This week, I polled my Facebook folks for blog topic suggestion. Gina, my longtime friend, Maid of Honor and fellow distance runner’s suggestion was fun: “These are a few of my favorite (running) things.” So here I present, in no particular order, a love song for my favorite things about my favorite sport. Enjoy!
I like an out and back route best. I love to run to Shubie Park from the North End of Halifax as I get to enjoy the Halifax Harbour from the bridge and Lake Banook en route. I also like the Purcell’s Cove/Herring Cove loop although I have to be in the right ass-kicking hill mood for that one.
I love the first day of spring on which you can wear a tshirt and feel the sun shining warm on your bare skin. I wait all winter long for this day. I also love running on early summer mornings before the day gets hot.
THE BOSTON MARATHON of course!
A mixed session on the track where we use more than one distance and more than one pace. Keeps it fun and interesting and without the need to do 10 of one thing.
Favorite Pre-Run Fuel
I will admit that I am a reformed “peanut-butter-nutella-and-aunt-jemima on chocolate chip eggo waffles” addict. In an effort to eat more foods that have actual nutritional value, I now go with an everything bagel with peanut butter and a tall glass of milk pre-long-run. For after-work runs, cereal is my favorite: Multigrain Cheerios or Honey Shreddies.
Favorite Hydration Method
Does being handed water by volunteers during a race count? On most other days of the year, I use the 4 bottle fuel belt. Right now I like fruit punch gatorade the best. That “favorite” has a shelf life of about 3 weeks.
Favorite Long Run Fuel
Gu’s Triberry Gel (the lesser known of the berries) is totally my fav. It’s deliciousness increases about 8-fold after 19km of running. 19k is the sweet k.
Favorite Post-Run Fuel
A large Steve-O-Reno’s Vanilla Latte made with homogenized milk. My Steve-O girl knows my order. And possibly wants to get my cold sweaty body out of her sight as quickly as possible, whatevs, the latte is delicious.
Favorite Running Song
I don’t run to music very often and never race with music because I can’t focus as well with music. But if I need a song to motivate me, it has to be “Lose Yourself” by Enimen.
Favorite Running Conversation
I do most of my training with 4 guys: McKim, Mike, Gordy and Liam. Our long runs alternate between 2 hours and 2.5 hours. I don’t really know how it happens but every single week, 2 + hours slip so quickly by in an enjoyable stream of silly jokes. I can’t even name the topic: just silly jokes. Last weekend, McKim had big news for me: New Brunswick marathoner Paula Keating had been awarded an elite Boston Marathon bib (Go Atlantic Canadian Star!). She won a race in Detroit and this seems to be how she got her bib. So McKim figures we’ll just fax in my Freeze Your Gizzard win (yes, in a field of 70…) and get me my own elite Boston bib. We laughed. And laughed again. And 2.5 hours disappeared.
I make somewhat of an effort not to bore all the regular, kind, non-running people in my life with “running talk.” I understand that you don’t want to hear about my 1000m splits, my pound to carb ratio or my mileage build strategy. Running conversation lets me meet a very important conversation need: the need to obsess over every last detail of my marathon training. Mike meets this need twice a week.
Of course I love the Run Forrest Run (my super Cabot Trail Relay Team) tambourine and clappy hand combo. I also have a special affinity for the cowbell.
I love everything that my coach says on a race course. In fact, I crave the words that my coach has to say. Sometimes I run by my coach and I can’t even make sense of what he’s yelling, but I love it anyway.
I very much enjoy cheering on friends in races and love making signs!
But above all, I love bagpipes. I can not run by them without getting chills (the good kind that enhance performance).
Favorite Running Gear
My pink ASICS Speedstars are probably my favorite piece of gear right now! I love the comments I get about them. Last week, a 10-year-old boy yelled, “Those are sick!”
I also love my prized Boston Red Sox winter pullover, a score from the 2009 Boston Marathon Expo. I have an orange skull and crossbones headband that I enjoy wearing. My favorite shirt is Lululemon’s racer-back tank. I love to race in these tanks. I am aware that I look like an average skinny runner in this tank and that I don’t look at all intimidating but when I pull this one on, I feel fast and ready to kick some race butt.
Favorite thing about being a high school running coach
Seeing youth develop a love for the sport. There are moments where I feel like I can actually see them bite off a piece of my love. Last week, I left 8 runners (it’s March and track practice is optional until April) on the track doing warm-up to run to my car to get my pen. When I returned, all 8 runners, boys and girls, were skipping around the track like kindergarten kids instead of running. I affectionately yell at them: “What the heck kind of warmup is this?!” They respond, “The We-Love-Running Kind!” they yell back. “We love running so much we have to skip!” That’s a beautiful thing.
A marathon is a long race. A long time to run and a long time to think. For many marathoners, me included, a mantra (a word or quote that you repeat incessantly) is important to maintain mental focus and to shut up the inner monster who wants you to slack off, stop or walk. I’ve used many different mantras- different ones work at different times. Sometimes new surprise mantras pop into my head during a race and they get me to the finish line. Right now, my favorite mantra comes from previous coach Matt: “Take a Risk.” It means push harder, push deeper, run faster. Almost always, you have a second gear. Or the ability to maintain a faster pace for longer. Using it involves taking a risk.
Favorite Thing about Running
I’ve given this some thought, trying to come up with a one liner. I have it.
Running helps me be my best self.