5 Things I Learned While Watching the 2015 Boston Marathon

fri5It’s the Friday after Marathon Monday and yes, we’re still talking about Boston! The inspiring final finisher. Shalane’s heartbreak. Caroline Rotich’s sprint finish and huge smile. Meb’s always charming stranger hand-holding as he made the most of his relative blow-up. How could we not still be talking about it?!

Actually, today I’m ceding the Friday 5 floor to one of our readers. Salty reader Lindi was so inspired by the Boston Marathon this year that she wrote up these 5 things she learned while watching the race. She sent them along to us to share with you. We loved it and are happy to oblige.

So Lindi, take it away! Read more

Fandom and Our Obsession with Winning

Victory sure is sweet but is it the be all end all? Image via flickr user Phil Roeder.

Victory sure is sweet but is it the be all end all? Image via flickr user Phil Roeder.

Marathon season recently kicked off with the granddaddy of them all, Boston. For me and many of you, watching this race is no different than watching the World Series or the Super Bowl. Come to think of it, it is our World Series and Super Bowl. So it’s hard not to feel a little down when your team comes oh so close to winning but falls off at the end.

All major sports have big dogs, the teams that are not only fan favorites but have big bucks to spend on the best players and thus consistently have winning records. In running, the United States has all the money in comparison to other countries. Think of the Nike empire and all of its high tech gadgets and facilities. Look at how many international athletes come to the US to train. Nonetheless the “big dogs” in our sport, those who dominate the competition, often come from economically less fortunate beginnings.

It’s interesting to wonder, what does that all mean?  What do we, as runners, learn from those breaking the tape? Read more

Is Breastfeeding Slowing Me Down? Lactation and Competitive Running

Nursing the baby before an 18:30 5k.

Nursing the baby before an 18:30 5k.

Is breastfeeding slowing me down?

To be clear, the benefits of breastfeeding for my son and me outweigh any short term negative impact on my speed. Fortunately my livelihood does not depend upon running so I am free to make that choice.

Running is a key component of my lifestyle, however, and I have lofty personal goals! I’ve been sitting on a plateau of essentially identical 5k and 10k times from 4-14 months postpartum and I’m beginning to doubt my more ambitious goals. I’m pretty confident in saying that lactation is not performance-enhancing, but how much, if at all, does it hold me back? Read more

Clove’s Badwater Training Log: 4.11.2015 – 4.17.2015

If you look above the navel ring, you can see ("C") my little problem.  The other weird stuff are buttons and the zipper on my cords - the x-ray was done with my cords on.

If you look above the navel ring, you can see (“C”) my little problem – as well as what it does to my hips. The other weird stuff is buttons and the zipper on my cords – the x-ray was done with my cords on.

This entry shall otherwise be titled “My Twisted Spine.”

My twisted spine put a dent in things this week.  Some people would say, “Star.  It was the very low mileage first week of a 15-week training plan, coming off of the training that got you to a PR 100-miler.”  Those people would be correct, but I would remind them that I am a super Type-A perfectionist, and that even though I know I made the best long-term choices for my body, I feel like I’m wearing a scratchy wool sweater when I don’t properly ace the week’s appointed workouts.  It just bothers me. Read more

Make Your Own Boston Marathon Jacket

IMG_8527

The jacket of my dreams…

In my dream world, I would be strutting around today in a purple and orange jacket of questionable taste.  This jacket would not be the sort of thing I usually wear, it certainly isn’t something I’d ever choose for myself, and I would have paid way too much money for it.

You know what I’m talking about.

I mean, it’s okay that I didn’t make it to Boston this year…I’ll make it someday!  Until then I’ll have to make do with a homemade knockoff that’s even less stylish than the real deal.

Learn how to make your own Boston Marathon jacket (for less than five bucks!) after the jump! Read more

Readers Roundtable: Boston Marathon Charity Runners

We almost asked you whether you find this year's jacket hideous or not. Feel free to discuss that as well! Image vis adidas.com

We almost asked you whether you find this year’s jacket hideous or not. Feel free to discuss that as well! Image via adidas.com

Happy Marathon Monday! First, we send speedy vibes to all our Boston-running readers and bloggers Basil and Chamomile as they toe the line today! May the forecasts of rain be wrong and may the easterly wind change its mine and blow you in all the way to Boyleston street. GO ALL YOU WICKED FAST RUNNAHS!

