Jasmine’s Pittsburgh Race Plan

Race gear prep goes on the road from Cleveland to Michigan.

Race gear prep goes on the road from Cleveland to Michigan.

Wednesday night was time to put together a race plan. Unlike last time, I just didn’t have enough training data to do it with all that much confidence, but I took my best shot. Race conditions look like they will be 52-deg start and a 63 deg finish, dry and sunny. With warm race conditions and a fair training cycle, I reduced the original target of sub 2:55 to 2:58:30.

My race plan is nothing special, but I thought you might be interested in seeing it. It’s really just a list to keep me organized. This race plan isn’t as detailed as it would be if I was making a big PR attempt. This didn’t turn out to be a PR or qualifying attempt race, so the goal is to do as well as my fitness level permits and maybe, maybe be ready to turn up the racing after mile twenty. Read more

5 Things You Need After a Marathon

fri5Hooray! You just completed a marathon!  No matter if it was your first, fifth or fiftieth, there are some things that never change.  If you worked hard, your legs will feel like they’re made of rubber and need a good rest. But that’s not all you’ll need.

I’m 5 days from finishing my most recent marathon and I can tell you I was surprised by the things I didn’t really consider before the race, but afterwards discovered that I really needed them after pounding 26.2 miles of pavement!

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Jasmine 4 Days Out from Pittsburgh!

See that. That's my serious Ethiopian face. We just opened the ethopean coffee at my office last week. I might not drink coffee, but it helped get me back into the badass running spirit. See that. That’s my serious Ethiopian face. We just opened the Ethiopian coffee at my office last week. I might not drink coffee, but it helped get me back into the badass running spirit. Sunday is the Pittsburgh Marathon. The elite lineup was sent out on Wednesday and, well, it was exciting and terrifying. I’m seeded eleventh behind the Kenyans, Ethiopians, last year’s winner, and a bunch of women who made the olympic trials.  I’m starting next to Devon Yanko, one of the elite women I’ve been stalking on Strava for a long time.

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A Master Class on Competition

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When in doubt, trust the ancient Romans. Photo by Alice Santurri.

When we think of competition in running what do we think of? Tactics meant to outwit or demoralize an opponent? Elbows flying at the start of a track race? Fist pumping in triumph as a winner passes a despondent loser? Competition means one person basks in the thrill of victory, while another experiences the agony of defeat. Right?

Despite these widespread views about competition, the word itself comes from a Latin word that means “strive together.” Think about that. Strive together. Competing isn’t about pushing someone else down to raise yourself up, it’s about striving for your best alongside others. I’ve known this for a while, but I didn’t fully understand it until Saturday.

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Dear Boston, It’s Not You, It’s Me.

IMG_7867Five. That’s how many times Meb stopped to lose his lunch before he reached the storied Boylston finish line. I suppose I should be grateful, then, that my stomach never followed through on its threats to hurl my Honey Stingers. I know that Boston is a privilege–one for which so many mid-packers like me fight tremendously hard.

What I didn’t know was that my fight wasn’t over, that it would be just as hard to finish Boston as it was to earn a place at the starting line. Read more

Reader’s Roundtable: What’s Your Favorite Race Distance?

From here are you halfway through or almost done with your perfect race? Image via wikipedia.

From here are you halfway through or almost done with your perfect race? Image via wikipedia.

Here on Salty Running, our bloggers run a wide range of races. From short stuff on the track to 100 miles or more, we cover all the popular race distances! This week, as spring racing season peaks, we’ll be bringing you several race reports, prerace jitters and lots and lots of racing talk! So, naturally, our Readers Roundtable this week asks you about your race preferences.

Specifically, we want to know what your favorite race distance is and why you love it. Do you like a short burst of intensity of track races? Or the long slow burn of a half marathon? Maybe you prefer something a little in between like a 10k? Perhaps you like flirting with the wall of the marathon? Do you like to ride out the waves in an ultra?

Readers, tell us: What’s your favorite race distance? Be sure to tell us why you love it too!

5 Things I Learned While Watching the 2015 Boston Marathon

fri5It’s the Friday after Marathon Monday and yes, we’re still talking about Boston! The inspiring final finisher. Shalane’s heartbreak. Caroline Rotich’s sprint finish and huge smile. Meb’s always charming stranger hand-holding as he made the most of his relative blow-up. How could we not still be talking about it?!

Actually, today I’m ceding the Friday 5 floor to one of our readers. Salty reader Lindi was so inspired by the Boston Marathon this year that she wrote up these 5 things she learned while watching the race. She sent them along to us to share with you. We loved it and are happy to oblige.

So Lindi, take it away! Read more

Fandom and Our Obsession with Winning

Victory sure is sweet but is it the be all end all? Image via flickr user Phil Roeder.

Victory sure is sweet but is it the be all end all? Image via flickr user Phil Roeder.

Marathon season recently kicked off with the granddaddy of them all, Boston. For me and many of you, watching this race is no different than watching the World Series or the Super Bowl. Come to think of it, it is our World Series and Super Bowl. So it’s hard not to feel a little down when your team comes oh so close to winning but falls off at the end.

All major sports have big dogs, the teams that are not only fan favorites but have big bucks to spend on the best players and thus consistently have winning records. In running, the United States has all the money in comparison to other countries. Think of the Nike empire and all of its high tech gadgets and facilities. Look at how many international athletes come to the US to train. Nonetheless the “big dogs” in our sport, those who dominate the competition, often come from economically less fortunate beginnings.

