Running has been my life for the past 7 years. I rediscovered it on a beach in Jamaica, and when that happened, I rediscovered myself.
Then my husband roped me into Salsa lessons. At the first sign of foot distress, I blamed the dancing. For a couple of months I suspected it was the salsa shoes and opted for “dance sneakers” to help ease the force placed on the ball of my foot. But before I could even try these beauties out, the damage had already been done. Sure, I enjoyed the Salsa, but it wasn’t worth the cost of my passion.
We all have an injury story. I’ve had my fair share, but never to the extent of what I have now: a diagnosed partial tear of the Flexor Hallucis Longus, a new part of my anatomical vocabulary, and literally one of those muscles you never even knew you had.
Guess what? I’m special. Tearing the FHL is such a rare condition that nobody really knows how to treat it. Doctors are forced to look up case studies and, at best, provide a prescription for the most conservative treatment out there: Boot and Scooter, or what I now coin as “BS” for short.
My good pal Joe labels this sort of thing A.F.O.G.: Another Fucking Opportunity for Growth.
We all love the freedom of running outside — being in nature, covering entire cities on foot — but sometimes our outside runs don’t quite look like freedom. While I suspect none of us would choose running inside over a glorious park on a 50º day, sometimes the treadmill makes more sense. Maybe you have to run during rush hour and your route is jammed by distracted drivers and traffic lights. Maybe you’re too crunched for time to drive to a favorite park or path.
Or maybe you’re just sick of dew points above 70º. Yes, it’s spring now, but summer is coming. Professional runner and South Carolina resident Esther Atkins calls it the “dreammill,” because in southern summers it can be the best option for those workouts crucial to fall racing season.
That philosophy helped me learn to appreciate the treadmill as another training tool, and not only for avoiding winter weather. It’s a great place to practice pacing, nutrition, or race day outfits that might be impractical outdoors (like running in racing buns through my neighborhood, as if people don’t already think I’m crazy), while also eliminating stoppage time.
When we moved into our house, we knew eventually we’d get a treadmill. It wasn’t an urgent need, but we spent about a year researching and testing. Here’s what I learned from choosing a treadmill for our home and setting up our workout room.
At first I didn’t really get what it meant for our sport or why they would change it, but discussing it with some of the other Saltines helped me understand the complexity and significance of the new qualification process. Now that I get it, I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you.
For the purpose of this discussion, we will be focusing on the women’s marathon, but the impacts will certainly be felt in the men’s field and across the sport, and if you’re interested in, say, the 10k, or the 400m the same basic principles will apply, but the qualifying times and page numbers will be different.
Now! On to the show:
The New Olympic Standard in Words You Can Understand 💁
Pittsburgh will host the USATF Half Marathon Championships on Sunday — following the city’s 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon on Saturday. This is the second straight year for the event to be held in the City of Bridges, with the top 15 finishers in the male and female open divisions earning guaranteed prize money. The male and female national champions will take home $15,000 each, plus additional prize money for time and record bonuses. Full prize money info is here.
So who is vying for that cool $15K?
When we left off with my story, I had taken over a year away from training or racing after showing symptoms of overtraining, but had tried a half marathon for fun and felt ready to try a comeback. I had a job working on a TV show and signed up for NYC, hoping I could balance marathon training with a full time production schedule, something I’ve never done before.
Newsflash: It wasn’t easy. The 65 hour weeks, early mornings and late nights made running tough. Luckily my department was led by an awesome group of ride-to-work cyclists who never once complained or minded my running to work or changing clothes on the truck. In fact, I don’t even think I was the one who was changing my sweaty clothes on the truck the most! We had lots of locations that were 5-7 miles away, a perfect 1 hour commuting run, and, while we shot into the night often, there were very few true overnight shoots. I managed to squeeze my long runs in on Sundays and got a few speed workouts here and there, mostly by hitting up the treadmill at good old Planet Fitness in the wee hours of the morning, 2, 3, 4 a.m. Since I have so much experience with the Hanson’s plan, I trained with that; those long marathon-pace tempo runs were the hardest. Somehow, though, I managed, with my crew cheering me on the whole way. Read more >>
Hello, dear Salty Running Readers!
