Friday, July 31, 2015

Runfessions for July

I can hardly believe that it's the end of July, but here we are and it's time for another edition of Runfessions. Do you runfess? Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice hosts this link up. I never seem to have any issues finding things to runfess. I'm telling you it's THE BEST. Get it off your chest. Tell everyone what you've done. Believe me, you'll feel better...

This is my coach. Who claims not to be a runner.
Image courtesy of Buckshot Images
Let's start off with my big runfession...I've upset my coach. I promised Becky I'd stick to her training plan and oops...right off the bat, I had that bike ride instead of that 4 miler she wanted me to do. She didn't look pleased when I told her. When we were discussing my upcoming races, I neglected to tell her about Venus de Miles. I promised her I'd be good after that and so far, I've stuck to the plan. Even running that 10 miler she had on the plan the day after the bike race. I also made her unhappy by sharing my training plan on the blog. Not a great way to start off marathon training, and I need to make it up to her by behaving. I had been entertaining the idea running of a supported 20 miler for my long run, but she has 18 miles on the plan, and I don't think it would be wise to challenge that. After all, "trust the plan" is another one of my mantras!


I wanted to avoid this...
And speaking of Becky, I had a little bit of guilt at the relief I felt at the end of this strength cycle. After my near miss with the hamstring pull, I dropped the set. That really scared me. I think you all know me well enough that I never quit on a workout, but I did that day.  I didn't want to lift at all anymore, but I knew better than to admit to that. Becky told me to get over it, and I have, but I had to put it out there. I know that avoiding injury is the key here, but I'm not a quitter...


And I believe they both had a good one.

It was my son's and my husband's birthdays this month and I didn't buy them any presents. Do you have trouble shopping for the men at your house? I asked them both what they wanted and they told me "nothing". So that's what I gave them...ok, not really, but I'm tired of wracking my brain trying to come up with good gifts for them. I gave my son my credit card and told him to buy himself some new clothes. Which made him extremely happy. I did make them an ice cream cake! When I served it, my husband looked at it and said, "you made this?" Which put a huge smile on my face. Not only was it pretty, it was delicious. My husband is always happy with a good meal and a good dessert. Yep, I do have kitchen skills....


Remember how I admitted to being a huge procrastinator? If it costs me money, I always wait until the last minute to do it. Like registering my boys for high school. The due date is today, and who finally took care of business yesterday? Me. After all those threatening robocalls from the school, I decided to pay up. I don't know about your schools, but we have "fees" to pay. It's not cheap and that's on top of all those taxes we pay. Naturally, I like to keep my money in my bank account and wait until the last minute. But no worries, they're all signed up. I do the same thing with my real estate taxes, which are due on Monday. I still need to renew my professional memberships for work and sign up for the 2 conferences I'm planning on attending in the fall. And I have yet to register for my fall half marathon. But tell me there's a sale at Athleta? Oh, and an extra 20% off coupon? I'm's all about priorities, right?


So many runners take their training so seriously, they change their diets. And forgo alcohol. Me, I'm over here already thinking, "is it 5 o'clock yet?" "Should I have red or white wine tonight?" "Boy, a beer sure would taste good in this heat..." I don't think I have a I? I have so few vices left..a glass or 2 of wine shouldn't affect my training, really. I'm hitting all my paces. I think it's ok. I'll even admit to drinking wine the night before a race. It relaxes me, ok? Please don't judge me....

Would you do the 20 miler? Drinking wine during your marathon training? Got anything to Runfess?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Product Review: SLS3 HiP ZiPP

After reviewing the SLS3 compression socks, SLS3 approached me about reviewing one of their newest products, the HiP ZiPP! You all know I love my SpiBelt, but I need something a little bigger to carry my Tailwind sticks for the Chicago marathon. Last year, I used a fanny pack and it kept spinning around my waist and bouncing up and down. After a couple hours of that, it was starting to get on my nerves. Since then, I have been considering my options for carrying my marathon essentials. I'm always interested in trying something new, and SLS3 sent me a HiP ZiPP to try out. I took it for a test ride on 3 of my runs this week, including a 10 miler.

