Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting To The Core

When I was a teenager, my parents were always telling me to stand up straight. You see, I tended to slump. Being a typical teenager, I just thought they were nagging and I ignored them. Plus, it actually felt uncomfortable to stand up straight. So, I slumped. Wasn’t until many years later (when I saw a picture of my bad posture) that I decided to do something about it. This was around the same time that I had joined a local gym. I began to do crunches to strengthen my abs and I began to see my posture improve. I also began to see my endurance while running improve.

Ever have one of those “Ah-hahh!” moments? Took a while but I finally realized that the mid-section or “core” is the support for your entire body. A strong core provides good posture as well as a solid base for the rest of your body to do its job properly. When you run, the power your legs receive originates in your core and moves down to your legs. I initially thought working your abs was how you strengthened your core. It definitely plays a part, but you need to go beyond the abs to optimize your core strength. The goal shouldn’t be to have a 6- or 8-pack but to have a solid core. If you get a “pack” in the process that’s cool (I’m still waiting for mine, LOL!) but it shouldn't be the goal.

There are a lot more muscles than just the abdominals that make up the core. Core muscles consist of the muscles that run along the trunk and torso and generally include the following:
Rectus Abdominis—the "six-pack" muscles that everyone strives for Erector Spinae—three muscles that run from your neck to your lower back
Multifidus—found beneath the erector spinae
External Obliques—positioned on the side and front of the abdomen
Internal Obliques—found beneath the external obliques, running in the opposite direction
Transverse Abdominis—muscles that protect your spine and provide stability; found beneath the obliques
Hip Flexors—a group of muscles (psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus, and sartorius) found in front of the pelvis and upper thigh
Gluteus medius and minimus—found at the side of the hip
Gluteus maximus, hamstring group, piriformis—found at the back of the hip and upper thigh
Hip Adductors—found at medial thigh.

The great thing about building core strength, is that it doesn't take a lot of equipment. There are many exercises that involve no equipment such as crunches, plank exercises, push ups, V-sits, lunges, and squats. Others require basic equipment such as dumbells, a medicine ball, a ballance ball, and other equipement found at any gym. I recently purchased a medicne ball (8lbs.) and have begun to incorporate exercises using the ball into my weekly routine. The December 2008 issue of Men's Health has a great pull-out poster featuring 10 medicine ball exercises from the UNC Tarheel Basketball team training handbook. At first the exercises seem too simple, but the next day you'll discover just how effective the exercises are. Stick with it though and you'll start to see and feel the benefits of the work you're doing. Fitness guru, Mark Verstegen, has a book on building core strength, Core Performance, that I highly recommend. Blue Benadum also has a great routine for building core strength. It’s tough, but it’s good. Check it out at For a core routine designed for runners try this plan from

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Log It!

In need of an online log to keep track of your running? Check out This awesome site lets you keep track of your training plus a whole lot more. The best thing about the site is that you can log all your workouts (running, cycling, swimming, and weight training) as well as create custom workouts to track other activities. After a run, just log in and add your workout. Another cool feature is the ability to measure your running routes and create elevation profiles. The mapping tool is very easy to use and a heck of a lot cheaper than a GPS device! They also provide a bank of running routes from other runners all across the country. So, if you have business trip in Philly, you see what routes other runners have submitted for the area. Another really helpful tool they offer is the ability to analyze your data through colorful graphs. I’m a visual learner, and seeing my progression (or lack there of) in a graph is really helpful. You can also search by specific workout entries using different criteria. And, you can track your shoe mileage so you won’t get injured from running in shoes past their prime. The site also provides a great running community where you can join a “running group” and get advice whether you’ve just started running or your training for a marathon. You can also meet other runners through the community and share running tips, ask questions or just talk about whatever.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Running Gifts

Need a gift for a runner? Or, are you a runner who needs ideas of what to tell others to get you?

