Monday, January 31, 2011

Just Another Musical Monday

Oh dear! I cannot figure out for the life of me where time keeps going. I mean, it feels like only yesterday that I was bragging about my new and improved iTunes library and promising a host of brand new tunes to make your toes tap their way into training. And yet, here I am on Monday morning digging through my embarrassingly outdated ipod playlist, scrounging to find something peppy enough to inspire me to start this whole 10-miler training. Thankfully, I have a reserve of tunes that I haven't overplayed (yet), so that's what I'll be digging into this week. And though it may require an all-nighter to finally force myself to add all of my new music to my ipod, I 100% guarantee something a bit more fresh next week. 

  1. Angela Surf City - The Walkmen (for a warm-up)
  2. Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club
  3. After Hours - The 88
  4. The Show Goes On - Lupe Fiasco
  5. Sun Demon - Stereolab
  6. It's A Beautiful Life - Jukebox the Ghost
  7. Alligator (Passion Pit Remix) - Tegan and Sara
  8. Ambling Alp - Yeasayer
  9. Drinking Song - Loveseat
  10. Ghosts - Fanfarlo (for a cool down)
Okay DC. Time to pull it together. Enough with the snow because we've got some runnin' to do.

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    Foodie Friday: The pre-race meal

    I have a dilemma....something that's been on my mind for a while. I feel as though I am constantly reading/hearing about the "best things to eat on race morning," or the "proper fuel/sports drink for the course."

    I've mentioned before that I mostly run or cross-train at the gym at dark thirty, before the roosters crow. This is a habit I established in high school. Everyone knows what works for them, for me it's basically an AM workout or nothing. The reasons for this are quite simple. A of all, I'm a morning person. Secondly, I would never see my husband or my dog if I exercised after work (and I kinda like them), and most important of all - I know that if I don't do it first just won't get done because I'll come up with a million excuses not to. Because I start so early, I don't eat anything before I work out...and that works for me.

    I know some people would pass out or feel weak or nauseated...but not me, I love working out on an empty stomach. I feel light, not weighed down, and I worry if I do eat too close to working out, this Subway experience might happen again - and I'll get all indigestiony and crampy. And let's face it - I'm not waking up even earlier than I already do to give myself an extra hour to let my food rest, sleep is more important than food that early in the morning.

    Before the Turkey Trot 10K I didn't eat anything and was absolutely fine. However its seems all the "experts," experienced runners, and my own common sense would tell me that on race day (and I assume especially for long training runs and races) this is not a good idea.

    The body needs fuel, something that will sustain you, give you energy and keep you going.

    In most of what I read, the theme seems to be "do what works best for you" (and what you normally do for training days) on race day. Makes sense right? It would be stupid to have an oh so yummy chick-fil-a chicken biscuit right before a race if you've never trained that way before. But as I think about running 26.2 miles, or even 10 miles, my "usual" of eating nothing can't be good, right?

    So let's explore some options. One of my spinning instructors (who does a lot of triathlons and is basically a bad A) said on race days she has a toasted bagel with peanut butter.

    This could work for me, - except the fact that I don't just love peanut butter. I know - that sort of makes me un-American. And I have a confession...I never ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches growing up. However, I think I could tweak that idea with something my co-worker introduced me too this weak, a little piece of heaven! A toasted everything bagel with humus and avocado. Not only is it yummy, but with the avocado, a healthy fat, and humus, a good source of protein, it's healthy (minus the bagel of course).

    Wrong, try again. According to various articles on, you should chose something higher in carbs and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. So that eliminates the avocado and the humus. But we're on the right track with a bagel, a plain bagel to be exact. Even though they aren'tas nutritious as their whole grain, unprocessed counterparts, they're easier on your stomach because the whole grain is already broken down.

    Clearly the un-educated novice, I stopped trying to concoct pre-race food ideas on my own and just researched some safe options. If you really want to eat fruit before a race (not recommended because of the fiber thing) go with grapes, grapefruit, or banana.

    If you go the dairy route (which you totally shouldn't if you are lactose intolerant) you should consider yogurt with live or active cultures.

