Monday, March 9, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Celebrate good times, c’mon … and the week’s bestest finds

Great week, running-wise. So much so, that I want to find a way we can celebrate our wins, big and small. What say you? 
Maybe tweet the week's successes on Fridays. What should we call it? What hashtag should we use? Something like #rungress (running progress)?
I’m thinking along the lines of what Dave Ramsey does on his radio show each Friday, where people who’ve paid off all of their debts call in to yell “I’m debt free!”
Well, think about it and do let me know. In the meantime, here are my most-favorite, bestest finds of the week:
Running inspiration
Who can’t use some before heading out for a run? Here’s a list of 20 inspirational quotes worth a read. 
I even made one of them pretty for you, using my new-wish toy, the Word Swag app.

Cushioned shoes? Wait, what?!

Big news for The New York Times, apparently.

And runners run ... in the snow?

Thanks for pointing it out Washington Post. They even look like they’re having fun and we can’t have that.

Speaking of snow …

Adorable pandas play in it, too!

Lastly, food. Or at least food-like substances.

Shut Up and Run's Beth Risdon reviews the Clif Organic Energy Food: Pizza Margherita flavor. It sounds disgusting, but what does Beth think? Watch her video.

Spoiler alert: She doesn’t have a Puerto Rican accent like she does in my head when I read her blog. 

Have a great weekend!

Did you have any great "wins" this week? What do you use for fuel when you run? Would you try pizza-flavored fuel?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Three handy ways to display your race medals and bibs

Some run for sanity or health. Some run for the cool race T-shirts. And yet others run for the hardware.

Case in point, one of my runner friends just ran a 5K, 10K, half and full marathon in a row just to get an extra medal for completing all of them in four days.

Because I've been injured so many times, I've not run very many races in the past three years. Other than my half marathon this past fall, I've run eight (and walked one) 5Ks or marathon relays.

Even so, it warms my heart to see my race bibs (and a handful of medals) behind my computer station at work.
Anyone who's talked to me for more than five minutes knows that I'm a runner (cue the large Garmin watch and the Road ID bracelet). So it should come as no surprise that I display my race bibs. But is throwing them up on a bulletin board the right way to treat those hard-earned badges of honor?

After significant research (read: time on Pinterest), here are some ideas I'm considering instead.

This is probably my favorite because you can easily keep track of personal records or write your favorite quote. This blogger gives step-by-step directions. Unfortunately, I couldn't find her "about me" information. Oops.
For a ready-made option, this company offers frames to hold your precious.
Source: New Line Cinema
Um, not that precious. 
Lastly, here's another display worthy of holding your bibs and medals. Especially for those of us who are not remotely crafty. That's what Etsy is for, no?

Source: RunRilla
Spendy? Maybe a little but certainly worth it if it's going to motivate you to get out for a run when you'd rather stay home and eat all the donuts. Plus, where else are you going to spend your money?

Oh, wait. Because remember, chicos and chicas, runners lie.
How do you display your medals and/or bibs? Are you crafty? What's your favorite medal?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

McFarland USA? Claro que si

If you want to watch a family friendly, inspirational Disney movie, McFarland USA is it.

Make the lead Kevin Costner, and it's the guacamole to my taco salad (I would have said sour cream, but no one in my familia likes that stuff).

Oh, and there's running!

Costner plays Jim White, a football coach turned cross country coach to seven high school students who work the fields picking vegetables with their parents but who happen to have mad running skills. White and his family end up in the predominantly Latino community in California because there's just nowhere else for him to go after an incident with a student.

I was a little worried that the movie would delve into one too many stereotypes, but I was pleasantly surprised that while it did bring them up, both the boys and the Whites spend a lot of the movie learning about each other. Learning about other people's cultures and respecting them, what a concept!

With my Black Girls RUN! peeps.
White is less than perfect, which makes me like him more. Just good enough to shape up this group of boys into a championship-worthy team.

There is some formulaic fodder -- OK, a LOT of formulaic fodder -- but there's also heart. And a snapshot of what some migrant families have to do to make it in these United States. It's not always pretty.

But back to the running. The boys struggle, as new runners do. But their coach guides them, including some great scenes of football-coach White watching VHS tapes and reading books about running. Did I mention it's 1987?

Some of the landscape and scenery where the boys' races are held is cringe-worthy for runners. Hills. Mountains. More hills and mountains. 

Of course, it also made me want to get on the road. Heck, I wanted to run home from the movie theater.

Not surprisingly, Disney takes some liberties with the story. For a closer look into what really happened, read this old Sports Illustrated story.

Crazy-good, inspirational story both on and off the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and will be reading up on the real coach and his runners.

Go Cougers!