Try some of these sites for unique gift ideas:
Inspired Endurance: Jewelry for the endurance runner
Cafe Press: T-shirts, sweat shirts, mugs, stickers, etc.
Running Expo: Shoes, apparel, heart monitors, cards, art, etc.
Seat Shield: Waterproof, odorproof seat covers
Lock Laces: Elastic lacing system
Running Funky: Uniquely colorful activewear
Transpack: Athletic backpack
Running Diva Gift Bag: Loaded with running gear just for her
Frosty Runner Gift Bag: Loaded with gear for the cold-weather runner
Marathon Training Gift Bag: Loaded with gear for the marathon trainer
For U Mothers: Gifts for mothers who run
Well Baskets: Gift baskets for the nutritional needs of athletes
Skirt Goddess: Running Apparel for women
Mission On!: Skin care products for athletes

Check out these sites for good deals on shoes, apparel, gear, etc.:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

See Dane Run!

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that it allows you to converse with people you may otherwise never encounter in person. One such person I've recently befriended is Dane Rauschenberg. If that name sounds familiar, you may recall back in 2006 a guy that ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Dane is that guy. He is one of only three people to ever run 52 marathons in a calendar year. He successfully completed his goal (dubbed Fiddy2) on December 31, 2006, in Springfield, MO. His average finish time for the 52 races was 3:21:16. But his accomplishment goes way beyond the 52 races. While running he also raised money for L'Arche-Mobile, an international federation of communities in which people with a mental handicap and those who help them can live, work, and share their lives together. Dane's goal was to raise $52, 000.

Having a full-time job and being a father of three, I often find it hard to fit my running into everything else that's going on in my life. So I asked Dane how he does it.

"As for fitting things in, I have always been of the belief that you fit into your life all that you truly want to. If it is important to you, then you will make it happen. While running the 52 Marathons I was working full-time in patent licensing, fund-raising for Fiddy2, ran my website, wrote race recaps, conducted interviews and did my very best to live a normal life all at the same time. This is not meant to brag but only show what can be done when obstacles are only seen as something to make the journey more worth while."
What's on the horizon for Dane?

"My aspirations currently include continuing to push the boundaries of my current endurance while trying to always get faster. I am often asked why I do not try for that one "fast marathon" and stop racing so much. To me, this question misses the point. Obviously speed is something we all wish to obtain but it is not the be all and end all of racing. If I had just focused on being a faster runner I would have never had the unbelievable experience I did in 2006. Yet, at the same time, contrary to what many think is the proper way to race, I continue to get faster. In fact, I am going for a big PR on Sunday(12/7), just one week removed from my 3:10 pacing effort in Seattle. More specifically, I am looking to run across the country in 50 days hoping to raise awareness for childhood obesity. I would like to test some of the famous ultras out there such as Comrades and Western States. I would like to do one of those 24 Hour relays like Hood to Coast as a solo runner. The only limit to what I want to do is whether I can obtain the sponsorship to cover my expenses. The world is really my oyster at this point."

Want to learn more about Dane's experiences during Fiddy2? Then check out his book, See Dane Run! Also, check out his blog, DaneGer Zone. Dane says he wrote the book in part "to show that you needn't be a runner your whole life in order to chase a running dream." Dane excelled at swimming in high school, played collegiate rugby and then procured an amateur boxing record, all before running became such an integral part of his life.

Keep it up Dane! And, keep us posted on the across-the-country run for childhood obesity awareness. I was very overweight as a child and truly know the importance of helping kids learn early the positive effects of living a healthy life.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Connecting with Other Runners

