Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Link

There are very few times that I am in awe of people... amazed.. confused... annoyed... but not generally inspired. However when those moments happen I feel it is my duty as a writer, storyteller, person, what-have-you, to share their stories. This blog by is pretty awesome, this guy runs and he has Cystic Fibrosis. He has a conversational voice but also takes about his disease and how he copes. he also talks about his personal life and incorporates the running aspect. I feel ridiculous to complain about my knees hurting when this guy gets blood tests and is and out of doctors often.

Very Superstitous

It's not just an awesome song by Stevie Wonder, for many its a way of life. Runners like most other athletes suffer from what I like to call S-V-C or superstitious verging on crazy. These range from your, must run on the same path every Thursdays to having to eat three bananas before noon in order to avoid cramping. The sport lends itself to routines and rituals since its very nature centers on such actions.

Sports are loaded with superstitious that are impossibly odd and out of place.
According to a poll taken by about.com

About Poll
Do You Have Competition Superstitions or Rituals?
Nope(61) 18%

Yes, I eat a certain food (64) 19%

Yes, I wear a specific item (111) 34%

Yes, I do a pre-race ritual (36) 11%

Yes, something else (53) 16%

Total Selections: 325

One of the more superstitious actions runners partake in generally come before they set off. Some do the same stretches others eat weird foods. After speaking to some other runners most wear their favorite underwear, socks (odd), shirts and shorts the day of the race. Above all most said not to eat anything out of the ordinary, on the big day.

I am kind of superstitious myself, especially when it comes to sports. Before I set off I always take three deep breaths and get in the right state-of-mind. I do have a favorite pair of shorts which I will be wearing at the race.

These will helpfully get others not to feel ashamed of superstitions.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Why I Run? Interview with Jonathan Carter

As an intermediate runner Jonathan, 26, finds himself at a constant flux period where he is more advanced then the beginners but has not been able to complete a full-marathon. He runs mostly cause half-marathons which would be the next step in my training.

Jen-What races have you run?

Jon- I have run several 5K’s and 2.5 mile races, Recently I completed a 5K Jingle Bell Run to raise money and awareness for the National Arthritis Foundation. It was also a qualifier for the Suntrust Half-Marathon in DC.

Jen- What race do you plan to run next?

Jon-I am scheduled to run a 3.5 miler to raise money for the nonpublic special education high school I work at. I am signed up for more races as the weather warms up and am able to train outside.

Jen- What would you say is your best memory about a race, either during training or the race itself ?

Jon- In general, my best memories of the races are after when I see whether I have achieved for surpassed my personal goals.

Jen-Hardest part?

Jon- Overall, the hardest part for me is maintaining consistency in training. There are many responsibilities at my job or as a graduate student, but I remember that I have an obligation to myself and whatever race I am running in. it is very easy to say, “I will do the training tomorrow,” but developing a routine and sticking to that schedule is the best strategy I have found.

Jen-What keeps you motivated?

Jon-I am motivated by trying to live a healthy lifestyle and meeting\exceeding personal goals. I also like the challenge in running, you are your only excuse.

Jen-Advice to beginning runners?

Jon-Challenge yourself, but be realistic and patient with yourself (I struggle with that sometimes). Know what your individual definition of success is and try to achieve that, but understand that there will be differing abilities and motivations for each person.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interesting Photo

I mentioned before how I seriously lacked during spring break but I did go running a couple of times and I took my camera with me... this was one of my favorites. It is on Myrtle Beach, where the seagulls walked they left little feet marks and the water filled them in... I thought it was a cool effect.

Running Out of Steam

Spring break has come and gone and I have to admit I seriously lacked in the workout area. Sometimes a little break can be better for training.

However with the race only a month away it is time to get serious. Now I have begun the final phase of my training. These are the dreaded two a days. Much like high school practice they are going to require me to be more motivated.

I asked around the gym and various other places to see what got other runners motivated and their answers varied.

