Rule 1.44 — Once a Week, Run Naked

For those of you that would like to take the title of this post literally, these races are for you:

Skinny Dipper Sun Run

But in the Runner's Rule Book, by Runner's World, the title refers to running free of technology. It suggests running once a week free of your running watch, GPS, mp3 player, heart rate monitor, etc. Simply run for the sake of running and set your mind and body free from all distractions.

This is not something I practice, but am not opposed to it. I know the distances of most of my routes and have a general idea of how far I have gone based on my typical pace. But maybe the point is to not have an idea. Maybe the point is to go out there and run free of the worries about "how far you've gone" or "how fast your pace was."

Perhaps that's the point of running "naked" once a week. To tap into how we ran and played as children... because we wanted to. We weren't training for a PR at our next event or trying to qualify to run a different race. The idea is to run and listen to your body, free of Lady Gaga singing in my ear and the beeps at every mile. Free of checking my pace to see if I need to run faster or slower, even if it is a short distance or an easy run.

Not to mention, for the rest of the day you get to tell people you ran naked. The look on their face may be enough to give it a try, at least once.


Miles for Everyone

We have a fairly large running group of friends and finding a distance for everyone can sometimes be a challenge. With many of our runners at various stages of training for an event, the desired distances can be

Luckily, the people that have been planning our runs and mapping the logistics, have got it down to routine. As Montell Jordan said, this is how we do it:

  • Pick a starting location.
  • Plan what distances will be offered (ours this weekend will be 16, 10.5 and 5)
  • Choose a number of loops based on number of distances available (for us, 3)
  • Then choose the routes that loop back to the starting point.
  • Factor in average pace times and figure out starting times.
We generally use 10 min miles and those that run faster take the downtime to stretch, refill water, etc. Those that want to run 16 start at 7... at a 10 min pace, we loop back to the starting point in an hour to meet the 10.5 group, then do another loop at the same pace and come back to meet the 5 mi. group. Having fresh legs at the final loop can really push the group, especially for those of us running the longer distances. That gives a starting option every hour, 7, 8, 9 with (generally) a 5-6 mile loop.

The loops also do not have to be the same. You can map out three entirely different routes as long as they circle back to the starting point. This makes it easier for parking and runners can store food, clothes or water in their car to use as needed. Also since we all end at a central location, we gather at a nearby Peet's and enjoy coffee/pastry/juice and socialize how amazing we are to be up so early on a Saturday. OK, that's not what we talk about... but everyone is thinking it. Right?


Running Buddies

Remember back in elementary school when we were taught to "buddy up" on a field trip... to ensure that no one was lost or left behind. Well, we can use a similar practice in order to get our miles in.

Planning a run with a friend can easily supply motivation. On one hand, you've made an agreement to meet your friend at a particular time and accomplish a certain number of miles. That gets you out the door at minimum. Once you are out there, having someone next to you can help in several ways:
Running with Someone Faster

Pro: This can supply some extra energy to try and keep up. It can kick your training into a second gear and help you get stronger.
Con: Kind of defeats the purpose of running "together" if they leave you in the dust and can be deflating.
Advice: Find someone who is slightly faster than you, but won't get too far ahead. Someone .5 to 1 min. faster would be great because they can stay within eye sight.

Running with Someone at the Same Pace

Pro: Perfect. You can both run comfortably and get in the miles together as originally intended. If you want to pick up the pace (or slow it down) you can do so with the same base speed.
Con: Not very many, but we need at least one for the purpose of the blog. It can be "stale." With neither of you "pulling" or being "picked up" (in terms of pace) you can become too comfortable and hinder an opportunity to improve your fitness.
Advice: Break up the miles (or time) to adjust your speed. If you both run a 10 min. pace, agree before you start to squeeze in a couple 9.5s to mix things up then ease back into you normal pace to recover.

Running with Someone Slower

Pro: You are getting in the miles you would like and can be great for recovery runs. Plus you may have the opportunity to encourage a faster pace and be a motivator.
Con: You agreed to run with a friend and pushing their pace, can be annoying. Don't over-step your invitation. Running at a slower pace might not be the best for you to get in a strong workout, but the companionship can make up for it.
Advice: If you want to increase the pace, suggest picking up the pace for short segments: "to the end of the block" or "for the next 3 minutes." Don't be discouraging if they are more comfortable at a slower pace. Take the opportunity to support them and help be a motivator to finish the distance.

It can be tricky running with others, but if you do it right, it can be amazing. Having a group with multiple paces can be ideal. If you have the energy, run with the faster group. If you feel like running at a comfortable pace, do so. Or if you need a recovery day or see someone who needs a "pick me up" take advantage and help out a friend through what could be a tough run. On any training run longer than 10 miles, I try to make sure I am running with someone else. It's great conversation, great company and depending on if you want to run fast, comfortable, or with ease... it's the perfect situation.

