Wednesday, June 29

High heels hurt less?

We have a verdict on the aftermath of Sunday's jellyfish attack: I have a strained, possibly torn, gastrocnemius.

The stinging subsided in my foot, but the cramping and pain continued in my calf. Clearly I did something horribly wrong (besides stepping on a jellyfish). In rushing for the outdoor showers to wash the jellyfish off my foot, I made a critical error. Rather than walk the long way around a brick wall to enter the shower area, I decided to hop over the wall. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The "pop" I felt in my left calf, however, is a reminder that sometimes fastest is not bestest.

Sunday night my left leg would not hold my weight. (Hopping around the house on one jellyfish-stung foot, while gingerly keeping the other from touching the floor, was so much fun.) Light pressure on the calf hurt. Monday even shaving my legs was uncomfortable. (I don't press that hard with my razor! Really!) But Tuesday was a bit better, and today my calf is mostly just stiff and sore.

But here's a weird twist to this tale: Uncomfortable women's attire is the cure for all of these ills!
#1 - I learned that if I had been wearing pantyhose on the beach, I wouldn't have been stung in the first place! The nematocysts that release venom don't react unless they come into contact with flesh. Hence: pantyhose protect against jellyfish.
#2 - I put on a pair of low heels to teach class today, and to my great shock and surprise, walking down stairs was less painful with them on than without. (Yes. You read that correctly. Walking in heels feels better than barefoot. For the first time ever.) I suppose this makes sense. My calf feels fine when my toes are pointed. And hurts like a !#$@%$ when I flex my foot. Those heels... keep my toes pointed. Brilliant! Bring on the stilettos!

High heels don't get me back up and running just yet, though.
And, despite the fact that I adore my BCBG heels, I can tell you which shoes I'd rather be wearing...

Do any of you have recommendations to keep from going crazy when you can't run?

Monday, June 27

A real Babe

A very kind friend passed the story of Babe Didrikson along to me, so I feel it's my responsibility to pay it forward.

Babe was a human dynamo of female athletic ability at a time when the most exercise a woman got was dancing The Charleston or washing her family's clothes.

With Babe Didrikson's story, I was hooked by the second paragraph. (The audio is pretty good, too.)
In the 1920s and 30s, Babe Didrikson proved a girl could be a phenomenal all-around athlete. After mastering basketball and track and field, she eventually turned to golf — and won three U.S. Women's Open championships before she died of cancer when she was only 45....

Even though Babe wasn't concerned with the gender and class issues of the time, she soon learned that women were not supposed to play sports, and she would have to get a job with a business to play professionally for their team.

So Babe left high school to work...

She single-handedly won five track and field events (broad jump, baseball throw, shot put, javelin, and 80-meter hurdles) within three hours and qualified for three Olympic events: the 80-meter hurdles, high jump, and javelin.

But yet she still was taunted in the press for being too "manly." Some implied that she was an athlete because she couldn't "get a man." (As if!)

(We runners today are a lucky bunch that our sport has changed so much in the past 100 years.)

Now this is my kind of athlete story! How is it that I had never heard of this woman before today? We all know about Babe Ruth from the same era. Why not Babe Didrikson? She has all the makings of a superstar: Superior talent. Overcoming discrimination. And, sadly, a tragic early death. But yet I'd be surprised if anyone knew about her before the new book Wonder Girl hit the bookstores (and ensuing book tour blitz began).

Sunday, June 26

Ouch! That really hurt!

Earlier today I suggested that I had a successful running day, logging 6 miles on the treadmill, and that I was contemplating another run to blow off some first-day-of-class stress.

Well, I solved the problem of pre-teaching jitters all right.

My husband and I decided to take an evening walk on the beach. Beautiful white sand. A nice breeze. The perfect way to relax before a hectic week begins. And walking is an excellent form of active recovery.

But just when all was going well, a jellyfish attacked! (My apologies for the grainy cell-phone photo. It's the best I could do under the circumstances.)

