Monday, March 29, 2010

Fun with Anti-Runners

Feeling more like myself today. YAY! But since we've had some terrific comments here, on facebook, Runner's World, and Tribal Running about the dreaded anti-runners, I've decided I'm not quite ready to brush them under the rug just yet. Think we ought to have a little fun with them first.

How about you all give me your best one liner that you either have said or thought to yourself or thought later and wished you would have said when you came under attack for running. As one runner suggested over on Runner's World, we need to form a brigade. So let's have eachother's backs here. Maybe we'll never actually utter any of these lines out loud, but at least maybe we'll be able to hold our heads higher with these little gems running through our minds when the "you know, running is really bad for you..." begins.

Let's keep it clean and have a little fun!

'Til next time...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anti-Runners

My husband has warned me not to blog this. But I'm sick and currently can not run so it's riling me up even more. So brace yourself, you are in for a venting session. I'll be blaming it on the cold and have no recollection of what I said tomorrow. Nice Kelly will return as usual in a couple of days.

I made a post a couple weeks ago referring to the massive amount of new runners that hop on to the scene in early-mid spring. What I forgot about were the anti-runners who seemingly come out of nowhere to suck the very life out of those rookies before they can really get going.

Let me be clear here. I'm not just referring to NON-Runners. People who choose not to run because they'd rather do something else, or they can't run, or they just flat out don't want to run. I'm not even talking about the people who despise running with every fiber of their being. Quite frankly, I don't care what your feelings are about running. I like it. It benefits me and my family when I do it without negatively impacting really anyone else in the entire world. So I'm going to go right ahead and keep on running as long as I can. We just probably won't have many conversations about running, but I like you no less. I generally don't base my relationships/friendships on whether or not someone runs. I'd miss out on a lot of really great people if I did.

No. Where I have the problem is with the ANTI-RUNNERS. The people who go on attack the minute they find out you're a runner or you've decided to become one. WHAT IS UP WITH THESE PEOPLE?!

For someone with a lot of miles under their belt, it's no big deal. Yes, sometimes it still hurts when the comments come from someone you love only because you wish they understood. But mostly you just shrug off the remarks, eye rolling or disapproving head nods. But on the other hand for a new runner, excited about the positive impact they think they're going to make on their life, this takes a little wind out their sails. Now sure, some people start off running with a great deal of confidence, so again, they've got no problem blowing off the anti-runner like the pesky little gnat they are. Yet still for some, lacing up those running shoes for the first time took about all the courage they could muster. They felt silly or stupid just doing that, but they did it anyway (THAT'S RIGHT YOU DID BABY!!! AND YOU BE PROUD OF THAT!!!). These people don't need somebody's pile of steaming crap to deal with. (see you know I'm mad, when do I use words like that?)

So I'm gonna deal with these people for you because none of them are original and they fit pretty neatly into a couple of categories.

1. The well intentioned but entirely misinformed - Ok these anti-runners are the only ones I'll cut some slack because I want to believe they really do care about you and your well being. They've just bought into this whole "running is bad for you" myth. They're the ones that will give you all sorts of reasons why running is bad for your health. A lot of times backed up not by actual scientific evidence, but firsthand experience, that is if you consider something to the effect of "you know my college roommate's uncle's best friend was a runner for 50 years and now he can't even walk" to be first hand.

Running is not bad for you. Could you get injured? Yep. Could you one day not be able to walk? Yep. Could you have a heart attack? Yep. But guess what? All those things could happen to you whether you run or not. We don't know what the future holds. But we do know running is not going to significantly increase your chances of any of those things. Unless perhaps you will be substituting running for staying inside sitting on your couch watching tv eating potato chips and massive bowls of ice cream. Then yeah, maybe you won't get injured. I'm not so sure about the heart attack and the not walking though, plus a there's a whole slew of other not so nice conditions you might want to consider, but I digress.

How to deal: If it is someone you care about who's offering you this advice because they're worried about you, reassure them. Send them articles like this one from Time. Make sure they know you're taking it slow and you're taking care of yourself. Also it does help some if you have actually been cleared by your doctor before you start running or ANY exercise program. (Sidenote: be forewarned some doctors are anti-runners too. In fact my family dr happens to be one of them, fortunately for me my OBGYN, whom I happened to see much more of in the past 4 years is a marathon runner and as such has educated himself far more on the benefits and risks of running. One guess what his thoughts are on the matter.)

2. The former runners now couch potatoes -These dudes either got lazy, got hurt, or got distracted with life and quit running. The only reason they do not want you to run is because they're afraid you running shines a big giant spotlight on what they're not doing but feel they should.

