Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring into Summer Skiing

I know I should quit it with the skiing information but I was too excited when I read some skiing related news yesterday. And in a most unusual location. While most resorts have shuttered the skiing until November, there are still some resorts open for business for skiers and boarders. Utah and Colorado are the typical locations, but California? Yep, shocking that a state offering a warm climate everywhere but the mountains--even the Bay area reaching highs in the 80s last week--would still have snow. But with the massive snowfalls gracing Mammoth and Squaw Valley this winter--remember the four-foot snowfall from early March?--the mountains will be open through May.

Much to my disbelief--and more likely my naivete--Mammoth plans to stay open through Memorial Day with several skiable acres for skiers and boarders to spread out and plan in the snow. They'll also stay open until June if conditions allow. Hmm, should I be planning a trip out west? I'm liking the spring weather at home, but I can always use an excuse to pull the skis out of storage. And to really twist my arm, Squaw Valley plans to stay open until May 10. This year, the resort received 10 more inches than its seasonal average of 450 inches, and at the higher altitudes the base depth is still over 100 inches. Sheesh, where was this snow in Colorado when I wanted it back in March (really no hard feelings, I still had a blast).

So if the ski season flopped on your this winter and you're still itching to get in some runs. It's really not too late. And you can still work on your tan--maybe even wear a few less layers than you would in January or February. Photo grabbed from bmiersma at flickr. Posted by Kate

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wiki for Runners

I don't know about you, but I'm all for Wikipedia. Whenever I need quick biographical details on a person, place or thing, I find myself typing in wiki... into my browser without even pausing to Google it or use a search engine or go to an "official site." I realize this can one day get me in trouble by not getting all of the facts straight, but I trust that the information I'm seeking is accurate for the most part: the year someone was born, the last five Tour de France winners, quick details on the 2016 Olympics selection process. If I've missed the final weigh-ins on the Biggest Loser (my favorite part and I'm usually walking home from the gym during a portion of it) and can't wait for NBC to load the episode online, want to know who was eliminated on America's Next Top Model or Top Chef before catching the rerun, or am curious about events that happened on a specific day of the year, Wikipedia is my go-to source.

While I turn to Wikipedia for catching up on my reality TV shows and quick answers to random questions that pop into my head, I'm all over the board when it comes to my running, triathlon, skiing and cycling facts. Until now, that is. Runner's World is devoted to creating a RunPedia for visitors to its site. It uses the general platform for wiki, is added to and edited by runners, and is growing with articles submitted by runners on topics covering all aspects of the sport. Want to know about Robert K. Cheriuyot? Searching for runners slang or the mileage equivalents to kilometer-measured races? Find it all at the RunPedia or suggest adding it on your own if you don't see it among the topics currently covered. The goal is to make the RunPedia an A to Z guide to running and slowly but surely it's getting there. There's just a ton of information out there. Photo grabbed from Todd Mecklem at flickr. Posted by Kate

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 4/28

I feel like I've been at a loss for words the past few days. Motivated to embrace the springtime weather but I'll give a blank stare to the computer screen. Yes, at least for me, Kara Goucher mania has left the building. And for no reason in particular because I still marvel at what she did last week in Boston, but I feel like if I keep thinking about it I'm either going to make myself crazy with my own running (since I'm just now starting to pick up the mileage after four months off) or I'm going to bore your eyes with too many details related to a race that's already more than a week old and making it into the archives. So without further ado, here are a few random links that caught my eye the past few days when the words weren't churning:
  • London's marathon proved to be fast once again on Sunday. Sammy Wanjiru who won the gold medal in the marathon at the Beijing Olympics in August captured the win in London--and in course record time.
  • With warmer weather starting to make an appearance, many would argue it's time to start thinking about prepping those bodies for lighter layers and beach season. Start shedding the pounds--up to 12 in two weeks--with this new workout from Prevention.
  • Can sugar be to blame for the numbers stuck on your scale? Joy Bauer takes a look at sugar substitutes like stevia, Splenda, and Equal and how they could be hurting more than helping your waistline.
  • Check out this wild routine at Daily Candy. It's far more circus than it is exercise but it does promise to increase your balance, strength and coordination.
  • For the shoppers out there--and to feed my own window-shopping eyes--Moosejaw has some new gear for spring and sale and clearance merchandise to stock up for winter's ugly return. Let's just hope we don't have to think about that any time soon and focus on the bright colors, tees and fun patterns.
Photo grabbed from DeathByBokeh at flickr. Posted by Kate

Monday, April 27, 2009

Join the Gym Crowd

While it might seem a little late in the year to be joining a gym and cashing in on those New Year's resolutions, now is as good a time as any to be taking the plunge for a gym membership. Remember those deals you glanced at in January but set on the back burner? Think again about those deals typically luring "I'm-going-to-get-fit-this-year" wannabes through the first of the year--they're still available, in some cases even a little better than before. Or at least, that's what got my parents to finally join the fitness train. Well, that and the close-to-home factor.

My mission in visiting my parents this week was two-fold: to see my sister visiting from California and select a gym for my parents to join. They were interested--my dad finally convinced my mom--but couldn't decide between two facilities in the area. They had checked out local one-location-only clubs years ago and weren't impressed, didn't want to be part of the Bally's crowd, didn't join the YMCA when my sister and I were swimming. But now they had narrowed it down to Life Time Fitness and L.A. Fitness--two clubs relatively close to home. So I'm supposed to check out the facilities, make my judgments, find the pluses and minuses, and report back.

Secretly I hoped to only visit one club and deem that one appropriate for my parents, and I lucked out when my wish came true. My mom was sold at the L.A. Fitness membership desk with a deal even I'd be hard-pressed to pass up. And if I lived anywhere near a location (without having to drive), I'd consider signing on the dotted line. For suburban living, it's five minutes from the house, you can park so close you can leave your coat in the car, it has an indoor 25-meter pool (the pool is always a selling point for me), it has plenty of classes and more machines than my own gym in the city, and provided you plan to join for more than a year the price can't be beat. The only downfalls were bringing your own towel (I'd forget at least the first few times since I'm used to grabbing one at my gym) and using a radio tuner to watch one of the big-screen TVs--but no complaints because that would encourage me to catch up on my reading. In the end, these were the selling factors:
  • So close to home there's almost no excuse not to work out
  • Convenient to other stores--making a Costco or Target run afterward or having the car serviced
  • Crowds are minimal--even at the prime time of 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. you could easily stake out a treadmill, bike or elliptical
  • Variety of classes--for being so against joining at first, my mom was perusing the class schedule saying she might try Aqua-Fit or Boot Camp
  • Good hours--open 5 a.m. to midnight during the week and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekends
  • The price was more than right
  • Not only can you visit that particular location but you have access to 300 other clubs across the country with even more on the way
Location truly trumped all of the benefits, saying she'd more likely pass up a workout if she had to drive more than five minutes on a bad weather day. What's your make or break for joining a gym?

Update: My parents are card-holding members at L.A. Fitness putting their memberships to good use within the first week. Now if only they can score me some guest passes for the next time I come to visit so I'm not Nordic-Tracking in the basement. Photo grabbed from lilymommy2000 at flickr. Posted by Kate

Friday, April 24, 2009

Marathon Fever Continues

Still hyped over the Boston Marathon? Want to get your run on while watching another race this weekend? It's not exactly easy to hop across the pond and watch Sunday's Flora London Marathon live, but you can tune into all the action online and on TV through Universal Sports.

