Where to Run in Rio

Honey in a bathing suit posing on the beach in Rio.

How about a quick swim before we run up the Dois Irmãos mountains?

With the Olympics starting next month, our eyes will be fixed on each nation’s strongest and fastest as they compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am not one of those athletes, but that didn’t stop me or the nearly 4,000 other runners that finished the Maratona do Rio de Janeiro in 2013.

Sure this race was three years ago, but I learned something that might come in handy for anyone traveling to Rio for the big games. Along my taper runs and along the marathon course, I found some fabulous pavement to pound and some off-road trails to satisfy every runner.

Keep reading to find out which route would best suit you if you ever find yourself in this South American metropolis. As a bonus, hit these routes, and you’ll be able to soak up the Carioca sun as well as some Olympic action in the “Marvelous City“.

Read more

10 Tips to Play Pokémon Go AND Get in a Good Run!

Oregano scoops up a pokemon mid-runIn case you’ve been hiding underground like a DiglettPokémon Go is an insanely popular augmented reality game in which people wander around their neighborhoods searching for digital creatures to capture in “Poké Balls,” which they collect at various “PokéStops” throughout their city.

There are a couple of different ways to play the game. You can simply focus exclusively on catching all of the 142 Pokémon characters available in the US, or you can train and battle other people’s Pokémon in Gyms. It’s a whole thing. If you’re interested in the details, read this or any of the million articles about the game out there.

Read on for tips on how to multi-task your daily run with your Pokémon Go addiction to have fun and level up fast!

Read more

I Raced up a Mountain and I Liked It

Done!Last year Steve Taylor, founder of the Collegiate Running Association and head coach of the Richmond Spiders track and cross-country team, invited me to race a 10k that his organization was helping to put on. Sounds simple enough, right? Six point two miles ain’t no thang.

Then he told me the important part: the 10k is a mountain 10k, which means you have to run that six point two miles straight up a mountain. I think I nodded and smiled politely but the dialogue in my head went something like:

HAHA, it’ll be a cold day in hell before these legs run up a mountain!!

Six months later and there I was with my goal to race 10k straight up a mountain … and I was excited about it! What convinced me was that the race was the USATF Mountain Running Championship, and the top four women in the race would make team USA and compete at the world mountain running championships in Bulgaria in September, 2016.  Read more

Dear Lauren Fleshman

imageDear Lauren Fleshman,

I have a fear of making people into heroes. As John Green wrote, “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” It’s treacherous for us, as the people who have illusions shattered when a hero is inevitably imperfect, and it’s treacherous for the other person, who fails at the impossible task of living up to unrealistic expectations.

So, Lauren, I will not call you a hero. I won’t even quite call you a role model or an inspiration. I will instead just say thank you for being the kind of human who can inspire and frustrate and sweat and cry, because that’s the kind of human I want to be. Read more

Make Running Great Again™!

MRGA hatIntroducing our new slogan: Make Running Great Again™!

Why might we change our slogan from the perfectly adequate “Get Chicked™”? Well, these are dark times in running, between the USATF infringing on athletes’ rights, to the doping epidemic and EPO flooding our borders, to the biased media indoctrinating us with the idea that we have any business spending hours training for marathons. And we long for the good old days, when people whistled while they worked, people knew where to sit on the bus, and we women had fewer choices to confuse us.

Yes, America! We must go back when women were thrown out of the Boston Marathon, and when we could never dream beyond running 800 meters in an Olympic Games, but only manly chicks did that anyway, so we didn’t bother with that dream.

It’s time, America! We’re going to turn back the clock and Make Running Great Again™! It’s gonna be a YUGE success! Read more

The Brain Freezer 5k: Cayenne’s Ice Cream Race Report!

brain freezer start

Start of the Brain Freezer 5k

This past weekend I participated in the Brain Freezer 5k in Burlington, Vermont. This race is unique in that it requires participants to run half of the race, roughly 1.55 miles, eat a pint of ice cream, then run the rest of the way back. That’s right, an ice cream race!

You may wonder why a runner with a sub-three-hour marathon goal would choose to do something silly like an ice cream race. And the answer is … because I run, and I also eat ice cream a lot more than I should. Finally! A race that combines my two favorite things! I chose this particular race not just because it involves eating any old brand of ice cream, either. The race featured Ben & Jerry’s, one of my absolute favorites! Read more

Do Women Runners Need Female Coaches?

