North: Rangers on Three


Lydia sprints to the finish.

The District Meet is the first race of Ohio High School Cross Country’s post-season. Fourteen teams of seven take to the field with the top six teams and top twenty runners advancing to the Regional Meet the following week, where they will compete for a spot at the State Championship. Looking at the line-up, the coaches and Sydnie felt her chances of making it to Regionals, if not to crack the top-ten, were very strong. If Lydia had the race of her life, she had an outside shot too. If Ashleigh, Natalie, and Hannah, the next three runners on the team also raced their hearts out, the entire North team could be the Cinderella story of the season, and make it to Regionals together.  Read more

Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum: Saving Babies, Running Marathons

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, BioScience Research Collaborative at Rice University, Houston, August 31, 2016.

I’m in the car, stuck in rush hour traffic, with the soothing voices of NPR’s Morning Edition calming my nerves. They’re talking about the new class of MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grants.

I turn up the dial. These grants are a big deal, recognizing exceptional creativity and facilitating future great work across all fields, including arts and sciences. The prize comes with a $625,000 stipend paid out over five years and there are no strings attached to the money. The Foundation wants the grantees to have cash-on-hand to do whatever they need to do to keep being awesome.

Right now Jason Beaubien is telling me about a bioengineer who is saving lives in Africa. Her name is Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum, and she’s sharing a story about how her students created a centrifuge using a salad spinner.

But then she says something that really blows my mind: “The Hanson’s Method is kicking my butt right now.” Of course! This amazing woman is also a runner, and one who is training for the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend. It’ll be her fourth full marathon, having just started running five years ago. Although I hated to put another thing on her calendar, I had to talk to this woman and share her story with you. Read more

All the Things I Knew: Mango’s Baystate Half Marathon Race Report 


I had both feet off the ground in this photo! So I bought it. Photo credit: Capstone Photography.

Two seconds: that’s all that separates 1:59:59 from 2:00:01. In between, 2:00:00. There’s nothing fundamentally different about each of those times. Yet two hours, or any other pleasantly round time goal, seems such an insurmountable barrier. At least, it did to me.

Once upon a time (2008 – I’m not that old), I ran my very first half marathon in 2 hours and 43 minutes. Since then, I’d shaved off almost twenty minutes. First ten minutes. Then four. I got it down to 2:11, where it sat for fully three years. If there was a Zeno’s paradox for PRs, this surely was it. And then in May this year, on a misty morning in Pittsburgh, a breakthrough: 2:06.

I signed up for the Baystate Half Marathon this fall with a big question in the back of my mind: Could I finally break two hours? I knew I could do it, in theory. All the race prediction calculators thought so. My brain knew that other runners with the same 5K and 10K PRs had run sub-2:00 handily.

But did my body understand that too? Did I know it in my bones? In my heart?

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Learning to Love Charity Running

charity run group shotThe ugly t-shirts, the pre-race nerves, the post-race bananas, the older guy who goes out way too fast; when I first started running I couldn’t get enough of that stuff. I was a race junkie, signing up for a local five or 10k every weekend, often in support of charities. But as I grew as a runner and my goals changed, I stopped racing as much and I started training differently. With the specific workouts I had on my training schedule, I found it harder to fit the fun charity runs in. If a race fit my workout plan, or if it was on Thanksgiving and I’d get a t-shirt with a turkey on it, then I’d make an exception.

The less I raced, the more pressure I put on myself when I did race. I would set almost impossible goals and then make myself sick about it before the race even started. Finally I just gave up. I wasn’t having fun, so what was the point? Then I got snobby, telling myself I was busy running marathons, I didn’t need to be bothered with a local 5k. These are the lies I told myself.

Then I got a different, though unwanted, view that showed me the healing power of the charity run.

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Oh to Be a Pregnant Runner: Running and Trying to Conceive

Baby running shoes on the trackThis past spring, whenever I went to CVS for a pregnancy test or prenatal vitamins, my receipt included a coupon for tampons. (Other purchases warranted different coupons.) “Nope,” said CVS with a sneer. “No baby this month.” It was like a slap in the face. Because dammit, CVS, for months you were right.