Universal Sports is airing all of the spring races part of the World Marathon Majors and you can tune in at either or check with your cable provider to see if the TV station is carried in your area (lucky for me I've tuned into all of the Universal Sports skiing, triathlon and running coverage all winter). You can watch London's Marathon live beginning at 4 a.m. eastern time, or tune in at 9 a.m. eastern time to watch it in a slightly more appeasing time slot.

It's shaping up to be a race filled with several big American names, all gunning for fast times and podium finishes. Meb Keflezighi is looking for redemption on Sunday after withdrawing from the race in 2005 and 2008, and quitting after 16 miles in 2007. He's looking to best his 2:09:53 from the New York Marathon when he took second place five years ago. After finishing as the top American marathoner at the Beijing Olympics, Dathan Ritzenhein wants to best the 2:11 he ran at the 2007 Olympic Trials and become a force to reckon with in distance running. On the women's side, Kate O'Neill, who made her debut at the heat-soaked 2007 Chicago Marathon, will toe the line looking to break 2:30.

Check it out on Sunday. And good luck to those running! Posted by Kate

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flat, Fast and Now Closed

If you had your sights set on running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October, you may just have to save those thoughts until next year. The 32nd running of the race reached its capacity of 45,000 runners and is no longer able to accept general registrations.

That doesn't mean you can't be a part of Chicago's fall classic. Runners can still find their way into the race by committing to run with one of the race's affiliated charities--more than 70 to choose from--which still have openings. Or for international runners, spots are still available through tour operators offering travel packages that include race registration.

The October 11 race opened registration on February 1 and ironically closed on the same day in 2008. And here's to thinking that the economy might slow race registrations. With furloughs and layoffs at companies, those with more free time on their hands are turning more to exercise and crossing off those wish-list accomplishments. Or we're all just keeping up with the fitness in hard times to keep stress levels at bay.

Need another marathon to run this fall? Check out our list of popular marathons across the country or visit the calendar at to help select a race. And keep in mind that October's Marine Corps Marathon is also closed, and the Twin Cities Marathon is expected to close in mid-May--only six days into registration, it was nearly 50 percent full. Photo grabbed from metaxin at flickr. Posted by Kate

Kara Goucher Post-Boston Q&A: It's Just The Beginning For The Marathon Phenom

Kara Goucher wanted to win the Boston Marathon for all of her American fans. But we just wanted Kara to win for Kara. Our hearts broke—for her—when she finished third, but we all knew she'd be back for first place finishes and plenty more success in the years to come. Kara knows that, too; she's ready to move on from that almost-did-it pain she endured on Monday—and on to bigger and better things. I had the sincere pleasure of chatting with the charmingly candid, genuine and humble speedster yesterday afternoon. Friends, she left me with an even bigger case of Kara Goucher–fever. You've been warned!

Liz: Hi Kara, this is Liz…
Kara: How are you doing? I heard you ran the Boston Marathon, too!
L: Oh, thanks! I did, yeah, I did. I feel really sore, my quads are crazy-sore. But how are you feeling, how’s your body doing?
K: You know, it’s actually doing really well. My hip flexors are a little sore.

L: Do you think that was because the pace was a little slower than you expected?
K: Oh yeah, absolutely, I mean, I thought we were going to be five minutes faster through the half point. I think because of the pace we were running, all of those women will come off of that better than we would’ve any other year, because if we had gone the pace we had trained to run it would’ve beat us up a lot more. Right now, I’m like I’m invincible, but I think after my next marathon I’ll be like, "Ohh, that’s right."

L: And why do you think the pace was slower than everyone expected going into it?
K: I think there were a lot of people that wanted that win so badly. And it was windy and people knew that whoever went out and led was going to pay. And there was some personal stuff going on between the two Ethiopians and they weren’t going to lead they were going to wait and out-kick each other. Anytime anyone got out in front they immediately came back, they didn’t want to lead. It was very breezy and it was obvious whoever got stuck out front was going to pay. I think Collen De Reuck from the U.S. ended up doing a lot of the work and she did a really, really great job and she finished well considering the fact that she had to break the wind for so many people for so long.

L: In your post-race interviews you said you felt in control and your legs felt poppy…so you were ready to dig down and kick. But then it wasn’t there, why do you think that was? The wind or being out there for too long?
K: I think that probably, even though I felt really good, I led on the windiest stretch on the course. And I think that I was so excited and felt so good and I was drawing so much energy from the cheering. I still thought I had a kick…even when they went by me I thought, “No, I’m still in this." And I think that it was a tactical error, something that I’ll learn now. It doesn’t matter what pace you run, you’re still out there running 25 miles. I think leading into the wind and pushing it, even though I thought I was controlling the race, Tune and Kosgei were just gathering themselves and getting ready for the kick while I was out there [leading]. I kept looking over my shoulder and watching people drop off one by one. I felt like I was controlling it but in the end I was just helping break it open.

L: You said your body is feeling pretty good, how are you feeling emotionally?
K: Um...I feel heartbroken a little bit, still. I’m proud of how I ran. [Voice breaks.] It makes me emotional…just all of the support I received and all of the people that wanted to see an American win so desperately. And I just wanted to deliver so badly. I just…if I would’ve been a distant third I think it would be easier to swallow. And they ran better that day and I would never take away from them at all but I feel like I did make a tactical error. It’s hard to let go. It’s still too raw right now.

L: You ran a great race and everyone is so proud of you, but I can’t even imagine how it feels being that close and finishing third.
K: Thank you…very much.

L: What did Adam say to you right after the race?
K: Adam was so great. He was there right away. He was like, “It’s okay, it’s okay.” He didn’t say, “Oh, it’s silly you’re upset—you just got third.” He said, “I know how badly you wanted it.” He did keep reminding me how far I’ve come—that I get third at the Boston Marathon—and here I feel like it’s a disappointment, you know? He kept reminding me of all of the positives but he never said, "You’re being ridiculous." He’s just let me be sad and let me get out my frustrations.

L: You went to Niketown afterwards and did a special event, was that hard to pull it together? Did you want to go back to your room to decompress?
K: Actually going to Niketown was very cathartic. I got to see people who had run themselves and they were so nice. My fear was all of this hype and then I didn’t deliver. I just want people to keep believing. It was so good to go there. I got a lot of hugs and a lot of people saying they believe. It was actually really, really good for me.

L: I’m curious how you thought the NYC course compares to Boston?
K: I actually thought that New York was tougher but it’s hard to know for sure because I wasn’t in as good of marathon shape for New York and I wasn’t as confident that I could handle it. And the pace went out a lot faster. Besides our first mile, which was slow, Paula took over and really just started to slowly pick it up, and pick it up, and pick it up. So New York was actually physically harder. I love New York, it has a personal connection for me. It’s hard to say one is better than the other. People were cheering for me a lot more in Boston. I felt more of the “I’m- doing-it-for-my-country" in Boston. That might’ve been because people knew who I was because New York was my first marathon. I think that as far as strictly running I was in more of a rhythm in Boston, because really there’s only three turns on the course, whereas in New York you take a lot more turns, it’s constantly changing up. But they’re both extremely challenging and they’re both extremely amazing, and one isn’t better than the other—I love them both dearly and I couldn’t pick one over the other.

