Weird Things That Happen to You on Long Runs

poorforrestI, like many Hoyas, have been training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon that’s coming up in D.C. In doing so, I have reluctantly been on many long and interesting runs around the city. Here are some weird things that I’ve experienced while running with which any fellow runner could probably sympathize.

1. Running by Georgetown Cupcake. 

If you’re running around Georgetown and happen to turn down 33rd, running by the line of people contently waiting for delicious treats while you force yourself to keep pushing through the cramps that have already developed in the 6 blocks it has taken you to get there just isn’t the most motivating thing while you think about the 8 left to go.

notfairgiphy

2. Stopping at red lights. 

It’s just inconvenient. You just got a good pace going, and now you’re standing in a crowd of well-dressed city people who are also waiting to cross the street. Except you’re kind of jogging in place and panting and sweating all over them. I can’t imagine they enjoy it. spngbobmaxim3. Dealing with your headphones.

It could probably be scientifically proven that it is impossible to complete an entire distance run without either your headphones falling out of your ears or the wires tangling around your arms, hands and neck. So not conducive to trying to look super fit and athletic. It’s also not conducive to breathing, which is a problem.

tumblrtangled

4. Smiling/waving at other runners who don’t respond. 

I’m sure you’re working hard and you’re totally in the zone but it’s just plain rude.

tumblrwave

5. Realizing someone is trying to pass you. 

DON’T LET IT HAPPEN.

tumblrshow

6. Realizing they will definitely end up passing you.

OK, it’s happening.

tired

5. Tripping. 

There’s just no easy way to recover from it. That’s the end. Just cut your losses and go home.

tumblrfall

 

gifs: tumblir.com, maxim.com, giphy.com

Simply Science: Why Meat Loaf Helps You Stay in Shape

Every morning I take a 10-mile run and immerse myself in the musical stylings of Kelly Clarkson for an hour or two. Actually, that’s completely false (just the first part), but I thought it was a fitting intro to this article about the relationships between music and working out.

Areas of research on workout music have been expanding in the past years. Many people acknowledge that they have a better experience working out to certain jams, but many don’t consider that their favorite workout playlist might actually be improving their workout performance.

Research has found that when listening to music, “people run father, bike longer and swim faster than usual.” Meatloaf_Program-297x300

The effect of any type of music varies with each respective person. Commonly, people find that songs with faster beats and more bass help them to “get pumped” (Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, III is my personal favorite). Though tempo is one of the main considerations when it comes to workout music, there are other factors that one should consider when determining an optimal workout selection. One of these factors is what scientists call “rhythm response”—basically a fancy way of saying “how much a song makes someone want to jitterbug” (or twerk…if you’re into that). Sometimes a person’s motivation might even be dependent on how much he or she identifies with the singer’s emotions.  It’s all really subjective.

Some psychologists, though, hypothesize that people have a natural preference for songs with rhythms of frequency 2 hertz, or 120 beats per minute. People often settle into rhythms of 120 bpm when walking or tapping their fingers. An analysis, “…of more than 74,000 popular songs produced between 1960 and 1990 found that 120 bpm was the most prevalent pulse.” 2 beats per second just seems like a rhythm that we, as humans, innately gravitate (and groove) towards. When running, however, 180 bpm appears to be the preference. Don’t be so eager to transform your playlists, though: research suggests that anything over 145 bpm doesn’t really do anything more for those abs—sort of like how any sunscreen over SPF 45 is somewhat trivially labeled.

To many scientists, “getting pumped” simply doesn’t suffice as a reason why music helps us exercise. Researchers have found that music specifically contributes to our ability to exercise more effectively by distracting us from pain and fatigue, elevating our mood, increasing our endurance, reducing perceived effort, and perhaps even promoting our metabolic efficiency.

Just for the record, Paradise by the Dashboard Light happens to be 180 bpm. For more (however inferior) 180 bpm song suggestions, go here.

The bottom line, though: Meat Loaf is a great diet choice.

Photo: www.addins.whig.com

Simply Science is a reoccurring post that aims to make recent scientific discoveries accessible and applicable to the Georgetown student.

When Owls Attack

I don’t run — I actually think running is hard and kind of boring. Why would I want to do that when I could be doing anything else? But as you runners pull up your Nike running shorts and put your iPods in those special velcro arm straps, take note: Running is dangerous, and I am being safer by opting out.