Clockwise from top left: Molly Huddle and Kim Conley's coach, Ray Treacy, Jenny Simpson's and Emma Coburn's coach Mark Wetmore, Des Linden's coach, Keith Hanson, and Shalane Flanagan's, Amy Hasting's, Emily Infeld's and Shelby Houlihan's coach, Jerry Schumacher.

Clockwise from top left: Molly Huddle’s coach, Ray Treacy, Jenny Simpson’s and Emma Coburn’s coach Mark Wetmore, Des Linden’s coach, Keith Hanson, and Shalane Flanagan’s, Amy Hasting’s, Emily Infeld’s and Shelby Houlihan’s coach, Jerry Schumacher.

Picture a running coach: someone in command, respected by their team, competent and knowledgeable about the sport. Maybe this person is holding a clipboard and stopwatch, and wearing a cap bearing the team’s name. Are you picturing a man, maybe in his fifties or sixties? I am. (I probably ruined the effect of this experiment with the title of this article, but you get the point.)

I have that picture in my mind, not because I’m a sexist or believe men are better coaches than women. I have that picture in my mind because the vast majority of running coaches for collegiate and post-collegiate runners fit that profile.

While men are great and in general do a fine job of coaching women runners, I can’t help but feel like the running world is missing something because of the lack of women coaches in the sport.  Read more

Vacation! Get Away Without Throwing Your Training Away

imageYou cross the days off of your calendar in anticipation. You start to pack, make a list of things you need to pick up at the store, and begin to plan each day’s activities. If you’re going to the beach or some place warm, your bag is probably pretty empty; flip-flops and bikinis don’t take up too much space … unless you’re a runner. If you’re a runner, half of your suitcase has been taken over with sports bras, shorts, water bottles, a watch, and those suitcase space hogs otherwise known as running shoes. Your friends and family ask, how much running are you really going to do? Can’t you just chill out for once and enjoy your trip?

Vacations are a time to relax and rejuvenate, so you may think it’s not worth worrying about getting all your miles in. If you are cool with taking a break, by all means do it. But if your vacation falls in the middle of your training cycle, how do you get in your runs without it being stressful, a burden, or causing strife between you and those you are traveling with? Read more

What the Flock? Is Oiselle’s Volée Right for You?


Is the flock worth it?Being a serious runner has its privileges. Brands often throw themselves at us, offering free merchandise in exchange for our tweets, ‘grams, and a place on our bodies at races. In their beginning, Oiselle was no different in this way than many brands. Through it’s brand ambassadorship program, the Volée, Oiselle offered loyal, socially connected runners a race kit and discounts on apparel.

But things changed in 2014, when Oiselle introduced the Flock. Responding to a surge in interest in its Volée team after scoring partnerships with superstars Lauren Fleshman and Kara Goucher, Oiselle sought to expand its brand ambassadorship program. To do so, though, it could not offer free stuff and huge discounts to everyone who wanted to be a part of it, so Oiselle created a third tier group to add to its Haute Volée (elite runners) and Volée (classic brand ambassadors) teams. This third tier group was initially called the Flock. For the members of the Flock, Oiselle scaled back the discounts offered to the old Volée members and charged them $100. In 2015, the brand merged its Volée with the Flock. Now all non-elite members are part of the Volée team and all must pay $100 to be a part of it.

With so many runners flocking to pay to be a brand ambassador for Oiselle and, of course, the chorus from the corresponding haters, I was curious enough to investigate, from the average runner’s perspective, whether joining the Flock was worth the $100 and the energy and time investment in promoting the brand.  Read more

The Mind of the Anxious Runner when Choosing a Fall Race

It’s time, again, to choose your fall goal race. Ok, unless your a super-procrastinator like I am, you’ve probably already picked your fall goal race. Why does fall race season bring out the worst in my procrastinating self?

Maybe it’s because it’s the perfect racing season, reminiscent of cross-country for those of us who ran in high school or college, and it rewards us with crisp air and pretty leaves  after training through the summer’s heat and humidity. There’s no denying the magic of fall running weather.

Maybe it’s because 90% of the best races happen in the fall, which also might be because of how perfect the conditions are to race. I feel overwhelmed by choices! They all feel awesome and awful at the same time.

As I attempt to choose a goal race, I thought I’d give you a look at the inner workings of an anxious runner as she considers several popular racing distances. Read more

5 Reasons to Run with Faster Runners

Low shot of women running away from the camera.So you’ve completed a few races and you’ve started to think about getting faster. A BQ? A PR? You know how the story goes: to get somewhere you’ve never been, you have to do something you’ve never done.