L: There was a lot of buzz after Boston that you were feeling good and like you could run London this weekend. Is there any glimmer of hope for that?
K: Actually, about an hour ago my coach and husband and I had a conference call and we finally laid it to rest. I ran yesterday and I ran this morning [thinking I might do London]. In the end it’ just [too much]. Literally just an hour ago. [London] is done.

L: Does this make you want to run a Fall marathon? Like, Chicago for instance?
K: I would love to run Chicago, I would love to do the trifecta here in the United States. But I want some things out of my personal life. Right now I'm eyeing...what’s the best move to get what I want out of my personal life and still set myself up the best I can for winning the Olympics in London. I’m considering one more race, but it would be before Chicago.

L: And by your personal life, I don’t mean to be too personal....
K: I want to have a baby! [Laughs]

L: You’ve been really candid with the press about that. Did you feel like it’s something you just wanted to be open about or did you get sick of people asking you?
K: People wanted to know what my exact [racing] plans were—and I didn’t really have any plans because I was like, “Well I know I want to try to have a baby in the next year or so.” Between my coach and Adam and Nike and I, we all knew that at some point in the next year I wanted to take time off, but I just hadn’t really made plans and I wanted to see how this race went. And my coach was saying, “Tell them you want to do this or that or…” But I…just…I can’t lie! So finally [Alberto] just said, “You know what? You should just tell them you want to have a baby. There’s nothing wrong with that!” I can’t believe how [big a deal it was to the press] but at the end of the day, it’s the truth, I want to have a baby and I want to have a baby in the next couple of years. It’s going to happen, I will take a break from running. And that’s fine. If people know, it’s fine.

L: Is there any part of you that feels like it will be hard to put the running on hold?

K: It is hard. I think that when I finally do have a baby I would laugh that I would even say that now. But right now it is difficult because all of these dreams I’ve had for so many years are being realized and it is hard to say, but what do I really want out of my life? Because right now running is so gratifying and I love it so much and I don’t want to step away. But I also know that if I really take two steps back and look at what I want out of my entire life, I know that I want to have a family. Picking the right time is very difficult, because I’ve switched it twice now and am considering switching it again. So it’s just hard.

L: If you were to do another marathon, you’re thinking one that hits over the summer?
K: Yeah.

L: You compete at so many different distances, all the way down to the mile. What is it that you love about the marathon?
K: I love running the marathon the most because it connects so many people. So many communities and so many cities have marathons. And so many people get to be involved and so many people get to run. It just transcends. I love being an elite athlete, I loved running in the Olympic games, it was a thrill for me, but I would place it behind both of my marathons for sure. Because I got to be a part of something so big. And people got to be part of it, as well. And it’s not like I’m just watching on TV or sitting way up in the stands so far away. They could be right there on the rail cheering for you or they could be right behind you in the race. People get to be a part of it more. I love it.

L: You didn’t expect to wind up as a marathoner, your coach sort of helped you discover it. Has there been a physical or mental breakthrough for you that’s helped you really excel at this distance?
K: I think really for me the biggest thing was to survive the first one. I was so terrified to run in New York. I was like, “I don’t know if I can actually do it,” you know? So the completion of that first one changed the way I thought about myself and changed the way I trained for Boston, I was willing to train a longer block and dedicate myself a little more. I got positive feedback from my workouts that I was getting stronger and that I could handle it. The biggest thing for me was actually toeing the line in New York and just doing it. We’d been talking about it for literally three years…you know, “you could be a great marathoner.” And it just finally like, stop talking about it and just do it. And I was scared and it was terrifying, but it was awesome and I did it. And it was like, “Okay, now I can move forward, now I’ve proven to myself that I can do it.”

L: What are you up to now that Boston is over, relaxing?
K: I’m in the Nike offices in New York. Tonight I’m flying back to Portland. Tomorrow I’m going to go sleep in, probably get some Krispy Kreme and hang out with my friends.

L: With your recovery, what are you eating and doing physically?
K: I ran yesterday. It was for my heart. This morning I ran just because I was thinking, "Maybe I’ll still run London and I need to stay loose." But now that that decision has been made, I won’t run again for probably two weeks. And really this is my time to just be a normal person…to sleep in. I was telling my husband I’m going to go shopping now! I’ll meet friends for lunch. I’m going to go back to my hometown and do some stuff in the community there. But I’ll just take advantage of this time and be a normal person. Be with the people I love to be around.

L: What were your runs like?
K: Yesterday I just ran 25 minutes, at a pretty good clip—I felt pretty good. But it was really an emotional thing. And today I jogged very slowly. And I never would run after a marathon normally. It was just because…yesterday I was still really emotional and today I was like, “Well I still might race and I need to do this.” But normally I’d take two weeks off right away. Two weeks will start tomorrow.

L: Will you do any exercise, like ride a bike or swim or take long walks?
K: I’m just going to chill out. I might go for walks, but no actual working out.

L: After the race did you have dinner or do anything special?
K: I went out with my family. We had a big dinner and I drank a lot of wine. And when we got into New York last night I ate a bunch of black and white cookies. You know, I’m not very strict with my diet anyway, but I won’t eat as many fruits and vegetables in the next week as I normally do. I’ll be more likely to indulge a little bit. I’m a person that doesn’t really restrict anyway but I will eat a little more than I normally do….a little more ice cream and cookies and stuff. I’ll have three or four instead of one.

L: Those flag barrettes you wear for big races, do you have a bunch of those? Can we get them online or in a store?
K: They’re still the same ones that my friend bought me in Japan. They’re all rusty on the bottom. I would totally invest…I’d buy like a 100 if I could find them somewhere. But unfortunately that’s where I got them. I love them!

L: Your Phiten necklace, I saw you wore that again in Boston. Do you have a couple of those, are they getting ratty?
K: I had one that I wore for 14 or 15 months. I was worried that it was losing its power so I got a new one. Supposedly it never loses its power but I kinda felt like it had been through a lot of races, it needed to retire. So I got a new one. It’s my one little security thing. I’m not very superstitious about stuff, but it’s become my one thing that if it’s good enough for Paula Radcliffe it’s good enough for me and I’ve raced well with it. It’s funny, at the start line at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Alberto was like, “Are you going wear that necklace?” And I go, “Alberto, I wear this every day!” And the women next to me go, “Even we know that!” He was like, “Oh, gosh, sorry, I’m just really nervous.”

L: So you wear it even when you’re hanging out with Adam, say, cooking or out to dinner?
K: When I’m out to dinner and stuff I usually put it around my ankle and hide it. Right now Adam just showed me his and it’s under his jeans on his ankle and right now I’m wearing a bracelet one instead of a necklace one. Because it doesn’t always look great with my outfit. I do always have it on, it just might be hidden.

