Monday, June 18, 2012

Matt's 10K Run to Fight Hunger

Have Fun And Help Feed The Hungry All at the Same Time!


Join Matt Ketterman and friends on July 7th, 2012 to run/walk 10k to celebrate Matt's 21-year running streak. Matt's run at least one mile every day for the past 21 years! That in itself is enough to celebrate, but Matt wants to give back to the community by helping to raise funds for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Western NC.

The registration is free for the race. All Matt asks is that you give a donation to Second Harvest. Every dollar raised will buy 12 cans of food! That's amazing! Matt's goal is to raise $5,000. That will by 60,000 cans of food!
PRICE: FREE
LOCATION: Off-n-Running Store (3731 Lawndale Dr. Greensboro, NC)
DATE: July 7th, 2012 at 7:30 AM
COURSE: Greenway
REFRESHMENTS: Provided by Got You Floored, Inc.
REQUEST: Your donation here will help Second Harvest Food Bank of Western NC
Goal: $5,000 in donations to Second Harvest!
To Donate Click Here!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

RunnerDude's Gear Review: Timex Ironman Triathlon 150-Lap TapScreen

As long as I can remember, Timex has been long associated with quality,  dependable and affordable time pieces. From my childhood, I remember the Timex commercials (back when they were 60secs not 15) with the "They take a licking and keep on ticking" slogan. The old John Cameron Swayze ads are still very vivid in my mind where they did everything from a speed skater putting the watch on his skate blade to putting the watch on the end of an arrowhead to the funny one in 1977 where they had a planned "failure" when an elephant stomped on the watch completely crushing it with Swazye replying, "It worked in rehearsal." The company has long since stopped using the catchy slogan, but I still can't help to think of durability and dependability when I think of Timex.

Actually, my first experience with the Timex Ironman watch rivals their old commercials. I was in my 20s and at the beach on vacation. Walking on the beach I spotted something in the water wrapped in seaweed. I quickly bent down to pick it up before the tide swept it back out to sea. Covered in slimy seaweed was a Timex Ironman watch. It had a tattered Velcro strap on it with a palm tree design. I figured it must have fallen off a surfer. No telling how long it had been in the water. It was a little beat up, but to my surprise it was still working. I cleaned it up, bought a new band, and actually wore that watch for about 5 years.

Ever since that walk on the beach, I've been a Timex Ironman wearer. I have several fancy GPS watches that I've tested for various companies, Timex included, and they all work really well, but sometimes a basic sports watch is all I want. Plus I don't have to worry about always having to charge the dang thing. Or worse be on a long run and it die on me.

Recently I had the opportunity to test one of Timex's newest sports watches the Timex Ironman Triathlon 150-Lap watch. It has all the expected Ironman tools such as the INDIGLO Night-Light making it easy to read at night, easy to find start/stop/reset buttons, and set up that so easy it's basically ready to use right out of the box. It also includes a Target Time Pacer and dated training log with best lap, average lap and total time as well as a 100-hour chronograph with lap and split times. The hydration and nutrition alarms reminding you when to refuel are pretty cool too.

But the coolest thing about this new Ironman watch is it's Tap Technology. This new technology allows you to log split times with one firm tap on the watch face. No more hitting the wrong buttons, slowing down or almost tripping while you look at your watch to measure splits. You can also set the tap to light, medium or hard. So no worries about accidentally tapping the screen and marking a "false lap." Another thing I like is the oversized display. The large numbers make it easy to read at a glance. It's also water resistance to 100m, so I don't have to worry that my soggy summer runs will damage the watch nor when I forget to take it off before hopping in the shower after a run.

So, if you're in need of a sports watch and want to easily keep track of your laps or miles as well as all the other cool bells and whistles Timex provides, check out the Timex Ironman Triathlon 150-Lap watch.

Note: While Timex requested the product review and provided the watch for testing, I received no payment for completing the review, nor was I encouraged to write a positive review. The review results are strictly based on my experience with the watch.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Guest Post: Big Up Breakfast


In the spirit of the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games taking place in London, I've asked  Lauren Williams who lives in the UK to be a special guest blogger. Read on to find out her thoughts on Breakfast.

