On My First Group Run With My Local Running Store…

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my running group at work. It’s been over two years since I began running with them, and they somehow still make me laugh so hard. But when Hannah suggested we go to the Tuesday group run from our local running store, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet new runners and try something new. Hey, a change of pace was in order! (Pun totally intended).

Since the run on tap was only going to be three miles, I decided to run at lunch, too, so I could get in enough miles for the day. Plus, I was pretty pumped to do a surprise double for the day. Win, win all around! We arrived at the store and hung out with a few of our Rodale coworkers before the run was announced.

You can imagine my confusion when a plastic cups were handed to us BEFORE the run. What were they for? One of the store’s employees then told us that we’d be running to the river (it’s about a mile and a half away), filling our cups with water, and running back with them. The challenge? Whoever returns with the most water in their cup wins. No walking allowed.

Alright, challenge accepted. This’ll be interesting…

We took off toward the river, running at what felt like almost tempo pace. Speed wasn’t a factor in this game, but since we only had to run a tad over a mile, we ran fast. We got to the river, filled up our cups to the brim, and began to slowly…carefully…steadily… retrace our steps. It didn’t take long for us to realize this game felt like a race water stop from a nightmare.

Some of the guys covered the top with their palms, but that proved ineffective thanks to my small hands. Running unbalanced with both hands on the cup was much tougher than holding it with one hand. I tried to run (more like shuffle) as smoothly as possible, but as soon as I thought I’d found a rhythm, the murky water would slosh out. Dang it! Ha!

The competitor within made me want to run faster, so we caught up with a few of the guys in the front. We all ran through the neighborhoods, passing people sitting on their porches. Don’t mind the weird runners carrying cups of water! We’re not odd at all, I swear.

We were all giggling (with a few swear words sprinkled in when the water spilled) and it was way too much fun.

After the run, we headed to a local bar for running trivia, which, despite my occupation, I’m apparently awful at. But the evening as a whole was so awesome. It introduced me to new runners in my community–always a good thing!–and I had a blast doing it. I think the Tuesday group runs will become a regular part of my running routine, that’s for sure!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Running is a mental sport…and we’re all insane!” – Author unknown

Packing List For Hood to Coast With NUUN

htc_300x300*** Update: This might be a tad old, but I have to say, this list totally worked. Comment below if you have any relay-related questions!

Okay, I can’t believe we’re only a MONTH away from the Hood to Coast relay with Nuun! It’s one of those things I forget about, then remember again only to become more and more excited. Oregon. Team Watermelon. So soon!

To keep me occupied until Hannah and I are finally on our West Coast-bound plane, I’m starting up this packing list (to build on this one, which also includes some tips) so I don’t forget anything. (I’m excluding the obvious things like toiletries, because, hey, we all know we need Body Glide!) I’ll keep adding to it as I think of things, and share your relay essentials, too!

1. iFitness belt (or something similar) – I carried my phone and emergency info in this just in case I got lost or had to stop. I also attached my bib to it so I didn’t have to pin/unpin it between legs.

2. Travel pillow – Sleep is key. This’ll help make that uncomfortable van a tad more cozy and make dozing off easier on the plane.

3. Car charger for your phone

4. Small towel and/or moist towelettes/baby wipes  Showers are rare, so a sweat rag is a must.

5. Flip flops – To wear between legs and in the shower if we get access to ’em!

6. Cozy clothes – Bring a sweatshirt/long sleeve shirt and sweats to change into when you’re done running. Again anything to make that van more comfy is essential.

7. Headlamp/reflective vest – Your van should provide this, but if you don’t feel like sharing sweaty gear, bring your own!

8. Three sets of running clothes – Unless you really want to pull on that stinky sports bra for round two. Pro tip from Lisa @runwiki: “Put each running outfit in a gallon-sized zip lock with the leg number on the outside. Then after you run a leg, put the wet sweaty clothes back in so that they don’t get your dry, non-running clothes wet.” ***YES! Pack your base layers (socks, undies, sports bra, singlet, and shorts) for each leg in ziplocks. Then after each leg, change into your next fresh set ASAP. Anything to keep you from feeling grimy is key.