Have you ever noticed how non-runners just don’t get it? How many times have you been excited by a race you’ve done and when you tell a non-runner, their response is, “And you did that by choice?” Or how about when you tell a non-runner that you just ran a marathon and their response is “Did you win?” That one always gives me a chuckle. That’s why surrounding yourself with people who love to run, is so important. Recently a new person was hired where I work, and it’s been so refreshing to have a fellow runner to share goals and accomplishments with who can relate. You can find that support by joining a local running group or check with your local running store. They often host long runs or other events that bring runners together. One of the local running stores here in Greensboro, NCOff ‘n Running Sports—does a great job of providing a variety of weekly runs as well as sponsoring a multitude of local races. The Internet is another place to connect with other runners. In a previous post, I mentioned Athlinks as a good site to keep up with your racing results as well as connect with other runners. Recently, I discovered another great online community for runners—Runners' Lounge. Runners' Lounge is a friendly meet-up space for runners to connect with other runners, talk about running, and share running resources. You can create your own profile, form groups, share your running and race stories, pick up some tips, and leave some advice and encouragement for other runners. Check it out when you get a chance!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Group Runs...It's Good for Ya!

Do you struggle to maintain a regular exercise schedule? I sure do. I’ve discovered that I do much better when I run and/or exercise with friends. Isn’t it amazing how a long run (or any run for that matter) with a group seems to go by faster and is much more enjoyable than going it alone? Whether you’re starved for attention, need that extra diversion to help get you through those last few miles of a long run, or you enjoy the camaraderie or competition of running with others, it does seem to help. Actually it may even be good for your brain to run with others. Recently scientists found that the generation of new neurons (neurogenesis) is increased in the brains of rats when they were exercised in groups. Rats exercised in isolation showed no new growth. Whether this is true in humans or not, I don’t know, but I guess it's another good reason for planning some runs with friends. If you’re in Greensboro, NC come run with us, The Blueliners. (See the info in the right sidebar). If you’re in another town and looking for a group to run with, check out

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Winter Hydration

Just because it’s almost winter doesn’t mean you can forget about keeping yourself well hydrated, especially on long runs. Runners tend to focus more on hydration during the summer months when (if they’re like me) they sweat profusely. Just like in the summer months, your body still heats up and fluids are lost through sweating.

If you’re an avid runner, keeping yourself well hydrated (summer or winter) should be an ongoing process. I’m bad about only thinking about hydration about an hour before I run when I gulp down a bottle of water. But if you’re doing long runs of more than 8 miles you should actually be thinking about hydration a few days before. If you’re well hydrated then your urine should be pale in color and you should be voiding around 6 times a day.

Christine Luff from Running and Jogging suggest drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid about an hour before running. That will give you time to void before you run. You can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before running.

On long runs carrying water and/or sports drink along on the run is often a good idea. During the summer I like using the handheld bottles. I often run shirtless and the belts tend to irritate me. During the winter the handheld bottles are too cold to handle, so I wear a belt system. I’ve tried several brands of hydration systems, but I’ve found that Amphipod’s products work best for me. They have a handheld bottle that’s flat and is easier to hold than the round bottles. They also have belt systems where the bottles snap on and off, making it easier to use while in motion. What hydration systems have worked well for you?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Well it was inevitable. The first really cold run of the season hit last Saturday with the temp hovering around 20°. Actually wasn't too bad, once we got going. With the cold comes a whole different set of running concerns. Check out these cold weather running tips by Christine Luff from Running & Jogging

