May 17, 2011

Joggling Life

Sorry for my recent absence.  And sadly, this is likely not the end of my dereliction of duty.  In the past week or so, I've:

  • Found an apartment in Seattle
  • Went home for my grandfather's funeral
  • Turned 30
  • Graduated from medical school
  • Entertained my family
  • Packed up all of my belongings

Tomorrow I hit the road for a couple weeks of family time and then head to Seattle from there.  These are exciting times but busy.  I've been squeezing runs into my schedule when & where I can.  Sometimes my "training" schedule is fairly haphazard but I definitely need those runs to maintain my sanity.  (Yesterday my mom practically pushed me out the door to run because I was getting grouchy.)  I'm beginning to think I should take up joggling in order to be able to squeeze more things into my schedule.

What happens when you get busy?  Do the runs get cut out or is that when the runs are a must have?

May 8, 2011

Cool Kids Run in Costume

On my recent flight I was catching up on the last few months of Runner's Worlds and came across a picture of a woman running in a Tinkerbell costume.  As you know, I'm a big fan of costumes at races.  I've run in them once or twice.  (Ok.  Maybe more than that.  At least 4 times.)  The exact picture I saw in RW isn't currently online - and since I'm out of town I can't scan it - but you'll get the gist from these pictures:

She's wearing a Tinkerbell inspired costume!!!  And she came in 1st place for women!  Talk about awesome.

But the funny thing is that when I saw her picture I thought she looked familiar.  Like I'd seen her before or something.  And then it dawned on me... She also won Little Rock.  And Tupelo.  Both of which I ran.  In fact, Spazz & I actually chatted with her in Little Rock at the post-race party.  And in Tupelo, after the race she changed into chaps, a hoster & water guns and was running her friends into the finish line.  My kind of gal.

May 7, 2011

Dreadmill Distraction

What I see when I look at a treadmill.
Living in New Orleans, I don't have to use the treadmill often.  When I do, it's typically not during the winter unlike most of the country.  And being an adamant hater of the dreadmill, I only resort to it under dire circumstances:

1.  Thunderstorms (I don't wanna die)
2.  Heat index >110°F/43°C (Still don't wanna die)

Yeah.  That's about it.  And #2 I can be flexible on.  The only other circumstance is MAYBE if I'm really in a time crunch and can't get a run in otherwise.

I've run in downpours, sweltering temperatures, snow storms (when visiting Cleveland)... anything to avoid feeling like a hamster on a wheel.

My brain on a treadmill
When I do get on a treadmill, my battle is to avoid the constant urge to quit.  The whole run I find myself staring at the "stop" button.  It's like there's a magnetic force pulling my attention to STOP.  I've tried music.  I've tried TV. I do best when I'm rocking to music and watching TV with closed caption.  It's the best I can do to max my brain out on distraction.  Unfortunately, it's hard to find TVs with CC which loses my attention rapidly.

TV distraction of choice at the gym:

  • News:  Yes, the Daily Show counts.  I'm a dork and enjoy watching the news.  Plus, they often have those scrolly things at the bottom so I can read if there's no closed caption.
  • Soccer:  I grew up playing soccer, so that's part of it.  The only part is... have you seen soccer players!?!?  Talk about distraction.  (And have I mentioned that Seattle has a MLS soccer team?  Talk about making it hard to focus at a new job!)

Thank you, Vanity Fair, for this lovely distraction.  Maybe I should post this over the stop button.
Might kill my desire to finish early...

What are your thoughts about the treadmill?  Necessary evil or just evil?  What kind of distractions do you use?

May 6, 2011

Over the Hill

In June I'm moving from New Orleans to Seattle.  Among the many differences between the two cities, there is a significant different in the elevation.  New Orleans is flat.  Really, really flat.  The elevation range here is only -6.5 to 20 ft.  (I'm pretty sure most of the city only ranges -6 to +10 or so, and the levees are skewing the number listed above.)  As a runner, I've become accustomed to thinking of speed bumps as hills.

Seattle, on the other hand, is FULL of hills.  In fact, neighborhoods are known for their hills and directions often come in the form of the relationship to hills.  As in, "yeah, it's just on the other side of Queen Anne Hill" rather than "it's West of here."  Tuesday I walked over 11 miles in the process of apartment hunting.

