How To Take Running Selfies

By April 21, 2014 Ramblings, Running
selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Yesterday morning my running/blogging/Resolute Running/Fitfluential/fellow dirty girl Rachel and I tried to master the art of taking a selfie while running. She ran a half marathon last weekend with Coach Alex, who tried to take a running selfie of the two of them—and failed miserably. So naturally, we decided to show him up.

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

#wheresAlex #selfiefail

We met up at Statue 2 Statue—a gruelingly hilly 15K race from Vulcan to the Statue of Liberty (second tallest after Her Majesty). Some BUTS came off the trails to play with the road folks. But, being ultra runners, they decided to run it twice and turn it into S2S2S, a la Rim 2 Rim. Since I’m still building mileage back slowly and Rachel had only 9 on her schedule, we tagged along for their first leg.

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society

Zombie BUTS

So here are some tested and approved cheats on how to take a selfie (or picture in general) on the run:

1. Have a working phone—Using a phone with a working front camera (unlike my iPhone 6 with the missing screen) allows you to see the selfie and ensure that your aim is dead-on

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Wrong.

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Right. Oh so right.

2. Focus—Taking that extra split second and tapping your screen to create a focal point will be the difference between a great group shot and unrecognizable blur

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Take one

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Take two

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Take three

3. Use long arms—Find someone with a large wingspan, hand him your phone, and smile

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Greg is pretty much a selfie pro

4. Avoid goose head—Rachel taught me about this phenomenon—make sure to cuddle up to your fellow photographees so that no one has to lean in, like a goose

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Bad Rachel Goose

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Bad Tanya Goose

5. Give zero fucks—It’s a selfie—no one takes them seriously, and neither should you. Make them goofy, and ignore the relentless teasing. Haters gonna hate.

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Uphill running selfie may be blurry, but shows how badass we are

Or, you can take it to the next level, get a GoPro, and shoot kickass video selfies like BUTS member Jeff did yesterday:

Statue 2 Statue

We will continue to perfect our selfie skills on future long runs, and I have vowed to also run a race taking selfies with male and female hotties like this awesome girl. Because, genius!

More shots from the race:

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Statue of Liberty

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Water stop volunteering selfie

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Made it to Vulcan and his bare ass!

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Had to.

selfie, running selfie, Statue 2 Statue, Vulcan Statue, Birmingham, Birmingham Track Club

Such mature BUTS

Working Out with The North Face and Dean Karnazes

By April 18, 2014 Running, Ultra Training, Uncategorized
The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

A few weeks ago I got my ass handed to me when The North Face Mountain Athletics training program came to town. The Mountain Athletics series was designed to help endurance athletes with their overall performance. You know, cross training. To make you stronger and faster. The very thing I always neglect to do. Since Dean Karnazes is a North Face athlete, he came along to stand around, look pretty, and talk about the importance of full-body workouts.

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

But really to stand like this and flex his muscles

I signed up for the running clinic thinking that we’d chat about ultrarunning and endurance and do sprints and whatnot. Instead, we combined classes with the peak bagging/mountain climbing group and did a series of strength circuits. I’m actually happy that I got to do a Crossfit-like workout, because it forced me to do something other than run. The overall message was that you need to strengthen all your muscles to be healthy and at the top of your game. Hey Tanya, hear that?

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Weighted duffels and a rainy ‘Ham

We met at Railroad Park in the rain, which only added to the badassery that was about to go down. Mountain High Outfitters, The North Face, and ClifBar were all there with fun products and samples to test and take home. You know I was all over the North Face shoe testing!

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Mmmmm free goodies

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Great shoes for training, but not for technicals trails

From what I could tell, the class was filled with a mix of runners and Crossfit junkies. It’s always entertaining for me to work out with Crossfit people, because while they always show me up strength-wise, I can run circles around them with endurance. Stamina, baby! But alas, having both strength and endurance make a well-rounded athlete.

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Ever the teacher’s pet – rocking the front row of class

We started the class with a warm up of push ups, sit ups, and weighted and jumping squats. I learned that I squat like a runner (need to go deeper) (that’s what she said), my groin didn’t like the added weight, and I do push ups wrong (need to tuck my elbows in).

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Hamming it up as usual

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Apparently this is right? Hm.

One of the circuits had this exercise where you toss a weighted duffel bag over your shoulder, fall down, then stand back up. As gracefully as possible. Holy hell—after a few rounds of those I felt like a toddler was pinning me to the ground! But it was goofy and worked all of my muscles.

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

GET UP, GIRL!

