February: My socks are wet and you keep trying to throw me in a ditch

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BE CAREFUL!

I try not to wish time away. Generally, it’s bad practice, but dang…I’m tired of having wet socks and a numb nose.  I long for a carefree trot around the neighborhood that doesn’t involve fearing a potential face plant. My running pal uses the technique of “tiny steps.” It’s a quick shuffle with your hands at your sides while you navigate the snow and ice-covered streets.  I prefer a general zig zag method that involves hopping to areas that appear “crunchy” as opposed to “icy.” This year we experienced two rounds with the “Polar Vortex.” Here are some tips to help you on your February runs.

1. Smart Wool socks: Those dang air vents on the top of your shoes are too breezy. Smart Wool is super water wicking and it’s wool…so you know…it at least gives you the general idea that you’re warmer.

2. I have officially decided if the Weather Channel app says is “feels like” 0 or less with the wind chill, I’m putting on my pajama pants and I’ll do squats and crunches in my house while I watch Game of Thrones.

3. Run with friends. These friends will have to tell you that your nose is running, because you won’t feel it. Running pals can also remind you about how much of a badass you are.

4. You will feel like you have to go to the bathroom as soon as you get your layers on…its not true. It’s just like when you were a kid and you got your snow suit on.  You really don’t have to go. Ignore it.

5. Your face will have a rosy glow.  Just pretend it’s from a tropical vacation, not wind burn. People will secretly hate you (in the good kind of way).

So…brace up! You won’t regret running, but you’ll regret sitting on the couch (unless of course you’ve instituted rule #2). In that case remember, “Winter is coming!”

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What to eat, what to eat….

I had the eternal dilemma after today’s 17 miler – what should I eat?  The problem with the long run is nothing really sounds good.

It ain't pretty - but cupcakes can frequently cure what ails ya. This is a famous Georgetown Cupcake (and gal pal, Jamie)

Today, I grabbed a class of chocolate milk and slammed it – not because I wanted it, but because I thought I should.  My husband offered to get me “whatever I wanted.” My response was “Taco Bell.”  What?! Why was that the only thing I could think about stomaching?  Ridiculous! I don’t think I’ve had Taco Bell in over 4 yrs. I will say – those tacos perked me right up. Is there a right and wrong way to eat after a massive run? Probably.  I think the only true way to mess things up for yourself is not to eat or drink anything.  Take this opportunity to treat yourself – everything in moderation though. If I want Taco Bell after a 17 miler, I wonder what I’ll crave after next weeks 18? It definitely won’t be White Castle – those things are nasty (just saying).

I should note, my running pal Meghan and I split a glazed donut at mile 10ish.  There’s a reason I keep quarters in my running pouch.


When no means no: What to do when your body hates you.

Tonight was one of those nights – who am I kidding?  This week was one of those weeks! I’ve been fighting a cold (and generally winning) over the past week. The rule is – if your illness is from the neck up, it’s safe to run. If it’s from the neck down, hit the couch. My symptoms included clogged ears, stuffy nose, and general sinus rebellion. Runners generally don’t rest well. I’m no exception.  The 15 miler on Sunday was at a snail’s pace. It was a miracle that I finished. My 4 milers on Monday and Tuesday were ok. Tonight, I had to say the dreaded words “guys, I have to walk.” My body not only said “no” it said “no and I hate you!” In my defense, it was 93 degrees with an “air quality alert for sensitive groups.” I’m sensitive. I cry at humane society commercials. That counts right?

Sugar's bod says "no" to her a lot. Poor kitty

I’m here to tell you:

1. Sometimes runs just don’t work out

2. Everyone will still think you’re a badass if you have to cut your run a little short

3. Maybe you need a rest (gasp, I know that’s a bad word)

4. Your bod will like you better if you don’t abuse it when you’re sick

5. Sometimes cutting yourself a break can recharge your emotional running battery

In reality, my running team probably didn’t mind the walking opportunity and heading back to the barn early. 6.6 miles happened tonight and not 8.  I rewarded the effort with Chipotle.


Head Space

Oh running visor, I love you.  Allow me to list the reasons why.

Visor layered with headband kept me from freezing during the NYC marathon last fall. Yes, my metal is solid gold.

1. My hair is massive and it only gets more massive as I run.  It keeps my hair out of my mouth and eyeballs.

2. My nose turns beet red if it even thinks about sun hitting it.

3. Rain, snow, tree branch and bird poop protection.

4. It helps my 2 fans (my mom and husband) pick me out of the crowd during a race.

5. It makes me look super sporty and awesome.

6. I can pull it down to hide my face from someone I don’t want to see.

7. It keeps the competition guessing (They can’t see the 10 minute miler glimmer in my eyes)

8. Open top means the ponytail can breathe

9. It’s fierce.

10. It transitions from run, to lawn mowing, to shilly -shallying around the backyard.

My running mentor, Ann, wrote my first 1/2 marathon training schedule and gave me the confidence to try distance running.  The best advice she gave me was to get a visor.

Moral of the story: Get a visor – it’ll save your life. (Do you notice that the Run Run Rhubarb blog is getting slightly over dramatic?)


Runnin for nothin and plants for free

Admit it – you love the Dire Straits reference.

I love free stuff.

I love free samples (as long as they’re not a strange sausage item from Sam’s Club).

I love buy one get one free deals (especially involving UDF scoops of ice cream)

I love free-stylin (I just free styled some meatloaf tonight – No recipe!  What’s up!)

I love free plants.  Especially if these free plants come with an athletic endurance challenge.

In my “off-season” running with my gal pal Meghan, we stumbled across two curbside grocery bags. Two bags contained full hosta plants – yes please! There was also a bag of pansies – pass! We each grabbed a bag and started on our run home.  Hauling the weight of your own butt is tough enough – but add a bag of dirt and plants!  We huffed and puffed, dripped with sweat, and cursed our new-found treasures.We made it the 2 miles home and basked in the glory of having free plants, banging biceps, and the secret urge to start dumpster diving.

Do you ever wonder why runners are always finding the bodies on Law and Order?  It’s probably because they’ve found some sweet free stuff on the side of the road during 4 milers and they have their eyes peeled.

Plants are prettier when they're free


The off-season: a blessing and a curse

I am officially in the marathon training “off-season”. Training for the Marine Corps marathon officially begins the first week in July. I will have had half of May and all of June to “rest.”  Rest, schmest – lets face the facts. The facts are:

a. I’m still eating like I’m in marathon training

b. I’m still running because I’m eating like I’m in training

c. No one wants to play tennis (my official off-season plan that hasn’t panned out)

d. I have a reputation to maintain (although I’m not sure what that reputation is exactly)

Being in the off-season is a necessary evil in the running world. If you continuously train, you will probably injure yourself and curse the day you ever purchased a pair of running shoes. The idea of the off-season during the last few weeks of marathon training is like looking forward to a Disney vacation when you’re a little kid. I dream of the Saturday mornings when I can sleep in instead of jamming down a peanut butter sandwich and a diet coke at 7:00am on the way to the running trail. What happens when the off-season arrives? I wake up early on Saturdays anyway because I’m use to it. I question the fit of my jeans. I start to worry about my pie intake.  Where is the sweet relaxation that the off-season promises? This is no way to live! The off-season is never really an off-season.  It is probably better named the “everything but the super long weekend run” season. My gal pal, Megan, and I hit the steamy streets of Columbus tonight and celebrated our 4 miler with a glass of wine and some North Star dinner.

I’m thinking that I must run forever.