How to deal: Keep on running my friend. When these once-upon-a-timers finally realize what they're saying hasn't stopped you from running, they'll zip it. Actually, these guys are the ones most likely to end up running right along with you one day.

3. The know it alls & negative knuckleheads - Grouping these together because ultimately for both types their problem with running has nothing to do with running and everything to do with themselves. They either just have to know best all the time about everything or they are just generally negative about everything.

How to deal: Ignore. Unless you happen to be just so overwhelmingly charismatic that you are able to turn even the most cynical of hearts into positive uplifting people, then have at 'em with your wonderful self. The rest of us in the world will be sure to thank-you for making it a better place.

4. Mine's betterers (that's a lot of er's but I'm going with it)- These people are out to prove that their sport/exercise/hobby is much much better than running and will kindly let you know every chance they get.

How to deal: Be honest. Let him know that while you enjoy hearing his stories about tennis or hockey or model airplanes or whatever, you really enjoy running and you're not interested in giving it up to pursue something else at this time even if they are pretty sure it is better. If that doesn't work, then you may have to revert back to...ignore.

5. Running Snobs- These I've discussed at length before. And while they actually are runners themselves and may even love running, it is their attitude towards their fellow runner that aptly earns them the title of anti-runner. Ironic? Yes. Fitting? Absolutely. For more on running snobs, visit my old post, Running Snobs...Don't be that guy & DO NOT let that guy get to you!

How to deal: Ignore. Most running snobs are in for a major let down when they finally come to the realization that they aren't as amazing as they think are. Continue quietly on your merry running way and perhaps one day you might be the one to surprise your most dreaded running snob when you whip his butt at your local 5K.

Ultimately the best advice I can give to runners who aren't looking to battle it out with anti-runners is just to save your running talk for other runners or people you are close to who are supportive and encouraging. And once you find out someone around you is not so interested in running or is in fact an anti-runner, just don't bring it up around them. I don't think you have to avoid it completely. I mean if you can't meet somebody for coffee at 8AM because you're running for an hour at 7 tell them. But your probably going to want to find somebody else to discuss dynamic versus static stretching or how your race over the weekend went.

And my advice to the anti-runner:

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD... BACK OFF!!

If you can think of an anti-runner type I missed, have advice for dealing with one, or would like to share a run-in with an anti-runner of your own, or tell me something else entirely, feel free to leave me a comment. I'll be crawling back to bed now and I promise to return in a much happier mood.

'Til next time...

P.S. Only ONE DAY LEFT! Go vote on which marathon I should run.


"Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great"
--Mark Twain
(thanks to Mark on Facebook for posting this quote just as I was wrapping up the post)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My little runner in the making

And nope, I'm not talking the 4 year old, although I do have to say she is very confident she already IS the fastest runner in the world and will frequently tell me so. She has after all already had multiple pairs of running shoes,

Chloe in her first pair of running shoes

participated in a variety of races:

stretching pre-kids marathon (26.2) at the Buffalo, NY Marathon

Super fast but still finished last only because she ran twice as far as the other kids. Instead of straight from start to finish, she ran-correction skipped and ran diagonally across the racing field. Plus my husband still argues the age groups were not fair.

First turkey trot, this one my husband still razzes me about. He wanted her dressed FAST. I wanted her dressed WARM.


Getting her great big sweet medal at the kids mini Martian Marathon. She ran a whole mile!

This year's turkey trot


and she's pretty sure she can hang with any age group, even mine. "I'm gonna get you mommy!" She yells trying to chase me down on my long runs when her Daddy takes her to the park to play. And while yes, sometimes I let her catch me, even when I don't it doesn't seem to bother her all that much. Almost as if she is the one letting me win and she is ALWAYS ready to try again the next time I run by (oh how we could learn so much from these little ones).

While I hope she does become a runner someday, I must admit that currently, she runs kind of like Phoebe on Friends:




That's totally her, entertaining to herself and the world around her and just as pleased as punch to do so. She's got some work ahead of her I do believe, even when she gets her "speedies" on (which is not her colorful word for tight running shorts or anything. It's a variety of real and made up words she says right before she runs and insists make her much much faster). But she loves running right now and is confident which thrills me.

No, tonight I'm referring to the littlest peanut. She's the sleeper I do believe.
.
You see the thing about my little Miss Madelyn is that it took her FOREVER to learn how to walk. I mean she's 18 months now and still doesn't always have her feet underneath her whereas Chloe was walking at 9 months.

Now at first, this was cool by me. You see when your first baby comes along, you're keeping a close eye on what they're doing and when they're doing it and bragging about when they do something before all the baby books say they should. Nuh uh for the second. At that point, you're already chasing one kid around and exhausted not only from that, but most likely also the lack of sleep you're getting with the new baby and the thought of chasing another one around is well...just not all that exciting to you. I mean, you know they're going to take off eventually, but the second time around, now that you know what to expect, you're ok with them taking their time to become mobile.

