Friday Faves | Run Fast, Turn Left

I’d have to completely agree with my girl Hannah and her Friday Faves post: This week is all about TRACK, the glorious oval that I have a love/hate relationship with. (Concerning the title, those are tongue-in-cheek words of advice I’d tell my track teammates before they’d head out for their race – sort of like the theater version of “Break a Leg.”) Here’s what happened:

  • Last week, one of my favorite track studs Lauren Fleshman had her baby! And guess what? She wrote about it. Hint: It includes a jalapeño-induced labor. Read the rest – it’ll make you laugh, cry, and awww all at the same time.
  • It happens as rarely as this chick gets to the gym, but track is on TV this weekend! USA Nationals is on alllllll weekend long. Best. Birthday. Surprise. Ever. Here’s where to watch it.
  • If this title(s) doesn’t tickle your inner track geek, I don’t know what will. Also, this blog me to a T. Read it.MebSG
  • My hurdle walkover session with Hannah at Lehigh made it on RW’s Instagram. Shout out to my alma mater, say what?
  • Some other RW staffers and I attempted the Beep Test this week – people who refer to it as the “Bleep Test” are entirely accurate. I’d take track intervals over that any day of the week. (Stay tuned for the (probably very embarrassing) video.)
  • And finally, this isn’t track related, but JOIN US for Sunday’s #RunChat! Here are the deets:

     

QUOTE OF THE POST: Via Shalane Flanagan, who CRUSHED the USA National 10-K last night. Way to go! (Shameless plug – I’ve been making these “fancy quotes” for RW – tweet ’em, pin ’em, post ’em, what have you!)headupheartstrong

Friday Faves | Long Runs, Babies, and Beer

These are a few of my favorite things… from this week:

  • Beyond adorable and spot on via @FitHappyGirllarge Which reminded me of this gem that is the definition of a few of my summer runs:
  • Took the words right out of my mouth:
  • Lauren had her baby this week!!! Some people might care more about Kate Middleton’s baby, but RUNNERS care about Lo’s cutie pie, Jude:IMG950202 Congrats Lo and Jesse! Couldn’t be happier for ya!
  • There are few things we at RW care more about than running shoes and beer, which led to this tweet after our summer beer-tasting last week:

    And this:

  • The fact that I kept up the #RWRunStreak by logging a mile in my apartment’s parking garage yesterday morning to avoid getting struck by lightning. Hells yes. Day 18!
  • We saw Spirit of the Marathon II on Wednesday! It was freakin’ awesome and basically, I need to run with those Italian cousins (and also just run in Rome in general). Kudos Jon!
  • Finally, I added a few photos to my About Me page from way back when. Check it out! =)

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Running is in my blood — the adrenaline flows before the races, the love/hate of butterflies in your stomach.” – Marcus O’Sullivan

Friday Faves | I’m So FREAKIN’ Excited

Lots of pretty sweet stuff happened this week. Let’s get right to it:

  • We officially unveiled the July Boston Marathon cover of Runner’s World last night, which means I couldn’t be more excited to hear everyone’s feedback. We immersed ourselves in this issue for a full month. I’m so proud of what the staff produced. If you want a behind-the-scenes look at how the cover was created (yep, we voted on two cover concepts and put our ballots in a shoe box), check out our Editor-in-Chief David Willey’s note herecoverpadded
  • The only other Boston-related news I’ll share with you this week is this: Bombing victim Jeff Bauman and the man who saved him, Carlos Arredondo (better known as “The Man in the Cowboy Hat”), threw the first pitch at a Red Sox game. Couldn’t be happier to see these two grinning from ear to ear with joy. (Click on the photo to link to the video.)
  • I lied a little… had to share this, too. Fills my heart with joy.
  • Hannah and I booked our flights for Hood to Coast with Nuun! Which means it’s officially happening! I’m so FREAKIN’ excited.
  • Ummmm…I need this shirt. ** hint hint Mom and Dad, birthday’s coming up! hint hint **shop-homeboy-tee
  • This needs no explanation. Just watch. You’ll understand.
    which reminded me of this from college (watch from 1:25):
  • Here’s super fun “Flashback Friday” where @losingrace reviews her first five marathons, complete with highs, lows, and some insanely badass PR crushing.
  • “My big morning drama was … race morning poop! I didn’t have one. Where was it!? And more terrifying, where would it show up?! Hopefully not a mile 17. I would have given anything for a little race morning poop. But we were lining up and its chance was gone.” – @oiselle_mac from her hysterical race recap, which is one of my all-time favorites. (I’ve also had those EXACT thoughts before a race. Perfection.)
  • And I’ll end this post with this adorableness. Love it Jocelyn!

