Running Home.

August 9, 2010

Sorry it’s been awhile. I have no excuse. At least not any good ones.

I’ve been up to many things, including a long, sweaty run with my friend, Alex, at Valley Forge Park.

You know your run is going to be a good one when you get out of your car and are greeted by this:

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Good old fashioned men of the revolution.

Valley Forge was where General George Washington and his troops stayed during the winter encampment of 1777-78. It’s also where about 2,000 of the troops died due to the conditions.

It may not be a great place for a winter encampment, but it’s a great place to run! We ran about 8 miles throughout the park and it was HOT! Good thing there were water fountains or we probably wouldn’t have survived the summer running encampment of Sarah and Alex.

And then I spent my weekend playing with this person:

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She is funny.

Finally, you know you’re in Maryland when you can get an alcoholic snowball at the bar. Our love for snowballs know no bounds.

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That is all.

– Sarah #2


Sunday Run-day.

July 11, 2010

This morning I went running. I was kind of a lazy person for the first half of the weekend, and the weather has been kind of gross, so I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and get out.

I went to one of my favorite places to run – East Goshen Township Park. The park is in Paoli, really close to my apartment, and it’s so much nicer than running on the street and having to pay attention to traffic and other annoyances – and probably safer.

I love the park because it’s huge. There are multiple playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, baseball fields, pavilions, and bathrooms with water fountains – necessities when one is running for an extended period of time.

What I really love about the park is that there are always a lot of people around. People biking, people walking (with dogs), people playing – it’s nice to people watch while I get the job done.

There’s a 1 mile loop around the park which I ran on today, but there’s also an additional path across the street that doesn’t have mile markers but is also nice.

I started running later than I wished because I had to charge my iPod, but I actually ended up forgetting it when I left my car. Thankfully, I was distracted by all the staring I did.

On my run today I encountered 2 interesting things:

1) A woman had a small dog (possibly a poodle) who did not have functioning hind legs, so she had a regular leash and then a harness/leash around his back legs that she used to hold him up in the back – sort of like a marionette. It was so sweet.

2) I saw a mom running with her young (maybe 7 years old) son biking with her. At first I was like “how cute.” However, it was weird that they weren’t interacting with each other at all. Then I saw them on my next loop and the mom was running 15 feet ahead of the son who was walking his bike up a short hill and asking her to stop and wait for him. Her response: “No. You’ll catch up.” And she kept on running. Not so sweet.

All in all it was a successful venture. After running I rewarded myself with iced coffee and Harry Potter. It was a nice little Sunday.

The end.

– Sarah #2


New race, New Shoes

June 14, 2010

At the suggestion of my parents, I got fitted for running shoes this weekend. My parents are both starting to work out more often, including walking/jogging, and decided to get fitted for shoes themselves a few weeks ago.

I decided, hey, why not? I really know nothing about my feet and how I run. In that respect, I’m probably a horrible athlete. I am brand loyal to New Balance shoes, and I buy each pair based solely on the colors of the shoe. Additionally, I don’t ascribe to the “you need a new pair of shoes every 500 miles” rule because I feel like it’s an expensive rule.

We went to If The Shoe Fits, a store a little off the beaten path. It was small, but not crowded and the staff was really nice.

First, I took off my shoes (I was wearing flip flops) and a specialist evaluated my feet based on the way I stand. Not seeing anything peculiar, she had me walk a few feet out and back. Lucky me, I have no pronation in my feet.

After that she measured them. My right foot is just at a size 7. My other foot is slightly bigger (this is normal). Also, my feet are narrow. I thought that was surprising because usually my feet feel cramped in a lot of shoes width-wise, but maybe that’s just because my feet are claustrophobic.

So then I put on some socks and tried on 3 different potential pairs of shoes for someone with no pronation. The first pair had a high arch which is supposed to be helpful in keeping the foot from ever pronating. However, I found the arch to be unnatural and uncomfortable.

In the end, I got the pair of shoes that felt the roomiest. What can I say, my feet hate to be squeezed in – they need to breathe! They need to be free!

