Running. Love it, hate it, tolerate it? It can be an acquired taste, for sure. It’s also dynamite exercise that you can do pretty much anywhere. I run, but I’m not a serious runner. I’m not signing up for races on the regular. But I know someone who is— ok, fine, she’s my identical twin. So, I thought I (and you) could get some inspiration and information from Amy, aka the yamster.
z: When did you run your first race?
y: It was the San Jose Turkey Trot in my 3L year — so, November 2011.
The traffic was terrible and I was so worried that we were going to miss the start. We made it… but the race ended up being mediocre. They were totally unprepared for the number of people they had registered, and there was a bottleneck at the finish line. They improved it a lot the next year (when you were there!)
z: What’s your favorite distance?
y: I think I like the half marathon best, because it requires a significant training commitment, but it doesn’t kill you with joint-pounding or take up all your free time.
z: What did you learn from working with a coach?
y: The two things that have stuck with me the most were that it’s important to pay attention to the strength of all the supporting muscles (for running, abs and glutes in particular), and that I wasn’t eating enough protein during heavy training phases — which was making me feel more tired.
z: What do you love about running?
y: I love that you need almost nothing to do it — just bring your sneakers and you can run pretty much anywhere. Of course, you can add gadgets galore, but they aren’t necessary. It’s cheap. It’s basic. It’s sort of elemental.
I also like that you can do it at various levels of intensity. I can run at a leisurely pace, along a flat dirt road, listening to This American Life, or I can go all out at the track.
z: What do you hate about running?
y: Sometimes it can get monotonous, especially neighborhood running, where I just have the same places to run every day. And if something is a little out of whack, it can get painful. Oh, and sometimes it does sort of nasty things to your feet.
z: What are your ideal pre and post run foods?
y: Pre-run I almost never eat much of anything other than a banana. If it’s a really long run I might have some peanut butter, too. Post-run… if it’s a long run (like 10+ miles) I pretty much get through it by thinking about the sandwich I am going to eat later. I love me a good turkey sandwich. Immediately post-run I often don’t feel very hungry but will try to eat a little something. I’ve heard chocolate milk is a good one but I don’t really have a routine on that.
z: Do you ever fuel mid-run?
y: Again, I do on the longer runs — generally if I’m going to run 90 minutes or more I’ll re-fuel around the one-hour mark. I’m pretty strongly anti-fake-fruit flavor, so I’ve been rocking the mocha flavored clif shot, which also has a hit of caffeine in it. On this last race I ended up without one and had to take what they had at the aid station… raspberry… that nearly came back up!
z: What’s your favorite gear/kicks?
y: I’ve gone through lots of phases on this… I wore some very lightweight shoes for a while, and I also liked wearing Newtons. Right now I’m wearing Asics Nimbus 15 (I think?) for regular training on roads, Izumi trail shoes, and then I have a pair of Asics racing shoes too, which I use for the track and would wear in races generally, though I wore the trainers in the last race. I just wanted the cushion.
I’m also pretty devoted to my GPS watch. If I’m training it’s very helpful for pacing, and it’s also super-fun to track my runs on the website. I use a Garmin Forerunner 110. I also have the heartrate monitor but I don’t use it much. Maybe in future.
z: Do you read anything about running? Book, mag, blog?
y: read Runner’s World. I also have a copy of George Sheehan’s Running and Being by my bed, and I pick it up sometimes for a little hit of inspiration.
z: Can you tell us a good running story?
y: Here are a few — take your pick.
2012 Bay to Breakers, I’m running in my bright pink wig and huge purple sunglasses. This is a 12K, and there’s a pretty intense hill (Hayes Street) in the middle. I got maybe 3/4 of the way up and was absolutely certain in that moment that my two choices were walk, or puke. I decided to walk — something I’d never done in a race before. And you know what? No alarms went off. Nobody pointed or laughed or even noticed.
Run to the Pub in Bozeman this year, a 10K, a group of young, fast guys were ahead of me. This is a race where people where St. Patrick’s Day-type costumes — and one of these guys was wearing a green tutu. It seemed to be bothering him rather a lot, so he stopped, pulled it off, and put it on his head. Underneath all he had on was a thong. So… heLLO! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep up with them or not!
September, 2013, I was trail running with Robin, and we were coming down toward the end of our run (we’d had a bit of a climb, so there was a longish downhill) and all of a sudden I was… not standing up anymore. I looked down and my knee was pretty gnarly… I won’t get too graphic here. Luckily we were fairly close to the road, so Robin helped me hobble down (headbands make fairly decent makeshift bandages) and then she ran back for the car and we went to urgent care… 14 stitches! Everyone was worried that I’d be off trail running for life, since it was a fairly recent activity for me (compared to road running). I haven’t given it up — I actually ran a 12K trail race this spring, in the same area — but I still think I prefer the road, where you have to concentrate less on where you’re putting your feet. [ed: I received some pretty gnarly pictures via text message that day. . . i guess that’s what you get when you work in healthcare!].
z: my turn! I fell running one day– totally ate it. I captured a little bit of the carnage here:
I shared this beauty with the yamster, and turns out she took the EXACT SAME FALL two days before. twins. gotta love ’em!