Tuesday, July 31

Postcards from St. Augustine

Greetings from sunny St. Augustine!
(This postcard is arriving a bit late, since I just sent one from Jacksonville last week, and the two cities differ enough to warrant their own posts. I hope you enjoy part deaux of the Florida east coast adventure.)

Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is one of the oldest* continuously settled (by Europeans) cities in the United States.
One of St. Augustine's many historic homes
*For the record, I am highly suspicious of anything in the United States that claims to be the "oldest" anything. I am fairly certain that native peoples lived here for hundreds of years before any Europeans figured out this wasn't India. That said, St. Augustine has historical tourism in spades - as long as that tourism starts with Columbus and ignores whomever the Spanish evicted.
My favorite slice of history was the Castillo de San Marcos, a fort that was attacked repeatedly, but never fell to foreign invaders. Despite many sieges over the centuries, changes in ownership were all handled by treaty as the city passed from Spanish to British to Spanish to American hands. (There may have been some other hands involved in there, but you get the idea.)

If you look closely at the fort's soft stone walls, you can see ancient graffiti left behind by former inhabitants. An enthusiastic volunteer spent 20 minutes showing us the tracings - ships, crosses, initials - carved by former soldiers and citizens who "lived" in the fortress when the city was under attack.
Inside the Castillo de San Marcos
As you can imagine in an old and tourist-oriented city, there are advantages and disadvantages for runners. The streets of downtown St. Augustine are narrow - barely wide enough for cars - and the pavement is uneven. If you run through the older parts of the city keep an eye and ear out for passing cars and tour trolleys. Also, plan to run early in the morning. Before 10am the tourists are still (mostly) sleeping.
One of the many pedestrian-clogged streets, which seem to get
crowded at mid-day and stay busy well into the night
There are quieter (read: more runner-friendly) neighborhoods closer to the water. Those beach communities are accessible from downtown via the Bridge of Lions.

Early one morning Hubby and I ran a 5.5 mile loop from the historic district, over the bridge...
One of the stone lions for which the bridge is named
Past the St. Augustine Alligator Farm...
How often do you see a 30-foot alligator sunning herself on the side of the road?
To the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
St. Augustine lighthouse
At the salt marsh near the lighthouse, I asked Hubby if he saw anyplace where we could refill my now-empty water bottle. We saw a public restroom and headed for it, hoping for a water fountain. A middle-aged, weather-worn man and his wife overheard and warned us that the water quality was less than desirable. It was only good (their words, not mine) for relieving constipation. (At least they warned us! It would have been a loooooong drive home to Pensacola otherwise.)

Better water, they said, could be found at the sink (often used for fish cleaning) on a nearby pier. While it might seem counterintuitive to refill drinking water at a fish cleaning station, the sink is used continually, which means the water does not sit, sluggish and breeding bacteria, in the pipes.

As we talked, I noticed a smudge high on the man's left cheek.

When we got closer, the outlines of the smudge came into focus, and I realized it was a tattoo. A big, blue, teardrop tattoo. This brief conversation about the relative merits of local water sources is now, and will probably remain, the most helpful chat I ever have with a murderer. (Maybe I'm wrong... Maybe the guy got really drunk one night, stumbled into the wrong tattoo parlor, and now can't afford laser removal? Anything is possible, right?)

Armed with knowledge about where to get water, Hubby and I took a few photos of the marsh, looped through a quiet residential neighborhood, and headed back toward our hotel. On the return trip I cruised past the Castillo.

Stopped for a photo at the city gates....
St. Augustine city gates
And finished with a sprint down the pedestrian street that runs through old town. This last stretch took me past the oldest wooden schoolhouse, which was blissfully tourist-crowd-free at 9am.
Oldest wooden schoolhouse
(This is the same street as the crowded photo, above, but at 9am. Most tourists sleep in.)
See route map here.

All in all, it was a great weekend getaway!

For other travel posts, see Places to Run.

Where did you run last weekend?

Monday, July 30

Morning motivation

Study after study confirms what many of us may already suspect: the path to happiness is not paved with gold.

It's paved with good deeds and kindness to others.

So let's go out and do good things today!

Friday, July 27

Weekly roundup: Friday potluck

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluck!

