Running while traveling - Bonjour from Paris!

Running while traveling - Bonjour from Paris!

Bonjour from Paris! 

Sorry for my absence but it's been a crazy week. I arrived here last Tuesday morning. I'm apartment- and cat-sitting for my friend, who is a translator, while she visits her family in the US. It's fun living in Elisabeth's apartment and exploring her neighborhood – the 17th arrondissement, aka Batignolles. Trying on Elisabeth's expatriate freelance life and living in a different neighborhood is intriguing. I could get used to this, especially since I work from home and via technology. In fact, I already am used to it....

Some people like to take a vacation from running and exercise while they vacation, which is certainly understandable, but it's not for me. I'm not doing my strength work, core or yoga here, but I skipped only one scheduled run yesterday, because my gastroc was lit up. Otherwise, I have been happily running in Paris, exploring new vistas and routes. (Watch for my upcoming Paris running route post.)...

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Broad Street Run: Race Recap

Broad Street Run: Race Recap

Last Sunday, May 7, 2017,  I joined nearly 40,000 other runners and completed my 7th Broad Street Run, the country's largest 10-miler. It is truly an amazing event: a fast, flat course positioned north to south, past some of Philadelphia's colorful neighborhoods, screaming spectators, several universities, silly signs and architectural gems. If you're running for fun, it's a great way to experience a real slice of the City of Brotherly Love. 

Besides competing for personal reasons, the Broad Street Run is part of the Midatlantic USATF Grand Prix, so many local track teams, including my team, the Philadelphia Runner Track Club, were competing .

We have little to zero control over how life unfolds, and the week leading up to the race was far from ideal....

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Mizuno Wave Rider 19 review

Mizuno Wave Rider 19 review

Now that I've run 100+ miles in my Mizuno Wave Rider 19s, I feel i've had enough experience to review them. A small matter that the Wave Rider 20 is now out: I'm not an early running shoe adopter. When I find a running shoe I like, I tend to remain loyal to it until it's discontinued – which also happens to save money and time. When you find a good thing, stick to it. This applies to most things in life.

First things first, Mizuno has an almost cult-like following. Personally, I never would have tried the brand; nothing about the Mizuno remotely interested me, except for the fact it's a Japanese company. But a few years back, someone from Mizuno contacted me through Instagram and offered me a free, no-strings-attached pair of Wave Rider 18s to try. Free is my favorite price so, of course, I said yes and gave these neutral shoes a go. 

I didn't expect to like the Mizuno Wave Rider 18s but I did, in spite of myself....

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10 tips for aspiring runners

10 tips for aspiring runners

...When a person says "I would like to be a runner BUT...", to me, it's a telltale sign there's a passionate runner lurking inside, just waiting to burst out and run joyfully. All wannabe runners need is a little nurturing and good information to get started.

I say this with certainty this because I was once that person. I used to say, "I would like to be a runner BUT." I thought of myself as a jogger, not a runner. And so that's what I was. And that's what I did.

...Want to start running but not sure of where to start? Consider these 10 tips for wannabe runners from a girl who's been there:

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21-day badass adventure cleanse recap

21-day badass adventure cleanse recap

I believe the 80/20 rule applies to most things in life. Eg, if you eat healthily 80% of the time, then it's okay to "sin" 20% of the time. Although I eat pretty cleanly, my hedonistic love of acidic foodstuffs – sugar, coffee, wine and white sugar – had my daily diet teetering uncomfortably past 79%. Plus I was feeling stressed – like there wasn't enough time in the day to accomplish everything that needed to be done. It was time to cleanse.

About once a year, I do a 21-day cleanse, loosely based on the cleanse in Kris Carr's Crazy, Sexy, Diet. The cleanse does not involve deprivation: you eat all you want. Your daily diet consists of vegan (aka plant-based), gluten-free, mainly alkaline foods (60-80%) and some healthy acidic foods (20-40%). The cleanse is not just about nutrition; it also involves self care, like daily mediation, dry brushing, news fasting, exercising, etc.

This cleanse is a ritualistic return to clean eating and radical self care. It counters the manner in which we are socialized to attend to everything and everyone but ourselves. Fact is, taking care of yourself is not selfish. It's necessary.

