Our Favorite Fall Marathons

Marathons used to be all about achieving a specific race time. However, after hitting a few goals (Boston and a few PR's), we started to look at marathons (and races) as a chance to see new places and accomplish more than just time goals. Below are some of our favorite marathons and race locations

New York City (Meghan and Jessica) - People say this race is the largest live spectator event in the world and it feels like it the entire 26.2 miles. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Right from the start helicopters are hovering as you cross over the Verrazano Bridge and as soon as you touch ground in Brooklyn, the crowd is screaming for you and it doesn't stop until you exit Central Park after the finish line. In addition to the amazing spectator support, the course keeps you engaged winding its way through so many different parts of this iconic city.

Buenos Aires Marathon (Meghan) - 26.2 miles takes you throughout the city - from the historic areas of San Telmo and Boca to Recoleta and the port area. The crowds are supportive, there's plenty of water and the cityscape can't be beat. I had been to Buenos Aires before but seeing it on foot and in the early morning was amazing and one of my favorite memories of all time. Plus, your recovery includes meat and red wine!

Ragnar Colorado (Meghan) - While this wasn't a marathon, it's on our list because it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever run. We ran from Breckenridge to Snowmass, covering nearly 200 miles between 6 of us. I ran along Dillon Lake, at 9,000 feet, along I90 in the middle of the night and on beautiful trails in the early morning. I trained hard for this race, coming from zero elevation to 9k! It was a strength and endurance test that was totally worth it because of the landscape and trails. 

Richmond Marathon (Jessica) - Big is not always better. I learned this when I ran the Richmond Marathon after the Boston Marathon. Unlike Boston and other large races which require several hours of waiting and transportation logistics to get to the start, Richmond was a breeze. All in all, it took about 10 minutes to get to the start and begin running. There's something quite luxurious about that. There were also moments during the race along the river where it was beautiful and quiet. This was inspiring in its own way. Don't discount the smaller marathons. They are just as much fun and equally rewarding and unique.

Chicago Marathon (Jessica & Meghan) - Catch us running this marathon as coaches for Team Fox this year! We have a feeling it will be a favorite as well mainly because helping people accomplish their marathon goals on the course is pretty awesome. Want to make your marathon experience even more powerful? Team up with your favorite charity to raise funds for a cause that is meaningful to you.


by Meghan Reynolds

Some people love tapering; some people hate it. I personally love tapering. It usually comes right when I feel that my body just can't do another long run. I relish the shorter, faster runs, the ability to sleep a bit longer, not rushing to the track or out the door to get my run in. Tapering helps me focus on the race and allows my body to get ready for race day. The New York City Marathon is about 1.5 weeks away and we wanted to remind everyone to taper and why we do it.

The reason we taper before competitions is to maximize our potential on race day. This is not a rest or recovery period. Instead, these 2-3 weeks are when you reduce miles while maintaining intensity. If you are tapering for a marathon, plan to run about 30% less from your peak mileage 3 weeks out and about 50% less 2 weeks out from the race. While the miles decrease, your intensity doesn't. We recommend you run several runs at race pace and at tempo during the taper (especially, if you are going for a PR) . Don't slack on these runs or skip them, they are what will get you to the finish line in your goal time.

Use your long runs as race pace practice and wear the clothing you plan to wear during the race. We recommend running 13-15 miles 2 weeks out and 8 miles the weekend before a marathon (for a half marathon, run about 9-11 miles 2 weeks out and 6 miles the weekend before the race). During each of these runs, aim to run 4-8 miles at race pace. During the week (3 and 2 weeks out), run 15-20 minutes at tempo pace (only 1 time per week). These runs get your body use to that pace and will help you mentally as your body fatigues later on in the marathon.

Taper time can be hard for many athletes because we are so used to filling up our time with running and marathon training. This is a good time to refocus on sleep and eating well, or watch that DVD series you've been meaning to start or read a book you've had on your list. Keep yourself occupied and enjoy the extra time. Don't fret about the miles or what other people are doing. Avoid looking up blogs or articles about training or taper time as well. You don't want to freak yourself out! We recommend unplugging a bit the week before your race; go to bed early, shut the TV off, turn the computer off and leave the phone in the other room. Allow your body and mind to rest.

In the end, it's about trusting your training and staying positive. Believe you will do great and you will have a great race.

