A Dying Breed

Learn something new

Have You Seen These Shoes?

You’ve probably heard about the minimalist running craze that spiked in the last couple of years. If you have not, let me fill you in. Minimalism is running in the least amount of shoe you can manage in order to strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot, improve your balance, feel more grounded and even teach your body to run properly. Although some people protest this method stating that it is counter-productive to the running process, this movement has caught fire in and outside the running world.

I know a few people who own the popular Vibram Five Finger shoes and I have only heard positive comments about them. They say that the finger shoes are comfortable and versatile for any activity. Even in Cross Country and Track, I have had many people tell me how great this shoe feels and that they enjoy wearing them for races. Many have even made the comment that it’s like a “second skin” for their feet.

According to their website, the Vibram KSO is the most popular five-finger shoe they sell. If you are looking for a shoe that improves your natural running stride the most, that would be the Vibram Bikila. You can check out their website for sizes and categories.

BE AWARE OF FRAUDS! The Vibram Five Finger shoe has become a much sought after design and some people have began imitating it and slapping Vibram’s logo on it. Do your research! Don’t encourage them!

“Like barefoot only better.” Have you ever heard that saying before? Well you have if you have seen the New Balance Minimus commercials for their light minimalist shoes. The Minimus design comes in styles for cross training, trails, roads and for everyday life. I don’t know anyone with these shoes yet but I read that they are very versatile.

There are many other minimalist shoe companies such as Merrell, Nike and Saucony to name a few. This minimalist movement is more than just a fad, this is a new generation in running!

I am thinking about buying a pair of minimalist shoes, but I don’t know what kind I would wear or if I would like them. If any of you own a pair of minimalist shoes, I would love to hear your comments!

Blog ya later!


Ruling the World! (Well, the Running World at least)

I have had this blog for a few months now and I believe that I have come a long way. To think that merely 2 months ago, this blog didn’t even exist! Now I have followers, I follow others and I even have Twitter and a Facebook page for this blog! (Twitter: @AlexRunner27 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Runner-A-Dying-Breed/192846117456326?sk=wall)

When you really think about it though, my little blog barely makes a blip on the radar. I’m not being negative, I’m just being honest. Who knows or cares about Alex Turner, XC and Track and Field runner? Or her blog? Or Facebook page? Or Twitter? I’m presuming not a whole lot of people. Even though I want to, I don’t make that much of a difference in the world.

However, there are people who do make an impact.  Some are nationally known while others are known only in the internet world, but they all make a difference. These people are listened to and followed, whether they are dead or alive. Some are actors, some are political figures, others are athletes or teachers. From George Washington to Martin Luther King Jr to  Bill Gates, these people have been revered through history. We view them as visionaries.

The people I am going to talk about may not be historical icons, but they have made a difference in the athletic world and I believe they deserve recognition for it.

  • Paula Radcliffe
  • Runners World
  • Thad McLaurin
All three happen to be on Twitter and they reach out to their followers. Paula,  current women’s marathon record with her time of 2:15:25 hours, is a huge inspiration for women everywhere(http://www.paularadcliffe.com/). Runners World is a magazine for runners with tips on healthy eating, exercise and, of course, running!(http://www.runnersworld.com/) Thad McLaurin is a long distance runner with a blog, RunnerDude’s Blog, and owner of RunnerDude’s Fitness in Greensboro, North Carolina(http://www.runnerdudesfitness.com/About_RunnerDude.html).
They all have something in common; Social Networking. Each has websites and social network accounts like Twitter to stay in touch with their readers. These particular people mostly talk about running, the main focus for most of their readers since they are known either as runners or for reliable running information. Not only do these people talk about running, but they connect with a wider spectrum of readers by talking about things in most people’s everyday life, outside of sports. This entices more readers to frequent the sites and networks. These people tend to keep their posts and tweets fairly short so they keep their readers entertained while still delivering the wanted information. Although Thad and Paula aren’t as frequent as would be preferred, they still have favorable sites and many loyal readers and followers.
I would definitely recommend checking these people out because they are completely worth it.
Blog ya later!

Health Food!

After a lot of consideration, I have decided that I’m going to take a break from training for about a week or two. This will give me enough time to recover from my Cross Country season. Also, this will let me indulge during Halloween, which I would not be able to resist anyways. Hence, the huge picture of Domo with candy corn, aka my favorite Halloween candy!

This post isn’t about candy, although I could go on all day about how much I love it. No, this is about healthy food! I don’t want to drag on and on about this, so I’m doing this in lists, so get your pens ready!