I was originally optimistic about the ease of transitioning from serious runner to mother-to-be because of how many young mothers raced at the Trials. But once I was stressed enough to overanalyze it, I realized that in all the stories I’d heard or Googled the women got pregnant right away, within two months at most.

But then I started to wonder: What happened to all the women that took a while to conceive? Those that had to step away from the sport for longer, for all the months of trying, before they got pregnant? What about women who miscarried? Statistically, these women must exist. Do they not share their stories? Did I selectively forget them in an effort to be positive about quickly conceiving? (Very possibly yes.) Or does staying in the sport require getting pregnant right away to minimize time away? Read more

Are Race Lotteries Illegal?

Instant lottery tickets stacked on a table with spent ones littering the floor next to it. Not too long ago, Pumpkin posted about her frustrating experience entering the lottery for the Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile, observing at the outset, “Slots, craps, black jack, road race lotteries: they’re all the same.” Well, a couple of runners who lost out after paying to enter the New York City Marathon lottery last year agree, and they’ve literally made a federal case out it.

In January, Charles Konopa and Matthew Clark filed a class-action lawsuit against the New York Road Runners, the organization that hosts the New York City Marathon, claiming that the marathon’s entry drawing constitutes an illegal lottery under New York law. The parties recently settled. Consequently, New York City Marathon lottery is now free!

But what, you may be wondering, was the big deal behind this lawsuit? And what does it mean for other races going forward?

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An American Runner in Paris

buda-runningAm I still Bergamot if I don’t run a race this year? Am I still … a runner?

Dun, dun, dun!!!! Cue the horror music.

I asked myself these questions, sitting on the couch in sweatpants at 3:00 p.m. Oh, the life of a freelancer, or rather, my current life. Over the summer, Cilantro covered the impact of changing identities and how she dealt with her evolving identities as an academic and a runner. This year, I’ve experienced some major shifts too, and my current location and occupation in Spain has helped me remove cultural expectations of myself, especially regarding running.

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Readers Roundtable: Running Fashion

A collage of Salty getting frustrated as she attempts to put on a complicated shirt

Since we were kids, fall has always been a time to shop for clothes. Fall also happens to be the season for runners, so, naturally, running apparel companies are eager to take all our money. In catalogs and ads everywhere, we’re seeing the hottest trends. Some, like the all grey footwear or cozy cowl necks we can get behind. But others leave us saying, “Hmmm.”

Shirts that are so complicated you can’t figure out how to put them on. Puffer jackets when it’s not -20 degrees. Vests and shorts ever. A complete ensemble of sports bra and tights, capri or full-length. Who wears this stuff?

So we want to know:

  • What’s the weirdest running ensemble you’ve seen in an ad?
  • What’s the weirdest or most fashion forward article of running clothing you own?
  • What circumstance if any would you run in just a bra and tights? 
  • On what level do you care about fashion over function when it comes to your running clothes?

✪And don’t forget to tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST for #saltychat on Twitter!✪

5 Things Bob Dylan Can Teach Us About Running

fri5Last week, the Nobel Committee announced that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Although this announcement provoked substantial controversy, I was thrilled. My love for Bob Dylan knows no bounds, so much so that his songs make regular appearances on my iPod playlist during my casual runs. At first, Bob Dylan seems like a strange choice to include on a running playlist, but if you listen closely, you just might think he was singing about running!

Here are just a few of my favorite pieces of sage running advice, a la Dylan.

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North: The Conference Championship

The North team warms up at the final meet where they'll all be together

I just ran.

– Hannah

In race after race, she struggled with anxiety. This anxiety caused the girl with the long lithe legs and a killer stride to close up her fists and shuffle. Occasionally, though, she could break through and we would see a sneak-peek at the runner she could be. Often this occurred during the first mile of a race when she’d run with her teammates Natalie, Lydia, or Ashleigh before giving in and shuffling again. The worst of it came in the first meet when her nerves completely engulfed her, but over the next few races she seemed to be winning her fight, only to once again seem consumed by worry over these last few weeks.