I'm not sure that counts as a "sport"

I thought I had heard of all of the crazy sports in the world. After all, I know about the world sauna championship and toe wrestling. But NPR (as usual) proved me sadly under-informed with their photo journal of wacky events.
Image source
For the record, I might go back to triathlon if I could ride a big wheel instead of a bike - especially down Lombard Street in San Francisco!

Beverage of choice

We all should be glad sports drinks have evolved since 1908 when Dorando Pietri drank poison (strychnine) as a performance "enhancer." (I'm going to thank Viper for that piece of trivia and the other fascinating details in his history of the 1908 Olympic marathon.)
For more Olympic history, the Daily Mirror has a dose of 1908 trivia.

Hungry mouths to feed

For most of history "good food" and London were not heard in the same sentence, unless it was a joke. In fact, I recall meals in London being mostly bland and overcooked (unless I was dining on Indian curry or some other non-British dish). However, Olympic organizers are pulling out all the stops to provide more than 14 million healthy, tasty, and locally-sourced meals to competitors and spectators over the course of the Games.

Funny, but true...

...the depressingly honest truth about every photo on Instagram

Source: happyplace.com via Beth on Pinterest

Technology to the rescue

Ever been on a bad date? A date so bad you wished your phone would ring with a family emergency to whisk you away from the situation?

Now there's an app for that.
Image source
This claims-to-be stealthy new addition to the arsenal of bad date rescue apps is from eHarmony... which seems sort of hypocritical if you think about it, no?

Quote of the week:
"‎My sport is your sport's punishment."
as seen on hundreds of t-shirts

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, July 26

Thursday thanks

Top 10 things I'm thankful for this week...

10. Flights that are on time.

9. Cool and dry San Diego weather - the best running weather in the world.

8. Hipsters.*

7. Still being interested in my job after more than a decade (even if some most days it makes me crazy).

6. My eReader (so many books and work documents to pack - so little space!)

5. The chatty, friendly, delightful woman who sat next to me on the flight from DFW to San Diego.(I hope you enjoy your aunt's 75th birthday party!)

4. Burritos.

3. Hoppy Southern California IPAs.

2. Waking up with no horrible hangover this morning.

1. Strong, freshly-brewed coffee.

*Because the "hipster phenomenon" was the subject of a heated and thoroughly entertaining debate at dinner last night...

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, July 24

Postcards from Jacksonville

Greetings from Jacksonville, Florida!
Jacksonville Beach, FL
Last week I flew into Jacksonville, spent a day there, then headed on to St. Augustine (postcard from The Ancient City to follow next week).

Hubby and I both had work to do while we were in JAX, so our touristing was limited. We carved out some time to go running and to go out to eat. Dinner at Clark's Fish Camp was by far the most noteworthy experience of this trip.
Clark's Fish Camp, Jacksonville, FL
Located on the edge of a riverside swamp, Clark's is the only restaurant I've ever been to with alligator on the menu, alligators swimming in the water outside, and a 5-foot long "pet" gator lounging in a tank in the lobby.
Clark's Fish Camp
Clark's is also notorious for an amazing array of taxidermy. I'll admit that it was a little creepy being watched by a herd of antelope while I was eating an antelope appetizer (but not creepy enough to go vegetarian).

Despite the list of unique dishes, the food was surprisingly boring. The hush puppies and black eyed peas were excellent, but the boudin was bland. That said, dinner at Clark's is one I will not soon forget.
Clark's Fish Camp
I did sneak in a couple of quick runs while I was in Jacksonville, but given that I was mostly in the suburbs, the routes were nothing to write home about.

My best run-while-traveling photo was from a boardwalk through the swamps. Under the boardwalk hundreds of fiddler crabs skittered along in the mud. The crabs were an incredible sight - one that I'm glad I witnessed - but I have never been so happy to be on an elevated walkway.
Boardwalk through swamp in Jacksonville
For other travel posts, see Places to Run.

Where did you run last weekend?

Monday, July 23

Morning motivation

Here's a dose of motivation to start the week off on the right foot.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 22

Recommended reading

This week's recommended reading theme: good deeds
Source: dispatch.com via Beth on Pinterest

What good deed have you read about or witnessed lately?

For more book reviews and other recommended reading, see Book Reviews on the Run.

