5 Frights You Might Encounter When Running in the Dark

fri5blkcatWhether you run early or late, this time of year you’ll probably be doing some miles in the dark. If you don’t have lighted streets, your puny little headlamp is about enough to keep you from running into a wall, but otherwise isn’t all that good about lighting your way. Instead, you have to hope there aren’t scary things lurking around the corners. Since today is the spookiest of all days, let’s discuss these scary things.

Scary things like these 5 frights you might encounter when running the dark. OOooooOOOOOOOOOOO! Read more

Running Next to Mom, Part II

You don't have to be a mom to be inspired by runner-moms like Kara Goucher!

You don’t have to be a mom to be inspired by runner-moms like Kara Goucher, or my friend Sara Striegel!

In Running Next To Mom Part 1, I confessed to feeling somewhat inferior to all the runner-moms around me. As a 30-something woman who does not plan on having children,  I often fall into the trap of playing “mommies VS. me” comparison games, which are never good. It’s easy to feel left out and lost around runner-moms who juggle child-rearing and daily miles like it’s no big deal. How the heck do they DO all that, anyways?! And is there anything a child-free runner like me can learn from them, without letting a left-out inferiority complex get the best of me?

In this second installment of Running With Mom, I’d like to introduce one of the most impressive runner-moms I know and share some of her excellent training tips. They apply to runner moms and non-moms alike! No “VS” here … just straight-up advice from one seriously good runner and one seriously impressive mom! Read more

What Are Junk Miles?

One person’s junk miles is another runner’s secret to success. Image via wikipedia

Whether we run 100 mile weeks or 35 mile weeks, we run a lot and when we run we believe that every mile, in fact every step, is in furtherance of our goal to become faster. Is it possible that some of the miles we run are doing us no good or worse, *gasp* making us slower? Could you, yes YOU, be logging junk miles?

If you’ve read enough about running or talked to enough serious runners, eventually you will come across the term junk miles. When the average person throws out the term, junk miles, it’s usually as a way of passing judgment on another runner’s training. “She’s not getting faster because she’s running all those junk miles.” Most of the time it’s not a useful phrase, because it assumes there is a universal definition of junk miles that applies to every runner. Guess what. There isn’t one. Junk for one person might not be junk for someone else. It depends on the runner, her training plan and her goals.

But if we shift the concept from a judgmental insult to a principle of training that we can apply to ourselves and our goals, it’s actually a very useful concept that can help us take our running to the next level.

Let’s take a look. Read more

Pre-race Rituals

No magic pre-race 4-leaf clover salad for me.

Recently I heard someone mention pre-race rituals. I got to thinking about them. At first I did not think I had any pre-race rituals. After all I am not superstitious. I do not cross myself or even pray at the starting line. I do not have anything lucky that I must wear such as a special pair of underwear, a hat, gloves, or socks. I do not carry a rabbit’s foot, four leaf clover or anything like that. When it is race time I do not think about trying to do anything to make me race better.

Then I realized that a ritual is something you do on a routine basis.  Most of my rituals are done well in advance of race day. Pre-race does not necessarily mean immediately before the race or even at the starting line. It simply means before the race. And there are several things that I do prior to a race. Read more

The Marathon That Wasn’t: Mint’s Chicago Marathon Race Report

The goal.  200 baby!

The goal. 200 baby!

Race reports are so easy to write when you have a big win, hit a PR, have a great race.

The crappy ones?  Not so much.  Those are a lot harder to document, to rehash, to reflect upon.  But, alas, they are important parts of the journey too.  And it really is all about the journey.

When I started running marathons almost ten years ago, a more seasoned running friend told me that if I kept doing them, it was only a matter of time before I had a bad one. He was very right.  Over the years, I’ve definitely had my marathoning ups and downs.  This fall’s race unfortunately crashed like a brick in the down category.

Down as in DNF – did not finish. Read more

5 Hazards of Bringing Small Children to the Local Running Store

The other day I stopped at my LRS (Local Running Store) to pick up a new pair of trainers with my youngest daughter. She’s 22 months and I’m lucky she has cute chubby cheeks and red springy curls, because maybe I can go back to the LRS again. I don’t know what it is, but every time I bring my kids with me to the LRS, havoc ensues. I swear they behave at the grocery store (usually). I can take them out to dinner (and I’ve only needed to request to-go boxes before dinner arrived a couple of times). I can take them to the doctor (and I’ve only worried once or twice that one of them broke a bone from jumping off the exam table). But when I take them to the running store it’s almost always a disaster!

And I blame these 5 things for making children in a running store worse than bull in a china shop.
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Coriander’s Oil Creek 100K Race Report

OilCreek100TrD10aR03aP01ZLTwo years ago, I was a pretty inexperienced ultra runner. I had done a handful of 50K’s, one 50-miler and was supposed to run my first 100K (62 miles) at Oil Creek in Pennsylvania the second weekend of October. My training leading up to it was kind of a joke. I had done a few 20+ long runs and PR’ed the Akron Marathon. The week before Oil Creek, I decided to cram in a 20 miler and not even halfway in, I could barely walk, my right knee was in so much pain. A friend was waiting at the turnaround point of the run with aid and I hitched a ride back to my car and took the rest of the week off.

I went to Oil Creek anyway, figuring I would rather try and fail than not try at all. And fail I did. By mile 15, the pain was so bad, no amount of Advil was helping and I had to jog/walk to the next aid station at mile 22. I got there around 12:30 pm, sat down in a chair and cried. It was my first DNF (did not finish). Read more

Going Big: Jasmine’s Columbus Marathon Race Report

Enjoying the aftermath of a great performance at a great race!

Enjoying the aftermath of a great performance at a great race!

The Columbus Marathon was one of those days where everything came together. Before I go any further, I have to say: thank you to everyone who sets a good example, sets the bar high, and encourages [formerly] relativity average runners like me to work for big dreams. I will never be as fast as many of you, but you inspire me to work really hard to try to be as fast some day.

The Columbus Marathon is a favorite of so many Ohio runners. I am really glad I chose it to go for my big goal. Clove and her husband, DB, the race director of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon,  put on a great race! The course is most definitely not flat, but I wouldn’t call anything on it a hill. The weather was perfect. The race course was interesting enough to be fun. And it’s as good to spectators as it is to runners: My parents watched the second half of the race and had a good time.

The best thing about my Columbus Marathon, though? I hit my goal! Read more

Quieting the Quakes: How to Deal with Pre-Race Anxiety

A good mantra for race day

A good mantra for race day

Recently I ran my fall goal race, the Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K, and I experienced a full-blown case of pre-race anxiety.  Starting about a week before the race, every time I thought about it I felt sweaty and sick to my stomach.  Though I always feel somewhat anxious in the days leading up to a race, this race lead-up was particularly bad because for the first time I was racing with specific time goals my coach thought I should be able to achieve.  Though the goals were based on what she had observed in my training, and though she presented them to me in the gentlest, most non-threatening way, I was still terrified I would fail.

So what did I do to get through it, and what did I learn from the experience?   Read more

Salty Book Reviews: 80/20 Running and Build Your Running Body

Running and reading are two of my passions, and reading about running makes me one happy Salty!  My two latest reads are 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald and Build Your Running Body by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer; both are well worth your time (and money if you buy them). Here’s a sneak peak and short review of each one, just to whet your reading appetite.

80/20 Running promotes the message that doing 80 percent of your runs at a lower intensity, and 20 percent at a higher intensity is the best way to train and make performance improvements. Throughout the book, Fitzgerald explains the research behind this method of training and the scientific principles that support it. Read more

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.

Read more

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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