1. Watch for Frostbite
On really cold days, make sure you monitor your fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may feel numb at first, but they should warm up a few minutes into your run. If you notice a patch of hard, pale, cold skin, you may have frostbite. Get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.
2. Pay Attention to Temperature and Wind Chill
If the wind is strong, it penetrates your clothes and removes the insulating layer of warm air around you. Your movement also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. If the temperature dips below zero or the wind chill is below minus 20, hit the treadmill instead.
3. Protect Your Hands and Feet
As much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet. On mild days, wear gloves that wick moisture away. Mittens are a better choice on colder days because your fingers will share their body heat. You can also tuck disposable heat packets into your mittens. Add a wicking sock liner under a warm polar fleece or wool sock, but make sure you have enough room in your running shoes to accommodate these thicker socks.
4. Dress in Layers
Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat from your body. Stay away from cotton because it holds the moisture and will keep you wet. An outer, breathable layer of nylon or Gore-Tex will help protect you against wind and precipitation, while still letting out heat and moisture to prevent overheating and chilling. If it's really cold out, you'll need a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for added insulation.
5. Check With Your MD
Cold air can trigger chest pain or asthma attacks in some people. Before braving the elements, talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions or concerns about exercising outdoors.
6. Avoid Overdressing
You're going to warm up once you get moving, so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run. A good rule of thumb: Dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.
7. Don't Forget Your Head
About 40% of your body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss, so your circulatory system will have more heat to distribute to the rest of the body. When it's really cold, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth to warm the air you breathe and protect your face.
8. Get Some Shades
The glare from snow can cause snow blindness, so wear sunglasses (polarized lenses are best) to avoid this problem.
9. Don't Stay in Wet Clothes
If you get wet from rain, snow, or sweat in cold temperatures, you're at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature. If you're wet, change your clothes and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible. If you suspect hypothermia -- characterized by intense shivering, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and fatigue -- get emergency treatment immediately.
10. Stay Hydrated
Despite the cold weather, you'll still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your run.
11. Remember Sunscreen
Sunburn is still possible in the winter because the snow reflects the sun's rays. Protect your lips with lip balm, too.
12. Take it Easy When It's Frigid
You're at greater risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easy on very cold days. Save your tough workouts for milder days or indoors.
13. Be Visible
It's best to avoid running in the dark but, if you have to run at night, wear reflective gear and light-colored clothing. Dress in bright colors if you're running in the snow.
14. Run Into the Wind

If you head out into the wind, it will be at your back at the end of your workout, when you're sweaty and could catch a chill.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shoe Woes?

On the previous blog poll regarding your favorite brand of running shoe, no one brand surfaced as the most popular. Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, and Saucony were all equally represented. If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried an array of different running shoes and brands of running shoes. About 15 years ago I was a Brooks fan, then did a few years with Adidas, then Mizuno and Saucony. Each time I found a shoe that worked, the company would do an "upgrade" and make modifications to the shoe or just discontinue it alltogether. Very Frustrating because rarely ever does the newer version seem to work for me like the original. Then there was the whole thing with me wearing the wrong type of shoe. Many years ago, I had my feet evaluated at a running store in Durham and was told I needed stability shoes because I over pronated. Then about 2 years ago, during a visit with the sports doc about a running-related injury, I was told I had a neutral gate and didn’t need stability shoes. He told me that what I needed was a good cushioned shoe (my feet have very little natural padding). The doc also told me that I should always replace the flimsy insoles that come in the shoes with a ones that have more cushioning. I found that the Sof-Sole Adapt Custom Insole works really well. You actually stick them in the oven for about 2 minutes. Then, while still warm, you pop them in your shoes, slide your feet in, and the insoles mold to the contour or your feet. I’ve recently changed to Reebok’s Premiere Verona because I needed new shoes and it was given good reviews by Runner’s World for value and cushioning. Plus they were pretty cheap! $69.95 online at Holabird Sports. So far, so good. What shoes work for you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meet the Youngest BlueLiner

From AARP to Middle School, The BlueLiners have it all! Have you noticed that new, young, speedster on our Saturday long runs? Why that's the newest BlueLiner, Ryan. This 11-year-old 6th-grader has been joining his dad (Will) on some recent runs. What Ryan likes best about running is that feeling after finishing a long run or a short, fast sprint. He recently ran his first 5K—The Great Pumpkin Run—directed by his dad. He breezed through the course in 32:07. He ran the race with his P.E. teacher, who he credits for helping to improve his time by encouraging him during the race. Ryan feels that overall, that was probably the most fun, wet, and well organized race he's ever been to. He's into wrestling right now and practice is every day, so he can't run as much as he'd like to, but when wrestling is over, he says he'll be back at the blueline. Welcome to the BlueLiners, Ryan!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blueliners Shine at OBX Marathon

Les, Neal, and Wayne took the Outer Banks Marathon by storm last Sunday. Neal (2nd-time marathoner) and Wayne (first-time marathoner)—ran strong races. Veteran marathoner, Les, ran strong as well, placing 2nd in his age group! Awesome job Blueliners! Read below for a recap from each runner.

