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May 2010

If You Are Warm Now, What Are You Going To Do When It's Really Hot Outside?

I lost track of how many times my dad said those words to me.   As a kid, without fail, every late May I would start complaining about how hot it was outside.  It was inevitable since it was freakin' freezing cold all winter here in Iowa so when it hit about 60-70 degrees in May, I would turn into a sweaty gooey mess immediately.

And with one complaint, I would hear him say, "if you're warm now, what are you going to do when it's really hot outside?".   The smart ass response would always be, "Melt I guess"  or  "stay inside".  

But as a grown up runner, my response is different.  I usually freak out a bit and wonder, "What am I going to do when it is really hot outside?"

I am not a hot weather runner.  When it is above 80, my running suffers dramatically.   And I have been through one round of heat stroke and really don't care to live through that again.   So each year, about this time, I did through all the great advice offered in the Lounge around acclimating and running in hot weather.  

Here is a look back at some of the great tips on running in heat.   There are categories on Weather and Environment and Nutrition and Hydration if you want to page through the additional articles on your own.

Get To Know Brian Aldrich

Brian Aldrich or BigB has been a friend of the Lounge for years now.  Joining in forum discussions as well Book cover as podcasts.   So it was an extra treat to see both a story and photo from Brian grace the pages in the book, The Ultimate Runner

Brian offers these words about his running.

Why did you start running?
I started running in September of 2005 after a life long struggle with weight. Since that day in September I have lost approx. 110 pounds and have run 15 races including 4 half marathons and the Great Wall of China Marathon, which to this date is the greatest accomplishment in my life.

Best running advice you ever received?
Stick with it. Not in those words but I have received priceless advice from my parents, who are both runners. It is good to have someone to go to for running advice and I am lucky enough to have 2 in my life.

Running wisdom you wished you learned earlier in your running?
It's ok to take a rest day. Once you get the running legs, you may feel bad when your taking that rest day. The adrenaline is so high that you wish you were running on your rest day. Take full advantage of the rest day and relax! Also drink lots of water, a tip I am currently trying to implement.

Favorite tip you pass along to runners?
Take it slow. The term running has a fast paced connotation to it that makes people want to sprint and run fast. Save yourself from injury and run at your own comfortable pace.

Most read/used running book?
Runner's World, obviously :)

Favorite running memory, run or race?
Great Wall of China Marathon, without a doubt. I have blogged about it and it is the story I feature in the Ultimate Runner Book. There will never be a better marathon story from me than that, unless I somehow one day get to Boston.

Your running dream?
Boston. Who's running dream doesn't contain Boston?

What keeps you running?
Motivation from my parents and my friends. Knowing I motivate others also keeps me going. Looking back at my weight loss journey and how far I've come makes me want to wake up and run everyday.

How can runners contact you
My blog has fallen off the face of the earth, but I am currently working on a way to bring it back, for the mean time @BigBOnTheRoad (twitter) and feel free to shoot me an email (aldrichb@gmail.com)

More Runners...More Stories...More Inspiration

Just because The Ultimate Runner is out on the shelves, it doesn't mean Tom and I think we are done collecting runners' stories.  We will never be done because every runner has a story.  Every runner is an inspiration to us.

While I was taking some time off from the Lounge, I missed the daily stories I heard from runners.  Many runners have dropped me a note to tell me their amazing tales.  Other runners have taken the time to drop them off in the Inspirational Stories section of the Lounge.   If you need a pick me up for your running, a bit of motivation of what running can do, take a moment and read these stories by ExtraOrdinary runners like you.   They will get you running and keep you moving!

RichBear - Rich shares his tale of his battle with weight, dropping from 350 lbs to 170 lbs and becoming a runner in the process.  It is a fabulous testament to what we can do when we put our minds to it.

RunMania - She shares her story of getting through a very difficult marathon.   For those who wonder if they can do a marathon or should do a marathon....read her story.

RunIntoShape - He shares a story of how running transformed him into a...well....a runner.   It is amazing how a little running changes our lives, isn't it?  If your life has changed, read this story and nod along to his story.

Meet the Man Behind The Photo: Brad Presner

Every runner has a story.  Some choose to share them in words and others choose to share insights to Book cover running through photos.  Brad is one of the photographers whose work is included in the book, The Ultimate Runner.