It’s interesting to wonder, what does that all mean?  What do we, as runners, learn from those breaking the tape? Read more

Is Breastfeeding Slowing Me Down? Lactation and Competitive Running

Nursing the baby before an 18:30 5k.

Nursing the baby before an 18:30 5k.

Is breastfeeding slowing me down?

To be clear, the benefits of breastfeeding for my son and me outweigh any short term negative impact on my speed. Fortunately my livelihood does not depend upon running so I am free to make that choice.

Running is a key component of my lifestyle, however, and I have lofty personal goals! I’ve been sitting on a plateau of essentially identical 5k and 10k times from 4-14 months postpartum and I’m beginning to doubt my more ambitious goals. I’m pretty confident in saying that lactation is not performance-enhancing, but how much, if at all, does it hold me back? Read more

Clove’s Badwater Training Log: 4.11.2015 – 4.17.2015

If you look above the navel ring, you can see ("C") my little problem.  The other weird stuff are buttons and the zipper on my cords - the x-ray was done with my cords on.

If you look above the navel ring, you can see (“C”) my little problem – as well as what it does to my hips. The other weird stuff is buttons and the zipper on my cords – the x-ray was done with my cords on.

This entry shall otherwise be titled “My Twisted Spine.”

My twisted spine put a dent in things this week.  Some people would say, “Star.  It was the very low mileage first week of a 15-week training plan, coming off of the training that got you to a PR 100-miler.”  Those people would be correct, but I would remind them that I am a super Type-A perfectionist, and that even though I know I made the best long-term choices for my body, I feel like I’m wearing a scratchy wool sweater when I don’t properly ace the week’s appointed workouts.  It just bothers me. Read more

Make Your Own Boston Marathon Jacket

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The jacket of my dreams…

In my dream world, I would be strutting around today in a purple and orange jacket of questionable taste.  This jacket would not be the sort of thing I usually wear, it certainly isn’t something I’d ever choose for myself, and I would have paid way too much money for it.

You know what I’m talking about.

I mean, it’s okay that I didn’t make it to Boston this year…I’ll make it someday!  Until then I’ll have to make do with a homemade knockoff that’s even less stylish than the real deal.

Learn how to make your own Boston Marathon jacket (for less than five bucks!) after the jump! Read more

Readers Roundtable: Boston Marathon Charity Runners

We almost asked you whether you find this year's jacket hideous or not. Feel free to discuss that as well! Image vis adidas.com

We almost asked you whether you find this year’s jacket hideous or not. Feel free to discuss that as well! Image via adidas.com

Happy Marathon Monday! First, we send speedy vibes to all our Boston-running readers and bloggers Basil and Chamomile as they toe the line today! May the forecasts of rain be wrong and may the easterly wind change its mine and blow you in all the way to Boyleston street. GO ALL YOU WICKED FAST RUNNAHS!

In honor of our most favoritist Monday of the year, we bring you this Boston flavored Readers Roundtable, the feature where we ask YOU to share your opinion on an important subject. Today’s topic, naturally, is the Boston Marathon. Specifically, we’re wondering what you think about runners who do not meet the qualifying standards but are allowed to run if they raise enough money for a charity. Does this diminish from the prestige of the race or is this a necessary expression of good will? What say you?!

And the Winner Is …

And the heaps of glory and imaginary trophy go to ...

And the heaps of glory and imaginary trophy go to …

It’s the Friday before Boston which means many of you are boarding flights or getting bib numbers from friends to track on Monday. While Boston is a fine race, perhaps THE finest race in all the land, another marathon deserves our attention.

Remember way back to a week ago when we posted the final round of our March Madness Greatest Marathon (that isn’t NYC, CHI or BOS) Tournament? Well one marathon rose from the field of 64 to be crowned the GREATEST MARATHON (that isn’t NYC, CHI or BOS). And that marathon is …

[*drums a-rollin’*] Read more

Basil’s Boston Marathon Playlist

For some of us earbuds : running shoes :: Boston Marathon : Patriot's Day! Flickr Commons image by rikomatic.

For some of us earbuds : running shoes :: Boston Marathon : Patriot’s Day! Flickr Commons image by rikomatic.

With the Boston Marathon around the corner and taper in full swing, there’s only one thing left to do (besides panic and obsess about All The Things). That’s right! It’s time to tune up the playlist, to toss the songs that tempo runs have forever ruined, and add some fresh tracks to carry me from start to finish on marathon Monday.

Now, I realize that some of us here at Salty Running (cough, Salty, cough) are purists and need only the beautiful sound of their own breathing (coupled with backwards counting through side stitches) to power through 26.2 miles. I’m not one of those people. I have often relied on music to get me through many lonely training miles–just me, myself and iTunes. And come race day, I want to remain blissfully ignorant of the tired and terrible sounds of my huffing and puffing.

So for those of you like me who are looking to spruce up your playlist before your goal race, perhaps I can save you some time by sharing what I found in the hour or so I spent scouring the internet for fresh inspiration. Here’s a sampling of some new favorites mixed in with my old standbys: Read more

Jasmine’s Training Update: Back in the USA

Belgium running

Belgium running

Alright folks. I owe you an update. In fact I owe you several weeks of updates, this is just a teaser. For the last few weeks I’ve owed Salty an article… something… anything. I’ve kind of been stuck because I don’t know what to write. So I’m just going to dive right in from where I am right now.

Coming up in the not-too-distant future will be some features on what it was like to train in Belgium for a month, and what it is like to be three weeks out from a marathon you know you’re going to bomb. Oh, maybe we should back up to that last comment.  Read more