When I have money someday, I will subscribe to Runner’s World magazine. Until then, I shall continue to frequent their website daily. They always have some new advice on what to run, when to run, how to run, what to eat, when to eat, how to eat- you get the picture. The other morning I awoke to my daily RW email. This particular morning it was about “runner’s knee.” I’ve been having some knee pain lately (I am blaming it all on the hills), and so I clicked through the link. I ended up watching a video by a doctor who explained a few different types of knee pains and their subsequent remedies/prevention. Apparently, I just need a stronger butt. Now, based on my boyfriend’s compliments of how good my butt looks “in those jeans,” I figured I was doing just fine in that department. But I guess having a nice butt doesn’t always equal a strong butt. So here we go.

Plyometric jump squats. Dr. Jordan Metzl’s if-you-only-give-me-one-thing-just-do-this exercise of choice. These advanced squats help strengthen all sorts of stuff – quads, glutes, hamstrings. They are also a great tool to help with your speed – the explosiveness of the action promotes strength and power. Very helpful for us runners.

Megan, our workout model of the day, looks comfortable enough doing these frog leaps. Oh, easy, piece of cake, I thought. I got this!

Alright, here we go! ooh, this is fun. I feel like I’m 5. Jumping! I’m jumping! Strong butt! Ok 7, 8, 9, oh, 10, I’m slowing down, 11, strong butt? why do I need a strong butt? 13, haha..this is..uh, haha, 14, aaand what? 15. kind of. sure, that counts as a whole one. oh. I’m not done?  You want 6 sets of 15? Doc. Seriously? I am not Iron Man. THIS IS REALLY HARD!

I found that each time I started a new set I’d get through about 8 or so with no problem and then all of a sudden I just could not launch myself up anymore. And I would start to laugh. Watching your body just tire out in front of your eyes is often upsetting, but sometimes it’s just funny. Needless to say I made it through 4 sets. …with ample rest time in between. And by 4 sets I mean when I got to number 15 I just sat down. Did I mention this was 2 days ago and my quads are still sore as a mofo?? I went down a flight of stairs today and chuckled to myself. I can’t remember the last time I was this sore. If you are interested in putting yourself through this type of torture, check out the full workout here (jump squats are 2nd video in). If you are already a pro at these, well, I admire your tenacity and am jealous of your butt.

Someday I will smile this big when I am squatting.


Dr. Hydration or: How I Learned To Stop Being “Tough” And Love Water

I don’t drink on my runs. I don’t have a fancy running belt with 72 loops and straps to hold gallons of water. The fact that during a 10k race I look forward to the 1 or 2 ounces of water that make it into my mouth (I have yet to figure out how to successfully drink from a dixie cup while running) never seemed to resonate with me when it came to my daily runs. Sure, I am running much harder during a race and may not necessarily need hydration mid-6 miler here at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. I should have taken a cue from the evening headaches I would get after longer jogs. No matter how much water and gatorade I would drink after the fact, the pain was inevitable. “Wahhh my head hurtsssss!!!” I would whine, knowing exactly the cause. Did that change anything when it came to my next long run? Nope! I can handle it! Nope. I can’t.

Then came the attempt to run my longest run yet up here at altitude. I remembered how damn thirsty I was during my 10-miler the week before. It had been a hot day, I was dumb and decided to run in the mid-day heat. All I could think about was water. I was hallucinating huge pools. Running around the lake was absolute torture. I wanted to dive in and drink it dry. Upon the completion of my run I ran into McDonald’s and asked for a cup of water. I was presented with a cup that held approximately as much as those race-day dixies. I asked for a second cup. I stood at the drink dispenser, double-fisting these baby cups, guzzling water like a madwoman. This is terrible, I thought. My amazing body took me this far on foot and this is how I thank it? I deprive it of liquid? I’m a terrible body owner.

And thus, when it came time to don the thermal sleeves and running shoes for my 13-miles of certain hell, I decided to invite along a new friend to the adventure. My camelbak. I wasn’t sure how it would be, running with what felt like a tiny child clinging to my back, but I decided it was worth a shot. I filled up my 100-oz bladder approximately 1/3 of the way with a water/gatorade mixture, tightened the straps as much as I possibly could, and was off. I started slowly, trying to judge how this new addition would affect my gait. To be honest, I hardly knew it was there. But when I needed a sip of that juice, boy was it comforting to have him along. I took a few sips every 15-20 minutes, even when I wasn’t thirsty, knowing that my body would thank me later. And can I tell you something? I did not have even the slightest hint of a headache that evening. Nor was I completely spent and dehydrated at the end of my run. My pace was even 2 seconds faster than it was on my previous long run. This, I told myself, is how running should be. And that, my friends, is how I discovered the magic of proper hydration.