Now, you do realize I wouldn't be running with my hand in this pocket. But I did this to demonstrate how deep the front pocket is! I had no problems getting my iPhone6 in there! Win!
The HiP ZiPP is a compression pack that you wear around your hips. It is 5 inches wide, comes in 4 sizes (S-XL), and has 2 zipped pockets. When I first looked at it, I loved all the storage space with the 2 pockets. I thought that this just might be the thing for my marathon! The front pocket holds my iPhone 6. In the back pocket, which seemed bigger than the front pocket, I put some odds and ends that I might need on the run, like chafing cream and chapstick. In this picture, I've got 3 packs of Tailwind in there. Still not too bulky.
Don't judge all the shoes around me...
For my test run, I pulled the HiP ZiPP down around my hips and went for my 10 mile long run. The HiP ZiPP was really comfortable. But not long into my run, I noticed that it would creep up and I had to keep pulling it down. Not a big deal,  but it was a little distracting. I had to do this throughout my run, but as I got sweatier, it did a better job staying in place. I don't know if that's a good thing, but it got me thinking about how I could get it to better stay in place around my hips. I wondered if the pockets were more full, would it stretch and stay in place? I haven't tried that out, but I will. I also thought about putting something on the backside of the fabric that was more sticky, like something rubberized, to keep it from sliding up. But the company website says the compression fabric is guaranteed to keep the belt from riding up. I'm pretty small hipped, and even though it felt like it fit snuggly, maybe they need to make an XS? Still thinking about that.

The HiPP ZiPP is low profile, and won't show like these packs. Which might be a bad thing for these guys.
Other than that, I really liked the HiP ZiPP. I liked the 2 pockets, and they were plenty roomy for everything I like to carry on the run. The HiP ZiPP is nice and flat, and the low profile of the pack doesn't show under my shirts. It comes in a variety of colors, but I got basic black, since that's what I wear on the bottom. I'll continue to wear this throughout my marathon training.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A week of friendship

Friendship is a funny thing. When I moved to my current neighborhood, I met a group of women who all had children the same age as mine. We had a bunco group, a book club, and a playgroup. As the kids grew older, people started drifting apart. Some of the moms moved on to other groups based on who their kids were hanging out with. Others got jobs, got busy, and stopped coming to gatherings. The book club disbanded first. The bunco group, which in the beginning had people begging to join, started begging for people to play. There remained a core group of ladies who stuck together. Kind of exclusive, they reminded me of high school.

For most of the time, I was on the outside. Even though I was included in the get-togethers, I didn't feel like I fit in. I had a job--actually, a career, and I was a runner. Oh, and I liked my husband. All of those things set me apart from most of the women, who were, at the time, stay at home moms. While I had a few close friends from the group, most of the friendships I did make with the women felt superficial to me. I'm not good at superficial. At a lot of the parties, all the women would sit around the kitchen, eating appetizers and talking. Loudly. I'm not good in big groups. I didn't have a lot to say. Finally, I stopped going. I didn't like feeling badly about myself because I wasn't "one of them".

As I continued to focus more on running, I started meeting other women runners outside of the neighborhood. These friendships blossomed. I started to realize that there was life outside of the bunco and playgroup ladies. My runner friends "got" me and accepted me. We had running in common, but we forged friendships based on goal setting and encouraging each other to be our best. There was no competition between us. My confidence in my running and in myself grew. This is what I imagined friendship to be.

I gradually stepped away from that neighborhood group and began to nurture my other friendships as well, my friends from the past who were always there for me. I started to reflect on why was I putting so much effort on relationships that weren't being reciprocated? What was so important about "fitting in" with a group of women who lived in my neighborhood? What really did I have in common with these women, besides our children and their activities? Why not focus on my real, meaningful friendships?

I have been off work this past week, and I made it my mission to reconnect with friends that I've neglected. Life has been almost overwhelming the past 6 months, and now I am in a place of calm. For a while, I couldn't talk to anyone about all that had happened with my son this year. Initially, I shared my issues with my running friends. But I finally opened up to my old friends. Should I have been surprised that there was no judgment, just lots of support? My friends were still there for me.

So this past week, I saw some of my friends from high school. And some old friends from work. What is it about those old friends, that you can just pick up where you left off and not skip a beat?

