Tag Archives: Running

If living longer is the prize, turtles win

Everything in moderation, it’s said. Even running.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and other institutions, I read in today’s Star Tribune, combed through the records of more than 50,000 U.S. adults and determined joggers who ran fewer than 20 miles a week live longer than:

  • Non-runners (aka couch potatoes — no news here).
  • Runners who go farther than 20 miles a week (those crazy lunatics).
  • Runners who run faster than 7 miles per hour (hares, do you hear this?).


OK, you can find (or manufacture) research to justify just about anything (including drinking more than six cups of coffee a day, fathering children late in life and eating Subway sandwiches twice a day), but this is the kind of research I love. Because I run really ridiculously slow.

The researchers defined joggers as those who ran 10 or 11 minutes per mile. Lately, 11-minute miles on my morning jog have been impressive.

Holy cowloney, it’s been hot. That’s my excuse. Age has nothing to do with it.

In any case, slow going will keep me alive longer.

Good thing. Moving so slowly means my runs are longer. So I’ll take all the time I can get.

This resolution is a stretch

No round of New Year’s resolutions is complete without an intention to lose weight or exercise more, right?

Isn’t that what everyone resolves on Jan. 1? It would seem so by the increase in volume at the local Snap Fitness.

I gained three pounds (which might be accounted for by an overly salty Chinese take-out meal or a big bowl of pasta for dinner) and I covered 1,005 miles in 2011, so I’m not too keen on losing weight or exercising more (how do I know I went 1,005.62 miles in 2011? Attribute that to a Garmin accurate to a hundredth of a mile and an obsessive streak of recording it; I just love my runner’s journal).

OK, enough with the obsessive detail, Minnesota Transplant. Sheesh.

I’m not resolving to exercise more, but I do, however, resolve to exercise differently:

I hereby resolve to stretch after every run.

My sciatica is acting up (do I sound like an old man?) and I think it may have something to do with the fact that my hamstrings are tighter than a 20-year-old’s creamy skin (oh, when you’re 20, you have no idea your skin is in the best condition it’ll ever be). And those hamstrings may be tight because, oh, I never stretch.

I used to do yoga regularly, and I’m thinking I could use a few more up dogs in my routine.

And so, in addition to making a comfy nest and embracing technology, I resolve to stretch.

Oh, and one more thing. If you’re into my annual new year’s resolutions, check it out here.

Tomorrow, we’ll wax nostalgic for the old year passed.

DIY remedies might relieve foot pain

  • Golf ball.
  • Frozen bottle of water.
  • Copious amounts of fish oil.
  • Kitchen magnets.

All remedies prescribed today for what I believe is plantar fasciitis in my left foot.

At first I thought only professional baseball players got such exotic maladies.

Nope, not that exotic. Not just baseball players.

Then I thought my feet hurt because I waited too long to replace my running shoes.

That might have exacerbated the situation, but new shoes haven’t diminished the pain.

So I have to take drastic action.

Well, it’s “drastic” if you consider massaging my foot with a golf ball twice a day to be drastic.

Hey, it’s worth a shot. At least I wasn’t told to lay off the running. Or amputate.

Now that would  have been drastic.

Instead, a comedic assortment of MacGyver-like materials might provide the answer.

That would be elegant.

A great day for a run, blue sky and sunshine

Basketball doesn’t have PRs.

I played basketball in junior high solely because I was tall. Tall girls played basketball, that’s just the way it was. That I was completely uncoordinated and unmotivated, that’s besides the point.

There’s no I in team, it’s said, and basketball is a team sport. So it wasn’t a stat to track, scoring more baskets than one did the last time.

But in running, oh, it’s all different. Winning is great, sure, but that’s probably for the Kenyans among us. The way to track progress in running is by the holy grail of the PR: Personal Record.

I didn’t get a personal record in today’s St. John’s Oktoberfest 5K.

But I could have.

That’s the lure of the race. Even if a runner has no chance whatsoever of beating the high school cross-country runner who weighs 90 pounds soaking wet, a runner has a chance of getting a PR.

Now hear these excuses: I didn’t train for it. I ran yesterday when I should have rested. I forgot the race was today until 10 a.m. yesterday when a flyer in the drug store reminded me, oh, yeah, today’s the day for the Oktoberfest 5K.

But I showed up anyway. I ran. I earned a time of 29:08.

I’ll take that over a basketball game any day.

Count down summer with countdown workout

I guess Chicagoans savor summer as much as Minnesotans.

Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich shared an idea in her column today that helps her remember to acknowledge and celebrate every summer day — all 94 of them. She starts with a stack of 94 index cards; each day, she writes down something she did to celebrate summer that day on one of the cards — even if was something as simple as taking a walk. As the stack dwindles, she’s reminded of the preciousness of each summer day.

