Introducing Wintergreen!

Wintergreen's new toy: an African Djembe drum

When I’m not running or writing, I’m … African drumming!

Hello fellow Salties! My name is Wintergreen and I live in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario Canada. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you and sharing my love of our great sport.

As my Salty moniker may imply I like winter. I live in Canada, so as you can imagine I have run in many a snowstorms and dodged snowploughs and salt trucks. Last year we had the coldest winter since I was a child in the 70’s. I only missed one scheduled workout. However on the coldest days it took nearly ten minutes to get dressed. By March I found myself daydreaming of shorts and t-shirts.

But there’s more to me than living and running up North! Read more

Ginkgo’s First Postpartum Half Marathon

My first race back since this little pumpkin came into our lives!

My first race back since this little pumpkin came into our lives!

If you kept up with my posts last spring and summer, you may have realized that my world has been flipped and turned upside down as of late. Our first son, Connor, was born on June 22, 2014, and my priorities, including my running, have all changed significantly in the past couple of months. Finding time to train with a four month old isn’t exactly an easy task and functioning on less than my usual 8 hour chunks of sleep (yes, I’m one of those girls who NEEDS her sleep), resulted in less than ideal training weeks leading up to the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon.

But I’d like to think that every training cycle and every race has a takeaway and that this one was no different. Read more

The NYC Marathon Happened and I Wasn’t There

I was supposed to be there. Image via Wikipedia.

I was supposed to be there. Image via Wikipedia.

The New York Marathon was yesterday, but I wasn’t there to celebrate finishing my first marathon, the race that I spent months preparing for. Injuries are always tough, but when an injury wrecks months of training and postpones or perhaps prevents the completion of one of your life goals it’s an extra-bitter pill to swallow.

If this has happened to you, I am so sorry. We are going to get through this and together figure out the haunting question hanging over our heads: What now?

Read more

Introducing Oregano!

Pre-Race Thumbs Up

Pre-Race Thumbs Up

Greetings from Portland, Oregon! I am very excited to be joining the Salty crew and sharing my perspective and love for running with all of the amazing women who read and write for Salty Running!

I am a single person enjoying the last year of my 20’s and cheap rent in a house with four other 20-somethings in Portland, OR. I started running in Minnesota when I was 19, for stress relief in college, and totally fell in love. Running in Minnesota was especially great for me as a college kid, as it was pretty much impossible to get lost. Case in point: a typical thought on a run, that farm house looks about two flat, straight miles away.  I ran my first race, a 5k, during my Senior year and came in second with a 22:22. After that I decided to challenge myself and join the track team (I went to a Division III school, so anyone could join). I think this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I really cherished every workout. Read more

5 Frights You Might Encounter When Running in the Dark

fri5blkcatWhether you run early or late, this time of year you’ll probably be doing some miles in the dark. If you don’t have lighted streets, your puny little headlamp is about enough to keep you from running into a wall, but otherwise isn’t all that good about lighting your way. Instead, you have to hope there aren’t scary things lurking around the corners. Since today is the spookiest of all days, let’s discuss these scary things.

Scary things like these 5 frights you might encounter when running the dark. OOooooOOOOOOOOOOO! Read more

Running Next to Mom, Part II

You don't have to be a mom to be inspired by runner-moms like Kara Goucher!

You don’t have to be a mom to be inspired by runner-moms like Kara Goucher, or my friend Sara Striegel!

In Running Next To Mom Part 1, I confessed to feeling somewhat inferior to all the runner-moms around me. As a 30-something woman who does not plan on having children,  I often fall into the trap of playing “mommies VS. me” comparison games, which are never good. It’s easy to feel left out and lost around runner-moms who juggle child-rearing and daily miles like it’s no big deal. How the heck do they DO all that, anyways?! And is there anything a child-free runner like me can learn from them, without letting a left-out inferiority complex get the best of me?

In this second installment of Running With Mom, I’d like to introduce one of the most impressive runner-moms I know and share some of her excellent training tips. They apply to runner moms and non-moms alike! No “VS” here … just straight-up advice from one seriously good runner and one seriously impressive mom! Read more

What Are Junk Miles?

One person’s junk miles is another runner’s secret to success. Image via wikipedia

Whether we run 100 mile weeks or 35 mile weeks, we run a lot and when we run we believe that every mile, in fact every step, is in furtherance of our goal to become faster. Is it possible that some of the miles we run are doing us no good or worse, *gasp* making us slower? Could you, yes YOU, be logging junk miles?