In honor of our most favoritist Monday of the year, we bring you this Boston flavored Readers Roundtable, the feature where we ask YOU to share your opinion on an important subject. Today’s topic, naturally, is the Boston Marathon. Specifically, we’re wondering what you think about runners who do not meet the qualifying standards but are allowed to run if they raise enough money for a charity. Does this diminish from the prestige of the race or is this a necessary expression of good will? What say you?!

And the Winner Is …

And the heaps of glory and imaginary trophy go to ...

And the heaps of glory and imaginary trophy go to …

It’s the Friday before Boston which means many of you are boarding flights or getting bib numbers from friends to track on Monday. While Boston is a fine race, perhaps THE finest race in all the land, another marathon deserves our attention.

Remember way back to a week ago when we posted the final round of our March Madness Greatest Marathon (that isn’t NYC, CHI or BOS) Tournament? Well one marathon rose from the field of 64 to be crowned the GREATEST MARATHON (that isn’t NYC, CHI or BOS). And that marathon is …

[*drums a-rollin’*] Read more

Basil’s Boston Marathon Playlist

For some of us earbuds : running shoes :: Boston Marathon : Patriot's Day! Flickr Commons image by rikomatic.

For some of us earbuds : running shoes :: Boston Marathon : Patriot’s Day! Flickr Commons image by rikomatic.

With the Boston Marathon around the corner and taper in full swing, there’s only one thing left to do (besides panic and obsess about All The Things). That’s right! It’s time to tune up the playlist, to toss the songs that tempo runs have forever ruined, and add some fresh tracks to carry me from start to finish on marathon Monday.

Now, I realize that some of us here at Salty Running (cough, Salty, cough) are purists and need only the beautiful sound of their own breathing (coupled with backwards counting through side stitches) to power through 26.2 miles. I’m not one of those people. I have often relied on music to get me through many lonely training miles–just me, myself and iTunes. And come race day, I want to remain blissfully ignorant of the tired and terrible sounds of my huffing and puffing.

So for those of you like me who are looking to spruce up your playlist before your goal race, perhaps I can save you some time by sharing what I found in the hour or so I spent scouring the internet for fresh inspiration. Here’s a sampling of some new favorites mixed in with my old standbys: Read more

Jasmine’s Training Update: Back in the USA

Belgium running

Belgium running

Alright folks. I owe you an update. In fact I owe you several weeks of updates, this is just a teaser. For the last few weeks I’ve owed Salty an article… something… anything. I’ve kind of been stuck because I don’t know what to write. So I’m just going to dive right in from where I am right now.

Coming up in the not-too-distant future will be some features on what it was like to train in Belgium for a month, and what it is like to be three weeks out from a marathon you know you’re going to bomb. Oh, maybe we should back up to that last comment.  Read more

Salty Running Visitor’s Guide to Boston Running Routes

Boston Skyline.  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Boston Skyline. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

It’s Boston Marathon time, Salty Readers! This week, thousands of runners and their families, friends and supporters flock to my city to run in or cheer at one of our country’s most storied road races.   This influx of running-minded visitors brings a host of unfamiliar runners to our roads, paths and trails. For those looking to run while you are here, there is no lack of fantastic running routes to choose from. Whether you are a racer in need of a good shakeout or last mid-distance run, or a supporter getting in your daily six-miler, there’s a perfect route here for you.

For some of my favorites, read on after the jump! Read more

An Inside Look in the Hottest Trend in Group Exercise: Treadmill Studios!

You are here... or you would be if you took one of the newly popular treadmill classes. Flickr image by *Julianne*

You are here… or you would be if you took one of the newly popular group treadmill classes. Flickr image by *Julianne*

Runners are, shall we say, opinionated about treadmills. Ask any runner, from marathoner to gym rat, and they’ll tell you they either love ‘em or hate ‘em. (There are certainly plenty of Salty opinions here.) Now, these once maligned machines are enjoying a moment in the sun. Owing to the overwhelming popularity of group fitness classes like spinning, boot camp, and barre variety, runners are now getting their own boutique experience.