9. Plastic grocery bags – To double as a laundry bag and keep dirty clothes separate from clean ones.

10. A layer for any weather – That means a water-resistant jacket, a slightly heavier top, maybe tights, etc. The weather can change drastically over the course of the race, so come prepared. Don’t get stuck running in freezing wind in just a singlet. 

11. 2 pairs of running shoes – Just in case it rains! (Via Jess at Blonde Ponytail)

12. Compression socks

13. Cap/sunglasses

14. Colgate Wisps – An easier solution to the toothbrush/paste and water bottle method. (Via Kimberly @healthy_strides)

And as tough as this may be (girls, I know we like to pack like this), bring only the essentials in as small a bag as possible. You’re sharing a van with six other people (and their stuff, too), so you’ll want to pack as lightly as possible.

What else should I add to the list? Let me know in the comments section below!

My Marathon Playlist: 26.2 Trigger Songs

It’s been almost two months since my last marathon. Believe it or not, all I can think about is running another dang marathon. I’ve been considering squeezing in the El Paso Marathon in my hometown between Disney and (hopefully) Boston. And thanks to twitter, I physically can’t avoid seeing everyone’s super inspring tweets about their races each weekend. (Oh and Spirit of the Marathon II literally made me want to go for a run right after the movie). Bahhh can’t Marine Corps come any faster?!? 129 days is way to far away. I’m in full-blown marathon withdrawal – it feels sort of like…taper crazies?

So with that said, here’s my not-mid-marathon-training-but-still-marathon-related post about what I call “26.2 trigger songs.” During a late-night convo with my roomie (check out her blog if you’re a fitness junkie – it’s awesome!), I realized that I have a song or two for each of my marathons that, whenever I hear it, reminds me of the race. For some, it’s a specific moment and I can picture it clearly. I’d bet I’ll forever associate those songs with each marathon. That’s why I call ’em trigger songs. Without further ado, here’s my playlist so far!

1. Steamtown Marathon, October 2012 – “Twist and Shout”


This came on around mile 24, and, despite the crazy amount of pain I was in, I began singing along, completely and entirely having a blast. Then I turned the corner away from the music and the hurt returned. Still, it carried me through some vital moments in that first, perfect marathon.

2. Walt Disney World Marathon, January 2013 – “Gangnam Style”


I will shamelessly admit that I LOVE this song. And yes, I’ll break into the dance whenever it comes on regardless of where I am. This race happened in the midst of the Gangnam craze, and it’s all Disney played all weekend long (except they bleeped out “sexy” in the chorus, so it was more like Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy…ladyyyyyyy – it was as awkward as it sounds). I danced to it in the pre-race tent, during the race, and even managed to eek out a few moves post-marathon despite my cramping legs. Way too much fun.

3. Boston Marathon, April 2013 – “YMCA” and “Thrift Shop”


This came on around mile 10 (maybe?), and I’ll never forget seeing the sea of runners in front of me throwing their arms up in the air doing the dance while running. It’s such a classic song, and it was so fun seeing everyone do it in unison.

My brother is a boss at finding songs before they become mainstream and popular. This is one of them. He’d been playing it for me when I was home for Christmas, and I always think of him when it comes on. It played a lot between Hopkinton and Boston, and I smiled to myself every time – carried me through some tough miles! Love you (big) little bro!

4. Big Sur Marathon, April 2013 “A Thousand Years”


Played by a tuxedoed man on a baby grand piano next to the Bixby Bridge, this echoed throughout the canyon at the halfway point of Big Sur. It’s by no means a “pump up” song, but given the breathtaking setting, it felt so right at that moment. And with all that happened at Boston and what this race signified because of that tragedy, this song brings me to tears without fail. I’ve heard the original Christina Perri version on the radio a couple times since then, and it instantly reminds me of how I felt in Boston and Big Sur. It’s an elegant, poignant song that makes those emotions bubble right back to the surface. Music has a way of doing that, huh?

