Archive | August, 2013

Getting your Stride

25 Aug

HEY! I’m alive! Sorry for the respite, but I decided to try a small experiment which I will report on later. For now …


I was watching, during a rest the other day, a passing runner in dream like fixation. One hand crocked under the armpit, the other flailing at the side, and a syncopated gate lead by the left foot, this runner had a rhythmic trance on me only a passing train could break. Amazingly, this runner seemingly timed the wagging of the crocked hand, flailing hand, and gate to their breathing. It was as if this runner was moving in one big breath. I loved it.


But then I got nervous, do I look that weird when I’m running? What do I look like when I’m running?  Aside from some not-so-flattering/maybe flattering MarathonFotos® or reflections in windows or cars, I’ve never really gotten a full look at what my stride looks like. So I took a nice cool day in August (I know, it’s weird to type that, but we’ve been lucky this summer) to sit on a bench in a highly run area to do a little research. Below is my analysis of the types of strides:

  • Swishy hips– You hips don’t lie, and I’m going to bet your IT band doesn’t either, but you make it know you are here, you are fierce, and you are going to saunter your way past my jiggle darn it (insert Z snap here).
  • Butt kicker–Some people have the ability to kick their own butt while running in the most literal sense, and not because of the intensity of the workout. These runners often have knees that point straight to the earth mid-stride making them look as if they might topple over if pushed. images
  • Jazz hands–Well, maybe not entirely, but they look like they are performing the final number of a Fosse piece with all the effort of the first line for the entire length of the run. I always want to get really close to them and pass the baton or at least put something in a hand. images
  • Jesus- Please see picture –>  images (He’s going to go make us some wine next).


  • Perfect Peter of Patty-You are the person anonymously photographed for running magazines because your stride is “So Prefontaine”.images


  • In Sync- You have either found the perfect running partner or your arch nemesis. You hit the ground in the same way, at the same time, at the same rate. Even when you push for more, you do it the same … creepy images

And my personal favorite,

  • The injured runner OR I’m not enjoying this/is it over yet– All of this almost always looks exactly like this:



Regardless of what you look like, you should NOT be in pain while running. If the way you have been running is making your hip, knee, ankle, arm, or any other body part hurt, you should look into seeing a trainer about having your stride or even your shoes (yes, those can impact the way your feet hit the ground and your stride) adjusted. Most noted running stores will offer FREE advice. FREE. Just remember, sometimes you get what you pay for.

Get out there with someone and go for a couple of miles, go to the gym really early or late, or face the mirror on the dreadmill and see what the world sees for a couple of minutes. After that image is burned in your mind you have two choices: Deal with it by making necessary changes (30 days breaks a habit), or forget about it and keep doing what works. If crocking my hand in my armpit saved me 40 seconds, I’d do it … seriously.

But just incase … see the following link for helpful tips!





I’ve Got You Covered … Underthings

9 Aug

*Note: This post is intended to lead the reader in the correct direction to find the correct pair of unders for running. I am not a qualified or professional fitter. 

As the self-proclaimed Fat Girl Running, I will admit readily that my bum is rather large. Duh, sighs the view, but click not away yet. Even not-so-fat, to regular shaped ladies have issues with their bottoms, and to my delight and surprise, some men also have booty issues (truth … ask my brother-in-law).


It seems, no matter how far, or inclined, or lunged (?) I’ve attempted to run, my bum has been, and always will be my partner in crime. Fine. Whatever. I’ll just be that gal. And with the passing trends, some years, it’s even stylish to have a nice booty (thank you, Beyonce, J-Lo, et al). But when running, the thing back there can cause one major, not so comfortable issue to deal with: A wedgie. For those not familiar with what that means (or the English language in general), a wedgie is when your underwear gets lodged in your butt crack. Not in a good way, not in a comfortable way, and not in an easy-to-remove-nobody-will-ever-notice way.

butt_display_image (She’s not tense about running, she just really wants to pick that wedgie!)

Wedgies, if we break my running time into percents, take up about 15% of my time (yeah, that much). I have learned to designate specific, no-wedgie unders for run days, but alas, there are weeks when I slack on laundry and I am without my favorite pair(s).

While oh-so gracefully attempting to look ask if nothing was going on behind me during my last run, I got to thinking about if anyone else had been thinking about this same problem … Do they actually make specific underwear for runners that guarantee NO wedgie?