We asked Brad to tell us a little bit about the man behind the camera.

Why did you start running?
I was fresh out of college and feeling really imbalanced in life, having just started working my first full time job. I wasn't getting nearly enough outdoor time or exercise and it was negatively impacting me. A co-worker of mine had done a couple of marathons with Team in Training, and convinced me that running a marathon was doable for someone like me who had never run more than 4 miles. So, I signed up, and in December, 1998 (after a couple of minor bouts with IT Band issues), I crossed the finish line at the Honolulu Marathon.

Best running advice you ever received?
"Go out hard, die like a pig." (my Team in Training Coach on the eve of my first marathon)

Running wisdom you wished you learned earlier in your running?
Running may be the worst enemy to one's yoga practice, but yoga is the best friend of a an avid runner.

Favorite tip you pass along to runners?
There's always someone faster and slower than you. So just go out, have fun, and don't worry about where you finish. That said, starting out slower and getting better over time leaves plenty of room for PRs!

Most read/used running book?
The Triathletes' Training Bible

Favorite running memory, run or race?
Crossing the finish line of the Honolulu Marathon. It was my first marathon, and I had a lot of ITB issues. I ended up walking a good chunk of the race. It took me over 6 hours to finish. But that sense of accomplishment and pride had me hooked. I've been doing races of all kinds and distances since then -- from 5Ks to Ironman triathlons, and the thrill of doing it has never waned for me. And setting the bar at a 6-hour marathon, made future PRs well within reach.

Your running dream?
Qualify for Boston. Complete the Hawaii Ironman.

What keeps you running?
It gives me balance in life. I need the outdoor time. I need to move and sweat. I need to challenge myself to see what I can accomplish. I need the mental and physical stimulation. I need the time to be away from all the stresses of life to think. I need the alone time. I need the social interactions that come with running with like minded people. I need to run.

How can runners contact you
Facebook is probably best

A Salute to Running Moms

Here is a rerun of our annual Salute to Running Moms.....

A salute to the running moms who make running a priority and have the discipline to plan and stick with their training even when real life doesn't cooperate.   And also for the moms who don't.  A salute to the running moms who opt to sleep in an extra 30 minutes after being up all night or skip their run to help with a last minute school project because they know right then something else is more important.Dscn2829

A salute to the running moms who have the strength to eat the right foods at the right times to make sure they have the fuel they need to power their running.  And also the moms who rely on a PB & J sandwich as a prerun staple and left over mac n cheese for a little pick me up.

A salute to the moms who look great in spandex and sport tops - without a coverup - because they are runners.  And also the moms who don't, but wear it anyway because running makes them feel good enough to wear running clothes in public.

A salute to the moms who dig down deep to run hard and competitively in their races and set the bar higher for all women.  And also the moms who run their own race and race to finish just to show their kids it isn't always about winning - it is about finishing what you started.

A salute to the running moms that squeeze in a short run here and a long run there between errands, practices, work and kid crisises and don't miss a beat.  And the moms who also squeeze them in and show up at work, at school, or at home red faced, sweaty, stinky but happy because they got their run in.

A salute to the moms who run so her favorite pair of $100+ designer heels Dscn2831 match the priceless look of great running legs.  And also the moms whose only pairs of $100+ shoes are her favorite running shoes.

A salute to all running moms who could just as easily stop running because it would make life a little easier, but don't, because they know it makes them a better person.  It keeps them healthy when their kids aren't.  It keeps them sane when life is crazy.  It keeps them out of their fat clothes.   And, it gives them personal challenges that are uniquely their own.

A salute to all running moms, regardless of age, speed, ability, or goals who are proud to tell their family and friends they are a runner.   We salute them because they are a role model for their daughters, sisters, and the next generation of running mothers. 

For these running moms, we say thank you for being a runner.

Congratulations to our Winners!

Congratulations to Kittzy and Jensir!   They are the winners of The Ultimate Runner book - one for them and one for a friend for dropping off an idea for a gift for running moms.

A shout out to Jamie and Lil Runner (Natalie) for the reviews of the book this week.   We time know time is precious and we appreciate the time they have set aside to give the book a look and share it with their readers.  Both Jamie and Natalie are our lucky winners of extra copies of the Ultimate Runner to give away to their running friends.

