Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Get Bent.

Just do it.  I know you think yoga is too trendy, that you're not flexible enough, that you'll come out with glassy eyes smelling suspiciously like incense, or if you're a guy, that you might end up with an inappropriate boner in a room full of bendy women.

Well, guess what? It's not, you are, you probably won't, and hey, that actually might happen.

Throw your fears and prejudices aside, it's time to get on the bandwagon.  Really.

There actually are a ton of reasons I love it, but I tend to fall in and out of love very quickly with different pursuits.  Yoga is something I've been doing consistently for a long time, and I can sum up my dedication to it in two words:

 Injury Prevention

Sometimes runner people ask me what I do for injury prevention because I've gotten through some rough injuries and have managed to stay healthy for a long time.

I had a stupid femoral stress fracture and the cause was equal parts overzealous training and lack of core strength.  This combination allowed my pelvis to twist out of alignment, effectively making one leg a bit longer. It took me a long time and a lot of professional visits- over a year, and many hundreds of dollars to get to the bottom of this injury.

Bottom line, stupidity.

Yay! I'm about to run a half on stress fractures!

But stupidity aside, I still had a major issue with core strength that just didn't make sense to me.  I could do sit ups!  On a decline bench!  I even had abs!

Turns out, there's a lot more to core strength than doing crunches. 

One thing that I've noticed in runners I've coached, and in myself, is that most of our recurring injuries stem from weak glutes, weak abs, and not conditioning the muscles and connective tissue in the lower legs for the strain of running.

Even Runner's World smells what I'm cooking:
 "..scientists and coaches now know that you can't run your best without a strong core, the muscles in your abdominals, lower back, and glutes. They provide the stability, power, and endurance that runners need for powering up hills, sprinting to the finish, and maintaining efficient form mile after mile" (source)
"...Studies link glute weakness to Achilles tendinitis, shinsplints, runner's knee, and iliotibial-band syndrome.  (source)
 Getting to the Studio

I started yoga because I knew it would help round out my fitness, and there was a cheap class at the local city park and rec department.  I went to one class, and quit.  I hated it.  I couldn't relax when I was supposed to relax, I giggled at inappropriate times, my back hurt.  Worst of all:  I didn't feel I got a workout, and it sucked.

I tried a few different studios, and finally found one I love. One of the instructors plays dirty rap music and swears a lot, and the workout is so intense I've left with shaking arms more than once.  Bonus - by the time the whole relaxation part comes along, I'm so tired I am usually able to actually do a bit of honest-to-goodness resting and maybe even a little soul-searching.

And I've noticed a huge difference in my strength and flexibility, and I love it.

Before yoga, the only time I ever touched my toes while standing was one time when I had a few too many bottles of Boone's Farm in college and I talked my equally drunk roommate into pushing on my back until I touched my toes.  So... yeah.  I'm not particularly flexible (or wise, apparently).

But now, drum roll please, I can touch my toes, totally sober.  F*ck yeah.

Bottom line, try it out.  If you try it and hate it, find a different studio. 

Do you yoga?  Why or why not?

***I'm not a doctor, kablabbity-blah... I'm not qualified to give advice, don't sue me.  Yoga at your own risk folks.***

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

100 Days! A Raffle! Bonus Entries!

Wooo!  We're officially 100 days out from The Longest Day 2013!

For the second year in a row, Rachel and I will be running from sunup to sundown on the summer solstice to raise cashola and awareness for the Alzheimer's Association for their Longest Day event.

Last year, we had a sweet raffle on our blogs to try to raise a little bit more money, and man.  You guys blew us away with your generosity.  We're hoping to raise even more this year, and we know we have to bust out all the stops to try to get there.

The raffle was amazing last year, and it's going to be even bigger this year.  We'll be posting all of the dirty details in a few weeks when we get a little closer to the event, but we wanted to give you a sneak preview and offer up a chance for some BONUS entries!

If you remember from last year, the more you donate, the more entries you get.

Here's a little secret:
  ***If you donate before midnight on Sunday, March 17th, you get an extra free entry for being so cool and donating before we have a list of all of the prizes.***

We wouldn't leave you without a sneak peak though... here are just a few of the sponsors we have confirmed for this year's raffle:

Allied Medal Displays!


Running Funky

To donate:

Visit our fundraising page, and put us closer to a world without Alzheimer's.

For every $5 you you donate, you'll get one entry into the raffle.

Additionally, for every $25 you donate, you'll get three bonus entries.

(and remember, if you donate before midnight on Sunday, March 17th, you'll get an extra bonus entry)
And one more secret for you guys:
You can start your own Longest Day team
Have you been touched by Alzheimer's disease?  Are you as stunned by the facts and figures as we are? 
You don't have to run around a track.  You don't even have to run at all.  You could form a team of buddies from all over the country and each person dedicates an hour of activity on June 21st.  Swimming, biking, hiking, running, crossfitting, spinning, yoga-ing (what is the verb for that anyway?)

