Last Run

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There’s nothing like a great trail run to de-stress.

If I had known last Sunday was going to be my last run, for possibly a long time, I would have gone further. I would have savored the fresh air, enjoyed the scenery despite running down a sidewalk near a business park, and relished the heaviness of my breath and tiredness of my legs. Instead, I took it all for granted, assuming I would wake up the next morning and do the same thing again.

A late trip to the ER that evening changed everything, as I suddenly became a high risk pregnancy with complications arising early in my second trimester.

I have been lucky. My first two pregnancies and childbirths were free from complications. I won’t say easy, because those endless months of morning/afternoon/evening sickness left me never wanting to go through it again, and it wouldn’t be fair to say twenty hours of intense labor was a walk in the park. But being pregnant did not prevent me from running. I ran up until the day I delivered with both of my girls, and resumed running again two weeks after each birth. I naturally assumed the third would be the same. Read more

Runsick

runsickness = missing the running buddies you love.In January I packed my suitcase, left my 9-5 life in Columbus, Ohio and headed for sunny Spain, where my future looked a little brighter. In Columbus my work life, relationships, and apartment were only so-so.

One thing I took for granted though, was that my running life was stellar. In 2013 I discovered the magic created by a tight-knit training group and it made the sport that much better for me. Only the most special bonds can be created by logging 20 miles at 5am.

I joined MIT, Marathoners In Training, and officially became part of the 6-Run-4. With the 9:45 pace group I ran speed work on Wednesdays, and long runs with them on Saturday mornings. I achieved many goals thanks to their support and they made me a faster, stronger, smarter runner.  I made friends from all walks of life, and I love them dearly. Sometimes our friendships extended beyond the track and the trail, but usually for carbs before a race or a beer after a workout. So… yeah, everything revolved around running!

Until I moved I didn’t realize how crucial my social running life was to my actual running life. Here in Spain, my running friendships remain virtual. I am so thankful for the Salty Running crew and their constant availability or I would lose my mind! Read more

Keep Moving Forward: Pumpkin’s Fargo Marathon Race Report

494666_230893849_XLargeI’ve been dragging my feet about writing this race report because it feels like I’m about to pen an insane twist-ending to a story that has read somewhat predictably up to this point. If you’ve been following my training logs, you already know that I had an incredible training cycle and felt like I was responding very well to Hanson’s Marathon Method. Over 18 weeks I ran mileage far exceeding anything I had run before, and for the first time ever I made it to race day completely uninjured! I set what I thought was a conservative, very realistic race goal. As race week approached, I felt READY.

At the beginning of race week, taper was going well. Monday I went out for a scheduled five mile easy pace run in my new shoes and that run actually went pretty terribly. I had been having some shoe drama over the past couple of weeks and these new shoes were giving me some pretty intense pain in my calves and behind my knees. I had run a few times in them, but on this day I couldn’t make it the entire five miles and had to cut it in half. I foam rolled and stretched and was able to run with less pain the following morning. The week continued with a couple of chiropractor sessions to work out some tight tendons in my calf. Rather than exacerbate the pain, I chose to listen to my body and skip the short shake-out runs the last two days before the race. I didn’t second guess this decision and wanted to focus my energy on hydrating and fueling for race day, which I did meticulously.

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How To Take A Cutback Week

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Kick back during your cutback week!

Spring marathon season is coming to an end and many of us are already signing up for fall races and laying out our training plans! I don’t know about you, but I get excited when my coach’s training plan arrives loaded with solid chunks of mileage and challenging workouts. But I also like to look ahead to see when I might get a little break from the effort, the little break known as a cutback week that I look to as an oasis nestled in the weeks of tough training.

Sometimes called “down” or recovery weeks, cutbacks are weeks during which you reduce your training load. The intention of the down week is to allow some physical recovery while still continuing to train. Some coaches suggest cross-training to replace less running, but that defeats the purpose of taking rest time. During a cutback week, you can decrease your mileage, intensity or both. An extra day off running is another possibility.

Confused about how or when to incorporate cutback weeks into your training plan, particularly if you don’t have a coach to do it for you? I’ve got some tips and instructions for making sure you can train strong, plan rest weeks, and not burn out before race day!

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An Open Letter to Dopers

imageDear Dopers,

You guys are jerks. Really, I’m not joking. You’re weak, mentally and morally. You’re incredibly selfish and whatever your motives are for doping, it’s not good enough and it never will be. You’re singlehandedly ruining this sport I love with my entire being. Worse, you’re making it incredibly difficult to not become jaded and cynical.

I may be biased, but running is the most beautiful and simplistic sport and that’s why I love it. Running is one foot in front of the other over and over. Running is the epitome of putting the work in, and seeing the tangible results. Competition in running is about who can get to the finish first, who can run faster than she ever has before, and who has put in the work. There is no subjectivity, no doubt about who won the World Championship Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the Olympic 10,000 meters race. It’s right there in black and white: whoever got there first wins. Clocks don’t lie.