"Big Up Breakfast" It’s one of those phrases that has been drummed into you by your mum since you were crawling around the kitchen when you were three – “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Especially for those of us who are trying to lose those muffin-tops before summer hits.

So to recruit you to Team Breakfast, here are five good reasons you should make time for a meal in the morning.

1. Weight loss
Surely that can’t be right? If you eat more, you’re more likely to lose weight? Kind of – don’t worry, you’re not wasting your time with those early-morning minutes on the exercise bike. Your first meal of the day kick starts your metabolism after its overnight fast (break-fast, get it?) and stops your body going into starvation mode. Eating a balanced breakfast every morning also sets you up for the morning and will mean that you are less likely to pick at those chocolate biscuits being offered around the office at 9:05am.

2. Concentration levels
If you skip breakfast in the morning, you’ll have a hard time concentrating through to lunch time – you’ll also find it more difficult to learn anything new as you will not be stimulated enough to take in new information. Eating first thing in the morning will increase your productivity as well as your focus.

3. Mood
Being hungry tends to cause major mood swings and irritability. We all know the signs – the snappy comments and sarcastic remarks from your other half when they get in from work, only to find out they were too busy to stop for lunch. Nothing but a good meal will sort that out (or maybe that…). Skipping meals means that our body is lacking nutrients and is running on empty, which affects your whole system. Do yourself (and your family) a favour, and start the day sunny-side up.

4. A healthier heart
Getting more than a cup of tea down your throat in the mornings does more than increase your work productivity and your mood – it encourages a healthy heart by keeping blood pressure down and keeping diabetes at bay. Breakfast-skippers have, on average, higher cholesterol than those who eat first thing, which is the primary source of heart disease. By eating every morning, you consume less fat and more fibre which will keep you fuller (and slimmer) for longer.

5. Enhance your immune system
If skipping breakfast is something you’ve made a habit of for quite some time – you probably pick up colds and flus all winter-long. A study in the Netherlands showed that regular breakfast-eaters boost their body’s natural gamma-interferon (that antiviral thing that activates our immune systems) just by eating in the morning. Those that did not eat breakfast regularly – a fry up every Sunday morning when you’re hungover doesn’t count as regular – had 17% less gamma-interferon


Lauren Williams is a freelance journalist, dedicated runner and healthy eater (when she's not nibbling on cupcakes).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

RunnerDude's Gear Review: Brooks PureFlow

I'm a big proponent of runners finding what works best for them. Running is not "one-size-fits-all" or in this case "one-shoe-is for-all." Some do great with the purest approach by going completely bare (feet that is)....well there was that Pride in Your Hide 5K I did a few years back...but I digress. Anywho... others need a little more coverage for their feet and wear things that look like water-shoes or better yet take the gloved-feet approach. Some like the support of a laced shoe that has a little more sole. Still others want more support but a lower heel-to-toe ratio to promote a more natural gait. All are good. What works for you is what's best for you.

Brooks has joined the movement of providing runners with a more natural ride. Their new Pure Project contains four models: PureConnect, PureFlow, PureCadence, and Pure Grit. Each shoe is designed to be extremely lightweight and contain flexible materials the provide a natural, ergonomic, responsive ride.

Brooks recently sent me a pair of the PureFlow to test ride. I've tried minimalist shoes by other makers and while they were good shoes, for me, I netted out with them being good for shorter runs but not as good on longer jaunts. Not the case with Brooks' PureFlow.

I put in a lot of miles each week running with all my clients and various running groups. The PureFlow has taking me on short slow miles with my beginning running groups, fast intense speed work with my intermediate running groups, and long endurance runs with my race training groups. In each case, I've been impressed with the support and cushion this lightweight shoe provides.

The PureFlow provides a little more shoe and a lot more cushion but without added weight. The shoes only weight about 8.7 oz. The wide toe box and cool Toe Flex technology allow the big toe to power-off more naturally.

The best thing I like about the PureFlow is the 4mm heel-toe offset. I was delighted when another company recently redesigned some of their shoes with a lower 8mm heel-toe offset. The PureFlow has taken it even lower with a 4mm heel-toe offset. The traditional running shoe has a 12mm heel-toe offset. The higher heel often promotes heel-striking and in my case put a lot of pressure on the balls of my feet. The PureFlow's 4mm heel-toe offset allows for a more natural ride allowing runners to attain a midfoot stride more easily. This has helped my feet tremendously.