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Beau, one of my fav BUTS, showing how it’s done

We then strapped on some weighted packs and did step ups, sit ups, and squats continually for 20 minutes. I lasted about 5 minutes before I decided it’d be more fun to take the time to chat with Dean about ultrarunning. I’m convinced he’s more robot than human, which explains how he does these superhuman feats like running around the world in a single day without shoes. Or something. Talking to Dean was a lot of fun, because he asked questions about my training and upcoming races and offered words of encouragement and basically looked like a sculpture of a Greek god. He didn’t have much to offer in the advice department though and talked about racing 50s and 100s like you and I would talk about talking a walk down the street—he just seems too far removed from the average runner (or human) to be able to relate to their challenges. The ultra community has a love-hate relationship with Dean, but no matter whether you cheer or boo at him, you have to give him credit for being one hell of an athlete.

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

20 lb instruments of torture

Our “cooldown” was a Jane Fonda-esque workout—targeted moves like leg circles and butt kicks to make your side ass sexy. We finished with this move where you squirm around on the ground like a dying cockroach that supposedly the military uses and engages our abs, but I think was actually a reason for others walking by to point and laugh.

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

But where are your leg warmers, friend?

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Squirming around

Overall I had a blast! I’m glad the class was a workout that didn’t include running. It got me out of my comfort zone and reinforced that you need your entire body to be a strong, effective runner—not just your legs. The Mountain Athletics Training Program travels around the country—check their site to see if you can play with Dean too!

The North Face, Mountain Athletics, Dean Karnazes, ultra running, trail running, Railroad Park, Birmingham, Mountain High Outfitters

Scored a full TNF race kit – #winning

 

The Road to Recovery

By April 15, 2014 Running
Morris Ave

Y’all. It’s actually happening. After over 60 days of bitching and moaning and aching and eating, I’m on my way back to reclaiming my ultra runner status!

$13,938

Look Ma, I’m back on the trails! Failing miserably at selfies, apparently.

A few weeks ago, a fellow BUTS member gave me the kick in the ass that I needed to stop moping around and finally schedule a PT session. The PT I went to, Rachel, is also an ultra runner and BUTS member and I will love her forever for getting me back on the road and trails. She checked my hips, spine, and pelvic alignment and went through various tests to try and figure out what had happened. Conclusion—I may have stepped funny at some point (during the STR 50K perhaps?) and misaligned my spine, which in turn causes the entire area to ache. Prognosis—good. She gave me the green light to get back running, as long as I don’t feel too much pain. Rx (ugh I hate that term now thanks to Crossfit)—abductor and adductor strength exercises multiple times a day, and resistance band exercises once a day. Rachel topped off the good news with a massage-esque technique she called skin rolling on my leg and surrounding areas that used metal instruments and lotion and hurt like a bitch but felt wonderful after. And yes, I’m aware that last sentence sounds incredibly questionable.

returning from injury, groin injury, running, rehab, trail running

Like a rockstar, I showed up to PT like this – accidentally left my shoes at home

Next up was a visit to Coach Alex to get a new, recovery-focused training plan. We talked about how I need to strengthen my hips and glutes and core so that I can prevent further injuries and come back stronger than ever. By doing what, you ask? Cross training. The one thing that always eludes my schedule. He was also quick to shut down my plan of running a 12-hour race the first weekend of May. My reasoning—I would have 12 hours to casually run, stroll, and nap my way through as many miles as I could. His reasoning—I need to not be stupid and get better, not worse. Womp.

returning from injury, groin injury, running, rehab, trail running

Cheesin’ with Coach after my first long run this past weekend – 5 miles!

He came up with an 8-week plan that’s both exciting and depressing. On the one hand, RUNNING! On the other, seeing total weekly mileage that’s lower than a single one of my old weekday runs is sad. I want to run and every single mile excites me, but it’s hard to start from scratch. Women—we can’t ever be satisfied. I kid. Or not.

returning from injury, groin injury, running, rehab, trail running

Stark contrast in training plans, eh?

It’ll be slow going for a while. It’s humbling to run a single mile five minutes slower than my old pace and be huffing and puffing by the end. And it’s tots my fault—I didn’t do anything near what I could or should have cross training-wise. But when certain workouts hurt, I would just stop rather than try to find something that was groin-friendly. And with that, I watched my overall fitness slip away. I’m well aware that getting out of shape will make it take that much longer to get back to where I had been. But it’s all good. I’ll own up to it and suffer through the suck to get back to badass Tanya-status.

$13,938

What do you do when you can’t keep pace with your buddies? Bike alongside!

But in all seriousness, it feels like Christmas every time I lace up my shoes. I am fully convinced now that there’s no better runner’s high than the first few runs back after you’ve been out for a while.

If I ever complain about getting up early or being tired or sore after a run, punch me in the face.

