Coriander

Trail and 100 mile ultra runner who still loves a good road marathon every now and then. Lifetime Northeast Ohio resident that dreams of the mountains out west, but loves CLE too much. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes does yoga, always loves a good craft beer and post race donuts.

5 Things Lady Gaga Taught Me About Running

Ladi Gaga standing with me on the road.

Despite all that unsightly flab poking out over her waistband, by overwhelming consensus Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime performance was AH-MA-ZING, a feather in the spangled lucite pointy cap on top of her decade-long career. Stefani Germanotta has entertained us with strong, powerful lyrics, excellent dance beats,  mesmerizing and thought-provoking costumes, all while standing up for the LGBTQ community and sexual assault survivors. Beyond that, though, she’s taught me several things about running too!

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On the 7th Day of Christmas, Running Gave to Me: Overtraining Syndrome

I still can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened. I don’t remember a specific day or run where it hit me. There was no voice in my head, no doctor or coach or friend telling me what was happening. It just happened. I was burnt out, overtrained and sick of running.

It all happened gradually, a slippery slope. I had come off an amazing 2014, when I had several podium finishes at ultras and even a win at my first 100K. It was Christmastime and life seemed pretty good. I was starting to bump up the mileage again in anticipation for the Sean O’Brien 50 mile in early February. It was going to be my first time in California and first time out west. I was pretty excited to crush it. Then at our annual waterfalls run, a local trail run in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park along which runners take photos with waterfalls and enjoy the day after Christmas running with friends, I was finishing up the run and started feeling a sharp pain in my right hip. By New Year’s Eve, I could barely walk, sit, stand, put on pants or do anything without pain. It should have been a sign; I needed a break. Worse still, I was on the brink of overtraining.

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Chasing the Best-Race-of-My-Life Feeling: Coriander Returns to the Roads

Ready for my next marathon adventure!

Two years ago, I ran the best race of my life, but since winning the Oil Creek 100K in 2014, a lot has changed. Over the last two years I’ve longed for the same race experience, but I also met my now-husband, moved in with him, adopted a cat, started graduate school, got promoted at work, got married and bought a house.

Before all of that, running was something I was getting to be pretty good at, and when I went to a race, I went there to win. But at the end of 2014, I was injured, and then couldn’t manage a good race through 2015 or most of this year. I was burnt out, tired, still slightly injured, and unable to deal with the fact that my life did not and could not revolve around running anymore. After another DNF at the Indiana Trail 100 in April, I ran my next two races with one of my best friends in May, then decided to drop from Mohican 100 and take some time off.

Early this summer, I decided to do something really crazy: train for my first road marathon since 2013! Read more >>

The Lowdown on Marathon Training with McMillan Running

imageHere at Salty Running, we’ve talked about a myriad of ways to train in our training logs and recently in our popular marathon training plan reviews. So far we’ve taken a look at Hansons, Pete Pfitzinger and Lydiard training plans. Now, we’re going to talk about Greg McMillan.

I know quite a bit about Greg McMillan’s theories about optimal run training, because I’ve been training with McMillan Running since 2013, under one of Greg’s protégées, coach Emily Harrison. Under coach Emily’s care, I’ve PR’ed in every distance I’ve raced from 5K to 100 miles. McMillan Running is for runners of all levels and distances, but his expertise seems to be the marathon. 

McMillan training plans have most definitely worked for me, but how do you know if they’re right for you?

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The Very Real Running Trails of Cleveland, Ohio

Bridal Veil Falls, Bedford, Ohio
Think that’s some gorgeous waterfall in Cali or Colorado? Think again – this is Ohio!

I was still rehabbing an injury and had just finished my personal worst 50K. Humbled by the mountains outside of Malibu and still nursing an injured hip, I was sharing beers with friends of a friend when a tanned, blonde Californian said this to me. It was one of the most offensive things anyone has ever said to me after a race:

“So this was your first trail race.”

