5 Classes to Take When You Go Back to Runner School

fri52schoolUnless you’ve been living under a rock or don’t play on social media, you are more than well aware it’s back-to-school time. Every other photo is of a smiling kid holding a sign with information only a mother could care about … and I say this as a social media abusing mother of back-to-school kids! Besides the avalanche of cute kid photos, deals on lined paper at the big box store, and BOGO at Stride Rite, there is so much excitement around back-to-school time. In the days leading up to the end of summer vacation kids are all abuzz about who there teacher will be, which friends will be in their class and what exciting things they will learn about. I’ve been finding myself excited for my kiddos, but a little jealous! I want to go back to school and learn stuff!

So I’m going to go back to runner school and you should too! Let’s take this opportunity to study up and become smarter runners by going back to runner school. Below is your schedule of classes for  the Salty Running School Fall 2015 semester complete with course descriptions and homework assignments. Let’s get crackin’! Read more

39 Years, Many Obstacles, Still a Runner

Almost 40 years of running for me!

Almost 40 years of running for me!

Last week I shared an excerpt from my book about why I started running. I’ve been thinking a lot about why running continues to be so integral to my life. As I’ve encountered my body’s limits, especially recently having scrapped two half-marathons, I find I’m constantly reassessing my goals and objectives, but not willing to give up the sport.

Looking back, my running history is unremarkable. Before I became a mother during my mid- twenties to early thirties, I ran thirty to fifty miles a week. I ran in local half marathons and 10k races. I was the rabbit for friends training for marathons. I ran for the pure joy of the sport without much thought to optimal training, hydration, or nutrition. I’m not sure anyone would have thought I’d be more passionate about running all these decades later than I was then! Read more

Going the Distance: Pros and Cons of Destination Races

All packed up and ready to go! Running shoes are the first thing to go in the bag.

All packed up and ready to go! Running shoes are the first thing to go in my bag.

Yeah, I know everyone’s going back to school, but I’m not ready to give up thoughts of summer vacation. Sleeping in, long days, lazy picnics, and maybe cashing in those frequent flier points. Summer always puts travel on the brain. For me, as a teacher, I like to get far away (usually far, far away) from the places of my daily grind. And as a runner, I’m not a sit-on-the-beach-all-day-with-the-latest-E.L. James-book kind of vacationer. I prefer something much more active. With the summer months being a popular time of year for many races, I’ve gotten into the habit of picking a goal race in an interesting and far-flung place to build a vacation around.

Traveling is one of my favorite things. Top of the list. My answer to the “What would you do if you won the lottery?” question. However, running is pretty high up there too. So why not just put the two things together? Shouldn’t it be the equation for a perfect race experience?

Well, turns out the answer is a little more complicated.

How can you balance the equation of determining if a destination race fits your competitor profile? Read on for some things to consider.

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Did I Break My Foot With My Mind? An Update from Catnip

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Having an injured foot meant I could share moments like this with my son rather than worrying about my running performance.

Long time, no write. And now I owe you all a heck of an update. I was last seen around here musing on whether breastfeeding is slowing me down and worrying about increasing plantar fascia pain. Well, my foot got worse and I ended up taking 6 weeks completely off running, not even a test run in that time.

What I didn’t mention in those posts was that I was also struggling with feeling overwhelmed by my work and other life responsibilities. I was lacking motivation for many runs, especially those confined to the treadmill. Even before the foot pain started, I was counting down the days until my post-marathon running break and even contemplating whether I really wanted to continue marathon training.

Certainly I had some muscle weaknesses that predisposed me to injure that foot, but I am convinced that the PF was a physical manifestation of my mental state. After all my day-to-day duties, my body had little energy left over to attend to recovery.

And running had turned into a duty itself rather than the pleasure it had been. This was more worrying to me than the broken foot: I had broken willpower. Read more

Readers’ Roundtable: Do You Wear Underpants On the Run?

Chafing is not an option.  (img via Wikimedia)

Chafing is not an option. (img via Wikimedia)

All my running shorts have liners, meaning there’s a built-in brief that protects my lady bits and prevents chafing.  This is ideal to me, since wearing underwear is unthinkable: cotton retains too much moisture, and all my other pairs are too frilly to be comfortable.

A couple years ago when “running underwear” started popping up in stores, I made a joke about it to a friend.  She looked at me like I was crazy and confessed that she had been wearing it for years!  I was completely confounded until she gave her reason: she didn’t want to have to haul her running shorts down to the laundromat after only one wear.

That seems pretty logical, but I remain an advocate of dropping your panties when you go running, even (and especially) when you’re wearing tight bun-hugger shorts.  To me, commando is just more comfortable!  But I’m curious to know how many of you are wearing your knickers out there.