Holy mother of all that is painful!

My legs hurt WAY more today than they did after the Country Music Marathon 1 week ago.  I woke up this morning and wondered if I'd been sledgehammered in my sleep.  This is going to take some getting used to.  But I won't let the hills beat me.  In the next couple months, I want to start eating hills for breakfast, chewing them up and spitting them out.

Did you ever have to adjust to hills?  How long did it take you?

May 5, 2011

It must be true...

I was sent an article the other day about rehydrating after races.  I thought about looking up the original article to confirm, and then decided I'd rather not look at the hard facts.  I don't want to find any flaws in their logic.

Water is always a good choice to rehydrate after working out, but researchers suggest beer is better

Talk about good news!  Now they just need to study gorging on Easter candy as a method for carb-loading.  I know how I'm going to rehydrate after the Seattle RnR Marathon...

May 4, 2011

Ulterior motives

I bet this guy is volunteering on National Trail Day.
As many of you know, National Trail Day is June 4 and there are volunteer opportunities all over the country.  It's a great way to give back, preserve amazing trails and meet hot like-minded people.*

Beautiful trails, in more ways than one.

*Outdoorsy people are usually pretty nice to look at...  Am I wrong?  And if you're lucky, it'll be a scorcher so some of them will take their shirts off.

Puget Creek Restoration Society
This is one place I might be on June 4th.  Where will you be?

May 3, 2011

What do ya think?

When this posts I will be somewhere over middle America.  I'm flying out to Seattle for the next 10 days or so to find an apartment for my move in June.  Since I may or may not have easy internet access, I've got a coupled scheduled posts for ya but may not be commenting much this week.  I will, however, do my best to keep reading and will get a Country Music Marathon recap out once I get official pictures back.


Detroit Runner got me thinking with his recent post asking what you think about on the run.  It's an interesting question.  We all have different reasons for exercising and different ways we occupy our mind once we're out the door.

Me?  My thoughts never seem to be linear on the run.  They touch on one thing, then the next... flitting around like butterflies, seemingly at random.   Sometimes I head out the door with a problem and it rolls around & around in my head.  Other days, it's "turn-up-the-music-so-I-can't-hear-myself-think" mode.  Automatic pilot all the way. I don't want to think about anything more than the beat of the drums and the feeling of my feet on the pavement.  Some days my plan is to enjoy nature or people watch only to later realize I didn't see anything.  Other times staying out of my head is the only way I can get through it.  Focus on the distractions.

What do you think about on the run?

May 1, 2011

26.2 Gallon Hat

Sorry for the poor quality.  My camera's dead
so I had to take it with a phone.
Yesterday was the first time I wore a costume during a full marathon.  I like to call it my 26.2 gallon hat.  It was a hot one, the sun beating down, yet the day felt cooler than New Orleans since there wasn't much humidity.  With the shade provided by our hats it felt kinda nice.  Full race report once the official photos are back.

I hope everyone else's races or workouts went well this weekend!

April 30, 2011


Well.  I'm currently in Nashville for the Country Music Marathon.  Actually... To be honest, I should be running the Country Music Marathon at this very moment.  With an awesome hat on.  That's the hope anyway.  I've been a bit under the weather and having some trouble breathing.  But we're still green light.

What are you up to today?

April 29, 2011


Some people say that "mucus is gross"...

...but it'snot.

Haha.  Get it?
(Sorry.  I'm 3 years old sometimes.)

April 28, 2011


Tomorrow, two friends and I are driving from New Orleans to Tennessee for the Country Music Marathon in Nashville.  In case you haven't heard, much of the region we'll be driving through has recently been devastated by tornadoes which left a trail of destruction behind them.  I'm not sure what we'll see on the way, but the news coverage is sobering.  This video, I think, does a great job of portraying the devastation.  Please keep the communities who've been hit in your thoughts & prayers this week.

Update:  for ways to help, check out the Red Cross webpage.  If you can't afford a cash donation, consider donating blood (and ever present need) or volunteering your time.

April 27, 2011

Not appropriate for small children

When my friend, Spazz, was just getting started with running, the topic of "getting chicked" once came up. She'd never heard the phrase and I quickly explained the concept:

Urban Dictionary
Her response?

"Does that mean if I get passed by a dude I got dicked?"