Race Week Tips

With the Portland Marathon this Sunday and many other marathons and half marathons scattered throughout the rest of this month and into November, it's time to get serious about race week prep. Surprise - it's not all about running!
Here are a few tips and strategies for your race week and on race day:

  1. Sleep. Go to bed a bit earlier this week. Shut off the computer and the TV and give yourself a few extra hours of rest. The two nights before the half marathon is when quality sleep matters the most. You’ll most likely be too amped up the night before the race to sleep well or for very long anyway.
  2. Rest. If an injury is starting to flare up, take a few extra days off instead of worrying about getting your final runs in. Your primary goal this week is to do everything possible to get your body feeling fresh and ready to run on race day. Your fitness is already established, so any running at this point isn't going to get you in better shape for race day.
  3. The Expo. Race expos are fun and it’s a great way to check out new gear and products. Take advantage of the bargain prices but never, ever wear anything that you bought at the expo on race day. Stick with what you know! The same goes for the food samples, buy some to try after the race but don’t eat anything new on race day. Also, avoid eating too many of the free samples of sports drink and energy foods – you don’t know how they will react with your stomach.
  4. The Day Before. Either walk around for 20-30 minutes or jog for 2 miles. Avoid spending hours at the expo. Get home, put your feet up and rest!
  5. Race Morning. Aim to drink about 16 oz of water the morning of the race (about 2 hours before). This is enough time for the water to pass through your system. Eat your normal pre-long run breakfast about 1 hour before your start time.  You might want to wear an extra layer and some gloves or socks for your hands that you can toss at the beginning of the race (tossed clothes are collected and donated). For extra cold mornings, bring hand warmers for your feet and hands - just don't forget to take them out of your shoes before you start running!
  6. Know Your Race: Familiarize yourself with where the water, refueling and medical aid stations are on the course. This information is usually found under the course description section on the race website.
  7. Run Your Race. Don’t allow your adrenaline to take over at the start. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the start and run faster than planned. At the start and during the first few miles, ignore everyone around you and focus on your pace and your strategy. Let people pass you – stay on your pace. You’ll be passing those people soon enough! It’s better to start 1 minute too slow than 1 minute too fast. One minute too fast will zap your energy and most likely cause you to hit “the wall” earlier in the race.
  8. Post Race. Get warm and get food and water immediately after crossing the finish. Take the mylar blanket and grab food.  (Bananas, energy bars, sports drinks, fruit, and bagels are all good options). Even if you can’t eat immediately, you’ll need to put something into your system with 30 minutes of finishing. If you're checking a bag, then put some post-race food in this so you don't have to rely on the food provided by the race.

And last, but not least, trust your training. You put in the time and the effort and that is what matters come race day. You can’t control the weather, the crowds, the temperature. You can control how you choose to deal with those factors on race day. Believe in yourself and your hard work and dedication will shine through! 

Good luck runners!

When Racing is Fun

It's been a hard year for me when it comes to running. I was injured most of last summer and fall. I spent the winter focusing on rehabbing my leg and doing lots of yoga. Physical Therapy was great and I learned a lot - about my body, why I was breaking down and why I was not getting faster. When I started running again, it was slow and short. I got stronger and faster and thought I could race a half marathon this fall. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Life threw me some obstacles and, of course, right around the time of the race! My July half marathon didn't go as planned and it took a little bit to get out of the funk. I was totally bummed- it was one of my slower half marathons. However, I have found some great running friends here in Seattle and they helped me get out of my funk; I ran Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage and just this past weekend, the Woodinville Destination Races Half Marathon. I did both of these events as fun runs and ended up with fast times and feeling great.

Sometimes you need to shift your focus and make races less about a time or a PR and more about the experience and the joy of running. I was able to wave to people on my half, enjoy the scenery and the post race wine and beer tasting event. I'm now ready to run again and focus on specific workouts and racing. I just needed a little fun in between. So, if you find yourself in a running funk or just can't get faster, take a different approach. You might even surprise yourself with the result!

Woodinville Half

Holiday Fun Runs

By Elizabeth Eckhart

It seems the days when it took an elite athlete and months of training to even consider running a full marathon are gone. Now, it is almost impossible to drive through any moderately sized city and not see a window sticker proudly proclaiming, 13.1 or 26.2. Races have evolved as well, from basic courses to themes and events. Runners can choose and are encouraged to run in costumes, mud, and even get sprayed with color along the route. Especially during the holiday season, one glance through your Facebook news feed will show someone who decide to forgo the after dinner nap in front of the television in favor of a nice chilly run.

For those of us who might be interested in participating in a holiday fun run, but may not be up to speed on what is available, let's explore some of the famous and most popular options for pounding the pavement this holiday season.