———

I’ll update this post as I do more marathons. No doubt each will have its own trigger song.

Tell me about your trigger song moments below!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.” – Pre

What a Whirlwind of a Year

photoA couple weeks ago was my alma mater’s graduation day, and a couple weeks before that was my one-year “run-iversary” (I consider mine May 4, the day of my last collegiate race, because I couldn’t tell you what day I started running!). And somewhere in there was my official one-year anniversary at Runner’s World. Seriously, say what? It’s been a whole year?!?

The last time I spoke with my Dad, he said, “Can you believe how much you’ve experienced in just one year?”

After falling right back in sync with my college teammates like nothing had changed, like the year had been shortened to maybe a month, I genuinely can’t believe how different a runner I am today. I’m thankful to report that I’m still just as in love with the sport as I was a year ago. I’d even venture to say that that passion has grown deeper. Career-wise, to say it’s been eye-opening is an understatement.

So here’s what happened this year and a bit of what I learned along the way:

  • I helped cover two major marathons that (unexpectedly) turned into major nationwide events: At the New York City Marathon press conference, I sat beside one of my professional and running idols Amby Burfoot as NYRR CEO Mary Wittenburg announced the cancellation of one of the world’s most famous marathons. After the Boston Marathon, my post was published on runnersworld.com, and the positive feedback I received played an essential role in the healing process. Interviewing witnesses of the tragedy further helped me process all that had happened. After both events, I watched the stellar RW staff pull together two of the most powerful issues I’ll likely ever be a part of in my career. They are the very definition of professionals. I can only aspire to be even a little bit like them in the future. And in both instances, I witnessed the running community unite to support each other and complete strangers. All around, very powerful experiences.      
  • I ran FOUR marathons! I still remember the spring of last year when I registered for my first marathon. I spent the rest of the day in sheer disbelief that I’d just paid $80 to run 26.2 miles…voluntarily. Turns out, it became one of my all-time favorite experiences so far in life. 104.8 miles later, I can say I learned: that following my veteran colleagues’ advice will more than pay off, to respect the distance (feeling like crap at mile 10 sucks) but then discover that mystical “marathon magic,” that the running community is far greater and more awe-inspiring that I ever imagined, and that runners can endure far more than the 26.2 miles in front of them.
  • I started this blog! Beyond helping me grow as a writer, this digital diary has introduced me to SO many incredible runners. Having a platform to share experiences with others and compare notes on all things running has been way too much fun. (I now understand why y’all do it! =) ) I get totally engrossed reading blogs, virtually taking part in your running world. I’ve learned so much, and I’ve grown as a runner and person. I really can’t thank y’all enough for the words of support and encouragement. I hope you know that you have inspired me, too!   
  • I took up running naked (meaning sans watch, not actually naked, hah) most days and adopted what my boss calls “secondhand training.” It’s been a pretty drastic, but freeing change that’s helped me enjoy running for what it is, plain and simple. Rather that worrying over my paces or what workout is coming up on the calendar, I’ve embraced the spontaneity and learned how to love racing again. Let me put it this way: I PR’d after a day (and night’s) worth of St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, just four hours of sleep, and arriving to the race maybe five minutes before the gun. Compare that to my college self who would hyper-worry over every pre-race meal and warmup drill. Personally, I like modern-day, let’s-just-have-fun-and-see-what-the-day-brings Megan.