The worst part of the whole incident is that in high-tailing it back across the sand to the showers, my calf started cramping. I get muscle spasms all the time, but this is like nothing I've ever felt before. Part of me wants to think it's just because I ran this morning, and my legs aren't used to a half mile sprint across soft sand... The other part of me wants to think I'm tougher than that, and that it's an effect of the sting.

Which one is worse, I wonder: Cramping up after a walk to the point where my left leg doesn't want to hold my weight? Or cramping up from jellyfish venom? The former implies that I'm becoming a wuss, the latter that a jellyfish is trying to kill me.

Well, no matter what happens in class tomorrow, it's likely to be a lot more pleasant than this!

Short but sweet

I am pleased to report that the Friday Fail was only a one-day occurrence. I spent Saturday resting. After all, when my body yells, who am I to ignore it?

Today 6 miles on the treadmill were a piece of cake.

And that run was a much-needed brain break.

Tomorrow I start a new job teaching at a community college. (I've had my current job since 2001... So this is my first new job in ten years.) Much like the night before a race, I am looking forward to the big day but also have what feels like race-day anxiety. (Cue pacing around the room, anxiously tapping pen against desk, and double checking my gear bag for the 15th time.)

Maybe I should stop stressing about my lecture notes and go out for another run?

Saturday, June 25

Just a reminder...

Today's blog post is all about using the gift of endurance to help others.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, today two sisters begin a 363 mile trek along the Oregon coast to raise funds and awareness for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).


You can follow their journey through their blog.

For more information on how to donate to Court Appointed Special Advocates (a non-profit 501(c)(3)) visit the sister's donation page, or go directly to:
Essex County CASA
Voices for Children (San Diego)

Friday, June 24

Friday fail

Last night I couldn't fall asleep. I lay awake until 11... 12... 12:45.
Still, when the alarm clock went off at 6:15am, I had every intention of getting out of bed and going for a run.

But there was thunder. And lightning. Even the birds, who normally sing a raucous symphony outside my bedroom window, were staying in this morning.

I hit snooze. Repeatedly.

At 7:15 I finally crawled out of bed and turned on the coffee maker. It took another 40 minutes for the coffee to kick in and for me to build up the momentum to get out the door.

It took another 20 minutes for me to throw in the towel and turn my morning run into a morning walk.

This morning my get up and go got up and went.

As I walked back home along the bayou, I wondered:
  • Was it the weather? The air was so still and oppressive that the only ripples on the bayou were from two passing fishermen in their boat. There wasn't a breath of a breeze, just humidity and heaviness. But I've run in this before...
  • Am I dehydrated? I have been drinking plenty of water, and no alcohol. Dehydration can't be my problem...
  • Maybe my sleepless night is to blame? One night of insomnia has never beaten me this badly before...
  • Maybe three weeks in a row of "hard" training has finally caught up with me? I usually do two hard weeks (two workouts a day, extra lifting, walking and yoga for "rest"), one "recovery" week of once-a-day exercise, and a moderate-intensity week. Maybe three weeks straight of 2-workout days was pushing it?
Or maybe I'm just making excuses.

I'll get on the stationary bike to make up for my lack of morning motivation. But the truth remains, today's run is a FAIL.

Thursday, June 23

I got passed by a parrot

Today while running, I was passed by a parrot. On a bike.

Yes, I was passed by a parrot riding a bicycle. And this is not the first, but the second bicycle-riding parrot who has passed me this month!

The first parrot-passing occurred two weeks ago. I was running through my neighborhood, and a neighbor rode by with a giant macaw on his handlebars. The bird appeared to enjoy the ride. All-in-all a nice distraction on the run.

Today's parrot-passing was an entirely different bird, bicycle, and human combination. I went to the beach for my morning run (something I don't do nearly often enough), and on the return leg of my out-and-back run I heard squawking behind me. I turned to see a bicycle-riding parrot (and his human) gaining on me. As they got closer I realized the parrot was shouting:
Speed up!!!
I thought to myself
F-ing parrot. It's hot and I'm tired! Shut up!
Then I realized that I was arguing with a parrot. In my head. I must be suffering from heat stroke. Remind me to bring more water next time...

