Tag Archives: running

The Perfect Running ‘Do for Short Hair or Bothersome Bangs

I’m still in the process of growing out the dreaded pixie cut, but my hair is too long in the back for my typical long run ‘do of just pinning the bangs back.  Hair hanging on my neck = unhappy, neck-sweaty Lauren after several miles in the summer sun.

So what’s a girl to do?  I like headbands, but the little whispy pieces that fall out of them in the back drive me insane.  My bangs just need to grow out already!  In the meantime, I did what any social media addict would do.  I Googled like crazy, in search of a solution.  And lucky me… I found it!

Braided bangs!

They stayed in place for 4 miles, and let me tell you, they are not going anywhere.

The shocking part?  Before yesterday, I didn’t know how to french braid or attempt this style.  I turned to the lovely ladies of YouTube for help.  There are many, many hair tutorials that show the process, but I found these two videos to be the most helpful.

To get an idea of how to create the style:

To learn to French braid:

I did not braid the way the girl in the first video does, but used her other tips and suggestions.  I braided as is shown in the second video.  Best of all, it took less than 5 minutes and kept my hair from driving me crazy.  Success!

Spill it. Do you have a favorite running hairstyle?  Do you just throw it back in a ponytail?  Is there a hair accessory you can’t live without on your training days?



Filed under Run, Training

How I Became a Runner

Sometimes, when I take a step back, past-Lauren hardly recognizes the person I am now.  When I really think about it, I’m still somewhat alarmed by the way I feel about running.

Just now, I was thinking about how excited I am to try my first run back (maybe a mile or two) tonight.  And I remember that ten years ago, you couldn’t have paid me to run two miles.  And here I am with four marathons under my belt, itching to get back to training after some health-mandated time off.

How did I get here?  Let’s go back.

My first athletic endeavor was Mansfield Youth Soccer when I was just six years old.  I played soccer for the three years we lived in Massachusetts — kindergarten, first, and second grade.  Honestly, I was no good.  Even for a little kid.  My mom used to put big clippy bows in my hair and I’d get them stuck in the net when I played goalie.  Mostly, I liked snacktime and playing with the other kids.

Thirsty little soccer player.

I love that photo of me playing soccer because I can pretend I was this intense little kid, watching the game, dying to get back in.  That’s not true for one second.

When we moved from Massachusetts to Illinois, there was no more co-ed soccer for little kids.  I told my parents I thought it was stupid that I’d have to play with all girls and promptly decided to quit.  (I make good choices.)  I took dance class, and I suffered through gym.  That was about it.

When I was in high school, my dad and aunt started running marathons for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.  I thought they were incredible, and I loved cheering them on at the races.  Spectating at marathons was exciting and fun.  I was in awe of everyone running.  I was also convinced that they were all super-human and I could never be like them.

Go Dad!

I was still getting pep-talks from my dad to survive the mile run in gym class.

In college, I’d occasionally sign up for a 5k and just hobble my way through it pathetically.  I didn’t train at all, which made running 3.1 miles kind of a nightmare for the girl who never worked out.

And then Goose’s brother ran the 2006 Chicago Marathon.

Since I hadn’t grown up idolizing him as I had my dad, I couldn’t make excuses anymore.  If Nick could do it, so could I.  On that day, I decided I was going to run the 2007 Chicago Marathon.

I ran for a few months without telling anyone, and when I was sure I could do it, I told my parents.  They took me shopping for my first real pair of running shoes, and the rest is history.  I joined Team in Training.  Goose and I did my first “I’m a serious runner now” race, the 2007 Shamrock Shuffle.

Little by little, I accumulated all those races you see on the tab above.

Now, running is just something I do.  It’s something I miss when I can’t do it, and something I do for me.  For fun.  But every once in a while, it’s nice to look around and realize how far I’ve come.

What’s your running story?  How did you get to where you are today?  Were you always a runner, or did something inspire you to become one?