Friday, July 20

Weekly roundup: Friday potluck

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluck!

First, like a good host, I'll provide the food and drink:

Or, in this case, mostly drink...

Duct tape fixes everything.

XLMIC found a duct-taped car and clearly spent the better part of an afternoon composing the perfect photo collage of evidence. The duct-taper's attention to detail is priceless...

How rude!

Tired of poor cell phone etiquette?
So is everyone else.
Unfortunately, we probably all are guilty of at least one of the infractions listed on the 10 musts-dos for digital manners.

Is your password... "monkey?"

Chances are, your favorite password, or your next-door-neighbor's favorite password, involves a monkey, qwerty, or the word "password." If so change it now. The list of most common passwords from the Yahoo leak is eerily similar to the Gawker breach in 2010. (TheGeekStuff provides some suggestions on how to build a better password.)


Last week I mentioned the amazing weight lifting feats of then un-sponsored Olympic athlete, Sarah Robles. This week I am pleased to report that Robles (finally) has solid financial support. She and archer Brady Ellison are now sponsored by Solve Media.

Making my ears happy:

I was listening to a favorite Pandora station while blogging this week, and was pleasantly surprised when this track by Radio Citizen popped up. I hadn't heard this song before, but I will definitely play it again.

Quote of the week:
‎Most people never get there. They're afraid or unwilling to demand enough of themselves and take the easy road, the path of least resistance. But struggling and suffering, as I now saw it, were the essence of a life worth living. If you're not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you're not constantly demanding more from yourself—expanding and learning as you go—you're choosing a numb existence. You're denying yourself an extraordinary trip.
Dean Karnazes

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, July 19

Thursday thanks (anniversary)

It has been one year since I posted my first weekly note of gratitude under the heading Thursday thanks.

50-something* notes later, I can say with certainty that this weekly writing exercise forced me to look for the silver lining even on gloomy days.

I'll be honest, there were some days when it was more difficult to find that silver than others. Just because I post a positive thought each week does not mean life is always wine and roses here. Job stress, deaths in the family, uncertainty about where we'll be moving next year, and angst about living so far away from my closest friends were just a few of the hurdles to jump over the past twelve months.

But having a writing "deadline" nudged me to look for the wine and the roses when I might otherwise have poured a stiff drink, pulled the covers over my head, and moped.

Some days my gratitude was sweeping and universal. On other days I tried to find joy in tiny, every day conveniences.

Here are some of my favorites, big and small:

*Note: I posted one double-duty "thanks" to cover two weeks.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, July 17

Rhode Island running

Welcome to the state where I grew up!
Today's post is a long-overdue addition to the running travel guide series.
Image source
The tiny state of Rhode Island, which is the smallest state with the longest name,* is a runner's paradise with miles of bike path and hiking trails. (I suspect the state has more miles of bike path per capita than any other state, but I'm still digging up the data to verify my hunch.)

Here are just a few of my favorite places to run in Lil Rhody.

Coastal Communities
  • Barrington, Bristol:
    • The East Bay Bike Path is a 14.5 mile route that hugs the coast between Providence to Bristol. The route is flat, with plenty of views out over the water, but is less shady than other bike paths in the state.
    • Colt State Park is another local running favorite.
  • Kingston, North Kingstown, South Kingstown:
    • One of my favorite places to run in the southern part of Rhode Island is the William C. O'Neill Bike Path (known to locals as the "South County Bike Path"). The route is shady and flat, with plenty of varied scenery (from woods to marshes and through tiny, quaint New England towns).
  • Narragansett:
    • No run in Narragansett would be complete without a run along the sea wall, past the Coast Guard House and under The Towers. The local newspaper, the Narragansett Patch, offers several suggestions for specific running routes.
    • Narragansett Towers seen in the distance from Narragansett Beach
  • Newport:
    • The 3.5 mile Cliff Walk is a tourist attraction that also brings out plenty of locals. Just beware that while the path is flat and easily navigable in most places, there are a few spots with uncertain footing. Walk, don't run, those spots. This route is best early in the morning or on weekdays when tourist crowds are light.
      View from the Cliff Walk in Newport
    • Also, consider meeting up with the Fun on the Run (social run club) group or the Newport Run & Chug Club.
  • Cranston, Warwick:
    • The Tuesday Night Turtles meet every week for a run, starting from Pawtuxet Park. The group also hosts weekly Sunday runs.
  • Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket:
    • The Blackstone River Bikeway is my go-to spot for running in northern Rhode Island. Nearly 50 miles in length, the path offers flat and shaded out-and-back run options of any distance.
      Bridge over the Blackstone River
      Blackstone River
    • The 2.5 mile route around Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods is another local favorite and offers a hillier workout.
  • Providence:
    • If you're going to be in Providence, Waterplace Park is a tempting place to run, but the cobblestone walkways are rough on the ankles. Save the park for a stroll during one of the summertime WaterFire events.
      Waterplace Park during WaterFire
    • Instead, hit the East Side for a hilly run through historic residential neighborhoods and the Brown University campus.
    • For a less hilly but equally beautiful run, the locals head to Blackstone Blvd, a tree-lined street with a wide pedestrian path that runs the length of the oversized median.

