Tag Archives: running

Things to Keep in Mind When Dating/Married to/Friend of/Parent to an Ultra & Trail Runner

  1. When we say we “need” to go for a run, we mean it. Whether it’s for sanity’s or training’s sake, we literally need to go run. After we get that run in, we’ll stop talking about it . . . until the next day. In that same vein, we may sometimes complain about HAVING to go for a run. Yes, we know we could technically “not go” . . . wait, actually no, we have to go. If we don’t, it’ll pick at us all day, everything will remind us of the fact we didn’t go, and we’ll be cranky and miserable because of it.
  2. However long we say we’ll be gone on a run, it’s safe to add AT LEAST an hour or two. Sometimes, we fail to take into consideration travel time, bonk time, refueling time, or “we felt good so we just kept going” time.
  3. Grocery bills will increase along with our training. And yes, we are eating AGAIN.
  4. Friday nights are usually more tame than any other night of the week BECAUSE Saturday morning alarms for long runs are usually much earlier than week day alarms for work.
  5. Vacation time is still running time.
  6. We may accidentally leave wet shoes, dirty clothes,  or sweaty hydration packs in our car from time to time which means it may smell like a dead body in there from time to time. We’ll also come home smelling like ass, covered in sweat, mud, and God knows what else. We promise we’ll take a shower and get back to our normal, sexy selves as soon as we peel ourselves up off the floor.
  7. We think about running . . . a lot. We follow obscure races and geek out over runners you’ve never heard of before. This only intensifies when we get around our ultra/trail running friends. Eventually, we will talk about other things; be patient with us.
  8. Ultrasignup can be a more dangerous website than Ashley Madison. If you see us on there, rein us in. We could easily sign up for 10 races in 10 different states at any given time if left to our own devices.
  9. We, at some point, will likely (literally) fall victim to our sport. We may twist an ankle, bruise/skin knees, pass out, need IVs, or piss blood. Yes, we know we brought this on ourselves. Still, listen to us talk about it again and again, tell us what bad asses we are, and try to spare us a lecture (until at least maybe the wounds and urethras are healed). We also realize you’re only concerned about us and appreciate and love you for it.
  10. We love our sport, and we love you. We also understand that you, more than likely, are not obsessed with what we do (or at least to the degree we are). And that’s ok. However, nothing makes us happier than when you show an interest (even if feigned) or want to crew/support/spectate/talk running. That being said, it’s not always expected. We know we’re weirdos and are thankful you love us in spite of it.
Gratuitous Jenn and Tony pic

Gratuitous Jenn and Tony pic-photo cred: luis escobar

Newton Distance IV Review

Obviously, trails are my true love, but out of convenience, a lot of my runs are done on the road. Thanks to Strava, I can keep track of how many miles my shoes have logged. My road shoes have over 600 miles on them, and I thought that warranted my review of them.

Since 2012, when I first started shopping at NRC and discovered there was a whole world of running shoes outside of Brooks, I’ve only worn Newtons on the road. I have had no less than 7 pairs, including the Distance III. I’ve loved each and every one but not like I love my latest pair, the Distance IV. As soon as I put on this shoe, I was obsessed. I’m not saying that it was exactly like Meg Ryan’s infamous scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” but it was close. Two days after I got them, I ran a marathon in them. Two weeks after that, I ran a 41 mile race in them, and my feet felt great (well, for having run 41 miles on the road. In hilly Tennessee. In May).

Rocking the Distance IV at Strolling Jim

Rocking the Distance IV at Strolling Jim

There were just a few changes from the Distance III, and aside from the color, I think they were all for the better. Newton is known for their lug technology; the lugs encourage midfoot running, as well as maximize running efficiency. The Distance IV is a part of the POP 1 (POP = point of power) group so there’s a whole lotta lugs. The lugs on the Distance IV seem to be more prominent than on the other models, and they haven’t worn down much even after 600 miles. Also, I definitely think that the lugs on the IV are more responsive than with lugs past. I feel a little more pep in my step from these. The heel of the IV hasn’t worn down as much either which I can only assume stems from the advanced lug technology (and perhaps, I’m finally getting better with my form). The tongue has less material and is less “cushy,” but it actually stays in place better. Even though the IV is a little heavier (and by heavier, I mean .6-.7 ounces), I haven’t been able to tell a difference.

Probably, the biggest thing for me is the toebox seems a little wider. One of the issues I’ve always had with Newtons is that my pinky toes would start hurting in the middle of long runs. The IV hasn’t given me this problem at all. Like I said, I ran a marathon and 41 miles in them, and my feet were about the only thing that felt good at the end.* My only complaint, and which really isn’t a complaint at all, is based solely (ha get it) on aesthetics. I may be one of the few people who is not a fan of flashy, loud shoes, but color is no reason to buy or not to buy certain running shoes. The Distance III was a beautiful white while the IV is BRIGHT YELLOW (which is still better than pink). The neon yellow was blinding at first, but after 600 miles, they’ve dirtied into a more pleasant, subdued hue. However, even if these shoes bright orange and blue, I’d still wear them. They’re that good.

Looking pretty good for 600 miles

Looking pretty good for 600 miles

So to sum up this succinct review — I really, really flipping love these shoes.

*Full disclosure: I wear currexSole insoles in all of my shoes as recommended by my PT. I have terrible arches and a (finally) healing but weak ankle.

**Super full disclosure: I run on NRC’s Race Team which is sponsored this year by Newton, but as I said earlier, I’ve been wearing Newtons since 2012, long before I was fast(ish) or on the team.