Feel free to leave a comment on how you enjoy your training runs. Share your insight with others about an experience you've had.


Rule 1.37 — Running at night is underrated

"First of all, it's not that dangerous if you do it right."
Runner's Rule Book

That is the most important line. Running at night is a wonderful thing. With the relay a couple weeks ago, I enjoyed a 3 am 5 mile run up hill and through quiet residential neighborhoods. I was equipped with a head lamp, reflective vest, and blinking red light on my shoulder. Not to mention the already present reflective strips on my Adidas pants and Asics shoes. Basically, I was a giant Christmas tree if flashed with car lights.

When running at night, our senses can be heightened simply due to the fact it is dark. The same can be true for drivers. During the day, our reflective lining on clothes and shoes have little effect. At night they work like a gem. Benefit for the runner and driver. Not to mention roads are often quiet because everyone is sleeping and if you choose to run in a residential neighborhood, the street is yours (with caution). Running in parks or secluded trails would not be the best.  Common sense may be your best friend. If you feel scared or in danger there may be a reason.

When you are flying through the streets, with no one around you, no cars, no noise... it is like you are the only person in the world enjoying what it has to offer. You run just a little bit faster and your feet glide just a little bit higher off the ground. You are focused on what is in front of you and there is nothing to distract  you. Running at midnight may be a little late for many of you, but the later it gets, the less distractions there are. Think about a 9 pm run compared to a 1 am run and the number of people on the road. Can't sleep? Don't. Throw on your shoes, reflective gear and sneak in 30 min. jaunt while everyone is sleeping.

Have you ever run at night? If so, tell us about it, was your experience good or bad?


Tweet-book, Relay Style

With the advent of Twitter and Facebook, it has provided an interesting opportunity to catalog events. I decided to frequently tweet and (Facebook) update to create a mini-journal of what was happening during last weekend's 200 mile relay. Although, battery life and no reception caused some not to post (those will be indicated by "unpublished.") thank goodness for a "drafts" folder on the Twitter iPhone app. Enjoy!
Note: There are more Twitter posts (or tweets) because that platform seems to lend itself to constant updates, more so than FB. 

Twitter (Fri. 10:39 AM)
I'm hyper. Read: anxious for this weekend to start.

Twitter (Fri. 3:33 PM)
Vans are loaded. Making our way to Calistoga. Everyone is happy (for now).

Twitter (Fri. 5:51 PM)
Van 1 is lost already and we haven't even started the race.
Context: As we were driving, van 1 missed the exit off the freeway. Nothing like driving a few extra miles.

Twitter (Fri. 7:18 PM)
We're sitting next to a team that has run this thing 16 years in a row... this is our second. #TheyWin
Note: # is a hashtag, it's a way to search on twitter for people talking about the same thing. So if it says "I love food. #Cupcakes," it implies that the entire tweet is referring to cupcakes.

Twitter (Fri. 8:07 PM)
Lamb shank and a couple local brewed wheat ale adult beverages. #PreRaceDinner

Twitter (Fri. 8:50 PM)
Hanging out with a Hasher at a bar... Instant conversation.
Context: Larry, a fellow runner is a Hash House Harrier, so when Manny and I started a conversation with this guy, we brought Larry over so that they could talk "hash."

Twitter (Fri. 9:46 PM)
We just won a Casper doll from one of those claw games. #barGames
Context: There was one of those claw machines in the bar we were at and a bunch of us were trying to win a casper doll (I have no idea why). After we all failed, Marc stepped up and won the doll on his first try. Then grabbed three more prizes on his next three tries. 4 for 4. He is some kind of "claw" freak of nature.

Twitter (Fri. 10:51 PM)
Bar number 2... I don't think this is what they meant by relay. #BadPreRaceActivities
Context: We then proceeded to go to another bar, then back to the original bar. I don't think a three o'clock bed time and four bars is what we should do before a race. (Note: I was not drinking alot, I think I had 5 beers over a 7 hour period... that's all I will share.)

Twitter (Sat. 9:05 AM)
The Relay has begun... not for us tho, our team starts at 11.

Twitter (Sat. 9:38 AM)
Nothing like hearing team mates saying: "This isn't our van! This isn't our van!"
Context: With over 400 white vans driving around, it is bound to happen that someone tries to get into another team's van.

Twitter (Sat. 10:55 AM)
Weapons of Ass Destruction (another team's relay name).

Twitter (Sat. 10:56 AM)
Runners do it faster (another team's relay name).