L: While I was running the Boston course I saw all of the Nike cheering stations where they had Kara posters and people wearing navy Kara tees. What’s the experience like for you to see that as you’re running by?
K: It feels unbelievable that people that people are holding a sign or wearing a shirt that has my picture on it. When we ran through Wellesley that’s where we had the first crop of people holding the signs. I literally had to close my eyes because all I wanted to do was take off running for them and sprint for them. I just closed my eyes and soaked it in. It’s amazing, it makes me feel really loved and supported. That’s why I was so emotional [after finishing third in the race]. There are so many people that I’ll never meet that are pulling for me and rooting for me and that’s an incredible feeling.

L: Was Wellesley your favorite part of the race?
K: That was awesome, but I really loved the whole thing. Two days before the race I went to a track to do some strides and there was a little girl there with her dad, high jumping. And at about the 16-mile mark I saw her with a gigantic Go Kara sign. I mean, that was awesome. I was hell-bent on not waving and not getting over-emotional in the race. But I had to wave to her. The whole thing was awesome, there was no one point that was sweeter. It was loud the whole time. I just felt amazing. It was such an incredible experience.

Photo grabbed from Stewart Dawson at flickr.

Get Out the Vote

Whether you're in the mood to lend a helping hand or cast a vote and make it count, here's an action item to add to your do-good list. Remember the Greater Outdoors Project where non-profit organizations could receive a $50,000 grant? Back in February we encouraged you to nominate a worthy non-profit with a project in need of funding for the Greater Outdoors Project sponsored by Redwood Creek Wines. Well it's now time to now vote for the organizations that are finalists in this second-annual competition. Voting opened on April 1 and you have until May 31 to help select the winner.

After organizations submitted their proposals, a judging panel of outdoor experts that included Redwood Creek Winemaker Cal Dennison, founder Graham Hill, professional U.S. skier Lauren Hills and Outside executive editor Michael Roberts narrowed the field to five finalists. The project that receives the most votes in the competition will win the $50,000 and appear in a Redwood Creek advertising campaign, and join the ranks of 2008 winner, Southeast Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, which is improving water quality and fishing in Camp Creek near Madison, Wis. Cast your vote for one of these organizations trying to do amazing, enviro-friendly things at or by texting your selection's code to 39668. Descriptions are courtesy of Redwood Creek and the Greater Outdoors Project.
  • Arizona Trail Association: The Arizona Trail is a continuous, non-motorized 817-mile scenic trail. Today, 95 percent of the trail is complete. The grant would be used to build some of the most difficult remaining miles. Due to the remote location in a rugged wilderness area, these miles must be constructed by hand. Not only will the grant help complete the trail, it will allow access into backcountry near Tucson and protect a sensitive riparian area as well. Text code: trail
  • Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey: Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey protects rare wildlife populations and the habitats they depend on. With the grant, it will plant over 20 acres of wildlife habitat at Ponder Lodge, a former golf course. Located on the popular Cape May Peninsula, the project will maximize the site for use by wildlife, especially migratory birds, and people for outdoor recreation. Text code: conserve
  • Friends of City Park: Friends of City Park is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of 150-year-old New Orleans City Park. The grant would be used to reestablish 19 acres of ecosystems in the Couturie Forest, a popular woodland, nestled at the center of the park’s 1,300 acres, that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Text code: park
  • National Forest Foundation: The National Forest Foundation promotes the health and enjoyment of the National Forest System. The grant would be used to establish 10 miles of trail that lead to Whychus Creek in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains using the most appropriate path to protect natural resources. It would also replant 10 acres of native species to enhance streamside habitat. Text code: forest
  • WildEarth Guardians: WildEarth Guardians protects and restores wildlife, wild rivers and wild places in the American West. Its Santa Fe River “Stream Team” project coincides with the city’s 400th anniversary this year. The grant would be used to restore a three-mile historic stretch of waterway and build a trail reconnecting the community with its namesake river. Text code: earth
Check out all the details at Posted by Kate

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Run on Green Tunes

Need an excuse to revamp your playlist before your next run? Searching for a new theme to attach to your current list of tunes? Why not go green with a special Earth Day mix? Ideal Bite tipped me off to a green-themed list that works appropriately for Earth Day, today. When I first spotted the link I thought I'd be seeing several bands that I didn't recognize, maybe didn't even care for, but I was pleasantly surprised at their list both in the choice of music and the eco-friendly causes supported. Perfect for an Earth Day run, or just for finding some new tracks to listen to.

If you have iTunes, you can even download this mix of their favorite tracks by green artists. Check out the list below, with a few additions and suggestions from us at Fit-Ink.

Flake by Jack Johnson. He uses carbon-offsets for his tours and founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation which supports environmental education throughout the schools and communities of Hawaii. My faves: Upside Down, If I Had Eyes and Better Together (a shout-out to my brother- and sister-in-law who played this at their wedding)

Lovers in Japan by Coldplay. Who knew they used carbon-offsets on the production of past albums and sew their own clothes? And that tattoo Chris Martin sports on his hand? It's a Make Trade Fair fair-trade mark. My faves: Lost, plus no complaints on Lovers in Japan

Human Behavior by Björk
. This Iceland native just released a documentary about eco-issues in the homeland, and available at iTunes.

The Seed (2.0) by the Roots. This hip-hop band has worked with PETA on campaigns and hosted green pre-Grammy parties. Now they'll be jamming weekly with Jimmy Fallon as his new house band.

No Surprises by Radiohead. Lead singer Thom Yorke is a vegan who wrote a climate-change inspired alternative rock album. Friends of the Earth made Yorke a spokesman for their campaign to reduce carbon emissions in 2005. My faves: High and Dry, Fake Plastic Trees and 15 Step.

Holiday by Green Day. I never would have guessed that green had another meaning beyond Billie Joe's band name. This band is a big proponent of green energy and has teamed up with the National Resources Defense Council on environmental concerns. My faves: Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), She, When I Come Around. A little old school, I know.

Love is Free by Sheryl Crow. She's toured with Stop Global Warming and she spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2007 about global warming policies of the George W. Bush administration. My faves: Soak Up the Sun, Strong Enough

My Humps by Black Eyed Peas. Set to release new album The END in June 2009, lead rapper and producer writes songs with environmental themes and drives an electric Tesla roadster. My faves: Where Is the Love, Boom Boom Pow, Let's Get It Started

We Are All Made of Stars by Moby. He's a vegan who supports the Humane Society. My faves: Porcelain and South Side

My Moon My Man by Feist. She uses wind power to offset her tours and recently traveled to the Arctic Circle to experience global warming first-hand. My fave: 1234

Hot Thing by Talib Kweli. His albums are made of recycled materials and he writes eco-themed songs, one of which includes Al Gore.

Heartbeats by José González. While touring the States, he offsets his tours using Reverb, which reaches out to musicians and their fans to promote environmental sustainability.

One more band to add: Maroon 5. Ecorazzi reported in January that this band is all about going green. They try to offset as much as they can, and keyboardist Jesse Carmichael is green overhauling his house with solar panels, a greenhouse, water systems and growing his own food. My faves: She Will Be Loved, Wake Up Call.