Here are some need-to-know quick tips about your diet. First, you should have more than 3 meals a day! Throughout the day you need to be eating. This keeps your metabolism constantly working and revives your energy. Multiple small meals is way easier on your body than a few large meals. Second, once in a while, you can give in to your temptations! I believe that this is the main reason diets don’t work; people torture themselves by quitting unhealthy foods cold turkey. You can still enjoy these foods in small quantities every once in a great while, just don’t make it a regular thing.

Also, a rule from James Beckerman, M.D. Your food should follow the 2-4-8 rule; try to have 20 grams of protein, less than 400 calories and less than 800 mg of sodium.

Now let’s get going!

BREAKFAST FOOD:

  • Whole-grain toast (I love it with homemade strawberry jelly!)
  • Eggs
  • Oats
  • Juice (Cranberry, apple, orange, whatever!)
  • Fruit!
  • decaf coffee (If you can’t live without coffee)
SNACKS(Make sure these are frequent, small portions):
  • Quaker Mini Delights 90 calorie pack (I’m a big fan of the caramel)
  • Fiber One bars (GREAT variety)
  • Popcorn (plain please! Actually really good!)
  • Trail mix
  • Sardines (good on crackers)
  • Vegetables (carrots, celery, etc.)
  • Fruit! (Apples with a tablespoon of peanut butter adds some protein!)
  • Yogurt
FAST FOOD(Yes, you can have it!):
  • McDonald’s: Side salad with or without low-fat Italian dressing
  • McDonald’s: Grilled Chicken Snack wrap with or without dressing
  • Noodles&Co: bowls with whole grain noodles
  • Chipotle: Burrito bowls
  • Subway: 6 inch, wheat bread, roast beef (easy on the dressing. Veggies!)
LUNCH/DINNER:
  • Progresso soup (Personal favorite! So many flavors and on Weight Watchers system)
  • Healthy Choice Steamers
  • Salmon (Super food!)
  • Lean Cuisine
  • Smart Ones
Before I let you go, I want to expel a popular myth; Microwavable meals can’t be healthy or help you lose weight. WRONG! In fact, the opposite is true. Thanks to the predetermined portions and limited calories (if you choose the right meals), they can actually help with weight loss! So reconnect with your frozen food section!
So take these next few weeks to enjoy you Halloween treats before kick-starting your tasty new diet! Blog ya later!

I <3 Twitter!

The title is little bit of a dead give-away to what this post will be about, don’t you think? I’ve never been known for my subtlety. What’s the point if no one gets it but you?

Also, I am apologizing in advance for the lengthiness of this post, but I hope you will stick with it until the end. Please and thank-you!

ANYWAYS… 

I know there are a lot of haters out there who don’t like Twitter, but most of those haters have never even tried Twitter! And as our parents have always told us, you can’t hate something if you have never tried it(That’s how my parents got me to eat Brussel sprouts, and now I love them!). So, to all of the haters reading this; Shut your mouth and open the web browser! Go to Twitter and get signed up, then follow me at @AlexRunner27 or press the follow button under my “Tweet! Tweet!” column on the right side of this page. Cute, huh? Widgets can do such amazing things!

While on Twitter, I have come across some pretty awesome people! Some are hilarious, others are extremely truthful and a few are a little of both.  I could go on all day about all the great people on Twitter, but I REALLY doubt you want to read all that! So I have chosen 5 accounts that I feel are a must to follow. Not only are these people runners, but they are also bloggers! Yes, I have finally found my kin! Granted, they are a million times more successful and insightful than I, but I’ll get there eventually…I hope.

So here’s my fabulous five and why you better follow them;

So first and foremost, @ultrarunnergirl. She was one of the first people I followed and also one of the first to follow me back! (Thanks @ultrarunnergirl, big boost for me!) I can honestly say that her blog is my favorite. She has so much insight and good advice, there’s almost too much to take in! Not only is she honest, but extremely inspirational. She makes me want to run, run and never stop! Please check it out, it’s really good. Thank you @ultrarunnergirl for being an amazing role model for my running and my blogging!

Next up is @RunEricRun. What first grabbed my attention was his Twitter picture; covered in mud and a huge smile on his face. He reminded me that running is FUN! This fact tends to escape a lot of runners, including me. His enthusiasm is contagious and spontaneous, an attitude my running life has been missing. He was also very nice and commented on myblog, which I was not expecting, but was very much appreciated(It made me feel like a real blogger, like the people I follow, so thank you!). Kudos @RunEricRun! Keep up that spirit!