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is a fun themed 5k race that happens across the country in December. Major cities include Portland, Or, Fort Worth, TX, and New York City. Participants dress up in their favorite holiday costume, whether it be reindeer antlers or ugly Christmas sweaters, and tie jingle bells to their shoe laces to raise both money and holiday spirit as they run.

If you happen to be near the Big Apple this holiday season, New York City Runs offers several different races throughout the winter, including the Frozen Bonsai Half Marathon, a race through Central Park, the Brrr-ooklyn Half Marathon, which will be offering hot cocoa and snacks at the finish line, and The Empire State Building Run-Up, a warmer race in which participants run up the tower's 86 flights of stairs.

The Santa Shuffle (or Santa Hustle, depending on your location) is another popular theme for 5k’s, 10k’s, or 15k’s that offer runners dressed in warm Santa suits candy along the route and cookies and cider at the finish line. Proceeds from this event go to various charities; for example, the Santa Shuffle in Wisconsin will donate to local food pantries and participants are asked to bring canned food for a food drive. CBS Sports, WGN, and even the Travel Channel (click here for provider info) have been known to take an interest in the Santa Hustles, so be sure to wave to the cameras during this run!

Run Disney is also a great choice if you want a holiday run, but don't relish the thought of doing it in 20 degrees with snow drifted around you. Disney provides its Disney Marathon Week every January and February, offering themes such as Star Wars and Disney Princesses, Neverland and Tinker Bell. Run Disney also offers children's races so that the entire family can participate in the fun.

If you do opt to participate in one of these chilly runs, it is important to remember to prepare appropriately for the weather conditions. Dress warmly, but not too warm, guidelines often suggest dressing as if it is 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. You should be slightly cool when you start, since your body will warm up as you run.

A waterproof windbreaker would also be a good idea to protect you from rain and wind. One place not to skimp on the dressing is your feet. Opt for waterproof shoes with gore tex uppers instead of the lightweight mesh that a runner might normally choose. Keeping your feet dry and warm will help to ensure you have a more enjoyable time during your run.

Before the run, be sure to warm up; if you're waiting for a running buddy, don't just sit in your car, get out and move around. During the run, pace yourself, cold air is hard on your lungs and you may not have the endurance that you normally have in nice weather. Post run, be sure to get out of any sweaty clothes and warm yourself up quickly with whatever treats the race organizers have provided!

Marathon Reflections

I completed my 12th maraton on Oct 5th. I use the word "completed" because I am thrilled to have finished it. I'm battling a weird hamstring injury, I moved and changed jobs about 6 weeks before the marathon. My mind was not in marathon mode! I wanted to attempt the race because you never know what's going to happen on marathon day. I set 3 goals and I told myself that it's okay if I don't finish -I didn't want to risk long term injury.

I spent the week before the race resting and icing. I foam rolled, I got a massage and I gave my hamstring a lot of TLC. It was feeling better but the nagging sensation didn't go away. I wasn't sure my hamstring would last 26.2 miles.

Race morning arrived and my friend and I got to the start, hugged and wished each other luck. This is the first race I've ever started thinking I might have to bail out. I hooked up with the 3:30 pace group and hoped to hang on to that time. My training runs put me at a faster time but my leg wasn't making it through long distances so I decided to back off early.

I felt good until mile 11.5. At that point, we got stopped by a train (yup! only in Portland, Oregon will your race be stopped by a train!) and then began a slow, gradual hill. It's one of those where you don't quite realize you are on a hill until you see it on a map. My hamstring did what it had been doing at mile mile 15-18 in my long runs - just kinda stopped working. It doesn't seize up, cramp or feel sore; it feels like I'm running in mud.

At this point, I didn't think I was going to finish. I kept giving myself distance goals - just get to the bridge and then you can stop; just get to mile 18 and you can stop. Just get to mile 21. Jessica jumped in with me at mile 21 and helped me push through those last 5 miles. They were slow but i kept plugging along. I had to let go of my ego and say, I'm happy and proud to finish this marathon - regardless of my time.

The fans, especially my fans, motivated me and helped keep me going. I am so happy that I finished; that I didn't quit and kept plugging along. In my situation, I knew my hamstring and the sensation well enough to know that I wasn't causing more damage. If I felt that I was going to strain my hamstring and cause more damage, I would have stopped. Having support and "coaches" surrounding me with encouraging words helped push me through my mental barriers of "I can't keep going".