    One thing most all article agree on is to eat about and hour and a half to two hours before race time. That makes sense and would seem to prevent the cramping that has me worried. But to be honest, most of the suggested foods, if eaten within 2 hours of race time (i.e. grapes, or yogurt) don't seem like foods that would sustain or provide energy beyond the 2 hours before you would start the race...much less hours into the race?

    So what's a girl to do? Well, I've got 274 days and many a training runs to figure it out. I'm thinking the toasted bagel and peanut butter seems to make the most sense, even if it might not be my favorite option.

    What about you, any pre-run meal suggestions that work particularly well?

    Breakfastly challenged,

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Sometimes We Want to Run Like Phoebe...

    Her footloose and fancy-free approach to running seems like the perfect cure for battling utter boredom.

    Sadly, most days, our form is completely haywire and we unintentionally look like her anyway. (Sigh) Never you mind though. As long we we're moving, it counts for something.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    You Might be a Runner if...

    Lately I've been getting these feelings...little musings, if you will, that I may be able claim the title of "runner" as opposed to just "yes, I'm a person who's getting back into running."

    I've developed a simple list of questions to consider. If you answer yes to most of these just might be a runner:

    Do you find yourself wanting to spend more money on your running clothes than your regular clothes? And constantly search the Web site for the new line of said clothes?

    Did you replace jewelry, gadgets, home goods, electronics, and your usual requests, on last year's Christmas list for GPS watches and goo in your stocking?

    Do you find yourself spending most of your time on the internet mapping future running routes and different races?

    Did you recently purchase a subscription to Runner's World/[insert other appropriate running title] magazine?

    Instead of ordering your typical Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 2011 wall calendar, did you find your self ordering a running one, complete with training tips and hundreds of scheduled races?

    Do you feel as though your non-runner friends and family are probably getting sick about how much you speak of your new found love and hobby?

    Do you feel guilty if you skip a day of running?

    Were you over the moon excited about seeing Hood to Coast, and gleefully paid $12.50 a ticket (plus fees) without a second thought to see it in the theater?

    Do you curse the snow and ice fall, not because of the havoc it's wreaking that day, but because it will turn your favorite running trails into icey deathtraps for days to come?

    Has Steve Jobs personally thanked you for the amount you've spent on itunes for the betterment of your playlist?

    Did you earmark a portion of your year-end bonus to purchase the GPS running watch that you didn't get for Christmas so that you don't have to spend as many hours researching running routes?

    So if you answered yes to any or all of the above questions you just might...

    Oh wait, what was that ? No one else? Just me? hmmmm

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    No Meat Athlete

    I'm beyond excited about recently stumbling upon No Meat Athlete. I gave up on meat about 6 years ago for a variety of reasons, but the deciding factor was my high cholesterol. I felt way too young to already be battling my heart, so I cut out all most meat. Over time, it became rather difficult to live a nutritious meat-free lifestyle due to my limited budget, my refusal to spend more than a few minutes in the kitchen and the fact that I was living in the #1 Most Obese City in America (I'll always love you Memphis - just not your plethora of fast food chains and over abundance of delicious cheese fries). 

    So, my vegetarianism evolved into more of a flexitarianism (and yes - that's an actual word. I think). I'm a fish-eating-non-meat-eater-except-when-the-only-thing-offered-is-meat-as-long-as-it's-not-chicken-unless-it's-a-Chick-fil-A-chicken-biscuit-but-will-always-prefer-non-meat-dishes-and-would-never-order-meat-off-a-menu. Did you follow that? Try to keep up. Moral of the story: I always prefer not to eat meat, but I really REALLY hate inconveniencing folks that are making me a free meal, so I make exceptions every now and then. 

    Anyhoo... folks sometimes look at me like I have a 3rd eye when I tell them that I'm just not that into meat. And I don't necessarily blame them. Our food system is most certainly centered around meat, and most people operate under the misconception that meat provides essential nutrients that you can't find elsewhere (If only I had a carrot for every time I've heard, "But how do you get protein?"). Even so, while it is more than possible to live a well-balanced and nutritious lifestyle without meat, I don't always do that (hence the gallon of goldfish that disappears each week at my apartment). 