I was a long-time fan of Salty Running and I was thrilled when I was extended an invitation to join this incredible group of women runners at Salty Running in 2015. Since then, there have been a number of changes in my running and life. Read more >>
featured image courtesy of Indy Women’s Half Marathon, ©2019. Look at that hotty, #12!
It’s happened to all of us: you’re having a great run and about an hour in, there’s a bit of a stinging situation. You tug your shorts down, adjust the waistband, try to scoot a seam. But you know already: they’re not the perfect shorts.
Or, you buy a pair that is totes cute but lo-and-behold, there’s nowhere for your key — much less anything else.
Recently Sesame posted on social media about looking for spandex short suggestions, and I am so about this type of crowd-sourcing! I chimed in with a few of my favorites and fails, and then we starting collecting more suggestions. All for you, dear readers.
Just kidding, this research was 100% done for my inner thighs. But by all means, reap the benefits!
Hey y’all! Magnolia here, hailing from the great state of Louisiana where mosquitoes, humidity, and oppressive heat reign supreme! While I am new to Salty Running — at least a newbie in this more public role, rather than my usual stance as a lurker — I am definitely not new to running. My very first run, a five-miler with my dad, happened at the tender age of six and I’ve been running ever since. Not like Forrest Gump’s non-stop running, but relatively speaking, I’ve used running as my preferred outlet for exercise and stress relief for a couple of decades now. It’s a cheap way to clear my head, celebrate my inner me, and sweat out any naysaying anxiety.
I have run three marathons (trained for four, but caught the flu mere days before the other race and had to pull out), numerous halfs, and countless 5Ks and 10Ks. Note to the Salty readers out there: with very few exceptions, I do not win any of these races … and I am totally cool with that. I consistently race in the top third of the pack, far behind the leaders, but firmly within the “I’m pushing past my comfort level” zone.
I am a wife, mom of three, and full-time attorney who struggles daily to strike the right life-balance. Since having kids, I find I don’t seek out races as often I once did; now I may only race a few times a year. I’d like to proclaim this is quality over quantity, but it’s honestly just a function of what fits into my hectic family schedule. I often think that I should have time management down to a fine art by now. Sadly, I do not.
Hi Saltines! Call me Lavender! I’m a runner in Saint Paul, Minnesota, trying to find my place in post-collegiate running. Other things I do include calligraphy, cooking, reading, working a desk job at an insurance company, and binge-watching a staggering number of shows, most recently The Mindy Project, On My Block, Catastrophe, Gilmore Girls, Workin’ Moms, and Great News.
I may not be as fast as I wish (is anyone?), but I have been running for a long time. I am currently one year out of college and have been running since third grade! It all started with a program in my school district called Marathon Kids: running 26.2 miles over the course of a semester would earn me a free t-shirt. By the end of the semester, I was hooked. My first race was a Christmas Lights 5K with my dad.
By my junior year of high school I’d been running track for several years, and liked where I was headed. I figured if I kept improving at the rate I had been in 9th and 10th grade, maybe there was a tiny chance I’d have a shot at walking onto a Division I collegiate team. But I got injured for most of junior year, and by the time senior year came around, running felt almost foreign. Every race hurt so badly and it didn’t feel worth the struggle. I was honestly relieved that I wasn’t going to have to continue this torture in college. Read more >>
After all the calamities during my spring and summer racing, I decided to just put my head down and focus on training hard. In the past I’ve always loved racing my way into shape and competitiveness, but now I live at least an hour away from any mildly competitive races. Not wanting to sacrifice precious family weekend time to spend half a Saturday away at a race, I opted to get in long runs or workouts on weekends instead.
My goal was the Twin Cities Marathon, which I’d never run but had heard good things. I figured a new race would be motivating, and this one always has a competitive field and historically has produced fast times.
Without racing I didn’t have much to go on other than feel, but I felt like my training went really well. I had some great long runs and quality workouts, and even managed to get in some killer Alter-G workouts where I hit times faster than I’ve ever run before. I felt fairly confident despite not having the racing results that I usually use to back it up.
