Archive for May, 2010

Experience the Extraordinary

I’m a little behind the eight ball today – a sure sign of enjoying the long weekend. I slept in (past 9am) for the first time in who knows how long. When in training, I find extra sleep to be a true luxury.

On Saturday, with the long weekend ahead, I drove up to Tennessee to spend some time in the Great Smoky Mountains. Surrounded by endless miles of singletrack and nice weather, my running shoes were itching to be used, and my body was developing a nervous tick only remedied by covering some training time.

Mile 3 - Making my way to Clingman's Dome along the AT.

Mile 3 – Making my way to Clingman's Dome along the AT.

I decided to do something a bit different – a run/hike along the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Clingman’s Dome and back – 16 miles roundtrip of some rolling but mostly technical terrain. Somewhat of a lofty goal with a 4.5 hr (self-imposed) time limit and almost 2000 ft of climbing elevation (Clingman’s Dome is the highest point on the entire AT). But I think we all need a little adventure every now and …

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Running Charm School – Etiquette 101

Happy Memorial Weekend!

As a granddaughter of veterans and sister of military personnel, it gives me great joy to celebrate this occasion – where we honor those who gave their all for our freedoms and pursuit of happiness. Not to mention… I get a 3-day weekend… heck yes!

I plan to spend as much of my long weekend outdoors as scattered thunderstorms allow. While we’re all outside celebrating with runs and walks (and don’t forget pools, burgers, brats and beers) there will surely be a lot of other people out and about. I figure now’s a perfect time for a lesson in sharing our pathways and enjoying each other’s company, yes yes?

Whether with fellow runners or other pedestrians, we inevitably need to share our running terrain. Many times we get lost in our music, or are trying so hard to focus on our own run that we forget about others. Neither struggling, nor being a rockstar athlete makes us more important or gives us more right to be on any given pathway than anyone else. We …

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Not Running With the Pack

I’ve got a dedicated runner friend who asks me every spring if I’m training for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

The answer varies. Some years I’ll get started at application time in March and other times April and even May have passed before I begin training. And by training I mean putting on running shoes and using them.

I can’t imagine it would be much fun for my friend to run a slower three miles just for the pleasure of my company for 30 minutes or so. It definitely wouldn’t be fun for me to try to keep up with his usual pace.

But I understand why people run in pairs or packs. If you run with someone a little faster that can help push you to do a little better than you thought you could. That’s how it worked for me in 1979, when I finished with my best time ever.

I’ve mentioned my friend Kathy (in the photo) a couple of times in earlier blogs. We ran three Peachtrees in the early 2000s. For our first Peachtree, we started training in January. That was the last …

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Enter the Tin Man


“The runner need not break four minutes in the mile or four hours in the marathon. It is only neccessary that he runs and runs and sometimes suffers. Then one day he will wake up and discover that somewhere along the the way he has begun to see the order and law and love and truth that makes men free.”   [George Sheehan]


I’ve talked of long miles and speed work! Biking and swimming! Weights and stretching! My training is going great! I feel great! Blahblah… blah… blah.

Let us take pause from my annoyingly excited and upbeat attitude and listen to the lactic acid pool.

There is a great quote by Gene Thibeault that says, “If you start to feel good during a [race], don’t worry – you’ll get over it.” I believe this also rings true for any good training period. If you are truly pushing yourself to improve – whether that means running 5 miles when before 3 miles was your best, or fighting for a 40 minute PR – there will come a point, or multiple points, in training where …

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“It is Only Hubris if I Fail”

“It is only hubris if I fail” – Julius Caesar (HBO, circa 2005 A.D.)

Last Tuesday I was all too eager to write here about how I ran down Peachtree for five miles the Saturday before and then felt good enough the next day to run three miles through wooded trails.

Thursday I wrote here about coping with injuries while running, whether it is better to press on with training or is it smarter to rest and live to run another day.

These were not supposed to be related posts.

About the hubris….

Soon after making it sound like I had all but nailed my goal of running the 2010 AJC Peachtree Road Race under an hour, I picked up a bit of a chest cold. But Saturday morning I felt healthy enough to take MARTA up to the Lenox station and walk up to the start line next to the mall parking lot.