Here are their reviews of the book:

Jamie - Running With Some Sauce On Top:  

Natalie  - Lil Runner

14 Dreamy Gifts for The Running Mom In Your Life For Mother's Day

Yesterday I wrote about some of the simple gifts which can mean a lot to the running mom in your life.  Gifts runners really want Today, I take it up a notch and get into the gifts that cost a few dollars more than the (almost) nothing list, but are worth the money when chosen correctly.

Everyday Dreamy List

This list represents the everyday items I wish would magically appear in my house or car or running trail at just the right time to make my runs even more enjoyable.

1.  New tunes.  I always remember that my play lists are a bit stale about six steps into a 10 mile run.  And then when I get home and remember,  my iTunes account is nearly empty.   Fill 'er up!  Add some dollars to the iTunes (or other music accounts) and as an extra boost - clean up our playlists (if we ask).

2.  Hydration bottle.  A handheld water bottle or belt has been on my belt for sometime now.  Why I don't just buy it...I have no idea.  Not everyone is a fan of these or are super particular about what they might like - so this is one that requires careful questioning to pick out the right one.

3.  Stock of Gu, Powergels, Hammer Gel, etc.  We don't mind eating the kids fruit roll ups and stale Halloween candy for our long runs, but it would be nice to get a few electrolytes and all those other special powers that the real long run magically potions contain.  We just don't get to the store or online in time to remember to buy what we need.  And then stash it in a secret place so little Johnny can't find the chocolate ones.

4.  After Run Shoes.  We aren't quite as young as we used to be.  I know it is hard to tell, but we sure notice it in our feet after our runs.  Give us a soft, yet supportive, open yet somewhat structured, hip pair of shoes for post run.  I  saw a pair of Riders in the May/June Women's Running Magazine - my feet begged me to get a pair - super awesome!  And of course, I droll over the Keen Whisper ads that come into my email.

5.  Massage.  Need I say more.  Need one.  After every run.  I hear it is recommended by 9 in 10 running moms after every run. 

6.  Pedicure.  Since you are thinking about picking up those wickedly cute shoes from gift idea #4 and they are bound to show off more than the tops of our ankles, we are definitely gonna' need a pedicure.  Runners are some of the most beautiful people in the world with the exception of their feet.  They are smelly, calloused, blistered little tug boats that sit at the bottom of our shapely legs and buns.   Help us make our toes feel pretty again. 

7.  Spibelt or running belt.  These cute little spandex shorts we wear don't hold all the things we would love to take along on our runs.  We need a place for our keys, phone, tissue, lip balm, fruit rollup/GU, etc, etc.   

8.  Subscription to a running magazine.  I look forward to my monthly dose of Runners World, Running Times and Women's Running.   Give the gift that keeps giving!

Once a Year (or Lifetime) Dreamy Gifts

1.  Running Vacation.  We love to go on vacations.  We love to run.  Put the two things together and we will be the happiest running mom alive.

2.  Shopping Spree at Running Store.  Give us free rein (or at least a big gift card) at our favorite local running stores - when we don't need shoes.  Say these words, "Take your time and buy the running clothes you really WANT.....".   Believe it or not, yes we do need more socks, more running bras, a few more perfect shorts and pants for all seasons and conditions, and of course...the perfect running jacket.

3.  Full Spa Treatment after the big race.   Forget a one off pedicure or massage.  Go big and send us away for a day or two for the works.  The face stuff, the feet stuff, the massage, the special meals, the expensive wine and chocolates.   There are places that even mix spas with running vacations.  Ohhhh...

4.  Medal showcase.  Our medals, finish line cups, tshirts, etc all need a special place.  Have them framed or showcased in a way that is special to us (and goes with the decor).  If you don't know, ask an expert.

5.  Running t-shirt quilt.  We have enough t-shirts to make blankets for the Duggars....yes we know we have too many.  But they are all really special.  Help us sort through them and come up with our really special stack to be made into a t-shirt quilt.

6.  Garmin or Watch.  Runners are either technology enabled or not.  It doesn't seem like there is a lot of middle ground.  I am not a watch or Garmin person but I know so many runners who rave about how much a Garmin helps them improve and track their running.  In fact,most runners name their Garmins.  Yes, that is how much they like them.   How do you know if your runner wants a Garmin or super fancy running watch?  Trust me, you would know.  They would tell you all the time.   You would probably even know what they would name it.