Of course, I saw my sister, who is and always will be the one who knows me best. Even though I have 2 other sisters, there is not the same bond that I have with this one. Truly, she is my best friend.

I also spent some time with some of my running friends, a group that continues to grow as we get to know more and more of the women in this amazing community! The support that I feel from all of these women is like nothing I've ever experienced in my life.

I'm grateful for this week of friendship. It felt good to reconnect. I am so lucky to have such amazing women in my life.

What does friendship mean to you? 

Interestingly, I had already planned my week of friendship post before DebRuns posted the Wednesday Word blog prompt! Coincidence? I think not...

Check out what the other bloggers say about friendship.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Venus de Miles recap

Michelle, me, Karen
A few months ago, my friend Karen, from Trading in My Heels, sent a message to the tribe that she was chosen as an ambassador for Venus de Miles, a bike ride. She hoped we would join her. I had my eye on this one since last year, so it wasn't hard to convince me. I signed up for the 25 mile ride. Soon after, my friend Michelle from This Momma Runs was also chosen to be an ambassador. Both Karen and Michelle decided to ride the 62 mile route, and we made plans to meet up before the ride for pictures and good luck hugs.

Karen and Michelle looking cute as always!
The morning of the ride, I wasn't really feeling it, as I was still tired from my kayaking adventure the day before. My tummy was funky, and I made multiple trips to the bathroom before I even left the house. Feeling grateful that I wasn't running, I packed up my bike and headed to Lake Forest College, where the event was located. As soon as I got there and parked, I racked my bike and found Karen and Michelle. Karen gave Michelle and me a little gift that she had picked up at a bike shop.

Good stuff, I must admit!
After they left, I had some time to kill and I walked around where the vendors were setting up. Bianchi bikes was there, and I joked that they should let me try one of their bikes out on the course. They guy just ignored me, so I scurried away. Other vendors included Luna, Athleta, and Pampered Chef. Orangetheory fitness was there, and they led a warm up session before the race. I made one more trip to the bathroom, and lined up at the front of the pack.

Lining up at the start
Some introductory remarks were made, and then one of the Greenhouse Scholars spoke to the group. Venus de Miles is a charity ride to support Greenhouse Scholars, a group that provides college scholarships and mentoring to disadvantaged youths. I was really moved by the young man who spoke, telling his story about growing up in the foster care system.

Some of the Greenhouse Scholars
After the introductory remarks were made, the Star Spangled Banner was sung albeit with an odd twist at the end--and we were off. We headed through the beautiful town of Lake Forest, and took in the mansions along Lake Michigan. A woman wearing a bike jersey rode up to the front of the group. There were purple arrows marking the course, and about a mile into the course, she turned the wrong way. One of the women in the pack called out to her, and immediately she turned around and zoomed back to the front of the pack again. We continued forward, and a few minutes later her chain fell off. That was the last I saw of her.

Somehow I ended up at the very front, which was fine with me, because I don't like getting stuck in a group--biking or running. The route eventually took us on a bike path, which was flat and straight, and I took off. For a while there were women behind me, but most of the time, I was riding alone. About 9 miles later, we headed onto a very busy street. There were police at the intersections to stop traffic, which was really nice, and cones blocking the right lane for us. In spite of that, this was, for me, the toughest part of the course. The road was a slow, long incline, at least one mile long, and the road was in pretty bad shape, with lots of holes and uneven pavement. We were riding into the wind, and I struggled to maintain my cadence as I climbed this hill. A couple of women caught up to me, and I waited for them to pass me. But they never did. When we finally got to the top of the hill and off that crappy street, I told them to go ahead, but they laughed and said they were happy right where they were. Later, they admitted to drafting off me. I kind of figured that was what was happening back there. That's why I wanted them to pass I could draft off them....

At mile 17 there was a rest stop. Since I brought my Nuun with me, I didn't want to stop, and the volunteer who was flagging everyone into the rest stop told me to go south. After a couple of miles, I realized where I was and that I was going the wrong way. I stopped and pulled out the course map. Sure enough, he sent me in the wrong direction. I turned around and headed back north again, eventually joining the other riders. Good thing this wasn't a race!