Luckily, 70 of you decided to join me in our closed group on Facebook. Cleansing is more fun – and much easier – when done in the company of like-minded people. We shared recipes, tips, successes, funny stories – and even transgressions. (Yes, we are human. Perfection is a dangerous myth.) On April 22, I officially finished my 21-Day Badass Adventure Cleanse. Hello, morning soy latte! Here's the recap.

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Spectating the 2017 Boston Marathon

Spectating the 2017 Boston Marathon

If you follow my blog, you'll know that even though I registered for Boston this year, I decided not to run it. In terms of specificity, you can't train to properly race both a marathon and 5-10Ks. That would be like studying French to pass a Spanish exam. My heart beats faster for the shorter, faster races (pun sorta intended), and so far, my season is showing that I made the right decision.

Since Sloan, some of my friends, and several teammates were running, I decided to go to Boston to support them. I wondered how I would feel when I got to Boston. I expected to feel some minor pangs of regret about making the wrong decision? But happily once I arrived, I felt absolutely no desire to have run the race this year. I had already run it last year and had a great time. I was stoked to be on the other side of the running fence for a change – the spectator side!

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Cherry Blossom 5K: Race Recap (I won!)

Cherry Blossom 5K: Race Recap (I won!)

I'm fairly disciplined and can usually will myself into doing speed work or a tempo run solo. But doing it as part of a 5K keeps me honest about my speed and makes it mentally easier to push myself. Plus, it's more fun! What can be more life-affirming than getting up early on the weekend and soaking in all healthy, active energy with like-minded people? So, this Saturday, I decided to jump into the Cherry Blossom 5K at the last-minute as a more inspiring way to get in a tempo run.

I had run the race before a few times (I actually won it once) and knew the new course included a steep, long hill at the finish. But I figured this would make for a great workout. As a special added bonus, this was the first year I remember when the cherry blossoms were actually blooming on race day.

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The life-changing magic of tidying up your running gear

The life-changing magic of tidying up your running gear

About 2 years ago, I read Marie Kondo's Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and no hyperbole: it really was a life-changing book and it really was a one-time reorganization. After reading it, I donated, sold or discarded roughly 50% of my possessions. I tossed items that were worn, donated items that were still good but that I had no use for, and sold or consigned items, like clothing that I no longer wore....

Although I had Kondo-ed my running gear, racing and blogging means you are constantly accruing new, some useful, some not. ... I decided to embark on an expedition to clean out my 3 drawers of running gear. 

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Hot Chocolate 15K: Race Recap

Hot Chocolate 15K: Race Recap

Last Saturday, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K. Race day happened to dovetail with the start of my 21-Day Badass Adventure Cleanse, so I was curious to see what affect, if any, the regimen would have on my performance...

I lined up in the first corral. Runners are usually packed in, but this one was strangely loose. The gun went off more or less right on time. The 5:57 on my Garmin told me I was going way too fast – normal for a race start – so I concentrated hard on holding back. It can be difficult when runners are flying past you, but in a race of this distance, I knew I would catch many of them down the road.... 

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Why you should train with runners who are faster than you: my story

Why you should train with runners who are faster than you: my story

Most age group winners I now compete against have run track and/or cross country in high school and/or college, so they literally have decades of experience and running base under their feet. I only started seriously running when I was 45. I ran one meh year of high school track – 800 meters and 400 meter hurdles, mostly to keep in shape after gymnastics season – my real passion at the time. Our high school track practices were a joke. Come to think of it, I don't remember practicing much. I just recall showing up for a few track meets, winging it and doing okay (which, in retrospect, makes me think I should probably have stuck with it).

To work my way out from the middle of the middle-aged pack, I had much to learn and a lot of catching up to do – literally and figuratively.

Zigging instead of zagging

Last year, I decided I was going to do 3 things to help me push my running to the next level: hire a coach, get my USATF coaching certification so I could help others, and run with a local competitive team.

Philly is home to so many running clubs. There is literally something for everyone: social running teams, charity running teams, theme running teams, beer running teams, running store teams, etc. Philly also has a talented masters running club. You would think it would have been the obvious choice for me.