This next person is very unique and I feel blessed to have found her, blog/Twitter. This one’s to you @sprintingsalina! Her story is one of struggles and triumph as a victim of asthma. She made the life-altering decision to stop nurturing the asthma and fight back; she became a runner. No one thought she could do it, but she knew it was what she had to do and she’s still going strong! I have exercise-enduced asthma and only started using an inhaler this year. My asthma is not nearly as severe as hers, but I can relate to the helpless feeling of being breathless.You’re my hero @sprintingsalina! Stay strong!

The story of @Coupleontherun is truly special. Their motto “Go further together” could not be more true for this couple. It absolutely melts my heart to see this couple unite in running and enjoy something together. Want to know how they got the name “couple on the run?” They ran 8 marathons in 8 countries in 8 weeks, side by side the whole time. If that doesn’t say love, I don’t know what does. Truly memorable, so go check them out!

Certainly not least, but last on my list is @JenZenator. The reason I love her Twitter/blog is simple; she makes me laugh!  She isn’t running obsessed or training for insane amounts of time, but she’s being a regular person who has the urge to run and acts on it, a remarkable feat for anyone! She is random and hilarious and her blog so cute! It can also be serious at times and address problems I know that a lot of runners face and is supportive because she’s gone through it too. Great blog, great runner, great person!

It’s been a long post, but thanks for reading! These people deserve a lot better representation than I can deliver, so check them out for yourself! I guarantee that you will not regret it! Who knows, you might even get hooked on running and blogging, just like us!

Blog ya later!


Inspiration continued….again!

OK, so this is the last part of this inspiration post, I promise. We are on the last bullet of our inspiration list:

  • Hardcore music (check!)
  • Awesome exercise attire (check!)
  • Have something to run for (almost check)

This is probably how most people start running. There are tons of fondations and organizations that host walk/runs to raise awareness about their organization. My family participates in the March of Dimes every year and my school district hosts a run/walk for Cystic Fibrosis. Training for events like these are the perfect motivation to keep your legs pumping.

I would like to bring Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Livestrong back into the picture. It is most likely that they have the highest race attendence of any other foundation. People wait all year for these events. Training for great causes like these can keep anyone going.

Keep on running! Blog ya later!


Inspiration continued!

As a continuation of yesterdays post “Got Inspiration?”, I would like to move onto the next bullet point on my little list of running inspiration. As a recap, here’s the list:

  • Hardcore music (check!)
  • Awesome exercise attire
  • Have something to run for

So, onto awesome exercise attire! Hopefully you saw my previous post “It’s Here!!!” If not, you can find it in my archives, a.k.a. The Shoe Box (It’s in October). In that post I was EXTREMELY excited for a new Cross Country shirt that had finally came. I could not wait until our meet the next day so I could show off my new shirt! I believe this is one thing people love about sports and exercise. When you have really cool gear, you tend to get noticed, and who doesn’t want to be noticed? Not only do you feel good about yourself and how you look, but you are prepared for whatever activity you are going to do. Honestly, wearing some sweet gear always gets me pumped up for a good run. So here are a few things that I adore:

So my first, I would like to bring attention to the Susan G. Komen collections. I personally have a couple of relatives that have been affected by breast cancer and I support the fight for the cure. I love this gear, even though I am not a very big fan of pink. Here’s a shirt I plan on getting: http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/ua-power-in-pink/pid1222975-Women-s-PIP-She-s-A-Fighter-Graphic-T-Shirt/1222975-001.

Next, shorts. A pair of great shorts will make you feel, well, great! Another amazing foundation fighting against cancer is Livestrong. I love the colors and the gear they make is phenomenal! I own a pair of Livestrong shorts and they are my favorite pair! http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31C7bTW4wXL.jpg 

Shoes, shoes, shoes! Girls love shoes! I love running shoes. Usually, I get Asics because  I like the models of their shoes and it’s what I’m used to. My mom wear Asics most of the time and she passed it on to me. I’m pretty sure most of my team wears Asics as well.

But, I KNOW that you have been wondering about those Vibram Five Finger shoes, am I right? I will admit, I am dying to get a pair of those!  And when I do, you guys will be the first to know! But for now, here’s a site you should check out. He’s a runner that does a lot of review on everything running. Shoes, snacks, whatever. I found his reviews on minimal shoes like Vibram very informational; http://www.runningandrambling.com/

See you tomorrow with the last bullet on our list of inspiration! Blog ya later!