On this, the Conference Championship, the last meet of the regular season, Hannah came roaring out of the woods hot on Natalie’s and Ashleigh’s heels, not a quarter of a mile into the race, but with a quarter mile to go. Read more

Raspberry’s First 50: Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Mile Race Report

Raspberry runs in her first 50 mile raceSince joining the Salty team last spring, I have been training for my first 50-mile race, the Dick Collins Firetrails 50, using Krissy Moehl’s Running Your First Ultra training plan. I had just completed Boston-to-Big Sur, and knew I had the foundation for a strong training cycle. During summer vacation, I armed myself with a new book, Trail Runner’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area and adopted an adventurer’s mindset. That, combined with mild weather and strength-building trips to the mountains, provided ideal training conditions.

However, as with all training cycles, it wasn’t perfect. I struggled with my hill workouts, I neglected my core, and vacations prevented me from hitting all of my miles. But, I knew I prepared as best as I could, and upon reaching my final taper, my left knee and hip screamed at me that I was done, and it was time to get the show on the road. Read more

Introducing Sriracha!

Sriracha raises her arms with excitement during the 2015 NYC MarathonHello Salty Running readers! It is such a privilege and honor to be part of such an incredible community budding with knowledge, humor, and support. I was introduced to Salty Running by a former contributor and needless to say I have been hooked since day one.

I have been an athlete from a young age. Born the youngest of three and the only girl, I was potty-trained on the sidelines of a soccer field. To this very day, sports and athletics remain an essential part of my core. As a child it was not unusual to see me leave my soccer game, grass stained and all, to trade in my cleats and shin guards for a tutu and tights. It was through my love of soccer that my love of running was born.

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Glory Days: the Role of a Runner’s Past in Her Present Success

College-age Barley sits on a number 1 podiumOnce upon a time I was a college track athlete, a heptathlete specifically. I had a good amount of natural talent for it, I enjoyed it, and I succeeded thanks to my beyond-stubborn streak. Notice I didn’t mention anything about working hard, being 100% dedicated, or making sacrifices for my sport. That’s because if I said those things, it wouldn’t be true.

A decade later, while I gave up the javelin when I graduated, I am still a runner and a successful one at that. I still possess the attributes that led to my collegiate success, but I attribute my post-collegiate successes to other things I didn’t have back then. Dedication. Sacrifice. Knowledge. Perspective. The Little Things. The paths college-me and adult-me took to get to success are intertwined but also distinctly different.

Who would I be now if I had today’s work ethic back then? How much better would I have been in college had I approached running with the same intensity and purpose I do now? Should I regret those naive and carefree years and wonder what if?

Are then and now linked, or are they two separate stories of success?

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Chasing the Best-Race-of-My-Life Feeling: Coriander Returns to the Roads

Ready for my next marathon adventure!

Two years ago, I ran the best race of my life, but since winning the Oil Creek 100K in 2014, a lot has changed. Over the last two years I’ve longed for the same race experience, but I also met my now-husband, moved in with him, adopted a cat, started graduate school, got promoted at work, got married and bought a house.

Before all of that, running was something I was getting to be pretty good at, and when I went to a race, I went there to win. But at the end of 2014, I was injured, and then couldn’t manage a good race through 2015 or most of this year. I was burnt out, tired, still slightly injured, and unable to deal with the fact that my life did not and could not revolve around running anymore. After another DNF at the Indiana Trail 100 in April, I ran my next two races with one of my best friends in May, then decided to drop from Mohican 100 and take some time off.

Early this summer, I decided to do something really crazy: train for my first road marathon since 2013! Read more

How to Give Advice to New Runners

Yoda says "to become a runner you want?"As soon as people know you’re a runner — possibly even before you call yourself one — they will want your advice. This is inevitable. Your charge is also inevitable: ensure they become part of the runner-fold and never want to leave.

Usually, it starts like this: “I want to start running. What is the key to success?” Or, “I started running and now my ____ hurts.” Or, “I signed up for a half-marathon in two months. How should I train?”

I spent five years working in a running store, so I answered these questions a lot.

Okay. You’re now the resident expert, and you have the floor. Time to make them a convert.

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