There were a few more hills and the temperature continued to rise, along with the humidity. I was sweating like crazy and drinking my Nuun. I was hungry too, but I didn't want to stop to eat. I just wanted to finish. The route went right past my sister's house, and I planned to stop there. I finally headed down her street, and there she was! It was great to see her, and she told me that the finish was just a few blocks away. We made plans to meet up there, and I headed back towards the college.

Yay! My sister Lisa and me
The fun part about crossing the finish line was that I was the only one, and there was a group of about 6 volunteers there cheering me in! I got a kick out of that. I racked my bike and made a beeline for the beer tent. They were serving Goose Island 312 and IPA, and we were provided 2 beverage tickets. Other choices included wine and mixed drinks. After I got my beer, I went and sat down under the big tent. The two women that I had been riding with were there, and they told me that they realized the guy sent me the wrong way after I left them. Soon after, my sister joined us. Two of my sister's friends were there, and they convinced her that she should do this ride next year. Sounds like she might, especially after meeting some of the scholars.

While we were sitting, two of the Greenhouse Scholars came up to us, thanking us for participating. They told us where they were going to college, and as it turns out, both of them were nursing students. I told them I was a nurse practitioner, and we had a great conversation about that. I was so moved by these young adults, both so articulate and genuinely pleasant. I couldn't help but think what a wonderful cause we rode for, and what a great experience the day was.

My sister walked me back to the car, and I loaded the bike in. As I was driving her back to her house, we heard a whooshing sound in the back of the car. My bike tire went flat, just like that. So weird. When I got home I tried to fill it back up, but it wouldn't. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm grateful I didn't get a flat on the road!

Overall, Venus de Miles was an amazing experience. My only complaint obviously, is the volunteer who sent me the wrong way. The course was well marked and having police at the intersections was very reassuring. Riding through the beautiful northern suburbs of Chicago was a plus. The after party was wonderful, with food catered by Whole Foods. I highly recommend this ride, and plan on doing it again next year. What a wonderful cause!

And in case you were wondering, here are my final numbers from my Garmin:
I know it wasn't a race, but would you not have wanted to know how you did? 

Have you ever done a bike ride for charity? Would you do a bike ride that wasn't a race?

I'm linking this one up with Jessica at The Silvah Lining--she hosts a Race Recap linkup every Tuesday. Every 3rd Tuesday, Lara from Uptite Mamas and I get to co-host it with her! Please head over and linkup a race recap you've written, new or old. And check out some of the other posts!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Chicago marathon training: Week One

And here I go again! I'm back on the plan and we've got 12 weeks to get this thing done. Most marathon training plans are 14-16 weeks, but keep in mind that I keep a pretty strong running base year round. Couple that with my weekly CrossFit sessions and yoga classes, and I'm in pretty good shape to jump on the bandwagon. This week, Becky gave me my training plan, and it is similar to last year's with 4 runs/week, an occasional bike ride instead of a run, 1-2 CrossFit sessions per week, and 1 yoga class per week. Built in are 1-2 rest days as well. We've already had to do some tweaking, since we didn't coordinate as well on some of the days, but nothing is set in stone with marathon training!
So how did week one go down?

Monday: 5 miles at race pace. My legs were still tired from last week's strength session and Sunday's bike ride. Nevertheless, I got it done.

Tuesday was supposed to be a CrossFit MetCon session, but my work had other plans for me...having me start at 8am, which wasn't going to work so well with Becky's schedule. Instead, I did another 5 miler. Again, tired legs, but I managed about the same pace. I was also excited that this top from Athleta was finally on sale. Yep, it's all about the fashion..

Wednesday: Yoga. My instructor attended a workshop the previous weekend, and for this class we did everything against the wall. It was all about the glutes and hamstrings, and I heard the now familiar refrain: "we are all quad dominant". Didn't you just hear that in my previous post about strength training and injury prevention? It was kind of funny to hear it in a yoga class, but there it was. This was a hard class but my legs felt better for it. 

Twisted pigeon. Note my back foot pressing into the wall and my knee is off the ground. I felt this one!