If you've seen the movie, what did you think? If not, what are you waiting for? What's your favorite running movie?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The bestest finds of the week

Without further ado, here are my most favorite finds of the week:

Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk

My music tastes typically run along the lines of Ricky Martin, Pitbull and Daddy Yankee, but I can't get enough of this song.

Source: Sony via
Tell me you can't picture yourself running with a spring in your step while listening to that song. I know, right? Go add it to your playlist. I'll wait.


In the interest of full disclosure, I happen to know Jef Mallett from when we were both toiling in the news business and I've been a Frazz fan from the beginning.

But Jef, who is a triathlete himself, nailed this one in particular. Because, you know, we runners can be a little judgy, but still funny.

How-running-changed-me stories

I can't help but stop and read these inspiring stories whenever I run across them online. It's like my very own "driveway moment."

And speaking of inspiring, this woman is 80.

Better living through chemistry

One word: Toradol. Doc gave me a shot of the stuff after the great dog incident of 2015.

Aw, thanks, Joe! I feel better already.

What did you discover this week that made your life better? Have you ever had a "driveway moment"? And what's your favorite cartoon?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The bestest finds of the week

You're busy. I'm busy. We're all busy.

So let me save you some time and compile the bestest things I've come across this week. Here we go...


We feed seven people around these parts since my kids' abuelo and abuela live with us. And I have got to have the pickiest family this side of the Mississippi. Don't believe me? Talk to the chef (the aforementioned abuela) who, bless her heart, cooks dinner for us every week day. Every. Weekday.

El husbando and I have put on a few pounds since they moved in with us about seven years ago. But I digress.

Here's my most-favorite recipe site I found this week to get rid of that "runger":

Blogger Nikki needs a huge shout-out for sharing super easy and muy bueno recipes. We made some of her recipes already this week, including Philly cheesesteak sloppy joes and slow cooker BBQ drumsticks.

Speaking of food, I found this little gem on
Source: Instagram user bgroth92

And because I like to amuse myself, I created this one:


Well color me surprised. Got to spend the day with my favorite 8-year-old at Lansing's Potter Park Zoo where I learned I wasn't the only Puerto Rican in the house.

An amphibian that was thought to be extinct -- the Puerto Rican Crested Toad -- is now being repopulated thanks in part to the zoo's efforts. Who'd have thunk?


I suspect I'm late to the party, but I'm thoroughly enjoying following @RunHaven on Twitter. Why? Because they feature bloggers like Beth Risdon who describes herself as being proud of "writing things that most people are too embarassed to discuss." She's not kidding.

If you're not easily grossed out, check out her blog -- Shut Up + Run -- while you're at it.

What were your most favorite finds this week? What's your handle on Twitter so I can follow you? I'm @gisgie. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Confessions from a new gym lover

Hi, my name is Gisgie and I, um, ahem, well, I love going to the gym.

There. I said it.

You see, it's a very recent development. I've not been a big gym fan before. Frankly, I only joined out of necessity.

We live in the Michigan tundra and it's cccccold and icy. Icy is not bueno for someone who is injury prone. Hence the gym membership for the wintry months.

Gym, how do I love thee?

1. It's ridiculously close. And it's next to the grocery store where I shop, which also just happens to have a gas station. Bonus.

2. There are treadmills there. I can run/walk on a more-giving surface and not worry about slipping on ice and cracking my skull.
Run/walk progress!
3. There are other machines. I've been using both the elliptical and stationary bike. Built-in cross training.

4. I can people watch. No matter what time I make it to the gym, there are lots of other people working out. And said people wear and do the weirdest things. Not me, of course. I'm completely normal.

5. I feel accomplished. The gym may be just a few miles away, but once I'm there, I don't think about much else. Reminds me of when I walked into the tae kwon do dojang. Nothing else existed. When I'm done, I'm sweaty, stinky and tired. And that's a good thing.

Will I join the gym year-round when my winter membership expires? Probably not. But I'm sure going to get my money's worth while I can. Because it's cheaper than therapy. Or so I hear.