I got Brooks Glycerin 8 in purple.

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The description online states":

“Cushioning gets cushier in the Brooks Glycerin 8 running shoe. This sporty women’s shoe delivers a customized ride for runners of all sizes and speeds. With an eco-friendly BioMoGo midsole and Brooks DNA cushioning, the Brooks Glycerin 8 shoe responds to your every step, dispersing impact and providing ideal comfort as the pace changes. The lightweight synthetic and mesh upper maintains breathability; CushPod construction delivers maximum cushioning and flexibility. The abrasion-resistant HPR Plus outsole provides long-lasting durability and traction.”

The shoes are actually a size 8.5 – HUGE! I normally wear a 7 or a 7.5, but apparently I should buy a size bigger than my normal size when purchasing long distance running shoes to prevent a number of injuries and ailments.

Who knew?!

Anyway, we’ll see how these shoes measure up. I’m a little sad to let go of my affection for New Balance shoes, but maybe I’ll discover a new love?

Only time will tell.

All I know is that sports are fun when there are fun shoe fittings involved!

I mean, I am the girl who owns these:

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What can I say?  I like to get down and sweaty, but I also like being a girl. I’ll kick your ass and I’ll look good doing it.

What girl doesn’t like shoes?

– Sarah #2

P.S. Happy Anniversary, Sarah #1!


Treadmill Superstar

June 7, 2010

Well, it happened. I signed up for another race: The Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in September (formally known as the Philly Distance Run).

Given that I’m adverse to heat (read: I sweat like a man), I will probably train for this race predominantly on the treadmill at the good old YMCA.

I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill. Actually, I’d love it if the YMCA put on better TV channels. Watching the news and/or Sports Center does not motivate me. At all. Even the treadmills with their own televisions don’t play more than about 5 basic channels. Why this is, I’m not sure, but it annoys me to no end.

So, without the TV I’m forced to listen to my iPod for the duration of my run. For whatever reason, the music that is most motivating for me is music performed by female singers, so I can sing along in my head, pretend I’m famous, and therefore distract myself from the pain of putting one foot in front of the other.

What? Everyone’s got a distraction strategy, mine just happens to be pretending I’m a famous singer. A girl’s gotta dream.

However, sometimes I get really into the songs I’m listening to – like forget where I am and what I’m doing.

Sometimes there are dance moves.

And sometimes I start singing out loud.

Whoops. Nothing breaks the delusion that you’re somebody important than having everyone turn and look at you busting out a song on the treadmill, dripping in sweat, and clearly oblivious to the surroundings.

Maybe by the time I run this half marathon I’ll not only be in running shape, I’ll also have whipped my vocals into shape.

Until then, if you happen to hear me singing along to Glee songs or dancing to Britney whilst getting my run on, please ignore me.

Or, enjoy the show. I certainly do.

– Sarah #2


Half Marathon Mega Post

May 31, 2010

It’s Memorial Day Weekend – woo hoo, a day off of work! How did I celebrate this pivotal weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer? I ran a half marathon.

To be fair, I did not realize the race fell on Memorial Day Weekend. However, it turned out to be the perfect weekend for a nice, long run.

Much like my experience with Broad Street, I didn’t really train for this race like I should have. I never ran more than 10 miles (twice), and I only ran a handful of times in the past month for various reasons. Whoops.

So I didn’t have especially high hopes for this run. My plan was to finish it, and maybe to finish it without walking.

My friend, Alex, (remember her from Broad Street?), and I signed up for the race together. The ODDyssey Half Marathon was created as a great way for people to transition from training for the Broad Street run, right into a half marathon.

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The course was predominantly in Fairmount Park (Philadelphia), beginning on the Memorial Hall Green  (by the Please Touch Museum), and it went around the Belmont Plateau before nearing the stunning Schuylkill River along West River Drive, and ending back at Memorial Hall.

Best of all, the race encouraged costumes – hence the ODD in ODDyssey. So, Alex and I got ourselves some kick ass tutus – easy to run in and super cute – just what a girl wants.

