How to PR a 100 Miler: The Good, the Bad and the Bloody

An "easy" 100?  That's a real hill there, half a mile long.  It's especially real the eighth time you try to run it.

An “easy” 100? That’s a real hill there, half a mile long. It’s especially real the eighth time you try to run it.  (Photo credit: Ben Dillon)

They always say you can’t control the weather, but you can control your attitude.  Challenging as it was at times, the weather could have been much worse.  Mother Nature, however, still had some fun plans for me, and decided to inform me of said plans at about 4 pm the evening before the race.  I was resolute – after all, I’ve been doing this thing for some 25 years now – but 100’s ain’t no marathon, so color this a “wrench.” Read more

March Madness 2015: Round II!

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

On to Round II of our March Madness Greatest Marathon Tournament where YOU get to decide which U.S. marathon is tops! In case you’re just joining us, we’ve matched up marathons with anywhere from 800 to 8,000 participants and you vote for which race advances to the next round.

In Round I, we had the predictable powerhouse wins, like Richmond (which defeated Rehoboth Beach)  and Twin Cities (which took down the Martian Marathon), but we have some possible Cinderella stories happening in the South and West Divisions were the David-like 26.2 with Donna and Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon eeked out victories against the Goliath-like Dallas and Portland Marathons respectively. The Southern Division has the most upsets and the Central the least. The Columbus Marathon got the most votes by far!  Click here for the updated bracket.

What will happen in Round II? YOU decide! Voting closes at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow, March 31.

Read more

5 Snappy Comebacks for Sh*t Non-Runners Say

These are your coworkers at an office party. They like cake. When you tell them you like running, what do you think they’ll say to you? img via thebadchemicals.com

Here on SR we talk a lot about how much we love to run. You and I know how good running can be, how much it has changed our lives for the better, or helped us get through tough times, strengthened our families and kept us sane.

Well, when we talk about our love of running here at Salty Running we know that we’re preaching to the choir. Convincing each other that running is great is easy, but we aren’t always talking to other runners.

You know what I’m talking about. You know how non-runners can act when your running comes up in conversation… For some reason, many people get uncomfortable or dismissive about our good habit. So many times when a non-runner has said something annoying about my running I have walked away and then thought “AUGH! I should have said–!”

No longer, my friend. Submitted for your approval, are things I should have said to the most obnoxious retorts about running:

Read more

March Madness 2015: Round I!

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.

And now, Salty Friends, it is time to VOTE! We have 64 awesome marathons vying for the title GREATEST US MARATHON … (that isn’t NYC, CHI or BOS). They are separated into 4 regions, just like the college basketball tournament. I’ve seeded the races according to participation rate: the more participants, the higher the seed. You can get a bracket spreadsheet here. For Round I I will leave voting open for 24 hours, so voting will close on Friday, March 27 at 7:00 EST. Also, we’d love to hear your opinions about the races here that you’ve run. Remember, commenters are entered into a drawing for a cool prize!

Enough boring stuff. Let’s VOTE! Read more

March Madness 2015: The Greatest US Marathon (that isn’t NYC, CHI or BOS)

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

Finally! It’s here! Salty Running’s Third Annual March Madness Tournament. I just know you’ve all been waiting  for it to arrive. In the past this amazing tournament has crowned the greatest woman runner of all time and the best womens running blog, but this year we’re looking to crown the best marathon in the entire United States of America! … that isn’t New York, Chicago or Boston (or any race over 10,000 runners, which also ruled out Philly, Honolulu and a couple of others).

And to up the ante we’re offering you, the Salty readers and voters, a chance to win a special prize! Read more

Deadlift Dos and Don’ts for Runners

IMG_3326

Using a detached broom handle to cue myself while I practice my hip hinge

Do you deadlift?

It may well be one of the single best exercises for runners, and if you don’t, you should! Most runners could benefit from strengthening their posterior chain – the muscles in the back of us like our glutes and hamstrings. These help propel us forward, and are necessary for good speed and stability while running. The deadlift can also help with core strength and stability. Mastering it can give you a key tool to use in your strength-training repertoire, so here are some tips to help you succeed. Read more

Death Valley Days = Badwater Training Gut Check

DB and I at our "summer house" last week.

DB and I at our “summer house” last week.

This past weekend was the LA Marathon, and since the Clif Bar Pace Team handles the pacing chores, DB and I were out west.  What better opportunity, we thought, to add in a visit to Death Valley, and re-visit the course we’ve now played on six different times.

I’ve written before about what it’s like to run in Death Valley, specifically about the time that DB and I created our own challenge, the Badwater 17.  I’ve crewed the race three times, and run on my other visits as well.  I like to think that I know that 135 mile stretch of road reasonably well.

I do not. Read more

Readers Roundtable: Could Running Really Be Bad for Us?

adsfw Flickr Commons image by hjl.

Could we really be running ourselves to an early grave? Flickr Commons image by hjl.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen the headlines:

Jogging Could Actually be BAD for you: Too much running increases risk of early death,” From the Daily Mail.

Too Much Running Tied to Shorter Lifespan,” from WebMD.com

Running Farther, Faster and Longer Can Kill You,” from today.com.

Even Active.com, a running site got in on the fun:

Why Too Much Running Is Bad for Your Health,”

And my personal favorite:

One Running Shoe in the Grave,” from the Wall Street Journal.

Sure, many reputable sources have challenged these findings (like this, this and this), but we realize headlines like these are hard to write off – it’s your life, after all! So, we were wondering what you thought.