For some, the conditions might have been perfect but for me it could have been about 20 degrees cooler at the start (like Myrtle Beach). If I'm not shivering in a singlet, it's too hot! The split times on the website tell the story of my race. My first half marathon was at 3:20 pace and I was feeling pretty good but up to 20 miles I was down to 3:25 pace and in the last 10K things fell apart. Everything was going quite smoothly until I hit the ups and downs of the trail section. The surface under foot was nice and cushioned but I think it was harder work on the soft surface and my legs started to feel heavy. On emerging the woods, I could feel the sun sucking out the energy and there was no shade on the course after that. It felt like most of the course was uphill, just like Myrtle Beach, but there was definitely a tough hill (a high bridge) in the 23rd mile that almost finished me off. I saw a poor runner who had collapsed being loaded into the back of a pick-up, which worried me a little, but I was determined not to stop. The rest of the course was flat and I kept thinking that if I can run the last mile on a Saturday morning over Herbie's Hill I can finish this course. I stumbled into the finish with a slower time (chip 3:34) than hoped but pleased that I'd run the race without stopping to walk. Interestingly, I see I got 2nd place in my age group. The guy who came first in my age group did a 3:05! I think they need to check his birth certificate!

I’m happy to report that my first marathon is in the books and I lived through it as well. Ran 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 8 minutes. In my opinion, the weather couldn’t have been any better… a bit chilly but not too cold for me. I was in the 3rd corral (9 to 11 minute pacers). The energy and excitement in the air was excellent and made for a great start. There was excellent local support along the entire course. Music, pirate costumes and beautiful waterscapes abound. My plan was to go with my body and keep my heart rate in the 160 to 170 range, which puts me right around a 9 minute pace. Having a pacer/running partner would have been very helpful for this event! I had been warned about the sand section but there was also a technically challenging trail segment, which wasn’t much fun. At times it was only wide enough for a single line of runners and very steep in some places too. This concerned me greatly since my feet don’t like trail running (Salem Lake proved that to me). Yes, I ran the absolute entire bridge! Cursed it the entire time but ran nonetheless. All in all my body held up surprisingly well and although I didn’t break 3 hours I was still very happy with my finish time. It was interesting to see many people gingerly walking about as I was.
55 or so degrees at the start, little to no real winds to speak of, and about 65 or so at the finish. Not a cloud in the sky—100% sunny. My time was a little below 4:30, but I ran comfortably, had about 8 minutes of breaks, and there was a wacky trail run for 3.1 miles at mile 10 that I wasn't focused on!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ultra Trail Trekers!

I need to backtrack a little and give some much deserved recognition to Lucy and Ben who ran the Triple Lakes 40-Mile Trail Race in October. This brother-sister team smoked the trail in awesome style. They made a great team by supporting each other throughout the race and crossing the finish line together in 8:22:30! Lucy and Ben each received 2nd place in their age/gender divisions and they placed 28th and 29th out of 45 runners overall. Lucy and Ben said they really appreciated the support they got from several Blueliners they encountered near the stretch out to Strawberry Rd. I think this brother/sister duo has caught the ultramarathon they're talking about doing the Frosty 50 at Salem Lake! Congrats you guys!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rich Conquers Ironman!