Want a couple of classic rock faves with green undertones to add? Check out these five, including Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Cat Stevens. Photo grabbed from Steve Wampler at flickr. Posted by Kate

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kara Goucher's "Awesomely Obnoxious" Boston Marathon Outfit

Are you ready for Kate and I to re-title this blog Please indulge us a bit longer! She may not have had "the kick" she hoped for in the final mile, but Kara Goucher still smoked that hilly, windy Boston Marathon course yesterday and we are totally thrilled for her and proud of her amazing effort. She took third place on the podium and was only 9 short seconds behind the winner. Go Kara, go!

I tried to finagle an advance description of what she'd be wearing, but Nike wasn't melted by my charms. It wasn't until after I crossed the finish line that I was able to find out more about the "awesomely obnoxious" outfit--her description in a pre-marathon press conference--she wore during the race. Yeah, the outfit rocked. Here are the details (find the apparel at a Niketown near you).... Photo courtesy of Nike. Posted by Liz

Kara's standard gray and pink racing shoes were souped up with black with pink trim. FYI: Sorry to report, Nike won't be selling this made-specially-for-Kara pair.

Race Day Brief It may have been in the 40s and windy, but the elites warm up fast thanks to their super-speedy pace. This pair of briefs is Kara-specific, thanks to her sponsor. She let her strong legs brave the elements.

Race Day Airborn Top Nike made Kara's version especially for her. I'd wear it under a tee, but Kara is so ripped--even after a week of tapering and carbs--that she looks amazingly athletic and fit in this short top.

Arm Warmers She ditched these with a mile to go, but they kept Kara toasty for the first 25.

Gloves She struggled as she reached for her water bottles in New York and so in Boston Kara opted to wear gloves studded with rubber tread on the palms for extra traction. "She wore Nike football gloves we got the day before," says Jacie Prieto of Nike. "They were receiver gloves that were tacky on the palms so it made it easier to grab her water bottles." Alas, after the race Kara laughed about her butterfingers. "I missed a bottle again," she said. "Apparently I have no athletic skill at grabbing a water bottle."

Stop watch Kara just wears "a basic stopwatch," she told
Runner's World back in November. "A lot of people say 'oh I just go and run how I feel.' And I’ve never been one of those people. I want to know how far I went, I want to know how long did it take. Sometimes I run longer or shorter based on how I feel, but when I’m done, I want to know how I did."

Phiten Titanium Necklace The inspiration for wearing one of these came from Paula Radcliffe. (It supposedly helps athletes recover faster.) Kara explained to Fit-Ink why she never races without it: "At this point it has become a bit of a good luck charm, or safety blanket. I just believe that it will help me take more pain and so I can't be without it. It really is the only good luck charm that I have. I wouldn't dare run without it now!"

American flag barrettes
"Those barrettes were actually given to me by a friend who’s a really good runner herself—Carrie Tollefson," Kara told Runner's World. "She gave them to me when I made my first World Cross Country team [in 2006]. So I wore them at World Cross Country, and I wore them last year at Osaka, and I wore them in the Olympics. And so they’re kind of good luck on the big, big days. I love my little barrettes."

Patriotic tattoos "For Boston I am going to be a tough American girl. You can expect pink, skulls, and American flags," Kara told Fit-Ink.

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Surfing on 4/21

On the Boston course. Credit: Rob Larsen
I really should be titling this entry Boston Sites to Surf as I have officially become obsessed with all of the post-marathon hubbub. I thought it'd be over after yesterday, but alas I'm still psyched to be reading about the race, checking out the photos and finding interviews.

So rather than regurgitate information here and put a Runner's World story into my own words and the like, I figured I'd just send you directly to the source to check out the info for yourself. Happy reading!
  • Universal Sports not only televised the race, but they also scored an interview with Kara Goucher available at their website Check out her post-race thoughts, what's next on the schedule and overcoming her fear of the marathon distance. They also have a recap story about Marathon Monday and the video section is packed with segments of the race to watch.
  • Yes, we're Goucher obsessed, but with good reason. Check out this read about her run at the Boston Herald.
  • Paul at was lucky enough to be at the Finisher's Celebration at Niketown Boston yesterday. He tweeted and blogged about much of the event, which you can read about here and here.
  • Runner's World offers just about any piece of information an internet-roving runner could ask for. Pictures from the race, interviews with Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall, Bill Rodgers' return-to-the-race run, race recaps and more. Find it all at
  • Two more fun reads: check out the sprint to the finish by Goucher and Hall at the Back Porch and Flotrack is stocked with interviews, videos and stories related to Boston.
And in other news...
  • If yesterday's race got you motivated to run a marathon, read some of these tips from to help you reach the finish line of your first 26.2.
  • I know I should quit it on the skiing, but I was too excited over this deal: a pass to Copper Mountain and Winter Park, plus six days at Steamboat and free Friday afternoons, as part of the Rocky Mountain Super Pass. The price tag? $399 until Friday, April 24, and you only have to pay $49 with the rest due in September. Check out the deal at
  • Same goes for the Epic Pass available for Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, Heavenly and Arapahoe Basin. Good news is you only have to pay $49 now for the $599 pass that grants you unlimited access to these resorts in the 2009-10 season, and the rest of the payment is due in September.
I'm sure there's more, but my eyes are tired from reading at the moment. Well that and staring at the computer screen after online video watching--I definitely would have taken a day bundled up watching the race outside over at my computer. Photo grabbed from Rob Larsen at flickr. Posted by Kate

It Ain't Easy Being Free

Need a break from the marathon? Yes, Liz and I are still wrapped up in the madness, but I promise you a post that solely focuses on fitness. In fact, you may only spot the word marathon in the opening sentence and that's it. Here's a little experiment I gave myself a few weekends ago while visiting the Twin Cities.

Saturday morning. The goal: squeeze in a workout while spending a holiday away from home. The catch: don't pay a penny and make it a good quality sweat session (to make up for the workout--spinning and such--I'd typically get on a Saturday or Sunday at home).

It sounds easy, but for my sore legs, I'm making it out to be a lot more difficult. I'm being a running snob of sorts--fretting over mileage outdoors being tough on my pavement-shy quads and hiding out indoors with seemingly less-than-ideal temperatures--so I'm looking for a fitness center to meet my needs. And you'd think it'd be easy especially while in a four-season state where we rely on those fitness centers in the winter, but it's leaving me in a less-than-enthused state. Unless I'm willing to beg, borrow and steal (my husband's Minnesota address) and basically lie my way in, it's a near impossible feat to workout for free just for a day. Granted I'll put it to the test in a week when I got to visit my parents and am faced with the same dilemma, but for now, my only options are to fork over the daily guest fee, ouch, or run outside until my legs hurt and pass up the swimming and biking.

One club lists its guest fee at $20 per day, another is $15 and then we find the local community center which charges $8.50, less if you're a town resident. Being that it's already too late in the day to attend a class and I forgot my swimsuit in Chicago, I know I'll be rotating through the machines for my sweat session and the $8.50 gym is sounding like the most viable option. Right? Definitely, and I set a somewhat silly goal for myself to spend at least 85 minutes at the Shoreview Community Center so I can claim to get my money's worth. It beats printing a one-week guest pass for Life Time Fitness and only using it once while claiming to live in Minnesota--and planning to use the week-long pass during an extended stay in Michigan while helping my parents select a gym. And it's better than printing a three-day pass to one of the two L.A. Fitness locations equal distance from the house knowing I'd only use it once, again planned to use it while in Michigan, and saw the print sticking straight out that only local residents could cash in on the pass. Restrictions at Shoreview? None and judging from the photos on the website, it had plenty of machines to keep me occupied.