I learned a lot more from this marathon than the marathons when I BQ'd or PR'd. I learned that it's okay to change your goals and sometimes a finish is the best thing you could have ever imagined.


Fall Marathon Guide

by Elizabeth Eckhart

While some may associate cooler weather with indoor workouts, distance lovers know that fall is actually prime time for running a lengthier workout. Which is why many of the world’s top marathons take place between October and January. Besides that cool autumn breeze being safer for runners − some oddly warm fall days in past years have had catastrophic results − committing to a end of year marathon means your summer workouts are driven by a tough but worthy goal. Plus, once you’ve finished, you can feel free to indulge in a slice of pumpkin pie, or any other holiday treats that are sure to come your way. Below, we’ve picked out some of the most fun fall and winter marathons. If you’re not participating in any this year, be sure to check in on the races − most sports packages will cover the major marathons (click here for channel info). Then, start planning your own marathon outing for the 2015 season!

Bank of America Chicago Marathon: This famous marathon has been held annually for an impressive 30 years, and will be taking place this year on October 12th. The race is capped at 45,000 registered runners, a number that is generally reached well over half a year before the race day. Since it’s a city marathon, Chicago’s course is flat and fast, meaning that many record-setting times have occurred on the cement terrain. Moses Mosop of Kenya won the 2011 race, setting the record at 2:05:37, and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia has clocked in at 2:18:20 (although her credibility as an athlete has been called into question).

Polar Circle Marathon: If you’ve never been to Greenland, participating in this marathon will show you that the country is most decidedly not green − at least not where you’ll be! This is one of few arctic races, which prides itself on polar landscapes and ice sheet ground. The course takes place primarily on a gravel road (though chances are the road will be hidden beneath a few layers of snow) in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, just north of the Polar Circle.

TCS New York City Marathon: Like Chicago’s course, New York City shows off some stunning skyline views and a variety of the cities interesting neighborhoods in all five of the boroughs between the start and finish lines. The first Sunday of November is always “Marathon Sunday,” when over 2 million New Yorkers head out to support the athletes attempting the race. The race attracts over 100,000 applicants, of which 45,000 are chosen based on qualifying times, charity support, and lottery.

Marathon Des Alpes: This marathon, also known as the French Riviera Marathon, is a race which has shockingly only been held for four previous years. This year’s fifth event, however, has already surpassed an impressive 12,000 runners who are registered and willing to run through the famous seaside towns and gardens. Besides picturesque villages, runners will also be delighted to see the Nice Phoenix Park, filled with peacocks, ostriches and even exotic fish. They will also run past the Mediterranean Sea, the chateaux and villas of Cap d’Antibes, and much, much more!

Bagan Temple Marathon: “Adventure Marathons”, such as the Polar Circle Marathon, offer some of the most unique and stunning views, and the Bagan Temple Marathon is no different. This race is in central Myanmar, within the ancient site of Bagan, which is home to more than 2,000 temples. The course also winds through smaller villages, offering a look into both the ancient culture and current lifestyles of Myanmar residents.

Honolulu Marathon: Though the Honolulu marathon takes place on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is still one of the ten largest marathons races in the world. The race attracts 25,000 annual runners who are led around a volcanic crater, Diamond Head, and Kapiolani Park. Runners will also run by Iolani Palace and Kawaiahao Church - two of Honolulu’s proudest tourist attractions.

No matter which marathon you choose, local or international, lace up your shoes and complete that training, since it won’t be long before the chill air turns too brisk even for the most dedicated athletes!

Best Relay Race in NYC

Ahhh, The Battle of Brooklyn. What's not to love about running in a local, light-hearted, relay race with a couple of buddies on a Sunday morning. Run HARD for one loop around Prospect Park, cheer on two of your friends while they do the same and then grab breakfast and a mimosa after a job well done. You can also elect to run three loops on your own, if that's what you prefer. Personally, I love the chance to run hard, cheer hard and then celebrate together. Either way, don't miss out on my favorite summer event in Prospect Park - this just arrived in my inbox this morning:

Giveaway - Half Marathon Entry

Since moving to Portland a year ago, we've been exploring new routes and new places to run. We discovered Pink Buffalo Racing a few months ago and love the races they put on. They've got one in a vineyard, a holiday themed run and their newest race - Monkey Face Half Marathon. You run in the shadow of the Monkey Face rock. It's got lots of support and is capped at 500 racers so you won't have to weave around runners. 
Want to win an entry into this race?  We are giving away an entry. To enter, leave a comment below telling us your favorite race destination.
When: Sunday, August 24, 9am start
Where: Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, OR
Register here


Monday Motivation - Training Inspiration


After a marathon hiatus, I'm ready to train for one again. I start my base training phase today, in preparation for a fall marathon. Over the weekend, as I created my goals and plans, I was looking back at my old training plans for inspiration. I kept detailed notes during my 2010 marathon PR and my not so stellar 2012 marathon. I needed to look back to understand key learnings and to figure out what worked and what didn't work.