You do speedwork on your own, you pick up the pace in your long runs, but your race times still aren’t where you think they should be. You know of a few faster running groups in town, but you question if you can keep up. That’s when you need to decide how badly you want it.

We’ve all been there! Running with faster runners (sometimes*) pays off with huge dividends. Besides the obvious benefits of running with a group, like making new run BFFs and making you accountable, running with a faster group can lead to huge performance gains and ultimately help you reach your race day goals. Read more

Running with Lupus

image

“The blood tests indicate that you might have syphilis,” the doctor said. “I will need to run a few more tests.”

WTF!? I thought. “Syphilis?” I asked out loud.

“No, you misheard. You might have lupus.”

“Oh thank goodness! I can totally get down with that.”

My primary care physician and I still giggle about this exchange from early 2013. It was the middle of my four-year break from running, my hair was falling out, my arms and legs were breaking out in random rashes, everything hurt, and, as a result, I was sleeping for 10-12 hours a day and nothing could shake this feeling of utter crap. Initially, I just assumed that I was depressed. My job sucked, I was between programs at school, and my family was on the other side of the world. But after six months of feeling like garbage, I resigned to the fact that perhaps something was not right. Other than my hodgepodge of symptoms, I appeared in-person and on-paper like a healthy young twenty-something: resting HR below 50 beats per minute, normal blood pressure, I was carrying more weight than I probably should have been, no real biggie. A deeper look and my blood panels were telling an entirely different story.

But, lupus? Now what? Was running ever going to be the same?

Read more

Readers Roundtable: What’s the Weirdest Sh*t You’ve Stumbled Upon?

imageThere’s nothing like running somewhere peaceful, somewhere we can get lost in thought and find a little solace in our otherwise busy days. We often like to run in places of natural beauty or places off the beaten path, places where we don’t have to worry about dodging cars or other pedestrians. But often these are the same places people choose to do some freakin’ weird stuff.

This weekend, Coriander stumbled upon some teens smoking pot, which, for activities runners stumble upon, is relatively mild. Naturally, we started regaling each other with tales of things we’ve accidentally witnessed on the run. And naturally, we thought it would be fun to ask you.

Tell us!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve stumbled upon on the run? How do you handle the surprise? 

5 Things About That Shandy in Your Fridge After Your Hot Sunny 9-miler, Because it’s Not Going to Drink Itself

Slack for iOS Upload (11)It was a hot, lazy day, and I’d done precisely nothing that counted as adulting: lounged around drinking coffee, spent the rest of the morning writing things for Salty Running, then ran for 90 minutes. I returned home drenched in sweat, thinking about how much I wanted to drink something sweet. That pointless, nervous little voice inside me insisted I was a complete waste of space who should feel deeply ashamed of her total enjoyment of this day and didn’t even deserve to drink water, let alone anything satisfying. If I wasn’t going to do anything to help people in need, like the Syrian refugees quartered in the local government building half a mile away, then surely I could at least, like, vacuum?

One train of thought led to another, and soon enough I came to realize (yet again) the magnitude of privilege I have in my life to even be having this discussion with myself. Now I was feeling guilty about feeling guilty. It was clear even to me that something had to change. Read more

Mindful Goal Setting for Runners

Maybe if we didn't try so hard, things might be easier.

Maybe if we didn’t try so hard, things might be easier.

If you are well-studied in the art of mindfulness, you may find the title of this post misleading. And you would be correct. Mindfulness has no goal. I first introduced this concept in a primer post on mindfulness and running. Often referred to as nonstriving, when we are mindful we enter an experience open to whatever that experience presents. A better word for goal would be intention but, if I titled it that way you probably wouldn’t have clicked on the link to read the article. Mindful Intention Setting? It sounds like it belongs on SaltyYoga.com. Since we runners sure do like our goals, I went all clickbait on you.

Gotcha!

Welcome, glad to have you here. Take a seat on the floor and cross your legs. I’ll get the incense lighted. And … don’t worry. I’m just kidding. As mindfulness continues to become mainstream, many people are often surprised to learn that it’s not all woo-woo and chanting. Sure, there are forms of those practices but the wonderful thing about developing a mindfulness practice is that it is deeply personal, much like goal … er … intention, setting.

When setting an intention, we are honoring our wishes and desires but understanding that it is ultimately up to the universe, environment, God, or circumstance of the present moment to decide what happens. There is only so much we can control. And when you think about it, setting intentions dovetails quite nicely with our traditional approach to running goal setting.

Read more