5 Charities that Give the Gift of Running

fri5Good news, Salty readers! While you may be finished shopping for all the good little girls and boys on your Christmas list, you can keep the giving going in a meaningful way.  No, you don’t have to revisit Amazon or, worse, hit the mall. And the recipients of this giving won’t get bored with your gifts within a few weeks. And better yet? This way you can give the gift of running! Bonus, for those self-interested types out there, this gift is tax deductible! Yes, you guessed it, we’re talking about charities. But not just any charities, charities that give the gift to running to those in need. While we’ve highlighted  5 charities here, but please give a shout-out to any other worthy organizations in the comments! Read more

Running as an Act of Remembrance

Memorial Stone at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont
Memorial Stone at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont

On December 6, 2014 I tucked the names of seven women into my pocket for my seven kilometer park run. After each kilometer I paused to read one of these women’s names and held her in my thoughts until I got to the next kilometer.

On December 6 1989 Marc Lepine walked into École Polytechnique in Montreal and shot fourteen women, most of whom were engineering students. He specifically targeted these women because he believed that it was their fault that he wasn’t accepted into the school’s engineering program.

On December 6, 2014, I ran to remember.  Read more

Miscellaneous Winter Gear You Never Thought of

The ubiquitous snowy path photo leading off a post about winter stuff. Flickr Commons photo by Bert Kaufmann.

The ubiquitous snowy path photo leading off a post about winter stuff. Flickr Commons photo by Bert Kaufmann.

A few weeks ago, I met Salty and her friends to go running in the park in the snow. I can’t believe I got talked into running in the snow, but I’m glad I did. Anyway, it made me think about some of the more unusual gear I use during the winter. I’m not talking about jackets, hats, yaktrax or even treadmills. I don’t even know what to call this list. I guess it is just a list of miscellaneous stuff you should own for winter that you haven’t thought of. Actually, some of this stuff you should own year-round. Read more

What Happens on the Run Stays on the Run

Once the run starts, these seemingly normal people do and say the weirdest stuff! Flickr commons photo by trirunwith.us

Once the run starts, these seemingly normal people do and say the weirdest stuff! Flickr commons photo by trirunwith.us

“What happens on tour stays on tour” is a phrase that has struck fear into the hearts of significant others’ everywhere.

It is something that I got to thinking about when I was writing about the running group I recently joined. Given that I am a new member of the group, I figured I should send out a message asking whether it was okay for me to write about the members in a very public blog post. Whilst there was significant support for my endeavour, I did get a panicked query or two about what I was going to talk about, most importantly, whether I was going to reveal all the secrets revealed while we sweated it out on the roads together.

That answer was was easy, at least to me it was. I live by a very important rule: what is discussed on the run stays on the run. So, as it turns out, this post is not about my new running group. Instead, this post is about this golden rule of group running.  Read more

10 Reasons I Can’t Live Without My Running Buddies

Friends!!

Friends!!

Running is often touted as an individual sport, and while it’s true that on race day it feels like each runner is an individual competitor, challenging her own physical and mental limits, I’ve learned in the last nine years that running with other people not only makes me a better runner, but it makes running a more fulfilling, healthy, well-rounded part of my life.

I highly recommend training with other people. I know that it is sometimes difficult to find others who share your pace and your schedule, but it is worth the effort of searching! If you don’t already have a running community like Ginkgo’s beloved Columbus Moms RUN This Town, I recommend checking out local running clubs (they often have group runs & workouts you can participate in), asking about group runs at your local running specialty store, and making connections with people who finish around you at local races! Cinnamon and Lemongrass also have written more about finding and running with an organized group!

If you’re still on the fence, here are just ten of the many convincing reasons I can’t live without my running buddies! Read more

Comment of the Month – November

COTM Badge

2014 is almost over – but we can’t forget what happened here in November!  We had some great posts around here: Catnip talked about her Double DNFs and Oregano (one of our newest bloggers) wrote a pretty awesome post about how to tie our running shoes.  It seems so simple, but it isn’t! Speaking of new bloggers, we added three: Oregano, Peppadew, and Wintergreen!  Click on their names for their introductions in case you missed them.

Since November is in the books, it’s time for our November comment of the month winner! To see who won the price, follow the break!