However, at some point, they also start to become heavy, very heavy. And I had started to grow weary of carrying Madelyn everywhere and wrestling with the little tiger who wanted to be down on her own when we'd be out somewhere but would refuse to walk. Since you can't very well have your kid crawling on their hands and knees everywhere you go, I was getting very frustrated. So I started watching her closely to see what the hold up was thinking perhaps I could nudge her along a bit. She was well beyond a year at this point.

What I discovered is that besides the fact that Madelyn is super tall which seemed to make it mighty difficult to coordinate those long limbs in anything that even remotely resembled walking, she's also from the get go always wanted to go fast. When she fell down, unlike my first daughter, it wasn't backwards or to the side from losing their balance, it was always forward most of the time face first. With that great big heavy baby head leading the way so quickly, the rest of her body just couldn't keep up. This never stopped her of course, she'd just get up and go again.

These days the child has two speeds: run and I'm so tired that I have no idea where my legs are taking me but I will just aimlessly wander in random directions. The second of which makes perfect sense considering she spends nearly the entire day in gear one, run. Most of which is done on her toes, which leads me to believe she'll be something of a sprinter. Then again, with the vast amount of time she spends running her endurance is most likely phenomenal so maybe distance will be more to her liking.
All I know is we better keep an eye on this one.
She may be cute but she's already fast as all get out and can't even put on her own running shoes yet! (But she'll probably be a barefoot runner. She HATES shoes and socks!)

'Til next time...

P.S. Only a 6 days left to tell me which marathon to run. Go vote!

P.P.S. I won something!!! Thanks to Racing with babes for the sweet giveaway. I won a tag-along t-shirt. I'll post the picture when it comes in.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Free Stuff & Fun Things

It's Friday, so how 'bout a little fun. And who doesn't love free things?

I've been cruising around Bloggerville a bit lately and stumbled upon some of each and of course immediately thought I've got to share this stuff with the best followers in the world. (SIDENOTE: I will also be entering most of these contests myself, so if you happen to steal the prize from a contest that I brought to your attention I will of course be expecting a you are the GREATEST BLOGGER THAT EVER LIVED comment, tweet, status update, email or blog post from you upon notification of your win.)

GIVEAWAYS:

Racing with babes - Training Tag-a-long shirts...cool running shirts for your tiniest training partners, the kiddos

Running off at the mouth - Sweet running skirt you choose

Melissa's Adventures in Living Life - Road Id, drinks, & a Bondi Band (which I honestly have no idea what it is but you can rest assured I'll be checking it out just as soon as I finish this post)

Endurance Isn't Only Physical - Fancy shcmancy running socks

I Run Because...I Can - Long sleeved running top (Hurry up on this one. Today's the last day!)

I couldn't have said it better- New recovery drink- Rockin' Refuel

Long Legs on the Loose - AH yeah....another running skirt

Running Through Life - Lots of tasty stuff plus a head band

I couldn't have said it better - New book soon to be released in May...Run Like a Mother by one of my favorite writing runner mom's often featured in Runner's World Dimity McDowell

Mission to (a)nother marathon- Surprise running goodie box

Tall Mom on the Run - Her 1 yr blog anniversary giveaway is coming soon. So go follow her that way you don't miss it

FUN STUFF:

Ever notice something like this on a blog:

Running Training Log
It comes in various forms, sometimes just the little gold leaf, sometimes with complete workout stats, sometimes with a donut (yep, you read that right). Besides noticing it on a ton of blogs and receiving a few invitations by friends to come check it out, I also noticed it started showing up on Facebook and Twitter posts. So despite that fact that I already feel waaaaaay over committed with the couple of online running communities and social networking sites I've joined, I figured I'd check it out.

And all I can say is, I'm thoroughly impressed. Maybe it's the old coach or perhaps the new mom in me, but I love love love being able to leave a few words of encouragement on somebody's workout. It's sort of like facebook for runners (or walkers, or cyclists, or anybody who's doing some sort of exercise) and everybody's welcome from the newest runner to the fastest runner. You log your workouts and the site will calculate all kinds of things for you from the basic (calories burned) to the funny (number of donuts you worked off or tv's you powered). You can find runners and routes in your area, participate in a challenge, keep track of you goals, even integrate with twitter, facebook, and Nike+. It's just pretty sweet. So go check it out and add me as a friend. I do believe you can click on either of my new blog widgets (I still love that word btw): my upcoming races or cheeseburgers earned. If that doesn't work I used the same profile picture so you can spot me in a crowd. Sign up will take all of a minute and is...that's right baby...FREE!