    So, I kind of felt like I found my soul mate when I recently discovered No Meat Athlete - a vegetarian runner's guide to training for a marathon, complete with tasty (and simple) recipes and all kind of pointers on how to squeeze in dietary supplements, battle running boredom, unwind from a long run and so on and so forth. I'm super stoked to test out "The Perfect Smoothie Formula" because I was just this morning jonesing for some fruity goodness but feeling far too cheap to fork over $8+ at Smoothie King (not to mention, I would no doubt be over my craving by the time I walked back to the office and my smoothie was frozen solid).  

    I just signed up for the The Vegetarian Endurance Advantage: The Essentials of Plant-Based Training, a free e-course that provides training tips and nutritional advice to endurance athletes (I enjoy pretending like I actually fit in that category right now). I haven't received my first installment yet, so until then, I'll be making my way through this oh-so-helpful list of "63 Ways to Shake Up Your Running Routine." It's probably not a good sign that I'm already needing these tips before I've actually begun our 10-miler training

    Curious about starting a more veggie-based lifestyle? I highly recommend this helpful starter kit from Vegetarian Times. 

    Happy Trails,

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Just an Overdue Musical Monday

    Mucho apologies for the lull in musical marvelousness last week. I was entirely too busy doing absolutely nothing to pull something together in time. But never fear. We're back with a vengeance with a host of new tunes to kick us into gear. My itunes is about 4x its normal size today thanks to a recent download frenzy - and though the list below doesn't yet reflect the awesomeness of my new musical library (primarily because I'm still making my way through all of the tunes), it's a little taste of what's yet to come.

    1. Cool Yourself - Thao With The Get Down Stay Down
    2. Dream City - Free Energy
    3. The Fury - Middle Distance Runner
    4. The Way We Get By - Spoon
    5. Myriad Harbour - The New Pornographers
    6. Swim - Surfer Blood
    7. Vapours - Islands
    8. Luna - Fanfarlo
    9. Sun Demon - Stereolab
    10. Surprise Hotel - Fools Gold

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    10 Days to 10 Weeks to 10 Miles

    So, as you may remember, we did not make the Cherry Blossom cut. And though it still stings a little okay, a lot, we are pretty darn excited about our Plan B. On April 10, Liv + Sal & Sis-in-Law Sus (and a few others that we're still in the process of recruiting. We're looking at you Willie Wonka & Megs) will be running in the Parkway Classic, a 10-miler starting at Mount Vernon and ending in Old Town Alexandria. Not only do we LOVE this course (running along picturesque George Washington Parkway) and the fact that there is less risk of getting trampled to death (as is most certainly the case with Cherry Blossom), but this race also spits us out in Old Town at prime brunching hour. Which means, we've been more focused on where we're eating afterwards than the actual training process.  

    Alas, it's time to quit thinking about eggs benedict and start focusing on the 10 miles we have to run before we can taste our first mimosa. And since most 10-miler training plans typically start about 10 weeks before race day, that means we have to get serious in, oh... 10 days (Geez... that's a lot of 10s in one sentence). We've scoured the best (and not-so-great) training plans out there and finally settled on the beginner's approach to this Runner's World training plan developed by Larry Indiviglia, a certified personal trainer and director of run programs at Island Fitness in San Diego. 

    Now, I like this plan because it gradually builds distance and allows plenty of time for both cross-training (essential for avoiding complete boredom and another one of these disasters) and rest (obvi my favorite days). My hesitation with this plan is that there is a lot of emphasis on heart rate and pace and other fancy technicalities that, frankly, just don't fit into my approach at the moment. I would love to think that I run slowly on purpose, but fact of the matter is that, I'm putting everything I have into my running every single day - some days, that comes out fast respectable - and most days, that means a slow-and-steady-finishes-the race pace. Regardless, I'll do my best to at least be conscious of how slowly I'm running so I can gauge whether or not I'll be able to finish this race before the sun sets.  

    Oh, and one other reason this race totally rocks, there will be 50+ members from Back On My Feet - DC participating this year. Now, if that's not inspiration enough to sign up and get moving, I don't know what is (Ahem. Still looking at you Willie & Megs). 

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Christmas in Dixie

    Let me just brush the dust off of these blogging fingers for a second....yep, that's better. Aside from my HTC review last week, since the new year it's been all Sal carrying this blog load. I've had a bad case of blogger's block I had to overcome.