Staying On Path — Literally

While running out at Percy on Saturday, I had the privilege of running with a group that has run thousands of miles out on those trails over many years. As we ran, Phil, Jeff, and Theresa kept pointing out how different the trails look compared to when they were first built. Anyone who’s run on the white trail in the past 6 months knows what a mess certain areas are. On both the white and red trails, what used to be single track is now double track and, and in some areas, is wide enough to drive a car through. From this discussion, we started really paying attention to the trail as we ran. Sure enough, you could see the original barriers  . . . and the expanded trail which had been made around them. When the trails were built, these barriers were strategically placed to prevent erosion, protect vegetation, keep soil on the trail but have been basically rendered useless. In countless areas, we saw paths that had been “constructed” around trees or roots or muddy areas.

Obviously, over the years and with increased foot traffic, there’s going to be a little widening of the trail, but this is extreme. So what’s caused this? Go out whenever it’s rained or is muddy, and you’ll find your answer. Hikers and runners who don’t want to run through puddles or mud will circumvent the actual trail to avoid getting their shoes dirty. Granted, with the widening of the trails, it’s a little hard to tell where the original trail actually is, BUT if you’re stepping on vegetation — that ain’t it. If you don’t want to get muddy or dirty, it’s cool; stick to the roads. If you want to run trails, however, you have a responsibility to be a good steward of them. Take care of the trails that take care of you. Pay attention, and stay on path, even if it means you may have to wash your shoes.

Getting Over Myself

Lately, I’ve done something that I’m not proud of or ever wanted to do. I started taking running too seriously. I’m not saying I was taking my training too seriously. I still believe it’s incredibly important to be all in with your training so you can reach your goals (whatever those goals may be — from couch to 5k to 100 milers). I was taking myself too seriously which is gross and not fun (I’m pretty sure I even wrote a blog post about not doing that a few months ago. Oy).

Looking back at the last few weeks

Looking back at the last few weeks

For a few weeks there, I felt like I was “over” fun runs, short runs, road runs, or runs where I wasn’t trying to hit certain splits. First of all, this is stupid from a training standpoint. You have to have the nice and easy days. Second, this is just stupid, but I fell into a trap of go big or go home/go trails or go home. I didn’t have “time” for anything/anyone else. I even stopped going to the East Nasty runs which had been a staple in my training and social routine.


However, last week was Pint Night at Nashville Running Company, and we were going to try to register some peeps for Bells Bend. I decided that I might as well run with the group. Christa even came over to run. It ended up being one of my best runs of the week. It was fun, quick, and fast! I was thrilled I had “manned” up and just run.

After, at Pint Night, I was sitting kind of in the corner, talking a few people into registering for the race. It almost felt like I was a fly on the wall. I watched everyone enjoying some brews, fellowship of other runners, and just having the best time. And it hit me (again) — this is what it’s about. Running isn’t always about racing. Those of us who aren’t professional runners can only have a few “big” races every year. While these matter (if you want them to), everything in between matters just as much, if not more. These fun, social runs got me out of a dark place back when I first started in 2013. They’re how I met some of my closest friends and where I continue to meet awesome people. They also do more for the running community than any one race (or two or three) could ever hope to do. So I’m getting over myself and getting back to what’s truly important in the grand scheme of running (and Lezbehonest, these runs are still great for my training, esp when the pace groups tend to be much faster than advertised. #SpeedWork).


Week in Review:

Monday: 10 miles easy around East Nash; Swole session @ Climb Nashville w/ Big Swole

Tuesday: Tour de East Nashville w/ Yong — 11 miles; Tuesday Night Trails — 4.5

Wednesday: East Nasty 🙂

Thursday: RunWEST am; Hill Repeats; RunWEST pm

Friday: Climbing w/ Bree and Big Swole; Swole session

Saturday: 15 w/ Jobie around Brentwood

Sunday: 10 easy

What Are You Running From?

just run

Anyone who runs long distances has had some sort of cringe worthy confrontation with a non-running relative, friend, co-worker, etc. My favorites are the timeless classics “You’re going to ruin your knees” or “I don’t even like driving that far.” I’m not sure what it is about running that solicits so much unsolicited “advice” or commentary. My most recent interaction (from basically a stranger) included this nugget — “What are you running from?” Poor grammar aside, this actually got me thinking. Are we as runners actually running from something or are we, in fact, running towards something? Running can definitely be a great escape from the monotony of the real world or stresses from work/home, but I don’t think running away from things is the only reason we run. If we were all simply looking for an escape, there are a lot easier ways to find one. I’m not saying that we don’t all have our individual demons that a good run in the woods can’t help, (Lord knows I have my share) but I think, for the most part, we’re running for something, towards something, searching for something.

Running (and by running, I personally mean trail running. I’m sure the road can make others feel the same) isn’t just an outlet. It’s not just a way to unwind from the day or to start my day off right. I run to find the best version of myself possible–the version of me who is strong enough mentally and physically to endure what others can’t. I run to see just what my body is capable of doing. I run with a community that is beyond amazing, a community that has made me feel like I finally found my place in life, a community that I honestly can’t imagine my life without. Running and the running community show me who I want to be.

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I’ve never known exactly what or who I wanted to be (sadly, this is true even 4 years post-law school), but that has been changing since I became so deeply involved with running. I want to be a runner/I am a runner. Running is what I want to do, running is how I want to be defined. When people ask “what do you do”, I want to respond “I run”.  Clearly, I’m not saying I am or ever will be Frosty or Jenn Shelton or Sally McRae, but that’s what I’m running towards (if nothing else, at least in my mind). In the meantime, I’ll also be running towards bettering myself both as a person and a runner, towards unbelievable adventures that can only occur in the mountains and woods, towards the communion with nature, towards a community that welcomes any and everyone with open arms, towards the pain that helps me grow, towards the exaltation that keeps me coming back for more, towards the love and passion that intensifies every day for this sport, and definitely towards the “what now” or the “what else can I do?”

running quote