Speaking of Twitter:


By: Twitter Buttons

If you're not already. I have an idea for the Boston Marathon, but you're going to need a twitter account. So go get one....Go right now. Click the birdie and follow me. Don't worry. I'll wait. I promise I won't continue until you get back :-).......................................................................

BLOGS TO CHECKOUT:

Have you seen these yet?

It's just one foot in front of another - By frequent commenter extraordinaire, Shelly AKA Jogging Stroller Mama AND the highest placed finisher in our Run4Cathy this past Thanksgiving. AND her son is an absolute doll not to mention an technological genius.

Marcia's got too readworthy blogs you should check out. Raising a healthy family in a drive thru world (which honestly, just by the title doesn't that make you want to read it?) The other one, which I feel obligated to tell you, Marcia is a complete and utter fitness rock star and it will take you just one click to realize that. I mean she's earned like 134 donuts but when you see her picture you know she ain't touching a single one. So visit her if you dare at Mission Possible. I just found her recently, but I've got a feeling she's a no excuses kind of mamma. Oh and she's a MI gal too, so that automatically earns her a gold star in my book.

More cool blogs to come, but I hear the littlest peanut stirring from her morning nap. So I've got to run for now.

'Til next time...

P.S. OOPS! Forgot to mention my poll. Right sidebar near the top. Go tell me what marathon to run this fall.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do's & Don't's for new (or newish) runners


It's about that time. Spring is in the air. The sun is finally beginning to show it's face. The last remnants of snow disguised as dirt are being washed away by rain. And seasoned runners who had confined themselves to the treadmill during the frigid months are breathing in deeply the fresh air as they step back onto the trails.

It's also quite possibly one of the most popular times for people to get the courage to finally lace up those running shoes again or even for the first time, second only perhaps to the early January influx of new runners making good on those darned resolutions. Whether it's just the beauty of the season that inspires someone to take up running or the fear of exposing hidden all winter flesh in a pair of shorts or a bathing suit or something else entirely that gives people the urge to go for a run right about now, I don't know. But what I do know is that the vast majority of new runners that start out this spring will sadly not be running still by summer and for one reason only. They were not fully prepared for what they were about to do.

Don't get me wrong. Becoming a runner isn't complicated and I'm a firm believer pretty much anybody can do it. But like I tell my daughter about a whole lot of things, "we can do this the easy way or the hard way." When it comes to running, the hard way tends to leave people injured, discouraged, or just hating running in general. So let's try this the easy way, or at least a slightly more enjoyable way.

What I have for you here is by no means a comprehensive list of do's & don'ts for new runners. I have no scientific research to back up what I'm about to say. I'm not a running coach, doctor, nutritionist, massage therapist, or chiropracticor. I'm a mom who runs and my formal credentials pretty much end there. But I have noticed a thing or two through my own running experiences of starting from scratch on more than one occasion and watching a good number of friends and family start off on their own running journies. And just perhaps something I've noticed or something that some seasoned runner out there who stumbles across this blog is willing to share will help you out as you get started. And on behalf of the running world (because I have in fact been officially authorized to speak for the entire running world of course) WELCOME!! We're glad you've decided to join us and please know YOU CAN DO THIS!!

So in no particular order (because that's the way I roll):

DO start slooooooooowly. The biggest mistake people make when they're just getting started running is they run too far or too fast too soon which ends in either a whole lot of soreness the likes that makes running again feel nearly impossible or desperately dreaded or they come to despise the act of running in general. Or even worse yet, they end up getting hurt. Newsflash: I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you do not have the same body you did in highschool and it is currently not capable of doing the same things it did back then. You've got to slow down. (This is where people who are first time runners have an advantage over returning runners who've been on a hiatus. New runners have no measuring stick and thus are less likely to kill themselves trying to run what they think they should be able to and perhaps did at some time in their life long ago). For now, push all those old finishing times out the window. Put your watch away. Just run at a pace that you could comfortably hold a conversation at. If you are panting, you are running too fast. Start small with a 1/2 mile or a mile; or 10 or 20 minutes.

DON'T beat yourself up about walking. In fact, I would highly encourage you as you start to PLAN ON WALKING. Let's get you in not only a good run, but a good workout which means keeping your heart rate up for at least twenty minutes and burning some calories. So instead of running for as long as you can and then pooping out after just a few minutes, run/walk. The theory here is that you will eventually get tired and in anticipation of doing so you walk to conserve some energy (and/or strength) and make it through the whole workout. Most of my friends and family who have become runners have done so by starting with 20 minutes of run 1 minute, walk 1 minute, repeat. Then, gradually increasing the running portion as well as the total workout time on subsequent runs from there. But again, increase sloooooowly.

