Monday, August 15, 2016

Favorite Running Books

One of my favorite things to do to make the miles go by quickly on a long run is to listen to a podcast or audiobook.  Not surprisingly, I very often find myself drawn to books about running.  Here are some of my favorites that I have read or listened to over the years.  What are your favorites?  Comment below or on our Facebook page for a chance to win another entry into the sold out Harvest Moon Hustle.

Born to Run- Christopher McDougall's modern running "classic."  This book spawned the barefoot running craze, but it was so much more.

Staying the Course: A Runner's Toughest Race- Dick Beardsley's memoir.  He was one of America's top marathoners in the 1980s.  Includes his account of his famous race against Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon.

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It- Everyone knows Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile barrier.  In this book, Neal Bascombe tells his story and that of two other, lesser known runners, who competed to be the first to break this milestone.

The Long Run- A great short story by Mishka Shubally about running away from personal demons and finding redemption.

My Life on the Run- A memoir by Bart Yasso of Runner's World fame.

The Courage to Start- By John Bingham, aka "The Penguin."  A great book about the transformative power of running for the every-man.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Speed Work in Disguise

This weekend I logged a lot of miles pushing my 3 year old daughter in a Baby Jogger.  It has been said that "hills are speed work in disguise."  I would add that pushing a Baby Jogger is also a pretty good workout for building speed and strength, and about the only "speed work out" I do anymore.

In the archives of this blog, July 2011, you can read several posts about my favorite speed workouts, including tempo runs and Yasso 800s.  

For a chance to win a coveted entry into next month's Harvest Moon Hustle, tell me about your favorite speed work out!

Monday, August 1, 2016

My First Ultra

This weekend I completed my first "ultra-marathon."  I ran a 50K in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, the Hot Hilly Hairy Ultra Solo & Relay.  It was a great ultra for a first timer.  The 50K was one of many races that day.  There were solo races ranging from 10K-85K and many teams competed in a 100 mile relay.  It was a fun, festive atmosphere.

The course was run on a cross country course at the University of Wisconsin Parkside.  The course was a fairly easy 5K, with 50K runners finishing 10 laps.  Temperatures were thankfully mild in the mid 70s.  There were two aid stations on the course, and a place where runners could place their own gear and aid.  It was a perfect set up for a solo ultra. I did not have to carry any aid.  I could drink at the aid stations and after each lap I snacked on my own food (bagel w/ peanut butter, bananas, and oranges).

I liked the set up.  I especially liked that the distance was broken down into manageable segments.  Rather that saying to myself, "I have to run 50 kilometers this morning" I only had to run 10 laps!  This kind of mental trick can be very helpful.

I had no goal time.  My only goals were to make it back to Milwaukee in time to catch my flight home, and to finish.  In the end, my finishing time was 6 hours, 36 minutes, and 15 seconds.  My finishing time put me in the top 1/2 of 50K solo runners.  It would have been faster but halfway through I had to go move my rental car so it wouldn't get towed away!  In the dark pre-race hours, I guess I parked illegally!

Competitors in the ultra distance received a hand made crown and a shirt that said, "I slayed the dragon."  The event had kind of a medieval theme.  All in all, it was fun experience.  50K is the longest I have ever run.  Next up is a 50 mile trail run in September.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Smoothie Recipe

For the last two years, I have started almost every day with a smoothie.  This was a departure from a lifetime of cereal.  With one smoothie, I pack in almost a days worth of fruit, vegetables, and super foods.  They are easy to make, digest, delicious, nutritious, and portable.  I make a large one for myself to drink at breakfast and take another one to work to sip on during the morning.

My typical smoothie includes:

1 large banana
1-2 cups frozen berries
1-2 cups frozen greens (spinach or kale)
1 ginger root (about the size of the tip of your thumb)
1 tbsp tumeric
2-3 tablespoons of chia and/or flax seeds
1 lemon or lime
2-3 table spoons of tart cherry juice

I fill to almost the top of the blender with water, and blend until smooth.  Any blender will do, but I probably couldn't live without my Vitamix!

How do you fuel your day and workouts?  Share your favorite smoothie recipe or other pre or post run fuel on my blog or the NOASM Facebook page for a chance to win a free entry to the sold out Harvest Moon Hustle!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It Started With a 10K

Once again I am proud to sponsor the Harvest Moon Hustle 10K, one of the best races on the local running calendar.  The race is fun and festive.  It reminds me of my first 10K twenty years ago.

I was inspired to start running by Ken Hawley, my friend Jason's dad.  He started running when it was still called "jogging."  It's funny, you never hear that anymore!  Anyway, he knew that I had started running to get in shape and he suggested that I try running a road race.  I lived in Alliance, NE at the time, and there were few options.  Ken had run the Bolder Boulder 10K in Colorado many times and raved about it.  At the time, it was probably the second largest road race in the country, with ~50,000 runners.  I was regularly running 4-6 miles, so I was in decent shape, but I had never considered running a race.  I now considered myself a runner, or jogger, if you will, but a racer?  Surely not.

I considered it a great challenge and signed up for the Memorial Day race (by US Mail!).  I trained through the spring as best as I knew how.  As the race approached, I was really nervous and excited.  What would I eat before?  What if I had to go to the bathroom?  Do I stretch before?  What if I couldn't finish?  What would the other real runners think of me?

As I stood at the start and looked around, I saw very fit, obviously experienced racers, but also saw plenty of people just like me, maybe not first timers, but people just there to test themselves and take in the experience.

The Bolder Boulder starts in waves of thousands of runners.  When it was time for my wave to start, I went out, not knowing if I was running too fast or too slow.  I just...ran.  The Bolder Boulder is a real spectacle.  I saw people running the whole thing backwards.  I saw a group that was leap frogging the whole race.  And there were too many crazy costumes to count.

The race ends inside Folsom Field.  As I neared the finish, I was overcome by emotion.  I was going to finish my first 10K!  Just two years before, I was 65 lbs heavier and could not run a mile.  Now, with a little inspiration and a lot of hard work, I was not just a runner.  I was a racer.