Except then something started feeling wrong. Read more >>
I’m in Medford, MA on an air mattress in my friend Tracy’s living room. It’s 7:30. Somehow, daylight has managed to find its way into the room through the sliding glass door, but before that through a looming and massive sheet of puffy, charcoal-grey clouds. It’s pouring outside.
Today is Patriot’s Day. Read more >>
Happy Patriot’s Day, possibly the most important running holiday of the year! Last year I wrote about the crazy-stacked women’s elite field — I declared it was going to be a good year and I was definitely right even though there were plenty of surprises.
American women’s marathoning is a whole mood right now.
So, who to keep an eye on this year? Of the 22 women in the elite field, half of them have PRs under 2:23:00. The weather is forecasted to be similar to last year, although looks like a tailwind this year.
It’s been a tough year … a new job with a very rocky start and a long dark winter battling depression along with regular day-to-day ups and downs. As for my running, 2016 was my most intense training year to date, and resulted in PRs in every distance and burnout by the end of the year. With that in mind, I committed to take 2017 off marathoning. My running buddies thought I’d fall off the wagon, but I didn’t. I ran, a lot, but did whatever I wanted. I raced a 5k, a first for me, and did a relay with my husband. I got back into the gym and started lifting heavy again and putting on muscle. Toward the end of 2017, I was ready to return to marathon training. Several of my friends were going to Boston for the first time, and my last 2016 race (CIM) was in the qualifying window … perfect!
Training went exceedingly well; I returned to my coach/running dad/friend for my plan, which included three quality workouts a week. I continued lifting two times a week, and kept my mileage relatively low (topping out at 67 miles with most weeks in the 50s) to make sure I did not burn out. My new muscles from lifting boosted my speed out of my 2016 plateau, and on my hardest long run, a 20-mile Boston Simulator with hills in all the right places, I averaged 7:36 with my last mile in 6:27. I met a new training partner, Sid, aiming for a 7:05 pace at Boston like me, and he and I really made a great team during our long run workouts. When taper arrived, I felt confident, calm, and ready.
As everyone knows now, the weather reports for Boston looked grim. While some started to panic, I shrugged. Maybe it’s that I’m an Oregonian and cold rain is something I train through all the time, or maybe it’s just that I’m a veteran marathoner at this point. I put in the work and knew I was capable of my goal, but the weather is uncontrollable so it wasn’t worth worrying about. You can be prepared as all get out and shit can happen, so accept it.
Or maybe, it was that my first Boston was the highlight race of my running career and I knew that I’d be able to tap into that magic again. When I first ran Boston, in 2010, it was only my third marathon. I was a solo runner at that point, entirely self-coached, and had no idea what I was doing. I ran a 12-minute PR that day … Boston magic. Read more >>
I hate writing training logs. I always have. But now I’m like … the fearless leader or something (ha! fearless. *coughcoughbullsh*tcough*), so I’m feeling the need to lead by example! So I went to write a training log, but it just felt so … out of context. Things have changed a lot for me since I last posted anything about training!
I’ve been encouraging other Saltines to write updates and catch you readers up on what’s going on with them, but totally forgot that I haven’t posted anything about training in like … two years? Three? When I write it’s about the swirls of thoughts in my head, not usually about training. My wheelhouse is the feelings about running, and the mindset and willpower. Stats are boring to me, like talking about highway directions at a family function.
Isn’t it funny how much mindset and willpower and your feelings can affect your stats, though? And vice-versa?
The last few years, running has been really … uh … weird for me. I ran a lot of marathons in a row; NYC in November 2015 (3:55 with a perfect, relaxed race), then the Flying Pig in April 2016 (4:05 with mad food-poisoning bonking), then Erie in September 2016 (3:48! A perfect-perfect, hard-effort race!), then the Flying Pig again in April 2017 (4:03 with a host of physical and emotional bullsh*t). It’s exhausting just thinking about that! And it’s no wonder that, while training for the last one, I found myself unable to think about going for a run without hating the very idea. Read more >>
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