Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


Runner jeans??

Runner’s butt and runner’s thighs. You know you’re proud of all the hard work you’ve done – especially when it shows up in the mirror. But what’s more frustrating than finally getting the definition and speed you’ve been aiming for than not fitting into any of your jeans (or anyone’s jeans, for that matter…)?? Well, there’s a new up-start that’s taking that problem to heart and designing jeans specifically for athletic/active women.

Barbell Denim is creating the “anti-thigh gap” jeans, aimed at women with well-muscled legs and butts. I just read about these on Be Well Philly’s facebook page and am already super excited about the idea. As a skater and a runner I’ve constantly had trouble finding jeans that fit and that last. Every pair of jeans I’ve owned over the last five years has split or worn out in the exact same area because I don’t have bird legs. I haven’t tried them yet, but I definitely support the idea behind them!


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Downhills and Pickles and Cherries, Oh My!

In the run-up to the Boston Marathon, you’re sure to see lots of news sources that don’t usually write about running trying to write about running – I think even more so this year.

The same thing happens in the run-up to the New York City Marathon as well, but this year, with Boston being so high-profile, even for those who never even knew about the race, I think more and more media sources are getting in on the gig.

The Wall Street Journal (one of my daily reads) put out an article on muscle soreness. It’s a common theme that unites all runners, whether you’re a 100m gazelle or a 100 mile mountain goat – muscle soreness. We all get it, we all try to quash it. But have you ever wonder why your muscles get sore during and after a run? And why it’s especially bad after a downhill run? Here’s a quick and dirty primmer on muscle soreness, and a few odd-ball solutions to your post-run pain.


Race Report: Sole of the City 10k

This past weekend was absolutely GORGEOUS in Baltimore. It was the most perfect weekend for so much copious amounts of outdoor time, which I had tons of! This was a crazy busy weekend – it was Johns Hopkins’ Alumni Weekend/Homecoming and the Sole of the City 10k – but it was tons of fun.

On Friday, husband and I started out Alumni Weekend with lunch in one of the dining halls, followed by several panel discussions/lectures, on topics from bioethics to the state of American cities, to American foreign policy on Iran. We did, however, skip one lecture on individualized healthcare… we were both interested in it, but we stepped outside just before it and it was just too damn perfect to be sitting inside, so we played hookie and wandered around campus for two hours instead 🙂

Photo Apr 11, 2 17 33 PM

If you’ve never been to the main Hopkins campus, also known as Homewood, you absolutely must visit – it’s such a perfectly classic east coast campus, made even more beautiful by the fact that everything was just starting to bloom. Unfortunately I only attended classes on this campus once, as a visiting undergrad, but I always found reasons to come here as a JHU grad student. After our last lecture, we had the Bull and Oyster Roast, where I broke my first and second cardinal rules of pre-race meals – I ate a TON (including two servings of dessert…) and had wine. I knew what I was doing, and chose to accept the risk, because it was alumni weekend and totally worth it.

Photo Apr 11, 7 55 45 PM

Saturday morning was the 3rd annual Sole of the City 10k. The race was run this year to benefit the Erika Brannock Fund. For those who don’t know, Erika is a local teacher who lost both of her legs in last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. She’s been a mainstay of Baltimore races over this last year. Last time I saw her, she was in a wheelchair at the Baltimore Marathon – this weekend, she was standing on her own.

Photo Apr 14, 7 44 31 PM

Erika Brannock speaking to the runners before the race

Last year I had a great showing at this race, totally surprising myself. I had had plenty of time to run outside, including a long run of 8 miles, and ran tons of hills. This year, well, not so much. I hadn’t run more than 3 miles outside since August, despite doing 11 miles inside, and haven’t run hills at all. I had limited expectations going into the race – I really just wanted to have a good time and not get injured. I accomplished both of those goals, so I can’t be too unhappy.

