All posts by Runner Susan

I am a runner.I run to keep myself on track physically, mentally, and to ensure I do not spend all my money on shoes.

Retail Therapy: Blister Beater Socks

retail-therapy.pngI don’t know about you, but nothing irks me more than having to pay $8 – $16 for a good pair of running socks. They’re socks! There’s not that much fabric to them. I have the same issue with underwear, but we won’t go there.

I don’t have the answers to sock technology but according to Wikipedia, the average foot has 250,000 sweat glands, and the average pair of feet gives off about half a pint of perspiration per day. And that’s just during everyday activity. Socks also absorb sweat and draw it to areas where air can wick the perspiration away. In cold environments, socks help to remove the moisture given off by one’s feet, decreasing the risks for frostbite. Buy three and prevent weinerbite.

Being the necessity they are, I’ve found a great winter running sock. The Blister Beater Socks.
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Not too thin, not too thick, cushioned and ventilated! I’ve had mine for three seasons and they are only just now starting to lose their shape.

Try a pair for yourself, available at Title Nine Sports. Three pairs go for $25.

Sock trivia: the commonly known “Tube Socks” were invented by Thomas Kelly and Hugh Ryan, in 1875.

If you own this product and would like to add your opinion, leave me a comment.

Retail Therapy: Brooks Vapor-Dry 2 Hoodie

retail-therapy.pngI don’t know about you, but it seems like winter is never going to end. Heading to your local running store for a little for something new might be just the pick-me-up you need to help you hit the road on a cold day. I sure did and found a very versatile and functional jacket: the Brooks Vapor-Dry Hoodie.

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I didn’t buy this jacket for the sleek look, music-friendly design or moisture wicking fabric but only for the adorable fold-over, built-in mittens. How cute is that?! Not to mention functional. All vanity aside, the shirt is warm, moisture wicking and trimmed with sleek reflective panels. Although I found this jacket a little on the pricy side at $78.00, it will definitely become a winter wardrobe essential that I can wear year after year.

Read more about this jacket at Brooks Running.

If you own this product and would like to add your opinion, leave me a comment.

Holiday Gifts for Runners

Looking for those last minute gift ideas? Here are some easy to find last minute stocking stuffers.

  1. Body Glide
  2. Runner Ornaments
  3. Runner Girl Pendant
  4. Magnetic Runner Night Light
  5. Sunglasses
  6. Lock Laces
  7. Warm Gloves
  8. Race Charms
  9. Inspirational Jewelry
  10. Warm Socks
  11. Warm Hats
  12. Swiss Army Tool
  13. Snot Spot Snot Wiper
  14. Healthy Snacks
  15. Not- So-Healthy Snacks
  16. Mini Cliff Microlight
  17. iPod Shuffle
  18. Soothing Muscle Recovery Gel
  19. Marathon Stick
  20. Massage Balls
  21. Trail Runner Head Lamp
  22. Mace
  23. Penguin Sport Wash
  24. Sport Watch
  25. Sunscreen

What’s your favorite stocking stuffer? Leave me a comment.

Running with the Dogs

It doesn’t take too much poking around my blog before you notice that I love my dogs, especially the newest edition to our family, an eight-month old Australian Shepherd named “Donkey.” While frequently too smart for his own good, he’s an excellent watchdog. His drive for running is never-ending. And being this woman’s best friend, I want to do my part in making sure he’s safe, healthy and well prepared for running.

Here are few tips to keep your furry friend happy and running healthy for years to come:

  1. Make sure you have a breed of dog that suits running. Many mutts, retrievers and larger breeds are great at keeping up, while huskies and herding dogs are great for distances. And contrary to popular belief, greyhounds do no make the best running dogs. They are great sprinters, but have very little endurance.
  2. Take a trip to the vet to make sure your dog is healthy enough to start running. Most veterinarians recommend waiting at least year for the bone joints and hips to fully develop before a dog can begin a running program.
  3. Don’t shave heavy coated dogs like huskies. Dogs do not sweat like humans. Their cooling process is done by panting, sweating at the paws and cooling the blood in their ears. Shaving the dog does nothing to keep the dog cool.
  4. Make sure your dog is on a balanced diet. As with humans, nutrition is key to a keeping up energy. A human-grade, high protein dog food is best. With this in mind, try to time the feeding of your dog so that he can run on an empty stomach to avoid vomiting.
  5. Start our slowly and with short distances. Just as humans need one, create a training plan for your dog. Start out gradually and recognize your dog’s limits; a poorly conditioned dog could lead to serious health concerns.
  6. When possible, run on trails or soft surfaces and always check paws frequently for wear. Hot pavement can cause blistering and trail running can lead to cuts and scrapes. Also be sure to keep the toenails trimmed to avoid snagging on grass or roots.
  7. Most public running areas require that your dog run on leash. I use a Gentle Leaderfor Donkey, but many people use a harness. A dog jogger leashis also an option if you want to run hands free. Attaching a leash to a collar is okay as long as your dog doesn’t pull. This can rub the fur off, causing abrasions and also restricting breathing.
  8. Carry enough water for two and offer water to your dog frequently. Bring a portable bowl, or teach your dog to drink from a bottle. Never force your dog to drink; he will drink when he’s ready.
  9. Most importantly, run when temperatures are coolest. I run with Donkey early in the morning before daylight hours or in the evening just after sunset. Overheating is a big concern and can cause brain damage or death. Many dogs aren’t smart enough to know when enough is enough, so learn to recognize signs of fatigue such as panting, weaving, falling behind, and foaming at the mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately pour cool water your dog’s back. If the symptoms don’t subside, get to your vet as soon as possible.