If you’ve read enough about running or talked to enough serious runners, eventually you will come across the term junk miles. When the average person throws out the term, junk miles, it’s usually as a way of passing judgment on another runner’s training. “She’s not getting faster because she’s running all those junk miles.” Most of the time it’s not a useful phrase, because it assumes there is a universal definition of junk miles that applies to every runner. Guess what. There isn’t one. Junk for one person might not be junk for someone else. It depends on the runner, her training plan and her goals.

But if we shift the concept from a judgmental insult to a principle of training that we can apply to ourselves and our goals, it’s actually a very useful concept that can help us take our running to the next level.

Let’s take a look. Read more

Pre-race Rituals

No magic pre-race 4-leaf clover salad for me.

Recently I heard someone mention pre-race rituals. I got to thinking about them. At first I did not think I had any pre-race rituals. After all I am not superstitious. I do not cross myself or even pray at the starting line. I do not have anything lucky that I must wear such as a special pair of underwear, a hat, gloves, or socks. I do not carry a rabbit’s foot, four leaf clover or anything like that. When it is race time I do not think about trying to do anything to make me race better.

Then I realized that a ritual is something you do on a routine basis.  Most of my rituals are done well in advance of race day. Pre-race does not necessarily mean immediately before the race or even at the starting line. It simply means before the race. And there are several things that I do prior to a race. Read more

The Marathon That Wasn’t: Mint’s Chicago Marathon Race Report

The goal.  200 baby!

The goal. 200 baby!

Race reports are so easy to write when you have a big win, hit a PR, have a great race.

The crappy ones?  Not so much.  Those are a lot harder to document, to rehash, to reflect upon.  But, alas, they are important parts of the journey too.  And it really is all about the journey.

When I started running marathons almost ten years ago, a more seasoned running friend told me that if I kept doing them, it was only a matter of time before I had a bad one. He was very right.  Over the years, I’ve definitely had my marathoning ups and downs.  This fall’s race unfortunately crashed like a brick in the down category.

Down as in DNF – did not finish. Read more

5 Hazards of Bringing Small Children to the Local Running Store

The other day I stopped at my LRS (Local Running Store) to pick up a new pair of trainers with my youngest daughter. She’s 22 months and I’m lucky she has cute chubby cheeks and red springy curls, because maybe I can go back to the LRS again. I don’t know what it is, but every time I bring my kids with me to the LRS, havoc ensues. I swear they behave at the grocery store (usually). I can take them out to dinner (and I’ve only needed to request to-go boxes before dinner arrived a couple of times). I can take them to the doctor (and I’ve only worried once or twice that one of them broke a bone from jumping off the exam table). But when I take them to the running store it’s almost always a disaster!

And I blame these 5 things for making children in a running store worse than bull in a china shop.
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

Going Big: Jasmine’s Columbus Marathon Race Report

Enjoying the aftermath of a great performance at a great race!

Enjoying the aftermath of a great performance at a great race!

The Columbus Marathon was one of those days where everything came together. Before I go any further, I have to say: thank you to everyone who sets a good example, sets the bar high, and encourages [formerly] relativity average runners like me to work for big dreams. I will never be as fast as many of you, but you inspire me to work really hard to try to be as fast some day.

The Columbus Marathon is a favorite of so many Ohio runners. I am really glad I chose it to go for my big goal. Clove and her husband, DB, the race director of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon,  put on a great race! The course is most definitely not flat, but I wouldn’t call anything on it a hill. The weather was perfect. The race course was interesting enough to be fun. And it’s as good to spectators as it is to runners: My parents watched the second half of the race and had a good time.

The best thing about my Columbus Marathon, though? I hit my goal! Read more

Quieting the Quakes: How to Deal with Pre-Race Anxiety

A good mantra for race day

A good mantra for race day

Recently I ran my fall goal race, the Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K, and I experienced a full-blown case of pre-race anxiety.  Starting about a week before the race, every time I thought about it I felt sweaty and sick to my stomach.  Though I always feel somewhat anxious in the days leading up to a race, this race lead-up was particularly bad because for the first time I was racing with specific time goals my coach thought I should be able to achieve.  Though the goals were based on what she had observed in my training, and though she presented them to me in the gentlest, most non-threatening way, I was still terrified I would fail.

So what did I do to get through it, and what did I learn from the experience?   Read more

Salty Book Reviews: 80/20 Running and Build Your Running Body

Running and reading are two of my passions, and reading about running makes me one happy Salty!  My two latest reads are 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald and Build Your Running Body by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer; both are well worth your time (and money if you buy them). Here’s a sneak peak and short review of each one, just to whet your reading appetite.

80/20 Running promotes the message that doing 80 percent of your runs at a lower intensity, and 20 percent at a higher intensity is the best way to train and make performance improvements. Throughout the book, Fitzgerald explains the research behind this method of training and the scientific principles that support it. Read more