Another feature I really like is the durability of the tread. Many of the minimalist shoes I've tried had fairly short life spans showing major wear and tear on the tread/lugs after logging relatively few miles. The PureFlow has a more durable tread. After several runs, I'm seeing very little tread wear.

RunnerDude's not the only one who approves of the PureFlow. Runner's World gave the PureFlow it's coveted 2012 Best Buy award.

So, if you're thinking about a lightweight shoe that's responsive and doesn't lack in fit and cushion, then give Brook's PureFlow a test drive.

Note: While Brooks did provide the PureFlow shoes for testing, I was not compensated in any way for this review. Furthermore, Brooks did not request a positive review. The review simply is a reflection of my experience using the product.

Monday, June 4, 2012

RunnerDude Chats with Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher

Recently, I got a call from a representative of Nissan's Innovation for Endurance program. He wanted to know if I'd be interested in interviewing 2012 U.S. Olympic team members Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher. Once I picked my jaw off the ground, I said, "HECK YEAH!"

Innovation for Endurance features exclusive, daily content showcasing the latest innovation in running, cycling, and general fitness. You probably recognize "SHIFT the way you move." from Nissan's current ad campaign. For Nissan, it means rethinking the ordinary, pushing the boundaries, exceeding expectations and anticipate the needs of an ever-changing planet. They urge you to "Make this the Year of Innovation."

Through the Innovation for Endurance community, Nissan brings you a whole new take on performance. They surface the best innovations in running, cycling, and fitness from across the country, and from their Nissan Innovators: record-breaking marathoner Ryan Hall; cycling champion Chris Horner and the cyclist of Team Radio Shack Nissan Trek; elite marathoners Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan; and world record-holding swimmer Ryan Lochte.

Be sure to check out the Innovation for Endurance website and "like" their Facebook page. Right now on the website, you can peek into the fridges of Olympic Runners, and man, their fridges are a lot cleaner than mine! (Course having a 21-, 16-, and 11-year-old has something, I'm sure, to do with the lack-luster visual appeal of our fridge.)

On Memorial Day, Kara and Shalane were in Boulder, Colorado, for the  BolderBoulder 10K event. They each took time out of their busy afternoon to do phone interviews with RunnerDude. I called, Kara and Shalane called me. I have to say, that picking up the phone and hearing, "Hi Thad, this is Shalane Flanagan." is pretty dang cool.

Below are my conversations with Kara and Shalane.

Kara Goucher Interview:
Bio: Kara won bronze at the 2007 World Championships at 10,000m. At the 2008 ING NYC Marathon, Kara made the fastest marathon debut ever for an American with her 2:25:53 third-place finish. This was also the first time in 14 years that an American placed in the top three at NYC. In 2009, she also placed third at the Boston Marathon in the women's race with 2:32:25. In 2010, Kara took time off for the birth of her son. In 2011, Kara returned to running with her second-fasted 10K time which qualified her for the 2011 World Team. At the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, she placed 3rd with 2:26:06 giving her a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.