And for some not-nearly-as-life-changing, but still pretty sweet highlights:

  • I ran up the Empire State Building and got my butt whooped by Kelly Ripa along the way.
  • I ran my first long-distance, over-night road relay and learned what it’s like not to shower or sleep for 30 hours straight.
  • I met the U.S. women’s marathoning trifecta: I ate Dunkin’ doughnut-holes with Shalane Flanagan, told Colt that his mommy Kara Goucher is one of my running heroes, and ran into (and probably scared the s*** out of) Desi Davila at our hotel at the Walt Disney World Marathon.
  • My current track record for throwing up after a marathon is 50/50. So there’s that.
  • I won the media heat of the 5th Avenue Mile. (It’s not as impressive at it sounds, honestly).
  • I got Nick Symmonds’ sweat on my jacket when he hugged me at the Millrose Games. He’s an incredibly nice guy, and it was very cool getting to meet him in person. (And seriously, where can I sign up to be a contestant on The Bachelor if he ends up being on the show?)
  • I lost whatever upper-body strength that I once had (and likely–hopefully?–channeled that “strength” toward those absurdly long marathon training runs).
  • I ran over the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight and through a closed-down Times Square.
  • I learned how to snot-rocket in motion.
  • I freaked out my 10-year-old self when I met “Figure it Out” (from Nickelodeon, remember that 90s kids?) host Summer Sanders and was meters away N’SYNC member Joey Fatone.
  • I’ve held an Olympic gold medal. Literally made my heart race.
  • I can now run or race at all hours of the day or night, thanks to Disney’s 5:30 a.m. race starts and the midnight relay legs.
  • I’ve done a lunch run in a tutu and did a (totally legit) stair-climb race at RW HQ.
  • I began blogging for–and therefore became friends with–Lauren Fleshman. Love this girl and everything she represents. ‘Nuff said.
  • I’ve almost gotten over being star-struck around elites. This past year, I’ve met or been in the presence of: Bernard Lagat, Meb Keflezighi, Evan Jager, Kim Smith, Alysia Montaño, Hannah England, Anna Pierce, Matt Centrowitz, Leo Manzano, Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce, Jenny Simpson, Brenda Martinez, Mary Cain, Jordan Hasay, Molly Huddle, Amy Hastings, Derrick Adkins, Dean Karnazes, (…and I’m sure a few more) and the legends Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Katherine Switzer. Crazy.

Since it was such a whirlwind of a first year in the “real world,” I wanted to take the time to collect all that happened in one place so future me can go back and remember it. Looking back on this year, all I can say is that I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities my work has given me and the people who I work with who have made me a better, happier runner. It’s opened my eyes to how truly unique the running community is, and I’m reminded every day of how lucky I am to be a part of it. Runners are a different, but brilliant breed. This year–maybe more than any in at least my life time–this fact was all the more apparent. And I got a front-row seat. What a whirlwind.

Here’s to another incredible year!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.” – Shalane Flanagan

I’m Going #RWRunStreak-ing! (Because…Why Not?)

runners-world-rwrunstreak-pardon-my-streakingIn case you missed my tweets over the weekend and the super-snazzy badge at left (and at right and down a tad), I’m officially going to attempt the summer edition of the #RWRunStreak. After an unfortunately delayed flight home derailed my winter streak last year, I’m determined to finish at least one of these dang things. Thanks to my strong aversion to heat and humidity, I know this 39-day streak will be tougher than the winter one. But for that same reason, I want to use it to get my butt out the door during my in-between-marathons training lull. I’ll be updating this post throughout the streak to track my progress between now and July 4, so check back to see if I’m (hopefully) still on the bandwagon! And let me know in the comments section if you’re streaking, too! I’d love to have someone to vent to about the ungodly about of laundry that’s inevitably going to pile up!

So, to kick the whole thing off…WE’RE GOING STREAKING!