One quick Google trip separated me from a plethora of information. Below are a few bits from the two best:

RUNNER’S WORLD (aka The Bible for runners):

As per the link above, this adorable article goes over a few different types of unders for both guys and gals for different issues: Support, comfort, coverage, … oder … take a look.

PREVENTION (A place to go BEFORE you have an issue):

Their first recommendation is to go to the manufactures’ website and find your correct side on the size chart … I know. But (no pun intended) this does bring up a great point–just like a bra must fit correctly to work correctly, unders should fit correctly to do the same. Besides, no one needs to see the tag EVER.

By clicking through the slides you can get the low down on what to wear down low (welcome). They cover different types of exercises which require different types of outerwear.


I found with just the help of these sites, I was able to narrow my sites on what I really wanted to order in bulk and try out. I know I need fuller coverage, a boy brief, something with a non-chaffing elastic, and that stays dry (damp unders are a real bummer)  BUT has a cotton crotch. Mom was right … cotton is a must for the lady area. Here’s a really scary, really true story from college:

My friend G and I went to the gym, a bunch, especially after long nights of drinking, to work out together. One day, when I went to meet her for lunch, she wasn’t dressed, and she grabbed me from the hall and into her room. She looked panicked.

“I have a … pimple.”


“No, … down there … Well, kinda up down there.”


“You think it  could be serious?”

“I have no idea?! How long has it been there?”

“I just noticed it. Can you come with me to the doctor’s?”

So I got to skip lunch and go to the school infumary. Thirty minutes, a long list of all the guys my friend had slept with, and one brief but humiliating conversation later, my good friend learned the importance of changing out of her thong before working out for long periods of time as it can cause chaffing and blisters in places we may never look.

I do NOT advise working out in anything that does not cover you, but if you like and it works for you, go for it. Long and short of it is, whether it is long or short, whatever you wear down there make sure it give you support and breathability. It is the most important region of you body, cover it wisely 🙂


Roving Runner: A vacationing runner’s suggestion

7 Aug

Vacation is not usually a time when one concentrates on training. In fact, the very definition of vacation commands that one take leave or respite from the everyday demands or scheduling of life (  The word elicits images of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, long days of nothing, or doing whatever pleases you most in the world. images (That’s what I feel like in my bathing suit and I don’t care one bit). You place may not be the beach–it may be the mountains or the lake or your own home, no matter. Vacation is a time of escape from where you are and, sometimes, who you are. However, if you’re anything like me, you survive on schedules, you love order, you crave results, even on an easy day. This doesn’t mean you can’t bend and flex for a day of lying on the beach (I mean, who can’t), but you don’t mind the sunrise on the shore, your feet pounding the powder like sand being the the only bother to the seagulls besides the occasional beach comber.


As a rule, I do TRY to make the most of a vacation (I’ve paid for) by not killing myself with a super intense run schedule. But, what I often try to do after the day of arrival, is go out and  scout possible routes to go running. Some basic rules I have for the guest runner:

  • DON’T find a super secluded place in a place you’re visiting–Look, mom was right. We have never lived in the age of being secluded from the crazies we don’t know are there, so why risk it on vacation.
  • Take a buddy–Most times I can coax a friend or two to do a light run (especially if this run is at a decent time and does not proceed a long night of libations).
  • Make your significant other go—This is what they’re for … sort of.
  • Have FUN!–Sometimes you get lucky enough to be around when there is a festive run, or a local charitable race, or a simple dash. GO out and have some fun!
  • MIND your manners–If the area says no running, don’t run there. Just because you may never come back doesn’t mean you should act like jerk while you’re there now.
  • Make the run a scenic one–Nothing better than getting a view of your surroundings by hitting the trial or walking path or even main street early. I once did this and got an excellent dinner recommendation from a shop owner.
  • Remember, no one knows who you are–This is the beauty of running in a place you visit. No one knows how long you’ve been running, you best time, how many races you’ve done, or the tag that might still be on those running shorts. All the people you pass see is  someone running.


To me, this last one is pure bliss. In my mind I hear Hey, that fat girl must be running all the time. Look at that athlete, and look at her go. Never on vacation do I hear one work of doubt, one word of negativity. All of my viewers are courteous, respectful, awestruck by my contentment in my every movement.