The top responses were:

  • Not surprisingly bikini season was the most widely mentioned
  • “I only have five more pounds to lose,” Clarissa Keith, 26, she has already lost 40 pounds and plans to keep up her routine
  • “My son’s wedding is in two months and I really want to be able to wear my favorite dress,” Marinelle Cannaday, 54.
  • “I have worked so hard, I really don’t want to fail now,” Christine Tyler, 19, a Maryland Freshmen who is trying to keep in shape for next years track tryouts.
  • “I will tell you what, the only thing that keeps me motivated are my stresses. The more I get stressed out and yell at my kids or whatever, the worse I feel. I know running helps me channel my feelings,” Kathleen Verdi, 30.
  • Most responded to some goal they were hoping to reach. If it was not for physical reasons it was for commits such as a race.
  • I am motivated mainly by my impeding race date and the fact that I really want to feel that moment of satisfaction when I cross the finishline.

Don't Be That Guy at the Gym

Ok…so I try to remain as positive as I can but I’m getting on my soapbox. Proper gym etiquette is important and can only better those around you. My workout suffered because others missed these lessons.

So here are some of my rules with regard to gym etiquette.

1. When the gym is crowded give people room- It’s hot and everyone is in their element so BACK OFF! You do not own the place

2. Encroaching on others space is a NO GO- it’s an important concept that people forget

3. Clean your machine- I can see the sweat dripping of your face you need to clean it off

4. Even though I’m a little smaller girl does not mean I can’t be in the weight room with the bulky guys- move your muscles aside and let me do my workout.

5. If your making noises never heard in nature- your lifting to much

6. Stop walking around the locker-room naked it is not your house- put the hooters away

7. I know there are mirrors there, put it is not to check your hair out every five minutes

8. I also know it was YOU just excuse yourself to the bathroom believe me people wont notice you leaving but we will notice the major stench you are forcing on the rest of us.

9. Not that it happens often but I am not here for you to pick me up so don’t waste your time. Go for the ones with the matching workout clothes and makeup on.. they are there for a different reason….

--I’m goning wear this shirt to the gym next time

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Not Just for Your Hair Anymore

I have a little biology lesson for anyone who wants to take medical advice from a writer. I recently was talking to a veteran runner who mentioned something called energy gel. It is basically a sugar compound which is easy to carry, eat and digest. It supplies sugars like fructose, and has meltodextrin which helps with energy absorption as does the carbs present in the gel.

The necessity for energy gel comes from the medical fact that during long periods of working-out such as a marathon your body stops your ability to process food and\or drinks.

The gel comes in a variety of flavors (I've had the Espresso Love and it was better) and is meant to be eaten every 45-60 minutes. This will avoid the crashes after the race. F.Y.I- It is an aquired taste. For more information their website was extremely helpful and user friendly.

The Lighter Side of Running

It was a dreary day which actually can be a blessing if you run a circuit at a park. The nice weather beckons everyone out and can become cumbersome trying to maneuver around the crowds.

Today however something interesting occurred which I feel compelled to share. I am a firm believer that having a workout companion can introduce another level of motivation unattainable elsewhere. I happened to be rounding a corner and noticed something new but not on first glance.

An older man was walking with what appeared to be a very small dog. However as I approached him to pass, I noticed it was no dog at all… rather it was a rabbit… (I’ll let that sink in…)

Yes… a rabbit, I mean I have heard of ferrets, dogs and other small animals but a bunny, literally hopping along acting as your workout buddy. All five-pounds of tan and copper colored fur, slouched ears and wide curious eyes were looking up at me. When I asked the man if that was indeed a rabbit he confirmed my suspicious and accepted my inquisitive look as a normal reaction. He walks with her twice a week in order to keep her high blood-pressure under control.

Well I guess it is true… it does take all kinds and you never have a camera when you find those people.

P.S. The rabbits name was Butterscotch and she enjoys this particular path because she has friends that her owner a Mr. Jackson allows her to socialize with.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why I Run? Chris Foehrkolb

J- How or why did you begin running?

C- I started right around the time I was graduating Towson in the late 70’s. I wanted to keep in shape and remain active. I started slow doing mostly cardio work then over time built up distance. When I was about 46 I decided to get into marathoning. My first races were half-marathons (13.1 miles) then slowly working towards a full marathon (26 miles) My husband had talked about doing the same thing and since then we have been running races. I just turned 50 and plan on continuing, maybe slowly cutting back the distance.

