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

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Rediscovering Steve PREfontaine

photo-1Recently I’ve been inundated with all things Steve Prefontaine. It all started with this seriously epic Pre stop sign that our art director created for a feature in the April 2013 issue of RW (pick up a copy and read it because it’s really, really good). My coworker then interofficed me his copy of Pre with instructions to finish it before the Boston Marathon. After getting over a (teeny tiny) obsession with the TV show Friday Night Lights, I dove right in.

The book satisfied every fiber of my inner #runnerd. It covered details from his entire career, clarifying the scope of his impressive and inspirational dominance in the sport. Because I was born nearly 20 years after his death, Pre has always been quite literally the stuff of legends. Like any other runner, I know his most famous quotes by heart. And yes, I was one of those geeks that had a poster of him in my dorm room at college. (Click here to see proof. It’s above the TV.) He’s one of the most enduring running idols ever, but I never really knew why.

I learned A LOT about Pre from reading the book. But what struck me was how genuinely normal he was. Here are my three passages that struck me the most:

  • “Before any race, Pre would always say how he didn’t feel good and didn’t want to run,” teammate Steve Bence recollects. “No matter where the race was or how important it was, he was saying, ‘Aw, I wish I wasn’t running; I don’t think I’m going to run well…’ Then he’d go out and run like heck.” The self-doubt that plagues most runners–even Steve Prefontaine–quickly disappeared after the challenge had been met and conquered. – Even Pre, who won 78 percent of his outdoor track races, got pre-race anxiety. That’s something to remember when I’m freaking out before a race.
  • …it hadn’t been all that long since the time Prefontaine was out on an easy-day road run with the then-freshmen Terry Williams, Dave Taylor, and several others. It was supposed to be a relaxed 10-miler, but one runner took off and disappeared, which nettled Pre to no small degree. So near the end of the run, when Taylor and Williams started to pick it up, it was too much for Pre. He caught up with the two of them, grabbed each by the shoulder and started screaming that there was no way they would ever make it, that they were both going to burn out so fast. – He might’ve gotten up every morning at 6 a.m. for a run (often his first of two for the day), but he knew how to train in moderation. Take your easy days easy, and leave the hard efforts for workout days.    
  • Training was not always all that much fun, as Pre himself admitted. “It really gets grim until the competition begins,” he once said. “You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to the self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” – Like Pre, figure out why you love to run, write it down or post it where you can see it often, and remind yourself of those reasons when you’re struggling to pull yourself out of bed for a run or hurting in the middle of a workout.
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Thanks Bart Yasso for introducing me!

What capped off the book were the parts about Pre’s relationship with Frank Shorter. [Fair warning: This will likely sound very silly/obvious/cliche/dumb, but I get pretty intrigued by weird connections like this.] I met Frank and Bill Rodgers at the Falmouth Road Race last year and watched them speak on a panel. I also ran into both of them at the hotel at the Walt Disney World Marathon. But I didn’t realize then was that Frank was Pre’s close friend and training partner. He was also the last person to see Pre alive. (Pre dropped him off right before the accident). When I finished the book, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that I’d met (and spoken to, and shaken hands with) someone who knew Pre. [Cue the obvious!] Pre was very much a real person. That’s what I call crazy bonkers.

Immersing myself in the seven-time American record holder’s life added color to my previously hazy perception of Pre. I now appreciate his words that have been plastered on runners’ walls for years; they no longer seem cliche, which makes them all the more inspirational and moving.

If you’re in need of a little motivation, I’d highly recommend geeking out a bit with Pre. It’s worth it. (And yep, I’ll be watching Without Limits this weekend, and I’d bet money that I’ll be in tears at the end!)

P.S. Here’s the opening spread of the Runner’s World article. Pretty sweet, huh?

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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

Friday Faves | From the Twitterverse

For this edition of “Friday Faves,” I pulled a few of my “favorited” tweets from this week:

QUOTE OF THE POST: “For me, running is a lifestyle and an art.  I’m far more interested in the magic of it than the mechanics.” – Lorraine Moller

Friday Faves | Reasons Why I Love Running

In honor of Valentine’s Day (I’m sorry, I had to give in to the chiche cheesy-ness!), this week’s list touches on some of the reasons why I LOVE to run:

  • My quirky and super-clever boss Mark Remy writes some seriously brilliant blogs every week (check it out here), but this one from Monday is one of my all-time favorites“The Most Important Word In Running”
  • Fellow Sister in Sport chica Morgan (@MoHoSjo) ran a speedy indoor 3K this past weekend and wrote a recap that made my feet literally itch to get back on the track. On running her PR: “A new PR flashes on the screen and I take in a long sweet drag of doing something that I have never done before…In the past I would run a PR and immediately begin thinking ahead to what I needed to run next. I absorb the moment, allow the endorphins to keep me up smiling all night, and I am delighted with the possibilities on the horizon but content with things as they are.” – Read the rest of “Breaking Speed Limits” here.
  • Here’s the most brilliant use of halftime during a basketball game ever:  
     
    Read more about the halftime mile at the University of Portland here.
  • This awesomeness via @TheRunnerProbs:
    BCykt8NCUAAVhZT
  • And also this via @ihaverun:life is like a marathon
  • Even though Valentine’s Day is SO NOT my holiday (and that I’m a day late now), I have to share this runner-inspired Valentine’s Day gift guide via Running For Dummies“How To Win Her Running Heart”. A sneak peek:

    giftguide

    I NEED those undies!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Running has always been a relief and a sanctuary—something that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. For me it’s not so much about the health benefits. Those are great, but I believe that the best thing about running is the joy it brings to life.” – Kara Goucher

What do you love about running? 