*I apologize to any of you who already got this post on Google Reader.  I scheduled it for today since this week is a bit busy.  In the process of setting it up I accidentally posted it April 23.  Apparently Google Reader isn't very forgiving of mistakes.

April 26, 2011

May the Fast Be With You!

Running cadence too slow?  I've got a little trick for picking up the pace.  I think most of us have noticed that if a fast song comes on while running you tend to speed up and slower songs rein you in.  As I started running more and more I started playing with my running mixes and would put the songs the "sped me up" together on one mix.  Later, I realized they were all around the same bpm (beats per minute):  180.

There's a certain amount of controversy over running cadence (or biking cadence for that matter).  The typical arguments for it are that it shortens your stride, decreases heel impact, reduces knee injuries and results in a more efficient stride.  Some people agree, some think it's a bunch of bananas.  I'm not gonna get into it.  I will simply can say that faster songs help me on training runs.  (I never race with music.)  They keep me distracted, give me energy and sometimes push me more than I would have on my own.

So... If you're interested, I've found 2 tricks to making running mixes at a fast bpm.  The lazy efficient way is to use Podrunner.  DJ Steve Boyett has created multiple hour long techno mixes at different bpms.  I generally stick with the four he has at 180, but he got mixes from 130-180.  You can get them from his webpage or download them for free through iTunes.

Alternatively, you can make your own mixes.  I use MixMeister to analyze the bpm of my music, but there are a lot of programs out there.  Keep in mind that MixMeister doesn't work for .m4a audio files.  For those files, you can use a "tapper" program like WinBPM (I've never used that program, so I'm not sure how good it is.  It's just an example.) and manually "tap" out the beat of a song.  Not the most efficient, but it works if you have a song or two you think are in the right range and want to confirm.

Another easy way is to simply google "180 bpm music," for example.  You'll find that many people have already posted lists of songs at different bpms so you can piggy back of their hard work and use it as a guide for mixes.  Remember that songs at half the bpm work as well.  If the bpm is listed as "90," it'll work for a 180 cadence.  The beat will match each strike for one foot, rather than with each step.  For example, you can match your left foot hitting the ground with the beat, as opposed to the beat matching when both your left and right foot strike.

My gift to you is a song I've been rocking to on runs recently.  And, yes... it's at 180 bpm.

May the fast be with you!

April 25, 2011

Holier Than Thou

And I don't mean blessed.  Here's some of the holes I've noticed this week:

The crotch of my favorite running shorts.
I've worn these for almost every race.

My Road ID shoe pouch.
Needless to say, I get a little worried about my keys sometimes.
The hole on my heel.
I have a matching (larger, still intact) blister on my left foot
but it looked somehow even more pathetic on camera.
Photos never do justice to blisters.

Here's to hoping your day is less holey than mine.

April 24, 2011

Hop in Your Step

I managed to make it on the local news with friends as we walked to the Crescent City Classic 10K yesterday.

Forgive me for the hopping.  He made us do it.

Happy Easter!

April 23, 2011

Crescent City Classic 10k Recap

The Crescent City Classic is an institution in New Orleans.  Every year, some East African wins the thing, followed by over 20,000 people running, jogging, walking, drinking & eating their way to the finish line.  People who never run the rest of the year manage to make it out for this event.  Since the race is the day before Easter,  many people come out in festive gear to start the festivities.  I, of course, was no exception:
Thanks, M, for procuring the tutus!

M, M's future sister-in-law & Goldilocks
Check out those death rays of sunshine!
There were 4 of us wearing bunny ears, 2 tutus, and 2 of our "Runners are my Peeps" signs.  Sadly, we didn't really stand out with so many people dressed up.  My camera died this morning so I wasn't able to get any action shots on my phone.  You'll just have to believe me.

The highlights?

Starting line:  In the picture (at left) the starting line was WAY up ahead.  It took us over 4 minutes to cross after the gun.  And to make it even better, we were already sweating before we got this close.  It was a hot one with Easter so late this year.

Mental note for next time:  tutus don't breathe well.

Mile 0-1:  Already achieved the state of dripping with sweat.  The crowds were insane so we were zig-zagging all over the place and still barely able to stay under 10:00 miles.