RD: Congrats on making the U.S. Olympic Team in the marathon and thanks for taking the time to chat with me for a little while.
Kara: Yeah, thanks. No problem.
RD: I read an article you posted on Competitor.com and I loved the title, "Never Count Yourself Out." So many people take the easy way out by thinking, "well, it's just not meant to be", but you have a different philosophy on that. What helps you keep such a positive outlook?
Kara: Honesty, it's just a part of my makeup and the way I was raised, and I think most things are possible and you can achieve more than you think if you just keep at it. It's just the way I'm made.
RD: It's in your blood?
Kara: Yep, it's the way my mom raised me. It's the way that I am.
RD: Did you grow up in an athletic family?
Kara: I did grow up in an athletic family. My father was a soccer player. My mom was real active. They didn't have (women's) sports in her high school, they had cheerleading, so she did that. My sisters are very athletic. My older sister is a basketball, soccer, softball player and my little sister played basketball, soccer, and also ran.
RD: You mentioned in the article that at the Olympic Marathon Trials you experienced a huge wave of emotion come over your during the last 200m of the race when you realized you would be on your way to London. What was going through your mind as you finished that race?
Kara: It literally took my breath away as we made that final turn and I knew it was going to happen. I put my hand on my chest just to breathe and take it all in. It had been a very difficult year for me coming back from having my son was harder than I thought it was going to be. I also parted ways with my coach and then I had the first injury I've had in many years. So, it was a very difficult year and because of my injury, I started training for the Olympic trials so far behind everyone else and I knew it was going to be down to the wire to make the team. There were just so many people during that time that supported me and believed in me during that process and supported me to change coaches and to really seek out what I wanted. There were so many other people's investment in me that it was an overwhelming moment for me knowing what a difficult road it had been, but that it was going to happen.
RD: (toddler noises in the background) Is that your little one I hear in the background?
Kara: Yeah, that's Colt (laughing); we're trying to get him down for a nap, but he wants no part of it.
RD: How has motherhood and having a toddler around the house changed your training?
Kara: Yeah, I used to go do a hard workout and then come home and lay on the couch for the rest of the day and obviously that's not the same anymore. But he's actually helped me become more disciplined and scheduled in my running. Where I use to sleep until I woke up and then go for a run, now I'm up and out of bed by 6:30, 7:00AM and I'm running by 8:30AM. And the same in the afternoon. I'm starting my afternoon runs by 4:00PM so when I come back I have time to spend with Colt before I have to make dinner. He's definitely made me more disciplined, but I definitely don't rest as much as I used to.
RD: I can relate. We have three kids and I don't have all that training to do, and I still don't seem to get enough sleep. You, Shalane, and Desiree Davila are amazingly talented elite women marathoners. Some of the other countries also have strong contenders. Who do you see as your main competition?
Kara: The Olympics is an event where people tend to show up and run past their expectations. Really everyone is a threat. But, Liliya Shobukhova of Russia has been the most consistent marathoner in the last three years, so I'd have to say she's one of the favorites and I'd have to say the entire Kenyan and Ethiopian squad; I mean they're all sub 2:20 performers, so that's a time I haven't even come close to running. I'll definitely have my eye on all six of those women.
RD: You've mentioned the support that Shalane Flanagan has given you. What does it mean to you that you've both made the team?
Kara: It's great. I would not have made the Olympic team without Shalane. She pushed me in practice to a level that if I had been on my own, I just wouldn't have taken my self to those places. I've been injury free since then and we've been able to train together day in and day out and we've shared so much together over the last few months. I know how badly she wants to perform well and she knows how badly I want to perform well too. It's fun to be a part of each other's journey. And it will be nice to have a best friend there. That's very rare. We've gone through a lot together and going to the Olympics together is pretty special.
RD: You've talked a little about your training day. What is a typical training day like for you?
Kara: I'll meet my teammates at  8:30AM and if we have hard sessions, we'll do an hour warm-up before the hard session, then a cool-down. If it's a normal day, we'll run 90 minutes, then lift weights from 10:00-11:00AM, and then I'll go home. We'll usually finish up between 11:30 and 1:00PM, depending on how long the hard session was, and then I'll take a half-hour nap if Colt is still down. Whenever he's up, I'm up with him which is usually between 1:00 and 2:00PM. We have lunch together and then I hang out with him and then back to training again at 4:00PM until 5:00 or 5:30. Then I make dinner for my family and we have dinner together. I put Cold down for the night and then I have a few precious hours alone with my husband. I go to bed around 9:30 or 10:00 and then I do it all over again.