As the bicycle-riding parrot passed me, I told the human driver that his parrot was quite the squawker. He said (and I only wish I was clever enough to make this up):
Yea. He was yelling at me because he thought we couldn't catch up with you! He doesn't like to lose a race.
I don't know what made me laugh harder, the fact that I misread the parrot's yelling (or cared in the first place) or the fact that the parrot had a competitive streak.

Either way, I'm pleasantly amused by the parrot-palooza in my new hometown.

Tuesday, June 21

Where everybody knows your name

As a child of the 80s, I am enamored with the television show Cheers. And having, six months ago, left my own personal, real-life Cheers behind when I moved from San Diego to the Florida Panhandle, I have been a bit blue that I lost my place (cue theme song music)
where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

It has taken some adjustment to find a new coffee shop, grocery store, neighborhood bar, and - most especially - running group. Because for the past six months no one has known my name, or much cared, for that matter.

I am not being overly dramatic here. Most of the people of this fair town have lived their entire lives within a 50-mile radius, and don't have any need to make new friends. The rest of the population, like me, will be here 3 years or less and probably annoy the locals with our constant shuffling in and out. So the locals mostly just ignore us, and I can't say I blame them.

But maybe I spoke too soon?

Tonight, while out at the local pub run, I saw some of the hashers from Sunday night. Not only did they recognize me, they shouted my name across the parking lot, greeted me warmly, and brought me into their group.


After six months of weekly pub runs, someone finally knows my name!

(cue more theme music)

Tonight I glided through the run, and the lighter-than-air feeling had nothing to do with my stride.

If you have never moved away from your hometown before, you might not understand this feeling.

If you have moved far away from home, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Monday, June 20

My running log is better than a diary

Having just written about running while traveling, I started to wonder "how many places have I really run?" And in trying to answer that question, I was drawn down an entirely different path...

Back in June of 2003 I started keeping an Excel spreadsheet of all of my key workouts. (Yes - I know how much of a dork I am!)
My log includes brief notes about where I was running at the time (sometimes very brief... "waterfront" "hills" "lake"... um, where?). I've been a runner for longer, but only really geeked out about it and started the spreadsheet in '03.

So tonight I started looking through my old training logs, and it was a better jog down memory lane than any diary I've ever tried to keep...

I can see my progression over the years, from an 11-minute-mile run/walker to my "slow" long runs being more in the 8-9 range. I can see that I have occasionally had down times - months where my pace slowed or training slacked off - but so far I have always rebounded from those times.

There was also a brief period where I was a triathlete. (But we won't speak of that now as I haven't been on a bike in 3 years...)

Most interestingly, I can see almost 10 years of my history... In the mid-2000s I apparently couldn't get enough of Sedona, AZ. (Really? Did I go there that often?) Before that, I'd fly across the country every 3-4 months to visit my family and while there I'd run in my old neighborhood. But eventually we all smartened up and decided that it was more fun to meet at an interesting destination somewhere in the middle. As a result, I've added runs in New York City and Napa to my list.

I've logged many miles alone. I've also had a few running buddies by my side over the years, some longer than others, but all important in their own way.

I've run in cities, parks, mountains, and on the beach. I've run in 15 states and four countries (besides the US).

On the darker side of the training logs, I can also see a divorce in the making... not because of running, but it's there in the details. Deciding to train for a marathon didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but in hindsight I realize that goal was the only thing keeping me together as my marriage was falling apart. Time pounding the pavement was time with no fighting, lying, or blaming. It put me in control of something when it felt like I had control over nothing...

Then there was the graduate school phase.

Oh, how working full time and going to school full time puts a crimp in miles logged each week! My grad school records are filled with lots of time on machines in the gym so I could study while running. My running (and waistline) suffered for it, but at least I didn't quit!