J. What is\was the hardest part of running?

C- I run about four half-marathons and two marathons on average every year. At the beginning and even still now, the hardest part is being consistent, establishing a habit and sticking to it even if you don’t feel up for it that day. You have to build a routine and work at it or else you may waste your time or worse…hurt yourself.

J. What advice can you give to beginning runners?

C- Be patient… is the best advice I was given. It takes time to build up endurance and stamina. It took me 20+ years to get where I am and it’s still hard. Progress is slow, steady and if done right should be as injury free as possible. Your main goal at the end of your first race is to finish… don’t worry about the time even doing a half-marathon with a walk-run pace is a great start.

J. What are the best and worst parts of running marathons?

C-Best-seeing yourself improve and getting faster with each run\race

C-Worst-injuries that come along with adding distances

J. When is your next race? What is your most ultimate goal?

C-I’m running in May in New Jersey and ultimately I will be working towards qualifying for the Boston Marathon. My qualifier hopefully will be in October.

Which Shoe is Right?

Finding the correct shoes are an essential part of running. I recently had to purchase a new pair and went in search of a better shoe since their purpose has changed from every day shoes to training.

There are varies shoes not just for ascetic purposes but also because no two feet are the same. My feet are different sizes actually. I credit my older brother for a deformed toe after a practical joke went horribly wrong. Nevertheless no two feet are equal. So it is important, unless you have money to waste, to investigate a little before purchasing.

There are three things to consider when buying running shoes. As a starting point, brands are not important; Nike’s, Asics, Adidas, etc are all relatively similar. I happen to like Nike so that’s what I buy but whatever you’re comfortable with is best. Also consider you finances, the most expansive does not mean the best but cheaper shoes may not be worth the pain they will cause.
  1. First consider what type of arch you have. Look at your foot and see if you have a high, flat or normal arch. If you are unsure of your arch try the wet test.
  2. Next think of how you run and consider your “strike.” Strike falls into three categories, heel, forefoot or mid-foot.
  3. Stride is the final component to consider. Figure out if you are a pronator meaning you push off from the outer part of your foot (small toes to large toes); possibly a supinater meaning you push off your instep (large to small toes) or neutral stride pattern meaning you push off evenly.

Take into account for what purpose you are purchasing the shoes. A marathon runner does not need the same shoe are a pace walker or even a training sprinter.

If this you have any issues like shin splits, knee pains or other injuries your shoes maybe the cause and consider getting a professional opinion.

Monday, March 2, 2009


This is a little off topic but I feel like it applies to the purpose of the blog. I have this love hate relationship with the snow. So when I woke up this morning I knew I would be in for the day. I love the snow for obvious reasons. I hate the snow mainly because of the coverage it gets. I got about 7" in my area which means no run today. However you would think the sky was literally falling down the way people and area journalists and news sites in particular were covering the weather. I mean there was one station ABC 2-News that called it a WINTER NIGHTMARE and the graphics and the music that accompanied the segment was laughable.

O well maybe tomorrow will be different ... to bad its supposed to be almost 60* Sunday....
View of Snow


Per a previous post I have listed some of my top songs that I never skip over no matter what time of day. My only tip would be to choose shorter songs unless you really like then because they can be distracting if there is a long instrumental section.

Here are the songs with YouTube links also some of the music has explicit lyrics:

What a Wonderful World Louis Armstrong- it may be lame but I start every run listing to this song because it puts me in a good mindset (2:25)

Let it Be-The Beatles- This is always by first cooldown song be it right after a run or doing a stretch it reminds me to live everything from what I have thought about on my run to the my performance itself out on the road.(3:53)

Livin’ on a Prayer-Bon Jovi (4:11)

Revolution- The Beatles (3:27)

Youth of the Nation or Alive-P.O.D. (4:19)

Semi-Charmed Life-Third Eye Blind (4:29)

Best of You-The Foo Fighters (4:15)

Pardon Me-Incubus (3:45)

The Hand that Feeds-Nine Inch Nails (3:30)

Thriller- Black or White-Michael Jackson- (FYI-these are both the full music videos)

I have just started asking around to see who was listening to what and will be posting soon a compost list of what other people are listening to.

A few good ones that I have added are:

Vasoline-Stone Temple Pilots or Plush

Killing in the Name-Rage Against the Machine (5:13)

Any suggestions or comments........