The Sylvans Get Lofty

By April 14, 2014 Birmingham, Ramblings
The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Whew, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? The hubs and I have been super busy the past few weeks—we packed up our cute little bungalow in the ‘burbs and moved to a loft in downtown Birmingham.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

The “living room” is incredibly cozy and always full of sunlight from the giant windows

We had always tossed around the idea of giving downtown life a try. We love our little city, we spend nights and weekends walking and photographing all its nooks and crannies, and it’s the new, hip place to be.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Exposed shelves in the kitchen meant a lot of decluttering and searching Pinterest for layout ideas

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Coffee and poured concrete countertops

It’ll be an adjustment for sure. I love trees and grass and crickets and nature. The pups have gotten spoiled having a large, fenced-in yard to play in. The hubs and I have never coexisted with others—not even in a dorm.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

New nightly ritual – sunset playtime on the roof

But the loft is to die for. I mean, it doesn’t get loftier than our loft. Exposed brick, open floor plan, original hardwood, killer views of the city, and one of the best rooftops in town. My favorite coffee shop is also in our backyard. ‘Nuff said.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

My new writing nook – brick, warehouse windows, and views of the hills

And so far, the pups adore being downtown dogs. They enjoy exploring their new ‘hood and have playdates on the roof with other dogs in the building. They even pee on pavement like champs.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Our new bedroom is Moose-approved

It’s still a work in progress, but I think I’m going to love loft life!

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design, Sloss Furnace

This is what we wake up to every morning

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Old ad in our alley

 

Breaking News—Tutus are Uncool

By March 28, 2014 Advertising/Branding, Running
SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Stop what you’re doing and gather ’round—this is an important announcement. It is no longer acceptable to wear tutus. I repeat, no tutus. Ever.

Or anything else silly or ridiculous or “froufrou” for that matter. This includes running skirts, neon compression socks, superhero capes, ugly hats, colorful shoes, or sparkly outfits. All banned from races and other events where runners congregate.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Color blocking is absolutely banned

The fashion police held an emergency meeting, not unlike the meeting of the new G7, and decided to crack down on the running community. Enough is enough. Running isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s about winning. The thrill of competition. Beating all your friends and being #1. A tutu only weighs you down. Causes chafing. Displays your immaturity.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine, BUTS, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society

Look at this! See what tutus cause?

Have cancer? No excuse—no tutu for you. Feeling extra flashy? Best to leave your sparkly skirt at home where it belongs.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Why don’t you just add in some camo while you’re at it – break all the rules

Thank goodness we have women’s magazines to set us on the straight and narrow. I’m glad that a publication like SELF exists to educate me on my health and well-being and fashion do’s and don’ts.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Tutu AND a clown? Banned from races indefinitely.

Oh, wait. This isn’t right. There are no rules. Runners can wear whatever the hell they want in races. Running instantly transforms you into a badass and allows you to bend the “fashion rules.” Tutus are wildly popular and fun. They add whimsy. They can make a 5K seem approachable. They make men hilariously sexy.

Hey SELF, is your common sense on Spring Break 2014? Let’s mislead the girl in the photo as to how the picture will be used. Let’s not ask her why she wore the tutu. Let’s not bother to read her bib with “DIE TUMOR DIE” written on it. Let’s not address our mistake on social media. It’ll go away with time, right? Let’s continue with our regularly scheduled posts. And when we do apologize, let’s half-ass it. Let’s piss off our entire target market. You thought we were about empowering women and encouraging them to be healthy and active? That’s cute.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Every. Single. Post. was highjacked by mobs of angry women

SELF fucked up. Big time. They shouldn’t have written about tutus, period. It wasn’t funny. It’s worse because they made fun of a cancer patient. But that was just an unfortunate accident—that’s not the real issue. They genuinely believe that tutus are ridiculous and meant to bash runners. And the editor, Lucy, apologizing a day later and only referencing Monika only adds fuel to the fire. If you’re going to say sorry, do it the right way. Mean it. SELF clearly didn’t have an emergency social media plan in place for when something like this occurs. #Win for me—I loved watching their Facebook page implode.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

You’re full of shit, Lucy

Runners are not people to fuck with. Female runners? Forget about it. You don’t bash something we love and are proud of and get away with it. SELF deserves every ounce of backlash they get. I wish there were a way to know how many people unsubscribe as a result of this disaster. It’d make me laugh.

Hats off to Monika for making tutus and donating money to Girls On The Run. She deserves credit for running a marathon while on chemo, not to be bashed by some arrogant assholes. And hooray to all the women who proudly rock tutus in races.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Even boys wear tutus *gasp*

Do you know what’s BS, SELF? Name calling. And your magazine.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

This.

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