For a person who’s not run very many races, I sure have enough of a collection of race shirts that I can wear a fresh one every day without repeats for a couple of weeks.

I have long-sleeve shirts, women’s fit shirts, tech shirts, cotton shirts and men’s size small shirts. I even have enough colors to match most any Skirt Sports skirt (a huge priority, if I’m being honest).

race memorabiliaToday’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is race memorabilia and it’s made me take stock of what things I keep to commemorate and remember my races. If you’re not familiar, Tuesdays on the Run is a weekly link-up with hosts runner bloggers MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice.

Although I do value and thoroughly enjoy a good-quality, tech shirt from my races, it’s really the race bib and medal that mean the most to me. I’ve actually kept all of mine, and this not-crafty chica even created a race medal and bib display so I can enjoy them in my office. I got ideas from the usual trusty source, Pinterest, but settled on the one I thought I could most-easily execute.

My crafty skills showcased in this race medal and bib display.

My crafty skills showcased in this race medal and bib display.

After each race, I’ve written in my time, just so that I can keep track of my progress. It’s rewarding to look back and see progress, however incremental.

I’ve only gotten an item that wasn’t a race shirt or medal at two races. One was a highlighter-yellow drawstring bag that I use for my running shoes when I pack my running gym bag; the other is my all-time favorite: jewelry. I got a really nice sterling silver race charm that I wear on a simple silver chain.

I got this sterling silver charm at the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon.

I got this sterling silver charm at the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon.

Talk about race swag! I would very much like to see more items like this one at other events. I know that some race series offer belt buckles, but I can’t imagine sporting that very often much like I don’t walk around with my race medals around my neck.

Overall, I keep signing up for races for the feeling of accomplishment, not specifically what I get at packet pick-up. That said, the items serve to extend that warm feeling for many years beyond race day.

How about you: what are some of your favorite items you’ve gotten at a race? If you’ve earned a race-related belt buckle, do you wear it? Feel free to share your blog post links below if you’re participating in the link-up.

Whether you’re a new or, ahem, more-experienced runner, there are few things more important to your success than the right running partner. But what makes a person good running-buddy material?

good running-buddy traitsHere are five traits that will make you a good running buddy:

  1. They listen. Whether you’re having a crappy day or celebrating a recent accomplishment, a good running buddy listens. Just like with any relationship, it’s a good sign when both of you can take turns talking about what’s going on in your life. Bonus points for a running partner who knows when to be quiet and when to provide solutions or feedback. Extra bonus points for knowing that what’s said on the run stays on the pavement.
  2. They share. I’m not talking about sharing running gear, but about sharing their experience. Some of my most-memorable runs were those times when a very-experienced runner shared some nuggets about training that helped me overcome an issue or that helped me prepare for a challenge. Bonus points for a buddy who also brings extra fuel to share on long runs.
  3. They pace. Some of my favorite running partners can hit a 12-minute-per-mile pace for 13.1 miles without even looking at their watch. I call a couple of them my personal pacers. Some are particularly good at slowing us down when we get to talking and speed up too much on long-run day and risk burning out too early. Bonus points for being a buddy who knows when to help you adjust your pace, whether that’s slowing down or doing some speed work.
  4. They’re consistent. As I’ve said before, I have the best running friends. These particular running friends will get up to run at 5:15 a.m. on a regular basis to help each other stick with our training plans. And since consistency is one of the most important aspects of my training, I appreciate that my running buddies support my running goals. Bonus points for running partners who run with you in inclement weather.
  5. They’re encouraging. The best running partners are the most supportive, whether they’re there in person or not. Some of my favorite running buddies spend inordinate amounts of time chatting with me online, answering questions, helping me anticipate potential problems and find solutions. Bonus points for not killing me in the process (even though I know you want to).

I’m not following the day’s theme for Tuesdays on the Run, the weekly link-up with hosts runner bloggers MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice, but I am linking up. Do go check out their posts and make sure to comment below.

What makes for the best running buddies? Are you fortunate enough to have some in your life? Feel free to share your blog post if you’ve written about this topic.

This week’s dinner menu

by lachicaruns on

I should have been born a woman of leisure. I uncharacteristically took two days of vacation this week with absolutely no plans — and it was glorious.

I ran, yes, and did my stretching and some core work, but I also went fishing with el husbando, painted our garage doors, ran a gazillion errands, cleaned out my closet and baked yummy treats. All that and I still have the weekend to enjoy. Winning!