I realized that I incorporated a lot more cross training workouts in 2010 and that I was much more diligent at doing very specific workouts - namely, speed work and tempo runs in 2010. Thus, I'm concentrating on tempo runs over the next 7 weeks in order to prepare myself for the faster runs my marathon training is going to require. I wish I could just jump back into the workouts and crush those 800 meter repeats like I use to but my body isn't there. I'm stronger and can do more pushups than I could do in 2010 but I haven't practiced turning over my legs so that's my base training focus.

It's easy to write it down and say I'm going to do it; it's the actual doing that is the hard part :) So, to keep me inspired, I wrote out my goal and put it on my fridgerator. I printed out pictures of me during the NYC marathon and I recruited friends to run with me on different days - they will hold me accountable!

Additionally, my Dad is a source of inspiration. At 70 yrs old, he started running and committed to running 3 miles last summer. He did it and I couldn't have been prouder. This picture sums up how great he felt and sums up how great I want to feel after PRing in my fall marathon!

If you need help coming up with a plan or need inspiration - contact us. We have a great marathon special going on right now - $249 for a 16 week personalized training plan.


How to Train for a 10k

If you want to crush your next 10k race, there are a few key things to remember. 

1) Give yourself ample amount of time to train. I recommend about 12 weeks if you are a beginner or new to running.

2) Set up a log book to record your runs and your workouts. Aim to run three times a week and then have one of your runs be a longer run so that you gradually work up to the 10k mark which is 6.2 miles.

3) Strength train. Two key exercises that you want to implement during your training are squats and opposite arm/leg extension. So when you are doing a squat, you want to have your feet about hips width apart and you want to sit back as if you were sitting back onto a stool. Come down all the way or just do a modified one if that hurts your knees. Gradually work up to two sets of 25 squats, two or three times a week. The opposite arm/leg extension is great because it builds up your core muscles and gives you balance. To do the opposite arm/leg extension, come down into a tabletop position and extend your left arm out and your right foot back. Inhale and then as you exhale, bring your elbow and your knee together, hold for a two second count and then inhale and extend all the way back out. Do that ten times on each side. That exercise is safe and effective to do every day.

Follow those 3 steps and you'll be on your way to crushing your next 10k race!

Getting motivated to run

When you are a beginner runner or just starting to run again, finding the motivation to run or train for a race can be challening. We have jobs, kids, relationships, responsibilites and sometimes going out for that run doesn't fit into our busy schedules. One of the easiest ways to start running or training is to begin with run/walk intervals.

Starting off in this manner is highly beneficial because it:

1) Increases cardiovascular stamina, allowing you to exercise for longer than if you were to go out and only run;

2) Builds up your cardio without injury or discouragement;

3) Allows your body, especially your joints, to acclimate to your new endeavor.

How to Begin: Measure your intervals in minutes and figure out what works for you. If you are off the couch, start slowly- an injury will only hamper your progress. Your Run/Walk might be 1/3 (1 minute running and 3 minutes walking). If you are highly active, you might want to try 5/2 or 7/2 intervals. The goal is to exercise for at least 30 minutes. Aim for 3 days of run/walk intervals and 2 days of cross-training.

Effort: During your run intervals aim to be able to talk without feeling winded. If you start to feel like you are losing control of your breathing, slow down. Monitor how your body responds to the effort during training.  Start and finish each workout with a few minutes of fast walking.


  1. Aim for 3 days of run/walk intervals.
  2. Don’t run or run/walk 2 days in a row
  3. Do at least 2 days of cross-training per week – cardio and strength/flexibility
  4. Take 1 day off per week. Active recovery is okay (foam rolling, easy stretching)

Tools:  We recommend buying the Gymboss because it alerts you, via a beep or vibration, when the interval is up. You can set it for up to 99 intervals and clip it to your shorts or pants. No need to monitor time or remember numbers! 

Location: You can do the run/walk sets on the treadmill or outside. We suggest and encourage as much outside activity as possible because it’s inspiring, invigorating and it most accurately reflects race and real-world conditions. Stick to flat terrain for the first few weeks and add in hills once you are comfortable running for 10 minutes at a time.

