Posts Tagged ‘women running’

ChiRunning is about relaxing. Ok, maybe not quite this much.

Keith McConnell’s ChiRunnig workshop here in Eugene last Saturday was exactly what I wanted. I’ve been in love with the concept and my so-far-practice of ChiRunning since I read Danny Dreyer’s book “ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless Injury-Free Running” I say in love because even the small changes I have made in my running form completely alleviated my 5-year fight with my left IT band. My entire left leg, actually, was my nemesis for a long time. From my hip flexors, groin, IT and calf, if it was on my left side, it gave me grief. Those of you who have suffered with it, know that dreaded feeling of it coming on at mile 4, then mile 10, then 18 and you wonder if you’ll ever be able to run without feeling like your leg is going to fold in half. For good. I had to bail out of 2 marathon trainings and pushed through a marathon I shouldn’t have in total agony. But since finding ChiRunning, the last 7 races, including a trail marathon and 50K, have been IT-pain-free.

Even though Danny’s book was an excellent read in that he went step-by-step with illustrations about ChiRunning form (the core of effortless running), I knew that I needed a hands-on session with a trainer to give me feedback on the changes I was making. Keith started at the beginning with how to stand, line up the ankle, hip and shoulder and how to bend at the hip “just so” get the alignment happening. From there we practiced our lean, the ‘gas pedal’ of running and how to run from our ‘core’ muscles not our legs. Some of the principals of the practice almost seem counter-intuitive with regards to how we’ve been taught to power our way down the road, up a hill or on a trail. Relax your legs and feet? Really? But it works. There’s alot more to it and the book (and DVDs)  are a great start, but I highly recommend taking a class if you have one in your area.

I took a run the following day and focused on my lean, my arm backswing and running from my core muscles while relaxing my legs. I meant to do a slow, easy 4 miles, but noticed my last two miles were 2 minutes/mile faster than planned without a noticeable increase in effort.  Hating to quit at 4 miles, but needing to get on with work and chores for the day, I remembered another great thing about ChiRunning… easier running means easier faster running. Sweet!

Have you tried ChiRunning? If so, what did you think?


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it's not really candy or corn, just sugar (yum)

Ok, so I’ve started the Whole Living 28-day cleanse. There’s no calorie counting. You eat 5-6 small meals a day. The first week there is a long list of no-touch foods like sugar, alcohol (dam), gluten, eggs, dairy, peanut butter (double dam). I know, I know, I never do this kind of thing. I’m stubborn, strong-headed and don’t like anyone telling me what to do, especially what to eat. Chalk it up to 8 years of time in service with the Air Force. (ie – If you were going to take a purse to work for ‘da man’ it had to be the issued hideous big black box with wide strap. Ah, but they didn’t have rules about lunchboxes, so I picked the loudest, bright red Garfield-the-cat box to tote my snacks in. You get the idea.)

On the other hand, I love organization and structure. I have the largest whiteboard they make hanging in my kitchen. So, away we go.

DAY 1:

  • I’m jazzed
  • I’m ready
  • I’m hungry
  • I eat the entire black bean millet ginger recipe because it’s so fantastic!
  • I drink tea all day (no biggy, I’m already a caffeine-free gal)
  • I have an extra poop. Sorry, overshare, but hey, this is a cleanse, right? Good stuff.
  • I survive dinner which is normally my time to really eat.
  • I don’t survive the sweet craving at 9:00. I cave and have 5 candy corn. Sh*&! Oh well, if you cheat, make it worth it, eh? (And a shout-out to Market of Choice for stocking candy corn year-round)

DAY 2: (Today)

  • Jazzed again
  • Got up early to cruise recipes online
  • Made the spinach-banana-parsley-apple-water smoothie and pretended it was good (add a few strawberries and it was good, actually)
  • Went to the store and stocked up on a few more ‘clean’ condiments like lemon, lime, almond butter, basil
  • Excited to find green tea in decaf
  • Going to do back-strengthening yoga when kids go to bed tonight.

Ok, so you’re saying, “whatever, who does this”? I know, me too. I’m waiting for the “WTH was I thinking moment” that I’m sure will come. (Like when the kids are screaming while I’m trying to make dinner and a glass of red wine sounds soooo good) For now, I’m jazzed (and I have a couple more candy corn for an emergency)

Ever do a cleanse? What kind? How did it go?




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My bib is pink. That's girlie, right?

I Run Like a Girl

I’m thinking it’s never too late to get girlier. That’s a word, right? I’m not one for product home-parties, long appointments at the spa or fancy drinks with umbrellas. I was never a ‘pink’ wearer (except for that stint in 5th grade when I was sporting tight pink Dittos pants with the upside-down U over the butt), but  since bringing home my daughter who is ever-so-fashionable at age 4, I’m trying. She’s very inspiring with her coordinating polka-dot skorts and tops, pink leggings and, of course, the ever-present faux-feather pink boa. Thanks to her my closet now sports a couple pink tops and a pink skirt.  So, when I heard about the inaugural Eugene Women’s Half  Marathon and all the chat about the girlie goodies at the finish, I was non-plussed. But then I got to thinking about those treats…

The Trujillo brothers serving up some King Estate flavored mimosas. I finally got to tell them how much I love watching them run in perfect unison in my neighborhood.

1. I love me a good mimosa. Sure, at my last race they handed me a 22 oz. locally brewed IPA and that’s my fave, but mimosas are sorta like screwdrivers, right? I like those.

2. Massages are a must, really, in the life of a distance runner. While I still don’t get one as often as I’d like, they have become a medical need more than a luxury.