On half marathon eve, we traveled into the city to procure our race packets at Lululemon, where I was disappointed in the nonexistence of 13.1 stickers. Boo. Then we proceeded to drink vodka smoothies, watch Family Guy, and play Rock Band. And, Alex was smart enough to go to bed before midnight. My bad.

We left by 5:30am, my stomach full of water and a peanut butter sandwich. Parking was ridiculously easy, and then came the long wait. This was the first annual race, so there were obvious kinks to work out. My parents arrived to be my official spectators and we passed the time by staring at people’s costumes.

Yes, there were plenty of (lame) people sans costume. I’m going to be honest, those people make me sad. Way to take yourself too seriously. Even a few of the top 10 runners ran disgustingly fast while wearing a costume. I’ll even take the people who wore little more than brightly colored arm bands with matching hair ties.

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Some of my favorites included the older dude in the kilt, the gingerbread man being “chased” by the baker, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck, the group of devils, the girls dressed like Lady Gaga, the guy who literally juggled the entire race, and the girls dressed like Hawaiians. Watching people run by in costumes really made the race go by a lot faster.

In the first 3 miles I saw my parents a handful of times, thanks to the set up of the course. I was really excited to have them there to cheer for me – it makes a big difference when someone cares that you cross the finish line. But, after that, we ventured down by the river and the amount of spectators dropped considerably. There were a few, here and there, but it was a lot of self motivation and motivation from other racers – I especially enjoyed those who yelled “Go Tutus!”

Around mile 5 I departed from Alex and proceeded to lose track of what mile I was on. I really had no idea. I just listened to my music, and laughed at people’s costumes. The course looped back so you could see those behind/in front of you various times. This was both motivating and unmotivating, but it really gave you the chance to see everyone in the race.

Running in Fairmount Park and by the river was really fun. The weather was gorgeous (the sun waited awhile to come out, thankfully), and the sights were gorgeous. A couple times I wanted to vom thanks to the fishy smell emanating from the river, but thankfully I pushed on.

Finally I saw a mile marker at mile 10 and was surprised at how good I felt. Everything went well until mile 12 when everyone around me sped up considerably. Then it happened – a small hill. And then? A mega hill that was almost the entire last half mile of the race.

Seriously? Seriously? That is cruel. I actually enjoy running hills, but this one was killer, and after running 12.5 miles, I considered walking. Instead, I cursed a lot in my head and trudged forward. At the top I entered the spectator zone and finished at 2 hours and 3 minutes.

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I was pleased with how I did. The race was fun and well timed after Broad Street. I’m proud of myself and excited to do another one! Though, it’ll be hard to top a race that allowed me to wear a tutu and a hair bow.

This is the smallest race I’ve ever done, and it was incredibly different from Broad Street. Going from 30,000 people to less than 1,000 is both good and bad. But, all in all, I loved every minute of it.

A special thanks to my parents for coming to watch me. Having someone there to cheer for me was awesome, and it was definitely something I missed at my last race. It made all the difference in the world.

I forgive you for making me walk all over Philadelphia and Longwood Gardens. I’m sure you just wanted me to prove my physical fitness even more. Score one for Sarah.

So, there you have it. I’m an official half marathoner. I just need my sticker.

– Sarah #2


Long Run, Long Post

May 2, 2010

Today I ran 10 miles in the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. The course goes right through Philadelphia, one end to the other, all along Broad Street.

It was pretty great. I had no expectations, and I had no goals, other than to run the whole thing.

You see, I didn’t really train. I had a training plan. I had good intentions, but life got in the way. So I ran approximately half of the times I was supposed to. And I didn’t do all the long runs. And I barely did anything in the last 2 weeks because I was busy celebrating my birthday copiously. So, I didn’t have goals.