Filed under Run

Sharing Hobbies (Or Not)

Goose loves soccer.  He played it, he coaches it, and he can be heard screaming at the television many Saturday mornings while watching European League Soccer.

On our trip to Boston last summer, he headed to a pub in Cambridge to watch one of the World Cup games, and he was in Heaven.  He loves the songs, the chants, and the culture.

Me?  Well, sometimes I try.  I understand that the basic idea behind soccer is to kick the ball into the opponent’s net and that you can’t use your hands.  That is about as far as it goes.  When Goose tries to excitedly share a play-by-play of an intense game, my eyes glaze over and I’m completely lost.  In fact, at times, I’ve even said, “Sweetie, if you just want to tell me this because you want to say it, I’m happy to listen.  But please know I do not understand a word of it.”  (He usually keeps right on talking.)

When people find out that I love triathlon, I frequently get asked, “Does your husband do all that stuff too?”  No, he doesn’t.  To be fair, he understands a great deal more about triathlon than I do about soccer, but it isn’t a top priority for him to understand how to sight in open water swimming, what stretches I need to do after a long run, or how to make sure I have the proper nutrition for a long bike.  He is, however, very good at cheering for me and wearing super supportive t-shirts.

Goose and I have many things in common, but I love that we have some very different interests, too.  He has taught me about history and politics, and I actually watch several political commentary shows with him now!  I love being informed about what’s going on in our country, and I’m glad that I learned that from him.

On many recent evenings, the History Channel’s How the States Got Their Shapes has been on in my house.  It is fascinating!  We’ve been learning all about why the US map looks the way it does, and let me tell you, it’s not as simple as you might think.  Landforms, railroads, politics, and more went into making our states look the way they do today.  (We DVR the shows and watch them later, but it airs on Tuesdays at 10/9 central.)

Without Goose, I would have never thought to flip on the docu-series.

He supports the things I love, and I support his passions — even the ones I don’t understand.  Those differences give us things to talk about and help us discover new things we’ll enjoy together.

What new interests have you acquired from a friend or loved one?


Filed under Life

Is a Running Buddy Right For You?

Since I started running consistently in 2006, I’ve run on my own, with a team, and with friends.  I find that certain goals, moods, and types of runs lend themselves better to running with a friend, while others are better suited to solo runs.

When to Run With a Buddy

  • For long runs.  Running with a friend can make the miles tick by more quickly.  It also helps you keep long run pace, which experts say should be “conversational.”  Conversational pace means just what it sounds like — you should be able to have a conversation while you run.  In other words, no huffing and puffing and going all out.  When you’re chatting with a buddy, you automatically revert to conversational pace so you can chat!
  • When you and your buddy have a shared goal.  Maybe you and a friend have the same goal race, or you both are working towards a 5k PR.  If you run at similar paces, why not meet for a workout once in a while?  Meeting someone else will hold you accountable as you work toward the goal together.  (If you’re not at a similar pace, there’s no reason you can’t meet up and do your own thing when you arrive at your workout location!  You can chat over water and healthy snacks afterwards, and they still provide extra incentive for you to get there.)
  • Easy run days provide a great opportunity to run with a friend who is a little slower than you, while hard workouts might be a chance to run with a speedy friend.
  • Run with a buddy when you’re afraid you’ll skip your workout.  When you plan to meet a friend for a run, it’s a lot harder to find excuses not to do it.  Like I’ve said before, a little bit of guilt can always get you going!
When to Run Alone
  • You have a lot on your mind.  Running can be a chance to clear your mind and sort out things that have been bothering you.  Everything becomes a lot clearer after a good run.
  • When you want to see what you’re made of.  If the point of your workout is to push past your own limits and see what you can accomplish, run alone.  A buddy could hold you back or make it easy to go too hard, too soon.
  • If you’re training for a race that you’ll run alone, make sure at least some of your long runs are solo.  It can be a big adjustment to run alone when you’re used to having someone there to talk sense into you and encourage you when it gets tough.
Do you run with a buddy or do you prefer to run alone?  