“No,” I responded, “I’ve done a bunch, including two 100s.”

“Yeah, but you don’t have, like, real trails out East.”

Real trails? Really? I have about 125 miles of very real trails to run in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), just a short drive from my front door. Cleveland also boasts an extensive MetroParks system consisting of more than 23,000 acres of parks and hundreds of running as well as newly added mountain bike trails.

As we’ve said before, Cleveland is a tough city with tough runners. We have a strong elite development group and hundreds of local races, amazing local running stores and a running group for every runner to find a home.

And the trail community surrounding Cleveland is no different.

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Molly Stout is Chasing Down a PR in Boston

FullSizeRender (50)
Molly after the 2014 Boston Marathon

It’s been two years since Molly Stout last crossed the finish line on Boylston Street. The 33-year-old will be running her 20th marathon at the 120th Boston Marathon. She’s been running for many years, steadily dropping her marathon time by more than an hour, and is coming off a big PR of 3:14 at the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon.

Molly’s life revolves around running and healthy living. By day, she works as an analyst for Columbus Public Health and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health. She blogs at mollylstout.com and also recently started her own Etsy shop, Heart & Sole Running Co., selling running-themed printed quotes and greeting cards. Outside of running and marathon training, Molly lives outside of Columbus with her husband, Matt, and their adorable cats. On warm and sunny Saturdays, you can find her at the golf course with Matt or getting ready for her next long run.

With family in Hopkinton, Molly grew up watching the start of the race and knowing that one day she would be there too, running the historic race. She started running in elementary school and despite some injury setbacks in high school, she’s been running since. It hasn’t been an easy road to get there and took this dedicated runner several cracks at the marathon to nail her BQ. Molly and I have known each other for about five years as Twitter and Facebook friends and I’ve always been impressed by her dedication to training and the love and passion she has for the sport. She has been training hard for this year’s race and I was excited to talk with her about her running career and Boston!

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5 Types of “Runners” You’ll Find When Online Dating

imageValentine’s Day! First it was a celebration for a bunch of saints named Valentine (seriously, there were three of them), and then Chaucer had to go and write a drippy poem connecting the saints’ day with lovers, and then came the flowers, chocolate, chintzy cards …

and Tinder?

Maybe ol’ Valentine of Rome and Chaucer didn’t see that one coming, but for many a single lady, online dating is all the romance she’s going to get on Valentine’s Day. I oughtta know. I used to be there.

Although on this Valentine’s Day,  I’ll be happily celebrating with my soon-to-be husband and, like many couples you’ll see out and about, we met online. (It actually works! Keep the faith!) But before my endurance-sports-loving Valentine and I deleted our Tinder profiles and made it official, I came across a lot of duds. Of course, because being active was a must for me, I focused my search on endurance athletes. So when I say I came across a lot of duds, I specifically mean I encountered a ton of runner duds, all of whom fit into one of five categories.

If you’re just starting out in the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) world of online dating, here’s the five types of “runners” to watch out for. (The quotation marks there will make sense shortly.) Read more >>

Why Do Ultra-Runners Walk the Hills?

Coriander gives a big hill the finger
How I *really* feel about hills.

It was a long time ago now, when I trained for my first 50K. One of my first group trail runs was 10-miles run mostly on a two-loop trail. A pretty decently-sized group showed up for that run, maybe 25 or so people, and we started out on that crisp fall morning at a comfortable jog. We left the parking lot, ran under a covered bridge, onto a trail next to the road, then crossed the street onto the two-loop trail. About five-minutes into the run, I found myself in the middle of a long, single-file line of runners walking up the hill.

My naive, road-runner self was confused. This was a run, which usually means, you know, running. Plus, we just started. Why were we walking?

At first I thought maybe this particular group was a little wussy, but it kept happening: every time I ran with ultra-runners and we hit some hills, they walked. When I realized that this was a widespread habit, I finally I had to ask: why do ultra-runners walk the hills? Read more >>

Online Dating and Runners

Wouldn’t it be nice to find someone to grow old with? Flickr Commons image by Indiana Stan.