But as someone who tends to zig while the rest of the world is zagging, I decided to try something truly unorthodox: run with a bunch of crazy-fast young guns. This is because my main goal is not to become a better masters runner, although that's certainly a given. My goal is to defy categorization and become a better runner. Period. 

Plus, I like to occasionally try things that scare the crap out of me...

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This week's workouts : not too much, not too little, just right

This week's workouts : not too much, not too little, just right

Running is a balancing act, and figuring out how much your body will tolerate before it cries "Uncle!" can be tricky. This is especially important for masters runners.  Magazines, blogs and training plans all offer prescriptions for improvement, but in the end, you need to listen to your body and learn what works for you. You also need to be brutally honest about the difference between feeling a bit tired after workouts – normal and necessary as your body adapts to the increased stimulus – and true fatigue, which can lead to overtraining and sideline you.

Most runners use what's called a "3 on/1 off" approach to training, meaning they spend 3 weeks increasing mileage and or intensity (eg, speed work, hills, intervals) and then spend 1 week "off," cutting back on mileage and doing less intense runs to allow their bodies to catch up and recover. I discovered years ago that my body responds better to a "2 on/1 off" approach. Here's what I did this week...

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How to save money on running

How to save money on running

"Running is cheap; all you need is a good pair of sneakers."

Ummm ... no. 

"Need" is the operative word, here. Forbes reported that road racing is a $1.4 billion+ industry, and running shoes are a $3 billion industry. You can drop a lot of money on something that theoretically only requires shoes and clothing. Once you catch the running bug, you'll want more than just sneakers.

Want to enjoy running without running out of money? Try these tips...

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March Stride Box Review

March Stride Box Review

Time for another exciting monthly edition of StrideBox review. I hope you think it's exciting, because I sure do. Coming home and seeing my the smiling, cartoon faces adorning my StrideBox, and knowing I'm about to get a heaping helping of cool runner swag can make a sad day glad, not to mention make bills and junk mail a teensy bit more tolerable. This month's box was decorated with a St. Patrick's Day theme. 

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21-day Badass Adventure Cleanse

21-day Badass Adventure Cleanse

Almost time for spring cleaning – that seasonal ritual when we give everything a good scrub, clear out the dust bunnies, and discard items that are worn out or broken. Similarly, I like to spring clean my health habits and take inventory of my diet. To accomplish this, I do a version of Kris Carr's 21-day cleanse to get back on track with clean eating and self-care. Since I had been feeling a bit fatigued and have been having some trouble sleeping lately, I figured the universe was telling me it was time to course correct.

Come cleanse with me starting April 1. It's free!

Long runs are more fun with company, and so are cleanses. Instead of going this one alone, I decided to invite some friends. If you would like to cleanse with us, please just request access on Facebook to the Group "21-Day, Badass Adventure Cleanse" and I will grant you the keys to the lean, green castle.  It's completely FREE. Just a group of like-minded people supporting each other and sharing recipes, tips, photos, and encouragement.

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Race Recap: Shake Your Shamrock 5K

Race Recap: Shake Your Shamrock 5K

The weather has been bipolar the past few weeks here in Philadelphia. A few weeks ago, the daffodils and some fruit trees were blooming. Now, they're all frozen. One day, you're running in a singlet and shorts. They next day, you're freezing your assets off. You never know what to expect, and your body can't adjust either way.

I had been watching the forecast all week. Saturday, the day I was scheduled to race my first 5K of the season, the temperature was scheduled to be 22 degrees at gun time. Thanks to 15 MPH winds, it would feel like 17 degrees. 

More than anything in the world, I hate to feel cold and I seem to feel it more deeply than most people. I get cold very easily. I've even experienced body-shaking and shivers after snorkeling in 80-degree Caribbean waters – while wearing a long-sleeved rash guard. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to this bitter-cold race. I dreaded the icy temps much more than the burn I would feel while racing.

Because of the conditions, I knew I needed to adjust my expectations. I decided I would just use it as speed work and not worry about a fast time.

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You say "running fatigue" like it's a bad thing.