Day 13 Update: 62.25 Miles To Date: I’m going to kick-off this recap with wow, this streak has surprisingly gone much more smoothly than my winter streak! Heck yes! I haven’t once seriously considered quitting (granted, it has been pretty mild weather-wise, so that’s helping), and it took next to no time to just expect to run every day, no questions asked. The first few days, my absurdly inflexible hips and weak butt hurt like a mother f-er (pro tip: don’t take a week off, then do a 7-mile hill run) to the point where I woke up a few mornings and immediately felt the need to stretch out. But I mixed in a few “recovery” 1-2 mile days, and so far I’ve been in the green. I’ve done a couple 7.5-mile long-ish runs and did an impromptu 5-mile tempo run–my first in a long, long time–yesterday. Considering I haven’t done any genuine speed work in a while, it actually didn’t go half bad! So far, this streak is shaping up to be good off-season, maintain-my-strength-before-my-fall-marathon training. =) If it weren’t for my broken washing machine and the ever-growing pile of dirty running clothes (a side-effect to this streaking business), I’d couldn’t be more glad that I decided to give it another go. Until next time!

photoDay 23 Update: 103.25 Miles To Date: Hot damn people! We’ve surpassed/plowed through/cruised beyond the halfway point! Just 16 days left until the finish line. Unlike my previous update, I finally (and not really surprisingly) had some days where I thought dang, I’d really rather NOT run today. My hips have been sporadically tight (but I rediscovered my love for hurdle walkovers – had my first date in over a year with them last weekend) and my left knee has been achy, which is weird. But I’ve iced a bunch and done a few easy one-mile recovery days, and all seems to be more or less in working order. I’m trying to be smart and not hurt anything, but I’ve come too far to quit this now. On the bright side, I finally got a hard 5K effort out of my system today! I had to push my run to after work but squeeze it in before an impending flash flood. I thought about doing an easy mile and call it a day, but I felt good and decided to push it. Won’t lie, I love, love, love those days when you unexpectedly feel good! Now I need to do a real 5K! And thankfully, the washing machine is fixed. Thank. God.

Day 39 FINAL Update: 164 Miles Total: Ahhhh the streak is OVER! Can’t really believe I made it, and if anything, I emerged on the other side more motivated than ever to run. I capped off the streak with a four-mile run (for the Fourth of July, of course) in the blazing summer heat. Had I not been streaking, I likely would not’ve run at all. I even began integrating some speedwork, AND I became a member of the gym downstairs! Between my super fit roomie, watching nationals, and the fact that Marine Corps Marathon training starts on Monday (!), the need to regain some measure of upper body strength and speed has finally returned. It took over a year, but it returned. Heck. Yes. (More on this later – stay tuned). So to cap off the streak, here’s a bit of what I learned along the way:

  • Even if it was only a mile, breaking a sweat every day was wonderful and I began to crave it. Doing something physical every day was easily better than doing nothing at all.
  • Speaking of those one-milers, on days I would’ve normally “taken a zero,” seeing the sunrise over the bridge and feeling my creaky, tired legs loosen up in just 10 minutes was a surprise benefit of the streak.
  • I HATE summer running. I’m sorry, but suffering through a run in sauna-like conditions is just not appealing to me. But thanks to the streak, this summer has sucked a little less. Traditionally I take the full month of May off to recover from nine months of being in season, leaving me to deal with the heat while being out of shape. Ooof. This year I swore, never ever again. The streak helped me maintain my conditioning and make a smoother, less painful transition into the summer. I’m feeling fit and motivated to get even fitter. BAM. Suck it, summer.
  • As much as my “secondhand training” has worked for me thus far, imposing a no-excuses-you’re-running-today regimen was a much needed change of pace, especially because I was in training limbo. It kept my laziness at bay at a time when laziness could’ve easily killed my fitness.
  • The streak has proven yet again that it’s an excellent way to get back on (or stay on) the bandwagon. Before I started this streak, I said it would likely be my last, a means to redeem myself from the failed winter streak. Today, I’d say there’s a good chance I’ll do it again. I didn’t resent my committing to do it as much as I thought I would, especially since it took place during my least favorite time of year to run.