We are leading group runs every Saturday at FitRight NW in Northwest Portland at 9am leading up to the Shamrock Run. We lead a run/walk group for those looking to run the 5k race. You get a coach and a group of fun women to run with!

Tip of the Week: Make the Road Your Track

Speed training (or interval training) is high-intensity training sessions that improve your running efficiency and will help shave minutes off your race times. There are so many benefits to speed training. And you don't need a track to do speed training. Simply pick minute intervals or mark off .25 miles or .5 miles on a road or sidewalk. Some of our favorite workouts are: 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min (with same recovery time), 8x400 meters (.25 mile) and 5x800 meters (.5 mile). Make any road your track!

How do speed workouts improve your running?

 1. Build Strength - Speed work gets fast-twitch muscle fibers firing, and recruits more muscles than slow runs do.

2. Faster Feet - When you run at a fast pace, your feet turn over at a more rapid rate. With enough practice, this quicker cadence becomes more natural, which means you'll need less effort to move faster on any run.

3. Improve Stamina - Speed sessions help maximize your aerobic capacity. When you hit a fast pace, you force the heart to pump oxygen through the body at a quicker rate. Over time, that makes your heart stronger, so it can deliver more oxygen to the muscles, and helps your muscles use oxygen more efficiently.

4. Run Stronger and Longer - By sustaining a comfortably hard effort, you condition your body to hold a faster pace for longer before lactic acid—the waste produced when the body burns glucose—starts accumulating. That helps stave off the burning sensation that's so often linked with running hard.

5. Make the Joy of Running Last - Even if you don't care about getting fast, you'll enjoy the post track euphoria and the fitness gains that go along with speed work. When you're fitter, you can cover the same miles with less effort and bust through plateaus.

Interview with a Runner

What can we say about Rob? He's funny, witty, convinced an awesome girl to marry him, runs, is really good at stick figure drawings and oh, likes to complain about things. He lives in Tribeca NY and plans to get famous via the internet. He's a recovering lawyer who tutors High School kids. He's a 3 time NYC Marathon deferrer - we are getting him to run it this year - look out 2013! Check out his blog and Facebook page for insights and laughs.

How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I own a BBQ Chicken establishment in Brooklyn, NY.  Every day, Meghan and Jessica run by and wave.  I thought we were friends.  In 2010, they stole the name of my business and used it as their own.  I recently initiated a high stakes law suit to bar them from diluting the "Hot Bird" brand.

OK, fine. I went to Hamilton College with them. (note from the Hot Birds - and he thinks our biz name is VERY clever!)

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything?
A HORRIBLE toe injury put me on the shelf for several months. It happened during a yoga class. I'd share pictures with you, but I put them on facebook and a lot of people flipped out. Apparently feet pictures are a "thing" for some people (not in a good way).

Now that I have recovered enough to run with only mild pain, my running goals are:

a) Run at least 2 days per week;

b) Increase to 3 days per week after I complete goal "a" once; and

c) Run the NYC Marathon (I’m now a three time deferrer).  I just can’t get over how hot it gets in August.  I sweat a lot.  Everyone’s all like “Oh, you just have to run at 5 am.  It’s not so hot then.  Yeah, it’s not so hot, but it’s 5 am.  That’s insane.  No one does that.  Plus, it’s still hot.  And 18 miles is really far. 

Who or what inspires you to run?

What is your favorite running route/place to run?
The bagel run I do every weekend morning.

Who is your favorite person to run with and why? 

I love to run with other people.  So if I picked a specific favorite, I'd have to deal with “how come you don’t like running with me the most??????” conversations.  I don’t want that.

Instead, here is a list of characteristics of my ideal running buddy, taken from actual traits that I admire in runners.  

An ideal running partner: 

-        Talks A LOT.  Like non-stop.  

If I have to do the talking, then I get winded too fast.  Then I get tired and want to stop.  So I like to run with someone who does all the talking for me. Like a live podcast.  

 One friend literally recounts stories from the New Yorker to me on long runs.  Why is that great?  Because every one else hates reading the New Yorker and doesn’t have the patience to slog through a whole 30-page article.  When a friend takes the time to read it, AND remember the fun details, AND tell them to me like a little story, I almost forget how hot I am on mile 2.  It’s like running with Malcolm Gladwell.

- Is faster than I am, but only a smidge.

