Friday Finds – 14th June

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Hola! Yes, it really is me! You may have noticed that the blog has been on a bit of a hiatus while work and life were really busy. I’ve had my head down just working my way through things and now that it’s all a bit more settled, it’s time to get back to my regular posting schedule. So without any further ado, here are some of the things that have been catching my eye…

I’m going to start this post with a sad one. You may have seen already that US elite runner Gabe Grunewald died earlier this week at the age of 32. I first learned of Gabe and her story on Mario Fraioli’s Morning Shakeout podcast and as the final days of that story played out, I found I couldn’t stop thinking about how inspiring she had been and what a loss this is. I was touched by the number of runners sending her messages of love and my heart goes out to her husband Justin as he embarks on a new journey in life. One thing to take away from this is that we should all be #bravelikegabe.

Moving away from sad stories, something I found really interesting earlier in June was the results of a study into the limits of human endurance. We live in a time when it feels like someone is always pushing for more, to see how far they can push themselves, but there must, of course, be some kind of a limit. According to this study, it comes down to calories burned and how sustainable the metabolic rate is. Here’s a BBC article that sets out the findings. Worth a read if you’ve not come across these results already.

And if you want something a little more in-depth, Alex Hutchinson also dug into the findings in his Sweat Science column:

Another article I enjoyed was written by David Roche, whose book The Happy Runner is on my reading list for this summer. Roche tackles the subject of failure and its role in helping us make progress. Definitely worth a read since we often struggle to deal with times when things don’t go our way.

Speaking of books, when I saw this article combining the subjects of running and writing, I was hooked. I know I often come up with my best ideas when I’m running so learning more about how some running writers use their favourite sport to help shape their work was fascinating.

And finally, we all know I love an animal story and this great one caught my eye. A high school cross country team in California invited some shelter dogs to accompany them on a training run. They look like they had a great time and I think this is a wonderful idea, combining the therapeutic qualities of both running and access to a pet. I hope this is something they and other groups can do more often – it might even lead to more pet adoptions.

Happy reading,
The Running Princess  

Advertisements

Friday Finds – 3rd May

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Ooh it’s Friday and for many it’s the start of a long weekend. Perfect! It’s going to be a rather different weekend for me than last week as I’m having a little break from running to allow my body to recover post-marathon. It was really strange to miss the live coverage of the London marathon on Sunday, but I’ve since caught up on the elite races and actually have coverage playing as I write this (*edit – just this minute spotted Anna McNuff running over Tower Bridge!*). Given my current obsession interest in marathons, you won’t be surprised that this week I want to include some of the big stories to come out of the event.

Let’s start with the elite races and the amazing Eliud Kipchoge. What’s not to like about that guy? A fantastic runner with a smooth, relaxed style and always comes across so well in interviews. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

In the women’s race, Brigid Kosgei ran a great race, but it was Hayley Carruthers who really stopped our hearts as she took a tumble right before the finish line and crawled over to snag a PB! Thankfully she was ok but it brought her to my attention as an elite athlete also working a full time job (which she was back at the very next day). I do love her tenacity!

It was a record-breaking year what with a new course record, a record number of participants and the highest number of female finishers ever. There was even a new Scottish record for Callum Hawkins – go Callum! I always love all the totally random Guinness World Record attempts and 38 of 78 attempts were successful. Here’s the complete rundown:

Unfortunately there has, in recent days, been a more negative story emerge from the day after an official pacer discussed her experience of running behind the cleanup crew. While I do understand that organisers must get roads open within agreed times, if the event is going to be open to runners of every pace then appropriate provision has to be made to ensure they still have access to on-course support and are kept safe. I’m not going to comment too much on it while it is being investigated, but it is disappointing to hear and I hope that action is taken to ensure that this can’t happen again.

And finally, for the second time this year I’m featuring Lukas Bates, the runner who found the strong winds at the London Landmarks half marathon rather challenging. This time he made it to the finish line ok, but then found the finish gantry a little too low for his costume! And the story didn’t end there as the infamous costume later went missing and, to the best of my knowledge, is still to be returned. That’s quite the story to tell the grandkids one day!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

PS here’s a little bonus with some cool London marathon stats. You know I love a good running stat!

Friday Finds – 26th April

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Hurrah for Friday! That means I’ve successfully navigated my way through the first week of the new school term and we’ve reached the weekend that a certain “fun run” takes place in that fancy London 😂. With all eyes on the capital this weekend to see what unfolds in the elite races and how the masses can tug at our heartstrings, it won’t surprise you to find that I have a number of London-related finds this week.