But you, Dopers, you are tarnishing this simple beauty, muddying up what should be crystal clear waters. And I hate you for it. Read more

It’s Serious: Running and Concussions

DizzyEarly last Saturday morning, I woke up after a late night and decided that a run would boost my energy for the day. So, instead of heading back to bed, I headed out for a quick eight mile tempo, which is exactly what I needed. I felt great, maintaining a consistent 7-7:24 pace before heading toward home on the main roads.

About a mile out I ran past a construction site and suddenly found myself sliding on the ground, my chin bearing the brunt of a dramatic flying fall. Somehow, I’d managed to trip on a firehose that was almost invisible, the same color as the sidewalk. I got up and paused my GPS (obviously) and did a quick assessment. No bones sticking out, legs held my weight just fine, so I slowly jogged home, blood dripping from my chin, assuring the construction guys working outside my loft that it was “just a flesh wound.”

But, as it turned out, it was so much more; I got a concussion from running. Read more

🏁The Amazing Salty Running Contributor Race!🏁

It’s time! We are adding to the Salty team! Are you the person your running friends go to when they have questions about injuries, training, or what to wear to run in the rain? Are you someone who finds running inspiration in the most unlikely places? Do you feel like you have unique insights or a viewpoint that would educate or inspire other runners? Would you like to be a part of one of the fastest growing, most cutting edge, and influential community of badass women runners? Oh, and can you write?

If this snails you, we want YOU!

Learn more and apply after the jump.  Read more

Readers Roundtable: Are Steph Bruce’s Abs Overshadowing Her “A” Standard?

Does the 'gram on the right overshadow the 'gram on the left when Steph crushed the Oly A standard in the 10k at the Stanford Invite?

Does the ‘gram on the right overshadow the ‘gram on the left when Steph crushed the Oly A standard in the 10k at the Stanford Invite?

Stephanie Bruce is a talented and dedicated athlete who has put up some insanely inspiring performances mere months after not only having a baby, but her second baby in 15 months and overcoming a nasty case of diastasis recti. Even for a professional athlete, Steph’s comeback is incredible. When she announced her surprise second pregnancy, the general consensus in the pro-runner world was, if she’s serious about making an Olympic team, what is she thinking?! Even Steph herself seemed to feel that way, but she sought help and support and made a back-up plan. And it’s panning outThat is inspiring and it will be a gazillion times more inspiring if she defies the odds and makes the team. Imagine!

But is all the talk about her imperfect, post-pregnancy belly overshadowing her athletic achievements? Are we really celebrating her achievements when all the talk is about how she looks? When a professional athlete is portrayed as “brave” simply for wearing her running clothes in public, is this ignoring or exacerbating a larger issue? If a man were publicizing his body issues, how would we treat him differently? Even if it’s true, does any of that matter?

We want to hear from you! Tell us what you think! Read more

👻 5 Runners that Will Make You Want to be on Snapchat NOW!

snapchat-for-blog-1Yes, you read that right: five boring runners who will make even you want to be on Snapchat. For you non-Millenials or the otherwise uninformed, while you might find a topless Mo Farah or Usain Bolt on a few random snaps, the game has changed from the sexting/let-me-send-you-a-pic-of-my-stick-and-ball-sports app to the anything-goes-in-sharing-random-sh*t app. If you’re not familiar with this thing that all the kids are using these days, think of it as an extension of reality television … without the editing. You’d think that would be a bad thing. And it is; it’s awesomely bad.

People often complain that runners are boring and have nothing to offer us. Well, these runners on Snapchat are dispelling that myth. If you’re a current snapper and you don’t follow these top runners already, be sure to add them to your list of friends. And if you’re lucky, they might just follow you back.

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Running Performance and Diet: from Vegan to Vegetarian to Carnivorous

FullSizeRender (63)One look at social media and you’ll likely see some runners declaring devotion to a plant-based lifestyle and others shouting their love for bacon from the rooftops. Everywhere you look, runners are swearing up and down, “THIS is the diet that boosts running performance!”

We all want a healthy diet over all, but what that means to different runners can vary widely. Some of us watch our diets closely, others don’t. Some of us allow for daily or weekly splurges, others follow rigid rules until race day. And nobody seems to agree on which path is the right one for an athlete. Can removing all animal products really lead to enhanced performance? Is meat an essential element of a healthy athlete’s diet? Is there some middle ground?

With all the conflicting viewpoints about what amount of animal-products in a diet is optimal, I decided to explore different diets with runners who actually follow them. It won’t lead to any real scientific conclusions of course, but I was interested to learn what these runners had to say.  Read more

A Broad Running Abroad: Long-Term Travel Tips for Runners

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Running while on a trip or vacation is one of the best ways to get to know a new locale and so many of us make running a priority during our short-term travel plans. We throw in a pair of shoes and a couple of outfits that accommodate the weather and off we go. But if you plan to travel for more than a month, that tactic just isn’t enough. I should know… I am currently living abroad in Spain, thousands of miles away from Columbus, Ohio, where I called home before leaving on this adventure.