Or you could go naked scuba-diving for sixteen hours.  The possibilities are endless. 
Email me at if you have any questions - and check out for details.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Point Bock 5 Miler Recap

What a freaking race you guys. 

The race was at noon on Saturday, and around 10:00am, all of my runner buddies, my husband and I piled into my faithful Judy Blue and drove about an hour to get to the race.

The drive was uneventful - lots of chattering and multiple simultaneous conversations gave an indication to how excited everyone was for the race.  We snagged a great parking spot, picked up our t-shirts and bibs, killed a little time, and headed to the start line. 

2,000 people were lined up to run the flat, out-and-back 5 mile course.  The weather was awesome - low 20s, a very gentle breeze, and sunny, blue skies.  Perfect. 

My previous 5 mile PR was set in November:  40:19, an 8:04 pace.  I knew I could get sub-40, but I wanted to just run as fast as I could and see what I ended up with.   My concrete goal was sub-38.

I lined up between the 7:00 and 8:00 minute mile pace groups, and the gun went off.  The first mile had a few turns, and lots of passing back and forth as people settled into their groove.

I didn't look at my Garmin until about a half mile in, and it said my average pace was somewhere in the 7:10s or 20s.  Seemed a little fast, and I worried about burning out later.  Instead of slowing down to a more conservative pace, I just stopped looking at the damn thing.

Mile 2 was great - I knew I was getting close to the turnaround, and I was so excited to see the fast guys pass us on their way to the finish, and to see all of my friends once I hit the turnaround. 

The speedy dudes passed, and I mananged a little yell and some clapping as they sped by. 

At the turnaround, I was still feeling pretty good, but the pace was definitely a harder effort than when I started.  I was at that point in the race where I was hyper-aware of tiny little inclines and the slightest headwind.  I get there every race, and it's right around that time that the tiny whiny lazy person in my head tries to persuade me to walk.  Or lie down. 

But soon, I got the burst of energy that I needed - in the form of red-faced, panting, familiar faces. Rachel first, then a blur of Alicia, Kathy, Matt, Sarah, my husband Nick, and Nikki.  We managed some out-of-breath greetings to each other and a couple of awkward high-fives, and soon I spied the mile 4 marker. 

I picked it up just a bit for the 5th mile, made the final turn towards the finish line, and finished strong in 37:07.

My splits, courtesy of my trusty 305:
Mile 1: 7:25
Mile 2: 7:19
Mile 3: 7:32
Mile 4: 7:28
Mile 5: 7:19 
And the overall stats:
Point Bock 5 Miler
*** 37:07 ***
Overall: 233/1848
Div: 14/182
Sex: 42/940
 The two highlights of the race for me:
One, my negative split: 18:35 first half, 18:32 second half... just barely negative, but negative nonetheless!
Two, copious post-race beers with these running superstars:

Rachel, Sarah, me, Kathy, Lish
5 girls, 5 PRs, approximately a million beers. 

An added bonus:  Although I'm really excited the 16 hour track relay on June 21st, I've been pretty apathetic about training for it.  This race gave me all the running feel-goods I need to stop being so freaking lazy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Race Tomorrow and a Winner!

Happy Friday!

Tomorrow is the Point Bock 5 miler in Stevens Point, WI.  It's sponsored by a tiny brewery that has some pretty huge significance in my life.

One look around my basement gives you an idea of how much I love Point stuff:

 Side note:  When I was loading this pictures onto my computer thinking of other Point stuff I could have taken a picture of, I looked down:

Rocking the Point shirt at 8am.
It's genetic.  My dad collected Point stuff, I collect Point stuff.

You know what Point stuff I'd really love to collect?  An age group medal from this race. 

Let me tell you what's not going to happpen. Getting an AG medal from this race:

7:30 pace for 10th place?  Yikes.

I still have some pretty lofty goals: 

I definitely want to PR.  My 5 mile PR is a little over 40 minutes, and I know I can get sub-40 barring some unforseen disaster, but I really want to be under 39.  More specifically, I want to keep my pace under 7:40/mile.

It's a flat out-and-back, and the weather is looking good:  22 degrees, sunny, and a little breezy.

A ton of my runner buddies will be there, and I expect to be celebrating some huge PRs after the race... but if we all end up sucking, at least there's the free beer.

And now, the winner of the Injinji giveaway:


Congratulations Samantha!  Send me your address at and I'll send your pretty new socks!

Are you racing this weekend? 

What distance do you REALLY want to PR in this season?
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