site has been a well used site by me over the last year as I have worked through various injuries.  It provides the right amount of detail about the injury and tips on treatment as well.   And while we hope you don't have the need for the resources, we are pleased to offer articles in tips in the event you are dealing with a running injury.


Run well logo

Plantar fasciitis is a common running injury, resulting in pain under the heel and arch of the foot. The plantar fascia itself is a broad band of thick fibrous tissue (fascia) which runs from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the forefoot. Its function is to support the arch of the foot and to provide some rigidity to the foot for the propulsion phase of gait.


Plantar fasciitis is sometimes also known as a heel spur, although this is not strictly correct. A heel spur is a bony growth which forms under the heel, at the point where the plantar fascia attaches. A heel spur can be the cause of plantar fasciitis, although in many cases, there is not a heel spur present. Similarly, a heel spur can be symptom free.


The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:


Ø      Pain under the heel which may radiate into the sole of the foot

Ø      Pain is usually worse first thing in the morning or upon standing after long periods of non-weight bearing

Ø      In the early stages pain usually fades as activity increases, although if the condition is left untreated pain may persist

Ø      Pain when pressing around the inside of the heel and sometimes along the arch

Ø      Stretching the fascia may be painful


What causes plantar fasciitis?


Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury, meaning that it gradually comes on over a period of time. It is not caused by one sudden event. If this is the case, you are more likely to be suffering a plantar fascia strain.


The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is very tight calf muscles, which leads to prolonged, and / or high velocity pronation of the foot. This in turn produces repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia leading to possible inflammation and thickening of the tendon. As the fascia thickens it looses flexibility and strength.


Other causes include flat feet (pes cavus), high arches (pes planus), oversupination, or the wearing of unsuitable/unsupportive footwear.




Treatment of plantar fasciitis can be difficult due to the near impossibility of completely resting the foot. However, relative rest from any excessive activities (i.e. running, long periods of walking etc) should be sufficient in all but the worst cases.


Ø      Apply cold therapy to the heel and arch of the foot 3-5 times a day for 10 minutes at a time

Ø      Apply a plantar fascia taping technique which will help take the strain off the fascia during day-to-day activities

Ø      Wear a plantar fasciitis night splint. This will help to stretch out the calf muscles and plantar fascia itself whilst you sleep. This is when the musles usually tighten up, causing pain first thing in the morning.

Ø      Take anti-inflammatory medication (always seek your Doctors advice first)

Ø      Gently stretch the fascia and calf muscles regularly throughout the day

Ø      Massage the fascia using a golf ball (or similar). Only do so if it is comfortable.

Ø      Purchase some insoles for your shoes. If you overpronate, get some with a medial arch support. If you oversupinate, get some shock absorbing ones

Ø      If you have a neutral foot (meaning you do neither of the above), consider using a heel pad (in both shoes so as to avoid a leg length difference!) as a temporary means of reducing pain in the heel.

Ø      Check your footwear isn’t worn out, and if it is....change it!


To stretch the calf muscles, stand facing a wall with a wide stance and the leg to be stretched at the back. Keep the heel flat on the floor and the knee straight as you lean forwards using your hands on the wall to balance you. This stretches the Gastrocnemius muscle, the largest of the 2 muscles at the back of the lower leg. To stretch the smaller Soleus muscle, just bend the back knee slightly. You should then feel the stretch lower down the calf.


To stretch the plantar fascia, gently pull the toes back towards you until you feel a pull in the arch of the foot.


With both of these stretching exercises you should hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat two or three times. Do this 3-5 times a day to get the most benefit.


We always advise seeking professional treatment in order to return to fitness as soon as possible and free from pain! A professional sports injury specialist may also:


Ø      Perform treatments such as ultrasound to aid healing

Ø      Use sports massage techniques to stretch out the calf muscles and plantar fascia

Ø      Undertake gait analysis to see if you overpronate or oversupinate and then prescribe custom orthotics

Ø      Shock wave therapy

Ø      Devise a full rehabilitation program


More extreme treatments include a corticosteroid injection, or surgery, although these tend to be last resort treatments, and should only be used after a lengthy period of thorough, conservative treatment.


For more information on plantar fasciitis treatment and rehabilitation, including a sports massage demonstration, taping technique and further exercises, please visit:


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On The Run: Injury Prevention

Tom is back with some great tips on injury prevention.On the run logo

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On The Run: Dealing With Injuries, Part 3

As I continue on my journey to recovery, I have a few more hard-earned tips on dealing with injuries. On the run logo Here is another episode of Dealing with Injuries.

Running On Food: Pumpkin Bread

This article is part of a new series on Nutrition for Runners.   Heather from the blog, Trials of Training, has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related questions.  She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and is a loves to help runners with their questions.

by Heather

Running on food

Pumpkin Bread Recipe made Easy, and Healthy!