Leave a comment

Filed under Run, Training

I Love the Chicago Marathon

As a teenager, I liked to spectate at the Chicago Marathon while my dad was running.  Along with cheering for my dad and the other Team in Training members, I liked to shout things like, “Go shirtless guy!” “Go girl in the blue hat!”  And cheer for anyone with their name on their shirt.  I loved the energy and excitement of race day.  The whole city of Chicago feels different that day.  It’s an energy and a feeling I really can’t put into words.

In 2006, after watching my brother-in-law run his first (and maybe only) marathon, I finally decided it was something I could do.  So in 2007, I laced up my sneakers for my first Chicago Marathon.  And then it was ridiculously hot and they cancelled the race… so I didn’t finish it.  I had already been planning on the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco in 2008, so I stuck with that plan.  In 2009, I came back to Chicago and I fell in love.  It was hot, and I struggled.  But I had a new friend beside me every step of the way and I was so happy to “finish” a journey that felt like it was three years in the making.

Finally, last year, I ran my best ever marathon in Chicago on 10.10.10.  It was hot.  But not as hot as 2007, and that thought kept me going.  I smiled for every single step of that race through a city that I love.

My friend sent me this video recap of last year’s Chicago Marathon a few weeks ago.  (I can’t embed it here, but click the link, it’s worth it.)

I cried.  Then I checked the final date to get a charity entry to the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  There’s still time.

My focus is 70.3 this year, and I have been swearing up and down for over a year that I would not be doing the marathon this year.  I know myself well, and I know that after a Half Ironman, I will feel very entitled to sit on the couch in my pajamas all weekend long, never even thinking about a long run for quite some time.  I am not one of those people who gets all jumpy when they don’t have a lot of training.  I go out on short, leisurely runs with my favorite people, take classes at Lifetime, and fill the rest of my training hours with things I didn’t have time to do while I was training.

There is no way I’d put in the time or effort necessary to have a great race like I did last year.

I fully plan on spending the wee morning hours volunteering (to get the sweet jacket, of course), and then running around the course to see my friend complete her first marathon.  I plan to be there at the hardest miles to help her find the strength to keep going.

And yet… something in me still wants to sign up.

Somebody please keep me away from the registration page until June 30.


Want to read about my previous marathons?  (I mean, it’s rainy out again, so you might have exhausted all the other things you want to do.)  I have been pretty fickle about where I blog until recently, so my race reports are all over the interwebs.  Lucky for you, I tracked them down:


Filed under Run

I’m in love.

I started running three years ago.  When people asked, I’d tell them that I didn’t really like running, but I loved the way I felt when I was finished.

This weekend, I realized that’s not true anymore.  I’m actually in love with running.  On Sunday night, I laced up my shoes to head out for a run.  I told Jon, “I’ll be back in an hour.  Or more.  Or less.  I don’t really know how far I’m running, but I have my cell phone if you’re worried.”  And then I just went out and ran until I felt like turning around.  That’s it.  No science, no strategy, no intervals set on my watch.  I did run with my iPod for the first time in a long time, because I wanted some tunes.  I did wear my running watch, but only so I knew how far I’d run when it was over.

It took almost no time for me to zone out, find my happy pace, and relax.  Apparently I turned around at about 3.2 miles, because Garmin said 6.4 miles when I got back to my house.  It took me about 1:15, which is shockingly an 11:43 pace, and pretty darn close to my 10k PR.  Could Barb be right?  Have I been selling myself short?

This morning, I realized I may also be falling in love with fitness.  Alarm set for 4:50, I rolled out of bed at 5:00 to make it to a 5:30 am spin class.  It was awesome to start my day knowing that my workout was already complete, and I’d have time to come home and cook a nice dinner.  I think I may make Tuesdays and Thursdays my 5:30 spin days from now on.  I’m shocked that I not only got up on time, but loved it.  (Oops.  Am I cheating on my love, running, with a new love, early workout?)

It’s official, folks.  I’m smitten.


Filed under Run