One of the Blueliners, Rich Mayer, recently ran his first full IronMan (Beach 2 Battleship) and did a hell of a job!
2.4 mile swim: 00:59:01
Transition 1: 00:13:48
112 mile bike: 06:22:44
Transition 2: 00:06:57
26.2 mile run: 04:30:37
Total: 12:13:05

Overall placement: 151/337
Age group: 11/31

Rich's Experience
The race went surprisingly well. Except for colder than expected air(39 degrees) and water (67 degrees) on race morning, the conditions were perfect. The swim started at the south end of Wrightsville Beach and ended at Sea Path Marina near the Wrigthsville Beach Town Hall. The cold water caused my legs to cramp up several times on the swim. It also left me a little loopy at the end of the swim. It was difficult to just stand up at first and very difficult to change into biking gear—hard to think—hard to use your hands. To make matters worse, the changing tent was packed—chairs around the side and other than that—standing-room only. Luckily, I was able to get a chair to sit on after several minutes. That transition took me almost 15 minutes. The bike was 99% flat and smooth with little to no wind. Temps for the bike started around 40 degrees but must have ended in the high 60's to 70. I stopped three times on the ride—first at about 40 miles to peel off some clothes; next at 60 to peel more clothes and mix up some more drinks (Accelerade), and one more with about 20 miles to go to call my family and give them a heads up that I would be in transition soon (use of electronic devices is prohibited, so please don't tell the refs!). My biggest fear was the run, but it went well too. None of my intermittent hamstring, knee, or hip issues cropped up. I kept a fairly consistent pace throughout. I walked only occasionally at aid stations at which I ate mostly gels, orange wedges, and/or pretzels. I carried my own drink. My parents were at the T2—the battleship—so I saw them at the start and halfway points of the run (it was two 13 miles laps). My wife, Janet and son, Dave were in downtown Wilmington at miles 3 and 16. Dave ran with me a few blocks each lap. All were at the finish. On the first lap, I was just looking forward to finishing it and figured that if I made it at least that far I could consider it a successful outing. Then, once I actually got a few miles into the second lap, I knew I would finish one way or another—I certainly wasn't going to turn around or backtrack! On the second lap, Dave met me near the 24 mile mark and ran over the bridge to finish with me at the battleship. I felt pretty good at the end. But the next morning it was hard to get out of bed or even roll over. I guess the 6 Ibuprofen I took the day before had worn off! I'm feeling pretty good now. It was fun, and although I wouldn't say "never", I currently have no plans to enter another.

Rich, I think I speak for all the Blueliners....awesome job and what an inspiration! You da man! Lucy and Ben do an amazing 40-mile ultra trail marathon. Andy sets a marathon PR. Kelly qualifies for Boston and then Rich completes a full IronMan! What's next for the Blueliners?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Shoe Lacing 101

There's a lot more to lacing your shoes than what I was taught in kindergarten, or so I've learned. Did you know there's a whole science to lacing your shoes? There are over 30 different lacing methods each designed with a specific purpose. I was introduced to the world of shoe lacing when the race director of the Ridge to Bridge Marathon , suggested the runners use the "lock lacing" method. You see the first 14 miles of this race are downhill and this method of lacing prevents your laces from loosening from the constant pressure of downhill running. I tried it and it worked really well. It's also just good for keeping your laces snug for regular running. I did a little digging and discovered a really cool site, Ian's Shoelace Site, which provides illustrated directions for every kind of shoe-lacing method you can imagine. Need to relieve pressure on the top ridge of your foot? Try the Straight (Bar) Lacing method. Laces too short? Try lengthening them by using the Bow Tie Lacing Method. Check out Runner's World's article on lacing too. Happy Lacing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good Luck to The OBX Marathoners!

Best of luck to all the runners headed to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for the OBX Marathon on Sunday! I especially want to send well wishes to my running buddies—Les, Wayne, Neal, and Jonathon. They've trained hard and are going to represent the Blueliners well. You guys are awesome! Don't forget to enjoy the view while you're running. Supposed to be a beautiful course!
Two other running buddies—Andy and Kelly—and I recently ran the Ridge to Bridge Marathon in Morganton, NC. This race was on the other side of the state in the mountains. The first 14 miles were down hill! Was a tough race. Kelly and Andy both set PRs. Kelly even qualified for Boston! Wasn't my day. I had to drop out of the race. But it was a beautiful course nonetheless. It's a small race (only 150 runners) and extremely well organized. I'm always looking for new races, especially marathons and half marathons. What are some of your favorites?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Out And Vote!

