Running and Eating Disorder Recovery

Olive stands in a black sports bra and capris with hands on hips“I used to have an eating disorder.” If you’re a woman runner, chances are you’ve heard or even uttered this phrase more than once. In fact, I’ve said it. My story isn’t unique or all that remarkable. It’s a familiar story. Girl wants to lose a few pounds, likes the way she looks so tries to lose a few more, then a few more, then suddenly one day can count her ribs, can’t stay awake past 8:00 p.m., and doesn’t get a period for six years. Luckily, I came out relatively unscathed, save for a few less friends, some fertility treatments, and lots of emotional issues surrounding food.

A few weeks ago, some of the Saltines and I were talking about our backgrounds, and we realized that more than a few of us had a history of eating disorders. Today, I’d like to talk to those of us who have been through one and emerged on the other side, which, statistically speaking, is a lot of us. We address the gamut of running and ED recovery questions: Did running help or hurt our eating disorder recovery? Are there any special considerations we should take as we train? What are some tips and tricks to stay in recovery?  Read more

On Why You Can’t Quit

Back shot of young boy running xcIt took less than a week before you dragged your heavy limbs through the door and mumbled, “I hate cross country.” You were too tired to shout it. Your shoes were soaked with creek water. Your face, though you hid it from me, was soaked in tears.

You had your reasons, and they were good ones. Running hurts. It isn’t fun. It’s every man for himself. It’s not a team sport. No matter how fast I become, I’ll never win.

I had my reasons for wanting to quit training for my last marathon too. This season was never about winning. You’re barely 12 years old, so I guess I can’t expect you to know how little it means to win. Empty and fleeting, the cheers will always die down. No one claps forever, and cloud nine turns to wisp or rain.

There will always be someone faster (unless you’re Mo Farrah). There will always be someone with more muscle, more talent, more strength, more opportunity. If your goal is to win, to “be the best”, then yes, you might want to pack it up now, because otherwise it would be a long and disappointing season. But that is not why you run.

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Readers Roundtable: Running Superstitions

Pesto drinks coffee in her bathrobe at 3:00 a.m.We runners are a quirky bunch. We baffle the non-runners in our lives with our weird habits and running superstitions. I was never in my life a superstitious person before becoming a runner. As I’ve become more serious about it, I’ve collected a bunch of nonsensical superstitions, rituals, and routines and I bet you have them too.

Why is that? The answer seems fairly simple: control. A lot can happen out there on race day or in the course of a tough workout or training run. Most of these things have nothing to do with how prepared or worthy we are of achieving our goals, so, by following our superstitions, we attempt to create a little extra certainty. This is why we often involve things that we wore, used, did during great runs or races in our rituals.

My die-hard ritual? Drinking coffee four hours before each race. I have no idea why I still subscribe to this belief because almost every single other day of my life I drink coffee and run out the door and am totally fine. However come race day, the four-hour rule comes into effect.

What running superstitions do you subscribe to, if any? Why?

  • Don’t step on sidewalk cracks while running?
  • Always go clock-wise around a loop?
  • Always end every run on a round number of miles?
  • Lucky socks, underwear, shorts, bra?
  • Specific pump-up song or music?
  • Pre-race meal?
  • Sex the night before a big race?
  • A drink with prerace dinner?  
  • Something so wacky you’ll blow our minds sharing it?

I F*ing Love Running Skirts

Raspberry wearing a sparkly green skirt uses power toolsSkirts: a sign of weakness, frilly and fussy femininity. Too long and they’re matronly. Too short and they’re slutty.

Worn during competitive sports? Pshaw. No serious athlete would ever wear a running skirt.

So what about stuntwoman Jessie Graff who became the first woman to complete Stage 1 in the American Ninja Warrior’s finals? In what appeared to be an effortless, badass feat, she wore a sparkly green skirt and bra inspired by the Green Lantern.

While most of the Internet cried “F yeah!”, some were less enthusiastic. They couldn’t get past her wardrobe: “Yeah, but her glitter green skirt is kinda ridiculous – why not just wear a regular sports bra and shorts?” Or they assumed she wore a skirt to be funny, which might be bolstered by the fact that she competed in a chicken suit – with a skirt – a few years before. But it doesn’t matter. You want to know why? 

Because I don’t care. I f’ing love running skirts. 

