Friday, December 11, 2015

Running survey

Happy Friday!

The sun is shining, I'm going to a Blackhawks game this weekend, and we brought in doughnuts for team breakfast this morning. What a time to be alive!

I have been seeing another running questionnaire currently making its waves throughout the blogosphere. These are always fun to answer and share! Here are my responses:

1. Would you rather run along a beach path or a mountain trail?
Beach for sure. My flatlander-ness gets more and more ridiculous with every passing year. I like to keep the horizon simple.

2. If you could choose the flavor of Gatorade at your next race's aid stations, what would it be?
Unless the race is serving Powerade instead of Gatorade, it seems like the default flavor is always lemon-lime, yes? My favorite flavor is fruit punch. I don't think I've EVER seen it at an aid station, but I do try to grab it when it's handed out post-race.

3. If you received a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing you would purchase with it?
Those who know me well would probably guess I'd say running shoes. A year ago, shoes would been my answer with no hesitation. However, at this very moment, my closet runneth over with running shoes.

I know, I know, what has happened to me?

Right now, I would love to get one of those super-reflective running jackets. Something like this:

Reality check: Sadly, most of these jackets cost way more than $100. But you get the idea.

4. Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and fast you want to run?
When it comes to long runs, I prefer to follow a plan to a certain extent. I believe long runs should be minimally messed with. (Notice I didn't specify the duration of the training plan. Cue the 4-week half-marathon crash plan which I have used way too frequently.)

For the shorter, mid-week runs, I like to be more spontaneous. I believe it's important to keep running fun. Going with the flow makes it feel less like it's something I'm doing out of obligation.

5. Would you rather start your run on the uphill and end with the downhill, or start with the downhill and end with the uphill?
How about "C - None of the Above"? I'd rather start on the flatland and end on the flatland. In case anyone missed it the first time, please allow me to reiterate:

If I HAD to pick between the two, I'd rather start on the uphill and end with the downhill. Let's get the hard part out of the way first when my legs and lungs are relatively fresh.

6. When you can't run, what kind of cross-training do you choose to do?
I try to mix things up as much as possible, but my first go-to is the stationary bike. I also love Zumba, yoga, weight-lifting, and barre. If I get access to a pool, swimming is fantastic.

7. What is your preference - out and back, point to point, or loop runs?
In order of preference: loops, out and back, and point to point. Loops are great because you get an ever-changing mix of scenery. Out and back is nice because you can really gauge how far you've come and how much distance you have remaining. Plus, out and backs at races are fun because you get to see so many of your fellow runners. While I do enjoy the mix of scenery at point to points, the logistics can get difficult at races (e.g. moving gear check, shuttle buses, parking lots, etc.)

Regardless of course type...

8. If you could recommend ANY running-related item to a new runner, it would be:
Get fitted for the right fit and type of running shoes. It can make a world of difference in terms of comfort, stability, and injury prevention.

9. Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs?
Living in the city of Chicago, usually all I ever see are lakefront waterfowl (geese, ducks, seagulls), other urban birds (e.g., pigeons) and squirrels.

NOTE: The geese and pigeons can actually be pretty aggressive! Not sure if that fits into the description of "wild"???

10. Ever gotten lost while out on a run?
Once I was in Atlanta on business and decided to go for an early-morning run before the sun rose. I didn't have any familiarity with my surroundings. (This was back in the days before we had smartphones or GPS watches.) I knew I was in trouble when I saw a "Welcome to Smyrna" sign. Yikes!

11. If you could have one meal ready and waiting for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days, what would it be?
This question assumes calories are no object, right? Definitely Chicago-style deep dish spinach and mushroom pizza.

12. Capris or shorts - what do you run in most often?
I like capris. I have trouble with my shorts creating wedgies, riding up, or chafing my thighs. Blech.

13. At what mile or how many minutes into your run does your body start to feel like it's warmed up and ready to go?
I think there's a difference between getting warmed up and finding your groove. It takes me 10-15 minutes to warm up, and 3-4 miles to get into my groove.

14. What do you do with your keys when you run?
If I'm not wearing a running belt, I'll carry them in my hand. If I'm wearing a running belt, I'll zip them inside. If I only have a single key to carry, sometimes I'll tie it to my shoelace.

15. If you could relive any race you've done in the past, which would it be?
The 2013 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon (read my recaps here and here.) Best race experience and post-race party, EVER.
Aloha with Lilo and Stitch!

Your turn! I'd love to hear any or all of your responses to any or all of these questions!


  1. I'd pick mountain trail over the beach :) But I think I just like mountains better.

    I'm with you on getting the hard part out of the way first - I think that's why Mount Roosevelt at the end of so many city races bugged me!