When you’re a runner planning to travel for several months to a year or more there are all kinds of questions to consider. What is the climate like? Will you experiences multiple seasons? What do you do when you need new running shoes? How do you build a normal running routine in another country? Is the running culture where you’re visiting drastically different than back here at home?

Now that I have been here a while, I have learned a lot from running daily in a foreign country, plus I’ve gained some hindsight on the packing and preparations for what I would do differently next time! Based on experience, here are some tips and advice for runners who want to continue their running regimens while traveling!

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The Best of Salty

imageAt first glance, it might be hard to glean just who’s responsible for Salty Running. There are lots of different writers, and if you look back in the archives there are even more – we’ve had over 60 women share themselves on this site! But there’s one person in particular, one person who, more than anyone else, makes Salty Running go: Laura, the Salty of Salty Running.

She isn’t just our leader though, she’s a friend, a mentor, a writing coach, a running buddy and the best big sister this writer could ever ask for. I won’t say she does it tirelessly, since the constant demands of three little kids and a burgeoning business is apt to run anyone down, but I will say she rises to the challenge every day, and has done so in spite of pregnancy, injury and overtraining having set back her own running career for nearly the entire time we’ve been operating.

Over the last four years she’s written just shy of 500 articles for Salty Running on almost every topic in our archive, and to celebrate having completed her first year as a masters runner I thought I’d share some of her finest work to date. Read more

The Taurus Runner

The Taurus RunnerHappy birthday to our favorite Taurus runner Salty! She’s in good company among several other notable Taurans, including Joan Benoit, Alysia Montano, and Meb. During this month where almost every weekend has multiple marathons and national championship races, the bull-headed stubbornness of Taurus runners who have trained tirelessly toward their big goals is either paying off, reaping the rewards they so very much desire, or serving as wake-up call for those whose procrastination won out over determination.

Their characteristic bull-headed drive for success is perfectly reflected in Joan Benoit, who won gold at the 1984 Olympics, the first year the women’s marathon was introduced. She still holds records at both the Chicago and Olympic Marathons, and her Boston Marathon was the fastest time for an American woman for 28 years. She had knee surgery a mere 17 days before the Olympics Trials Marathon in 1984, but her Taurus nature wouldn’t let her give up and she showed up and won, then followed with a win at the Olympics three months later. Her Boston Marathon finish in 2011 at the age of 53 got her a first in her age group with a 2:51:29. Whether you chalk it up to strength or stubbornness, the power of the Taurus runner can’t be denied!

What other traits do Taurus runner share? Read on!

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Blood Clots: When a Pain in the Leg is More than a Tight Muscle

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My upper right calf was ground zero for my blood clot. You may notice the veins in that calf are more prominent than the other. Permanent evidence of my clotting episode.

On April 15, 2004, just six months after I quit my full-time biotech job in Boston and moved to Michigan to join the Hanson’s-Brooks team, I experienced a pain in my calf. At first it seemed like one of those normal runner things, especially since just ten days before I had run the 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon. But as it turned out, this was serious.

You might be surprised to learn that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary emboli (PEs) are relatively common among distance runners, especially women, but it’s absolutely true. In fact, I’m not even the only one on the Salty team to have experience with them! Despite how common they are, there still isn’t a lot of information about the phenomenon.

Having just passed my 12th anniversary of my DVT and subsequent PEs, I wanted to share what it felt like to have a blood clot, what every woman runner needs to know about them, and what to expect should you ever have one. Read more

I Didn’t Mean For It To End This Way

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It’s probably better if you just go.

It all started a few months ago when I worked at a running store. Among the rows and rows of shoe boxes, one box happened to catch my eye. Inside that box rested a pair of sleek and lightweight trainers with soles that looked cushiony and supportive. Just my type. At first, we politely greeted each other with a nod or a quick smile but pretty soon we began to build a friendship. I thought nothing of it, after all, I was in a long-term relationship with my Nike trainers and things were pretty serious.

During one particularly slow shift I decided to try them on, promising myself it was purely professional. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be ill-informed should a customer ask me a question about them … right? The second I slipped them on my feet, I could tell they were special. They fit like a glove and hugged my huge boat-feet in all the right places. My head was spinning as I took a power-walk lap around the store, relishing every inch of their smooth fabric against my toes. These trainers were out of this world!

And so it began. Every day I started my shift by slipping out of my old knock-around shoes, and slipping into a pair of those magical trainers. Then when my shift ended, I returned them to their box and went home to my Nikes with a guilty conscience but very happy feet. I justified my behavior by telling myself that I was simply experimenting.

Besides, emotional affairs don’t really count as cheating … right?  Read more