RD: That's a long day.
Kara: Yeah, a long day, but a fun day. It probably seems kind of boring, but it's rewarding. I know that I'm giving everything I have to the sport.
RD: You mentioned weight training. I'm a big believer in full-body resistance and core training for runners and use it in training my clients. What do you do during your daily weight training sessions?
Kara: Well, I have a weight coach and I just show up and he tells me what to do (laughing). He changes it up every day. Sometimes we lift weights. Other times we do core work like planks or we'll do yoga. Other days we'll use the Swiss ball, med balls, and/or the BOSU ball. And then there are other days where we skip rope and do ladder drills. It's all different. We try to hit the body in a different way ever day so we're constantly challenging the body.
RD: Are you superstitious in any way? Do you have lucky charms or rituals that you have to do before a big competition?
Kara: I used to be really superstitious with like what I ate...everything.... and then I started racing in Europe and with the level of competition I was up against and I kind of let a lot of my superstitions go. I did had these lucky barrettes and then they broke in half that last time I was at the World Champs. Most of my superstitions and lucky charms are gone by the wayside now. For me, now it's more about the night before reflecting on all the hard work I've done and reminding myself of all the hard work I've done to get to the point where I'm at and that's really it. I try to think about all the really hard sessions I endured.
RD: What's a typical pre- and/or post-fueling food that you like to use?
Kara: Oh, I'm partnered with Nutrilite, so I'll take one of their protein shakes within that 15-minute post workout window you hear so much about. When I get home I'll get a sandwich or a salad or leftovers from the night before. My diet's pretty...there's nothing really fancy about it, you know. I eat a lot of sandwiches, a lot of salads. At night I'll eat a lot of pasta, a lot of rice, pretty basic.
RD: Is there anything specific you eat before a workout or race?
Kara: The night before a long run, I'll have what I hope to have before the marathon which is like rice, chicken, sweet potatoes. Pretty bland. But other than that, I can pretty much eat what I want before a regular workout. Along with that I'll carbload with my electrolyte drink to just help prime the body and practice what I'll do as closely to race conditions as I can.
RD: What's something about yourself that people might find surprising?
Kara: I don't know (laughing), that's a tough question. I don't know (laughing). Sorry.
RD: (Laughing) No problem. Has being on an Olympic team always been a dream of yours?
Kara: It's always been a dream to be an Olympian. I've watched the Olympics since a very young age. My family was always into the Olympics. So, I always wanted to be an Olympian, but I was never particularly good at anything in sports. So I'd watch the Olympic gymnastics and I'd say, "I want to go to the Olympics in gymnastics" and then I was a terrible gymnast. So then I'd say, "Well may be I'll go to the Olympics in swimming." I was a terrible swimmer. I always wanted to be an Olympian, but it wasn't until high school when I really started running and had some success right away that I began to flirt with the idea. Then I went to college and realized just how many people there were just as good as I was, so it seemed so far away at that point. Then towards the end of college I started to dream about it again. Then I went professional and realized yet again just how far away I was again. In 2006 I started running times that were competitive on the world level and that's when I started to want to make that dream happen. Then I went to the Olympics in 2008 and was kind of overwhelmed by the whole experience. The minute I came home from Beijing, all I could think about was going back and enjoying it and doing it right.
RD: What kind of advice would you give young aspiring runners, particularly young girls?
Kara: Just that running is something you can do forever. I started running when I was 12 and I'm almost 34 and I've just gotten better and better every year. Have a lot of patience with it and it will be there potentially your entire life if you don't try to rush it. So many times in life we want everything right away, but running is a journey that you can take for years and years to come. Just remember that when I was 18, I thought I was never going to get any better and here I am almost 34 and keep getting better.
RD: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Kara: Yeah, I'm here at the BolderBoulder talking with people from all over and it never ceases to amaze me how many lives running has touched and I think it's really cool. I'm a big believer that you don't have to be an elite runner, you don't even have to run every day, but if you get out and run every once in a while, you're a part of the club. It's just so fun to be around all the people who are a part of the club.