I have found great joy in rest areas, where other runners have stopped in frustration or injury and struck up conversation because I was wearing an out of state t-shirt. “Oh, are you from ____ ?”  or “I ran there once.”

Sometimes I have commented on their shirts, noting where they have run or gone to school. Asking advice is wonderful in these situations, as I’ve found most people are brutally honest and helpful, or if they know nothing, they let you know, but refer you to someone who does. It’s a no show, show.

I’m the loosest I can possibly be and … to be honest … in most races …. I don’t even keep time (GASP!). I know. It’s a shock for me too. I do it all for the fun of the run and the experience of being in a different place running.

While I supposed most people who are normal would stop running on their vacations, I relish the opportunity to run during mine.  I become an uncaring athlete who just enjoys to run on unexplored ground with fun people experiencing new things. I suppose, for this Fat Girl, it is leave from who I am and what I usually do .

It is my vacation.

images  Maybe a bit too much fun of a run … for me at least.

(passive-aggressive) Bootcamp!

5 Aug

Well, it’s the very last of the cross training sessions, kids, and I’ve saved the very best for last. However, this was not my intention. I had believed I was done with all new cross training courses about a week ago and happily resumed my usual reports on running, but my usual Monday class was interrupted (like this blog was because of a spontaneous road trip last week) due to our trainers need for a vacation. We all came to class as usual, ready for our Monday routine when James entered the room … Imagine if you will a drill sergeant sized man in neon yellow shirt and shorts with a matching hat in neon yellow (circa 1990).

We all paused, looked at one another and gaped mouthed questioned silently only what Willy questioned audibly: “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, we’re going to do bootcamp today. Sunshine’s absent.”

I’m not sure what everyone else was thinking, but all I could think was Balls! It’s too late to run, he’s seen me! 


Gulp …

So this is what I was thinking was about to happen:

images images-3 images-1 images-2 Tire flipping, and lunges, and actual mountain climbers, and oh-my-God are they actually carrying someone! This was the montage that flipped through my mind along with the sensation of sweating a whole lot as I was sure we were headed outdoors to the ubiquitous yet unknown tire pile. And then I felt like this guy:


Yep, those are tears, and not of joy.

But then James turned around in his bright yellow get-up and explained what we needed to get so we could set up inside the room. It was still lots of equipment so I was still pretty anxious. Cue the 90’s ‘greatest hits and some grapevine and now you’ve got one room full of overly confused women. Not kidding. This hulking mountain of a man had gone through two rounds of grapevine and had to invite us to join in before we actually did. I’m pretty sure we were all just waiting for him to stop and start yelling .

The bootcamp was more of a calisthenics/circuit training combo course that was moderately intense to me but SUPER difficult for old James up there. We did the usual warm-up, and some weight work, step work, squat work, and so on. Then it happened.

A quarter of the way through we did lunges (ick). I hate lunges. I have huge, ridiculous, incongruous thighs and I should probably do lunges day and night, but they are my own personal form of torture, and we were doing three reps on each thigh and then jumping to the other leg. As we got further up the count, James got higher … in octave. Not kidding. He went from usual man to, let’s say, second Soprano (I’m almost tempted to say castrato, but that might be an octave or two too high). Needless to say, I was taken aback and so was the entire room. We all slyly cut looks at one another, and waited thinking this was just his way of breaking the ice with us and joining us in our pain, but no he did this for the next two sets of lunges  and EVERY single time ANY exercise got difficult.

A little Madonna, a little C+C Music Factory, a little Whitney, and we were jamming in all octave ranges.

The workout was moderate to okay, in my opinion. He was more passive on things than aggressive–if you felt dizzy, you were urged to rest; if you needed water, you were urged to get some; if you were in pain, you were urged in hang in there in a rang or two higher than before.

At the end of the hour we stretched, he thanked us for joining him, and chatted with a few of the ladies about the next class.

Overall, I’d go back, especially if  I’d had a rough day and needed some cheering up–it’s nice to have a trainer who’s kind and nurtures you, takes concern in your every movement, allows you to take a break if you need it, and soothes you in a, albeit, high-pitched but loving voice.

opera-singer-clip-art “You can do it, just hang in there!”