Looking forward, I hope this streak serves as a solid springboard for my next bout of marathon training. During the streak, I started integrating some speedwork and lifting. If hitting the track and gym becomes a habit, I’d be thrilled because I know both can only help in my quest to drop my marathon PR. I’m ready to get full-body strong, and the streak inspired me to really want it. And to that I can only say, “Thank you RW Run Streak!”

RWRUNSTREAKBADGE

Friday Faves | Reunions, Graduations, and Streaking

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been a bit M.I.A. over the past couple weeks – I moved and had an epic reunion with my Lehigh cross country ladies after my crazy race month. But I’m back on the blog bandwagon now! WHOOT! Here’s the cool stuff I came across this week:

  • As previously stated, I had a reunion with my LUXC girls last weekend! We haven’t all been back together since graduation last year, and it was incredibly special seeing everyone again. Man, a year flies by fast!967021_4656175372885_1101014926_o
  • The RW Run Streak starts on Monday! If you don’t know what that is, you run at least one mile every day between Memorial Day and Independence Day so you can power through the summer slump and stay in shape. I almost completed the winter streak last year, and I’m tempted to have a go at it again. But…I HATE the heat (why force myself into the summer inferno for 39 days straight?!?). At the same time, I can’t…resist…the challenge! (And I want to add this nifty badge Pavement Runner made to my blog). Decisions, decisions… runners-world-rwrunstreak-pardon-my-streaking
  • A runner on the RW Facebook page shared his super-creative running-inspired typeface project, and I wrote about it here. Can’t tell you how much joy this brings to my inner-graphic design and run-nerd. letterc
  • We received the pre-print of the July Boston Marathon issue of Runner’s World this week. Can’t share anything yet, but I can tell you that I couldn’t be more proud and impressed with what our staff produced. Seeing the juxtaposition of the heartbreaking, horrifying tragedy with the heartwarming, uplifting stories of the worldwide running community coming together is powerful and tearjerking. I can’t wait to see how our readers respond.
  • In a similar vein, I love this:
  • And finally a BIG CONGRATS to my fellow blogger Meggie, who graduated from med school! I will never, ever be able to understand how exactly people can successfully survive what sounds like school on crazy steroids (my brain’s just not wired that way). But her honest, enlightening posts offer a little peak into that world, which is awesome especially because it’s something that’s always intrigued me because it’s SO far out of my comfort zone. Kudos girl! =D

QUOTE OF THE POST: Because it’s just so well-written and hysterical – “Apparently misfortune now radiates outward from the jogger, invisibly, like free wi-fi. Every single jogger you encounter is a mobile hotspot of calamity.” – Mark Remy, from his recent Remy’s World post “Curse of the Jogger, Part II: The Curse Widens”

Friday Faves | Met an Olympic Gold Medalist Today… No Big Deal

largeFor starters, 1996 400-meter hurdles Olympic gold medalist Derrick Adkins dropped by Runner’s World HQ this afternoon…and I got to HOLD his gold medal. Gave me chills, he’s an instant inspiration, he’s returning to the Runner’s World Half this fall so you can meet him, too (which is awesome), that’s all I have to say.

Other “cool” things that happened this week include:

 

  • I got featured in my boss’s weekly list on the Runner’s World website. Check it out. You’ll understand. Can’t say I’m proud of it! HA!
  • This….Dang. I’d fly right off.
  • The fact that apparently Nick Symmonds is a candidate for The Bachelor?!? No joke. Read it here. (Umm…where can I audition?)
  • By far my favorite Hitler rant. Makes my inner #runnerd happy.
  • Fair warning on this one, it made me cry. But it’s completely worth sharing.

This week, I tweeted this question:

[Fill In The Blank] You know you’re a runner when ______.

yesterday after the Runner’s World Facebook page got some hilarious and clever responses. Here are a few of my favorites from my feed:

Now it’s your turn! Fill in the blank: You know you’re a runner when ______________.