If your friend is too fast, then you feel like an ass for ruining their run.  If they are way slower than you are, then you get antsy.  So the ideal running partner runs a little faster, but not so fast that you have to tug the back of her shirt when she pulls ahead.  

Running with someone faster means that sometimes I get tired and huffy puffy and bitch a lot.  But it also means that when we train together, I’m forced to work harder than I probably want to, which isn't a bad thing and gives me plenty to complain about at the time.  

- Doesn’t let me stop when I want to.

I warn everyone up front that I'm going to complain a lot.  The best running partners tolerate my complaints, but do nothing to accomodate them.  

Like when we're running and there's a big hill, I’d be all, “this is hard, I don’t want to go up that hill, I’m tired, Running is stupid, can’t we just stop, I hate you, why did you make me do this, it’s 5 am in the morning and August, I’m sweating so much, did my heart just stop beating?  I think it did, do I look pale?  Why aren’t you sweating?”  

The ideal running partner just says, "Shut up, Rob."  

Then I shut up and berate my running partner in my head.  When I finish my imaginary rant, we’d be at the top of the hill and I’d say, “That was easy.”  We'd laugh.  Then I’d collapse and an ambulance would pick me up.  It was fun for everyone.

- Is organized and motivated.  

I won't negotiate how far we’re going to run, what time we’re going to run, or where we’re going to run.  But if someone else has a plan, I'll just do it.  It's especially helpful when someone else puts together a calendar and emails it to me. 

But the best running partners never cancel.  Once someone cancels, then it's allowed.  I try to come up with any excuse I can muster to get out of a run if I'm feeling lazy.  If the other person has never canceled on me, then I know I can't cancel because I'll get in trouble.  However, once there's been a cancellation, it becomes allowed and expected.  Like stopping at a water table during a race.  If you go by the first ten tables without stopping, you don't think about water.  Once you stop and drink and your legs take a break and realize how magical it feels to stop and rest, then ever water station becomes a little panacea of awesomeness. 

-  Carries one of those idiotic looking fanny backs with water.

My friend Jess does this.  I didn't want to mention names, but she wears one of those tool belt things and it looks ridiculous and I mock her for it relentlessly.  Goddamnit, though, I love that thing when I'm thirsty and she lets me have a sip.

What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
In 1980, my dad ran the NYC Marathon in 3hr 19min (suck it, Meghan). I was two. To commemorate my dad's race, my mom bronzed one of his disgusting, smelly sneakers. My friends thought it was stupid to have a golden shoe in the living room.

So when I first started running, and was feeling particularly lazy and unmotivated, my good friend Ryan said, “Hey, if your dad can run a marathon in that heavy bronze shoe, you can do half in those shitty Brooks. So I did.






 What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
Body Glide. Second favorite is this hideous yellow Fred LeBow shirt (the combination of the mustard yellow and the face picture is a real winner):


We love.....Races

Signing up for a race is a great way to hold yourself accountable, stay on track, test your strength, stamina and endurance and experience the adrenalin rush of competition! We race a handful of times throughout the year for just those reasons AND to have fun!

We've run races from 1 to 200 miles throughout our running careers. Not all have been that great, however. What makes a great race? To us, a number of factors - race organization, the course, post race atmosphere and logistics (getting to/from the start/finish).

Here are the races that we've loved and highly recommend:

  • Eugene Marathon - great atmosphere, beautiful course and you end on Hayward Field - home to some of the best athletes in the world.
  • Boston Marathon - you're psyched you qualified and you are running on one of the most historic courses ever.
  • New York City Marathon - you will feel like a rockstar for the entire 26.2 miles.
  • Great Cow Harbor 10k - fun, fun atmosphere and the best post race food we've ever seen.
  • Buenos Aires Marathon - the best tour of Buenos Aires!
  • Battle of Brooklyn (relay) - get two friends and race around Prospect Park in this fun, easy relay.
  • Hood to Coast - the mother of all races - 200 miles from Mt. Hood to Seaside, Oregon with 11 of your friends. You've never raced this this before!

What are your favorite races and why? We are always looking for new races. Share your favorites with us!

An Interview with a Runner

Gail DiLisio, is our featured runner this week. We met her this summer while helping her and her partner, Cathy Bolz (on the left), train for the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon in Hampton, New Hampshire. Her dedication and commitment astound us! She's lost over 50 lbs and is on her way to PRs! 

How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I heard about Hot Bird Running from the Lean Green Bean blog

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything? 
My goal is to gain speed and be more efficient when I run, especially on long runs.  I am currently training for the More/Fitness Half Marathon in April.