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North: the Gilmour Rise

Calina runs hard to stay ahead of Caitlin, hot on her heels

Whether faith in God, country, processes, others, or ourselves, faith is believing in something even when there’s no proof that it exists and often when there is evidence that it doesn’t. Whenever we work to improve at something or strive to attain a big dream goal, after a period of mounting success there is a drop off in results that may feel frighteningly like failure. This, as you might recall, is the Dip and when it comes to running it’s faith in our training, our coaches, and ourselves that delivers us from one side of it to the other.


On Friday, as the North girls and their coaches walked off the field behind Gilmour Academy, the edge of a rainbow rose up from the field house roof and disappeared into a giant puff of a silver cloud. There could be no better cap on this afternoon of cross country.  Read more

Why Do Women Still Run Shorter Distances in Cross Country?

A girl with braids races cross countryNot too long ago, the thought of women running was enough to give everyone the vapors. But trail blazers like Babe Didrickson, Doris Brown, Bobbi Gibbs showed the world that not only could women run, they could run pretty fast and pretty far while keeping their uteri intact. We may laugh now about the sheer absurdity of these misconceptions, but there are still instances where women run shorter distances than men. This is particularly the case when it comes cross country racing at all levels.

It seems unlikely that members of the NCAA, USATF or IAAF think women are less capable. Women compete in the same distances as men in all types of major national and international running competition aside from cross country on the track, roads, and trails. If that is the case, why are women running shorter distances than men in cross country?

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The Libra Runner

libra runnerHappy birthday to our Salty Running Libras Cinnamon, Poppy, Pepper, Cardamom, and Ginkgo! It’s a big month for famous Libra runners too; Lauren Fleshman, Tirunesh Dibaba, Marion Jones, the late Grete Waitz, Ryan Hall, and Matt Centrowitz are all celebrating birthdays this month.

With national politics dividing American runners, it is a perfect time of year for the Golden Scales to be in charge. With their diplomatic ability to see varying points of view and their talent for bringing peace and accord, it might be a good month to go for a run with a Libra running friend. She’ll most likely be up for anything, and her idealistic and balanced approach to life will hopefully rub off on you if you’re caught up in the election drama.

What else can you expect from a Libra runner? Read on!

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7 Life Hacks to Make More Time to Run

Chicory asleep in her running clothesI’m six weeks out from my next marathon, training 12 hours a week, and running most days before the sun comes up. I’m surviving on McDonald’s unsweet tea and sleeping in my running clothes. Also, I’m gainfully employed despite the fact I keep showing up with dirty hair. I’ll admit, I don’t have kids or pets. I don’t claim to be the busiest person out there; I know I’m not.

But I am a fan of Hack My Life even if it’s just annoying comedians trying things we all saw on Pinterest three years ago when Pinterest was THE. THING. I like life hacks because fitting it all in feels next to impossible at times. Really, how do you hack your life to fit more into your day every day while still getting your miles in and juggling the rest of your responsibilities, including eating well and looking somewhat respectable?

Enter Hack My Life: Salty Running Edition! It’s seven life hacks to make more time to run.

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Basil’s Kenai River Recap: Celebrating the Painful Privilege that Is a Marathon


To get to the starting line is a gift. To get to the finish is freakin’ Christmas!

A year ago, I couldn’t walk without crutches, couldn’t reach my feet to tie my shoes.

Today, I laced up and ran a marathon.

Eight months ago, I could barely run for 20 seconds at a time. My hip felt awkward and clumsy, as if all my veteran running muscles had abandoned me and left me with clueless glutes and quads. You want us to do what? Sorry, what does R-U-N spell, again?

Back then, I remember telling myself to just do the work in front of me and trust the process. Back then, the work was a Couch to 5k. I tried not to judge myself for how hard it felt. I tried to take the next step, whatever it might be, and accept where I was.

For eight months, I took step after step until the next step landed me on the starting line of the Kenai River Marathon. There were so many times in the past year that I doubted myself, doubted the process, doubted I’d make it to the start, much less the finish. I’m still in jaw-dropping disbelief at what I asked my body to do today, and that it answered with a heart pounding YES. Read more

Internal Versus External Rewards: How to Find Lasting Satisfaction from Running

Woman races and slaps high fives with the crowd

Despite having a low income, my father proposed that for every “A” I earned, he’d give me $20. I interpreted this in two ways:

  1. It had to be important to do well in school if he’d pay me the little money he had for good grades, and
  2. I was more motivated to learn when there was a price attached.