DO give yourself some days off. For two reasons. First, your body is going to need some time to rest and recover as it adjusts to the new stresses you are putting on it. Second, this will give you some flexibility. If something pops up in your calendar or you're up all night with a teething baby or a sick 4 year old, no worries. Just shift things around. Take the day off and run the next. I've noticed people who make a 5-7 day commitment to run right off the bat seem to be more likely not to stick with it. Things come up. Time is tight. They feel guilty when they miss a run. Then REALLY guilty if they miss again. Miss a third time and the self beatings begin. Set yourself up to win. Give yourself a few days off and you'll find yourself looking forward to running instead of wishing you didn't have to.

DON'T underestimate how you're going to feel. So there's good news and bad news here. Let's start with the bad. You will be sore. Running is not as forgiving as some other fitness activities you could choose. Not only is it both weight bearing and high impact, but if it's been a long time since you've run or exercised there's a good chance you body is going to rebel and you're going to hear about it. By starting slooooowly we're trying to ease your body along with the hopes that it will just do a little grumbling and not start an all out war. But you will be sore. Count on that. So the good news? That soreness is a step in the right direction. It means you're getting stronger. Further good news is you'll also feel healthier and have more energy throughout the day. And don't underestimate what that sense of accomplishment will do for your spirit either!

DO stretch. There's some debate on whether or not stretching before you run offers any benefit. Some even claim that stretching before running causes injury. It is, however, pretty well agreed upon that static stretching (which means the type of stretching where you stand, sit or lie down and hold a pose as opposed to dynamic stretching which would be stretching through movement-not bouncing- just movement) without first warming up the muscles a bit through slow jogging or running is NOT good. It is also pretty well agreed upon that stretching AFTER you run can make a significant impact on how you feel the next day. So what kind of stretches? Check out this stretching basics article by a running coach friend of mine. That's a good place to start. You can also google stretching for runners and you'll be able to find any number of routines to suit your specific needs.

DON'T run in your old stinky shoes. Unless you bought them with the intention of running, then put them aside and never ran or walked in them again, chances are your shoes are worn out. The soles will break down way before the treads on the bottom, so don't just flip them over and say, "they look fine to me." And shoes that aren't made for running, well...they aren't made for running. So suck it up. Go get a new pair. Think of the $75-125 you spend on them as an investment in your health and happiness (makes it alot harder to quit too btw when you just forked over $100). If that's outside your budget right now, look for a discontinued shoe or a sale online. Lots of sites offer free shipping for shoes, you just have to find them. But before you buy a pair, go to a running store, not a general sports store, but an actual running store where they know something about feet, running, shoes and how they're all supposed to work together as opposed to a general sporting goods store where they'll just point you to the wall with shoes for your sport (hopefully) and help you find your size. Let the running shoe pro's fit you for a shoe. At a good running store they will not only measure your foot, (you'll usually need running shoes 1/2 size up from your normal size. Don't be insulted. Your feet expand when you run. Your toenails will thank-you for the bigger size later), but they'll also take a look at your foot and how you run and/or walk to help determine what sort of shoe you need (yep, there's different kinds). The right shoe can make a big difference in how you feel when you run. (SIDENOTE: There is an emerging trend right now in barefoot running. I have no desire at this point in my life to run without shoes unless I'm playing with my kids, on a beach or if my life depended on it which means I also know virtually nothing about barefoot running except that you should start sloooooooooow and learn more about it.)

DO set a goal. Goals are good. They give you something to work towards and focus on. They'll get you out of bed in the morning to run when your covers want to suck you back in or they'll kick you out the door in the evening when the couch is calling. It doesn't matter what your goal is but make it something tangible, something you can see or do like finish a local 5K (3.1), run for 40 minutes or 1 mile without stopping, wear a smaller pair of jeans or fit into your pre-pregnancy bathing suit. Whatever it is, make sure it is both short term and realistic. "I will run a marathon (26.2 miles) in 3 months" is just not going to be achievable for a brand new runner (at least not safely). Whereas, "I will run a marathon in the next two years" is totally achievable, but so far away it can make your running today seem less necessary and easy to put off. It's not a bad goal to have ultimately, but break it down into something more quickly achievable that demands action right now (ie. I will finish a 5K in 3 months).

DON'T forget to reward yourself. When you hit your big goal or after each run or both!
You'll have worked hard and deserved it. I'm mini peppermint patty after each run and a restaurant I LOVE after each race.

