Interview with a Runner

Our runner this week is Whitney Norman. Whitney works at a veterinary clinic in Portland, Oregon and lives along the Willamette River in John's Landing where she has access to fantastic city river runs with mountain views right outside her door. In the beginning of 2013, she started working with the Hot Birds to whip her fitness and nutrition habits into shape. Whitney doubted that she would ever be able to say that she truly enjoyed running, but, as she told us this week, "[She's] now been converted to one of the fortunate ones that truly gets to enjoy getting out there and running." Keep it up, Whit! 

How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I have the pleasure of knowing the Hot Birds through my fiancé, Match, who happens to be Jessica’s youngest brother. Match and I are getting married in the winter of 2014 and I wanted to start getting in shape for the big day. Lucky for me, as an extra bonus, I will be inheriting a fantastically motivating running coach as a sister-in-law and the Hot Birds!

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything? 
I haven’t ever been driven by the idea of running, but, unfortunately for me, I also know it’s the best way to get in shape for the wedding. In January of this year, I started Hot Bird's Running and Nutrition Program.

Who or what inspires you to run?
I use to describe myself, "I’m not the most enthused runner," because for the first two months of training I had to literally shove myself out the front door with the image of myself in a white dress posing for eternally existing photographs to get started on my run. I have been very fortunate to have Jessica as a running coach. She is really what has inspired me to keep going. It’s been an unbelievable help for someone like me who struggles with running, to have someone to talk to when frustrated with my progress, or to get that extra boost of confidence in my ability to keep on.

In the last month I’ve really started to enjoy my running experience. I think the first time I truly had fun on a run was last month when Jess, Match and I all went for a run in Tryon Creek State Park. It was one of the most challenging runs I’ve been on to date, but it was also the most rewarding. It was truly a running breakthrough for me and since then I’ve felt fantastic while running. I’m so grateful to have had the team of Hot Birds at my back to keep pushing me on. I truly don’t believe I would have gotten to this point without their support.

What is your favorite running route/place to run?
Now that I’m off and running, my favorite route has become my run in Tryon Creek State Park. I’ve gotten the opportunity to go several times a week and it is always as challenging as it was the first time. There’s something great about running in the woods that keeps you watching your feet while dealing with the changes in hills. I always feel completely beat at the end but in a satisfied and happy way.

Who is your favorite person to run with and why? 
I also love the Tryon run because it’s one that I get to do with my fiancé, Match. It must be something that the Elliott’s do, because they are some of the most motivating people I’ve ever met. My experience as a runner has been short with a bit of a rocky start but I feel so blessed to have had the support of both Match and the Hot Birds to keep me on track. I would have never been able to get to where I am now without them.

What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
The best piece of running advice I’ve ever received was to run in run/walk intervals. I purchased a GymBoss at the beginning of my running program, and it has been such an enormous help. It was great training for me starting at the beginning because I wasn’t discouraged about not being able to run far. I could have breaks and continue on again until I had reached my goal. For me it essentially took away quitting when I was tired as an option.

What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
Apart from the GymBoss as being my favorite accessory I would have to say that I absolutely love the Ta Ta Tamer sports bra from lululemon. I am fortunately well endowed in the chest region and as a runner is was a painful experience at first. I really do love the support that it gives me while taking away the massive shoulder pain.

Running in the Rain

Spring is lurking around the corner which means rainy days are already upon us. Instead of heading into the gym for a cross training day or the treadmill, zip up that rain jacket and show the rain who's boss.  We promise, you won't regret it. Jessica gives us a few reasons to head out despite the weather.

RACE DAY PREPARATION: It's preparation for unexpectated (or expected) race conditions. I'll never forget waking up on the morning of my first marathon and it was snowing! Eventually, the snow turned to heavy rain by the time I arrived at the start - and it never stopped the enitre race. Thank goodness I was prepared! 

EMPTY ROUTES: Chances are you'll get the city or your running route all (or almost all) to yourself.  Heavy rain sends the crowds to the gym and leaves you with your own personal playground.  Enjoy it.

EMPOWERMENT: Battling sloppy weather conditions makes us stronger and empowers us.  Finish a good workout in the rain and you'll feel like a million bucks (or definitely after a warm shower!).

AN EXCUSE FOR GEAR!: It's an excuse to buy flashy and weatherproof running gear. Running gets better in the right gear. Check out this Runner's World article on running jackets for the rain.  Don't forget a hat and gloves if it's cold out there not just wet.  You also might want to designate a pair or two of your running shoes to wet, muddy run days.  

If you're already a rain runner, then we commend you.  If you haven't tried it out, we recommend taking the next rainy day as an opportunity to try something new.  You never know, you just might get hooked!  


The Best Sports Bra for Running is Back!

Our love affair with the All Sport Bra by lululemon athletica

The best dang sports bra ever for long distance runners is back after a two year hiatus. Stock up on lululemon's All Sport Bra today and understand what tight, comfortable and chafe-free feels like at at ANY distance. It's simple, supportive and perfect, and now it's available!

Thank you, lululemon, from the bottom of our hearts (and our chests) for the return of the All Sport Bra. We asked and this week you delivered.

Welcome back, All Sport!

Tip of the Week: Tools to Aid Recovery

Recovery is a major aspect of any training plan (from a 10k race to a marathon). It's just as important as the long run or the weekly tempo run. Recovery can be an overlooked and often forgotten part of your training.  Here are a few recovery products that travel with us and can be used just about anywhere - we highly recommend all of them!

What our Run Recovery video to see our favorite products.

The Stick: we use the "Sprinter Stick" because it's firm and short. You control the pressure, either getting a light or deep massage. Great to use on the legs and easy to pack!

The Grid, from Trigger Point Therapy. This is a light weight, versatile foam roller. We like it because it's a 1/4 of the size of a foam roller, firmer and hollow (great for packing!)

Airex Balance Pad.  This balance pad, which we bought at the suggestion of our Physical Therapy, is a training tool that combines exercise and balance skill to improve strength and coordination. We love it for strengthening our ankles and knees.