Archive for May, 2011

It’s the final countdown

Over the holiday weekend, it occurred to me that the PRR is just about a month away. How the heck did THAT happen? It seems like only yesterday that we were slip-sliding all over the place, trying to keep our balance whilst jogging on the ice.

I don’t know about you, but I start getting a little bit anxious about a month before a big race. There’s something about knowing I only have about four more weeks of training that gets my heart racing (in both a nervous and excited way). It’s also around that time when I start  really kicking myself into gear — I stop drinking as much, I start eating better and I don’t allow myself to skip a run. Training goes from a second or third priority to a top priority. It almost feels like I’m cramming for a test — I know I should be doing this stuff for the entire training period, but I’m a procrastinator. The month mark gives me a little extra motivation.

What types of prep do you start doing a month before a big run? Does your routine change …

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Let me hear it – my running playlist

A local runner heads through Piedmont Park listening to her iPod. After years of running earbud-less, I have started running to music. (John Spink, AJC)

A local runner heads through Piedmont Park listening to her iPod. After years of running earbud-less, I have started running to music. (John Spink, AJC)

I’ve blogged before that I was going to attempt to run while listening to music. And I’ve done that, now for about a week. Surprisingly, things have gone well (with issues formulating a playlist and keeping earbuds in especially during the rain).

Below is my playlist in the random order it just came up. I’m not sold on it, but it has done all right considering my big issue about running to music was coming across songs that annoyed me in the middle of a run. I am sure these songs eventually will annoy. We’ll see how my mood toward running with my iPod changes when they do.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of genres, an interesting mix. I’m not into the running cliché stuff other than “Born to Run,” and anyway, it’s Bruce. I’m into things that happen to entertain me while in out in street. A common …

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I’m runnin’ in the rain

In the couple of months of summer-like weather we’ve had so far in Atlanta, I’ve come to realize that if it isn’t super hot and humid, it’s pouring rain and humid. I’m used to running in inclement weather from years spent dealing with Chicago winters, but I’ve never lived somewhere where it seems to rain every other day.

It’s hard enough for me to motivate myself to run when it’s decent outside; a drop of rain has me heading for the couch and a couple of episodes of “The Wire.” But it’s become apparent that if there’s any hope of me training for races over the summer, I’m going to have to suck it up and force myself to run in the downpour.

These marathoners have some good tips, including using Vaseline to prevent chafing and changing shirts halfway through to give your soggy body a reprieve. One writer makes a good point: It very well could rain on race day, and you can’t just roll over that morning and go back to sleep (well, you can, but all those days of training would go …

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Snakes on a trail: What would you do?

What would you do if he/she appears in front of you on a trail? (Photo: Ed Kabay, Zoo Atlanta)

What would you do if he/she appears in front of you on a trail? (Photo: Ed Kabay, Zoo Atlanta)

What would you do?

You’re running on a somewhat familiar trail around a small neighborhood lake. At several points the trail forks and you have the option of which way to go. You go left. All of a sudden in front of you is a snake taking up the entire path.

At one point in my life – thanks to STT science classes at Fernbank – I wanted a corn snake (never got one, though). I am not anti-snake; I just don’t know how to identify them. I can’t tell if the snake will kill me or if I’m good.

When I saw a black and yellow snake ahead, I quickly chose to turn around earlier this week. It wasn’t scary-looking or anything. I just didn’t want to mess with it. I picked up some speed (good work snake) and chose the other fork. Usually, animals don’t do much to me while running. Just ignore that barking dog chasing you and it will eventually stop. That’s always worked for …

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Is there room for beer in running?

These hashers know what they're running for: beer.

These hashers know what they're running for: beer.

I left something out of my blogger’s bio: I love beer. I have a special fondness for craft brews, and if it’s served in a cold pint glass, all the better. But really, I don’t discriminate.

As you can imagine, my love of hops and barley doesn’t exactly jive with my love of waking up early and getting in a long run. But surprisingly, some people have found a way to make beer and running peacefully co-exist. The Hash House Harriers, an international group (with an Atlanta chapter) that dubs itself as “a drinking club with a running problem,” ends its runs with a pint or five. The Sweetwater 420 5K — which offers participants a free pint of beer at the end — sold out when it took place in April, and an event called “The Beer Mile” — which consists of a variety of rules but starts with competitors drinking four cans of beer and running four laps on a track — has been embraced by those into “digestive athletics.” This blogger drew …

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Whatizit? A new outdoor elliptical trainer

Izzy at Austin Rd School 1

Remember Whatizit (who later became Izzy)? That's exactly what I thought when I first saw the ElliptiGO. (Johnny Crawford/Staff)

The two-wheel ElliptiGO takes the gym outside. But really, what is it? (Photo courtesy ElliptiGO)

The two-wheel ElliptiGO takes the gym outside. But really, what is it? (Photo courtesy ElliptiGO)

Whatizit (remember him)? Is it running? Biking? A goofy-looking cardio activity? Some combination of the three?