Other Rhode Island Running Resources:
  • The Rhode Island Road Runners organize weekly workouts in Smithfield and Johnston, and host a series of races throughout the year.
  • You can find a detailed list of Rhode Island running clubs from Running in the USA

*The official name of the state is "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." And while we're talking about names and trivia... No matter what they tell you on Family Guy, there is no town of Quahog (but there are plenty of similarities between the cartoon and real-life places).
Image source

Are you involved in a Rhode Island running group, or do you have a favorite running route that is not listed here? Send me the info and I'll add it to the list.

For more reviews of running routes and other travel information, see Places I've Run.

Monday, July 16

Morning motivation

Here's a dose of motivation to start the week off on the right foot.

Quote: attributed to Jim Watkins
Photo: Author's photo from Yosemite National Park

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 15

Book review on the run: I Run, Therefore I am Nuts

A few weeks ago Bob Schwartz sent a copy of I Run, Therefore I Am--Nuts! to me to read and review. I've been slowly chuckling my way though the series of essays.

Schwartz's self-deprecating sense of humor is amusing. I found myself nodding along knowingly with passages such as "The Runner's Better Half" about the trials and tribulations runners' spouses endure. Likewise I laughed at "Send in the Clowns" about the increasingly ridiculous antics and entertainment at every mile marker of major distance races.

Schwartz also pulls no punches in the range of topics he covers. He admits that runners' sense of decorum drops as soon as we put on wicking material. Smearing vaseline or bodyglide on in front of hundreds of other people? Sure! Sniffly nose? Skip the tissue and blow a snot rocket! And what runner hasn't had an intense and detailed conversation about bathroom functions?

While the writing style is too conversational to win any Pulitzer prizes, the book is entertaining and a worthy addition to any crazy runner's collection.

I particularly liked the short essay format of the book. I could read a chapter or two on my lunch break without feeling like I was going to lose the train of a story when I had to put the book down and return to work.

Rating: PR

Recommended for: Runners who enjoy commiserating over 4am race-day wakeup calls, black toenails, and other "crazy" runner stuff. You can get a sample of Schwartz's writing on his blog.

Rating system:
BQ = best quality (or Boston Qualifier)
PR = pleasant read (or Personal Record)
DNF = did not finish (or Did Not Finish)

For more book reviews and other recommended reading, see Book Reviews on the Run.

Friday, July 13

Weekly roundup: Friday potluck

Welcome to another installment of the weekly roundup we all know and love: Friday potluck!

Size matters!

Thanks to Dr. Pete Larson of Runblogger and Tread Lightly fame for summarizing a new research study titled "Bouncing Breasts: A Credible Area of Scientific Research" (Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, July 2012). Stop snickering! It's legitimate science!

In all seriousness, several female scientists evaluated the relationship between breast size and motion while running. Their scientific verdict: the bigger the boobs, the more proper support matters.
(Um... I could've told 'em that.)

Fortunately the more detailed scientific analysis will be used to build a better sports bra.

And continuing with the 8th grade humor theme...

Sweat isn't smelly!

The next time someone complains about your post-run odor, tell that person it's not your fault. Sweat has no odor. We should all blame the bacteria who feed on our perspiration.

It's a bad week to be named Kaleb.

This week two Florida teenagers, both (oddly enough) named Kaleb, were bitten by alligators. Fortunately both boys survived to tell their harrowing tales.