You say "running fatigue" like it's a bad thing.

Last week, I was super fatigued. Not a dainty, yawn-and-stretch-on-your-tippy-toes tired. I was so exhausted that even thinking about running felt difficult. 

I usually get by fine on 7 hours of sleep, wake without an alarm, and start my day fully energized, even before coffee (thinking barking Chihuahua zippiness). Last week, I was sleeping 10 hours, plus taking power naps, and I was still not waking feeling refreshed. I normally look forward to my runs, but I was dreading some because my legs felt like anvils. My long runs, usually up to 16 miles often including significant hills, normally leave me feeling energized, but last week I struggled through an 11.5-mile easy long run on a flat path. My glutes were sore for 2-weeks following a hard track session. My appetite was ravenous – think 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches. I could have easily out-eaten a linebacker yet I didn't gain an ounce. My resting heart rate was 10 beats above normal upon waking, 

These were all signs of accumulated fatigue. This means fatigue from previous workouts is basically carried over to the next one, and the next one, etc. until your body finally cries "uncle!" and remands quality recovery...

If you are training and want to become a better runner, a certain amount of fatigue comes with the territory. It's normal and necessary, even though it feels like neither of these things....

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how to make a buddha bowl: the ultimate runner recipe

how to make a buddha bowl: the ultimate runner recipe

A protein. A grain. A veggie. A sauce. A tablespoon or two culinary bling.

This is the humble Buddha Bowl. 

Buddha Bowls, or Dragon Bowls, are the ultimate, delicious no-brainer meal, and they're perfect for busy, health-conscious runners. I make them at least 3 or 4 times per week. I think most people love this combination because of the interesting array of textures and flavors: comforting carbs, chewy protein, creamy sauce, crunchy toppings.

Buddha Bowls are like the fartlek run of recipes, to draw on an analogy that runners will understand. You make them up as you go along. Several excellent Buddha Bowl cookbooks are available now. While they provide a fun intro to the "bowl" concept, I honestly prefer the pure, improvisational nature of these one-bowl wonders.  They are:

  • Easy to put together – Assemble. Dress. Toss. Boom.
  • Nutritious – You can enjoy the benefits of all major food groups in one handy bowl, assuming you start with healthy ingredients
  • Ever-changing. The ad-lib nature of Buddha Bowls means you'll never get bored, and it's unlikely you'll ever make the same bowl twice.
  • Versatile - Use what you have on hand. You can make Buddha Bowls using leftovers. Store-bought items. Or if you're feeling very inspired, you can follow a recipe and make one to the letter - from grain to dressing to protein to topping.
  • Economical – Restaurant Buddha Bowls usually cost around $10. Even the most extravagant DIY Buddha Bowls cost about $1
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10 ways to salvage a bad long run

10 ways to salvage a bad long run

Let's cut right to the chase: I had a shitty long run this weekend. It was only a 14-miler, but not not many of those miles felt great.

Yes, I ran a hard tempo workout the day before. Yes, the weather was in the 70s – in February in Philadelphia, when it is usually in the 40s so my body was not heat-acclimated. Yes, my long run included the slow-burn, 2;5-mile Ridge Avenue climb, since my friend and running partner Sloan, is prepping for Boston (I am a firm believer in running monster hills, Boston or no Boston).

Still, it was not a great run. And I was happier than usual to be done with it, get my shower and drink my protein smoothie...

Some days you have it, and some days you don't. This is a fact of life, especially if you are training hard, are hitting peak mileage or speed in your training cycle, have life significant stress, or are coming down from an injury or illness. And some bad runs come courtesy of zero rhyme or reason, thank you very much....  Here are some tricks that can help you get through a long run – or any run that you are just not feeling...

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February Stride Box: review

February Stride Box: review

This month's Stride Box contained some items I can really use but I must say, hands-down, my favorite is the star recovery tool. It's easy to hold and it has five little knobs that knead your muscles and really dig in to work out the knots. The weird thing is, it feels eerily like a hand massaging you! It looks kind of cheezy, but it works. My quads were so sore after navigating the Frostbite 5-Miler's hills. This little number helped speed up my recovery....

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