Ten Things Running Mom's Really Want For Mother's Day That Cost (Almost) Nothing

Tom and I have been providing lists for friends and families of runners off and on over the last few years as a Gifts runners really want public service to runners.  Runners have a tendency to be somewhat reserved in just asking for what they want - we can be be an enigma to our friends and family - must be that all that "alone time" with our thoughts while running makes us weird.   So we have taken it upon ourselves to collect gift ideas and share with others. (Hey - There is a whole category in the Lounge on gift ideas for runners!)

I have been a runner for more years than being mom.  And now that I have been a mom for 10 years, I really can't remember not being a mom.   Put those two facts together and I can't remember the time when I wasn't a running mom.   So, in my mind, that makes me a near expert on the topic of what mom's really want for Mother's Day.  

But, I could be off base so if you haven't had the chance, drop by the forum today or Wednesday and leave your idea on what running moms really want for Mother's Day to make your self eligible for the chance to win the book, The Ultimate Runner, for you and a friend.

Here's my list....feel free to add on....

1.  Things that make us smell good after running.    Yes, we know we smell funky after a run and we can almost stink after a long run in the summer.   In fact, sometimes we can downright offend even ourselves.  So give us some of the good soaps, bubble baths, mists, and sprays for us to use to pamper ourselves after the runs.   If you don't know what we like, we love a chance to go shopping for it ourselves if given some time.  Regardless of what the kids tell you, they don't really know what fragrances we like best as they have a tendency to pick out stuff that smells like Great Aunt Mildred or Great Grammie Vivian.   Both who smell like fake flowers from Walgreens drenched in $1 perfume. 

2.  Time to use the good stuff you bought us.   Ok moms out there, raise your hand for the number of times you have been fully able to shower and clean up after runs.  Hold 'em up high....let me count them.   Looks like it is a 1 in 10 chance.   You complain about us stinking, but it is because we rarely have enough time to run AND shower.  There's soccer, gymnastics, baseball, school pickup, groceries, and on and on.   So the gift of time would be great.  And if that breaks the bank to give us time - splurge on a box of baby wipes for our car.  And the good ones - no skimping.

3.  A good book to read or video to watch after a long run.   So many choices, where to start....oh, I know, I know...  The Ultimate Runner.  Come on, you had to see that one coming.  But seriously, most runners are readers and do like something to do to after a run to relax the legs and body.   You can go with the classic running books (see this list the Lounge built ) or go with my favorite Once a Runner.  Pure runner bliss!   And another book shout out for running gardeners - Easy Container Combos - fantastico!  Videos are great too!  Grab a favorite movie, or a Instant Download Netflix subscription so your runner doesn't even need to get up from the couch.

4.  Time to read the book or watch the movie.  We are so well aware of the amount of time we spend My red reading chair running that we hate to take more time for ourselves when we get home.   So help us relax.  Give us some time to crash and read the book or watch the movie.   Get us an extra comfy pillow, blanket or chair.   See this handsome red devil on the right... That's my reading chair for just such an event...as rare as it happens...I still live for those moments when I can sit in it and read something besides Dr Seuss.

5.  A place to celebrate our running memories.  Look closely above the chair - that is my small space in the house devoted to my running.  My lovely husband mounted my old medals in a frame last year.  And the picture is a one time only signature print from my god daughter a few years ago.  And when it is cold, I drag out of the footrest a running t-shirt quilt.  I am in running memory heaven.  Give the mom runner in your life a place to look back and remember what they have done.  It doesn't need to be fancy - but it does need to be about her.

6.  Drinks and snacks.   Runners are usually creatures of habit. They like about the same things to eat or drink before or after a race.  They go to about the same trails or clubs.  So treat them to a gift certificate to make it easy for them to stop and pick up their favorite drink or snack before or after their run.  My kids treated me to a $10 gift certificate a while back.  It took me 8 long runs to use it up - that was nice!