About a month or so ago, I found myself single again and a little cynical about dating, but needing to “put my life back together,” and get back out there. So Salty had really great timing when she sent out a message to us about Fitness Singles. Mostly about how she and her husband make fun of the ads (how can you not? They’re pretty easy to laugh at), but also seeing if anyone would be interested in trying it out and writing about it.

Naturally, I was a little nervous as to what types of men would be on there, but I figured it was better than the nothing I was getting from Tinder at the time. So after some back and forth with my fellow Salties, kpruns100s had a Fitness Singles profile. Read more >>

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 >>

Coriander’s Training Log: 10.5.14

Yes, I’m actually posting a training log! It’s been so long, I can’t even remember the last time I wrote one, sorry.

This week ended another training cycle for me. I’m off to Pennsylvania for the Oil Creek 100K on Saturday. I’ve attempted this race and distance before two years ago, but quit at mile 23 with a knee injury. This weekend’s race has been two years in the making and I’m so happy that race week is finally here.

And this training cycle has been…interesting to say the least. After Mohican, I took about a week or so off before jumping right back into long runs to help my friend Erin get ready for her first 100 mile at Burning River. During training, I also went back and forth on wanting to run another 100 this year. I had planned to, but wasn’t sure if I actually wanted to. After pacing Erin at Burning River and starting to really up the miles training for Oil Creek, I started to feel a little run down and burnt out at the end of August. I was having a hard time getting myself out the door to run and found myself relying on other people or my iPod to get going. I was starting to dread running and I just wasn’t happy with how I was performing.

Since I've spent all my time getting ready for Oil Creek, I didn't run my favorite marathon this year, Akron. But I did get to cheer at mile 25!
Since I’ve spent all my time getting ready for Oil Creek, I didn’t run my favorite marathon, Akron, this year. But I did go cheer at mile 25!

Then things changed at the beginning of September. I don’t know what it is about my training cycles this year that I have to go through some sort of life event while training for my A races. My summer of happiness and bliss was abruptly over and I was a bit lost. Looking back on it now, it’s only helped me become a stronger runner and person overall, but this year and this past month has definitely been a test of my faith and motivation. And to deal with it, I ended up just throwing myself into training in September, decided against adding in another 100 and had a really strong month of training.

I took things pretty easy last week:

Monday: Rest day!

Tuesday: Hill repeats: 30 min warmup, 5 x 2:00 hill repeats with 2:30 recovery jog back down the hill, 30 min cool down. I did these on the trail after work and was a bit tired going in. This was my last hard workout of the training cycle and it was a great way to cap off an amazing month of training.

Wednesday: 53 min, 6.2 mi roads. I actually woke up before work and got this run in!!! Since it was 5 am, it started out a little slow for the first half, but I felt much better after that and was able to run a better pace. It had been more than a month since I was able to get out of bed before work and run.

Thursday: 66 min, 8 mi roads. I planned on waking up in the morning again, but I didn’t wake up for this one after staying out way too late the night before. I’m glad I didn’t too since it was warm and sunny and probably the last warm and nice day we’ll have until next year.

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: 85 min, 7.5ish mi trails. I did an out and back before driving down to Columbus to visit a friend. I took it super easy and just enjoyed the cool fall day and the trail and the fall colors. The trails are so beautiful this time of year!

Sunday: 57 min, 6.2 mi. I ran with my friend around her house and just kept her pace. It was nice to run with someone since I’ve been alone most of the time lately and take it easy.

I took some time today to start preparing for the race too and started getting my drop bags prepared. It’s weird to be getting ready for something less than 100 miles and it’s weird that I haven’t raced since June. I’m super excited to race again and definitely beyond excited to go back to Oil Creek and finish what I started two years ago.

Four Workouts to Help Build Mental Toughness

Train your Brain!
Train your Brain!