Shalane Flanagan Interview:
Bio: Like RunnerDude, Shalane is a UNC-Chapel Hill grad. While there she won two NCAA cross country titles and qualified for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team at 5000m. She won a bronze medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Olympic Games. Shalane is the current American record-holder at 5,000 and 10,000 meters and will represent the US in the 2012 Olympic Marathon (Shalane set an Olympic Trials record of 2:25:38 in only her second marathon.)

RD: First of all, congratulations on making the U.S. Olympic team. It's an amazing honor and achievement to make it to the Olympics. This will make your 3rd Olympics. What does it mean to you to be returning a 3rd time.
Shalane: It's amazing. I'm very fortunate. I went to Athens right out of the University of North Carolina and then of course Beijing was obviously very special. I just think I've learned so much from both of them. So, I'm coming with a a lot of sense and purpose to this third Olympics. It's going to be fitting, because I'm not on the track anymore, it's like a whole new event. It's an exciting time to be a marathoner in the Olympics.
RD: I've followed your running career since Carolina and I was so excited to see you transition to the marathon distance. That's my race distance of choice. What do you like about the marathon as compared to the other distances you've competed in?
Shalane: Yeah, well you just kind of gave an example, the marathon's not as exclusive as track. I get to run on the same course as everyone on the same day, so I get to share the experience with 1000s of people. We all take the same steps over the same course. To be able to share that, it's just a different niche. I think what I love the most about marathons, is that I get to share it with so many people, but more than that, I love the training, actually. I love the fatigue and the commitment it takes to be a marathoner. Just the lifestyle. It's a great club to be a part of.
RD: Talk some about your training. What's a typical training day like for you?
Shalane: It's pretty much running twice a day almost every day, except on days where I run 20 miles or more. Like yesterday was a luxurious day because Kara (Goucher) and I had 22 miles and then we hopped on a flight and came to Boulder. We only had to run once, so (laughing) today we were actually up running at 6AM and actually as soon as I finish talking with you I'm going t head out and sneak in a little 30-minute run before catching my flight home. Yeah, it's just consistent training, lots of running and we're getting into the meat and potatoes of our marathon specific training so that's geared for getting faster and sharper and kind of nailing down that marathon pace.
RD: Where do you do most of your training?
Shalane: I'm in Portland, Oregon. The Nike campus is a huge place where we all meet up and run. There's a 2-mile loop a wood chip trail around the campus and then there's a track and some grass fields we run on. So we run there a lot and then there are a lot of trails in downtown Portland and the waterfront. There's not a huge variety, but it's really consistent and good for our training needs.
RD: You mentioned Kara Goucher. I know you guys are really good friends. What's it mean to you that you'll both be representing the U.S. in the Olympic Marathon?
Shalane: Yeah, I think we're in a really unique position. There's not really many elite women in the world that train together like we do at this level and we have the same goals and we both want the same things. It's great to have that accountability and someone to push you on an everyday basis to get the most out of you. And, we just have a fun time. I've never enjoyed my running more than now being able to share the process and the journey with someone.
RD: You, Kara, and Desiree Davila are amazingly talented elite women marathoners. Some of the other countries also have strong contenders. Who do you see as your main competition?
Shalane: That's the beauty of the Olympics. Going into it, on paper, you could say that so-n-so is the favorite, but it's amazing how many times the favorites don't win or don't medal in the Olympics. It's an amazing race. It's whoever shows up healthy and hungry on that day. Because the marathon is so long there are a lot of unpredictable things that can go wrong. But, on paper, as of right now the Kenyan team looks the strongest. they have three women that have run under 2:20 for a marathon and who are consistently really good. Some of the Ethiopians look good, some Russians, Chinese, and Japanese are looking good too. But the beauty is that in the marathon anything can happen. I think Kara and I have a really good shot at being really competitive to the very end, so that's very exciting.
RD: You're planning to do the trials for the 10K too, right?
Shalane: Yeah
RD: That's right around the corner at the end of June, isn't it?
Shalane: Yep, it's like June 22nd, so coming up fast.
RD: How's that coming, your preparation for that race?
Shalane: Um, well, it's not necessarily the focus at all. I'm just looking at it as a good fitness test. A good hard run. What I can do that night, I'm not sure. I know I'm fit. I have a training partner, Lisa Koll, well actually her name is Uhl now. She got married, but she's one of the top 10K runners right now going into the trials. So, I know if I can stick close to her in the workouts and I know what she's been doing then I know I can be competitive. The beauty is that I don't have any pressure. I can go in race hard and there's no consequence to it. I already have my slot to London, so I can pretty much run hard and have fun.