Thursday was my usual double workout of running and CrossFit. I had speedwork on the plan, mile repeats x 5. I haven't done speedwork for a few months now, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I set a goal for myself of sub-8 minute miles. Of course, the last time I did speedwork, it was cold out. This morning was 72 degrees with bright sunshine. Miles 1-3 were fine. Mile 4 started to get in my head, and mile 5 took everything I had not to quit. That last mile was all mental, but I was really proud of myself that I pushed through it and got it done, even though it was slower than I wanted. They can't all be pretty... you know I'm all about keeping it real. This was hard.

After this grueling workout, I went home, showered, ate, and went to see Becky. I won't lie to you, as hard as her workouts are, this is my favorite part of marathon training. Becky's been watching the CrossFit games, and was apparently inspired. The first part of my workout she had me pulling the sled. On my first pass, some guy in a truck stopped to watch me. Dude, nothing to see here, just a runner pulling a sled, now move on... I did 6 of those, alternating with me picking up a 50# sack off the ground, carrying it over to the boxes and putting it on top. It was harder than it looks! I finally figured out how to pick up the sack and get it up to my shoulders so I could hoist it up to the boxes. Marathon training? Really? Hey, whatever works! 

The last time I wore this shirt to CF, she made me carry one of these sacks on my back. Coincidence? I think not.
Friday was a "rest day". Or as Becky calls it, active rest. I did some yoga in the morning from Lululemon. Did you know they have a whole YouTube channel with just yoga videos? They had a great yoga for recovery workout, and I learned a new variation on shoulderstand. This felt amazing.
Supported shoulderstand
After yoga, I put the kayak on my car and headed out to meet one of my oldest friends for a day on the river. As it turns out, I had to buy a state sticker for my kayak. Seriously. Yes, Illinois is the most scamming state in the US. It wasn't an easy process either, and we spent about an hour trying to get that taken care of. Finally, we put our kayaks in the water and paddled downstream. We stopped for lunch at a riverside restaurant, and then headed back out. The wind had picked up, and we felt like we weren't making any forward progress. So we turned around and headed back, letting the wind take us. What a great way to spend the day!

"The sea was angry, my friends," I said. To which E. replied, "Ok, George". Still cracks me up. Maybe you had to be there...
Saturday I had plans to ride in a 25 mile bike ride for Venus de Miles, which is a charity that supports the Greenhouse scholars. I'll have a recap on Tuesday, but I will share that I rode more than 25 miles. At one point in the ride there was a rest stop, and I didn't want to stop. The volunteer flagged me the wrong way, and I ended up riding about 6 extra miles. I was exhausted after this ride. When making my marathon training plan, Becky and I got our signals crossed. On the plan, this was supposed to be a 4 mile run. Oops. I spent the rest of the day with my feet up, to rest them for tomorrow's long run.

Sunday was my long run. After that epic bike ride, I didn't want to go know how this planned 10 miler would go. Wanting to work on pacing, I set a goal pace of 9-930 min/mi, figuring that would be a good cruising speed for my tired legs. I prepared a bottle of Tailwind and headed out into the humid morning. I had foam rolled the night before and my legs felt surprisingly ok. Here's how it went down: 

That 9:28 is because of a giant hill with a steep incline. I actually had to stop to catch my breath at the top. Otherwise, the run went well, and I even had negative splits on the back half. Don't get me wrong, at mile 8, my brain was telling me to stop. I kept reminding myself that this is how I felt at mile 23 last year at Chicago, and used that memory to push myself through the hard final miles of today's run. I mean, if I quit on a 10 miler, how can I expect to hit my goal at a marathon? This was a great lesson for me, and this run set the tone for me as I approach the rest of my marathon training. And yes, I pulled out my mantras. It helped that I had some fun, motivating songs playing in my ears too. Have you ever listened to Diane Young by Vampire Weekend? That put a spring in my step as I sang the refrain out loud: "Baby, baby, baby, right on time..." 

Because yep, my pace was right on time!

What are you training for? How's the training going? Any songs you want to throw my way to perk up my playlist?

I'm linking up with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update. It's a fun linkup where everyone recaps what they're up to. Check it out!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dodging the injury bullet

It doesn't have to be this way. 