DO get a running partner. Because misery loves company right? Nah. It's just that much harder to switch the alarm clock off in the morning when you know you've got somebody out there waiting for you to go run. (Tip: Move the alarm clock far enough away from your bed so that you actually have to get out of it to switch it off and you'll REALLY be less likely to skip your run.) A running partner will not only keep you accountable but on those bad running days (yes, they do happen) they'll be your support and encouragement. You'll find that non-runners don't like talking about running nearly as much as runners do (shocking I know), so your running partner will be the perfect person to chat it up with. And if no one's willing to suck it up and go with you, there's all kinds of places online to find yourself a virtual running partner. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter or MySpace are good places to start looking for one if you have a profile or online running communities like Tribal Running or Runners World are overflowing with runners of all shapes, sizes, and ability. (IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Please do not ever go alone for a run with someone you met online.)

If you'll be running outdoors, it's also a good idea for safety to run with a partner or a group. Unfortunately there's alot of creeps out there and when you're alone your more likely to be a target. And all creeps aside, you never know when something unexpected might happen (which is why I also recommend carrying a cell phone with you) and you know the saying...two heads are better than one. At the very least, make sure you let someone you trust know when you're going out for a run, where you're going, and about how long you'll be gone. (This would be the mom in me coming out right here. Be safe all!)

So there you go! I've got more & could probably go on forever, but those are the biggies. If you're a newbie and you've got a question, don't hesitate to ask. If you're not so new and you've got a do or a don't of your own you'd like to share, please do so! Enjoy this wonderful spring weather and enjoy your run!

'Til next time...

P.S. Have you voted yet? Only 13 days left to tell me which marathon to run. Check out my right sidebar.



Saturday, March 13, 2010

High Maintenance Running Shoes

So some of you may remember a few weeks ago I got a new pair of running shoes. But they're no ordinary running shoes. They're black.






That'd be them.


It really was a no brainer for me. I like the pair of shoes I've been running in (Nike Zoom Structure Triax for those of you who care). They fit me good, but most of all nothing bothers me when I wear them which is not the same thing I can say about other pairs I've owned. So I figured when I went to the running store knowing exactly what I wanted I'd be in & out in true mommy shopping fashion b/c when a mom shops with little kids in tow, she must know exactly what she wants, where to find it, have the money easily accessible and certain toy or snack items on hand, lest there be a snag which could result not necessarily in kiddie meltdown, but rather mommy meltdown (seriously, shopping with both young children unprepared is enough to make me completely lose my mind, in fact, sometimes prepared shopping with young children is enough to make me lose it).


So, I walked in, headed straight up to someone who looked like they worked there and told them I needed Nike Structure Triax size 8 1/2 please and off he went to find them. So far so good right? He came back just a minute later and open the box...


(Insert Chorus of Angels here....ahhhhhhh)


Black. Sweeeeet was my first thought. Um....not so sure for me though was my second.


"They're black" I told him stating the obvious. "Yep." He replied. Apparently, according to the man at the running store, people really like black running shoes. It's the new thing. Saucony started it first and it caught on really big. (None of these things sell me btw). They also don't get as dirty as white shoes (which turns out to be a completely false statement. They are actually far dirtier looking after just two outdoor long runs than any pair of white shoes I've ever owned in my entire life. Not that I care necessarily. I'm just saying, not true).


"Do they come in any other colors?" I asked. Nope. It was the new model and that was all they had gotten in so far. I hemmed and hawed. Tried them on. Walked around. But ultimately, black would have to do. I mean what was more important color or how they fit on my feet?


But now that I've had these shoes a couple weeks, I've come to realize these shoes are high maintenance. Read that right, not high performance. High maintenance.


For starters, they dictate my running attire. They look ridiculous with a pair of white socks and my long brown yoga pants look a special kind of stupid with black running shoes. Navy blue running tights...also not good. My sister tells me I should get a long pair of pink socks and wear a black running skirt, but I'm not thoroughly convinced on that (yet ;-).


But one thing black running shoes ARE terrific at is accentuating the sheer & utter lack of sun my legs have seen all winter. So you know, I've got that going for me. Awesome.

In other words, I've got a couple of little Divas on my feet....but at least they feel good!


'Til next time...


P.S. Don't forget to go vote in my poll in the right sidebar! Tell me which marathon you think I should run this fall.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Poll & Some Readworthy Blogs

I'm so indecisive. I can't make up my mind about which marathon I should run this fall. I've selected a few I'm thinking about. My reasons are probably pretty lame but here's what I've got so far:

Baltimore, MD - cool city might be fun for a little vacation
Grand Rapids, MI - not too far from home, heard good things & the FAQs made me laugh
Air Force, Dayton OH - Fly overs
Outer Banks, NC - Oh...so pretty **sigh**
Wineglass in NY - cool glass medal and champagne for the finishers
Niagara Falls - FREE BREAKFAST the day before!! (Why this is more thrilling to me than the actual falls itself I have no idea. I have issues.)