Do you belong to a gym? What do you like about it? And if you don't, why not?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Eight things I'm doing to return to running

I may not be putting in a lot of miles these days, but I am working on my running. To whit:
  1. I am actually using my new gym membership. I started walking for 30 minutes each time on the treadmill about three weeks ago, then started following that up with the elliptical for just 10 minutes. This morning, I warmed up for 5 minutes, ran/walked 1:1 for 20 and cooled down for another 5 minutes. I survived and I'm not in any more pain than before. I'm also up to 20 minutes on the elliptical. Could I do more? Absolutely. Should I? There's the rub.
    I did not look this cool.
  2. On a relevant side note, I loved listening to the Serial podcast while I ran, but ended up listening to it while running errands and doing chores, so it didn't last very long. Just discovered Criminal and am thoroughly enjoying it. The podcasts really distract me and make even the dreaded treadmill tolerable.
  3. To help kick my ongoing chronic pain, I reviewed all of the piriformis syndrome information I could find on the Runner's World site again and have been doing my stretches twice a day every day.
  4. Found the lone tennis ball my favorite 100-pound dog hasn't shredded and, well, sat on it and rolled it. It's supposed to help loosen the piriformis muscle. Doing the same withe foam roller.
  5. I've been sitting on a heating pad for about 20 minutes at a time. Doc said it would help with the pain.
  6. Speaking of pain, I'm still taking Aleve and using a topical anti-inflammatory medicine called Voltaren gel. It takes the edge off.
  7. Yoga is back on the rotation at least twice a week. At 30 minutes per session, I can easily work it into my schedule. Bonus: my favorite 15-year-old sometimes joins me.
  8. On a lighter note, I dashed in and out of a new-to-me running store I spotted during a very quick lunch stop while out of town for work last week. I walked the perimeter of the store and for less than $10 scored a very thin white Oiselle running T-shirt I'm sure to appropriately stink up this spring and summer.
    Back of said T.
If you're not able to run, what are you doing to get you back on the road? If you can run, what are you doing to cross train and/or strengthen so you don't get hurt? What's your favorite running-related purchase of the past few weeks?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This chica can

OK, so that's not exactly the name of the campaign, but this Sport England campaign made this chica's day:
The women I know and love are strong, fierce, kind, active and fun. They're thin and, well, not. They're young and, um, less young. And like me, most of them jiggle, sweat and, yes, sometimes even feel foxy.

I have a very vivid memory of looking at myself in the mirror as a teenager,wishing I were thinner. Or that I didn't have a shock of curly hair. Here I was, an athletic, strong student with plenty of friends who just didn't measure up to some ideal I saw on TV and in every magazine I ran across.

Not only was I not as thin as the models. Neither was I blonde or blue eyed. And I certainly couldn't pull off the feathered-bang look.

I'm 43 now and I still feel the pull of measuring myself against the impossible ideal. (While Sofia Vergara have our accents in common, I'm no closer to measuring up now than at 15.)

Watching the Sport England spot reminded me that those women who already surround me are the ideal. Because when I'm with them I feel whole. I am enough.

Yeah, I'll keep running and hope to remain active long into my twilight years. But it's about how I feel more than about how I look. About being a good role model for my own kids in the hope they see all that they are -- and not what they're not -- when they look in the mirror.

So until my leg heals, I'll be the one walking on the treadmill at the gym.Soon, I hope to be the one out on the road running with my lips curved into a knowing smile.

Jiggle and all. Because I can.

What did you think about the spot? Am I reading too much into it? Who did you measure yourself up against as a kid? What about today?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Forgive me for I have sinned

I've apparently committed some sort of a sin that only gym snobs care about.
And I'm OK with that. I live in Michigan, after all, where the temps have been in the negative-brrrr for the past week. Oh, and I'm injured, so I get a pass on this one regardless.

I've not felt much better for the past few days, but I also know that I need to just move or I'm going to get so out of shape that I won't even be able to stay on the darn treadmill in the first place, a la Mike from Monsters, Inc.
Source:  Pixar Animation Studios
And so I joined the family-owned gym near our house where I used the elliptical for a little bit then spent half an hour enjoying this view:
I can't say that it was particularly exciting, but I was moving, got to listen to a lot of Pitbull on my Pandora and as of tonight, I don't feel any worse. I call that a win.

Since I recently listened to a piece on National Public Radio highlighting the benefits of eating avocados, I celebrated my great feat by eating a spicy Wholly Guacamole mini for lunch. Despite the article's warning to watch the calories if eating chips with the guac, I went hog wild and dipped some.

After all, I worked out today.
What was your workout today? What kind of exercise do you do when you're injured? Do you consider walking exercise, or am I delusional? 

Friday, January 9, 2015

These are a few (OK, five) of my favorite things ... about running

Running? My favorite thing!

Let me count the reasons why:

1. Other runners. I belong to two running groups and I have to say that I have yet to meet a runner I didn't immediately consider a friend.

I got to spend a bit of my evening tonight with my Black Girls Run! team mates at a local watering hole, Zoobies Old Town Tavern. Where else can you spend an hour with others talking about running, your injuries and how to best get others to, well, run with your group?
How could you not love these ladies?
2. Meeting goals. I love running, but sometimes I love reading or watching a movie or doing just about anything other than running. Having a goal race on the calendar forces me to get out there and I inherently remember why I love running so much.