Use common sense when hiking or running with your dog. It will make it an activity that can be enjoyed safely for a long time. If you want to read more about people who run with their dogs, check out these running blogs:

Julie Berg and Topaz’s Run On

Andy’s ILove2RunRaces

Karrie and Niko’s Marathena

Runner Profile: Cathy Myers, Dallas, Texas

coach_cathy.jpgI was very fortunate to run into a lady at my local running store who would end up being my mentor and coach through several marathons. Her name is Cathy Meyers and she will be running her 56th marathon this Sunday. The The Wellstone Dallas White Rock Marathon,Texas, also marks her 10-year anniversary of running. Cathy’s marathoning advertures have taken her around the globe to locations such as Antarctica, Italy and New Zealand.

While being active most of her life, Cathy didn’t start out running. She grew up in West Africa, where she learned to play not only flag-football, basketball and track, but also field hockey and soccer. When she returned to the United Stated to attend Auburn University, soccer remained her favorite sport. Believing she was fit, Cathy accepted an offer from a teammate to go for a run. After one mile, Cathy slowed to a walk. She was determined not to let this happen again.

Throughout the years Cathy’s knowledge of running has grown, and she now has extensive experience as a runner and in coaching and race directing. She has worked with John “The Penguin” Bingham, co-presented at seminars and helped him to develop networking and group events, such as the Penguin World Conference and Team Penguin. Cathy has also worked with Jeff Galloway and was Dallas/Ft. Worth Galloway Training Program Coach and Director. And if that isn’t impressive enough, Cathy was a contributing writer to Runner’s World, and was a pace leader for many marathons when they were still sponsoring pace groups.

I was able to sit down with Cathy yesterday and ask her a few questions about her decade of marathoning.

RS: You’ve run 55 marathons: What is the key to not getting injured?
CM: Being prepared and well-trained. I am committed to running most of my marathons at training pace and selecting only a few per year to run at race pace. I also make sure my marathons are at least 3 weeks apart.

RS: If someone wanted to run their first marathon, how would you recommend they get started?
CM: You need to realize that every body type is different. While the muscles and cardiovascular systems will develop quickly, tendons and ligaments take at least a year to adapt to endurance training. To get started, you need to set realistic goals and allow the body and mind to adapt at a reasonable pace, preventing injury and burn out.

RS: What is your favorite marathon course?
CM: Florence, Italy. I’ve run it two times and I’m in love with the beauty and history of the city. I also enjoy the Cowtown marathon in Forth Worth, Texas, for its familiarity and gentle up and down hills. The rolling hills allow for the use of different muscle groups so you don’t get as tired.

RS: Do you have any role models?
CM: I admire many runners for different reasons. Galloway for his range of pace, Bingham for his focus on running as fitness and not just for competing, and I admire Lynn Jennings because she sincerely accepted that she had a genetic gift and worked very hard to develop it.

RS: What inspires you to keep running?
CM: How my body and mind feel when I run. I feel my best when I’m 12-20 miles into my runs. I usually don’t get tired until after mile 20. I’ve actually finished many marathons feeling better than when I started. That’s a great feeling.

You can read more about Cathy Myers on her site Feet In Motion.

Running Skirt Poll

skirt.jpgHave you noticed more women sporting the new fashion-trend by wearing running skirts at your local races? I sure have. A few months ago I had the opportunity to review a running skirt claiming to have the high performance fitness of a short, but with a girly-girly style.

And I have to admit, for me it lived up to its name, both in function and in fashion—winning big points for not bunching in the crotch.

Note: If the poll does not respond (hangs), please click on the title of this post and try again.

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Feel free to leave a comment and let us know why.