Got Inspiration?

As a runner, I sometimes forget that not everyone has the same love for running as I do. A lot of people have to force themselves to run for their own health/fitness. There’s a saying that my XC team loves to use;

“Our sport is your sport’s punishment.”

This is in fact true. In almost every other sport, the most dreaded part of practice/training is running. No one WANTS to run(unless you are a runner, of course), they are forced to. I just have one question; WHY DOES NO ONE LIKE RUNNING?

Personally, I love to run, but you already knew that, didn’t you? I have an internal desire to run, a driving force that pushes my legs to keep moving. My inspiration comes from within me. Many people aren’t as fortunate as me, so I feel it is my duty to lend a helping hand.

For your reading entertainment, I would like to supply you with a list of inspirational…things that will get you “pumped” for a great run!

  • Hardcore music
  • Awesome running attire
  • Have something to run for

Only one topic for today, so I will start with the first bullet:

Hardcore music: Ok, it doesn’t have to be screamo music or anything like that, but it does have to be music that really gets your blood pumpinng. Usually music with a fast tempo will get the ball rolling. Be aware that your exercise music may be totally different from your every-day music. My sister, for example, only listens to rock music when she is working out. Outside of the weightroom, she is strictly pop music.

I know that everyone has different tastes in music, but I would like to give a suggestion to your music selection. My favorite band is, without a doubt, Skillet. They reach me on a deep emotional level and their music is the best I have ever heard. Skillet has helped me through more than a few hard times and I don’t know where I would be without them.

One of my favorite songs of theirs is Monster. I believe everyone feels like this at one point or another and it really gets me going. Enjoy! (Check out all the running in this video!)


Put the “Cross” in Cross Country

Although there isn’t an organized XC practice, the girls team decided to go hiking today after school. Hiking is one of my favorite activities in the fall. Not only is it beautiful, but the air is more crisp and clear and refreshing, which is exactly what I need. So this brings me to another important point to remember when you are training:

Make sure you are cross training!

Why do experts say that endless crunches won’t give you results? Because your muscles will get used to the motion and stop improving. This is called the platue effect, where your progress starts to flat-line. The cure? CHANGE IT UP! My XC coach realized this and that’s why every Wednesday, our team has practice in the pool to give our legs a rest. We never do the same workout 2 days in a row. This keeps our muscles “on their toes.”

At least once a week, you should cross train. If you are a runner, take a day to go swimming, ride a bike or you can go HIKING!!! Whatever floats your boat really.

I will be back either later today or tomorrow with a few pictures from our hike. Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

Blog ya later!


To Be Prepared is Half the Battle

How often do you stretch? And I mean a good long stretch where you can feel your inner muscles. Or did a good warm-up BEFORE starting a workout? I’m guessing the answer is not often, and this is bad.

What you do before a workout/race/game is probably even more important than the event itself! As my title hints, TO BE PREPARED IS HALF THE BATTLE! This is in no way an understatement. Your training, warm-ups and stretching are essential to performing to your best ability.

The worst thing for any athlete is to have an injury. Not only are you in pain, but you can’t even participate in the sport you love! A fellow team-mate of mine has recently recovered from an achilles injury. For the last month or so she has been talking nonstop about running and honestly, it was driving us all crazy. Everyday, she told us how much she missed running and how she couldn’t wait until her first race. Thankfully, last Tuesday our coach gave her the OK to run in the meet and she was estatic. Her injury has been a major set-back in her running and she is paying for it in a big way. A large majority of athlete injuries are a result of not training properly.

This is easily fixable!

A great strategy is to cross train. Change up your routine a little bit through out the week. Go swimming or biking, something different from the actual sport you are training for. This will help your muscles develop since repetition can platue your results. Mixin’ it up will keep your muscles constantly vigilant.

Stretching is a INSANELY important. Stretching not only prepares your muscles for the work ahead, but helps them recover afterwards. Stretching important parts of the body like your shins can help prevent painful injuries like shin-splints(trust me, you do NOT want that).

Lastly, your warm-ups. The thing to remember about these is that it is meant to warm your muscles up! Get it? Doing warm up activities that get your heart rate up will get your body in work-out mode. When you can feel the heat rolling off your body, then you’re ready. DO NOT OVERWORK YOUR WARM-UPS! This prepares you for your work; it’s not meant to replace it.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more about running! *Hint: It’s a love/hate relationship*

Blog ya later!