     

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?’” – Peter Maher

Friday Faves | Lots of People Being Awesome

I’m writing this week’s Friday Faves tonight because I am catching an early plane to California (again) in the morning for the Golden Gate Relay! Sheeesh I’m turning into Bart Yasso. Here’s some cool stuff from this week:

  • Seriously wish I had these mad 10K cheering skills back in college. Alexi Pappas, I salute you chica. Jordan, no wonder you are SO fast!
  • Via @levelrenner, Marathon Sports on Boylston is BACK!Screen shot 2013-05-02 at 8.52.57 PM
  • RW Gear Guy Jeff Dengate totally photo-bombed me at the Bixby Bridge: BJM7w0WCIAAGt1qMuch like actor Kevin Spacey did in Boston Common this past week. Hysterical: images
  • My boss David Willey’s AWESOME response to the NY Post’s infuriating, ignorant article:
  • 10 Tips For Running the Big Sur International Marathon AND Why You Shouldn’t Be Nervous For Your First Marathon via my girl Hannah. Exactly right.
  • And because this is so freakin’ funny (and sounds like something you’d hear at RW HQ, too). Thanks for sharing Nick!:

Also, this Saturday is my one year “Runiversary” a.k.a. the day I started running for myself. =) Stay tuned for a post on that (and a Golden Gate Relay recap) soon!

QUOTE OF THE POST: Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived. Live in the present and make it count.

Friday Faves | Seriously Silly

Get ready, this week’s list is full of both silly (see #1) and serious (scroll down to the bottom!) blog posts and tweets. Have at it people:

And in this week’s selection of favorited tweets:

If you’re wondering why I posted the tweet above with Matt Long, read this and watch this, and prepare to be amazed, inspired, and moved by this man’s story.

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right.” – Henry Ford

A Reality Check in the Form of Bootcamp

On Monday, I got guilt-tripped into attending a bootcamp session that my work put on during lunch. To be honest, I really wasn’t in the mood to display my glaring lack of upper-body strength (my coworkers and I liken our flimsy limbs to those on windsock men) and coordination to the world, not to mention I haven’t lifted in almost a year. But heck, hadn’t I just knocked out a super-hilly 20-miler last weekend? Bootcamp should be a piece of cake compared to that…Man was that logic flawed.

For warmup, we had to do bear crawls while dodging rabbit poo. Awesome.

For warmup, we had to do bear crawls while dodging rabbit poo. Awesome.

Not 10 minutes into the strength segment of the class, my air-squat-induced screaming quads and already-fading biceps and triceps thanks to endless sets of push-ups had me silently directing a steady stream of obscenities at our instructor. Say what now? You want us to do another set of mountain climbers and push-ups? I can’t even hold the plank position anymore! I mumbled to my coworker that I’d do mile repeats over this any day of the week. Adding insult to injury, we mixed in sets of step-ups and bench dips.

To cap off the session, the instructor challenged us to 200 air squats, 100 push-ups, and 50 burpees to divide between groups of two. Say what now?!? I stood there a little dumbfounded at the prospect of 50 push-ups after the already intense session we had just completed. But ahh alright, alright. Challenge accepted.

See that? Yeah, it was "soul-crushing."

See that? Yeah, it was “soul-crushing.”

My partner and I powered through the air squats–thank God for Pennsylvania’s crazy, quad-strengthening hills–but we were reduced to girly push-ups almost instantly. And forget any semblance of proper form when it came time for the burpees. We were the very definition of “weaksauce,” a term my younger brother would use to describe our pathetic efforts.