Who or what inspires you to run?
I get inspiration to run from the challenge of improving my run, whether it be technique, speed etc.  The chance to improve is perfect motivation for me.

What is your favorite running route/place to run?
I love to run anywhere outside, even if it is freezing out.  My favorite route is Central Park - it is the perfect blend of rolling hills along with great people watching!

Who is your favorite person to run with and why? 
My favorite person to run with is my partner, Cathy.  We both started running 2 years ago when we each lost 50 pounds and found running a perfect way to stay fit and provide variety with our workouts.

What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
Well, the best advice came from Jessica Green, of course!  She taught me that if am tired on long runs, I can keep my legs moving just by pumping my arms harder.  Believe me, I have used this technique plenty of times!

What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
My Garmin 310 has been great for training and tracking miles.

Winter Half Marathon Group Program

Starts November 5, 2012.  Deadline to Register is November 2nd.

Take your training to the next level with Hot Bird Running’s Winter Half Marathon Group Program. In this program, you receive a 12-week personalized training program, coached Saturday sessions in Brooklyn Bridge Park and real-time coaching instruction PLUS a team of other runners training alongside you. This plan will get you to your goals and keep you feeling fit, healthy and motivated all winter long. Training can be designed for the NYRR Manhattan Half Marathon (exact date TBD) or a different half this winter.

What You Get:

  • Professional coaching to develop correct running form, endurance and speed.
  • In-person coached workouts with the team, led by an experienced, certified running coach.
  • A friendly, non-competitive environment.
  • Q&A sessions with the coaches once a week.
  • Weekly email communication with the coaches.

Program Details:

  • Coached 1-hour group workouts on Saturdays at 9:15 in Brooklyn Bridge Park from 11/3/12- 1/19/12, except Nov 24, Dec 15, Dec 29 
  • Personalized 12-week training plan beginning the week of October 29th. Training is based on your goals and fitness level. Includes running specific workouts, strength training and cross training; race strategy and recovery information; and training feedback and modifications.
  • Mid-week online chats with coaches.
  • Cost: $350 for entire program.  All purchases are final.
  • Must run a minimum of 3+ times per week or 10 miles total each week. All paces welcome.

Register/Pay Online:  Pay online using the payment button below (then fill out our New Client Registration Form) or contact us via our Contact page, phone number: 646.535.0307 or email: info@hotbirdrunning.com to get started or for additional information.   

We will email you within 24 hours if you purchase online, or contact us either through our contact form on our website or our contact information.  Register no later than October 25th

Post Race Slump

Meghan is sharing her ups and downs after running a race and how to break out of the slump.

I ran two races back to back this September: Ragnar Colorado and the Great Cow Harbor 10k. Both races were fun, beautiful, with great friends and I felt awesome after each race. Ragnar Colorado was a 200 mile relay from Breckenridge to Snowmass. I ran 33 of the 200 miles and loved every minute of it - especially the scenery. I got back to NYC and Jessica and I ran the Great Cow Harbor together. We had fun this race and didn't stress too much about our time.

Since then, I've had a very rough time getting my mojo back since the races. I haven't felt like running and I'm tired, like all the time tired! Here's what I discovered in dealing with my post race slump.

1) Give yourself a break! You just ran a race, reward yourself with a few days off.

2) Gush about your race. Meet a runner friend for coffee and tell them all about your race. You trained, you sweated, you rocked it. Brag a bit.

3) Plan your recovery. I love active recovery plans that are full of yoga, spin classes and fun classes like kickboxing. Lay off the running for a few days (or a week or two) and work your muscles in a different way.

4) Pick your next goal. Find that next race that you want to run or your next vacation. Give yourself something to look forward to!

Beat those post race slumps by having a plan and giving yourself the time and space to recover, sleep and find your mojo!

Tip of the Week - Run a race with a friend

Yesterday, Jessica and I ran the Battle of Brooklyn race in Prospect Park with a friend and client. What we love about this race is 1) it's local and 2) you can run it as individual (10 miles) or as a 3 person relay (3.3 miles each). If you read our blog or know us, you know that we love our relay races because it transforms a solitary sport a team sport.

All 3 of us had different goals and reasons for running the race. Despite our varied reasons, we were able to run together, run well and have fun. So, our tip of the week is to find a 5k or 10k and a few friends to run it with you. Make a morning of it by having breakfast together and going to a yoga class to stretch out your muscles.

Have you run a race with friends? Comment below and tell us which race.