Photo Apr 14, 7 46 42 PM

I ended up going out a bit too quick in the first mile, and then the heat (yes, heat) kicked me. Who knew 65 could feel so damn hot?? I stopped more frequently than I would have liked because I kept getting dizzy and felt like I was starting to overheat. Mile 1 and 2 were pretty good though, while mile and 3 and 4 were okay. Whenever shade hit the course I’d pop over there, but I kept walking more and more often as the miles wore on. Mile 5 was hard, and by mile 6+, I really just wanted to get done. I ended up finishing in 1:16:16, 5 1/2 minutes behind last year’s pace. It’s in line with my 6 mile training runs, so I can’t complain too too much, but I was kinda bummed with my time. The course was different this year, so the comparison isn’t exact, but it gives you a rough idea of my breakdown from year to year.


I wasn’t too far off from my times last year until I hit mile 5 and 6. I still got 5 miles in in under an hour, which is a big goal of mine for this year’s Celtic Solstice 5 Miler, so I am pretty pleased with that.

After the race we raced home to shower and change so we could get back to Hopkins for the Homecoming lacrosse game! 9th-ranked JHU was hosting the 4th-ranked University of Maryland for the 111th time. It was a great game in front of a sell-out crowd. JHU scored early and often, beating UMD 11-6! JHU is now 70-40-1 all-time against UMD. The game (and alumni weekend) was even attended by notable JHU alumnus Michael Bloomberg and Hopkins fan Bill Belichick.

Photo Apr 12, 3 11 20 PM

eat drink beat umd


Bloomberg, with JHU President Daniels behind him

All in all it was a great weekend! 😀 Can’t wait until my next Alumni Weekend in June… 😎

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The Pronation Debate




1. rotation of the hand or forearm so that the surface of the palm is facing downward or toward the back (opposed to supination ).
2. a comparable motion of the foot consisting of abduction followed by eversion.
3. the position assumed as the result of this rotation.
4. any similar motion of the limbs or feet of animals.

Pronation. It’s something all runners hear about, but as emerging research suggests, it’s something few runners – or physical therapists, or shoe fitters, or trainers, or anyone – fully understand.

I’ve written on this topic a number of times, usually in frustration alongside a bad shoe experience. I have long been of the belief that if my foot over-pronates on its own, and gets me through life without injury every single day, why do I suddenly want to change that simply because I am running? What other up-chain effects is that change in natural motion having on the rest of my body?

It seems like every time I go online lately, there’s a new study regarding pronation making the rounds. The most recent one, from Runblogger, highlights much of the same frustrations I have and discusses some of the newer research as well. If you have a chance, I strongly recommend giving this a read – if nothing else, I hope it at least begins a conversation among runners regarding the utility of using “pronation” (and its close cousin, arch height) as a knee-jerk primary means for determining which shoe to choose.

I have been told that I need everything from a neutral shoe to a motion control shoe. How’s that for a conclusive model of pronation control? I have found, however, through trial and error, including picking a pair of shoes on my own out of frustration, that for the distances I am running, I do best with a touch of stability. Too much stability? It feels like I’m walking on the outsides of my feet (remember when we were kids and used to do that to be silly? Fun then, not so fun when running 13.1 miles). Too little stability? Well, it turns out that my problems with too little stability aren’t at all related to my feet – that’s simply where the weakness manifests itself most visibly (because, let’s face it, that’s where all eyes are when watching runners, especially when watching runners trying on new shoes). No, my stability issue actually lies in the hips. It took a slow-mo analysis of my gait after a stress fracture to figure this out. But how many people actually go through a gait analysis like this? Sometimes it can be difficult to see, or feel, exactly where a weakness lies.

Shoes are too expensive to be ignorantly fitted, and PT isn’t a bargain, either!

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So many races, so little time….

I have my first 10k of the year this upcoming weekend, and rather than worrying about how under-trained I am for it, I’m choosing to focus on the fall racing season. I still need to pick a target race – 10 miler or half marathon – but there are too many choices and too little time money.

The key contenders are the Baltimore Half Marathon and the Army Ten Miler. Baltimore is expensive ($100! For a half!), and although ATM is on my must-do list (after DNSing twice), I need a hotel room for it. But if we’re talking hotel rooms, then Philly, Richmond, and Bird-in-Hand enter the discussion, among others… Too many choices!!

How do you decide which race(s) to do? Are there any must-do races you’d recommend? I’m usually pretty decisive, but for some reason I just can’t make a choice this year…