Race Report | Lehigh Covert Classic Indoor Mile

Reunited! The itch satisfied at last.

Reunited! The itch satisfied at last.

Here’s a quick race recap for my quick, debut track race as a Lehigh alum – the mile!

Once I arrived, I won’t lie when I say it felt surreal going through the pre-race routine again – I warmed up through campus with a teammate, hit the bathroom, cheered on the 5-K girls, hit the bathroom again, stretched out, picked up my hip numbers, stretched some more, went on one final bathroom trip, laced up the spikes, shed my layers, slapped on the numbers, and hopped on the track for some striders. I even did my high-knee/butt-kick drills that I’ve done before every race since middle school because, heck, I’m a little superstitious! Even though it’s been a few months since the last time I did this, it felt so familiar. And it felt incredible.

If I had any real goals going into this race, they were:

A) To break 6 minutes.

B) To not get last.

C) And above all, have fun and enjoy the opportunity to be back out there again!

When the starter lined us up on the track, I reveled in the surge of adrenaline and the dead silence that buzzed with that pent-up energy once the gun was up. Then with a bang, we were off! We sped around the track, jostling for position. I settled in the back, but within meters I found myself surging past a few girls. (Yes! The competitor within me was finally bubbling to the surface again! Booyaa!) I tried to keep my pace as I clicked off lap after lap, soaking in and loving every moment of it. My teammates’ cheers carried me through the rest of the race, and before I knew it, I crossed the finish line. What…a…RUSH!

Now, it was by no means fast – I ran 5:45, which is about 30 seconds slower than what I could do in college (not to mention I’m in marathon training, not MILE training! Ha!) – but I’m SO glad I ran anyway. Today made me truly appreciate and be thankful for my experiences at Lehigh. They made me the runner I am today, and this race forged a connection between the old me and the new me. It certainly was a step toward figuring out how I want to approach my running in the future!

Plus, I think it rekindled a bit of that competitive flame! I’ll admit I was eyeing another open runner in the 3-K, and I desperately wanted to race her!

P.S. I might just start a yearly streak with this race. Don’t want those spikes to gather too much dust in my closet, right? =)

QUOTE OF THE POST: “The mile has all the elements of drama.” – Sir Roger Bannister

Read my other Race Reports here

Friday Faves | Dual Meet Domination and Inspiration

Here’s this week’s edition of running things that got me all fired me up and excited to run!

  • My Lehigh T&F ladies put the pedal to the metal (or their spikes to the speedy new track) and BEAT LAFAYETTE on Saturday! The dual meet is one of the most heated, intense events of the season, and you just can’t beat the spine-tingling energy generated by each head-to-head race. (I nearly lost my voice from screaming so much!) To top it off, I loved experiencing the familial unity shared between current team members and alum, and I relished finally feeling connected to Lehigh again since I graduated. I even got to go on a long run with my “big sis” on the team and a couple old teammates on Sunday. The whole weekend brought back happy memories, and I’m so thankful that I live close enough to be able to maintain those ties with my alma mater. Congrats LUTF ladies! SO proud of y’all!
    Six generations worth of my Lehigh lineage! Goes without saying we've got the fastest family on the team!)

    Six generations worth of my Lehigh lineage! Goes without saying we’ve got the fastest family on the team! 😉

          

  • My totally badass Dad accomplished his goal of breaking 30 minutes in the 5-K at a local race on Saturday, running 29:41 and placing third in his age group! He’s got one pretty proud daughter over here, I’ll tell ya that much.

    dad results

    PROOF! (click to enlarge!)

  • The “We Heart You” project via @PavementRunner – Talk about reasons I LOVE runners. The online community joined forces to send some virtual (but no less powerful) positive energy to Krysten of DarwinianFail.com, who is scheduled to have surgery on February 1. Check it out, it’s sure to warm your heart!
  • Dorothy Beal ran 20 (yeah, you read that right, TWENTY!) miles on the dreadmill this week. I can’t even fathom doing this–mostly because I’m terrified that I’ll fly right off the end of the machine!–but she’s one seriously dedicated runner, and every runner should aspire to be like her. If you’re stuck on the ‘mill, I’d read her post below to learn about how she beats the boredom like a champ. Way to find your strong chica!
  • Definition of my life, via @CoachJenny156327_10151681440899698_765452121_n
  • I’m totally not ashamed to admit that I’ve eaten my weight’s worth of chocolate this week. At least one wrapper offered some wise words to live by!large
  • The Believe I Am ladies shared this feel-good video on their Twitter feed… GIRL POWER!
  • Words to remember from my new training plan creator extraordinaire Budd Coates on running a marathon: “When running the marathon, if you go out too fast, you have no control over how slow you will finish. But if you go out slow, you have total control over how fast you will finish.” 
  • Speaking of marathons, Ted Spiker tweeted this shirt that I need to own because it’s just too funny. I think he should wear it to the Runner’s World Half in October…hint, hint come to the half! hint, hint…   BCBfgPFCQAIsY_H

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Hills are speedwork in disguise.” – Frank Shorter

Read my other Friday Faves posts here