Shoe Review: Nike Zoom Fly

Shoe Review: Nike Zoom Fly

When I first tried on the shoe, it felt like a slipper – love at first step. That's how a running sneaker should feel.  It's super comfy. There are no annoying seams across the front of the foot, so it's roomy enough to accommodate my wide feet plus bonus bunions.

The shoe is a featherweight. It is billed to be cushioned enough for training but light enough for racing, and I wholeheartedly concur. Next to my track spikes, these are the lightest shoes I own. Men's weigh 8.75 ounces & women's weigh just 6.5 ounces. But they feel so cushiony that you would guess they weigh more.

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Last week's workouts: My 80-mile week

Last week's workouts: My 80-mile week

The St. George Marathon is one month from today. Over the next few weeks, I am hitting the top end of my mileage and the crescendo of months of training. I ran nearly 80 miles last week – the most miles I have ever run in a week. Not so many miles for some, but I am 52 years old. Everyone is different in terms of the mileage their body is able to handle without getting injured.

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How to make kombucha plus, Story of My Tea review & giveaway

How to make kombucha plus, Story of My Tea review & giveaway

Kombucha. It's the not-so-new-new thing, an expensive, fermented tea that includes healthy bacteria to keep your microbiome in tip-top shape. It's trendy now, but many of us old-school veg-heads and crunched out types have been making our own 'booch (as we call it) for years. I guess that makes me a boochie mama?

Because of the fermentation, kombucha is lightly fizzy, like champagne. I like to think of kombucha as a good-for-you soda. After a long or hard run, I love nothing more than a glass of it, over ice. It's not very high in sugars, or therefore, calories. 

Storebought kombucha is tasty. But at between $3-5 a bottle, it is pricey. You can make your own for far less. After the initial investment and after getting your SCOBY going (read on), you can make 4 8-oz bottles of kombucha for under $1-- that's pennies a bottle. Can you say cha-ching? 

It's very easy, once you get the hang of it...

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What the eclipse taught me about running

What the eclipse taught me about running

...My wise yoga teacher, Lindsay, usually starts practice by sharing something insightful that's she's been reading or observing. This week, she talked about the lessons we can learn from the eclipse and their application to yoga. Balance. Oppositions. Yin-yang. The necessary tensions and seeming contradictions in life. To truly feel happiness, we must understand despair. To truly experience gratitude, we must go through loss. We tend to think people and events are "either/or" when in fact, they are usually "both/and." The same lessons can also be applied to running. Or really, to anything in life.

Here are just a few of the eclipse-related running observations I made this week during my workouts....

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August StrideBox Review

August StrideBox  Review

StrideBox review time! For those who don't know, StrideBox is a subscription box for runners. For $15 a month, you get a sampling of the latest gadgets, gizmos and nutrition for runners. The value almost always exceeds the price, and this month is no exception. It's a great way to try out new products. Plus, it's fun to get a surprise in the mail each month, in between the bills and junk mail.

So far, I've received and reviewed 10 StrideBoxes. To this point, all the products I've tried been mostly great and useful, sprinkled with a few "okays." But there's no way around it...

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mayor's cup 5-miler 2017: race recap

mayor's cup 5-miler  2017: race recap

Philadelphia's Third Annual Mayor's Cup race was held on Saturday, August 17, 2017. The Mayor's Cup brings Philadelphia runners from all these clubs together on the infamously challenging Belmont Plateau Cross Country course, in mid-August for a day of food, fun, and friendly competition. There are no individual awards – teams compete for the Mayor's Cup, which goes to the fastest team. 

As usual, I ran with my team, Philadelphia Runner Track Club. We won the Mayor's Cup last year – when the race was ridiculously, painfully and dangerously hot. In fact, the heat index was 110 degrees when my 5-mile race took off last year, making this year's 73 degree start temperature and 90% humidity feel almost Arctic by comparison. It was definitely still hot and sticky, so you can't "reason" with your body about how much easier this is to run in. And then again, this is nether a PR course nor a PR race – no race in mid-August is. It's just a fun day for light running rivalry...