One way I celebrate summer is to run outside (at least when it’s not 90 degrees and 100% humidity). I soak up the Vitamin D and get sweaty. Today, I ran a workout that’s become a standby: The 7654321 Workout.

Here are the details, from a post in February 2009, when I ran this workout on the treadmill [looking back now, I realize I’m faster — I ran intervals of 5.5 to 8.5 mph today] …

If you’re as sick as me of running on the treadmill this winter, try the 7654321 workout. I read about it in Runner’s World this month (love that magazine) and tried it this morning. Great workout if you can find 50 minutes.

Here’s how it works: Run intervals of seven minutes, then six, then five, etc. Between intervals, jog (or walk) for half the time of the previous interval. Each interval should be progressively faster (or, I suppose, you could use a higher incline).

I’m a slow runner, so I started running at 5.3 miles an hour, working up to 7.1 miles an hour. It looked like this: 1 minute at 3.0 mph, 1 min at 3.3, 1 min at 3.6, 7 min at 5.3, 3.5 min at 4.3, 6 min at 5.6, 3 min at 4.6, 5 min at 5.9, 2.5 min at 4.9, 4 min at 6.2, 2 min at 5.2, 3 min at 6.5, 1.5 min at 5.5, 2 min at 6.8, 1 min at 5.8, 1 min at 7. 1, 30 seconds at 6.1, 1 min at 4.1, 1 min at 3.9, 1 min at 3.7, 1 min at 3.5 and 1 min at 3.3. Fifty minutes total. (Keeping track of all the numbers will help keep you from getting bored.)

… Here’s to summer!

23,016 words

My head is swelled with pride and excitement. Make way.

My Beloved challenged me to write 20,000 words on my memoir this week, and I did it! Twenty-three thousand sixteen words.

Here are 392 from the 1,935 I wrote today. Ironically, they’re about training for the marathon I ran in 2006 — I feel like I’ve been running a marathon this week.

The only C I earned in junior high and high school was in phy ed.

I hated Nancy Johnson with the seething enmity only a seventh grade female could summon for a person occupying such an innocuous role: Physical education teacher.

Mrs. Johnson in her Members Only-esque gym suit stood at the entry to the group showers, checking off names as shrieking girls ran in and out of water flow too quickly to allow their hair to lose its 1980 puffiness. She probably found it highly amusing when the gawky tall girl had to promenade during the square dance lessons with the elfin boy who had an eye-level view of her blossoming bosom. And she was the one who skeptically watched the self-conscious, uncoordinated geek hang back from any activity that would require jumping, stretching or sweating. “Get out there, girls! Get going! Come on, ladies!”

After a quarter of lukewarm participation on my part, Mrs. Johnson got her revenge: The only C on a report card otherwise populated with A’s.

Though I managed Bs the rest of the school year, our relationship never improved over the course of my time at Wadena Senior High School. Mrs. Johnson coached the varsity girls’ basketball team, and even though I was the tallest girl in my class, my complete lack of interest in jumping, sweating and running – God, I hated running – kept me from ever progressing past the B squad. My senior year, I switched to golf, a game at which I was an utter failure as well, but at least I didn’t have to run.

Throughout my adult life, I spent a lot of time in front of the TV with exercise greats like Gilad, Denise Austin and “Buns of Steel’s” Tamilee Webb and I willingly walked when the occasion presented itself, but I wouldn’t run.

Good ol’ Jill, my ever faithful friend, was the one who suggested we try something new. She suggested that as a farewell to our 30s, we should run a marathon – Grandma’s Marathon.

So one Wednesday morning in January, I got up before the sun rose, put on an inordinate number of sweat-trapping cotton clothes and ran around the block.

Two days later, I did the same thing.

Jill printed out a marathon training plan for beginners and sent it to me, and I started following it. I was a runner!

Treadmill timing trick

Treadmill anti-boredom trick: 20-second intervals.

When you think you just can’t run another minute, try running intervals of less than a minute.

This morning’s workout was lame, for whatever reason, and I got nauseated towards the end of a 25-minute jog, but I really wanted to get 30 minutes of running in. So I tried the interval thing, which I’ve read is good for improving speed and useful at the end of a run, when you’re warmed up. For six minutes, I ran 7.5 mph (fast for me, but you could go faster or slower, depending on your own speed) for 20 seconds, then 40 seconds of walking. After six minutes, that’s a total of 2 minutes running fast (a quarter mile for me).

Next time I get on the treadmill thinking I’d rather walk the whole time, I’m going to try 24 minutes of 20-40 second intervals; that would be about 2 miles. I can do anything for 20 seconds, and changing speeds every minute makes time on the treadmill go quick.

It would be even better to be running outside in April, but that’s not an option in northern Illinois right now with the weather alternating between wind whipped, pouring rain and unseasonably cold. I wish those intervals would go quick!