RD: As far as food goes, is there anything specific you eat pre or post workout?
Shalane: Yeah, so I'm actually sponsored by Gatorade and I went to the lab this past fall to fine tune my nutrition and learn how to hydrate during the marathon. We did a whole sweat analysis and all this other stuff to see what kind of sweater I was. At the trials I used a regular Gatorade product, but now I'm training with a Gatorade Endurance product that has more electrolytes and sodium and I've found that it absorbs in my stomach really well and I don't get like a sloshy stomach. That's been a huge...that's one of the variables that's really been nerve racking to me...how to consume fluids while running. It was such a foreign concept to me. Gatorade's been huge in helping me with that. I had no idea where to begin and how to do it. I think a huge part of being successful on the day of the marathon is fueling yourself. If you don't do that right, that's one piece of the puzzle that can potentially go wrong. And for pre-workout and pre-race eating, I'm a pretty bland eater. I keep it simple with a lot of carbs and a little protein here and there. After my workouts, I either do protein shakes or eat eggs. I kind of eat a lot of eggs right after workouts.
RD: Are you superstitious in any way? Do you have lucky charms or rituals that you have to do before a big competition?
Shalane: The only thing that's kind of superstitious or good luck is if in my bib there's a number 8. That's my lucky number. So, if I get a bib with an 8 in it, I think "Oh my god, this is great! I'm going to rock this!" (laughing).
RD: You grew up in a pretty athletic family. When did you actually get into running?
Shalane: Yep, both my parents were runners. My mom (Cheryl Bridges Treworgy) actually had a world record in a marathon (1971) and was a U.S. World Cross Country Championship 5-Time participant. My Dad ran for UCONN and my mom ran for Indiana State, so I definitely come from a running background. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado and at the time was a kind of a running hot spot. I was always aware of running, but I didn't really fall in love with it until like high school. I kind of feel it was my calling and my passion, but growing up, I just thought, "Oh everyone runs." So, it was a natural thing, but I didn't really get into it until high school.
RD: Was being an Olympian always a goal in the back of your mind or did that just kind of fall into place as your running career developed?
Shalane: Yeah, I think any Olympic type sport, the Olympics is the pinnacle and that stage is the best stage to perform on. So, yeah, fully aware of the Olympics and many role models and inspiration came from watching the Olympic Games as I grew up. Even in my high school year book (when you write those prophecies of yourself) I wrote "Olympics." So, it was definitely on my mind at a young age.
RD: Is there something about yourself that people might find surprising?
Shalane: Yeah, I'm totally obsessed with my cat Boo. I don't have any kids yet, so she is my child. She's a North Carolina kitty. I got her right after graduating from college. Totally in love with her. I also really like art and hope to one day get back into it. I was in an art major program in high school and did all sorts of media. So, that one's side thing I'm into that's nonathletic.
RD: Is there a particular art media that you're drawn to?
Shalane: Yeah, I enjoyed doing a lot of pottery and working with clay, but I also really enjoy painting.
RD: Of all the races you've done is there any one that's more memorable that really stands out for you?
Shalane: I've been fortunate to have had a lot of good races, but as far as butterflies and the excitement I think my first Olympic team is pretty special. Coming out of Carolina, I was not expected to make the team, but I fought and clawed my way onto it and I think that was one of the greatest races in my life. I think that was a big stepping stone to my current presence as a U.S. distance runner. That was, I think, what gave me the confidence to get me where I am today.
RD: Along the way, has there been anyone, a coach or a family member that's been a role model or inspiration for you in your development as a runner?
Shalane: Gosh, I could list lots of people. I've had specific role models within the sport each step of the way. Basically, it's like a culmination of all the people from my high school coach to my college coach. Everyone's contributed in their own little way to making me the runner that I am. I think most importantly  parents play the most instrumental role in fostering kids and their dreams at an early age and letting it grow from there.
RD: Do you have any words of wisdom for youngsters aspiring to become runners, especially young girls?
Shalane: Yeah, definitely. I think it takes a lot of self-belief. I think what's great about athletics especially for young women is the self-esteem it builds. Just keep driving on that. As a child in elementary school, I would beat all the boys in the physical fitness tests and that just really built my self-esteem and it was great to feel really good about yourself. Keep believing in yourself and surround yourself with people that want to help you achieve your goals and dreams.

A big thank's to the  Nissan's Innovation for Endurance program for making the interviews possible and a huge thanks to Kara and Shalane for taking the time to share a little about themselves with the readers of RunnerDude's Blog. The entire RunnerDude Family will be rooting for you both at London! Best of Luck!