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Happy Bloggiversary to me

Happy Bloggiversary to me

I can't believe I've been blogging at Mastering Running for over a year now. Time flies when you're having fun. And I am having fun and am enjoying my life, especially compared to how I felt when I decided to shut down my original blog, The Urban Vegan...

I thought it would be fun to list my top favorite blogposts from the past year. But before I do, I want to share some news... 

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Avoiding seasonal running burnout

Avoiding seasonal running burnout

Whether you are a serious runner, training for a goal race, or you are a total newbie, just trying to stay the course, running consumes a lot of your time and your mental and physical energy.

As I look over my TrainingPeak records, I see I've recently put in an average of 8 hours of workout time per week (running, yoga, strength). I've put in way more when I am runner higher mileage and am about to peak for a marathon, which I am about to do. Spending 8-10 or more hours a week running and training is like putting in another work shift. But running is supposed to be fun, not work...

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July StrideBox review

July StrideBox review

Press sample

It's time for another exciting edition of StrideBox review. For those who don't know, StrideBox is a subscription box for runners. For $15 a month, you get a sampling of the latest gadgets, gizmos and nutrition for runners. The value almost always exceeds the price, and this month is no exception. And it's a great way to try out new products. Plus, it's fun to get a surprise in the mail each month, in between the bills and junk mail.

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10 tips for running in extreme summer heat

10 tips for running in extreme summer heat

Heat running can be super uncomfortable – whether you are a total newbie or you are Shalane Flanagan or Meb Keflezighi. Your body will eventually acclimate to running in the sultry summer weather, but even then, you'll still need to get through those extra-soupy days, when the dew point, humidity and temperature all conspire to create a triple whammy of hell-fire conditions.

If you live in a climate that experiences 4 seasons like my city, Philadelphia, take heart. This is only temporary. Running in the summer swelter increases your capacity to appreciate those crisp fall mornings. And the good news is, studies show that heat training can be just as beneficial to runners as altitude training – good news for those of us at sea level. (Philly may not have mountains, but we do have almost-tropical summer weather.) Heat training increases your blood plasma volume, just as altitude training does, leading to improved cardiovascular fitness.

Here are a few tricks that have helped me get get through some extremely hot summer runs and races...

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I had a sh*tty long run – and I'm grateful for it.

I had a sh*tty long run – and I'm grateful for it.

... On Saturday, I got to the running path by 6AM in an effort to beat the heat and humidity. But there's no outsmarting or outrunning Mama Nature. It was 77 degree when I started and 82% humidity. Worse yet, the dew point was 71. The dew point is the true measure of how much you are going to struggle when you run. Anything over 55 will affect your running performance. As you can see from the chart below,a dew point of 71 is in the "Expect to suffer greatly" range. ...

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Running apprenticeships: years running vs age

Running apprenticeships: years running vs age

When it comes to improving as a runner, there's talent, and there's hard work. Sometimes, the stars align, and both elements are in place. But hard work - and consistency – will almost always get you farther than talent alone. Part of that hard work involves completing a running apprenticeship. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Putting in consistent running and training time - daily or almost daily
  • Being open to learning from runners, coaches and other experts who know more than you
  • Studying up on running on your own via books, web sites, workshops, etc
  • Learning from your mistakes, as well as from your triumphs (I think you always learn more from the former)
  • Understanding the holistic aspect of running: nutrition, sleep, stress and life-work-training balance all come into play

How long does an apprenticeship last? ...

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Marathon training begins: building base

Marathon training begins: building base

I was slated to run the Boston Marathon this April, but since I was not "feeling the love," I had decided to skip it and instead concentrate on speed and shorter distances, which I tend to prefer, probably because I'm better at them. (We all prefer to do things that we are better at.) It turned out to be a good move. I enjoyed a sweet spring season, PRing in every distance I raced (5K, 15K, 10-mile) and even winning #1 female in a 5K – something I didn't expect to do at age 52,

As anyone who has done it will attest, marathon training is hard work and requires a huge time commitment, not only because you have to run higher weekly mileage than to train for shorter races, but also because you need to devote many hours to building up muscular strength in the gym and/or yoga studio. You have to be in the right headspace to do all this or you will have a miserable time.