Last week, one of the link ups I like had a topic "Five Fitness Trends I Won't be Trying". I read all the posts and was stunned-yes stunned--to find that about 90% of the running bloggers mentioned CrossFit as a trend they don't want to try. If you've been following me for any length of time, you know that I work with a coach who is not a running coach, but a CrossFit coach, and that I've had amazing results in both my finish times and my ability to remain injury free this year. While I don't participate in CrossFit classes, Becky does have me do a lot of moves that she uses with her classes. But she also puts me through a strength cycle twice a year. I just wrapped up this one and will begin marathon training fully now.

There's no denying the difference that this training has made in my running. I credit all of that to the change in my training, which is lower mileage and more strength training/interval training. In fact, Becky herself is working on a testimonial about the change CrossFit has made for her. This is her 5 year anniversary doing CrossFit, and you can see from the pictures what a change she has made in her physique, as well as the way she carries herself. Becky is a big believer in CrossFit, but interestingly, when I asked her about CrossFit Endurance, she told me NOT to read the book. So she's not drinking the koolade. It's why I love her. The heavy weight lifting I do with her is not specific to CrossFit.

Becky's transformation
Believe it or not, one of the goals of lifting the heavy weights is to protect me from injury on the road. I'm not saying you have to do CrossFit, but as a runner the benefits of strength training are indisputable. Lifting weights is actually protective for the joints, especially for those of us of a "certain age". Joe Friel, a well known coach and expert on endurance training, advocates weightlifting for the athletes of all ages, but particularly for the older athlete. On his blog, he provides guidance for endurance athletes. With regards to weight training and injury prevention, he recommends lifting heavy loads to increase bone density and testosterone (in men and women) which in turn leads to increased muscle mass. By lifting heavy weights, the body will develop strength in all areas, including areas that are naturally weak, like the joints.

A recent study found that for masters athletes, heavy lifting increased running efficiency. Increasing muscle strength by lifting weight will give you more power and faster muscle contractions.
"When muscles don’t need to work as hard, they also don’t require as much oxygen or circulating blood and therefore will not put as much demand on the heart, which in turn will lower that rate at which it beats. A significant improvement in endurance will be the result. Greater strength does equal greater endurance." -Brendan Brazier, How to Build Strength to Improve Muscle Efficiency
Strength training also improves coordination because lifting heavy weights forces us to be really conscious of our positioning. Being a natural klutz, I was pleased to see that. Practicing the skill of weightlifting over time leads to better form on the road and less repetitive stress injuries as well.

Another comment I hear from runners about weightlifting is that they don't want "to get big". Big bulky muscles would obviously be a detriment on the road. But as runners, we are lifting weights to get stronger, not to bulk up, and our workouts are different than bodybuilders. Have you seen me? I get called skinny (which I don't take as a compliment, by the way). I certainly don't look like a bodybuilder. But Becky has me do a strength cycle twice a year, lifting heavy weights.

Don't think I'll be winning any bodybuilding competitions!
Running is, by nature, a weight bearing activity. Swimmers and cyclists are at more risk for bone density loss than runners. Older athletes lose muscle mass at a much higher rate than younger athletes, and women in particular are at risk for bone density loss. But no matter what sport you participate in, or what age you are, you need muscle mass to support your joints, which is why strength training is so important. And strength training also improves muscle imbalances, which can also lead to injury.

Perpetuating the myth of bad knees...
One thing I hear all the time, when people find out I'm a runner, is "you're going to ruin your knees." The myth that running is bad for the knees is that--simply a myth. A large study, published last year, found that runners have half the incidence of knee osteoarthritis compared to walkers. This is because running has been shown to thicken the cartilage in your knees. Knee pain is more likely to be caused by muscular imbalance than anything structural. Here is where strength training comes in! A recent review has shown that weak hips can lead to knee pain, particularly patellofemoral pain syndrome or so-called "runners' knee". Hips don't lie. Neither do the glutes. Most of us are quad dominant, meaning we rely more on our quadriceps muscles to propel us forward vs the hamstrings and the glutes. In order to prevent injury, we need to balance things out.