QUOTE OF THE POST: “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.”  – Larry Bird

Big News! I’m Running Hood To Coast With Team Nuun!

htc_300x300Now that life has finally started slowing down, I ecstatic to formally announce that I’m going to be on Team Nuun for this year’s Hood to Coast relay! I couldn’t be more thankful and honored for the opportunity to create new, real-life bonds with a group of seriously inspirational women runners. And now that I’ve done my first relay, I know exactly how epic they are. In the words of Kristen Wiig from SNL: “I’m so FREAKIN’ excited!

If you’ve never heard of this race, Hood to Coast is a 198-mile long, 12-person relay from, get this, the top of Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside… in OREGON! (I’ve been dying to go to Oregon forever now, so this fact alone makes me pretty darn happy). Not to mention it’s been dubbed the “Mother of all Relays.” Talk about the perfect setting for some Nuun-fueled scenic running and friendship forming!

Here are the official Nuun teams – I’m on Team Watermelon (heck yes!): 934997_10100500019249470_494126289_nLearn a bit more about my awesome teammates by checking out their blogs below:

Team Watermelon – 

Mallory – Run Eat Run Eat

Kara – Welcome to Karadise

Hannah – Fit Girl Happy Girl

Sarah – Run Far Girl

Catey – Random Thoughts from the Zoo

Meghan – Shoe Stories

Lisa – Run Wiki

Lindsay – Twisted Running

Devon – Dev on Running

Team Lemonade – 

Leslie – Triathlete Treats

Lisa – Lisa Runs for Cupcakes

Jolene – Journey of a Canuck Mom on the Run

Andrea – the MF Dre

Kristen – Defy Your Limitations

Kimberly – Healthy Strides

Karen – Reason to Play

Jesica – runladylike

Jenny – We Wander and Ponder

Holly – Leaps of Faith

And here’s a shapshot of what my legs will look like (I’m so ready to take on that “very hard” middle leg!). Let’s go Van #2!Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.13.08 AM

Thanks again to Nuun for selecting me to your team! I really can’t express how excited I am to take part in what I’m sure will be an unforgettable weekend!

Now I’m certainly no relay expert yet, but since my first is still so fresh in my mind, here are a few tips, tricks, and FYI’s I learned at the Golden Gate Relay:

  • Invest in a travel pillow! It’s pretty small and will make the unfortunately very uncomfortable van a bit more bearable when you’re attempting to sneak some sleep in between your runs.
  • Also invest in your own headlamp…unless you’re into using a still-damp one from your teammates. Yuck! We’re going to get to know each other very well, but sharing sweat is a little too personal.
  • Pack for any kind of weather regardless of what the forecast says. I experienced both blazing heat and freezing, gail-force winds in a 30-hour period. It was lovely.
  • Bring cozy clothes and flip-flops for the time in between legs. You’ll want to shed those sweaty layers ASAP, and there’s nothing better than a dry, warm sweatshirt. Speaking of sweaty clothes, also bring a few plastic bags to dump those in post-run.
  • Because showers are few and far between, a small hand towel or moist towelettes are a must.
  • Eat real meals when you can, especially if you’ve got more than an hour or so before your next leg. It might not be your ideal pre-run food, but you’re body with appreciate something more than Twizzlers and crackers. That being said, also bring/buy foods that do work for you, too!
  • Same rule applies for bathroom breaks. Have the chance to use a real bathroom instead of a porta-potty? Use it.
  • Bring a car charger for your phone. For obvious reasons, you won’t spend much time near an actual outlet all weekend.
  • Give up worrying about your appearance (or body odor for that matter) from the start. We’re hardcore women running a relay, right! =) When I finally got to shower and looked in the mirror, I realized I looked like a frazzled, sweaty mess, but I figured, eh, whatever! Made that first shower that much sweeter, though!
  • Via Leslie at Triathlete Treats: When packing, pack all three sets of clothes in seperate big ziplocks and post-run just put the sweaty clothes back in the bag.
  • Finally, if you’ve never run a relay and have a question about running one that I didn’t talk about above, post a question in the comments section below! Add your own tip, too, if you’d like!  

