I put the call out on Twitter and the old Blog, "Ask me Anything!" I promised to oblige and here you go.
1. Rachel wants to know, "Have you always been a runner? How did you get into running?
I'm not sure when I started identifying as a runner. But I wouldn't have it any other way! Running has defined my life in a way that no other "hobby" or exercise could. That sounds so existential. Too deep, right? I need to run. When I'm stressed or sad, I lace up my kicks and hit the pavement. Being outside, hearing my heartbeat, focusing...those things keep me sane some days in a way that I just can't articulate. Read here for a synopsis of how I got to my first marathon!
2. Nicki asked, "How do you record your running? Do you use a training journal or online way to track your runs?
I know some people keep spreadsheets. I'm always impressed with those of you who keep detailed data on when you ran, how far, how you felt, what kind of run it was easy/hard/hilly/fast. Me, eh. I keep a running total on the right side of my blog ------>see? Because I'm a nerd, it's in the format of fund performance history. If you read me in Reader, you never see it. It's really for me. And to help me keep track of when I need to change shoes - as if my shins would let me forget that!
I tried Daily Mile, but the social aspect of it wore me out. I have a hard enough time keeping up with commenting on Twitter, Facebook and blogs! But I think it's a fun way to stay motivated and accountable! (maybe if they had a better iPhone app...)
3. Anna from See Anna Run, asked, "How fast were you when you first started running, and how long did it take to noticeably improve? Or have you always been about the same speed?"
Oh, good golly Pete was I s-l-o-w. Well, I thought I was slow. I was comparing myself to other runners in my group. Don't do that. I had NO idea about pace whatsoever. Sare Bear and I took a speed development class and our Magic Mile was about 3 minutes slower than the slowest person in the class! (10 + for my fastest mile) I really didn't know WHAT I was doing! Each year I run smarter and get a little quicker. Recently, I've been able to cut a lot of time off of my races. Partly because I've lost about 20 pounds. Being lighter helps you go faster. (but isn't always the case) Partly because I'm running quite angry a lot of the time. (I don't recommend this method)
Mostly because I'm training smarter. You have to run faster, to run faster. Not only do I incorporate speed training twice a week, I'm also running solo much of the time. Now, I'm not knocking a running group or my fabulous friends, not at all! My friends are valuable training partners! But, I was running all of my runs with friends and trying to keep a pace where conversation was comfortable. If you can talk easily, you are running too slow for speed work or a tempo run. Once I started running on my own and not treating every run as a social run, I started picking up the pace.
There are so many different types of speedwork and you really need to ease into it. Start with fartleks if you are new to speed drills. Say, 5 times during your run, pick up the pace considerably for about 30 seconds, then back it down to your easy pace. Or, instead of time, pick a spot and sprint to that mailbox, or that car. It's fun and keeps it interesting!
4. Anna also wanted to know, "I know you're sporting a Camelbak now, but for those of us running shorter distances in the heat, what handheld water bottles do you suggest? How big a bottle for how many miles?"
Hydration. It's important everywhere and all year long, but ugh, these Summer months can be brutal. It's so hot that currently for any run over 10 miles, I'm training with a 50 oz Camelbak pack. (and I usually fill it up during my run) I do not want to run out of water. Plus, when running 22+ miles, I really don't want to hold on to something for that long. I'm lazy, I know.
For shorter runs, I like this Nathan handheld. It holds 22 ounces of water and I like to freeze a little at the bottom so I've got cooler water for a bit! (wrap a paper towel around the bottle to protect your hand from the ice and later you'll have a cool, wet towel to mop your sweaty brow!) It comes in other cute colors, not just adorable pink!
For runs 3 miles or under, I like this itty bitty 10 oz Nathan handheld. Sadly, it doesn't come in cute colors. Just black and gray.
Nathan makes a really good product, I've never had an issue with leaking! And I've paid for every Nathan product I own - they are worth every penny. For me, I'm not a fan of hydration belts. I don't like the way they sit on my hips and for longer runs, they upset my tummy. Boo. But that's just weird ole me.
5. Kim, from Kimpossible, posted, "Inquiring Kim keeps meaning to ask you how many calories you burned running your ultra? =)
Oooh girl, I had to look this one up! 3285 calories. I do know that I couldn't keep anything down for days after my 50K. I knew I needed to refuel, but my body was still pretty angry at me (or maybe in shock at what had just happened) But when my appetite finally kicked in around Tuesday, boy howdy, I ate everything in sight for days!
6. Tina, at Gotta Run Now, asked, "When's your next race?"
July 17th I'll be running my next 50K at El Scorcho Cinco in Fort Worth, TX! I'm super excited and a little nervous. It's going to be HOTT and I've never run all through the night before. Excited to see some of the ultra runners out there that I look up to! Everybody go wish Tina good luck as HER next race is the Kona Marathon this weekend! Run hard girl!
7. Dano, at IronManDan, wonders, "Have you always been pink, or was there a defining moment?"
Ah, pink. I've always loved pink. Always. My parents, well meaning, always encouraged me (ne pushed me) to think for myself, to go against the current, to be different. For years they told me that yellow, then blue was my favorite color. But alas, pink was always in my heart. It calms me and just plain ole makes me happy! Here is an old photo from high school, you can see my bubble gum pink bedroom walls! That's my BFF Amanda. We were totally rocking the cuffed sleeves, weren't we?
8. Whitney, from Running With Whit asks, "What has been your favorite moment in your running life?"
Whitney, I love this question! It's really a difficult one to answer. Most of my best running moments have been early one morning with my friends. Just enjoying the blessing of a sunrise, taking in the quiet beginning of a new day. Seeing a friend achieve a new distance or pace. Those are all pretty magnificent.
But personally, I would say that crossing the finish line of my first ultra back in February. It was so much more than a race that day. I crossed the finish line and finally realized that I really had the strength to make it. I don't mean make it 31 miles, I mean make it. Every day.
Within minutes I was surrounded by friends and flooded with texts. These are people who really love and care for me. I felt so loved and so blessed. I have an amazing support system in them. I was so humbled that they would come out and cheer me on, yet they had all been my biggest cheerleaders in life for months. That was my favorite running moment. And it will be hard to top!
9. Stylish Abby presented this, "I'm still curious as to what you do. Mainly because I thought you had some type of training/teaching job, but then you go to Arizona to test cholesterol!"
I am a corporate trainer for a non-profit financial services organization. I'm a big nerd who loves to learn about and talk about beta and R-squared, risk v reward, Treasury Inflation Protection Bonds...I like to debate the merits of John Maynard Keynes versus Friedrich Hayek. My job is to take new employees through a rigorous 3 month training program where I pretty much teach them everything about our organization and our products. I love getting to work with recent college graduates - they are so much fun! My job is the BEST! I'm blessed to love what I do and who I do it for.
However, I have lived a few lives in my time and have a background in health care. So, every so often, they allow me to travel with our organization to provide health screenings for free. Basically, it's because I don't faint at the sight of blood. It's fun to get out of my daily routine and do something different every once in a while!
Thanks for the great questions y'all!