So was I right? Aside from having to wear a wristband while working out--I thought I'd stick out at first but almost everyone that afternoon donned these bracelets as they worked out, visitors like me--I was satisfied with the facility. Rows of equipments from bikes to treadmills to ellipticals to stairclimbers--there was no machine left out and plenty to select from at high-traffic times. I didn't think to bring a radio so I couldn't watch TV or tune into the stations, but it was an excuse to finally read my book that I had yet to crack open on the trip. And I wish I had a towel--again another forgotten item--to wipe the sweat rather than resort to a wad of paper towels. Oh well. I'm just happy to have gotten in some quality work out time. Makes up for the pass on the 10-mile run I had considered running in the morning but knew my legs would kill me for after not running all winter. Photo grabbed from msmstewart at flickr. Posted by Kate

Monday, April 20, 2009

Congratulations Liz!

I don't want to steal Liz's thunder, but I'm happy to report that she finished today's Boston Marathon. And with flying colors, I might add. After all of the trials with wintry weather, windy conditions, chilling cold, and the like, everything came together on race day and she crossed the finish line fast enough to requalify for next year.

She probably has far more to say than me, but I was just too excited over the news that I had to share. Congrats Liz and here's to resting up for the next big event of the season! Sorry for the 2008 medal, but 2009 wasn't to be found and this was just a cool shot. Photo grabbed from goseeruneatdrink at flickr. Posted by Kate

Race Day at Boston Marathon: Post-Race Partying

You came, you saw, you conquered the 113th Boston Marathon. With the race either over or near over, it's time to don those medals and do some celebrating among the masses in Beantown.

OK so some may be doing some partying on the way to the airport or at the airport, scurrying to hop on tonight's flight, but for others, what are you doing in downtown Boston this afternoon. You might have the post-race hobbles (or maybe that's just me) but are there any spots you like to go afterward? And the shower doesn't count. After any race, one of the first things on my mind is food. I'm starving and I'm in desperate need of anything that's not a banana, bagel or Gatorade. At least when I'm at home in Chicago, I have my list of favorites to choose from as I walk home from the finish line--and it's usually the ice cream sundae at Weber Grill that calls my name. When I was in Sacramento, it was the closest restaurant to the hotel. And last year in Boston since I didn't have to run off to the airport, I was needing some seafood--I realize that sounds a little odd but I really wanted to go to the Union Oyster House and get my fill of clam chowder and fresh lobster. So with that being said where are some other favorites?

Or if you're looking for something to do to celebrate, here's a fun one I wish I could be at this afternoon: the Niketown Finisher Celebration. Thanks to Paul at for posting the news about this party which runs from 1-6 p.m. today and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. tomorrow. But if you really want to make an appearance, head over at 4 p.m. today and you can catch Kara Goucher and hear about her race rundown and enjoy her favorite recovery foods. Other things to do at the store include personalizing a finisher's tee with NIKEiD, getting a massage, sipping a smoothie and grabbing a commemorative race poster to take home. Plus you can swap stories with other runners, just look for medals around their necks.

There's another party for all the finishers at Fanueil Hall Marketplace courtesy of the Boston Marathon that runs from 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. You could easily check out Niketown and then skedaddle over to the official hoedown complete with dining deals and a dance party (and transportation to and from neighboring hotels). Marathon fever doesn't quit without a party to send it off. These guys sure know how to relax after a race, chilling in the yard with some beers on a warm spring day, photo grabbed from john hayato at flickr. Posted by Kate

0 Days to Boston Marathon: Podium Finishes

What a race! At least I can say that about the televised portion that I was watching on Universal Sports this morning. The final stretches down Boylston Street literally had me staring dumbfounded at the screen, watching and wondering who might pull ahead and when and how it would happen. Would it be a year for the Americans? Would Kara Goucher be the first American woman to win since 1985? Would Ryan Hall live up to the hype and beat the favored Robert K. Cheruiyot?

Talk about a lot of surprises among the men and women. Between Colleen De Reuck, 45, leading the women's elite pack early on to Kara Goucher making a break and pulling a four-pack toward the finish, I'm wondering who can take the race. Is Goucher holding out or is a surprise awaiting her on Boylston? Unfortunately it was the latter and I felt so awful when Dire Tune and Salina Kosgei pushed ahead and Goucher couldn't counter--oh how I was hoping she'd coming sprinting by at even more blistering speed--and I felt worse when I saw the disappointment on Goucher's face after she crossed the line and was being consoled by her husband. So close and yet so far in such a closely contested race--the top three were only seconds apart with Kosgei topping Tune by one second and Goucher only eight seconds back.

As for the men, I have to admit I didn't see much aside from Ryan Hall leading near the beginning and then Deriba Merga, the eventual winner, pulling away from the pack and striding into Boston. Hall was only 22 seconds back at one point--and running with Robert Cheruiyot--but from the camera angle it looked like there was no catching Merga. Merga looked so at ease running those sub-five minute miles as he won the race. And try as he might, Hall couldn't catch second-place Daniel Rono, but he did take third. It's amazing how they were able to motor toward the finish line with intense winds blowing right at them, and make those paces look so effortless.

Want to see how the final miles of the marathon unfolded? Check out this youtube video from user71323.

To view results, check out this list of top finishers. And cheers to Goucher and Hall for putting up two great finishes for the home crowd--and Liz too! Photo grabbed from Boston Marathon and Photo Run. Posted by Kate

Sunday, April 19, 2009

1 Day to Boston Marathon: Where Are You Going to Watch?

The packets have been picked up. The hotels in Boston crammed to capacity (there's one thing to stimulate the economy, haha). The Invitational Mile and B.A.A. 5K runners sprinted through the streets of Boston this morning. The runners are carbo-loading and resting up for tomorrow's big race. You get the idea: Marathon fever has hit Boston and the final hours to 2009 lift-off are ticking away.

While tomorrow's runners are aiming for some shut-eye and packing their essentials for their run, I'm thinking it's the spectators buzzing around online for information on watching the race. So to pay homage to the crowds I love coming out when I run, this one's for you.

We've outlined the towns that runners pass through from Hopkinton all the way into Boston and spectators manage to make their way into all of these towns, lining the street and providing plenty of motivation and cheers for the runners. Groups will often camp out in one location all day, bringing bowls of candy or pretzels to offer to runners, grilling out in front yards (those hot dogs smell soooo good), spilling out of the bars in between rounds or after the baseball game. There are definite spot along the course that are easier for on-lookers to reach--town centers, the intersection with highway I-95, train stops--and those that are more difficult where I have yet to see spectators in the two years I've run the race. created a great list for spots to watch the race unfold--I wish my mom had spotted this when we had to create a blind plan of attack in 2007. That same site will also tell you about the train schedule and closings you might encounter on race day to help you navigate around the city.