QUOTE OF THE POST: Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. – Helen Keller

Friday Faves | Uplifting Moments

Here are a few things (a bit from this week and a bit from last) that made me smile, laugh, and warmed my heart:

  • I don’t know if I could love this cover of Boston Magazine any more. It’s downright perfect. Read about its conception from the magazine’s editor-in-chief here, and read Hannah’s interview for RW about it hereBostonMagCover_0
  • Speaking of shoes, some speedy women wore these kicks at the Boston Marathon:
  • Perfect. Y’all deserve a Boston Marathon spectators-sized round of applause.
  • Across the pond at the London Marathon…amazing support.BIZrP6CCcAA9di9

And the non-Boston related favorites of the week:

  • My girl Hannah at @fithappygirl is running her FIRST marathon at Big Sur on Sunday! Suppressing excitement over this. =D Read her pre-race post here.
  • This unexplainable video that’s produced many much-needed laughs this week:
  • And finally the belated BIG news: I’m on the Hood to Coast Nuun Relay team! I can’t tell you how excited I am to a) meet the rest of my awesome teammates and b) go to Oregon! AHHHHHHH! Happy news!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “I learned, one, you shouldn’t ever quit. And I learned, two, you’ll never be able to explain it to anybody.” – Jim Ryun

P.S. Headed to the Big Sur International Marathon today! Stay tuned for a Race Report!

Pounding it Out into the Pavement

Back in college, whenever we’d push it hard on a run, workout or not, we’d call it “pounding.” It meant we’d pressed the pace and just took off, completely in the flow, literally pounding down the road. A sheer release of energy.

Though my emotional state one week after the Boston Marathon is thankfully inching closer and closer to what I’d consider normal, it hasn’t exactly been business as usual at RW. Our entire staff has pored over every detail of April 15, rehashing it all while we try to figure out how to cover the tragedy in our upcoming issue. It’s been an exhausting, but exciting, and heartbreaking, but uplifting process that I’m completely thrilled to be a part of because I know the end result will be something that will make the running community proud.

But what I realized on my run today was that I still have some bottled up, lingering feelings that I need to work out. (I know this is completely normal after going through something so life-changing and traumatic.) I’ve been so focused on work (or on anything else besides the marathon) that I hadn’t noticed it was there, building up in my chest, needing to be released.

It’s incredible how you can actually feel it.

Long, irrelevant story aside, something set me off today during our run. The emotions bubbled to the surface, and I felt the need to just get away. Now. Fighting back tears, I tore down the street on my own. For that last mile and a half of my run, I pounded out the pent up sadness, anger, frustration, and stress into the concrete, feeling that with every deep, swelling breath I was letting it all go.

I’ve experienced this maybe only once or twice before. The last time was in the midst of my senior year of college. I’d been so stressed out with work that the anxiety had, like today, been building up in my chest for weeks. All I could think about was desperately needing to just run fast, far, and alone. On what was supposed to be an easy long run with my team, I got permission from my coach to do my own thing. I couldn’t wait any longer. I’d reached my breaking point. I broke away from the group, flying down the road letting myself cry it out at times. I felt like I could run forever.

I returned six miles later rejuvenated. The weight that had been sitting on my chest was almost gone.

Like it has countless times in the past, running amazed me today. It’s the ultimate cure-all that only requires a pair of shoes and an open road. I’m so thankful that I’ve found something in my life that allows me to work through tough times, release whatever might be inside me that needs releasing, and escape.

How lucky we runners are, huh?

—–

Because laughter is always in order, here’s a funny, somewhat-relevant-to-this-post clip from an otherwise not-so-funny movie (At the :45-second mark, that was more or less me today.):

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Everyone who has run knows that its most important value is in removing tension and allowing a release from whatever other cares the day may bring.” – Jimmy Carter

Have you ever experienced a run like this?