On a run through my neighborhood earlier this week, I saw someone on one of these ElliptiGO bike-like machines. I am sure I gave it a second look because, honestly, I didn’t know what I was looking out. I have done a little research. Turns out I am not alone.

From The Washington Post: The first time you see an ElliptiGO, chances are you’ll have the same reaction Stacey Moses did: “That thing is goofy-looking.”

An Ironman triathlete with bum knees and a bad hip – needed a low-impact exercise but wanting to avoid a bike saddle – came up with the device. After about five years of design work and engineering, the first model came out in …

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Not quite Queen of the hill

Being a Peachtree Road Race newbie, I try to listen closely when vets talk about past races. So far, I’ve picked up on two overriding themes — prepare for humidity and prepare for hills.

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot I can do about the humidity. I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to look like a sweaty Sideshow Bob that morning. The hills, though — in theory, I can prepare for those. In theory.

If it’s possible to have an arch nemesis that isn’t a person, mine would be hills. I think they exist to be my own special brand of torture. When I’ve trained for long races in the past, I make sure to incorporate hill training into my routine, thinking it’ll make it easier to conquer those evil bumps come race time.

But really, the problem isn’t that I can’t physically run at an incline  — it’s that I mentally put a block up when I see an incline in the distance. It usually takes a good mile into a race before I feel like I have my sea legs, and when I …

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The anti-social runner runs with someone

i’ve never been one to run with another person or a group. It usually comes down to pace. I’ve never found a person that runs about the same speed as me (that also wants to run with me), making it hard for me to find someone to run with. Past living locales may have played a part in that and also the fact that a lot of my friends didn’t used to run.
Last Saturday at the Brookhaven Bolt 5K, for the first time in a long time, I ran an entire run/race with a college friend. Way back during our days at UGA we ran together a few times, but he was always way ahead of me. Even after nights of going out, he would still top me. I couldn’t keep up training, either.
This time, we stayed together, and at the end told each other we each were trying to keep up with the one another. We pushed each other. And at the end, we were both pleased with our times (at least I was). Certainly, it was different than running alone. It wasn’t just a head-game to keep up my pace in the race. I …

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Undercover running

Fish swim upstream at the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco.

Fish swim upstream at the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco.

This past weekend was the 100th running of San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers, a 7.46-mile race famous for its participants’ a) lack of clothing or b) ridiculous costumes.

Photos from the run conveniently leave out the nudie pics, but show a nice selection of Elvises, gnomes, ballerinas and those paying homage to the royal wedding. And what race would be complete without a shirtless man wearing glitter and giant angel wings?

The Peachtree Road Race discourages runners from wearing Breakers-style costumes — which makes sense, considering how many people there are. I’d imagine it’s hard enough not to knock into people without having to dodge, say, giant wings or gnome hats.

But that doesn’t stop some from getting into the spirit. Body paint, crazy hats and color-coordinated costumes — especially of the patriotic variety — all make appearances. I’ve personally never worn a costume for a run, but one of my favorite …

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Making your miles interesting


Lauren Moran has a solid idea I will steal, training at Stone Mountain for a half marathon (JOHN SPINK / AJC staff)

Earlier this week, the topic was parks. And that’s a good place for me to start this entry. My runs are starting to get boring.

Every time I run (absent when I am not here), I head out from my house and trek through my neighborhood. My route is usually the same, or at the very least very similar to the route I always take (right now a three-mile loop). I need to break the boredom. I need to find new places to run.

Parks generally give you a nice place to run, something somewhat scenic and break up the monotony of your typical run. But you have to plan ahead and get there. You can’t step out your door and just go. You have to drive to run. Still, I am thinking Stone Mountain for my first running excursion in Atlanta. From there, I might check out some other suggested parks.

Beyond parks, I think my runs could use some livening up. I don’t like the idea of …

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