    Just the other day I saw 5 or 6 deer hanging out while I was walking, and T and I have seen what is probably a coyote on walks. A little different than the urban wildlife I was used to! :)

    1. Mountain trails, eh? Go Anne!

      Mount Roosevelt, simply because of its location in so many races, can seem like Mount Everest!!!

      That's nice to have seen deer and a coyote out on your walks! I don't think any of them would dare step foot anywhere near the city, LOL. The forest preserves near you are perfect for them, though! Very peaceful.

  2. I must be a weirdo Chicagoan because I don't mind hills. I mean, they're not easy but I don't hate them like you do :-) Plus, running on sand is HARD. So, if the path is next to the beach but not on the sand that would be fine. Although, if it's a mountain trail that also overlooks a beach that would be perfect!

    I need to hear more about this story of the time you went running in Atlanta and ended up somewhere else. On one of my first runs when we moved to Forest Park I got lost and had to stop and walk for awhile until I figured out where I was. I also used to see deer on the Salt Creek trail. I've seen coyotes in the city but not while running.

    And I think either a burger or pancakes would be my post-run meal of choice. In fact, after the half marathon tomorrow my goal is to try and eat the one-pound burger at Bub's in Carmel because my MIL dared me. I figured a Chipotle burrito probably weighs at least a pound and I can demolish one of those even without running 13.1 miles. I should be good, right?

    1. You need to start hanging out with my Pittsburgh friends who literally laugh anytime I complain about "inclines." They are not joking, either - the hills in Pittsburgh literally make me nauseous. I thought about the composition of the path next to the beach! Sand is AWFUL to run in, you are right. So I kind of assumed a paved path like the LFT. A mountain trail overlooking a beach would be beautiful, indeed.

      I was working in the northern part of Atlanta and Smyrna is a northern suburb of Atlanta - so the reality is not as dramatic as it might sound. It'd be like running in Rogers Park and then seeing a sign saying "Welcome to Evanston." Isn't getting lost jarring, though? I've never been on the Salt Creek trail! Where in the city have you seen coyotes!?!?!?

      Ahhhh, burgers and pancakes are both awesome choices for post-race. Oh wow on your MIL daring you to take on a food challenge. Does she know how much most of us runners can pack it down after a race!?!?!? You've TOTALLY got this!!! Did you make a wager? =D

    2. I saw a coyote near Halsted/Division/Kingsbury driving home from Road Runner Sports one night. Crazy, right?

      In the spring if you get your running mojo back we should take a trip out to Brookfield and run at least part of the Salt Creek trail. It's so peaceful. Like running in a Lake County forest preserve but paved!

      We did not wager on my ability to eat the burger. Maybe I should have....

    3. Holy cow, that is one of the last places I'd ever imagine seeing a coyote. That is smack dab in the middle of the urban desert! Wonder how that coyote got all the way there?

      That sounds wonderful to take a trip to Brookfield and run the Salt Creek Trail! Would love to do that! Also - have you run the 606 yet? Let's add that to the list of places to run together!

      It's not too late to place your wager!!! ;P

  3. I'd count geese. They are vicious, and my mom and I got hissed at by one once. I think it was the appointed lookout because the flock wasn't too far away.

    1. Ah yes - I've been hissed at many a goose who was guarding the flock! They definitely communicate not to mess with them! Or their droppings along the sidewalks or paths!

  4. I'm laughing because I'm thinking of the way I groaned on the lamest, tiniest little slope today. Hills = no bueno. I'm also right there with you on that deep dish. Spinach + mushroom = heaven!

    1. Us Midwesterners are not conditioned for slopes in any sense of the word! Too bad more races don't serve deep dish pizza at the finish line, yes?

  5. I wish aid stations would hand out Nuun instead of gateroade. Having lived at the beach for a few yrs, I miss running there, so peaceful!Love the pick of the squirrel...too funny!

    1. Oooooh, what a great idea! I wonder if Nuun ever sponsored a race, perhaps they would do that? I am envious that you lived at the beach for a few years. That must have been so heavenly! The squirrel picture makes me giggle, too!

  6. I think that squirrel lives in my back yard. I love the beach. But having run quite a few races there, I'm going to pass. They are typically too warm and humid. I'd pick the mountains for the cooler air, but only in the downhill direction.

    1. LOLOLOL on the infamous squirrel. You bring up a good point - I should rephrase that I'd prefer the beach in comfortable humidity. If not, then I'd pick mountains in downhill only, too!!! I'd use a vehicle of some sort to get myself to the top and then just coast down!

  7. LOL, YES - it's a good way to describe the change in thought process around Mile 3. If you do hear of a gradual downhill race, please let me know. You are right, the steep downhill races are so hard on the knees and joints - but a 1% decline would be nice! Yikes on getting turned around on a trail run. I am glad you were able to work your way out, eventually. Being lost on a trail could be really scary!