Friday, January 10, 2014

One Run for Boston - 3300 Mile Cross-Country Relay

The fellows over at One Run for Boston are at it again! Join them, and a cast of thousands, as they complete a 3,300mi relay across the United States; from Santa Monica to Boston, via Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and New York City!

Founded by three British runners who wanted to show the Marathon world their support, One Run for Boston raised $91,000 in 2013 for the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing with the help of over 2,000 runners committed to the cause. 

This year's event kicks off at 1pm on March 16, 2014 from Santa Monica, CA. Legs through California
Photo Credit: One Run for Boston on Facebook
range from 7mi to 12.5mi on the approach to Parker, AZ. Plus, many stages are group stages so you don't have to run them alone!

As of this post, 604 runners have pledged their time, donations and fundraising skills to One Run for Boston. Will you be runner #605? Register for a leg, or simply send a donation by sponsoring a runner.

One Run for Boston is sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods, Toyota, Plymouth University UK and TrueRunner. If you are interested in supporting One Run for Boston, contact jamie(at)onerunforboston(dot)com

Be sure to check out their Facebook Page!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

6 Ways to Get Over a Running Slump

In line with my previous post about The Darkening of SAH, it seemed worthwhile to write about getting back in the saddle; aka, not hating every minute of being in running shoes. While I've always preferred running clothes and ASICS to any other attire because I'm a weirdo, the point still stands- how does one get out of a running slump?

Active, Competitor and numerous other running and/or athletics-centric websites can shed some light on the How To's of this tricky question; heck, a quick Google search came back with 2.2 million relevant articles across the internet so this clearly is not an original topic to cover. But every runner is different; vastly different; some of us even define "slump" differently. For me, a "slump" is the utter and total burnout from running and consistent failure. Most recently, after the relays mentioned in yesterday's post, and yet another catastrophic failure of a performance during the Santa Rosa Marathon, I hit one of my slumpier slumps. So how does one come back from that? For me, it usually goes something like this:

Actually, don't do this. Garmins are expensive.
1. Stop Running. You heard me, stop. Take off those running shoes, put away that Garmin, sit on your butt and stop. If you aren't enjoying a task that fills anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours of your day, that you aren't getting paid to do, just stop. Take that time and fill it with another activity. For me, it was weightlifting, stretching and strengthening my core. Instead of running circles around Lake Merritt for an hour and a half every day, I went to the gym and practiced picking up and putting down heavy things instead (shout-out to the fine Ladies and Gentleman of /r/fitness and /r/xxfitness). 

2. Do Something Else. As I mentioned above- I filled my running hours in the gym. I strengthened my knees, back and core, improved flexibility and hey! lost 10lbs in the process. Day by day I added in a few minutes on the dreadmill, just to get used to moving my legs again. After two solid months of avoiding the pavement I went back out and ran Lake Merritt. Funnily enough, those 8wks of doing anything but running helped improve my performance and I ran the lake faster than ever before. Let this also be an advertisement for cross training, yo.

3. Find a running buddy. They keep your mind off of the tedium of running, they help you improve your running and they hold you accountable for actually, you know, running. A few years ago it was a friend's new found love of pounding pavement that took me out of a slump. More recently it was this gooberface right here:

Running buddies are crucial to running success. Even if you prefer to zone out during longer miles, there's something about knowing somebody is in it with you that helps the miles go by.

4. Change of scenery. You know what's boring? Running for thirty minutes while staring at the same boring gray brick in a boring gray wall over and over and over again. Ditch that dreadmill. You know what else is boring? Staring down the same road, turning the same corners and dodging the same asshole geese/tourists over and over and over again. You wouldn't run 13.1 miles on a treadmill (happily), why would you run the same route until you could do it with your eyes closed? You are a runner! You can go anywhere! Run anything! Find a trail system, turn down a different road, call up your running buddy and ask if they have run somewhere badass lately. Go get lost in the moment and the miles.

5. Forget your pace. This is a tough one, but remember when I told you to put that Garmin away? I hope you did. Instead of aiming for 9min miles, why not aim to run for x-amount of minutes. So what if your 5k PR is 24 minutes? That is fantastic and I'm very proud of you- but you are in a slump right now and need to learn to love this sport again. Ditch the pace calculators and just go for a 30 minute run. Run at a speed that feels good and amazingly you'll feel good about running.

