Running for the thrill of it

By:  Nicole Esplin

Whether you run 3 or 13 miles this week, dedicate your run to the legendary ultra-runner Micah True ("Caballo Blanco"), who was found dead Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Denver Westward Blogs.

There is a joke among my teammates that has become more and more distinguished throughout the past two years.  The joke has to do with the relationship between talking on a run and the pace of the run, and the joke is on me.

One of my teammates told me I should talk while I race, because it seems the more I talk, the faster I push the pace.  Though this seems backwards to talk more as your pace quickens and your breath becomes more rapid, my teammate had a point.

I am not a science major, but I do know from running that endorphins released while exercising have an effect on the body and mind that no other sensation can compete with.

This “runner’s high” causes me to keep pushing, keep talking, keep running even in the harshest conditions, and to enjoy every minute of every run (or at least the majority of runs).

There is a story I have been following via Runner’s World on twitter, about Micah True, a legendary ultra-runner nicknamed “Caballo Blanco,” and featured in Christopher McDougall’s book “Born To Run.”

Caballo Blanco (since this is a running blog, it only seems right to refer to him by his famous name in the running world) went missing on Wednesday morning after he didn’t return from a 12-mile trail run.  Around 6 p.m. Saturday night, his body was found in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.

The Caballo Blanco was known for ultra-long distances just for the love of the sport.  A Runner’s World article quoted Caballo’s friend Ray Molina, who found Caballo’s body.

“He was laying down peacefully. No trauma, no injuries. He had half a bottle of water next to him,” Molina said.

It seems only logical that Caballo Blanco died while running, and I can only hope he has since reached his ultimate runner’s high.

Whether you have read Born to Run or not, dedicate your runner’s high this week to Caballo Blanco, and give thanks for the runners you share your highs and lows with.

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Don’t fear the bathing suit season (we have you covered!)

Spring break is 18 days away.  Homework is piling up as teachers prepare for a week of no classes (ugh!).  With all the work, it may be difficult to find time to exercise and focus on eating healthy, but if you put in a little extra work now, you will be grateful when your favorite jean shorts and bikini from last summer fit just as well as they did last summer (if not better!) this spring break.

Take advantage of the following Campus Recreation programs this spring to have fun while shaping up for a much needed spring break!

  1. Swim To Florida–   Swimming strengthens your core, arms and legs, and is one of the best cardio workouts, as the average swimmer burns around 500 cal/hour.  Grab your cap, goggles and towel and talk to one of the lifeguards about signing up for Swim to Florida.  One lap=one mile, and t-shirts are given to everyone who completes their goal of 592 laps to Citrus Springs, 655 laps to Groveland or 792 laps to Jupiter Florida.
  2. Rock Climb with Elon OutdoorsJoin the Elon Outdoors on their March 10 trip to Pilot Mountain, where you will get the opportunity to rock climb outside.  Rock climbing for one hour can burn up to 650 calories, and strengthens your shoulder muscles, perfect for that halter bikini top or tank top!
  3. Rasta Yoga Prepare your mind for the beach by taking this class on Friday March 2.  The class is focused on relaxation, fun and strengthening the mind, body and spirit.   Rasta yoga burns around 150 calories per hour, and helps keep the body stretched and in balance for cardio activities.
  4. Hire a Personal Trainer Did you know that Elon offers personal trainers for $55 for 3 single-sessions or $120 for 6 sessions?  Get motivated with a certified trainer, and hit the gym for a guaranteed great workout!  And plan on being sore the next day!  The fitness center also offers group training sessions for two people, for $270/10 sessions, which comes up to just over $13 per person per session.

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High-Altitude Training Tips

By:  Nicole Esplin

Thin air, giant hills, and cold weather.  A winter trip to the Rocky Mountains can bring all three to your workout.  It can be frustrating to maintain speed and endurance while in the mountains, but the benefits from high altitude training will pay off once back at sea level.

Later today, I leave for Utah for a week to travel to the Sundance Film Festival with a class.  My family goes to Colorado every winter to ski, and I always run to benefit from the high altitude training.  While the benefits are enormous once back at sea level, it can be difficult to run at altitude, so mental and physical precautions must be taken (I learned most of these the hard way!).

Here is a list of ways to benefit the most from a trip to the mountains, and avoid dreaded altitude sickness: Continue reading

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Race into the new year to stay fit

By:  Nicole Esplin           

It’s time to sign up for a road race.  Whether you’ve trained all year and you’re ready to test your fitness in a race setting or you want to sign up for a race to motivate yourself to reach a new level of fitness, sign up for a race now to ensure a spot and receive early bird discounts.

So which race should you do?  The fall and spring are big times for road races, and depending on how far you want to drive, you could probably find a road race to fill nearly every weekend in the year.  Racing every weekend would be economically and physically taxing, so I created a list of my 5 favorite races happening this spring in North Carolina. Continue reading

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A runner’s Christmas wishlist

By Nicole Esplin

Runner or non-runner, black Friday is a chaotic mess of people, sale signs, and choices.  Do I want the dress or the skirt?  Dress.  Do I want the lacey dress or sparkly dress?  Sparkle (always).  ….what about new make-up?  Or should I spend that money on a new Chi to straighten my hair?

This year, I was efficient in making decisions, and I left the mall with my wallet a little skinnier and my bags stuffed more than my stomach was the day before.

I was content, planning out my holiday outfits for the next two weeks…until I passed the running store.  That’s when regret and guilt hit.