And then, a few years later, I can see a new phase in the logbook. I met a man who ran with a group called the San Diego Running Meetup (SDR for short). We went on a few dates. He showed up at a race I was running, unannounced. It was hot. I crashed, burned, and sweat like a pig. I was sure he'd look at my abysmal finish time and be convinced that I was lying about being "a runner." He gave me a hug (sweat and all) and took me out for breakfast.

Then he convinced me to join SDR.

Then he convinced me to do track workouts.

Then we did a 10k the day before our wedding.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Sunday, June 19

Hash virgin no longer

In my desperation to find a suitable running group to fill the void I left when I left behind my friends at SDR, I tried a hash.

No, not THAT hash.

A hares and hounds run, organized by a local chapter of the Hash House Harriers. The hashers have a reputation for being a raunchy group (not my style, as I've mentioned before), but one local chapter claimed to be a "kinder, gentler hash-type club." The group's description implied that they are a rowdy, but not rauchy, bunch of running-lovers. It sounded like just what I was looking for, so I laced up and took the plunge.

I'll save the details for a later, when my head is no longer swimming with the after-effects of during- and post-run beers, and I can type without having to concentrate so very hard on making my fingers strike the right keys in the right order.

But I will say this: the East Hill Hare & Hounds Running Club gave me a warm and bawdy (but not R-rated) welcome to the group.

Hashing clearly won't replace any of my training runs (not sure "drink beer at mile 2" is on my training calendar) but it does promise to be a lot of fun.

A note about the photo:
To be clear, for those of you who have never done a hash or "hare and hounds" run... The chalk (shown above) is key to the run. Chalk and/or flour are used to mark a trail. Runners (except for the "hare" who marks the course) have no idea where the trail will lead them -- they have to follow the trail chalk/flour markings -- which is an integral part of the fun!

Saturday, June 18

My how far we have come

When I was born, the marathon was still a men-only event in the Olympics (and no, I'm not that old!) In the era of Title IX it is difficult to remember that less than a generation ago, women were not grated equal access to sports (not to mention certain educational or occupational opportunities). Improvements in gender equity since the 1960s have been rapid, but the effects of gender discrimination linger in subtle ways.

I recently stumbled across this reminder of how much our sport has changed in the past thirty years:
Not until 1984 in Los Angeles would the women's marathon become a sanctioned Olympic event. Joan Benoit Samuelson, the winner, had attended high school in Maine, where women's track teams were not granted varsity status during her freshman and sophomore years. She won the 1975 state championship in the mile -- the longest distance a woman was allowed to run -- but because she insisted on practicing with the boys to improve her times, she was denied the school's most valuable athlete award. "That's when I said to myself, 'I'll show that coach -- I'm going to win an Olympic medal some day,' " Samuelson says. Nine years later she did.
NY Times (1996)

When I read that, I pumped my fist in the air and yelled "Go Joan!" (My cat, who was napping on my desk, was not pleased...)

I highly recommend reading the entire Times article. The piece is now 15 years old, written for the Atlanta Olympics, but is a timeless history of the challenges women have faced just to be able to be runners. If they had not pushed the boundaries of gender, would we be runners today?

One of the most common excuses for excluding women running was that our bodies "couldn't handle it," and that were not as ______ as men (insert "strong," "fast," "smart," "tough," or any number of other adjectives here).

But are women really weaker or slower than men?

Or did they just get a late start?

Today's marathon world record, still held by Paula Radcliffe from the 2003 London Marathon, represents a pace that is equivalent to the fastest man on earth in the early 1960s. And while men's marathon times have remained (from a statistical perspective) roughly stable over the last century, dropping from 2:55 in 1909 to 2:03:59 in 2006, women's times have seen rapid improvement.

Today the differential in men's and women's paces can be measured in seconds per mile, not minutes.