Do you know what to do to avoid becoming alligator food?

Why we shouldn't assume "average" means "all"

Women, on average, have lower muscle mass and higher body fat percentage than men. As a result, we've segregated our athletic endeavors and awards systems. We tend to think of women as gymnasts and men as weigh lifters.

But sometimes people buck the trend in spectacular fashion. Consider Billie Jean King, Ann Trason, and now world-class weight lifter Sarah Robles. Robles outranks any American weightlifter (man or woman).

Despite her talent, there are no endorsement deals headed Robles' way. According to Buzzfeed, Robles can lift more in pounds (560+) than she makes in money ($400) each month. Olympic dreams will never make her rich, but she competes anyway for the love of the sport. (To learn more, read Robles' blog.)

How to protect yourself from the plagiarist pirates:

Have you ever had your blog content re-posted without your consent? This has happened to me on more than one occasion. IFB offers suggestions for how to deal with plagiarist pirates.

Quote of the week:
‎"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too."
Richard O’Brien

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, July 12

Thursday thanks

This week I took Monday off of work to spend the day at the beach with Hubby, a niece and two of our nephews. We chased fish, collected seashells, and built sand castles.

Finding a $10 bill underwater was just icing on the cake.

That's plenty to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 11

Weirdest workout fad ever?

Meet the 2010s answer to the Thigh Master: Kangoo Jumps.
Image source
Just when the running community is going gaga over minimalist shoes, some mad scientist flips a switch in the opposite direction and markets a pair of shoes with a pogo spring on the bottom.

The Kangoo Jump marketing staff must be working overtime because raves are pouring out of Oprah's magazine and the Huffington Post. Even the Kardashians have (*cough* conveniently) been seen sporting the springy shoes. (I wonder how much the media darlings were paid for the photo op? Because we all know that no Kardashian would be seen in those shoes without a check in the mail...)

My least favorite quote from this video:
"So I can run one mile, and I can tell everyone I ran two miles?"
Um, yes, honey. You hold onto that dream.
I'll keep my running shoes as-is, thanks.

We should start taking bets on how long this fad lasts before someone breaks an ankle and sues...

So... what's your take on this new gadget? Fun or a fad?
What's the weirdest workout or gadget you've ever tried?

One word Wednesday


Tuesday, July 10

July cross training pays off!

Back in January, I decided to try Kim's New 2 U Cross Training Challenge. Seven months later, the program has paid off in more ways than one.

I've been promising myself for months that I'd "get back in the water." I used to swim laps regularly and could be found paddling around the beaches of San Diego whenever the weather was nice (read: always). Since moving, I've done a little kayaking, but have largely turned into a landlubber.

Blame the BP oil spill and ever-present tarballs for that.

Fortunately the CTC gave me the nudge I needed to get back in the water. Relatives came out to visit for a long weekend, so when we packed up for the beach, I made sure to pack my snorkel.

For the record, snorkeling might be the only thing I love more than running. I love exploring the underwater world, and the feeling of weightlessness in the water has no comparison on land. I could swim with the fish for hours and not get bored.

Why did I leave my snorkel at home for so long?!

Just being out in the ocean again would have been reward enough from this cross training challenge. But the universe threw in a little bonus.

I followed a school of fish, then paddled out into deeper water. While floating offshore, I noticed a piece of paper undulating in the current.

Then I realized it was green...
$10 bill found while snorkeling
While my nieces and nephews were digging up sand dollars close to shore, I dove to take a closer look at my piece of paper. I found a ten dollar bill!

Snorkeling for cash joins the list of other cross training triumphs:
Have you ever found anything really interesting while out on a run, swim, bike ride, or hike?

Monday, July 9

Postcards from San Sebastian (guest post)

Even in cities I've visited often, I haven't run every local trail. So, I've enlisted help from resident experts to round out the running travel guides series known as "postcards."