After the spring racing season was over, the marathon bug started playfully nipping at my heels again.

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Consistency and running

Consistency and running

What's the #1 way to become a better cook? Cook every day.

Want to improve your cello-playing ability? Practice early and often.

Aiming to be a better runner? Then (wait for it!): run consistently.

Whether you are an elite or sub-elite runner looking to shave a few seconds off a fast PR or a total running newbie, just trying to break a 10- or 11-minute mile, consistency will afford you more gains than the latest fancy-pants training trend or a pair of sub-2:00 sneakers. Making running a regular habit – and not talking yourself out of doing it – is the easiest way to improve both your running and your mental grit...

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Win a free Stridebox! May and June Stridebox review and giveaway

Win a free Stridebox! May and June Stridebox review and giveaway

Between my trip to Paris and being super-busy with my job, I've fallen a bit behind on reviews. But today I have a double feature for you – plus, the nice folks at Stridebox have offered to give away free Strideboxes to two lucky readers! Contest details after the reviews.

if you're the kind of runner who likes trying the latest running gadgets, gizmos & fuel, you'll live StrideBox. It's a great value & a lot of fun - like getting a surprise each month.

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rest day: gluten-free crêpe recipe (vegan)

rest day: gluten-free crêpe recipe (vegan)

After returning from Paris, I felt a bit of reverse culture shock when resuming the fast pace and daily grind of East Coast American life. Of course, I was thrilled to see my 3 little furballs. Plus, it's always nice to get back to your own familiar space, things – and running routes. But still, I miss the ease and presentness of Paris. Eating French food helps me feel a little more connected to the sense of stillness and gratitide that I experienced during my stay there.

Last week, I posted a photo of some vegan, gluten-free crêpes I made out of longing for Paris. Several of you asked for the recipe, so here it is, along with some filling ideas.

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Race review: Paris Pour Elles (aka, How do you say "face plant" in French?)

Race review: Paris Pour Elles (aka, How do you say "face plant" in French?)

As part of my working vacation in Paris, I thought it would be fun to run a race in in the City of Light. Races are few and far in-between in France, so I had to go with what was available. I registered for a women's only 10K called "Paris Pour Elles" (Paris for Her).

One of the funny things about signing up to race in France is that you need a doctor's note confirming you are fit to run. In the US, you just sign a waiver, basically saying if you die, it's your own damn fault.

This was truly a race scheduled for "fun." My season was finished. I had met and exceeded my goals beyond my wildest expectations in my goal races - PRing in every distance I raced this spring and best of all, coming in 4th in my age group in the wildly competitive Broad Street Run. I even won a 5K!

So I was tired. My body was creaky and my legs felt anything but fresh. All the signs that I should slow down were there. Even my coach directly told me to back off.

But I didn't. *rolls eyes* ...

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Rest day: Random Paris observations

Rest day: Random Paris observations

With respect to running, after about a week in Paris, my body started to scream "oncle!" At the end of the spring season when my body was already beaten up, putting in running mileage plus 3-5 solid hours of walking each day was proving to be too much. Toss in a helping of serious jet lag and it added up to accumulated fatigue. My gastroc started to light up, plus my hamstrings felt like they were housing bowling balls, and I just felt sizzled.

Soon fall marathon training will begin. Keeping my eyes on the future, I need to back off on the running now so my body can heal. It is a bit of a bummer because I love running on vacation, especially in Paris where there are so many beautiful routes and vistas. But at the same time, it's also nice thing because it gives me a hall pass to slack off for a bit. Since I take very good care of myself in terms of exercise and nutrition, many signs have indicated that it's time to spend time in the City of Light nurturing my soul.

Perfect segue for a "rest day" post – a post that really has nothing to do with running....

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