    However, just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean I haven't been running. In fact, while the hubster and I were home for the holidays on our three state tour I took the opportunity to enjoy the change of scenery and ran in every city we graced with our presence. (not to mention, I had just received some some new winter weather lulu loot and I was dying to road test it)

    We started our Southern tour in Memphis where our first stop was with my Dad's family as we celebrated my grandfather's 85th birthday. Dad has a corporate apartment in Memphis on the fabulous Mud Island (which is conveniently close to the downtown restaurant hub and nightlife of the Mid-South capital). Optimal for when hubster and I would visit Memphis (and Sal) from Ole Miss and hit up Beale in the early post college days. Mud Island, is just that, an island in the Mississippi river.

    The houses and real estate on this island are incredible. Many of the ones that line Island Drive have these wonderful porches with amazing views. The best part about the island is the trail and sidewalk that run all along the river. Runners, walkers, dogs and bikers are constantly out and about. As you run along the Mississippi you'll see barge after barge making their way down.

    Random dad and cute little boy not included...

    Next stop was Greenwood, MS, home of the hubster and where his family lives. We loved staying with the newlyweds, my sister-in-law and her new hubby, who just happen to have set- up-shop on the corner of Jane Lane and Olivia Street. Which, for those of you that don't know, that's my first and middle name Jane Olivia (or was before I married).

    Greenwood, for all of you unfamiliar with Mississippi geography, is part of the Mississippi Delta, and the Delta is FLAT! And flat = a nice run.

    At the start of my run, the sun rises over the cotton fields behind Westminster Presbyterian church.

    What I loved most about my Greenwood route was running down Grand Boulevard. One of the most gorgeous tree lined streets, I would argue, in America!

    And all along the street, you'll find gorgeous, old southern homes:

    If you read Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel The Help, loved it as mush as I did and you're equally excited about the movie coming out, then you too will get to know Greenwood as the movie was filmed there this past fall.

    And this little face was waiting for me at the door when I finished my run

    The final leg of our holiday tour found us in Birmingham, my old stomping ground. I was so happy to be reunited with what I think, is one of the best running trails out there, Jemison Trail.

    The Shades Creek Mill House along Jemison Trail

    Birmingham, and specifically, Mountain Brook, is so green with rolling hills. I really have no words to explain how beautiful the houses and neighborhoods are, you'll just have to take a run to see for yourself.

    And how can you not love the quaint villages that connect the different neighborhoods.

    Corner of Mountain Brook Village

    In fact, this very Saturday is the Village to Village 10k and I wish I could be there to run it because it's such a beautiful and fun course.

    Running in all three cities added so much to this year's holiday travels. Previously when I traveled, I had my excuses to justify me leaving my sneaks and workout clothes at home: airline baggage restrictions, no time on my trip for working out, etc. But excuses no more - call it one of my 2011 resolutions if you will. I've realized how fun it is to take advantage of different locations and research in advance great trails and routes in the cities you will be visiting. Not to mention, it's a great way to get outside and explore.

    If you're like me, when you're traveling you're probably enjoying yourself by eating and drinking a little more than when at home. During this trip I kept my running up, and while I might not have lost any weight while I was indulging, I definitely didn't gain any of those pesky holiday lbs and I felt great. So get out and run - and then you don' t have to feel bad having that dessert at the amazing restaurant you were so excited to try.

    Without further ado the routes:
    Mountain Brook - Jemison Trial (note: this map does not really show the trail, but it's there. You can't miss it, right by the creek, er the "brook").

    If you find yourself in any of these three great cities, you should check them out. Tried and tested by yours truly.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    lululemon run club

    Liv + Sal joined up with the lululemon run club this Sunday for a little break from our usual weekend running routine - and we were in for quite the wake-up call. The group met in front of the Georgetown lulu store @ 9 am for a dynamic warm-up with Chris McQuilkin of Crossfit. 

    We then took off running before truly deciding if we'd follow the 3 mile or the 6 mile group, but sadly, that decision was made for us about 1 minute into the run. We've never claimed to be speedy by any stretch of the imagination. But jeepers, we felt like grannies with that crew! I mean, we're not even sure how it's physically possible to go any faster than we were - our legs simply wouldn't move faster. Before we knew it, we were dead last and had to hustle to keep up with the danglers in the 3 mile group.

