Hello! Cocoa here, still running. I am also super happy to see Salty Running make a comeback!
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 >>
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.
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 >>
Cilantro here! Today, I’m excited to catch up with Sassafras, one of the first Saltines to join Salty Running, and a longtime contributor and reader!
You invited me to apply to join the Salty Team around 2010. First, thank you for introducing me to this amazing group of women! Second, remind all of us how you initially connected with Salty Running and why you decided to get involved.
Yes! So glad you’re here! I first found SR in the spring of 2012 due to a post about the Cleveland Marathon. I had just run the half so I did that thing where you read other’s reviews and race reports. I then connected it with the fact that I had actually read Salty’s personal blog before that because we’d both been active on the Weddingbee forums around the same time.
As for your second question, I went in the wayback email archive to find out what I’d said when I applied that summer. “I like to talk about running!” Ha. Pretty straightforward stuff. I think I was just happy to have a place to nerd out about it. Read more >>
It was one of our more philosophical discussions: if a crotch sweats on some pricey running shorts but you weren’t there to see it, and then you buy those same shorts for a very low price on eBay, did the crotch sweat ever really happen? What if you wash the sweated-on shorts twice before you wear them? Three times?
In other words, would you buy used running shorts? How low does the price of used name-brand or “designer” running shorts have to be to make you even consider putting them on? Read more >>
I don’t like leaving questions unanswered. One of the main reasons I decided to attend West Point was that I didn’t want to later regret turning my acceptance down. If I didn’t like it, I could always leave for a civilian school, but not vice versa; if I didn’t accept the initial offer, I couldn’t change my mind and transfer there later.
Same with running. I never want to wonder “what if” or wish I had given it one more go while I could.
When I last wrote here on Salty Running, I left off with lingering doubts about continuing my competitive career, wondering “am I good with good enough?”
But I don’t like open-ended debates, so I decided I wasn’t. I decided to keep racing, committing to giving it my best shot. This wasn’t an easy decision to make, given my limited time, resources, and energy. I was no longer at the stage in life where running could be my top priority (or even close) and had to fit in what I could around three kids, a husband who’s always gone, and a new job that ate away any extra time I had without anything else in life giving to make room. Could I make a comeback? I wanted to try and see. Read more >>
Sass: Hi friend! Welcome back! We first met around the time that you were doing your first marathon, back in 2012. Since then you have done everything from 5Ks to 100 milers to stage races. How would you describe your runner identity now, in three words?
Cilantro: Ultrarunner for Social Justice (oof, four words, can the “for” not count?). The older I get and the more I learn, I can’t separate who I am as a runner from who I am as a person. That’s why I still want to run across America to raise awareness of gender violence and open the discourse regarding prevention. Running empowered and empowers me, and I believe it has that same power for good to help others, and I want to start paying it forward, whether that’s through my own efforts or by bringing running in an accessible way to others.
Is this thing on? It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged. Er, actually, about five years. If you remember me from before: congrats! You are a true Salty Running devotee. If you don’t, that’s okay. My MO was pretty straightforward, maybe even trite: qualify for Boston, but ya know, keep it balanced. I felt like I had a good perspective.
Running is only a part of my life, not my whole life, she wrote, presciently.
Even after I left the Salty-verse, again and again, Boston was my goal. If you don’t do that, at least PR. If you don’t do that, why show up? I shaved some time off my 26.2 mile journeys. I teetered on the right side of overtraining. It was working.
Balance is a funny thing.
And then it wasn’t. First I bonked a race, hard, then I dropped out of another due to heat and a cranky hip. I didn’t even start another. I did run the Flying Pig Marathon in Spring ‘16, but DNFed again that fall, and then again last spring. If you are keeping track, that would be a DNS and three DNFs. That last one really stung because I felt like it would be a big one. I had hired a coach and was nailing my workouts. I wasn’t going to qualify, but I had a solid time in me.
Sometimes running is just a thing, and sometimes it seems like the only thing.
What was going on with me? The truth is, I had crossed over to the wrong side of the edge and a lot of things in my life were going wrong. People had cancer. My dog was really sick and we weren’t sure why. My career was a mess. Why couldn’t running be what went right?
Sometimes, you don’t realize that running has become your only thing.
Last spring, everything changed. I got a new job. Actually, The Job. Pretty darn close to my dream job, only there are neither puppies nor free ice cream. Slowly, and then all at once, something shifted in how I thought of running.
Just a few weeks into the job, I decided to downgrade my fall marathon to a half. Life needed to come first. This was a big career change for me, and I wanted to be sure to get it right from the outset. That meant passing on the stress and struggle of marathon training while I got settled; I didn’t want to ever say no to an opportunity because of a run.
A few weeks after that, I was t-boned while driving home. I was mostly okay – just some cuts and bruises – but my car was not. After taking ten days off and still feeling pretty shaken, my goals for my annual Fourth of July 10K were completely different. Nothing like your car doing a 180 to change the way you look at things. It was my slowest 10K ever, but who cares?
Throughout the summer and into the fall, I kept missing runs after having to move them around several times. Before, going for a run was a top priority because it provided stress relief, an escape, a bright spot in my days coping with a job I had outgrown, among other Big Problems. But now I don’t ever want my job to be the thing to give.
Finding balance takes practice.
What I envisioned as a fast fall half turned into an easy run alongside a dear friend, our only goal to run the whole way and to spend a fun weekend together. Check and check! I felt spent after and pulled out of the half I’d planned a few weeks later. I needed a break. I wanted running to be fun and not a to-do list item.
Y’all, I needed to hit reset on my relationship with running.
So I ran when I wanted to and slept in if I wanted to. I went to cat yoga (twice, actually!) and also normal human yoga. I listened to what my body wanted. Then, one day, as they do, a Facebook memory sparked something in me when it popped up. It was a photo from the 2012 Monumental Marathon.
And I’ll admit, my first thought was how good I looked. But what really hooked me was how happy and fit I seemed. I remembered the race and how so many things had gone wrong, from missed connections to a dead iPod to hail (HAIL!), and how I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Eh, I’ve got this.” And I did. I was well trained but not overly so. I wanted a certain time, but it wasn’t the end of the world when I didn’t get it. It was the last race I could remember that seemed like I’d had it truly right, and I wanted that again.
I’ve struggled to explain this to some people, because I had PRs after that. As if they want me to put a clock time to this easy way of being that I’m after. But I can’t, because there isn’t one. It isn’t about time.
It’s about attitude. It’s about balance.
So that’s the story of how, in the past year, I have reclaimed my time and redefined my relationship with running. And really, truly made balance A Thing I Do. I’m not just paying it lip service or doing it just enough to come back from injury. Balance is now firmly ensconced in my being. I go to yoga 1-2 times a week. I row 1,000 meters and track my progress. I lift weights. I have some races on the calendar, but I’m keeping it wide angle and making a long slow build.
I can’t prescribe a formula for how to get there. I certainly wouldn’t recommend the path I took.
It’s easy to say you want balance when you have it, but you don’t really appreciate it until you’ve been knocked off kilter.
Finding balance takes practice. It is my practice to find it.
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