Category Archives: Running

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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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!

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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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So you want to go for a run around campus…

The freshmen are beginning to find their way around campus, the upperclassmen are adjusting to their off-campus apartments and houses, and it finally feels like you can breathe again (without the thick humidity and hectic frenzy of the first few weeks of school).

With this extra time and sense of direction, its the perfect time to start running regularly.  Where to?

The Elon University Cross Country course (also known as the intramural fields) has miles of grassy cut-throughs and trails that can easily turn a boring neighborhood jog into a challenging all-terrain run.  Just past the railroad tracks, the course offers rolling hills and a softer surface than hard cement and asphalt.

When you wear the course out, there are plenty of relatively safe neighborhoods, and parks around Elon.  For those mileage perfectionists who count every tenth of a mile (guilty one right here…), there are great websites where you can track every turn of your run before-or after- you go out.

Personally, I use to map out all my runs, but is also a great site where you can track miles.

Both sites have search engines where you can type in your location (Elon, NC), and browse through routes mapped out by different users.  Happy Trails! (And roads!)



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