Today, we're headed to the city of San Sebastian in Spain, where Christine (Traditional Life in Progress) will be our tour guide:

About a year ago (July 13th to be exact) I enrolled in a Spanish language program in San Sebastian, Spain. To be completely honest, I had never heard of said city, and decided to go based off of my well-traveled brother-in-law’s suggestion. And what a magnificent suggestion! I was lucky enough to spend nearly 6 weeks in this amazing small city, where the surf was great (not that I can surf well) the food was amazing, and the people were genuine.
View of San Sebastian

Although I’d like to keep San Sebastian all to myself, I know that it isn’t realistic. Thankfully it’s a bit tricky to get to which will keep it off the beaten path just a bit.

But if you’re going to go, you should do it correctly.

The best breakfast and service in town is at Mapaal’s Bar which is not partially close to anything other than Lacunza language school and the train station. But Paco (the bartender and I assume owner) makes a mean tortilla and never forgets a coffee order.

The two best non-kept secrets for dinner are Astlena and La Cuchilla de San Telmo (both of which are recommended in Lonely Planet).

As for night life, I fell in love with a bar/club called Ezpala. It is nothing special, and was probably only fun because all of my classmates went there every Thursday night. But if you like to dance in basement bars, you have found your haven. On nights that didn’t include my beloved Ezpala, were spent in the square on a patio enjoying some red wine. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Aside from eating and drinking (which you’ll do a lot in San Sebastian as it has more Michelin stars than almost any other city in the world) there are plenty of fun healthy activities to be done, surfing is quite popular as well as swimming and kayaking in the bay. There is a river that runs to the outskirts of the city that has a path alongside it, making for good running or biking.
Monte Urgull Mendia 
One of my favorite activities was walking up Monte Urgull Mendia which was a challenging walk but offered beautiful views, and many runners run around Monte Urgull (examples here and here).
Sunset from Monte Urgull Mendia
I also enjoyed the long walk around the bay to see the famous Wind Comb, or Peine del Viento, a sculpture by artist Eduardo Chillida. (You can find one proposed running route to the sculpture here.)
Wind combs in San Sebastian

If you ever find yourself in Spain, it’s worth the detour to see this magnificent city.

Do you have any questions for Christine?
What's the most beautiful place you've ever run?

Sunday, July 8

Time on your feet and tackling 26.2

Yesterday I planned to run long.

I woke up at 5:45 to "beat the heat" (whatever that means when it's already 80 degrees and 90 percent humidity at 6am). Unfortunately I knew I was going to have a dragging-arse day before my feet even hit the floor.

Most mornings I look forward to my long runs. Yesterday neither my head nor my hydration were in the game. (Yes, I know long runs are 90% mental. Yes, I tried every motivation trick in the books. I was still dehydrated and unmotivated.)

Ultimately I got out the door by promising myself that I could walk some... as long as I got out the door. My planned "16 miles or bust!" turned into a somewhat underwhelming "16 miles or 2 hours and 45 minutes, whichever comes first."

Thrilling, no?
Surely the Olympic marathon trials are in my future...

But, in all honesty, sometimes time on your feet is as important as covering a set distance.

And I'm not just saying that to justify a lackluster run.

In my case, I'm working on base-building before marathon training begins in earnest. Hitting a goal pace is less important right now than just getting my body used to being on the move for 3+ hours. Also, I'd like to not hate running (or get injured) before marathon training starts. Forcing a certain pace and distance at this point in the training cycle would be foolish.

Oh wait...
I haven't told you about marathon training yet?

Until now, I've only mentioned this to a handful of people...
I've signed up to lead a pace group for marathon training. This means 16 weeks of 5am wakeup calls. Plus, I not only need to run, I need to run evenly, consistently, and strongly enough to lead others on each and every run.

No pressure.

To be honest, I'm both excited and (more than a little) nervous about this. I've trained for dozens of races before (from 5k to marathon to Olympic distance triathlon) but I've always trained alone. I was only responsible for getting myself across the finish line. If I had a great day, I could roll with it. If I had a bad day, only I would be affected.

I've also led running groups before, but for shorter distances, and with few specific time goals. If I had a fast day, I could lead the pack. If I needed a rest day, I could hang back and someone else would step in to lead.

This marathon training program is new territory.

I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Have you ever trained with a group before? Coached group runs?
What's the best running advice you've ever received?

Friday, July 6

Weekly roundup: Friday potluck

Welcome to another weekly roundup: the Friday potluck!