Ok, so I've established the benefits of strength training and injury prevention. Oh, and by the way, you don't need to do a lot of strength training. Once or twice a week is sufficient. When Becky and I are doing a heavy lifting cycle, we work together once a week, for 30 minutes. That is all that is needed to make a difference. Believe it or not.

As a runner, what exercises should we be doing to prevent injuries?

Deadlifts and squats.
Wearing my weightlifting socks! With the heavy weights, my Gel Nimbus were too cushioned and unstable. Seriously!
At heavy weights. And low reps. Maybe even only 1!

Because these 2 exercises impact large muscle groups which support your joints. These exercises will strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, and will give you power. Trust me on this one. Hill repeats? Who needs them after this? Squatting and deadlifting heavy will also provide stability to your joints. The articles below also have pictures and descriptions of strength training for runners.

And there is that whole bone density thing...

Who's got time for a fracture? Not this old timer.

Keep in mind that every activity we do has the risk of injury. A few weeks ago, when doing my deadlifts at 95% max, I felt something tug in my right hamstring. Tug is putting it mildly, actually. It hurt. And I dropped the set. I was scared! Luckily, by the next day, I was fine, just sore. But as much as this heavy lifting seems fraught with injury, running by nature is repetitive. The more we run, the more likely we are to aggravate something. By mixing it up, by strengthening the muscles, we can protect those joints and bones. We may not even need to run as much because we've increased our running economy.

And by the way, I've never thrown up from a CrossFit workout.

Be smart, and be strong.

Do you strength train?

I did my homework for this one! Lots of Sources:

I'm linking this post with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday! Check out what everyone else is saying.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The real me

Darlene at My first 5k, one of my favorite bloggers and fellow masters runner, recently tagged me to answer some questions. Never being one to shy away from talking about myself, I share some of the 411 below...

What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
-I can talk like a frog. Yep, it's one of my special gifts. Did you ever see the original Little Rascals TV show? Not the remake from a few years back. Pale imitation IMHO. There's a character named Froggy, and when I was a kid, I discovered that I could talk just like him. Still can. And I'm fluent in pig latin too. I grew up in a bilingual household. Ooday ouyay eakspay iglatinay?

Have you ever met someone famous?
-Back in my days as a coed at Marquette University, there was a fellow student who liked to drink a lot and get obnoxious. Actually, there were a lot of of them, but only one became famous. Chris Farley. One night at a bar, he and his friends were doing something called "muff diving" (don't ask) and he bit me right on the butt. Hard! I was not happy, and also being one to enjoy a few beers, I'm sure we had words about that. I had quite a bruise. Who knew that he would become famous? I always figured he'd end up in "a van down by the river".

What is something you hope will never come back in style?
-A few years ago, I heard a rumor that high waisted pants were coming back in style. Say it isn't so! I've become a huge fan of low waisted pants because I don't have a waist and high waisted pants are always too tight. I hate stuff around my waist.

What is one thing on your travel/must see/bucket list?
-There are so many places I want to go. The one place I've never been but I'd like to is Hawaii. And running-wise, I'd love to run Big Sur. I put my name in the lottery for next year's race. We'll see...

Who would you want to play in you in a movie of your life?
-I'm kind of a cynical person, and in the past, I always thought Janeane Garofalo would make a great me.

Who is your favorite Disney Princess?
-I have no idea. I'm the mom of boys! I'm not much of a princess anyways...

What would you sing at karaoke at night?
-Pretty much anything. I love to sing. My voice isn't pretty, tho...
Who would you want to be stranded on a desert island with?
-Probably my husband. I'd probably go a little nuts being stranded and he's pretty good at keeping me calm. I call him my rock. Plus he's handy and a really good cook. He could have patched up the SS Minnow.

What clothing item/accessory/shoes do you have too much of in your closet?
-I'm a runner. Next question.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
-The misplaced apostrophe. Remember: if it's plural, it doesn't get an apostrophe.

Got any answers to share? 

I'm tagging Marcia's Healthy Slice, Lara from Uptite Mamas, MaryBeth at Tutus and Tennies, Melanie at Runner Girl in a Rocking World, and Kim from Running on the Fly. Anyone else want to answer? Feel free! I love this stuff...