6. Stop comparing yourself to others. Oh, another hard one. Between Facebook, Garmin Connect, Runkeeper, DailyMile, Strava, Endomondo, Fitbit, My Fitness Pal, Nike+ and lord knows how many other devices designed to keep you active and logging data, it is nigh impossible to block out all of the noise and realize that: 
  1. You aren't as fast as so-and-so from your high school French class who popped out two kids and maintained her girlish figure and that is OK;
  2. That that one guy you dated briefly four years ago, who is up at 6a.m. and logging impressive miles before going to work to make a wheatgrass powered smoothie, while you're just sitting in your cube surfing Facebook while regretting that cream cheese slathered everything bagel you had for breakfast, is an anomaly of nature; or,
  3. The Professional Coach you follow because INSPIRATION! is a guy/lady who has made a career of working out, running well, looking great and yelling about it. They get paid to not be burnt out (as far as you and I can see).
This isn't to say you can't become one of these people. You can! That's the amazing thing about the human spirit- with enough determination and focus you can achieve these things!'s not going to happen overnight, so comparing yourself to friends, frenemies, acquaintances, strangers and professionals, bemoaning how they are better than you, is not helpful. Instead, take that jealousy/shame/guilt and use it to fuel your next run or workout or yoga session.

Now, as I said above- runners are all different. Vastly different and I cannot emphasize how different we can all be while doing the exact same aerobic exercise. All of the above are steps I personally take when trying to battle a slump; both by my definition and the other (plateauing, not improving). Hopefully, something here is useful to anyone currently dreading lacing up and going out into the Polar Vortex for a quick jog; but these 6 Steps will not speak to everyone, and that is ok! Check out one of the other 2.2 Million articles on the topic (between writing this article and publishing it, the count went up to 2.4, BY THE WAY). The biggest thing is to find something that helps you break through and enjoy running again, and do it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

She's a Harriette: The Darkening

Recently I've gotten a few queries as to why SAH went dark in April, an event we shall refer to as The Darkening, and questions as to when it would return. To be honest, there is no great answer to the first question, and I've only had nebulous thoughts as to the second. In short order, I guess I could say that a few things contributed to us going dark and staying dark so long: 

  1. Holo and I moved in April, which was chaotic.
  2. Holo proposed on May the 4th and I've been wedding planning.
  3. I kind of lost the Hashing Fever for a while (seriously, I can't remember my last SFH3).
  4. We got a dog and she is a Nutjob (but a fabulous running partner)
  5. I lost my job and am pursuing a career change which has been taking up quite a bit of my hashing and racing time.
Now, these are all pretty solid reasons for neglecting SAH, but they're only part of the puzzle. Before I go into depth as to why I hit the brakes on this blog, I have to say that I've thought long and hard about sharing this reason. At first, it seemed topical and relevant; then, as time passed, it seemed superfluous and unnecessary amidst all the other noise in the Running Blogosphere. Yet, from where I sit now, almost 9 months after The Darkening (and no, it was not a pregnancy), I think I'm ready to talk about it. Here goes:

On April 7, 2013, I ran the inaugural San Francisco Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and it blew my knees out. Yup, plural, knees. I finished the race in just under three hours, crying and embarrassed- that's not the runner I am. Yeah, I have yet to break two hours in the half, but I'm not a three hour half marathoner. This isn't to say anything against people who run that time and are proud of it. You should be proud of finishing a 5k/10k/half/full/50k/100miler, no matter the time it takes you

I hobbled to the First Aid tent where a Hasher was attending runners, which only added further embarrassment that I really, in looking back, had no true reason to be feeling. Then, after icing and chugging water and aspirin, I hobbled with a friend over to the bar where we were joining other Hashers to celebrate a race well run. It felt awful, I felt like a failure in front of these friends who I highly respected as athletes. I felt like an intruder.

On April 7th, I blew my knees out; one week later, on April 15th, two very cowardly men in Boston blew the knees off of the running world. I have had that sentence in my head for months and here I sit, still angry and confused and saddened by their actions. The Boston Marathon Bombing is something I think many of us are still struggling with- and may struggle with for a while. 