I should note that I don't have a race on the calendar right now. Note to self: Get one.

3. Pushing myself. When I first started running, I just wanted to run without stopping (or feeling like I was going to die) for 30 minutes. Then I wanted to just run a 5K and so on.

Then I met my BGR! friends and they convinced me that if I could do 6 miles, I could surely do 13.1. (That's running logic right there.)

Running forces me to do things I didn't really think I could do. And that just feels darn good.
An inordinate amount of vehicles at Zoobies looked like this.
4. Getting exercise. I was kind of a jock growing up but being active as a grown-up with three kids, a real job and other responsibilities (read: making sure said children don't look like they were raised by wolves) makes it kind of hard to exercise.

Having those races on the calendar and my team mates to encourage me along the way makes it easier to get a workout in.

5. Being done with running. Sometimes, my favorite thing about running is getting done. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I come back from a run -- logging my miles on my training plan, drinking some chocolate milk and, yes, blogging about my runs.

A lot of runs are unremarkable. I go out, I run and I come home. Others are horrible; my feet feel like lead or I just can't seem to catch my breath.

But every runner has those magical runs. Where your feet feel light, your breathing is rhythmic and easy, and the music in your ears is upbeat and at just the right beat (read: Pandora played a lot of Pitbull).

Running in and of itself can be special. But I also love that it comes with so many added benefits.

What's your favorite thing about running? What makes you get out there when you really just don't feel like it? How many running-related stickers are on your car?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Warning: Injured runner

Right up until the boating incident of 2014, I was running pretty regularly again and -- while not completely healed from my pain in the butt -- I was certainly doing well enough to start half-marathon training for a late-spring event.

Right off, I was in denial about the severity of the re-injury.
Shocking, I'm sure.

But it'd been a week and the pain was still preventing me from running...or bending...or breathing...or, pretty much living my typical vida loca.

So off to my running store's free, weekly injury clinic. Playmakers has local sports medicine experts (chiropractors, osteopaths, physical therapists) available on a walk-in basis every Wednesday night.

I hobbled in, a little worried about what kind of reception I would get. I mean, I've lost count of how many health professionals I've seen about this ongoing issue. And I've had a bunch of tests tone.
But the price was right and I visited with the nicest osteopath who confirmed the pain's probably piriformis related and treated me for it. He also recommended the doctor I'm already scheduled to see toward the end of the month, calling him the best in town. Score.

Despite the most-recent pain, I've seen enough improvement in the past two days that I'm already plotting my next run.It's not yet on the calendar, but I do have hope that it will happen sometime soon.
Source: Bill Watterson

In the meantime, I made a small purchase at the running store as a token of appreciation for this wonderful resource.

Had I seen this there, I would have dropped a bit more money:
Source: AMBRO Manufacturing
All injured runners should come with some sort of warning for mere mortals who come across us, don't you think?

Does your running store have an injury clinic or other helpful resources? What's your favorite running-related T-shirt saying?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My vacation was wonderful, but also a pain in the butt

Vacations. Love 'em. I'm a big fan.

Just got to take two weeks off for the first time in, well, I can't remember ever getting two weeks off in a row since my wedding and honeymoon 21 years ago.

So el husbando, three kids, two dogs and I drove our RV to Naples, Florida, to visit family.

And it was glorious.
It was warm. It was sunny. There were palm trees on my runs! 
And water fountains. In December.
It was so nice that I easily kept up with my half-marathon training schedule, even logging my first five miler since my half marathon in September. (Still using the Galloway Method (30:30 run/walk) and feeling pretty good.)

Michigan was not welcoming at all. We got in late yesterday and woke up this morning to what they generously call a "wintry mix." Read: snow, ice and rain. Blech.

How is a chica expected to go from all that to cold, snow and ice? 

No, really. What am I supposed to do now? My idea of loading the RV back up and heading south was shot down.

Unfortunately, I can't run away. Literally or figuratively. 

Did I mention I jacked up my butt/leg again? Methinks it was a bumpy boat ride (woe is me, right?) during our Naples adventure. 
I woke up the day after with the same kind of pain I'd had for months on my butt cheek, running down my left leg. So much for my half-marathon training schedule. 

I've taken a few days off from running, am taking Aleve and using a heating pad. So far, nada. Still in enough pain that I'm not sleeping well. Ouchie.

I'm guessing I'm not going to get a whole lot of sympathy when I go back to work with a vacation-induced injury.

As for my running, I'll figure something out. There's a half marathon with my name on it as soon as it warms up in the Michigan tundra.

What's the longest vacation you've ever taken? What's your favorite vacation spot? Do you still run while on vacation?