If you love pumpkin bread, here is a healthier version that's easy to make. This bread could work with breakfast, paired with a glass of Skim (or Soy) milk, yogurt, scrambled eggs or fresh fruit. On the other hand, it's sweet enough to make a great dessert or snack!This is the perfect example of still treating yourself to something you love, without sabotaging your diet! 

The recipe even includes whole-wheat flour, adding some extra nutrients and fiber. You'll find all the nutrition information at the bottom.

Pumpkin Bread (makes 12 servings)

1.5 cup All-Purpose flour 
1.5 cup whole wheat flour 
2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 
1.5 cup sugar (you can take this as low as 1.25 cup sugar without affecting taste too much) 
1.5 cans of pumpkin 
2 eggs 
1/8 cup cooking oil

Directions:Preheat oven to 350*. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.  Bake in floured loaf pans for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan, remove from pan and cool for another 10 minutes before slicing.


Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories: 220 
Fat: 2.25g  (Saturated Fat: <0.5 g) 
Carbohydrates: 48.5 g (Sugar: 27 g) 
Fiber: 3.5 g 
Protein: 4.5 g 
Cholesterol: 26 mg 
Sodium: 130 mg 
Calcium: 25 g

*Nutrition information source: Calorie King

Half Marathon Challenge: Week 7 Injury Prevention and Treatment

Half marathon logo5 We are well into week 7 of the half marathon challenge!  This week's topic was injury prevention and treatment and I was joined by Laminator and Steve to talk through their lessons learned.

Loungecast logo

Download Half marathon challenge episode 7 injuries

Take us along with you on your next run or cross training.

And don't forget to join in the fun - every Sunday night at 8 CST/9 EST - we get together on the phone and talk half marathons and running stuff.   No topic to big or small - just runners talking about runnng.

And it is as easy as a phone call.  Dial 1-724-444-7444, and enter call id 53767.

A few links to get you through..

Hi runners, here are a few posts that stood out to me this week:

  • From Writers Block, she had a great post about why she runs. "I run because it is a challenge and it's not easy.  When I run I feel very powerful. My head is clear at the end of a run. My body has been put to the test and my mind feels like it has accomplished something great."    Isn't it funny that sometimes we dread and look forward to the challenge all at the same time?
  • Mark shared a great description of the physical benefits of running on his recent post on his blog, Kendo.   Here is an excerpt - drop by and read the rest.   "There are many reasons why I run. The greatest of which are the health benefits. It took me ten years, but I can finally say I enjoy the actual running itself. "   Isn't it a great day (or year) where we run for a reason AND enjoy it!
  • Collection of great running quotes on the blog, Puma Racing Shoes.
  • Being a huge fan of cookies and beer, I couldn't resist sharing this short but eloquent post from Sun Runner:  "Why I run: so I can drink good beer. Right now I am in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park at the Michigan Brewers' Guild Summer Beer Festival. I look forward to this event all year. In my left hand is a Scotch ale from Copper Canyon Brewery. I am happy. Life is good. So is beer."
  • From Harmony's travels comes a great idea - make a list of the Top 10 reasons why you runs.  In her top ten list are important things like peanut butter cookies, cheese an da quest to find the cleaniest porty potty. 
  • From The Beginning of Something Legendary comes a good reminder.  Sometimes running doesn't feel good physically, but it feels good mentally.  "so I was able to run today. Wow! Did that feel good. Now what might be interesting to you is this: It did not feel good physically. I am a little sore 5 hours later. But it did feel wonderful clearing my head. And that is why I run!
    Exercise just helps you clear you head. I don't care if you like running, or if you are a basketball person, boxer, whatever. Just do something! Get your head cleared!"

FREE Stuff Giveaway + Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Socks...But Were Afraid to Ask

Nothing is so sweet as a great running store

Last week we invited runners to name their favorite running store and explain what they appreciated about that retailer.  We realize more than ever how many running retailers are tremendously dedicated to runners and running in their communities.   The winners of gift certificates to their favorite store are Milanorunner, and Melanie1300.  Thank you to everyone for the wonderful testimonials you shared.

This Week's FREE Stuff Giveaway: WRIGHTSOCK

How do quality, name-brand running socks differ from each other?

What goes into the design and construction of great socks?

What mistake do runners make in selecting socks?

Why is it the smallest, lightest weight, and least expensive running gear we wear means so much to us?

LoungeCast Logo The running socks questions just keep coming...

Recently I sat down with Tom Weber, Director of Sales and Marketing, at WRIGHTSOCK.  Without promoting his brand, Tom took the time to explain some interesting facts that go into designing and making running socks.  He made sense out of fabrics, construction, fit, and why some socks do and don’t provide comfort.  We invite you to listen to the podcast and then go to the forum to leave a comment or question about running socks.

Download Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Socks

Loungers who leave a comment or question related to running socks in this forum will receive a free pair of WRIGHTSOCKS, courtesy of our partners at WRIGHTSOCK, while the supply lasts.

Please leave your comment then email your Runners' Lounge Profile Name, first and last name, mailing address, gender, and shoe size to:


Why is it we don’t ask these questions about shirts and underwear?

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