Do you wear underpants under your running clothes?  How would you defend your position to someone who takes the opposite stance?

Leave your skivvies in the comments!

5 Types of Running Friends We All Need

fri5Running is an individual sport no doubt. There is no one to field your pass, no one to sacrifice fly, no chants of “we’re number one!” Many days we pound the pavement alone. Just me, myself and I (or I guess– you, yourself and you?). Though sometimes Brittany, Beyonce and Bon Jovi might tag along for some company. But I think that having a variety, specifically five kinds, of running friends makes this whole journey more interesting, more tolerable (at times) and more beneficial (mind body and spirit!).

Here are the five types of running friends I think we all need in our lives.  Read more

Running, the Perfect Place for the Perfectionist to Hide from Her Messy Life

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My family during my running peak: how perfectly imperfect!

I seem to be incapable of heeding conventional wisdom. Instead, for some reason, I must figure every single thing out for myself and experience my very own Oprah-riffic aha moment for the most common of common sense things. Having three children in four years (almost to the day) is really hard. Maybe other people know what they’re in for, but I did not. I wanted a family and in theory having them close together seemed perfect! And they are perfect and it is all perfect, but in perfect, I mean the important things are perfect, but in the wake of our family making is one huge mess.

Now don’t for a second think I’m whining. I’m just coming to terms with my situation in hopes of accepting the imperfection of it all, that imperfection being the mess I spoke of in the last sentence. What I did not know and what conventional wisdom seems to say is that everything other than child-rearing will be half-assed when raising many small children at once. And by many, I might mean any, but I’m not sure because I only know what it’s like to raise three. I couldn’t tell you much about what life was like with just one or two because it’s all a blur at this point. With my youngest approaching three, I can now stop, catch a breath and admire the big heaping mess of imperfection I’m standing on.

But I wouldn’t be able to see any of it if I was running well right now. Read more

Running, Friendships and Motherhood Before Title IX

My older son. at age twp, proudly wearing his "Hire a Lady Lawyer" pin.

Christopher at age two. Check out his pin: “Hire a Lady Lawyer.”

I don’t recall precisely why I chose running and swimming as the counterbalance to studying for the bar exam. In high school I had practiced the 880-yard distance with the girls’ track team, but I’d been too slow to compete. During college, I had persuaded my roommate to jog the hills surrounding campus on Sunday mornings until the opportunity to sleep until ten had outweighed her enthusiasm for the sport. I hadn’t had the courage to run alone so I had put my sneakers away until the summer of 1976. Swimming was the more natural outlet for my mental stress, as I recalled my childhood days at the YMCA, family hours at the local public pool, synchronized swimming groups, and the lure of the rhythmic lap after lap of mile-long swims.

The gift of running found me at the three-quarter mile dirt track at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Read more

Help, I Have Athlete’s Foot! Now What?

Sure, fungi can be cool and sometimes magical, but they don't belong on your feet! (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Sure, fungi can be cool and sometimes magical, but they don’t belong on your feet! (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Q: Why did the mushroom get invited to all the parties?

A: ‘Cuz he’s a FUNgi!

I have athlete’s foot. There, I came out and said it. I have to own the fact that I have now joined the legions of high school football players and wrestlers afflicted with the fungus. I definitely didn’t invite it, and it’s definitely not fun!

For 30 Rock fans, it’s like scene when Jack Donaghy makes a public declaration on the subway that he had bed bugs. My initial reaction to my foot fungus diagnosis was that same mix of embarrassment, shame, and then ultimately resignation. As embarrassing as it is, why did I act like it’s the end of the world? I mean, I’m an athlete, and I have feet. I suppose it was inevitable between sweating through three-hour long runs and showering at the gym even when I forget my flip-flops. It was only a matter of time.

Once I got over myself and realized I needed to combat this fungal invasion, treating mild athlete’s foot is a relatively simple process. Read on to find out what to do if your feet get all athletey. Read more

Readers’ Roundtable: Are You Willing to Pay for Primo Fashion?

Sweat in Style?

Will you pay to sweat in Style?

This morning Salty forwarded a promotional email from Anthropologie, retailer of overpriced (in my opinion) luxury women’s apparel and other stuff.  Guess what they have now?  Activewear!

I couldn’t help but laugh – everyone is getting into the game!  As much as people have blasted Lululemon, ever since it burst onto the scene and showed people that being active can be sexy, more and more luxury activewear brands have cropped up, and now even the store that made frilly aprons cool again has given into the hoardes of sweaty women waving their credit cards when they see tech fabric in a cute print or a sassy cut.