3. Chocolate is good. Very good. No argument there.

4. Running with a couple thousand women has a sweet vibe. Actually, a very powerful vibe!

5. The event was run by the same race directors who put on the Eugene Marathon, so of course it was going to be fun.

My mind opened and so did my wallet and a registered. So glad I did! The preview run downtown a month prior was a hoot. I saw so many friends who I run with often and not often enough. It helped me get my training in the right gear, enough for a PR on the 13.1 mile course.

I Run Like a Mother

Havin' a Shea Day! Run Like a Mother author Sarah and I sporting our runner momma tees

The real fun started the night before the race with a reading by Sarah Bowen Shea, co-author of the momma-must-read book, Run Like a Mother. Sarah graciously invited me to share her table with her while she chatted with racers at the packet pick-up and sold and signed books and tees. I have to admit I was nervous to be in the presence of a fast runner, amazing sports and fitness writer and well, let’s just say it, a famous runner momma! No need to be nervous. She was warm and hilarious and we had lots in common, not the least of which was how quickly we pit-out in the sun. To get the full scoop on our matching sweaty armpits and other pre-race shenanigans, check out the Eugene Women’s Half  video made by Julie of Chubby Mommy Running Club. Oh, and did I mention she read my favorite chapter on mental toughness? Nothing girly about that! Sarah introduced me to the idea of leaving nothing on the course; give the race everything you have. It changed my running and pushed me through my fear.

I Run to the Bathroom

It's true what they say. You can make friends with people (like Pam & Gwen) waiting in a porta-potty line before the race.

Race day! It was exciting, nerve-wracking (mostly cuz I figured I’d be stuck in a mile-long porta-potty line when the gun went off) and fun. Found some of my “people” Deb and Lisa and hovered between the 2:10 and 2:00 hour pacer balloons, wondering, as I always do at the beginning of the race, why they play the national anthem. Being born in our neighboring country to the north, Deb hummed a few bars of Oh Canada.  When the gun went off, my nerves gelled into excitement and I immediately knew I had to get in front of the 2:00 hour pacer balloon quickly.

And It’s All Good Until it’s Not

With the 2-hour gal behind me, I felt determined. In the spirit of not leaving anything on the road, I grabbed an 8:50 pace and tried to stay there. It was hard. At mile 11 it was really hard and then something terrible happened. A gal about 15 yards ahead of me fell and hit her head on the pavement. She was cut up in a few places and bleeding, most noticeably from her head. I walked with her for a few minutes, gave her the rest of my water from my Amphipod and asked her questions about what day it was and did she know her name. I was so worried that she would take another fall when she decided to start running again, that I tried not to let her out of my sight. She was a quick one though and cruised up and on around the corner. Stopping that far into a race is hard. Your momentum is gone, your focus interrupted. It was all I could do to kick-start myself into a ‘push’ for the final stretch. My last mile was an 8:16, my mantra being “pick up your feet”.

And It’s Not Over Till the Fake Lady Sings

Not sure which is more strange: the bra on the outside or the dyed mustache

I never found the amazing woman who got up and ran through the blood and sweat, but I did find some other amazing things at the finish including the dress-wearing Nebi, as he introduced himself. (Later I learned Sarah Shea told him during the supposed-to-be-all-women-race that he’d go faster if he shaved! Being a writer, I guess you can think of great lines like that in the moment you need them.) I met some new folks I hope to run with at our Run Momma Run group and definitely enjoyed me some mimosas, chocolate, Luna bars, strawberry lemonade vodka (hmmm, that’s two drinks before noon) and some great post-race hugs from my sometimes girlie runner momma friends. See photos below!

Heather of http://www.michiganrunnergirl.com came out to run. So fun to meet her!

Are they gorgeous or what? Lara, Amanda & Julie post stellar finish

Love this shot! Sarah & Jessicca (her 1st half!)

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Who shows up at 6:00am to do a track workout mid-week, some short on sleep with little babies at home?  (One gal got 2 hours of sleep after returning from a concert in Portland at 3:00 am)  RUNNER MOMMAS, that’s who! I feel so validated for my crazy obsession with running when I see others out there in the wee hours like myself. And to do speed work! Wow.

Excellent warm up on hurdles (backwards and forwards) to loosen hips and get focused on coordination.

Our first session went great. We had 10 gals register for the 5-week speed work clinic put on by myself and Dani Tubman from Eugene’s Baby Boot Camp.

Dani keeps things moving with gool ol' jumping jacks while everyone finishes with the hurdles

After intros and talking about race goals, types of speed work and heart monitor training, Dani lead us on an excellent warm up of an 800 with mini-strides, leg lifts, skipping and hurdle work. It really opened up our hips,  got us breaking a sweat and ready to run.

To get a base, we all did a timed mile then did some 400s with loose time goals based on our mile time. Since many of the gals were new to speed work, the goal was not to get fast the first day, but to practice ‘feeling’ what a certain pace was. It was fun to see people of like paces running side-by-side pushing each other and getting the encouragement going. I have done speed work by myself for so long, I forgot what it’s like to have people there to push your envelope a bit. I know mine was pushed and I’ve got the munchies today to prove it!

These gals were so fast, all I got in this shot was the track! Nice track though, eh? Very cushy.

I’m so looking forward to next week when we’ll do a fun warm up, then practice more intervals. And maybe the guys from the Oregon Track Club will show up again, so we have more eye candy to chase after!

Three cheers for these awesome runner women. You inspire me! (And I’ll take better photos next week, I swear)

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