Lake Ovid

Lake Ovid

Tomorrow should have been my 26 mile training run — the 50K plan‘s longest — before taper, but I’m delaying that until next week. I’m running up to 18 tomorrow with my friend, Vicki, and running the 26 next week when a bunch of friends and I are doing the Lake Lansing Team Marathon and running all the loops. The event is a favorite and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the Black Girls RUN! ladies and, yes, eating a ton of food.

lachica team picture

Last year’s Lake Lansing Team Marathon shenanigans.

I’m amazed that I’ve spent most of the summer training for what may be my first (and only) ultra marathon, with taper just a week away. Tick. Tock. Wowza. Taper for my first half and first full drove me a little loopy, but I think I’ll be just fine this time around because I’m more experienced and because this go-round has been so long and has had me running so very many miles. I’ll check in and will let you know if I’m faring.

In the meantime, here’s a week’s worth of meals so you have more time to run. And this is how I plan my meals in the first place.

MENU IDEAS vegetables for Pinterest
  • Zesty Italian chicken and spaghetti with a green salad and garlic bread
  • Spaghetti and (precooked) meatballs, rolls. I particularly like this Weight Watchers Favorite Tomato Sauce
  • Ground beef tacos, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and guacamole
  • Stuffed manicotti (beef, cheese and red sauce), salad, rolls
  • Turkey panini (on the George Foreman grill), chips, fruit

What’s on your training plan this week? Have you found any new recipes? Feel free to share your blog post if you’ve written about this topic before.

gym bag running necessitiesEver try to run without your running shoes? Or without socks? How about with no sports bra?

Unfortunately, those are three essential things that I have forgotten when packing a bag for a post-work run. #fail

Let’s just say that I once found myself shopping for socks at a local Sears and only finding “athletic socks” that made my feet sweat and stink. Blech.

In the spirit of helping you avoid a similar horrible fate, here’s a checklist of running necessities you should include in your workout or gym bag (think head and shoulders, knees and toes):

  • Head: Hat, visor, headband, ponytail holder, bobby pins, and/or a brush or comb. Think, too, of headphones, sunglasses, a headlamp and ChapStick.
  • Shoulders: Sports bra, shirt (singlet, tank, T-shirt or long-sleeve tech shirt), a jacket if you need it, gloves in the winter, plus hand warmers, running watch/GPS tracker, RoadID and heart-rate monitor. If you wear one, remember your hydration vest, hand-held bottle or water belt/luggage. You may want to bring your cell phone, so make sure it’s charged, or grab an external charger (don’t forget your cord!).
  • Knees: Thinking above-the-knees here, technically. Wicking underwear, running shorts/skirt/tights/capris.
  • Toes: Socks, running shoes, orthotic inserts, Band-Aids or any tape you may use between or under toes to avoid chaffing.
  • Bonus: Deodorant and other toiletries if you plan to shower afterward, baby wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, dry shampoo, towel, clean clothes and a snack.

Feel free to add or remove things from the list, but do take a moment to make sure you have everything you need when packing your running or gym bag. Doing so will help ensure you have one less reason or excuse to skip a training day. And if you do end up forgetting, chalk it up as a rest day and try again after checking the list.

Running or race-day mishaps is the theme of today’s Tuesdays on the Run, the weekly link-up with hosts runner bloggers MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice. Hope you spend a few minutes checking out all of the other bloggers’ posts and/or sharing your own.

Would you add to the list of necessities for a gym or workout bag? How do you make sure you have everything you need?

“Runger” continues to plague this chica as my mileage groweth. We were on vacation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last week where I got to run to one of my favorite lakes, Perch Lake, north of the great metropolis of Newberry in a small town called Deer Park.

Perch Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Perch Lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The view was so nice, I did it twice, for a total of 18 miles. The training plan called for 24, but I just couldn’t fit it in between the eating, sightseeing and spending time with my brother, who was visiting from Puerto Rico.

I saw a moose on the way to Perch Lake.

I saw a moose on the way to Perch Lake.

I did a couple of other uneventful hour-long runs, finally wrapping up my vacay with enough miles so that I was on track with my plan.

It felt good to head home after such a fun vacation.

It felt good to head home after such a fun vacation.

Speaking of all of the eating we did, here’s this week’s plan so you have more time to run, or whatever. And if you want to make your own, here’s how I do it. You can find a few more plans here, here and here.

How was your week? How do you squeeze running time in when you’re on vacation? Feel free to share your blog post if you’ve written about this before.