In 1980 only 10 percent of marathon runners were female. In 2009 the proportion reached 41 percent (data from Running USA). The share of women running in shorter races has risen even faster. In the half-marathon distance, women became the majority of runners in 2005.

And, perhaps most interestingly, women who enter ultra-marathons have a substantially higher likelihood of completing the race than male entrants do.

So it is entirely possible that women can be just as fast as men, but got a late start in this game. Granted, there are runners who make a strong argument to the contrary by suggesting that over the last couple of decades the disparity in paces between men and women has remained roughly constant both in the marathon and in other distances.

This is one case where only time will tell.

And I'll keep this in mind next time I'm at the track doing a speed workout.

Chart data source: data compiled by author

Friday, June 17

Book review on the run: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Take a master of the short story, give him a pair of running shoes and a pen. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami is a clever glimpse into the mind of a runner. I regularly found myself nodding along, or smiling an I-know-what-you-mean smile as I raced through the book.

Admittedly, the first few pages sometimes drift into stream-of-consciousness. But, much like a tempo run, the rest of the text is worth the initial slow pace. There are dozens of gems that kept me turning the pages. For example:
For me, running is both exercise and metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself...
In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.
I've never recommended running to others. I've tried my best never to say something like, Running is great. Everybody should try it. If some people have an interest in long-distance running, just leave them be, and they'll start running on their own. If they're not interested in it, no amount of persuasion will make any difference.
If I used being busy as an excuse not to run, I'd never run again. I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished.
Even if the skill level varies, there are things that only runners understand and share.
If those quotes don't convince you to read the book, then Chapter 3, on Murakami's first marathon, should be reason enough to check the book out of your local library. His description of the event, where he ran from Athens to Marathon Greece on his own, makes the reader feel the heat, traffic, and exhaustion of the run... and taste the beer at the end.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the NY Times Reviewer didn't like the book, but he's neither a runner nor has he read any of Murakami's other work. The reviewer's response to his own lack of expertise is a dull "Oh well" and he then plunges into a blandly ranting review that misses almost all of the highlights of the book. Oh well. I don't work for the Times, but I am a runner, and I recommend reading the book anyway.

Thursday, June 16

"Enjoy it while you can"

On my run this morning, I started a little earlier than I usually do. Turning a corner, I passed an older gentleman with a cane. He was out for his own morning constitutional.

In typical southern fashion, he smiled and waved his cane at me. I smiled back and shouted a hearty "good morning!" across the street. He replied with:
Enjoy it while you can! Eventually your knees will go and you'll be doing this! (as he waved his cane in the air and laughed)
I replied:
I'm doing this so my knees will work as long as possible!
And then we both continued on our way.

But it did make me smile.

I have no proof that running will keep me young, but it sure as heck isn't making me any older! I am still in that lovely period of running that late-bloomers enjoy: I am considerably faster in my 30s than I was in my 20s.

I am sure my gentleman neighbor has a point. There is no magic elixir that works like a Fountain of Youth, but there are days when racing through a park still makes me feel like a little kid again. And each new PR makes me feel like my body works better every year instead of worse. I'm going to enjoy those feelings for as long as they last, and thank my neighbor for reminding me to "enjoy it while you can."

Monday, June 13

MWF runner seeks partner for long runs on the trails...

I started my new life on the Florida Panhandle about six months ago, but have made little progress in terms of finding new running buddies. Not that I haven't tried. I feel like Goldilocks, but looking for "just right" has been tougher than Miss G made it seem.

I tried the local pub run: Too little socializing, and too many people half-assing it just to get the beer discount.

So I tried the local ladies' run: Too girlie, even for me. And I love everything about being a female runner. I just don't want to run wearing a tiara. I don't care whose birthday it is. I think their enthusiasm is awesome - the same way I think it is awesome when a couple runs a marathon dressed as Fred and Wilma Flintstone... but that doesn't mean I want to dress up, too.