But first, one last story to come out of the recent Boston marathon. Elite runner Sarah Crouch started the race hoping a fast time would earn her a spot in the US Olympic trials, however it later came to light that she knowingly raced with a stress reaction which then developed into a fracture. Part of me understands why she would make this choice, but I think the more experience I have of running, the less likely I am to take a risk like that myself (although a spot in the Olympic team isn’t exactly up for grabs for me!). What are your thoughts?

Turning our attention to London, the one to watch is definitely current world record holder Eliud Kipchoge. The more I read about Kipchoge, the more of a fan I become and I enjoyed this piece from the BBC which delves a little deeper into what makes him tick.

Of course British interest will be directed towards Sir Mo Farah who has, unfortunately, courted some controversy in recent days. I don’t want to get into that, but I did come across this story which is a little more fun. Sir Mo joked around at the London marathon expo this week, running on a treadmill set at world record pace and falling off twice. If you haven’t seen it, take a look…

Over the years London has also become known for being one of the biggest charity fund-raising events in the year and for the number of world record attempts taking place each year. Lots of these will no doubt be profiled during coverage on Sunday morning, but this one caught my eye earlier this week: a couple aiming to set a new world record for the fastest marathon whilst handcuffed together! An ambitious and quirky idea, but I’m not sure it’s something I would want to try – that’s a lot of time training and running with another person and I kind of like to do my own thing. I mean, what if you got really fed up of each other??? I wish these two the very best of luck.

And finally, here in the UK the London marathon is often referred to  as “The Marathon” e.g. are you running the marathon this weekend? I’ve spent this week trying not to get too irritated with that question as I am running a marathon this weekend, just not that marathon and answering can get a bit convoluted. *sigh*. To remind me that there are plenty of other annoying things we runners can be asked, here’s Canadian Running with a list. What’s on yours?

Happy reading and good luck to all the marathoners this weekend – wherever you are running!
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 19th April

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Friday once again, and Good Friday no less. If you have a long weekend ahead, then I hope the weather is good and you have fun. I was able to watch coverage of the Boston marathon on Monday and it was fantastic, so this week’s finds will still have a bit of a Boston slant to them. Enjoy!

First up, the incredible Joan Benoit Samuelson who first ran the Boston marathon 40 years ago with a very respectable time of 2:35:15. Now in her early 60s, she hoped to finish within 40 minutes of that and absolutely smashed it with her time of 3:04 – within 30 minutes of her winning time from 1979! Just amazing!

Next, the remarkable Boston story of US marine Micah Herndon. Herndon was running in memory of 3 fallen comrades, so when his legs gave out around the 22 mile mark, he kept on going to finish the marathon on his hands and knees. The footage of him crawling towards the line is really very emotional.

The results in Boston prompted this next piece from Runner’s World, looking at the reasons why marathoners perform so much better in their 30s than their 20s. It makes for pretty interesting reading and is proof that it’s not just wine that gets better with age!

On a lighter note, I was also pleased to see my favourite Boston supporter was on duty again. Therapy dog Spencer became the subject of a viral video last year as he supported runners from the sidelines whilst wearing his owner’s raincoat (remember those awful weather conditions in Boston last year?). Well this year he was back again, proudly sporting his own wet weather gear and looking every inch as adorable as in 2018. I really hope he becomes a fixture of the event for years to come.

And finally, a little marathon-related humour from Canadian Running magazine. If you’ve run a marathon before then some of these might be familiar! Which ones resonate with you?

Happy Easter reading!
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 12th April

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

I may not having been posting my usual updates recently, but I’ve still been saving up plenty of interesting things to share with you and now is as good a time as any to get back into my regular posting routine. And with spring marathon season really kicking off with Paris on Sunday, Boston on Monday and London coming up in a couple of weeks, this week’s finds are going to be loosely race-themed. Let’s get started…!

First up is everybody’s nightmare scenario: travelling to a race only to find that your luggage has gone missing (this is why I ALWAYS carry my race day kit in my hand luggage!). In many situations it can be reasonably easy to sort out some replacement kit, but not always, and that is exactly what happened to Peter Messervy-Gross who found himself at the start line of a 100 mile ultramarathon across a frozen Mongolian lake, without all the kit he had been carefully gathering in the months previously. But rather than miss out, Messervy-Gross took part in the race anyway…in his jeans and brogues! Now that’s tenacity!