So that's the long and the short of it. Plus I'm not looking to travel to far from MI this time around. But help me out and wander on over to the right sidebar there and cast your vote please. And feel free to leave your comments here about any of the above listed marathons or any others that you think should be up for consideration. I'd like to figure it out pre-Martian 1/2 Marathon so I know what I'm training for after. (Disclaimer: while poll results will weigh heavily in my marathoning decision, it will not be the sole criteria for marathon selection. There are also babies, vacation dates, marathon support crew/babysitter availability, etc to be considered. Thank-you for your understanding.)

BLOGS OF NOTE:
It's been awhile since I've made mention of some interesting blogs I've stumbled across. Last time I do believe it was to pass on an award I received. No awards for me as of late **sniffle, sniffle,** so I have none to pass on but I've got a few blogs for you that are just too good not to tell you about so I figure this way is as good as any to let you know of some readworthy blogs you might want to take a peek at. Who needs a stinkin' award anyway right?!

In no particular order except how they pop up in my head:

Mr. Bacon - frequently makes me laugh but it was The Evolution of Crazy post way back when that earned him a spot on the list.

SAHDDAZE (that would be Stay at home Dad days) not a runner, but a cyclist and friend from high school. Ironically, he too has an affinity for bacon or at least bacon salt.

Weight Loss Mamma - Staci is a frequent commenter here and we love her! She seems like just a genuine all around nice person who's doing what most all of us are trying to do, fit into those stinkin' skinny jeans, special event dress or **gasp** yep, that summer swim suit. She also just finished her first 10K this past weekend. So everyone, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Go over there right now and congratulate her. She deserves it!

Balls in The Air - Cynthia, I met over at Tribal Running. She's a running mamma with a couple of little darlings, newer to blogging and fiercely competitive (so go help her scratch that itch and become a follower) My favorite thing about Cynthia is she's happy to chat with you about running, mostly we talk on Facebook these days, but I'm sure she'd welcome a comment conversation on her blog as well. She also just finished a 1/2 Marathon this past weekend. YAY CYNTHIA! But I haven't been able to read her race report yet, so no one spoil it for me.

Ok I really have a few more I want to share with you, but it looks like I have exactly 7 minutes to wake the baby, get her shoes and coat on, strap her into her car seat and pick up the little princess from pre-school. Probably should put my own shoes on too. So the rest are going to have to wait a little bit. More to come...

'Til next time...

P.S. If you are a reader of my blog and you haven't noticed me over at yours either following or commenting SAY SOMETHING! I swear it's not intentional. I am frequently distracted by my husband, children, or bright shiny objects. Just leave me a comment or email me at runfastmommy@gmail.com.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Muffin Man runs the great frozen north tundra

North tundra as in Michigan (hey, it's north to more people than you might think). Frozen as in the icy slick conditions that happen unexpectedly when temps FINALLY hit the low 40's as it did here this past weekend but with still a good 6 inches of snow in some areas. Things melt. Water moves. Shady areas where the sun don't shine morph into ice skating rinks of various size.

As for Muffin Man, that would be the affectionate nickname I'll be using for yes, yet again, another mystery runner who would sincerely appreciate my not blogging him into infamy (FYI: Muffin Man is not the Kenyan. Nor is he related to the Kenyan. Any likeness is purely coincidental). He will be referred to as the Muffin Man due to his near addiction to freshly baked muffins (of almost any variety) but only following outdoor long runs (at least as far as I know).

On a complete and utter side note: I still have not discovered why exactly it is that newer runners like to keep their running a secret. Attention new or newish runners: practically every other runner in the world knows what it is like to pick up the sport for the first time or start from scratch from a hiatus of some sort (i.e. injury, illness, time constraints that vaporize your running, pregnancy, or even just a vacation with tasty chocolatey baked goods or ice cream or some combination of the two). We get it alright. And not only do we get it, we are SO STINKING PROUD OF YOU FOR ANY RUNNING YOU DO be it long, short, fast or slow. And as for the non-runners, well, if they've got cracks to make just smile and nod and picture them in their underwear with a bag of potato chips lying on the sofa watching the Biggest Loser with crumbs getting tangled in their mess of beer belly hair and lost forever in their belly button as they tease and ramble off the reasons why you shouldn't or can't run. That being said it should further be noted that in my experience, non-runners are quite frequently even more impressed with what you are doing. So don't hide it gosh darn it (sorry for the mom cussing). You might inspire somebody else to lace up the running shoes and start exercising. And if that doesn't do it for you then try this for a mantra as you run: "one day my fat pants will be your skinny jeans."