Next I looked up one of the local hash run groups: Too raunchy, even for me. (And I drop the f-bomb ALL THE TIME... but, seriously, replacing the word "come" with "cum" on a website is not that clever.) And they didn't reply to emails anyway. (Yes, I am getting that desperate!)

In a last-ditch effort, I replied to an ad on Craigslist for someone else who is looking for a running buddy. We'll see what happens. This will either be the start of a beautiful new running adventure, or it won't, or the person is a serial killer.

So if I don't post for awhile...

But seriously, if I do meet up with this runner I'll do all the smart things: meet in a public place, make sure hubby knows where I am and what time I'll be home, use a fake name, carry a taser.

So my question tonight is: When did finding a running partner start to feel like online dating? (And where can a girl get a taser?)

Author's update February 2012: There is a second hash run group in town, and they were just right.

Sunday, June 12

Running with my husband - good for my pace, bad for my ego

This morning I went out for a 4 mile run with my husband. Just before the 2-mile mark, I commented "wow, we've got some speed this morning" as it was the fastest not-on-a-treadmill run I've done in weeks. As I've mentioned before, the heat and humidity are killing my outdoor run pace (and my hair...) but I am keeping up with speedwork at the gym.

I felt like I was pushing myself, and was enjoying my 8:45ish pace.

My husband's response was "I'm just warming up." About 200 yards later he sped off.

So much for feeling speedy.

I used to get frustrated by my hubby's tendency to leave me in the dust. A couple of years ago, in our early dating days, there was one run which we agreed to "run together." A mile into the run, he took off. 30 minutes later I tripped on a tree root sticking out of the trail and tumbled ass over teakettle. When I finally caught up with him at our breakfast place, I was covered in gravel and had a twig stuck in my hair. Furious doesn't begin to describe my state of mind that day... mad because he took off, mad because I couldn't keep up, mad because I was scraped and filthy, and my pride was bruised to boot.

But when I did finally catch up with him, he was waiting patiently for me and was holding a cold glass of water because he knew I'd need one. He took me home and cooked me breakfast while I showered, because I couldn't sit in the restaurant covered in dirt.

Over the years I've learned to accept that he's way faster than me, and probably way faster than I'll ever be. But trying to keep up has made me a better runner. Knowing that he's watching the clock between when he wraps up a run and I when I do means that my ego won't let me take walk breaks. My race times improved, literally, by 2 minutes per mile (even more for the half-marathon) since we started running together.

And he's always waiting for me at the finish line with a cold glass of water...

Saturday, June 11

The dreaded runner's tan

It's that time of year again... the time when I've been out running in the bright sunshine for a few weeks, but have not yet spent much time at the beach or in the pool.

So this weekend, as I put on my bathing suit to go to the beach, I glanced in the mirror and noticed (cue horror movie music) the dreaded runner's tan!

My quads have an equatorial line dividing light from dark. To the south, my legs are a golden tan. To the north, my legs are so blindingly white that people at the beach will have to put their sunglasses on when I walk by.

Is it vain to consider spray-tanning before I go outside in a bathing suit? (Or is it more like a public service?)

Or should I consider the runner's tan a badge of honor?

Running like a girl...

This is one of my all-time favorite running slogans.

I am rarely sucked into buying things at race expos, but after seeing this car magnet several races in a row, I decided I had to have one.

You can get your very own magnet or sticker from the clever people at One More Mile Running. (And no, they are not paying me to write this. I just found their products too amusing to keep them all to myself.)

Thursday, June 9

Two sisters, on their own two feet, supporting a great cause

Starting June 25, 2011, two sisters from New Jersey (Lori and Holly) will use their strength and endurance to raise awareness and funds for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs that provide volunteers to watch over and serve as advocates for abused and neglected children.

To accomplish this noble goal the women will cover 363 miles of the Oregon coast on foot. Both sisters have been training for months to prepare for their journey, each covering 800 miles in the past six months. That's an average of more than 33 miles per week just in preparation for the fundraiser!