A lot of this stuff (the bras especially) is made for low-impact activity, not for running, so I have my doubts as to its durability when compared to the six-year-old Saucony shorts that still look as good as they day I bought them.  (And where do you put your key in these!?)  But there are still cute things I’d love to wear at the track!  I’m interested to know what you all think about fashion getting into the running game.

Will you pay primo prices for primo style?  Do you prefer your running gear in a more traditional “sporty” look or do you like the modern fashionista stuff?  What do you look for most in your running gear, fashion or function?

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

5 CrossFit Exercises Every Runner Needs Now!

fri5As every runner knows (or should know), strength and mobility are priceless when it comes to our overall running performance. It’s really a no-brainer: in order to become faster and build endurance, we need to incorporate strength into our training regimine. Of course it goes without saying that strengthening our legs is incredibly important, but runners will often neglect other key areas of the body that are essential in creating our overall prime level of fitness.

Knowing exactly what to focus on as far as exercises and movements can be a daunting challenge, but this Friday 5 with a little help from the world of CrossFit is about to clear all of that up. I reached out to Level 1 CrossFit Trainer and USAW certified coach Cody Lockridge from CTOWN CrossFit for the top 5 exercises every runner should focus on for optimum strength and mobility. Read more

Nutrimatix Badwater 135: Coming out of the Dark

Stalled in Darwin.

Stalled in Darwin.

There is a moment, however infinitesimal, right before water boils, and right before water freezes. A point at which a cataclysmic change is about to take place, yet still lies just below the surface. A point at which we have one last chance to change the direction of things, for better or for worse.

There was no soup, so they forced me to eat a cracker. Technically, they enacted the “Lexi Doctrine,” a throwback to when Darris wouldn’t eat two years ago. He was forced to eat crackers with peanut butter, and we forced our niece Lexi to make him do it, because we knew he wouldn’t be mean to her. So they made me eat a cracker. Even though I begged them not to, told them it wouldn’t go down. And it didn’t. And I was pissed. And like a baby, I made sure they saw all the dry-heaving that came with it. Was I dry-heaving? Yes. Did I make a huge dramatic big deal of it? Yes. It’s embarrassing to admit, and it’s embarrassing to write. But I was pissed that they weren’t listening to me. I was pissed that I had already been in the van and they were threatening to put me back in if the lightning storm got closer. I mean, hadn’t they seen “Running on the Sun?” And if the lightening was so bad, why hadn’t anyone thought to confiscate my iPod? I mean, don’t they conduct electricity or something? Then one of my favorite remixes came on. It starts with a thunderstorm. And I was marching and I was PISSED, but I was also coming up on the DVNP sign. I was officially leaving Death Valley. And damn it, I was running out. So I ran. I was moving faster, but my mood was unchanged.

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Simple Hydration Giveaway Winner

SH winnerCongratulations to Susan S!

I (Cardamom) will be contacting you to get your info in order to send out the bottle.

If you’re bummed out at missing out, you can buy a bottle at Simple Hydration. If you email me here with subject “Simple Hydration Promo,” I will reply with a promo code for 20% off Simple Hydration for Salty Readers!

Happy hydrating!

4 Simple Form Tweaks That Make Running Hills Easier

One of the most useful posts from the RunnersConnect.net archives you will find!

Whether you encounter hills in training or on the race course, fighting gravity can quickly become an epic struggle both mentally and physically. However, running hills does not have to ruin your workout or race. By maintaining proper form and executing a smart strategy as you run up and over them, you can actually turn hill running into a strength you can capitalize on.

In this article, I am going to teach you some simple form tweaks that can save you energy and help you breeze up and over hills with greater ease. Likewise, I’ll share the secret to attacking hills during a race so you can maintain pace and stay on track to reach your goal time. Read more

Nutrimatix Badwater 135, Part I: Under A Pink Sky

Ready for action at crew and racer check-in.

Ready for action at crew and racer check-in.  Photo credit to AdventureCORPS.

There is a moment, however infinitesimal, right before water boils, and right before water freezes. A point at which a cataclysmic change is about to take place, yet still lies just below the surface. A point at which we have one last chance to change the direction of things, for better or for worse.

Or, to quote the lyrics of an Indigo Girls song: “how long ‘til my soul gets it right?”

I sang that song to myself running from Furnace Creek to Stovepipe Wells. Not because my soul wasn’t right, but because my soul was right. I sang “Flashlight” to my crew even though I forgot to tell them. And even though Chris Kostman, the RD (understatement), said that music is a crutch (“IMHO”), I would have to argue that the 25th Anniversary recording of “Phantom of the Opera” with Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo is art. Especially underneath a blanket of stars.

But I digress already. Ah, Badwater. Land of digressions.

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