Mile 2:  Jello shots!  They were a bit melty & STRONG.  I learned a lesson though:  If you make jello shots for a race, don't use red.  Go for yellow or something that won't stain.  I had to slow down to avoid drippage since they were no longer solid.

Miles 2-4:  Missed several unofficial beer stops on both sides.  The mob of runners made aiming for anything challenging.

Mile 4:  Mimosas!  This is probably the best thing that happened to us.  They were huge chunks of ice floating in the drinks.  The cups were pretty full & held way more than I would normally drink at a water stop, but I chugged most of mine because it tasted so good.  At this point, we weren't getting much shade and the heat was beating down.

Mile 4-5:  M's future sister-in-law was having a rough time by now.  She's visiting from out of town and her last run was at a high of 47.  The New Orleans heat was taking its toll so we ran this mile slow & steady, aiming for all the shade we could find.

Mile 5-6.2:  At this point I ran in by myself.  The heat was brutal and I mostly wanted to finish fast.  I ran a couple minutes faster per mile for this last one just to get it over with.  Plus, its fun passing people when you're wearing bunny ears & a tutu.

Post-Race Party?  Yes, please.  It was significantly bigger than many full marathons I've run.  There was a stage with a band.  TONS of free jambalaya, red beans & rice, Abita beer, chocolate milk, gatorade, water and Pepsi products.  Event shirts for sale.  Even free 2011-2012 calendars with pictures from past events!

Legs, Spazz & Goldilocks downing some jambalaya.
(Goldilocks was much happier than she looks in the photo)
Spazz & Legs enjoying their red beans & rice
Rehydrating* with my Abita beer.
My goal today was to have fun, which I definitely accomplished PLUS I got a couple free drinks.  The best part is since this is my first 10k (I know... crazy), I now have a PR that involves jello shots & mimosas.  Bonus!

Happy Easter, everyone!

April 21, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Have I mentioned that I love the Onion?  Today, I stumbled across this little gem:

New York Marathon Winner Tests Positive For Performance-Enhancing Horse

Maybe I've been going about this training this the wrong way...

April 19, 2011

Competitive Sign Making

As I mentioned before, my friends as I went out Sunday to cheer on the New Orleans 70.3 Half Ironman.  The goal was to make people smile.  Anyone that has competed in endurance events appreciates the brief reprieve that can come with a good laugh mid-race.  Someone in costume, a funny sign, or people enthusiastically cheering can buy you a minute of energy, laughter or distraction from pain.  So we parked ourselves around mile 10.5 on the run and began our own competition in a lesser known sport:

Competitive Sign Making 

It's hard to tell but in addition to laughs we were handing out pretzels and ice.

Notably, we got about as many chuckles from the experience as the runners did.  Quite a few people threw some zingers our way, so we started keeping track.  Among the best hits were:
  1. (After shouting "Keep it up!")  "I can keep it up all day.  You always leave me smiling & satisfied!"  <wink>
  2. "You sound like my wife."  (VERY popular response)
  3. " 'This hurts.'  Is that what she said?"
  4. "This is so hard!"  (Points at us to get the "That's what she said" response.)
  5. (And after grabbing some ice) "Ooo!  Big hunk!  I'm a big hunk!"  <winks>

We were told by a bunch of people we had the best signs, so I'm gonna chalk that up as a win.  Sweet!  We also came up with some great ideas for next time.  What's your favorite spectator sign?

April 18, 2011

Race Recap: Gulf Coast Half Marathon

See?  Great scenery!  Wait...
Is that a port-a-potty?
1.  The medal is a bottle opener.  Need I say more?

2.  You're running in a beautiful location.  Not that we could really see it because it was (thankfully) overcast and misty most of the morning.  But the background noise was the calming crash of waves and the scent of salt water was in the air.  And as you can see (right) they thoughtfully put the photographers at particularly scenic locations.

3.  Post-race Party?  Great.  Plenty of red beans & rice, beer (Land Shark), bagels and bananas at the finish line.  I went back to run Goldilocks to the finish and her pace is a bit slower.  We didn't hit the post-race party until 3+ hours after the start but there was still food & beer.  Unfortunately for her, that's never a guarantee at her pace so we were psyched they didn't run out early.  OH!  And as a special bonus, everyone got laid at the finish line.  Or is it lei'd?  I always mix those up.