Tell us, do reports that running “too much” might increase your risk of an early death get your attention? If so, what do you think is “too much?” Have you changed your training after reading these headlines?

5 Reasons I Love Stroller Running

fri5Many competitive runners prefer to run without the encumbrance of a stroller. “It messes with my form,” they say. “I can’t run fast with it,” they say. “My running is my me-time,” they say. And, well, they have a point. Running with a stroller is not all sunshine and rainbows.

There’s the inevitable sprint-to-the-car-with-the-screaming-hungry-infant-stroller run.

And the run-an-extra-two-miles-searching-for-the-priceless-hand-knit-hat-that-the-kid-chucked-out-of-the-stroller run.

Or the OMG-when-did-this-route-go-all-uphill stroller runner.

Among others.

Even so, I love stroller running (most of the time). Here’s why: Read more

Runners Aren’t Invincible

How can I keep going when someone this vibrant is gone?

Running did not make her invincible. 

On December 10, 2014, my motivation disappeared and I decided to stop running. That was exactly one month and one day after I ran a one hour marathon PR, that’s right one whole hour in the Soldiers marathon. No, I wasn’t tired of running, I wasn’t mentally exhausted, or any of the normal reasons people stop running. I just did not see the point anymore. I know, I know. I am the one who eats miles for breakfast and seemingly runs every day. And yes, I now failed to see the point anymore.

I did not see the point anymore because I noticed that all around me people were dying, young, healthy, and vibrant people. These were the ones who were eating right, exercising regularly, and who were genuinely good people. People like my training partner and best friend, Yvonne were dying while some lazy people sitting on their couches constantly eating and drinking highly salted, highly fatted, and highly otherwise unhealthy things were thriving. Okay, I’m sure I’m way over-simplifying things, but you get my drift. Read more

Jasmine’s Training Log — Live from Belgium Week — 3.15.2015

 

Northern farmland of Ieper

Dawn. Flemish farmland of Ieper.

Travel wasn’t on my list when I signed up for the elite starting line of the Pittsburgh Marathon. While I’m trying to stay on track  to make this another sub-3 performance, it is not going to be the massive ass-whooping I was worried it would be. On flat, snowless, outdoor terrain, my easy pace is now well into the mid and low 7-min-mile range, and the mileage isn’t leaving me beat up. Folks, that is a sign of good things. I just have to get the workouts in to bring it all together. Read more

Racing Superstitions: What’s Luck Got to Do with It?

Four Leaf Clover

Will a four leaf clover help you have a good race? (Photo credit: Jim Rees)

Luck. Juju. Magic. We runners tend to be a ritualistic bunch. Chances are that your race day essentials include not only safety pins and Bodyglide, but some kind of lucky charm, whether it’s a part of your outfit, a particular pre-race tradition or just a talisman you have on hand. A little pre-race superstition never hurt anyone, right?

Sassafras and I have teamed up this week to discuss the use of pre-race superstitions. We thought it might be fitting seeing that we are the last of the Saltys to be racing a marathon or half marathon this season. More than likely, we will be sure to complete our pre-race rituals or bring our little lucky charms. But what if something happens race morning that throws a routine or ritual off? What happens if you leave your little charm at home? Read more

Readers Roundtable? What’s the Best GPS Watch under $150?

Who doesn't love the convenience of a GPS watch?  img via peterm7 on flickr

The convenience of a GPS watch is great!  It’s the expense that’s kind of a drag… img via peterm7 on flickr

We all love a good product review, which is why this week I decided to share with you that our own Ginger, of “run-by-feel” fame, has begun shopping for a GPS watch. She asked the Salty bloggers to help, and since those handy little devices are one of the most expensive pieces of gear available to runners, I thought it would be a great question for you!

“I don’t want to spend too much,” says Ginger. “I really just want a GPS for tracking pace and distance.” Like so many runners she doesn’t need any bells and whistles, she’s just looking for the basics.  The most important feature is that the watch fit into her budget.  Of course Garmin is the forerunner (so to speak) in the US, but we’re also interested to learn about other brands.

Are you familiar with a good GPS watch available for under $150? (That’s $191 Canadian) If not, how much did yours cost, and do you think you would spend that much again?

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

Comment of the Month – February

COTM BadgeHere in North Dakota, I am wearing flip-flops and many of my male classmates are wearing shorts.  It’s 30 degrees outside.

But since we have had lows of -30, this is a 60 degree differential, so it really does feel like a heat wave.  But regardless of the temperature here, it is heating up across the nation, and that means it’s starting to feel like race season. That means things (and posts and comments) are heating up around Salty Running too!

Today, of course, we want to honor our commenters, which means it is time for another comment of the month! This month, the unanimous winner was…

Read more

5 Lesser Appreciated Signs of Spring

fri5Here in Northeast Ohio the snow is finally melting. Woohoo! My kids and I note how much more grass we see each day. And the best part is that melting snow happens when warmer temperatures and sunshine arrive! After this winter of many many record lows, we deserve it. Come on spring!

When asked what our favorite signs of spring are, our minds might instantly jump to thoughts of opening the sunroof on the first 50+ degree afternoon to blare the latest Bruno Mars smash. (What?) Or perhaps we might  picture that long-awaited vitamin D infusion that happens as we emerge from our basement treadmill lairs to squint mole-like into the sun. While these are obvious, there are some lesser appreciated signs of spring that I’d like to discuss today. Read more