But then I found out the weather forecast was calling for 90 degrees with a heck of a lot of humidity. I’ve been running in mostly 60 degree weather, 70 on a “hot” day. 90 degrees? Not the same beast and definitely not great running weather. Great sweating weather though – I excel at sweating. So I hydrated myself silly. This, in turn, led my small bladder to protest. But, I carried on.

Then on Friday we received an email from the race coordinators urging people to reevaluate if they were fit to run or not. Great. Then late Saturday we got another:

Due to the predicted forecast and the fact that most of you have not been training in these type of conditions we are urging all of you to take the proper precautions relating to this situation.  We cannot make decisions for you when you are the only one who knows how you feel.  

Medical teams are on high alert and our volunteers have been instructed to rise to the challenge. Runners should plan to run at a slower pace and to slow down or stop if they become disoriented on the race course.  Fellow runners are urged to contact the nearest medical personnel, police or race staff along the course in the event of a down runner.

Thus, my new goal became to not die. Not pass out. Not throw up on the side of the road.

With those goals in mind, we rose at 5:30am and left for downtown Philly. Along the way I encountered an EIGHTY year old man running the race with his family to raise money for a disease affecting his three year old grandson. Eighty. That blows my mind. It’s one of the hottest days this race has ever fallen on and this man is still out running. Incredible.

Really he just proves that running is possible for everyone. There is no particular body type that you have to be to run. And, you can start at almost any level. I saw people of ALL shapes, sizes, and ages running today – some running faster than me. A body type to match each and every person in my extended family (minus the elderly). Anyone can run.

I started the race with my friend, Alex. It was fun to look at all the other runners, all 30,000 of them, charging through the streets. Not to mention all the spectators that came out. Broad Street is a big deal in Philly and tons of people come out just to watch and support the runners. Church congregations, college students, families, friends, and more lined the streets from start to finish, cheering us on. There were also a number of bands of all genres from blues to rock to a bagpiper – I loved him.

For me, the best part is all the volunteers. So many people give their time to come stand on the road on a disgustingly hot day to hand out water and Gatorade and cheer us on. They are incredibly supportive as we take a sip of water and toss our trash on the ground and keep going. But, without those people, the race would not be nearly the same. They really made the day for me. Each person who stood in the sweltering heat and handed me a cup of water, thanks. I appreciate it.

Around mile 6 I left Alex and continued on alone to the finish. Well, as alone as one can be when they’re listening to Glee and Britney Spears, dancing their way through Philadelphia to the finish line at the Navy Yard.

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I finished. It was fun. I’d do it again. And again. And again. Want to join me?

I achieved a PDR (Personal Distance Record), and I look forward to my next race on May 29 – The ODDyssey Half Marathon.

– Sarah #2


Friday Gossip Round Up: The Running Edition

May 1, 2010

This week has been pretty crazy in the world of celebrity gossip. So, let’s just get started. I need to distract myself from the fact that I’m running 10 miles on Sunday with THIRTY THOUSAND people shoved into Philadelphia… in NINETY DEGREE WEATHER. I have a supreme fear of fainting.

Moving on…

Sandra Bullock: I take back when I called her an idiot. I love and adore her. Her eloquence, her focus on her (new) family, and her value system are admirable and courageous. I admire her poise in times of difficulty and I want to be her when I grow up. For one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, her words and deeds are a far cry from those of her peers. Go get People Magazine.

Christina Aguilera: She has some new music out. Good for her. I don’t personally find her music to be all that groundbreaking, but she has an awesome voice and I like to pretend I can sing like her. There’s been a lot of hubbub about  how Christina is “reinventing” herself by taking over Lady Gaga’s persona. I don’t really care either way because, let’s be honest, everyone in pop music is the same. The end. Shut up.

Halle Berry: She and her beautiful boyfriend broke up. They weren’t married; they were going for one of those Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell things and failed. They got a beautiful child out of it, but that’s not surprising since they’re two of the hottest people on the planet. And you know what happens when hot people get together? Someone gets burned. Or, in this case, they both did. Sad.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to spend my evening hydrating. And unfortunately that’s not a euphemism for drinking adult beverages.

– Sarah #2