One must give credit to the running world, for the strength and courage in response. Upcoming events
changed their color schemes to yellow and blue, in solidarity. Numerous fundraising runs were planned, candlelight running vigils, ADIDAS donated proceeds from their Boston Stands As One shirts towards the victims and their families; hundreds of thousands of people laced up their running shoes to show those cowards that they were wrong. That this was the wrong community to f*ck with. Hundreds of thousands of runners shouted out in anger, "HOW DARE YOU."

Seeing this response, joining the vigils and fundraisers, truly hammered home the persevering strength of the running world. It was, in short, a beautiful display of Humanity in response to the terrible actions of cowards.

There was another response to Boston that has not really been examined, but is just as heartening: the amount of people those cowards inspired to Run. Not for fear, but for strength; proving that the actions of cowards will only strengthen the resolve of the brave and determined. 

The day after Boston, still wearing compression tubes on my knees and hobbling around the office, I printed out a sheet of paper and pinned it to the wall above my desk. That paper had only a time printed on it, "3:34", the time in which I would need to run a marathon in order to qualify for Boston. Now, those of you who know me, also know that I haven't broken 5hrs in over two years. I've got a long way to go- but this was just my personal response to the event of April 15th. Injured and angry, I started running again- far earlier than I should have.

Over the weekend of April 26th-27th I ran the American Odyssey Relay from Gettysburg to D.C. with a team of Hashers, close friends and my sister. Two miles into my third leg, an 8.2 run along the E&O Canal, I had to quit. Holo was waiting at the mile marker to see if I was OK, and I had to tell him I quit. Making that decision was more embarrassing and upsetting that the San Francisco Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. I quit in front of my then boyfriend/now fiance, I quit in front of GHo and Finger A Minor, I quit in front of my oldest childhood friend, I quit in front of my own desire to show two cowards that we runners are Better Than Them. I crawled into the van as GHo took off to finish my leg and silently cried myself to sleep. My knees were toast.

I took six weeks off of running, off of hashing; I focused on strength training, and in July I ran my first Ultra Ragnar and, perhaps you'll see a routine here, halfway through my final leg, 5.5 miles into a 12-ish mile leg, I had to quit again- this time in front of Ultra marathoners and Century Riders. In front of the very runners who inspired me to run marathons in the first place, runners who were members of my first Ragnar Team. I am still horrified by this. Sure, I could have kept running. I could have run the last five miles and change in, oh, two hours. I could have permanently damaged my knees and been out for much longer instead of feeling like I let my team down. But the truth of the matter is that mentally my legs were broken. Emotionally, my heart just was not into running. The proverbial wind had been blown from my sails. I was, as teenagers would say, "Over it.

And so, in April of 2013, She's a Harriette went dark. In the months since then, my heart and head have 
Holo and I ran a Drinking Marathon
just not been in the right place to post about beer and hashing and running races that I have been continually failing. On the brighter side, since the pressure to publicly perform well was lessened, I ran a half in November in 2hr12, the closest I've been to under 2hr10 in over a year. I convinced Holo to run his first marathon, and my 10th, for my birthday in October. I spent Halloween in Florence with my dear friend Chinball Wizard, who always manages to make a person want to be their best. I've been able to focus more on running for Me, and how it fits into my life. I've been able to enjoy events with hashers without the stress of Being On. 

My hope is that in 2014 I can move on beyond the issues 2013 posed. Yes, I'm still wedding planning, still unemployed and still have the dog; but, my head and heart have taken some time to re-align and focus on why I started hashing, running marathons and blogging about these experiences. I've started hashing again, after a much needed respite; I'm haring this Saturday which is exciting. So far, this year seems off to a good start.

And there you have it, the story of The Darkening of She's a Harriette. We're back now, if a little more subdued than at first, and we look forward to sharing our adventures with you. 

Also, although still a work in progress, I started a food blog, check it out: PhidippidEats

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Pink Crawl Continues

So we're two official bars into the pub crawl, but there was that guerrilla check at the train I guess that means I'm overdue for an update!

Guerrilla Beer Check- Melting Pot
Bar Check 1- O'Neill's Pub
Bar Check 2- Moon's Family Pub


SVH3 Pink Pub Crawl


From here on out, following the La Roja Amber I just chugged, these post will get progressively more ridiculous. Here's photos of the train ride!