Why hadn’t I stopped here first?!  I felt like I was cheating on running with cute clothes…and I wear running clothes every day.  I willed myself to keep walking, but I couldn’t resist the urge to step inside.

Instantly, I wished I had saved some money for the shoes, clothes, and accessories in the store.

That’s why I made my 2011 running Christmas wish list that I am sharing with you today…runners and friends of runners take note-these presents may be perfect for you or your running friend!

Continue reading

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Staying in shape the fun way

By Ashley Fahey

It goes without saying that, for some people, going to the gym three times a week and running on a treadmill isn’t exactly the most fun way to stay in shape. But that shouldn’t be an excuse not to find something fitness-related to look forward to, not something to do begrudgingly simply because it’s routine. Read on to find out how working out can be turned into something fun and enjoyable. Continue reading

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Top-5 tips to stay thin during thanksgiving

By Bonnie Efird

Let’s face it: We often overeat the day of Thanksgiving … err … and the several days after Thanksgiving as well (too many leftovers sound familiar?).

Here are the top-5 tips for sticking to your wellness plan during Thanksgiving week.

1. Stay active. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you get a holiday from taking care of your body. Use your time over Thanksgiving break to pamper yourself even more. Sleep in, go for a longer run or do an hour of yoga each day. Thanksgiving break is a time to rest and spend time taking care of yourself, so don’t let your routine slip just because you’re in the holiday spirit.

2. Practice portion control. As tempting as it is to pile up your plate, don’t. You will be sorry — not only will you suffer from a “food coma”, but stepping on the scale post-break might be a bit disappointing. So, be sure to practice portion control. Remember, you can cook these foods anytime of the year, not just Thanksgiving. Don’t eat like this is your last meal. If you do, your waistline will have something to show for it. And don’t even consider going back for seconds, unless it’s on a vegetable or something that is low in fat and sugar.

3. Slow down and enjoy it. Although the anticipation builds for the Thanksgiving feast, shoveling your food in at lightning speeds is a bad idea. Why? Because your body won’t have enough time to realize it’s full before you’re running back for seconds. Slow down and enjoy chatting with friends and family. You’re not doing yourself any favors by rushing through your Thanksgiving meal. Aren’t the holidays a time to slow down, anyway?

4. Don’t deprive yourself. On another note, for those of you who tend to be overly health conscious, chill out a little bit. Depriving yourself of a food you really want will only cause you to binge at a later time. Is the caramel cake staring you down? Have a small slice or share with a family member. Allow yourself to enjoy the holiday — just be sure one small slice doesn’t turn into four.

5. Have a family activity planned to get everyone moving. Instead of just sitting around with your friends and family on Thanksgiving, plan a family walk around the neighborhood or play a game outside (weather permitting) that calls for some movement and activity. That way, you will still get to spend time with your loved ones but will be able to burn off those calories simultaneously.

                                  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Turkey Trot

by Nicole Esplin

The only thing better than the feeling of sitting down with your family to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal is knowing that you worked for this meal. And no matter how much you eat, you will have an accomplishment to think about at the end of the day (and no, I am not talking about finishing off all the turkey trimmings).  Sign up for a Turkey Trot so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving feast.

Whether you choose to run a 5k, 8k, or 10k Turkey Trot, you will burn at least 200 calories more than you would have without running, and you will be thankful for one more thing at the end of the day: You won’t have to worry about loosening that belt one more notch.

There are turkey trots all over the country on Thanksgiving day, and they can be found by searching “turkey trot” and your city’s name in Google.

If you can’t get out of the house on Thanksgiving morning, or if you just want to prepare yourself for your hometown trot, Elon’s annual Turkey Trot is Nov. 18. The run begins at 3:30 p.m., and on-site registration starts at 3 p.m.

Have friends at Duke?  Durham’s Turkey Trot is this Sunday.


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It’s Fall! Get outdoors and Run!

By Nicole Esplin

Leaves have changed the tree line from lush green to brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow and are beginning to fall in every direction.  I don’t know if it is the crunch beneath my feet with every stride or the smell of earth from the falling leaves, but there is something about fall that makes running during the fall truly majestic.

Maybe it’s those mornings where I can see my breath, feel the cool air entering and exiting my lungs, and really feel my body working to maintain the rhythm of breathing, striding, breathing, striding.

It’s an amazing time of year to go out for a run, and yes, runs around campus are perfect for time-crunched days where runs need to be as simple as possible.  But I challenge everyone to find one day this fall and leave Elon for a national or state park to go for a run or even a long hike and see how far away you can feel from school and stress for a few hours.

The following parks are within one hour of campus, and all offer at least three miles of trails to explore on your next run … just make sure to read the maps before heading out — a 5-mile run could turn into 11 miles if you’re not careful! Continue reading

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Yoga Pose of the Week: Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)

By Bonnie Efird

Warrior I is a staple pose in most Hatha style (physical) yoga classes. Hatha includes all of the different physical lineages of yoga, including the popular Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga and Anusara styles. This pose allows the practitioner to strengthen the front quad, find length through the spine and side bodies, and open up the back hamstring. Notice how her front knee is at 90 degrees, parallel to the floor. Her knee is aligned right over her ankle. Her back foot grounds into the earth and her back leg is straight with her toes pointing in about 45 degrees. Both of her hips are facing forward – this is a parallel hip pose, unlike Vira II, which is an open hip pose. She is rising up out of her hips and sending upward energy (prana), through her fingertips. Her gaze is slightly upward to find length in the back of the neck. Every part of her body is working to sustain this strengthening and invigorating pose. To find your inner peaceful warrior,  add Vira I to your yoga practice.

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