Of interest here in the UK, the London marathon recently announced the steps they are to take to become more environmentally sustainable. Several new initiatives are to be trialled at this year’s event and I look forward to reading more about how successful these are. Anything that reduces the amount of waste – especially plastic bottles – is a fantastic step.

Meanwhile in the US, all eyes are on Monday’s Boston marathon where it looks like weather conditions may be quite tough again. This year the Grand Marshal for the event will be fan favourite Men Keflezighi. I’ve recently been reading his first book and am really beginning to see why everyone loves him so much. I’ll probably go on to read his new book at some point, so here’s an excerpt in which he reflects on his first experience of the the Boston marathon:

The other one to watch in Boston is, of course, 2018 winner (and another firm favourite!) Yuki Kawauchi who recently turned pro. He also recently raced a half marathon dressed as a ninja, proving once more why he is such an amazing character to follow. Yuki will be running again on Marathon Monday, but in what is very likely a marathon running first, the defending champion will also be running in the same race as his mother! I hope Mummy Kawauchi doesn’t keep her son waiting around too long at the finish!

And finally, we all know I enjoy stories which combine running with animals, so here’s the latest one: the dog that joined this year’s Marathon des Sables. How (p)awesome!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess 

Friday Finds – 22nd March

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

It’s Fabulous Friday! I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend ahead. I’m just stopping by to share some inspiring stories from the week gone by…

I want to begin this week with an update on a story I shared last month about a visually impaired runner aiming to be the first to run the New York half marathon with a team of guide dogs rather than a guide runner. Happily, he achieved just that, making Thomas Panek (and his dogs Westley, Waffle and Gus!) history makers. Here’s some more information courtesy of Runner’s World:

It was quite the weekend for inspiring performances, as here in the UK it was the ever-popular Bath half marathon. The biggest story to come out of this event is that of Harmonie-Rose Allen. The five year old lost all her limbs to meningitis as a baby, and was being wheeled around the course by a team of family and teachers, however the little trooper wanted to walk the final few metres to cross the finish line herself. I imagine it would have been a very emotional scene to witness and such an amazing achievement for those involved.

Speaking of half marathons, did you see Will Smith’s latest challenge? I hadn’t previously come across his Facebook Watch show Will Smith’s Bucket List (presumably because I’m old and don’t know about such things!) but the idea is fascinating – travelling the globe and ticking off personal challenges. But for his latest challenge, he had to get half marathon ready in just 3 weeks! It’s one thing taking on a last-minute half when you’re seasoned runner with plenty of miles in the bank, but quite another when you are not in your best shape and have never run the distance before. An impressive undertaking and perhaps worth a watch.

Someone else who’s no stranger to a challenge is Anna McNuff. The adventurer behind the awesome books The Pants of Perspective and Fifty Shades of the USA has just announced her next challenge…and it’s a great one. Starting in June, McNuff will run 100 marathons (yes, 100!) through Britain. Oh, and she’s going to run them all barefoot! Check out the link below to see how you can follow along/join in/help out:

And finally, if you missed last year’s collaboration between Saucony and Dunkin’ Donuts, then good news! They have worked together again to produce another pair of donut (doughnut?) themed running shoes. I still find the idea rather appealing, but I know not everyone would go for it. Would you wear them? What food would you like to see on a pair of running shoes?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 8th March

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Happy Friday and happy International Women’s Day. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to focus on female-related articles this week.

To start, a post from Runner’s World to mark International Women’s Day, charting key moments in the history of women’s running. So many amazing achievements in here and I look forward to seeing what the future brings for the sport.

Another source focusing on women’s sports today is Outside, with their piece looking at advances towards equality for women in sport. There have been so many positive steps made, but more could still be done to ensure EVERYONE has equality of opportunity.

One change that was announced this week was around the prize money at the forthcoming Boston marathon. There was some controversy last year after some runners in the open categories finished in prize-winning positions, but were initially ineligible for prize money due to not starting as elite athletes. This was later addressed and it looks like this year’s race will offer further opportunities for women to achieve.

And finally, let’s finish on a positive note with the latest Nike commercial celebrating women breaking down barriers. Narrated by the awesome Serena Williams, it points out many of the double standards women are often held to and reminds us to keep pushing forward with our dreams and being “crazy”. I love it!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess