Comment of the Month – September 2014

Fall racing season is in full gear, and so are things at Salty Running.  In September, we had a lot of great posts.  Basil wrote an Open Letter to Brooks about their recent “upgrade” to her favorite shoe (pain we all have felt before) and they responded! Salty weighed in on what counted as a “PR” (and what doesn’t) and Pepper wrote about the difference between running and racing a marathon (which I should probably take note of). Of course, there were many more – we have been a busy spice rack!

We also received a ton of awesome comments all month long, and we culled through the comments to pick our favorite, this one from a frequent commenter and long-time reader on Garlic’s The Runner’s Biological Clock: Age Grading post.

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5 Cheers No Runner Wants to Hear

trackLast Saturday, as I ran the Blue Ox Marathon in Bemidji, I was coming up a particularly steep hill (the course is actually just one big hill, if I’m being candid), and the race volunteer at the top said, “this is the last hill!”  Having run enough marathons to know better than to believe everything I hear from the marathon sidelines, I said, “Don’t say that if it isn’t true!”

He looked shocked. But I read the truth in his eyes.  This certainly wasn’t the last hill on the course.  Or even close.

As a runner who also races, I appreciate the spectators more than you know.  Their smiles and cheers keep me going.  The volunteers are even more appreciated.  And runners should never take race-day frustrations out on them.  After all, they are doing this for free.  But in the spirit of good spectating, here are 5 cheers we really don’t want to hear when we are racing.
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Beware of Cars: Blue Ox Marathon Recap

Pre-race #selfie

My usual pre-race #selfie

I wasn’t sure if I should write a recap of the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon that I ran on Saturday. As a general rule, I like to keep things positive when it comes to racing, and I usually try to stick to the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” mantra.  But I also think it is important that I am honest about my experience and also should provide feedback for the race and potential future runners of the race, so a recap is happening.

First, I should make it clear that this was not a race that I wanted to “race.”  What I needed was a little kick in the behind on my training to prepare me for circumstances that would model next summers run across America. This means that I need experience running long distances on consecutive days.  It is best if I run a longer distance on the second day to build the fitness I need, and that the second day mimics conditions I’ll find on the road next summer.   Read more

A 365 Day Full Circle: My 2014 Akron Marathon Race Report

At the end of last year’s marathon, I thought my only takeaways were a DNF, a blister and this jacket. BOY, was I wrong!

Last year I lay defeated. I hit rock bottom and then some. Sure, September 28th is just another date and September 28th, 2014 is 365 days since September 28th, 2013. But what happened on September 28th, 2013 will always be in the back of my mind. And what happened in the 365 days since then will always blow my mind.

In theory, I understood that life could come full circle, but when it happened to me and even more importantly, what happened as that circle formed forever changed me.
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Go Big or Go Home

And don't even THINK about going home!

And don’t even THINK about going home!

They say, “Go big or go home.” Four days out from my goal marathon – the one I hope to go from a solid mid-packer to a sub-three marathoner, the one for which I ran multiple 80 mile weeks and way too many miles at 6:52 pace – it’s too late to go home. So, all I can do is go big. 

Of course, when you go big, even when you do everything right, you might not meet your goals. But that’s ok. It’s scary to go for a big goal, especially when you announce to the entire internet what your goal is. But the fun and the learning all take place in the going big part, not in the briefest of moments when you cross the finish line. Read more

How to Spectate at a Cross Country Meet

The official symbol of fall!

The official symbol of fall!

We’re right in the middle of October, which means it’s time for pumpkin spice cross country everything! If you’ve never ventured off the roads, cross-country will wow you. The scenery, the toughness and the team work all make cross country a very special form of running.

And for those of you Salty readers who first began your running career as a member of a cross country team, going back out and being a spectator is a must do! Now’s the time to check out a meet and relive those days!  Already running cross country this fall? Then pass this guide along to your friends and family! And away we go… Read more

Opting Out of Running in Makeup

Eye makeup of a woman. Polski: Makijaż kobiece...

If I had to guess, I’d say this is not a woman scanning the horizon for a stretch of road to do her strides. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Running all made up, with a face full of makeup. I have never done it, but many of my friends do. I am always amazed. It is hard enough for me to make sure that I have on matching socks at 4 a.m. There is just no way I could put on eye liner, mascara, and lip gloss before walking out the door, which is why I get my clothes out the night before. I do not even wear earrings while running, but I seem to be in the minority here. Heck, Salty Running already has a post about runnable make-up. And don’t get me started on the trend of trying to look good in race photos!

But, yeah, running in make-up is something I just don’t get.
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Running for Innocence

Public defender and avid runner Lisa Kavanaugh is running the 2014 New York City Marathon to support her work with the CPCS Innocence Program

Public defender and avid runner Lisa Kavanaugh is running the 2014 New York City Marathon to support her work with the CPCS Innocence Program

Fall marathon season, with its legion of charity-linked races and runners, reminds us of an important role running has assumed for many Americans – a vehicle through which to support meaningful causes.  Recently, I caught up with Lisa Kavanaugh, an avid runner and Boston-area trial and appellate lawyer, who is using her life-long love of running to support one of her other passions in life: her work with the CPCS Innocence Program.

The CPCS Innocence Program is a unit within the statewide public defender agency in Massachusetts, and was created to focus on defendants who were wrongfully convicted and are trying to return to court to demonstrate their innocence. Many of these cases have already been passed over by trial and appellate courts without consideration of the factual or scientific errors that led to the convictions. Lisa directs this program and collaborates closely with the New England Innocence Project, a non-profit organization with the same mission that examines cases throughout New England. She is running the 2014 New York City Marathon to raise awareness and funds for these worthy organizations. Read more

5 Mid-Run Potty Spots

Is there any runner on Earth who has not found herself, at one point or another, in the middle of a run wishing a bathroom would appear RIGHT NOW! You frantically scan the horizon for port-a-potties or civilization and, at last resort, a secluded spot where passing motorists won’t see your butt. A year ago, Salty wrote a post about the secluded last resort spots. But before using Salty’s tips, try one of these 5 potty spots! Read more

Dutee Chand and the Case Against Hyperandrogenism in Women’s Running

Dutee Chand in the heat of competition. Image via

Back in the news again this week,  Indian Sprinter, Dutee Chand is appealing the Athletic Federation of India’s ban on her competing as a woman. Chand became a national champion last year in the 100m and 200m at the age of 18 but was barred from competition by the Athletics Federation of India when her testosterone tested in the male range. She has the option of lowering her testosterone level and returning to women’s competition. Instead, she filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September fighting the ruling. It’s my view that if Chand’s appeal wins and she is allowed to compete without treatment, it erodes the integrity of women’s sports. Here’s why. Read more