Looks like I just jumped out of a pool

1.  It was HOT!  A bank sign said was 74 degrees before sunrise on our way to the race.  Plus a ga-jillion % humidity.  I was sweating before we started.  The webpage advertised that the average temperature at the start is 57 degrees.  Liars.

Goldilocks & I.
*Note that my shorts are SOAKING and
plastered to my legs.  SEXY!

2.  Almost no spectators.  We were basically running on the ONE road on the island so not much traffic could get through.  I actually didn't mind the calm, but a lot of people did.  If you want people cheering, this race isn't for you.

Lemon-Lime Gatorad-ita
Patent pending.

3.  No Gu <shrug> and the Gatorade was mixed SUPER strong.  But with all that we were sweating this probably wasn't a bad thing.  If you salted the rim & added tequila, we would have had some tasty margaritas.  (I thought of it first! Don't try to steal credit!)

Good race.  A bit pricey.  Quiet.  Great post-party.

As an added bonus, this guy was labelled as me.
Our numbers weren't even close.
Too bad I didn't get a picture of a male model...

April 17, 2011

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

Today,  2 exciting things:

1.  My friends & I will be going out to cheer on the New Orleans 70.3.  The plan is to bring a cooler & fill it with all sorts of deliciousness.  Then hang out and cheer people on as we drink.  (No open container laws in New Orleans.)  What better way to enjoy the beautiful weather & recover from yesterday's long run than to cheer on some athletes while sipping alcoholic beverages.  We've also got some killer signs, but you're gonna have to wait til the pictures are back to find out what they are.  Let's just say: we're brilliant.

It's neck and neck with
"Running - Cheaper than therapy."
2.  I may have found a new favorite running shirt.  It's particularly helpful now that there's been a new study about the usefulness of beer as a rehydration solution.  I thought about looking up the actual study to review the science and decided against it.  I don't want to know if they're wrong.

April 13, 2011

Trigger Happy

Well.  I did it again.  I signed up for another race: the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon at the end of June.  I will actually be one week into working at my new job, but I found out yesterday that I'll have that weekend off.  And what do I do with weekends off?

Yup.  That's what we call addiction, ladies & gentlemen.  ;)

April 12, 2011


When do you switch running shoes?  Do you go by mileage or feel?  Have you been wearing the same shoes for years?

The traditional recommendation is to change out every 300-500 miles.  When exactly you change out is based on feel.  Since I already track miles on Daily Mile, I also track my gear there so I know exactly how many miles they've run.  But today, I used a new determinant:


Guess which pair is new.

My current shoes smell SO bad, it was time for a switch.  Though they were shy of 400 miles, they've been through a lot.  Just carrying them outside to take this picture required holding my breath.

Even I have limits.

April 10, 2011

Gulf Coast Half Marathon

I'll wait to give the full race report until the official pictures come back, but I will tell you that the race went well.  I accidentally came within 1 minute & 5 seconds of my half marathon PR.  Seriously.  This was definitely an accident.

My plan was to take it nice & easy.  A couple reasons why:

1.  The weather was hot and muggy.  A bank flashed 74 degrees as we arrived before sunrise.  Felt a smidge like doing a duathlon with both the swim & run at the same time.  Besides, this was intended merely as a training run for Nashville.  Don't go crazy.  Just do the miles.

2.  My Garmin decided to not turn on this morning.  This is the second time it's done this ever.  Last time was the Little Rock Marathon.  I even checked to make sure it was charged last night, so I have no effing clue what happened and am kinda pissed since it's only 7 months old.  It wouldn't even turn on for a second to show me it was a dead battery (that is, until after the race.)

3.  I was in costume.  Sorta.  Not a full costume, but Goldilocks & I found some killer $1 bunny ears at Walmart that were too good to pass up.  Added to this, we made some clever signs to pin on our backs.  It was a big hit:
Goldilocks & I

The ears were kinda a pain to keep steady until 3-4 miles in when my hair was nice & sweaty - gave it a little grip.  Let me just say that there is nothing so gratifying as passing a ton of people when you're in costume and they're not.  Plus, on an out-and-back course, it's a huge boost to see the smiles on people's faces as they catch sight of the ears.  You can't help but smile yourself.

Ever run in costume or get a boost from someone who did?