Poll: Tracking the Love, Part II: And the Winner Is …

running gearI was pleasantly surprised to discover that I’m not the only one who has inappropriate feelings about their Garmin Forerunner. An astonishing 48 percent of the readers who voted on the GPS poll at CRN use some version of the Garmin Forerunner. Several of you have even lovingly named (and secretly caressed) yours. And for those of us who have a need to simplify and analyze our runs, the Forerunner is a dream.

In contrast to those who love to analyze, a fairly large group of CRN runners (18 percent), use no form of tracking. And while I have absolutely no mental capacity to understand such nonsense, I envy the free-spirited group who step out the door and run just to run. Although, I suspect this is the same group of runners who secretly measure the distance with their car.

But whether you are in a car or using an online pedometer, there are many tracking tools out there. Dianna, the Running Chick, uses the Nike Triax and claims it is as accurate as any other running gadget. Jessica, from SoCal Trail Girl, swears by the Nike + iPod Sports Kit. Mark, the Running Blogfather, uses a Polar with its top-end running computer. He says that once it’s calibrated it is unbelievably accurate—and does the laundry.

Forerunner.jpgThe Forerunner may not do the laundry, but it does provide many beneficial push-button functions to aid runners in getting the most out of training. The main features include distance tracking, wireless heart-rate monitoring, lap recording, and calories burned. A new feature on the 305 models even allows you to download courses to compare and compete against previous workouts. Bob, from A Running Destination, says “I know for a fact I train smarter and set more realistic goals having this feedback.”

The Forerunner also comes with a feature called the Virtual Partner. I have to admit, I am intrigued by this function. The Virtual Partner lets your train against a digital person at any specified time or goal. Set it to race against your personal best or a virtual Michael Johnson. Personally, I’d use mine to boost my ego and set it so I’d always win. Yes, technology can be a wonderful thing. It can also be not so wonderful. Katy in Australia, says “I often run where satellites can’t find me. I get really annoyed that my pixel-self stops to pant while my virtual trainer passes me. I resent that.”

With all the built-in features, the masses are right, you can’t beat the Garmin Forerunner as a training tool. But a tool it is. Whether it’s running for fun or to qualify for that big race let your body decide what works best for you.

Now, if we can just get the Forerunner to vibrate …

Poll: Tracking the Love (Part I)

running gearLast December I received my very first (and only) Garmin GPS. It changed the way I ran. Before and after each run I lovingly stroke it against my cheek. I would sell my soul in the blink of an eye to always have mine by my side. That is how much I love my Garmin.

But loved or unloved, there are many types of tracking devices to provide feedback to runners on running time, distance, heart rate, pace, and calories burned. And, in a shameless attempt to take advantage of technology while at the same time provide readers with information regarding these devices, I need you to
show me the love.

Vote here and let us know what tracking device you use and why. Be sure and check back next week for results and more information about tracking devices for runners. The more you tell, the more electronic devices I can exploit. Let the exploitation begin.

Note: If the poll does not respond (hangs), please click on the title of this post and try again.

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Why? (leave me a comment)

Happy Boobs

running gearFall is just around the corner, that season where days get shorter, cooler and the wind gently breezes through our hair. Unfortunately, it breezes through our bras as well (sorry men). And as our boobs are smashed in our sport bras, we get the all too familiar fall fashion statement: Happy Boobs.

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Picture disguised to protect the innocent.

Not exactly the look you want for those race day pictures. Kidding aside, sport bras are meant to provide a variety of no-brainer functions such as support and moisture control. And for most average-sized women, they do. I may be the only one, but the Ally McBeal in me wanted more. Or, actually, less. Is a little less compression and a lot less nipple too much to ask for?

After searching through the local running store, I came across Champion’s Shape 2000 Bra, which due to the form shaped cups could easily be referred to as “The Madonna Bra.” I like Madonna, so that was OK by me.

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My reaction to this bra is mixed. It does most of the things a bra needs to do like wick away moisture and provide support. The extra padding provides the bulletproof protection I needed to conceal the extra happy expression not on my face. The molded cups served a duel purpose by separating my cleavage and eliminating the uniboob and the molded cups made my boobs look bigger. As a B cup, I’m all for bigger boobs.

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The bra does however have many seams, and while they are lined with a felt-like fabric, I did chafe a little under the arms. Nothing a little BodyGlide couldn’t fix. While I think most women would agree that less nipple is a good look, more boob may not be such a good thing. The bra does come in a D cup. While it’s great that Champion carries larger sizes, the molded cups may not work for extended sizes; there’s a fine line between Madonna’s lingerie and Viking breast plates.
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Edit: The Champion Shape 2000 Bra is available at Amazon at this link: Champion – Shape 2000 T-Back Bra