Read more

5 Question Quiz: Is the Beer Mile Right for You?

fri5It’s been a week since Flotrack put on it’s highly publicized World Championship Beer Mile and the world can’t get enough of this formally underground running curiosity.  Or maybe it’s just me. I’m simply fascinated by it! Elizabeth Herndon slammed 4 beers and ran 4 laps of a track in six minutes and seventeen seconds! I just can’t get over it! And of course, when a world champion and WORLD RECORD HOLDER gives you reasons to do a beer mile, you should listen. Yet, even with Beth’s post last week, I’m still not convinced a beer mile is right for everyone.

So today I bring you a handy quiz to determine if you have the potential to take on Beth next year. All you have to do is answer the following 5 questions in our Beer Mile Quiz and your answers will tell you whether you are more Elizabeth Herndon, world champion and world record holder beer miler or Lance Armstrong, a one lap wannabe or someone who should stick to regular old boring beerless races.  Read more

Moms RUN This Town Might Just Be the Running Group for You

If this is what you look like for your typical run, then MRTT might just be the group you've been looking for! Flickr Commons image by notmargaret

If this is what you look like for your typical run, then MRTT might just be the group you’ve been looking for! Flickr Commons image by notmargaret

When I had my first son last June, I coincidentally noticed a Facebook Group called ‘Moms RUN This Town‘ on my sidebar. Because I was curious and trying to meet as many new moms as possible as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and the spit up from my shoulders and clicked on the link. I’m so glad I did, because I now have a group to run with pretty much any day of the week at my typical 8:30 training pace at the butt crack of dawn when I can best squeeze it in. Instead of trying to run alone at 4:30 a.m. (when the baby is still sleeping, the husband is still sleeping and before all chaos breaks lose), I now have a posse that keeps me safe, complete with headlamps, motherly empathy if I have to skip out at the last minute due to lack of sleep, and fun conversation.

And today, I am going to tell you why Moms RUN This Town is a great group for all women runners, mothers and non-mothers alike! Read more

A Different Take on a Treadmill Buying Guide

When you just want something so you can go for a run, don’t get taken for a ride. Flickr Commons photo by maHidoodi.

Over the years, readers have asked us for a treadmill buying guide, and knowing I have done a lot of research in this area, Salty gave me the job. Except the joke’s on her: this is really an impossible task if you’re trying to be completely open and honest with your readers (read: not beholden to the manufacturers).  This is because consumer treadmills, like most home appliances, are actually made by very few companies and then virtually identical models sold under various brand names and models. For instance, ICON makes treadmills that sell under the NordicTrack, Proform, Freemotion, Reebok, Gold’s Gym, Healthrider, and other brand names.

It’s really hard to say buy THIS treadmill when the way the industry works, you might not find the same one again nor does the particular treadmill on one day represent the best value on another day. We want to bring you the most honest and objective information about treadmills. We don’t want to fall for the trap of giving you completely non-actionable buying guides for particular models.

So this is not a post that will recommend specific treadmill models, but what this post will do is give you general shopping tips and advice and our opinions of our own treadmills to help you identify the right treadmill for you.

Read more

Fantasy Cross Country Results

Who needs football when we have XC!?

Who needs football when we have XC!?

Results are in! [Well, were in 2 weeks ago and Salty apologizes for not getting this out sooner!] Congratulations to Kate Avery and the women of Michigan State University on their NCAA Division 1 Cross Country Championships! Now to the results you all have been waiting for — the Salty Running Fantasy Championship.

To recap, nine of us picked our favorite runners and I did a random draft so that we all had a team of seven athletes (see original post here). Each runner was worth points based on her finishing place  in the championship meet, 1st place = 1 point, 2nd place = 2 points, etc. Just like in real cross country, the best 5 runners’ points were added together for a team total, lowest score wins.

And here are the results: Read more

The One Sentence You Should Never Say About Your Race

Don't say it! Flickr Commons image from Foxymama8600

Don’t say it! Flickr Commons image from Foxymama8600

I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy recapping their race experience. Whether it’s a local 5k or a major marathon, don’t we all love to give the play-by-play on the group cool-down, in our training logs or in a formal race report? Even when things don’t go as well as we hoped we like to do a postmortem to figure out what we did wrong and when things go well, it’s glorious to recap that experience!