It may or may not be a no brainer, but if you have a car and want to go into Boston to watch, you may not want to use it. I realize this is coming from a tourist's point of view, but we suspected traffic would be horrendous anywhere near the race course--we had a rental and my parents debated driving out to a spot to watch and then driving back in. I can't speak for most of the course but I remember not seeing traffic when running over I-95 and greeting the cheering masses but being engulfed in traffic walking back to my hotel after finishing and then trying to leave the city. And this could just be me, but dealing with a drive through jammed zig-zagging one-way streets isn't fun.

Instead of using the car, you could hop on a train to reach a destination, especially if you're in the city, aiming to make it out and back over the course of the race. The commuter rails travel out to Ashland and you can see some of the stations from the marathon course. Yes, you'll be dependent on the train's schedule and have to deal with crowds and lines, but you can even catch some of the course from the train when the runners are traversing along the T tracks in the Brookline vicinity. Not that my mom is the expert, but her and my husband decided they could travel as far out as mile 16 and still make it back to Boston to watch me finish. It worked for them--even though I passed right by them while they stood there--and they probably could have traveled even further had they known I'd be far off pace that day. And they claim they saw me run by at the finish line, where they stood thick in the crowds on Boylston Street and I didn't know whether to look right or left and I focused on the finish line, all too happy to finish and end the running pain. My dad confirmed my mom's plan last year when she led him out to the mile 16-17 area, just before the Newton hills, and then back to Boston. And lucky for them, I waved as I ran by both spots--and handed off my jacket--knowing the general vicinity for where they'd be watching. This time they stood at the turn onto Boylston Street to watch me make the final turn in the race and run toward the finish line, and I could see them as I trudged up the hill. Good watching spot, Mom and Dad!

But the one thing to keep in mind is that some of the watching all comes down to luck. You can always plan to head to one location and upon arrival have to improvise, settle on another spot, because others thought that your spot looked pretty inviting too. My parents definitely admit that they never expected to find that spot at the Boylston intersection. Same goes for bleacher viewing and public transportation. The bleachers line a great viewing spot at the finish and it's always worth a shot to search for a seat there because you might just get lucky and score a seat. And with the T you could either wait forever for a train or be able to hop on right away and get back to the finish--but expect a squeeze especially as you near downtown.

As for favorite spots from the runner's vantage point? I'm a fan of the throngs of people out in Wellesley, Chestnut Hill and Brookline, mostly because the college campuses are right there and bring lots of noise and support. It also makes me second-guess my decision not to attend college in Boston (but then again I may have never become interested in marathons had that happened). Regardless, the crowds are plentiful and with a little gentle squeezing you can find a spot to watch. And remember a course map to aid in navigation.

Not making it to Boston on race day? If you're like me, there's a really easy to watch the race, especially the much anticipated elite run down. Tune into Universal Sports either online or through your cable provider to watch all the action. Good luck with the viewing either in person or over the airwaves. Photo grabbed from dsearls at flickr. Posted by Kate

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2 Days to Boston Marathon: Duel in the Sun

Spring and sun finally arrived around here today, so I only found it fitting to remember the year the Boston Marathon became the "Duel in the Sun." That and after all of our reporting on the American runners Elva Dryer, Kara Goucher, Ryan Hall and Brian Sell gunning for 2008 champions Robert K. Cheruiyot and Dire Tune, we could see a repeat duel battling toward the finish line on Monday.

The year was 1982 and it was a race that came down to the wire and in the way it's always described starts to remind me of a horse race or the 100-meter dash at the Olympics where a photo finish determines the winner. But at Boston, it was two Americans running toward the finish line neck and neck only to finish two seconds apart. Those two men were Dick Beardsley, a farmer from Minnesota who trained through his home state's frigid winters, and Alberto Salazar, who hailed from nearby Wayland, Mass., and now calls himself Kara Goucher's coach. Beardsley and Salazar battled between first and second from the Newton Hills at mile 17 to the finish line with Salazar ultimately winning in 2:08:52 and Beardsley in 2:08:54. It was the first time two men had run under 2:09:00 in the same race and in sun-scorching conditions no less.

Talk about giving a show to the spectators lining the marathon course from Newton into Boston. Beardsley, no Salazar. Salazar, no Beardsley. Then both sprinting to the finish line trying to outlast the other. And yes, Salazar did run away with the victory, but not without paying the price. In battling Beardsley throughout the race, you could almost say he was so focused he forgot to refuel. Just after crossing the finish line, he collapsed and needed to visit the emergency room for IV attention. Word has it he received six liters of water intravenously because he didn't drink during the race--note to runners: Be sure to frequent the water and Gatorade stations.

You can read far more about this exciting race in John Brant's Duel in the Sun--definitely a recommended read in my book--which recounts the race-day excitement while telling the story of each runner and his preparations. Now here's to watching and waiting for what might unfold on Monday. Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kara, Bring Boston Home: Nike Distributing Free Kara Goucher Tee At Monday's Boston Marathon

Did we really need anything else to fuel our Kara Goucher obsession? No, but we're happy to have it. Nike, who has a few Boston-themed shirts for sale at the Expo today, also gave Fit-Ink a sneak peek of a spankin' new tee honoring Kara (at left) that will be distributed on the streets of Boston--free of charge--on Marathon Monday. Awesome! Posted by Liz

3 Days to Boston Marathon: Find Your Runner

We've been so focused on the happenings on the Boston Marathon course come Monday, we never really covered the action on the sidelines. Until now that is.

When I first started planning my 15-day countdown to Boston, I ran through a rough list with my husband and being the good idea-generator that he is, he threw in a couple of thoughts that I neglected more by accident than anything else. Aside from cheering for my friend running the Army 10-miler a few years back, I'm usually the one running the distance race and having my family searching for me. So in an honest-to-goodness afterthought, it was someone else who reminded me to talk about the spectators. And not just how the runners appreciate their support, but how the spectators can find their runners on the course and how they don't have to camp out in one spot all day even though it is a point-to-point course. While the odds aren't guaranteed that a spectator will spot runner and vice versa--I ran right by my mom and husband in 2007 and there have been times at the Chicago Marathon where I saw family and they didn't see me--there are a few ways to at least attempt a successful rendevous along the route.
  • Plan an approximate meeting spot ahead of time. We scoured information in 2007 trying to find a good place for Mom and husband to travel to outside the city and still be able to make it back to the finish line before I finished. But when they didn't make up their minds when I left for Boston Common at 6:30 a.m., I only knew they'd be out there but had no clue where. Needless to say, I either ran right past them or was on the opposite side of the street when I went by and we both missed one another. The following year, I knew my parents would be somewhere around mile 16, so while my feet were aching, I used searching for them to distract me from the pain.
  • Know your clothes. If runner and spectator know what each other is wearing, it helps when spotting one another. Granted it becomes more difficult when you're looking for a red jacket and it seems like nearly everyone is wearing that color to stand out, too.
  • Dress for the elements. The last thing a spectator wants to do is bail out on the runner and have to leave the course from cold, rain or over-heating. During the Nor'easter weather, we spent as much time at Wal-Mart selecting ponchos and waterproof shoes for myself as we did for the my two spectators. Garbage bags can only hold out for so long especially for a spectator, and wet feet are a huge concern, too.
  • Balloons, signs, cow bells. Paraphernalia always works as a link between runner and spectator. Works better than listening to shouts for your name--at least for me, nothing sounds like "Go Kate!" after a few miles. Again, it's a good distraction to be looking for those signs on the sidelines or checking out the unique balloons selected to grab a runner's attention.
Need more tips? Check out a few of these suggestions from The Boston Channel, which also explains some of the road closures and public transportation station closings.