7.  Listen to our race report.  We know that after the first major run or race in our life, our race reports started to sound about the same to you.  We are pretty keen to your level of actual listening when we prepare to respond to the question, "How was your run?"  which we can interpret to mean "So glad you didn't kill yourself out there, good to see you home, now let's get on with the day."  For the next race, listen to our stories.  They are really good ones.  Even the ones about the porty potty's, the big guy with the little spandex shorts, and the 8 year old girl and old lady who out sprinted us to the finish.

8. Give us a field trip.  Before we were moms we ventured out to some really cool trails, out of the way of our daily chores and commute.   After motherhood, our runs have had a tendency to be scheduled in more convenient places and times.   Give us the gift of a field trip to go run on our favorite out of the way trails.  And even better - join us or send us with a friend we never have a chance to run with anymore.

9.  Become our personal fan club and cheerleader for race day.  We appreciate when you come to races.  And we appreciate when you stay home with kids so we can race.  Really, we do.  But for mothers day, step it up a notch and do the unexpected.  Make a big dorky sign.   Have the cute kid hold the ultimate "I love my mom cause she is a runner." which will make all the other running moms start to blubber like babies while they run by and mutter, "wish my kids and husband were out there."   Give us flowers at the finish.  Offer to hold our sweaty socks or extra shirt.  Or even better, have ready our absolute favorite food we stopped eating weeks ago in the name of a PR. (what were we thinking!)  And if you are going for "best husband/friend ever" - send us a card or note when we are still training - for no reason at all - but to encourage us to keep running.  (Here is a card we sell a lot of on line!)

10.  Let us take a nap.  Lordy, the granddaddy of all wishes of running moms.  Especially of those moms training for any kind of race.  We get dog tired.   If we get to take a shower, I guarantee many of us wish we could crawl into bed for just a few minutes after we are in our clean, comfy clothes.  Just a few winks...a little shuteye...close our eyes for a few minutes....What a dreamy thought.

Today is The Day - The Ultimate Runner is Alive!

Book cover Today is the day when The Ultimate Runner is on shelves and ready for runners to read and enjoy!

It's a special day for Tom and I, not because our names are on the front cover, but because over 50 stories, photos and expert tips - from ExtraOrdinary runners like you - are now packaged and can be shared.

We are so excited that these running authors have their stories in the hands of other runners.   Some of these authors you know from past stories in the Lounge and some are new - but all are incredible.

Here is the list of the contributors - stop by and congratulate them on sharing a piece of their running with others.  This is their day!

The Story Writers:

The Photographers:

  • Lee Brown
  • Dave Getzschman - on his site
  • Paula Jansen - on her site
  • Ron Leonhardt
  • Don Lundell - on his site
  • Bud Morton - on his site
  • Brad Presnet
  • Denis Prezat
  • Michael Scott

The Experts:

Which hurts more - running or not running?

On the running schedule last week was 3 medium runs and 1 long run.   All in preparation for my favorite annual event of Dam 2 Dam in June.  (Hey you - if you every wanted to do it but worried about finishing - they just extended the course to 3 1/2 hours!  Dam to Dam race organizers - you are my hero for ordinary runners!) 

Earlier in April, my running had been almost....dare I say it....consistent.   I had really worked hard to get in my runs.

But life over the last few weeks has been topsy turvy again.

Last week instead of 3 medium runs and 1 long run, my running schedule looked more like:

  • 3 dozen cookies (for boy scout bake sale) and 100 cake balls.
  • 55 hours at work
  • 8 hours in the ER with Jim and many other hours worrying
  • Countless kid activities

The only running I did was to run kids to activities, or run to get them to or from school, or run after chickens who tried to escape their pen.

So today, I am creaky and achy.  My hips hurt from sitting all week.  My legs are feeling flabbing and weak.  My back is sore from hunching over a computer.  My mental files are in complete disarray.

Sure, I have a few aches and pains after running.  But I am starting to believe that not running actually hurts more. Ok, I know that not running hurts more.

Crossing my fingers that running stays in my plans this week!


Was able to get in 10 miles this morning!  And it was fabulous!

My husband insisted that I get in my run around the other things planned.  It was the I'm-trying-to-be-nice-about-it-but-you-really-need-to-go-on-a-run-because-your-nonrunning-mood sucks conversation.

I guess my lack of running has spilled over to my attitude at home.

Whew - feel better now!

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