Pay-for-A’s is external motivation. It’s easier to get driven by external motivation whether in school (grades or praise), sports (place or time), relationships (affection or sex), or work (raises, status, or titles). But the sense of achievement you feel from within when internal motivation is what drives you is a harder thing to measure, yet much more long-lasting once felt.

Most runners, it seems, are externally motivated, a constant well unfilled: on to the next goal, the next race, the next stage of fitness. Read more

Introducing Zest!

Headshot of Zest wearing black sweater.Hello Salty Nation! I’m Zest, and I’m thrilled to be here! I’m a distance runner in Washington, D.C., by way of Louisville, Kentucky. I run because I enjoy competition and I like pushing myself to be the best, fastest version of myself that I can be. So, naturally, when I stumbled on Salty Running a couple years ago, I immediately knew I had found my people.

I haven’t always been a runner; growing up, I was a field hockey player. I played throughout middle school and high school and then for a Division I program in college. For the majority of my career, I actively tried to avoid running. Running long distances was for either conditioning or punishment, and, either way, I was not a fan. Plus, I was a goalkeeper, and most of my training focused on short sprints and plyometrics, not running miles at a time. I vividly recall one conversation with my dad, who had started running marathons after I left for college, in which I told him that he was crazy and that I would never, ever have the desire to run that far.

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Readers Roundtable: Worst #RaceFails

Picture this: your training went well, race day weather is perfect, everything is going according to plan and you are finally going to nab that BQ (or whatever your goal is). But then:

These are just three real things that have happened to marathoners that have cost them BQs or to otherwise miss their goals. Talking about these incidents got us wondering:

  • What’s the worst #racefail you’ve encountered? 
  • How would you handle it if something like this happened to you?
  • Is it fair that the BAA won’t allow runners who were subjected to these incidents, but would likely otherwise qualify, enter the Boston Marathon?

SaltyValu™ Race Report Generator

Runner outfit, guy in banana costume, Desi Linden, Pesto with medal

Typical race report photos. From left: flat runner, banana runner, fist pumping Olympian, sweaty post-race runner with medal.

Sometimes I wonder if a race report template exists that all runners use. I started, I ran, it was hard, I finished and a lot of stuff happened in between. I wondered if I could hack the system. If I analyzed hundreds, dozens, or three, race reports, could I crack the code? And if I did, could I leverage my knowledge into the best selling product yet in our SaltyValu™ line: the Race Report Generator? Imagine how many zeros of dollars we could make with this incredible invention!

So, I did just that. Now no need to bother trying to come up with another way to say “toe the line” or “waited in line for a porta-potty”, when with our simple to use questionnaire, we’ll write the report only your mother will read for you!

Use the SaltyValu™ Generator today!

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North: Showing Up in Strongsville

Vidhi runs up to join the other girls as they huddle before the race“Hey, it’s a salty! … Hey, Cinnamon!” I heard Vidhi’s voice singsong as I wove through the masses of parents and young siblings and packs of high school kids warming up. I turned the corner around a brick wall and hopped down an embankment to find her with Lydia, Calina and Caitlin, waiting in line for the bathroom. As Vidhi showed me the team’s latest in a string of injuries–an infected insect bite that swelled her entire foot and turned it black, I looked around for the others. “Where’s everyone else?” I asked. “Sydnie’s at the tent waiting for us to warm up,” they replied glancing at each other. It wasn’t until several minutes later, when Sydnie came to hurry us along for the warmup, that I realized there were only four girls running today.
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Introducing Chicory!

chicory-bioHi Salts, Chicory here. For years, my social media bios have read, “Runner, Writer, Renegade.” When I came across Salty Running, I knew I had found kindred spirits. I’m honored and excited to become a part of the team.

This May marked my tenth year of running. When I started, I could not have imagined where it would lead. Running became so much more than a hobby for me — it is the biggest constant in my life over those 10 years, even when I was injured and not running as much.

I sporadically played sports in high school but never seriously; three years of varsity soccer and two years of track, where the coaches were such novices that they let me run the sprints. In college, I did no structured exercise for my first three semesters.

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