First, some summer fun:

You may have seen sand sculptures, but these 15 works of art take the cake for geekiest day at the beach.... Ever.
Sand sculpture on the beach in Barcelona

Oddball Olympic events:

Since most of us did not qualify for the US Olympic Track and Field Team, maybe we should lobby to bring back one of the sports that have been cut from the Games over the years? Tug of war, anyone?

Duckface has a purpose!

Facebook is using facial recognition software to suggest (to other users) that they should tag you in photos, including those uploaded by others.

Finally, duckface has a purpose!

You know, that race photo from 5 years ago in which you're dry-heaving at the finish line? That might pop up in a coworker's news feed. That awkward keg-stand picture? Yep. Mom might see a suggestion to tag you in that one.

Fortunately, Slate.com offers tips on how to change the settings and prevent your name from popping up in awkward situations.

The truth about Title IX

Apparently some people think that by ensuring women's equal access to sports, we've taken opportunities away from men. Rather than just laugh at this illogical thinking, the Society Pages dug up the data to prove that participation has increased for both women and men since Title IX was signed into law.

Recommended reading eating:

I saw these Sweet Potato Corn Cakes in my blog reader this week... These will definitely be on the menu at Chez Run-Like-A-Girl tonight.
Image source

Quote of the week:
"The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination."
John Bingham

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, July 5

Thursday thanks: sweat therapy

Today I'm thankful for...
sweat therapy.

Last night I had a restless night of "sleep" punctuated by midnight shouts of drunken revelers and 2am pops of fireworks. This morning I wanted nothing more than to pull the covers back over my head and snooze until Saturday. I awoke exhausted and unmotivated.

I certainly did not want to go to work today. (Ignore that my office is only 2 doors down from my bedroom. It's still work.) I know I am not unique. In fact, I'll bet you know exactly the kind of morning I'm talking about.

My morning felt like the "Case of the Mondays" scene from Office Space:
The only difference being, it's Thursday, not Monday.

So I slept in as late as I could then started a pot of coffee. While my coffee brewed, I debated whether or not to go out for a run.

Still unmotivated, I promised myself that I could just walk for 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes I was still feeling lackluster, I'd return home and wallow in my coffee cup until it was time to log on for work.

So I laced up my shoes, stepped out the door, and started walking...

10 minutes turned into 15.

I noticed the sun was shining.

15 turned into 20.

I started moving faster - nearly a run.

20 turned into 30.

My cloud of gloom finally lifted, as did the corners of my mouth.

I returned home after 45 minutes with a smile on my face and sweat on my brow.

So today I'm thankful for sweat therapy.

Exercise might not fix all problems, but it sure can help when we need a little attitude adjustment!

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 4

Independence Day racing streak

Happy Independence Day to my U.S. readers!*
Fireworks over Lake Union in Seattle, WA
This morning Hubby and I went for a run together, but for the first time since we started dating, we did not race on the Fourth of July. We did, however, keep our Independence Run streak alive by running a Firecracker 5k on Saturday.

Over the years we've run (some more than once)...
  • Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10k in San Diego, CA remains one of my favorite races of all time. The course is net-downhill (read: serious PR potential) and is organized not by a major event organizer but by a local group of athletes (read: every detail a runner could hope for is included in this race).
  • Firecracker 5000 in Seattle, WA is unique because it is the very first race on the Fourth of July. The event starts on July 3, a few minutes before midnight, so runners cross the finish line in the early morning hours of July 4th. Racing so late at night is exhilarating, but also makes for some interesting logistical challenges. (What do you eat for pre-race dinner? Hint: not salad!) After running this race in 2010, Hubby and I tried to grab a post-run beer but were greeted with shouts of "last call!" at the bar.
  • Independence 5000 in Fort Worth, TX is, by far, the hottest Fourth of July race we've run so far. But the heat beat down other runners more than it beat me down. Hello age group award!<
  • Firecracker 5k in Pensacola, FL is a fun, hometown event with an excellent after-party. While not always held on the Fourth of July, this race served as our Independence run for 2012 because all of the other "local" races were at least an 50 miles from home...
Inflatable Lady Liberty "statue" at Gasworks Park in Seattle, WA
Do you race on holidays?
Do you have any running streaks or running traditions?

*And apologies to the Brits for what I'm sure sounds like a lot of gloating on this side of the Big Pond today...