But I digress, as usual. Anyhow, Muffin Man, my sister, and I went out for our long run this past Sunday THRILLED because finally the connecting trail that adjoins our two local parks should have (let me repeat that in case you didn't notice the bold italicized print, that was should have) been thawed out. You see both parks have trails that are plowed all winter long. It's just the trail connecting one park to the other that nobody seems to want to claim responsibility for which means you either run through a good foot of snow all winter or you opt to run one park or the other. The park with the longer trail is flat as a pancake and boring as all get out. The other park has a much shorter trail but has no less than 5 hills. Mostly we opted for the longer trail in order to not have to keep running the same trail back and forth (ok them, not me. Mostly, I opted for the treadmill. I'm not big on cold weather running). But we're all running the Martian 1/2 Marathon in a few weeks which is not exactly what one might call flat. So I was REALLY wanting to get in those hills this week (and from this point forward). So, I suggested in a not so nonchalant sort of way that we run short park and they obliged. I mean from as far as the eye could see down the connecting trail, things looked clear. Unfortunately, what lied beyond our vision...not so much, but this we didn't know.

So we started off at short hilly park in our weird little way of running separately together our various distances. My sister and I opting to run one way to get as much of our mileage done in short park as possible. She was running 10. For me, 11. Muffin Man headed out the opposite direction to tackle his 14 which meant he'd run short park, the entire connector and some of long park on his own, then back.

Short park was not too bad, a few slick icy spots including one that was nearly invisible and took down a couple moving FAST on bikes (they were ok...not so sure if one of the bikes survived though). A short way into the connector was my sister's turn around point (who btw I must say ran an excellent 10 miles following TWO WEEKS of being out sick. Way to go Sis!). I had the distinct pleasure of trudging on for a mile which I quickly discovered was going to be through some pretty snowy patches. In fact, that connector mile was over 11:00 minutes. I had been running a 9:30 pace (and someone please explain to me why it seemed so freakin' hard to pick my pace back up to 9:30 after that mile. I might as well have been just starting my run at that point my legs were so tight. The next mile was 10:30 before I was able to loosen up again...errr...frustrating).

As I finally hit the turnaround, all I could think of was poor Muffin Man out there in the Great Beyond trudging away in the hills, ice and snow all because I forgot to consider the STUPID TREES that would obviously block the sun and prevent the treacherous conditions from melting properly before I opened my mouth to suggest we run short park instead of long park. I was pretty sure I ruined another runner. So I did the only thing I could think of...I prayed for him.

And let me tell you something. God answers prayers and in a big way, because not only did we recover Muffin Man, but we recovered him without any twisted broken body parts and he was not laying in some mound of snow suffering from hypothermia. No. This dude was on the trail just as happy as my toddler with a hair brush (weird I know, but hair brushes are for some reason the highlight of her day. Ok that and now that I think of it, also, ironically, muffins. Go figure.) as if he had just run on the most loving and forgiving trail in the most ideal conditions. We found him at mile 12 back in short park with just 2 miles to go. He smiled and waved like a rock star to his adoring fans (which is pretty much an accurate description of us as well I do believe). I ran up and asked him how he was doing and if he needed anything. Nope. Just fine.

Which leads me to this...this guy is much faster than he thinks...I think or else I think I am much faster than I actually am. You should see me two miles from the finish on any of my runs. I ain't talkin' much. A smile is an awkward curl up one side of my mouth and the most wave anybody's getting is a couple of fingers lifted in the air. That's all I can muster. So I'm thinking he's either sandbagging or maybe he's just better about realizing when a run is just not going to be what you thought was that day. He mentally shifts gears, quits looking at the watch and enjoys it for what it is. Kudos to him for that because it takes some people a long time to figure that out.

As for my run, it was about three minutes slower than intended, but with the frozen tundra mile and a few other icy patches that forced me to take teeny weeny itsy bitsy (yellow polka dot bikini) steps so as not to fall, I'll take it. But man those hills kicked my you know what. My quads are pretty sore today. Looks like I've got some more hill work in the near future.

'Til next time...

P.S. I would be remiss if I did not give mad props to the Mobile Mile Marker (my Dad) not only for his ingenious use of available resources, but also for creativity and a terrific sense of humor. He marked each mile by making a miniature snowman and placing him strategically (so as not to disrupt the flow of traffic I presume) in the very center of the trail. The best one which actually made me laugh out loud was one of the last miles which he not only rolled three minuscule snowballs to create his body, but also found some tiny sticks for arms. I can only imagine what other runners and cyclists thought seeing the little men every mile. Nice work Dad.