As for where to watch, my mom tells a good story about how to get around on race day and swears it's all about the timing and outsmarting the crowd. But I'll save that for another post with good places to watch, or what worked for them. Photo grabbed from playvein at flickr. Posted by Kate

Seven Days of Taper Trauma: Hypochondriacism (Day 5)

Golden Rule of Taper: Thou shalt stock your cubicle with more vitamins and pills than a drugstore aisle holds in order to avoid getting sick.

Look up hypochondriacism in the dictionary and here's what you get: Excessive concern and conversation about one’s health. That's me, right there, right now. Last night my husband made a noise in the other room and I froze in fear. "Did you just cough??!" I yelled to him. Umm, no, he had dropped a shampoo bottle. Mental case, much?

My boss is sick--his office is about 30 feet from my cubicle and I can hear him coughing, sneezing and sniffling throughout the day. My cube mate was out of the office with the flu for two days last week. And last night, when I reached down to pick up a crumpled piece of paper in my office hallway (good samaratin that I am) I recoiled instantly: It was a wadded up, used tissue. Lovely. I remember how my friend Nate got sick before running Chicago this fall. Not. fun. I'm OCD with anxiety about falling victim to a similar fate.

Anyway, I went to bed last night with a scratchy throat (I think). I did not sleep well last night. I woke up feeling okay. But my throat still seems a little weird--like I'm catching something. I walked into work this morning and sorta coughed/ cleared my throat. "Oh no!" my boos cried from his office, "You sound sick! Did I get you sick? Oh no, Liz!" It was not what I needed to hear.

So, I just blew $20 at Walgreens on Zicam (my boss swears by it at the first sign of a cold...then again, he's as pale as a ghost and should be home getting well!), Airborne and AlkaSeltzer. I've already been washing my hands so much they're raw, taking E-boost, Vitamin C and a multi-vitamin.

My throat feels scratchy. 

Photo grabbed from at flickr. Posted by Liz.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beating The Wind in Boston

Okay, confession time: I broke my own rule and checked out the Boston forecast this afternoon. And, oh man, it looks like wind, wind, wind. (You'll recall how much I love the wind--HA!) First, let's get the bad news out of the way: Studies suggest that when you're running into the wind, it would take an extra 8 percent effort to maintain your regular training pace. Okay, deep breaths. You still with me? I've already had my meltdown and I'm on to the next phase: Planning. Having a strategy in place for a worse-case scenario--in this case, the 20-35mph winds predicted from the East--always makes me feel more in control. So I dug around and it appears there are some legit strategies and tactics for dealing with the wind. Here's an awesome article on tactics for dealing with wind by Coach Bob Glover, on the New York Road Runner's site. More tips...
  • Draft, people, draft! Unlike in the cycling portion of triathlons, drafting is not illegal on a marathon course. notes that as you run, you create a pocket of air behind you that travels at the same speed you do. Anyone behind you in this pocket doesn't have to push any air out of the way since it is already moving at his/her speed. You have to get up pretty close to another runner to reap the wind resistance benefits--which could understandably annoy that marathoner--so pass the good karma along and switch off if you're in a pack. Or, find a few folks running as a group and tuck in behind them for a really good draft.
  • Lean forward! Some experts suggesting slightly tweaking your running form to battle the wind. Lean into the wind a little to decrease resistance, and stay as relaxed as possible to keep your running form strong and to conserve energy.
  • Cluster up! According to, researchers have found that running in groups (also called clustering) consistently results in better performance than running alone. The benefits are due to group pacing (someone always feels like maintaining the pace), the group dynamics of sharing the goal and motivating each other and, of course, drafting. If you can run in a pack of runners who are running at your pace, do it. Those of us who go out on our own must do all the work ourselves.
  • Dress smart! Hot days are awful, but cold days can also get ugly thanks to the chilling effects of the wind. Be smart and bring warm clothes and blankets to the staging area, then dress appropriately for the race. A windbreaker may make the wind bearable if it's cold--and with predictions in the 40s, it very may well be.

Trouble for the Tour?

He announced his comeback to the Tour de France last year. Pulled out of a marathon to go into all-out training mode. Started the riding circuit earlier this year. Had his bike stolen then recovered. Broke his collarbone and endured surgery to repair it. What's next for Lance Armstrong?

While he's chilling in Aspen rehabilitating and still training for the Tour, he's suspecting that all this preparation might be for naught. On a video on the Livestrong website, Lance says that he thinks he may be banned from the Tour. He goes into detail about the latest round of random drug tests and explains that a dispute with the French anti-doping agency, AFLD, might keep him from the competition. It's their call as to allowing him to race or not in July, but right now they're not happy with the last testing situation. According to the Bloomberg Report they said that Lance “didn’t respect the obligation to remain under observation of the person in charge of the doping control." Was that because he showered and had "his people" check the credentials of the man who randomly showed up on his doorstep to take blood, hair and urine samples?

Talk about an unfortunate situation for someone who just wants to get back and ride, and who's test results have been showing up negative. But in a sport that's always touted as tainted, maybe it's a rule of the road. I just keep thinking about the cyclists who were booted out last year, caught for doping, and how it put a dark cloud over the rest of the competition.

Oh well, at least today's report says Lance will (or should, depending on which headline you read) be riding the Giro d'Italia, the May race that was in question after he broke his collarbone. Man and machine will be ready. Photo of Lance post-surgery grabbed from Posted by Kate

Gear Hunting: Don't Miss These Boston-Themed Goodies at the Expo!

There are conflicting philosophies on race gear. Some people refuse to wear their marathon-branded stuff until those 26.2 miles are complete. Some people won't wear the gear until the 26.2 miles are completed with a finish time they are proud to report. And some people wear their race-themed apparel on training runs, to the Expo, heck--even in the marathon. Whatever camp you fall into, it's not just any gear you're spending your pennies on this weekend. You want the tee/fleece/jacket/sweatshirt that screams BOSTON 2009! and we don't blame you. We dug around for a sneak peek of some of the coolest Boston-themed gear major apparel companies will hawk at the Expo...and we'll keep adding to this list until the Hynes Convention Center opens its doors at 2pm EST on Friday, April 17. Happy hunting! Posted by Liz

New Balance is going Irish this year. Pick up this tee for $15, or two for $20.

Everyone is buzzing about the sure-fire hit by ASICS...the Ryan Hall-elujah tee. It's dark gray, made of performance material (not scratchy cotton) and $30.

Event sponsor adidas has a ton of awesome stuff. Personally, I'm smitten with this yellow Boston lifer tee, which goes for $28. They've also got Boston-branded sneakers, flip flops, jackets, sweatshirts, hats, bags and more.

It's all about the Boston accent over at the Nike booth. Shirts display taglines like "Haht Breakah" and "One Wicked Fast Runnah." There's also a special "Bring home Boston" tee honoring the awesome Kara Goucher.


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