    Being in the back of the pack can certainly be disheartening, but the lulu crew was very laid back and encouraging. They slowed down a bit and ran alongside us to help us push through to the end. Liv handled it like a rock star, but Sal could only grunt in response to their perfectly polite attempts at conversation. It wasn't pretty. 

    The run wrapped up at Georgetown's infamous "Exorcist Stairs"....   

    We met Crossfit Chris at the stairs for a lesson in proper lunging, and then he decided to further punish us with a lunging/push-up/running up and down the stairs exercism that still today has left Sal slightly handicapped.

    The morning wrapped up with some lovely little treats from Baked & Wired courtesy of lulu (thanks guys!) so it certainly made it all worth it. We'll definitely join the club again - we just hope to be slightly speedier the next go around.

    Thanks for all of the support and helpful advice, lulu! See you next time err... whenever our legs quit feeling like jelly. 

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Treadmills Suck

    Crass? Yes. But they really do. And here's why... 

    The other night, I forced myself to the gym because the bitter freezing cold made me question whether or not my nose was still attached to my face. So there I am, banging it out on the treadmill, feeling oh-so-proud of myself and thinking... 

    "Wow. I'm really knocking it out right now. I must have run at least 2 miles by now at an awesome pace. But man, I'm getting really bored. And I'm tired of looking at myself in the mirror [sidenote: I was on the treadmills at the front of the gym where the only thing to look at is a giant wall of mirrors - which also means, I was on full display for the rest of the gym]

    How can I entertain myself right now? [look down at treadmill display] Holy crap! Have I seriously only run .7 miles?? How is that even possible? I feel like I've been on here for an hour. OMG I'm so cussin' bored.   [begin self pity fit]

    No! Stop it. If there's anything you've learned this week, it's that running is supposed to be fun. So just pretend like you're somewhere far cooler than the Tenley Sport + Health right now. Close your eyes and pretend like you're running in Oregon in the Hood to Coast race. [close eyes/begin daydreaming & inevitable disaster]

    Okay, this isn't so bad. Though it's a little tricky. Just keep running strai-  Oh dear... wait... pretty sure I'm tripping. Open your eyes! Why can't I open my eyes??? Yep... I'm definitely going down. Mother effer, Sal! OPEN YOUR CUSSING EYES! Is this seriously happening?? [insert lots of flailing arms and thuds  here... Oh, and a few skid marks on the treadmill]

    [eyes finally open] What just happened? I'm on the floor next to the treadmill. There is a woman in my face asking me if I'm okay. And the entire gym is looking anywhere but forward in an effort to pretend like they didn't just witness one of the most disastrous one-man pileups of all time." 

    I mean, there's really nothing else to say about this little misadventure. Thankfully, nothing was bruised but my ego. And the common response I've gotten is, "God, that's like my worst nightmare." It was certainly one of mine, too... until it ACTUALLY HAPPENED. But I'll admit, the reality of it could've been much, much worse. I had no choice but to laugh at myself... and make it okay for my fellow gym mates to laugh a little too (Emphasis on "a little." Anything more than a slight chuckle would've resulted in a barbell to the face). And after all of that, I then had to get back on the treadmill and finish my effing run - which actually went quite swimmingly after that. Who knew you could get an adrenaline rush from utter embarrassment?

    Though I'm slightly concerned about my recent clumsy streak, I'm hoping it's just a temporary setback. Until then, I won't be attempting any of these antics on the treadmill (though I do wish they were truly this entertaining)...

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Outrun the Seasonal Blahs

    Every mile is two in winter.  
    -George Herbert

    This is no doubt the hardest time of year to stay focused and cheery. The short days and bitter cold make us want to do nothing other than cozy up on the couch and not come out again until April. 

    So, in 2011 we'll be giving these oh-so-handy tips and tricks from Runner's World a try to see if we can "outrun the seasonal blahs". Of course it won't be easy - especially considering Mother Nature's latest winter fury - but we'll do our best to stay upbeat and make this year different from the rest. So without further ado...