But when we’re talking about our race report, there is one sentence we should never utter. It’s a sentence I have heard many times from others and a sentence I, myself am guilty of saying. In fact, I was perusing my training log from a few years ago and saw I wrote this very sentence when describing a race. This sentence is not only counterproductive, it’s often just plain disingenuous. And yes, I’m making you read on to find out what that sentence is! Read more

How to Replace Slouchy Negativity with Sit-up Straight Optimism

Let's get to the point and start focusing on the positive.  (img via pol sifter @ flickr)

Let’s get to the point and start focusing on the positive. (img via pol sifter @ flickr)

“You need to come to grips with the fact that this won’t be your fastest marathon,” my physical therapist wrote, responding to my question about how to build my mileage back up after a stress fracture. He’s a smart guy, throwing out that little gem in an email rather than waiting for the next appointment to provide his poorly received opinion.

I stomped around the house (putting well over 4x the normal force on my recovering metatarsal) venting to my husband, the children and the dog, none of whom were actually listening. “I still have plenty of time to get back to full speed for Boston! What does HE know anyway?!” For the first 15 minutes, I allowed myself to indulge in unmitigated rage and ignore the sane voice reminding me that helping injured runners get back to running is what my physical therapist does for a living. Also? Since I am paying for this infuriating advice, it might make a tiny spot of sense to listen to it, right? Read more

5 Reasons Why Elizabeth Herndon Says You Should Do a Beer Mile

fri5A couple of weeks ago, few people had heard of the beer mile. Now, thanks to Flotrack and it’s highly publicized World Championship Beer Mile event held in Austin on Wednesday night, the world can’t get enough of this formally underground running curiosity. Now that the beer mile is on everyone’s radar screen, the logical question is is the beer mile for you?

I pondered this question, but realized I had no answers for you. So, I decided to email my friend Beth. Elizabeth Herndon. Have you heard of her? Yep, that Elizabeth Herndon, the one who just won the Flotrack World Championship Beer Mile with a WORLD RECORD PERFORMANCE!!!!

And here are Beth’s 5 reasons you, yes YOU, should do a beer mile. Take it away, Beth! Read more

The Politics of Group Running

Are group runs for everyone?

Are group runs for everyone?

If someone were to ask me, I would probably describe myself as a solitary runner.  I get inordinately happy when I have a chance to run out of the house unencumbered and be alone with my thoughts, the pounding footfalls and rhythmic breathing.  I even have no problem with going down to the track alone and stomping out intervals. I don’t need other people to drag me along and I will not hesitate to go to a race alone and complete the task without saying a word to anyone.

However, when I sat down to write this post and thought back on my running life, I realised that most of my best running experiences came from running in a group.  I had to wonder why it was that I liked to define myself as a lone ranger rather than the companionable type? Why have I resisted being part of a gang and embarked on hours of secret training, holding my running log close to my chest?

Politics. While sometimes group runs lead to nirvana, others can leave you questioning humanity.
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Get Faster with Swagger

Everything about swagger I learned from my sister, Jerrica, an up and coming hip hop artist from Cleveland.

Everything I learned about swagger I learned from my sister, Jerrica, an up and coming hip hop artist from Cleveland.

In the fifteen years that I have been running, I’ve experienced a lot of different adventures. Early on, I was in love with everything about the sport. At seventeen, I started subscribing to Runner’s World and reading DyeStat every night. I wasn’t as focused on running fast times as I was with being a “runner.” To define what exactly is a runner is tough and varies in opinion but to me, it meant integrating the activity into my daily life, fit with wearing a Timex Ironman watch, Nike shoes, and the t-shirts from races, all day, everyday.

When I went on to college, I continued to run low mileage. An entry from my running log at the time read, “Long run: 4 miles.” I did many 5ks then, showing up in tight shorts, sunglasses, and a tan. Back then, I had swagger. I wasn’t running fast but I looked like I could. I remember running a 25 minute 5k in one race where I wore my one piece Nike bathing suit with spandex shorts because I thought it made me look fast. Apparently it did as I overheard a spectator during the race call out, “Wow, I want her to win!”

This post is about that swagger.
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