I don't know if either candidate—Obama or McCain—are runners, but even if they're not be sure to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 4th! The lines may be long, so be sure to pack your Gatorade and a Power Gel to aid in your endurance! :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Race Pace Solution

Do you find it hard to juggle keeping up with your time and pace during training or while racing? I sure do. In the past I've used pacing bracelets but they usually get soggy and are hard to read by about halfway through the race. I've even tried covering them in clear packing tape and that helps but eventually it still gets wet. Remember those temporary tattoos that you decorated your body with as a kid? Well recently I discovered an awesome new tool called PaceTat 2.0 that takes those kid tattoos to a whole new level. You just apply it to your forearm before running and your equipped with an easy-to-read listing of your pacing times that will last the entire race! It even has mile splits with metric splits every 5 kilometers so that you can use them in shorter races as well as marathons. They're only $2.99 a piece (if you buy 10 or more you get a little discount). The tattoos come in 14 different pacing times from 3hrs to 5hrs. I highly recommend you check out PaceTat. This video clip showing how to put on one of the tattoos is pretty cool too. Also check out what Runner's World has to say about PaceTat.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Eat or Not to Eat...

Are you an eater? I mean do you eat before or during a long run? From the buddies I've talked to in my running group and from other runners I've talked to at races, seems like there's two camps of thought—Eat or Don't Eat. Guess I'm a hybrid. I have to eat something before I run (about 1 hr before) or I'll get really bad hunger pangs, especially if it's a morning run, but I've never been much of an eater during the run, other than the ocassional gel. Some running friends (Lucy and her brother Ben) recently ran a 40-mile trail run (they're awesome). Lucy said she had to eat during the run and was ravenous, but Ben said he could eat very little. I guess everybody's different and what works for one may not work for another. Before I run I usually eat an English muffin with peanut butter and jam. I've found that if I have a little protein while I run it helps with the endurance and recovery. Accelerade® makes a really good gel (Accel Gel®) that contains protein and their Accelerade drinks also contain protein. It has a different consistency than Gatorade®, but it's good. I don't care for the bottled version of Accelerade, but the powder that you mix up, tastes good. Check them out at If you're an eater, what kinds of foods do you eat before, during, or after your run?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Marathon Training Plans

Many of you are tapering in preparation for your fall marathon or you've just finished up your fall marathon. I'm interested in what training plan or plans you used. Did you use a specific plan, create your own, or did you do like me and take bits and pieces from different plans to create your own? This link will take you to a plan from Runner's World that I used. It's a tough plan and I ended up having to alter it.,7120,s6-238-244-255-11938-0,00.html The one thing I did learn from using this plan is the importance of speed work.I used the plan last year in training for Chicago and my endurance was the best it's ever been for short- and long-distance races. This year I didn't include as much speed work and my endurance and speed weren't anything compared to last year. So, send me some links to plans you've used. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Looking for a great way to keep up with your training, race results, race photos, and connect with other runners across the country? Then check out It's free and a great site. Once you join and set up a profile, any results from races that you run (which are in their database) will be automatically pulled into your profile. You can also add races /times. I travel with work a couple of times a year and I've used the site to locate running groups in other parts of the country so I could join in their group runs. I've met some really cool people. Check it out.


Howdy! I'm new to this so bear with me. I'm an avid runner in NC and thought I'd start this blog to connect with other runners in NC as well as all across the country. I'm 43 and I've been running for about 20 years, more seriously the last 8. I've run 10 marathons and love the challenge of the long distance run. Running keeps me sane as well as healthy. I have a chronic illness, ulcerative colitis, that makes running interesting at times, but I'm not going to let it get me down. If you are a runner and are dealing with a chronic illness, it would be great to hear from you.