    Supplement Your Sun
    Vitamin D, made by the skin when exposed to sunlight, is more than just a vitamin. It acts like a hormone, which means it affects every tissue in the body, Dr. Martinez says. Vitamin D deficiency may cause run-thwarting depression and fatigue, as well as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis... "You'll produce up to 20,000 IU of vitamin D by being in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the summer," Dr. Martinez says. "But in the winter, leaving for work and returning home in the dark means no vitamin D." Getting outside during your lunch break—even for just a 10- to 15-minute walk—helps. [Sidenote: easier said than done in DC, Runner's World. But we'll give it a try]... To help ward off depression and fatigue, pop one 2,000 IU vitamin D pill daily in the winter.

    Go for 20 Minutes

    When you run, you feel good, and you keep at it. When you don't run, you feel bad, and it becomes more difficult to start back up again. [Sidenote: ooh! so true!] The cause behind this phenomenon is simple brain chemistry, says Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist who has completed more than 100 marathons and triathlons. When we're stressed from missing runs, our cortisol levels increase. Elevated levels of this hormone cause a domino effect in the body, reducing testosterone and interfering with brain neurotransmitter function, resulting in decreased motivation, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, running acts as a natural de-stressor, clearing excess cortisol, bringing testosterone levels back to normal, and rebalancing norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain. Talbott's studies have shown a 20 to 30 percent increase in vigor, a measure of mood, energy, and mental focus, in people who exercise. "Barring the need for physical recovery, it's those times you feel the least like running that you should run," he says. "And the best way to get back into the routine is to start running again, even if you have to take your workouts indoors or you run/walk just 20 minutes. Your mood will improve, sometimes drastically, as will your motivation to do more."

    Reframe Your Training
    There are more contingencies to deal with when running in the winter. In order to avoid missing workouts, Sharon Chirban, Ph.D., a Boston-based sports psychologist, recommends having a plan B. You're usually a morning runner, but the predawn thermometer is stuck at zero—be willing to run in the afternoon instead. If the street is an ice rink, head to the gym and hit the treadmill. "The key to maintaining a winter routine is mental flexibility," she says. "It's essential to have the ability to reframe your workout in order to avoid ditching it." That quitting action is what's most detrimental because it fosters negative self-attribution, which can manifest as I'm getting fat; I'm lazy or I'm falling out of shape; I'm not in control, Chirban says. That becomes a vicious cycle. "Once you're hooked into that negative self-talk, you lose steam and motivation." Chirban recommends coming up with a lighthearted winter goal, like participating in a Chilly Cheeks or Frozen Foot-themed fun run that keeps you excited about training but takes the focus off speed and time.

    Find Your Winter Rhythm
    The seasons have a biological rhythm, so the way you run in the winter will not be the same way you run in the spring, Chirban says. "Letting ourselves back off in winter can be restoring." There is a value in slowing down, as well as in recovery. Substitute a yoga class for one of your weekly runs, or cut back your mileage and spend that extra time strengthening weak spots. There's also a benefit to embracing what makes winter unique. Immerse yourself in the season—gearing up for a run in the cold, taking on a man-versus-nature mentality can be exciting and rejuvenating, Chirban says. Or switch things up. "When you hike or snowshoe a snow-covered trail that you usually run, it brings about a fresh perspective," she says. "If you can find a way to work with winter, not against it, in your training, you're setting yourself up for a powerful start to the spring running season."

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Two Toes Way Up

    As you know by now, Sal + Liv went to see Hood to Coast last night. All I can say is... sign us up! Actually, that's not all I can say about it... I can say a lot about it...which is just what this post might turn in to... So, you've been warned.

    As a documentary goes, it was hands down the best documentary I've ever seen (even including The September Issue....which I lurved). Purely from a movie standpoint, it was the best movie I've seen in a long time. And that's saying a lot, because I just saw The Black Swan last weekend and thought it was fantastic in all of it's dark weirdness. [sidenote from Sal: Liv + I have verrrrry different taste in movies. But, I totes agree that this flick was the]

    This movie was the perfect mix of utter inspiration: both tears from sadness and tears from hysterical laughter. The filmmakers chose the four most amazing teams fathomable to feature - each fabulously different from the next in every possible way. While reflecting on the film this morning, we realized  that each of the teams had a unique sort of motto, if you will, and we think we want to adopt them all.