Goodbye, Bikram. Pull over, SoulCycle. Are treadmill studios the next big thing in fitness classes? Read more

Clove’s Recovery/Badwater Prep Training Log: 4.4.2015 – 4.10.2015

During one of my "high" points at Umstead, somewhere between 35 - 50 miles.  100-milers are FUN!  (Sometimes)

During one of my “high” points at Umstead, somewhere between 35 – 50 miles. 100-milers are FUN! (Sometimes)

This week was still a no-running/recovery week from Umstead, but it involved more active recovery and less sheer gluttony and laziness.  The biggest news is that I began my sauna sessions; I’ll be going on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and working my way up to a full hour between 180 and 200 degrees.  I also started my uphill walking workouts in preparation for Badwater’s longest and steepest hills, combining a relatively dull activity with one of my guiltiest pleasures:  Days of our Lives. Read more

Readers’ Roundtable: Do You Experience Phantom Injuries During Taper?

When you've trained long and hard for a marathon, injury can seem catastrophic! img cc via thelatestslub on flickr.

When you’ve trained long and hard for a marathon, injury can seem catastrophic! (img cc via thelatestslub on flickr.)

Lots of us are tapering for our big spring race, myself included.  No, unfortunately it’s not Boston.  It’s New Jersey!  Everyone’s second choice!  (Badabing!)

But seriously, I’m excited for my third marathon on the beautiful Jersey Shore!  My goal is conservative, but that doesn’t mean I’m taking training any less seriously.  I’m approaching my taper with a little more experience under my belt, and if this is like last time, a few aches and pains will likely start creeping up my legs any minute now.

I don’t think it’s any cause for worry…or is it?  I never experience these phantom injuries during a taper for a half marathon, and having only done this a couple of times before, the taper crazies have me wondering: is my sore foot a serious case of PF?  Is my sneeze indicative of a case of SARS?  Does that wonky feeling in my back mean I have sciatica!? Does that click I heard mean my kneecap is going to pop off and roll down the street!?!?

Please tell me this is normal!  Have you experienced “phantom” injuries during a marathon taper–that is, nagging aches and pains that you haven’t felt during your training?  Do you (or would you) take them seriously?

As always, we’ll take your answers in the comments!

March Madness 2015: The Championship Round!

This is not the actual trophy. The actual trophy will be much more imaginary. Flickr Commons image by shorts and longs

This is not the actual trophy. The actual trophy will be much more imaginary. Flickr Commons image by shorts and longs

It’s here! The final round of our March Madness Greatest Marathon Tournament where YOU get to decide which U.S. marathon (that isn’t a NYC, Boston, Chicago or the other gigantic marathons) is tops! We started with 64 awesome marathons with between 800 and 8,000 participants and we’re now down to the two marathons YOU voted to the top!

In the first corner, we have Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon, the little marathon that could. This marathon, with barely 1,000 participants boasts an exceptionally flat and fast course and beautiful scenery. In the other corner, we have Nationwide Children’s Health Columbus Marathon, a larger-sized race with a lot of heart, usually great weather and a lots of volunteer and crowd support. Which of these two great marathons will rise to the top? YOU decide! (Click here for the updated bracket).

Voting closes at 6 p.m. (EST) tomorrow, April 11.

Read more

March Madness 2015: Final Four!

This is not the actual trophy. The actual trophy will be much more imaginary. Flickr Commons image by shorts and longs

This is not the actual trophy. The actual trophy will be much more imaginary. Flickr Commons image by shorts and longs

We’ve made it to the semifinals of our March Madness Greatest Marathon Tournament where YOU get to decide which U.S. marathon (that isn’t a NYC, Boston, Chicago or the other gigantic marathons) is tops! We started with 64 awesome marathons with between 800 and 8,000 participants and we’re now down to our Final 4!

That’s right! We’re down to the four best mid-sized marathons in the land. From the East, Pittsburgh takes on Columbus from the Central.  And from the South, the 15th seeded Kiawah Island looks to knock out the relative Goliath Big Sur from the West.  (Click here for the updated bracket).

Which two marathons will advance to the finals? YOU decide! Voting closes at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, April 7.

Read more