So what is CASA?
The National CASA Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) network of 1,000 program offices that recruit, train and support volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the legal and social service system.

Why is this important?
CASA volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives. Independent research has demonstrated that children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to reenter care.

And why are the sisters doing this?
To quote the sisters...
It’s hard to imagine that not every child in this country grows up in a safe, stable and loving home. Last year, CASA programs assisted more than 237,000 children in foster care in the United States.

Lori and Holly know how fortunate they are to have come from a home with two loving parents who supported them every step of the way through life’s unpredictable twists and turns. Now, they will take this journey together to offer their support to those in need.

How can I help?
By visiting the sister's donation page, you can make a donation to:
Essex County CASA
Voices for Children (San Diego)

Please note "Two Sisters" in the memo line if you send a check.

Wednesday, June 8

Running in the buff

Running naked?

First the barefoot movement took hold, and now the month of June has turned into barea$$ running month. Did I miss a memo?

I'm not a prude. I swear. But this month's slate of news stories and advertisements has me wondering "how can that be comfortable?"

First, there's the streaker guy who ran naked through a neighborhood in Kansas.

Then I pick up the June issue of Runner's World to see a cover story about a clothing-optional duathlon in Pennsylvania, known as the Bare Hare Duathlon. Ok. Fine. I found the nude racing section in Bart Yasso's My Life On The Run to be amusing, if not necessarily something I wanted to emulate. I'm not so sure about riding a bike in the buff, either, but to each their own.

And since good things come in threes, there is the new Vibram "You Are The Technology" ad that cleverly depicts people in their Vibrams and a birthday suit, with the slogan "you are the technology" in the online ad campaign and "less shoe, more you" in print. The ads, as you can see, are definitely attention-grabbing.


As a female runner I have to wonder whether or not this can possibly be comfortable?

I mean, what about the bouncy bits? How long can you run comfortably without some sort of motion control (and I'm not talking shoes here, people).

Sunday, June 5

San Diego Rock n Roll marathon memories

Today, as I'm sitting at my keyboard 2,000 miles away from home, I'm tracking my running buddies at the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll marathon. This is bittersweet for me, as Rock 'n' Roll was my first marathon five years ago, and I've either run or cheered at most of the races since then.

The city of San Diego feels like a festival on marathon day, and I miss the surging crowds, the faces of the runners digging deep to get in the last few miles, and the camaraderie among the finishers. Oh, and I dearly miss Balboa Park. In all the races I've run, I've never found a prettier place to start a run.

However, rather than letting long distance (the bad, you need-to-get-in-a-plane kind... not the good, long-run-on-a-Sunday kind) get me down, I've used remote marathon fever to help me pick a few half marathons for the fall.

Go runners!

Friday, June 3

Fabulous photo of 1800s running couture.

In surfing for photos to illustrate another blog post, I came across this gem and just had to share.

This photo made me smile because even in the days when doctors warned women that their (supposedly) frail little bodies couldn't handle running - women still ran!

I can barely keep my hair in a ponytail while running... I can't imagine trying to keep a bonnet on straight. Oh, and those shoes! My feet ache just thinking about running in those pointy, heeled torture traps!

Thankfully today's fashion trends more toward t-shirts and shorts, not skirts with petticoats. (Unless, of course, it's a red dress run.)
Photographer: Eadweard J. Muybridge (1830-1904)
Photo date: circa 1884-1887
Source: George Easton House Collection

Wednesday, June 1

National Running Day

So there's now a day, a week, or a month of "awareness" for just about every group, nationality, religion, disease prevention campaign, dollar denomination, fruit, vegetable, breed of dog, brand of laundry detergent, and color of the rainbow. But put your party hats on, people, because June 1st is National Running Day!

And let's face it, National Running Day is quite possibly the only national-something-day that you are going to celebrate by doing something you do almost every day anyway.

So here's to the 43 million of us who admit to being runners.

And, most importantly, the event helps to support a good cause, Shoes That Fit.