Of course it’s important for us runners to be physically strong, but anyone who has run an endurance race knows that there comes a point when your mind does the heavy lifting.  When your legs are tired and your body aches and your brain starts to give up, the key to saving a challenging race is what you do mentally to push through the pain and the rough spots.

My coach puts a few specific workouts in my training not to just train my body for optimal race performance, but to help get my mind ready for race day.  By adding workouts specific to developing mental toughness you can effectively “strength train” your brain, and come race day it will be a lot easier help you push through and perform your best.

If you follow me, you might be thinking, “well that’s easy for you to say, Miss 100-Miler!” since ultra runners are notorious for having the grit and mental fortitude to push through the even the darkest rough spots.  But I assure you, these workouts aren’t just ultra-specific and their principles can benefit any runner whether she’s looking to crush a Marathon A Standard or nervous about completing a 5k. Read more >>

Coriander’s Mohican 100 Race Report

A podium finish last year meant an elite number (and extra pressure) this year!
A podium finish last year meant an elite number (and extra pressure) this year!

It was nearing 4 a.m. on June 21st and I was ready to go: shoes on, bug spray and body glide applied, watches set, pack filled. All I had to do was get out of the chair, hop in the car, drive the 10 minutes to the start line and run for the next 24-25 hours or so. That was it.

“Are you OK?” my friend, Erin, asked me.

“I should’ve dropped down to the 50,” I replied.

It was the longest day of the year and I was about to run  my second 100 mile trail race at Mohican, the same location as my first 100 last year and I had every reason to have dropped down in distance. In the months leading up to the race, I broke up with my boyfriend of the majority of the last seven years, started a new career, moved to a new house and neighborhood, started dating again and just had so much life stress that I’m sure anyone would have understood if I had either not started at all or dropped to the shorter distance.

But I was running and racing well, setting new PRs in the 50K (road and trail), taking second at one race and two other top ten finishes. I nailed almost every single workout my coach gave me and my long run paces were strong. Physically, I was ready for 100 miles. Mentally, not so much. Read more >>

Catching up with Coriander … and Scott Jurek!

My best friend, Erin and I with Scott Jurek before the group run.
My best friend, Erin and I with Scott Jurek!

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from Salty Running. The past few months or so have been a whirlwind, including a breakup, career change and move to a new neighborhood. And with all of that going on, I’ve still had time to run a few 50Ks (and do very well at them), train for my second 100 miler and start dating again.

When I first started at my new job, my manager and I were talking a little about our families and she kept saying, “everything happens for a reason.” Though I’ve always known this to be true, it never really resonated with me until this past weekend. On the schedule was the last long run before my goal race, the Mohican 100.  And to top that off, later that day I was moving and then attending a going away party for a friend moving to Los Angeles. I was supposed to be attending a wedding with my now ex-boyfriend, and if I did, I would have had to push my long run to Sunday. But, everything happens for a reason.

And one of those reasons ended up being a pretty darn good one: had I gone to the wedding, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet an ultra running legend, Scott Jurek! Read more >>

Coriander’s Green Jewel 50K Race Report

Ready for my first ultra of the year!
Ready for my first ultra of the year!

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to accomplish in 2014. I had such an amazing year last year, how could I possibly top it?

I set a few competitive (and maybe a little aggressive) goals for the 50K, 100 mile and 100K distances and got very selective in which races I picked. I wanted to start the season with the Green Jewel 50K, in which I ran a 5:17 last year. This race was a bit of a gamble for accomplishing my sub-5:00 50K goal. It’s a road race, so I wouldn’t have to deal with technical trails and a ton of hills, but early March in Cleveland means it could be snowing and 20 degrees (like last year) or 60 and sunny. Even though I’d rather run a sub-5:00 50K on the trail, I was so happy my coach and I picked a road race early in the season to go for after this tough winter, since I didn’t spend much time at all on the soggy, slushy trails. Read more >>