Meet Lee Brown

In the first part of the book, The Ultimate Runner, Lee's picture of his sons running during a race for the Book cover county team of Worcestershire.   The spirit of young runners is so inspiring and we think his picture captured it beautifully.  We wanted to know a little more about Lee so he shared a bit about his running and the picture.

Why did you start running?

I started running because of my sons. They both run for our local Athletics Club HACC (Halesowen Athletics & Cycling Club). Whenever the young club athletes compete, I try to cover each event from a photography point of view. It soon became apparent that I was unable to run from one side of the cross country course to the other in time to get the desired photo........I was simply too unfit & over weight.  Now I combine both my passions, running & photography.

Best running advice you ever received?

Variety. I’m guilty of having a favorite running route but you can run it to death. Change your route, your company, your pace & embrace the mud when it’s here

Running wisdom you wished you learned earlier in your running?

Only wish I’d realized how good it makes you feel earlier in life.

Being 40 something make you appreciate pre & post running stretches & also the importance of a good warm up & down. Spending the whole working week with a pulled muscle isn’t worth the pain.

Favorite tip you pass along to runners?

Listen to experienced runners. They know what they’re talking about!

Most read/used running book?

It has to be “Athletics Weekly” (UK). I’m usually checking results & seeing how many mentions my sons get but it always has the latest advice & excellent tips.

Favorite running memory, run or race?

My favorite memory is the day I was converted to Athletics. I’m a long established football (soccer) fan & both my sons were being taught in the fine arts of the great game.

A talent spotter approached the school my sons attended asking for them to consider joining the athletics club he represented (HACC). I can remember being pretty against it & almost dismissed it as a waste of time but.......agreed to let my eldest son turn out for the club & take part in a Road Relay competition.

The best teams back would then compete in a national event later in the year. I wasn’t really interested & was more focused on a football match my son was playing in later that day.

My son was part of a Relay team. Each team had three runner each having to complete one leg of the race. I’d made a point of making the team manager put my son in the first leg as I wanted to get away to make sure we were not late for his football match.

The 200 boys on the start line would have to run the 3 mile lap passing over to the 2nd leg runners who would run their lap & release the 3rd leg runner. First team to get all three back won.

I watched as my son sped off to the sound of the gun. He vanished in the distance in the huge crowd of boys.......& then I waited. The marshals dotted around the course reported back the race position & they were announced over the PA system........but I wasn’t listening. I was packing up our belongings & getting ready to go. I thought as soon as he’s over the line we would set off on our way to the football match. I really wasn’t interested in the rest of the race.

I stood along the finishing stretch which was a good half a kilometre long. It was all roped off & lined all the way along with people. I remember thinking “Wow........there’s a thousand people here or more.” At his football match later there would only be around 30 spectators!

I thought I’d set my camera to movie & when my son eventually runs past I’ll catch it on film as he passes the crowds. I planned to carry on filming until he crossed the finishing line & then I was going to pan up to the large clock showing the lap times so he would know his time. We could then go to football & leave this running lark behind.

Eleven minutes had passed when the crowd at the beginning of the home straight began cheering. I looked down the long home straight & in the distance I could make out a boy in a yellow vest being chased down by two other boys. I glanced over at the HACC manager, runners & parents who had gathered along the straight........&, they were all looking at me?

They began getting very animated & pointing down the straight. I dawned on then & there that is was my son. He’d out run all 200 boys & was sprinting away from the other two on the home straight. Every hair on my body stood up.......they are now as I retell the story. I stumbled for my camera, pointed it down the straight & pressed record.

The footage goes like this: 3 blurry runners in the distance.......the crowd screaming at them. The closer they get, the shakier the footage. HACC are shouting at my son “GO ON HARVEY.......ALL THE WAY HARVEY” By this time the camera is recording feet jumping up & down & I can be heard screaming at my loudest (think I sworn once or twice too). As he passes me the camera captures his foot & then it films me as I drop everything & begin running to great him.

It’s funny watching it back......but it also make my eyes well as I remember the emotions I went through. That day I was converted to athletics & every race either of my sons are in, I still react the same.

We stayed for the rest of the race that day........almost forget about the football match.

Your running dream?

My dreams revolve around my kids. My eldest, Harvey Brown has already represented England at Cross Country & plans to Represent GB one day

What keeps you running?

My fitness. My boys. Being part of the athletic community, part of the very rewarding.

How can runners contact you

My flickr Photo page houses my contact details:

My email address is:

Meet the Expert: Shawn Dolan

Shawn is an avid runner and triathlete who has expertise in sport and wellness nutrition, resistance training Book cover program and personal training.  She lent her expertise in resistance training to the book, The Ultimate Runner, to help all runners learn the basics so they can run stronger.

Get to know her a little better through learning about her running:

Why did you start running?
I played soccer growing up and through college. Running was always a part of practice and conditioning for the game. After I  graduated, I decided to train for my 1st 10k, then 1/2 marathon...the rest is history!

Best running advice you ever received?
Run light on your feet

Running wisdom you wished you learned earlier in your running?
Resistance train to prevent injuries and run more efficiently

Favorite tip you pass along to runners?
Some runs are simply for the purpose of watch, HR monitor, Garmin, music

Most read/used running book?
Lore of running (Tim Noakes)

Favorite running memory, run or race?
My first marathon was the St.George Marathon in UT...everyone talks about the last 8 miles as being steep downhill, I trained running downhill in the canyons in UT, but nothing can prepare you for that damage after 20 something miles

Your running dream?
To be able to continue running throughout my life

What keeps you running?
The ability to explore and enjoy the outdoors as well as explore and learn more about myself

How can runners contact you
Facebook, email shawndoloan@hotmailcom

Ultimate Runner Shout Outs

Congratulations to Erin (aka sunmoonstarz in the Lounge), from the blog Eri-thon, for being our weekly winner Book cover in The Ultimate Book review giveaway.  Erin provided a review of the book to become eligible to win books to giveaway to her running friends. 

We love to hear about the contributing authors being mentioned.  Erin had a comment on her post which mentioned one of contributors, Brian, who shared an interview with us last week.   And this week, we noticed this online story from SeaCoastOnline about Brian's story of losing over 100 pounds by running.

Last week, another contributing author, Felicia Schneiderhan, joined a local TV morning show to share her story.  She contributed the story, Love Is Stronger Than Gu, and joined the anchor to talk about her story.   Very cool to see an ordinary runner telling her story to inspire others!

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 (

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 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.

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