For anyone without celiac disease, I simply cannot understand depriving yourself of chewy baguettes, buttery croissants, pizza with wood fire-burnished crust, beer and so many more culinary wonders in which gluten plays a delicious leading role. I know there are many substitutes for gluten, but…can I be honest here? I’m a bit of a bread purist; I savor a depth of flavor only achieved by gluten developed through several slow rises.

If we’re talking about going gluten-free voluntarily in the sake of health, I can partially understand. Many store-bought bread items carry a lot of preservatives to keep them soft and “fresh” on the shelf for longer periods of time. This is partially why I like to make as much of my own bread as possible; I know exactly what I’m putting in there. When it goes stale in five days or so, I also know that it’s because there aren’t a ton of preservatives in it. Luckily, the appetites in our household rarely see a stale loaf of bread.

Read the rest of her post and discover her amazing bread recipe here.

So while the calculating part of my brain kept signaling disappointment, my emotional center educed delight. In this instance, with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and boyfriend distributing hugs, the endorphins won out.
I know I could have placed higher. But rather than finding distress in that fact, I encounter excitement. The race felt relaxed. I was not “going to the well,” yet I was 4 seconds off of my 10k track PR (albeit a very weak PR). If that’s not encouraging, then I don’t know what is. Sure, I still believe that “if you don’t win, you lose.” But some losses are necessary to better understand yourself. Now I know I can handle 12K, and I am in reach of a mix of very talented female runners.


Read the rest of Mara’s post-race recap here

“Racing is the channel for the fire that smolders inside, allowing it to take tangible form and sparing a painful internal scorching. Put differently: does determination exist if undirected? Without racing, ambition is simply a concept I entertain. To race is to express.

So until I find another profession that provides such an outlet, I think I shall carry on. And hopefully beat some people.”

Read Mara’s full blog post “Why?” here.

“Recovery runs and post-race pockets of time always present themselves as reflection periods for me. I live for these runs – the ones when I’m gliding along and let my mind wander to ambitious dreams, dreams that I’m at times too timid to fully vocalize just yet. These are some of the times when I feel most alive, free and in love with running. Young adult life is full of its own set of obstacles; a big part of why I hold so tight to running is that even when it is seemingly the source of disappointment, it’s also what keeps the dreamer in me alive no matter how many times the realist wants pessimism to have the final say.”

Check out the rest of Alia’s blog post here

Excerpt from Alia Gray’s new blog post “Racing Season Commence”:

The steps forward showed me how much hard work it takes to keep that continual, ever-present press for forward movement, which can be both exhilarating and little overwhelming. When I inevitably want to get ahead of myself, Coach Vigil reminds me of the process and the fact that we’re only just in the beginning.

The following is a quote from Deena Kastor that Coach shared with me about work ethic, especially specific to Vigil-style training. I adore these words. When I feel myself getting impatient or antsy, I return to the following:

“Vigilosophy is the pursuit of excellence. The pursuit is an insatiable, never-ending journey toward your ideals, knowing that your work ethic matters, every choice is significant in serving a better you. Vigilosophy is trying to master what captures our focus, knowing that mastery has no limit.”

Read the full blog post here.

Excerpt from Alia Gray’s blog post “Playing Running”:

In a training regime where more days are intensely structured than not, a week of just running was cathartic, a total mental relaxation. When I felt like running faster, I’d run faster. If I was feeling sluggish, I’d ease up. I never pushed, but I also didn’t hold my legs back from stretching out and enjoying some turnover if that’s what they felt like doing. I played.

For a sport so simplistic in nature, it’s easy to get enveloped in the complications of and depth of training. Specific paces, altitude adjustments, weight of various training shoes, sleeping and eating schedules…these are all vital components of training. With all of that, it can be too easy to loose sight of the fact that running at it’s most basic is a gift of instinct bestowed on all healthy human beings.

Read the entire post here

Excerpt from Mara’s most recent blog post – “Iron, Steel, and …Carbon Fiber”:

“Returning to the days before foam soles and Garmins would be like cavemen striving to unlearn how to make fire. But I invite you to remember that the pleasure of sport is not derived from the flattering cut of a Lulu Lemon top or the snazziness of an iPod sleeve. Ultimately, power stems from the coordinated switch of muscle fibers, not a spokes-less bike wheel. Rhythm is laid by the metronome of your feet, not the beeping of a heart rate belt. We may be creatures of the modern age, but competition – in all its forms – is primitive. So, maybe for just one day, let’s honor it and forget the excess.”

Read the entire blog post by clicking here

I was fortunate this past weekend to lecture at the Boulder Running Clinics with Vern Gambetta, Steve Magness, and Charlie Kern.  Speaking with such an accomplished group forces you to raise your knowledge game.  You have to be current with your research/background information and not be a minion to common trends just because they are common trends, especially if they logically don’t make sense (I’m looking at you: self-massage rollers).  But the think tank conversations that occur with the other lecturers and clinic attendees at the social after the event is where the real learning occurs.  It’s an opportunity to get on a soapbox with some very knowledgeable and respected peers to agree, disagree, and/or rant about so many commonly practiced misconceptions that go on in sports performance, recovery, and health care.  The reality is, simple and straightforward tend to be the most accurate and efficient.  This is especially true in injury rehab, where we’re always looking for the next cool modality that will “accelerate” are recovery.  Cold lasers, bone stimulators, compression boots, self-massage rollers, herbal elixirs, cryosaunas, E-stim…..the list of fad and for the most part useless trends is endless!  You’re better off being patient, giving the tissue a chance to calm down, then progressively re-loading it with advice from a qualified professional.  Below is a list of keys for a successful rehab.  It’s not sexy, but if followed appropriately, is usually the most effective at optimizing your recovery.

Read the full blog post in it’s entirety here

I have been described as “living under a rock.” My contact with world news is limited to NPR radio on the way to the grocery store. I recently learned what “hashtag” signifies. And when did Bruce Jenner become Caitlyn?

There is nowhere my naivety is more conspicuous than the running world. Sure, I have heard of Mo Farah. Or is that Meb? I get them confused. In a town where anyone seems to know everyone’s PRs (along with the month and year of their attainment), I have truly had to work to avoid the embarrassment that comes with living on another planet. This is not an easy feat, considering nearly every conversation I enter eventually turns to training or racing. Thus, I have mastered the vague response, typically piggy-backed by a change in subject. Yeah, of course I watched the Pan Am games (where were they again?) … wow, so-and-so really tanked last weekend (who is that? are they American?) … so how ‘bout Caitlyn Jenner, huh?

Read the full blog post here