After the workout, my coworker encapsulated my dejected and dizzy thoughts perfectly: That bootcamp reminded me of how truly one-dimensional many runners are when it comes to strength. (My editor tweeted this, too: “Watching the workout, you could definitely tell the regular cross-trainers from the run-run-runners.”)

Well, I’m definitely a run-run-runner, that’s for sure.

On Tuesday, I woke up to a level of soreness that almost rivaled post-marathon pain, and it has persisted until now. I still can’t get up or sit down without wincing. I’ll admit that I’ve spent a good amount of time complaining about how insane and ridiculous that bootcamp was since Monday, but the nagging aches had me wondering if upper-body strength training really is all that important for runners. I totally understand the need for a strong core, but what does it matter if my arms can’t bench more than 50 pounds? I can get by without lifting, right?

Wrong.

I tweeted this to my followers: How often do you work on upper-body strength? Do you think it’s important for running? and the first response I received was this –

And this:

I knew deep down that I would probably get replies like these, but to get one from an elite runner like Lauren–who obviously knows what she’s talking abou–pretty much lit the fire under my (currently very sore) butt to seriously think about adding in some strength work. Since I’m so close to Boston, I don’t want to try anything new now that could mess up my training. But once April is over and there aren’t any major races on the horizon, I think this could be the perfect summer project. (So I don’t forget, I wrote it down for my May goal of the month in my Believe I Am journal.) Hopefully writing it down will make it happen!

Who knows, lifting might just be the missing piece I need toward breaking into the 3:1X’s!

Here’s what others had to say on Twitter:

QUOTE OF THE POST: “To be a good runner, you must first be a good athlete.” – Jay Johnson 

Friday Faves | Everything Is On Fire!

  • “Retrieving that passion is the only way I could ever hope to accomplish any of those goals I laid out. You can’t MAKE yourself feel it. All you can do is keep your heart open to it returning. Do nothing to prevent it.” – excerpt from Lauren Fleshman’s eloquent and beautifully written post The Fire Still Burns. If you’re stuck in a rut or craving the return of your itch to compete, read it. It’s perfect.
  • “Look for meaning, because meaning endures — it touches us and those around us, and it gives us purpose. And it’s usually right in front of our face, we just have to grab hold.” – via Laura Schwecherl in On Meaning. Read it if you’re interested in a very intuitive take on the phrase “Do what you love.”
  • This epic window display at my local running store. It makes me want to buy ALL of the shoes…seriously. The best part? The box reads, “Caution. Contents inside are very fast.” Bonus points to whoever created it! 426430_10152521858415160_1025914198_n
  • Our Gear Guy’s explanation for the Empire State Building Run-Up:

    (It’s okay, it doesn’t makes sense to me either!)

  • My coworkers and I had our own version of the Empire State Building Run-Up at Runner’s World HQ. It produced this hysterical pre-race photo and this video. Both races made my lungs BURN! Read my #RWRunUp/#ESBRU race recaps here.
    BCX-UU8CEAIJqAj
  • Wednesday was National Women & Girls in Sport Day! How freakin’ cool?!? I made a Storify with some of the best tweets from the day. Check it out here.
  • Sometimes we get so caught up in worrying about a particular race or hitting a PR that we forget why we love to run. In Ann’s post Come On, Let’s Play, the soon-to-be triathlete realized that we’re playing each time we go for a run or race. (Thanks @theirishrunner for sharing this inspiring post!)
  • I need this shirt – talk about a runner/social media person’s mantra! Via @SMACKELI @SBSOnTheRun @dimityontherunBCh5ni6CIAE3h8P
  • There is such a thing as a PURPLE track! It exists at the University of Washington, and I want to run on it now. (My high school’s colors were purple and silver, and we always dreamed of having a purple track to match. Now we know it is possible! Heck yes!) purple track
  • “25 Things You Don’t Have To Justify To Anyone” via Thought Catalogue – Yes, I know it’s not running related, but it’s definitely worth a read. Lots of good things to remind yourself of often!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” – William Faulkner

Read my other Friday Faves posts here