Facebook (Sat. 11:10 AM)
The Relay has begun... our first Lusty Lad is off and running.
Context: First runners were off at 9. The remaining teams were staggered throughout the day. Sort of like corrals, but with 30 min breaks in-between.

Twitter (Sat. 12:36 PM) unpublished
Our van is broken. Unless it magically turned into a Prius.
Context: As we were pulling out of the parking lot to head towards the first van exchange, the van turned off. Literally, just shut down. Engine dead, power steering gone. Like someone just turned the car off in the street.

Facebook (Sat. 1:53 PM)
Our van is broken. DEAD! We've spent the last 2 hours getting a new one. Now we are heading to exchange point. We should make it just on time. FUN!!!!
Context: Luckily, Scott was behind us in and he was able to drive to Santa Rosa, pick up a second van and make it back to us, so we could continue.

Twitter (Sat. 2:54 PM)
At first van exchange point. Van has been decorated with washable crayons. It is getting extremely warm. #ToughRun

Twitter (Sat. 3:51 PM)
Kings of Leon on, water being thrown, must be relay time. #RunningInCotton #EqualsBadIdea
Context: Kings of Leon is great music to drive/run to. And running in cotton is always a bad idea (not our team, just commenting). And throwing water on runner seemed like a good idea, right Lori?

Facebook (Sat. 6:07 PM)
First leg done. 7.4 (moderate) miles at 8:40 pace. Ran by horses and through a vineyard, can't complain.
Splits: 9:22, 7:50, 8:32, 9:17, 9:29, 8:05, 8:28

Facebook — posted to Larry's Wall (Sat. 6:43 PM)
I'm on your iPad while you are climbing up a 1268 foot mountain...which one of us having more fun?

Twitter (Sat. 7:06 PM)
Benefits of running early? Being able to cheer on your team while drinking a Blue Moon. #YummyBeer.

Twitter (Sat. 7:55 PM)
Larry's run is done. He conquered over 1200 feet in a few miles, past cows, ran through swarms of flies & a total of 8.9 miles. That's Lusty!

Twitter (Sat. 9:50 PM)
Van 3 (formerly van 2) is finished with our first stretch. Now it's a trip back to city for some downtime.
Context: We started calling ourselves Van 3 since, it was our THIRD van. Makes sense.

Facebook (Sat. 9:59 PM)
First two stretches done. Total time on the books: 10.5 hours. Van 1 is off running again. We'll meet them at the GG bridge around 3am to start up again.

Twitter (Sat. 11:30 PM) unpublished
Time for rest... nope. Time to dance.
Context: Larry and I decided to go out to a local bar/club and have a beer and dance. Seems like a logical thing to do instead of sleeping.

Twitter (Sun. 2:24 AM) unpublished
Van 3 has started second trek. GG bridge crowd was enthusiastic despite the cold. #CoffeeHelps

Facebook (Sun. 4:54 AM)
Second leg done. 6 miles, all uphill. clocked 9:10s, gave someone water and someone else directions. I think that means I get a boy-scouts patch.
Splits: 8:07, 9:11, 8:42, 10:10, 9:59 — 90% uphill from 23' to 595'

Facebook (Sun. 5:03 AM)
Nothing like a 3 a.m. run uphill. Feeling sleepy. MUST. FIGHT. SLEEP.

Twitter (Sun. 5:09 AM)
Second leg done. Sorry for lack of recent updates. #NoReception #DeadBattery

Twitter (Sun. 5:54 AM)
Sleep is highly anticipated.

Twitter (Sun. 7:32 AM)
Van 3 has finished it's second voyage. Looking forward to a shower and sleep at casa de Brad.
Context: Our resting point between our 2nd and 3rd leg. Brad is amazing and helped us out tremendously for the second year in a row. Great food and was able to shower and rest for an hour.

Facebook (Sun. 2:12 PM)
Final leg done. 4.7 miles at 7:50 pace (fastest of the weekend) - although 99% downhill.
Context: Thought I ran it slower, but Garmin disagreed. My first sub 7-min mile since high school.
Splits: 6:33, 7:24, 8:26, 8:29, 8:28 (.7)

Facebook (Sun. 5:10 PM)
Done! 29 hours, 40 some minutes. Lori's Lusty Lads are indeed Lusty.

Actual time: 29 hours 53 min. 42 sec. — 98th place out of 211 teams.

There is alot of information and inside jokes missing from this mini-diary, but I try to keep my posts PG-13 rated, (which can be difficult). There will be more to follow about our journey, but thought I might share this first.

Here is the link to my Twitter account and Facebook page if you'd like to join in on the fun.