    Let's start with the Dead Jocks: extreme, experienced and talented runners - yet so fun and hilarious that you want to be on their team because you know it will be the best time of your life. Unfortunately, you can't be on their team because, even though they coined themselves the "dead" jocks, they run like 6:30 something miles. They drop hilarious self-deprecating one-liners throughout the entire movie and lament  the the demise of a runner's body through aging.... and all the while, I'm thinking to myself,  "will I EVER break a pace of 9:30?" Two of their team members have actually participated in the race each year since it began in 1982. The Dead Jocks taught me that if I ever do make it to a point in my life where I am an experienced runner like these guys, I hope I enjoy it as much as they do. It is evident they are extremely serious about their running, without themSELVES too seriously.

    The second team had me in stitches every time they were on the screen. Thunder and Laikaning is a group of animators (in fact, the very animators from the studio that brought us Coraline) that I can  totally identify with because they blame their lack of athleticism on their sedentary jobs.  Jason and Rachel (clearly the camera favorites of the team) don't train for the 15 to 18 miles they'll likely be running. They go on one 3 mile uphill run to determine which  is the worst and second worst on their team. To be honest....I didn't think they would be able to make it. I mean, running three 6 to 7 mile legs with zero training? I couldn't do it. But at the same time, I also wanted to be on their team. They had the attitude of, let's see if we can...why could be a totally awesome experience. I wanted to be drinking beer with them in their training planning sessions. I wanted to eat a big juicy burger with Jason at 10:30 in the morning when he still had one leg left to run. I can see myself as Rachel, cussing as she sees her teammate approaching her to pass the slap bracelet, signaling that it's time for her to run her "mountain" as she called it. And I definitely wanted to be on their team as she jumped in the van from finishing her "mountain" when you could see the runner's high on her face and even hear it in her voice as she said, "that was awesome." From Rachel we're adopting the motto of, the only experiences we'll regret, are the experiences we don't participate in.

    While all the teams were an inspiration, the remaining two were especially. heart-wrenching. Heart N Sole, another group of experienced runners, was trying to overcome a near tragedy from the previous year when one of their teammates, Kathy, collapsed at the start of her third leg when her heart stopped beating. Kathy  is a seasoned marathon runner with like 74 marathons under her belt. Not to mention her daily workout routine includes 100 push-ups and 1,000 crunches. Oh, and did we mention that she's like almost 70? Regardless, she's in great shape... and it just goes to show that being in great shape isn't everything when it comes to heart health. Anyway, Kathy made a full recovery, and her interaction with her doctor was hysterical - he must be wildly frustrated with her determination to continue to run. And not only to run, but to compete... AND to run the hardest legs of Hood to Coast. But I really admire Kathy, because she didn't want to live without running, she doesn't know a life without running. From Kathy, we adopt the motto of "some day, I'll be the runner I want to be." This motto gives us freedom to explore just exactly what that runner is. And the best thing about the sport of running, the answer is totally different for everyone - and that's perfectly okay.

    I would be shocked to find out that team R. Bowe left a dry eye in the theater. A team formed to celebrate the memory of Ryan Bowe - a son, husband and friend  (and W&L General) taken from this earth too soon at the age of 30 from a rare heart condition. My heart broke for his mother, who not once directly spoke to the camera without a tear in her eye. And I could barely stand to listen as his widow discussed the events of the early morning that she lost her husband (while she was 9 months pregnant). Team R. Bowe was running on emotion, and reminded us all that running can be such an emotional sport. We run to take out frustration when we're mad. We use our happiness and excitement as fuel. We run when we want to remember and when we want to forget. From team R. Bowe we learned that sometimes it's the unseen forces that keep you going when you think you won't make it.

    Aside from the incredible human stories, the film showcased the beautiful scenery of Oregon, the excitement of race day, a runner's spirit, and tied it all together wonderfully with an incredible score by Nathan Barr. (queue the True Blood music)

    I was even more excited when I found out on Monday night that my husband's aunt and uncle have run Hood to Coast...twice! And I can't wait to pick their brains for every detail of their experiences when they're here in April for the Cherry Blossom run.

    So run, don't your computer, to add Hood to Coast to your Netflix queue if you didn't get the chance to see it last night. I already added it to mine - along with this little documentary recommended to me by a co-worker.

    Now all that's left for us to do is build our team for next year's Hood to Coast. We've got 3 total....who else is with us? Oh - and it's a mur.thur.fur.kin lottery entry as well - so someone else is signing up our team this time.