Not the place where my time group will likely be staged, mind you. But I didn’t want to start my run  in Doraville like I will July 4.

It was really muggy running down Peachtree Saturday, but …

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Weekend Warrior With a Case of the Mondays

“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or hump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.”  [Sir Roger Bannister]


Fitting in training around working two jobs and family obligations often means my life is completely planned out hour for hour during the week. Though weekends are busy too, I am master of my own scheduling – meaning I can tackle longer exercise sessions.

woodsrunWaking up early on Saturdays becomes a joy when it means I can replace makeup, heels and driving to the office with a sportswatch, running shoes and driving to trails for a blissful unscheduled and unlimited run. Saturday morning with coffee and powerbar in hand, I headed to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park for a 10 miler.

I’ve been focusing on …

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Running Lingo 101

Do you ever get tired of people incessantly blabbering lingo in what seems like their own special language? Everytime I take up a new hobby or take on a project in a new industry at work, I’m faced with understanding an entirely new dictionary just to keep up. It can be really frustrating, not to mention make me feel like an ignorant outsider.  

Now for the self-deprecating portion of this blog: I’m afraid I’ve been doing just this to all our new (or recently returned after many years) runners out there.  

I mean come on… what the $&@# is a fartlek anyway?!fartlek

Where is Rosetta Stone when you need it?! Don’t feel bad if you feel clueless. I won’t even tell you how disappointed my brother was to find out that my BQ quest had less to do with beers and burgers on the grill, and moreso grueling training to break 3:40 in the marathon and qualify for Boston.

Runners are just as guilty of hoarding our own weird collection of words.  There are words about training and racing, shoes …

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Everybody Hurts: Some Things Duct Tape Can’t Fix

After a New Year’s-inspired wager, I trained rigorously for the 1979 Peachtree.

For six months I ran up stadium steps. I ran up and around Stone Mountain. In weeks before the July 4th race I tried out the course by running down Peachtree.

I was 20 and working in a gas station. One afternoon in late June I was changing the price of a gallon of regular on the sign, while standing on an upside-down plastic trash can.

If I have foreshadowed correctly, you already know the can tipped over. When I landed I twisted my ankle. With a week or so before the race I had a serious hitch in my getalong. I felt like I had trained enough to do well, so I stayed off my ankle and hoped for the best.

It was still sore the morning of the race. You could say I was a bit naive about taping up an injury. I knew we had some Duct Tape in the garage. A sore ankle, it turned out, was one thing Duct Tape can’t fix.

I ran the race – sans-tape – the fastest I’ll ever run it.

I’ve been dinged up …

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Kickin It Up a Notch

Intervals and other types of speed work are essential to improve running speed.
…Frank Shorter

We are six and a half weeks out from race day, which means it’s time to push ourselves to the next level in our training. In other words, in order to run fast we have to train fast.

trackLately I’ve been adding speed work back into my routine one day a week. Whether you are working hard for a PR, or just want a quick-paced enjoyable race day, speed work can benefit you. It’s also a great way to maximize your workout time – you can exercise for a shorter amount of time, but reap more benefits… a very high ROI if you will.

However it does take a bigger toll on the body so before beginning speed work, it is best to have at least a year of consistent running under your belt, and be clocking at least 20 miles a week.

Adding a variety of runs into your routine teaches your body different lessons:
• Easy mileage runs condition you for the long-haul.
• Tempo runs teach you proper …

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Dare to Compare the Sequel: In Search of Zen

I’m the one who is supposed to be dishing out the training tips here. But I’ve learned a lot about running since I started writing this blog in the middle of April.

I hadn’t heard of before. I thought the Mizuno people made baseball equipment, but thanks to suggestions from readers I now am the happy owner of their running shoes. And as the weather heats up, I’m glad to have noted a tip that there are running socks available that do a better job than cotton of wicking away dampness.

A few blogs ago I solicited nominations for favorite three-mile runs from readers with the idea I would run the course and compare it to my familiar hilly trip through my neighborhood, Ansley Park.

My thought was I would compare the degree of difficulty and scenic factor. That’s essentially what I did in the first installment about a suggested course near downtown Decatur.

I’ve been adding length to my runs the past two weekends, sticking with the schedule set out in the

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