You’re probably looking at the Harry Potter picture, and then reading about my outlandish accusations about the danger of running, and thinking, what is this girl taking about? Fire her, editors!

Well, according to WTOP, some D.C. residents, who used to enjoy the beauty of Rock Creek Park for running and walking, have now been made the victims of owl attacks. That’s right, innocent runners have reported a series of owls swooping down at them, talons outstretched in full attack mode.

The Washington Post reports that many of the owl assailants may be owls that have been re-released into the wild after good samaritans brought them in as chicks. believing that baby owls have been abandoned. When the owls mature, they become too much for someone to handle in their house and are set back into the woods of Rock Creek. Without properly developed hunting skills, owls can sometimes confuse humans for a food source. Is that why they’re in full force attacking you runners? Who knows?

Most owl attacks have been reported in the pre-dawn or early morning hours. So, to avoid being attacked, run in the afternoon or early evening. And, keep in mind, no one (of yet) has been injured by these bizarre attacks. Still, be safe and keep your eyes peeled so you don’t end up with this swooping toward you. So, where will you be next time owls attack? Hopefully not near Rock Creek Park, that’s for sure.

Photo by: Bio-Aerial Locomotion, TikiTumble, Harry Potter Wiki

Where to Run in D.C.

Last week, The Hoya went for a run. We profiled the unique, almost obsessive, running culture in this city. Everywhere you go, people are running around, enjoying the great natural and architectural beauty this city has to offer. But, running doesn’t come so naturally for everyone. If you want to join in with the trend, we’ve got the tips and routes you need to look like a native when you run around town.

Where to start?

The best place for any new runner to start off is probably The Running Company at 3401 M Street. Inside, you’ll find everything from shoes to clothes and fancy GPS watches and pedometers to track your runs. The Running Company also hosts running events for those who need a group to motivate them to tie up their laces and hit the streets. Once you’ve got the attire, download the Map My Run app for your iPhone or Android. Start an account online and track your workouts. Map My Run has the added bonus of using GPS information to track you around on your cell phone. If you want to make running a social activity, consider joining the Georgetown Running Club or Georgetown Triathlon Team.

Where to go?

Part of the reason for D.C.’s obsessive running culture is the enormous network of running trails around town — many of which are within a couple-minutes run from the Hilltop. Here, we’ll highlight some great routes for anyone. Also, remember that the best part of running in D.C. is the ability to explore the city as much as you want to, without having to spend money. So strap on those running shoes, load Google Maps onto your phone, and explore beyond these options if you’re comfortable with it.

Teddy Roosevelt Island (3.5 miles): This is a great run for anyone just beginning in D.C. It’s quick, relatively flat (which is hard to get when you live at the top of a hill), and simple to navigate. In the map at left, I left from Leo’s through the canal road entrance, then crossed the street and headed across the Key Bridge. Take a left at the sidewalk just before the second stoplight (Lee Highway) and follow the running trail down to the parking lot. From there, take the footbridge across to the island and loop back the same way you came. You can lengthen or shorten the run by taking a longer or shorter loop on the island. There are also plenty of great rocks to rest on while taking in the view of a normally tranquil Potomac.

The Waterfront (4 miles): This is the prototypical D.C. run, and it’s again perfect for people who prefer flat runs. The other best part of running along the waterfront is the near-constant breeze coming up off of the Potomac to cool you off or wipe off your sweat. From the Front Gates, follow O Street to 34th or 33rd (either works) and follow the streets across M and then across the footbridges over the Canal until you hit Water Street or the Georgetown Waterfront Park. From there, it’s fairly simple: Just follow the Potomac until you reach the back of the Lincoln Memorial! To extend the run, keep following the river until you reach the Jefferson (which will make the round trip almost a 10k) or keep following Constitution Avenue to the White House. But don’t forget, the National Mall is a long stretch of green, so pace yourself and don’t get carried away.

Glover Park to Cleveland Park to Rock Creek Park (5.3 miles): This is hands-down my favorite D.C. run. But it’s only for those who like hills (you run up Wisconsin from Georgetown and then up and down a bit more in Cleveland Park). Also, this run illustrates my favorite thing about running in D.C. — you get to see so much within a short amount of time. In this short run, you pass embassies, the Naval Observatory, the National Cathedral and Dupont Circle, but then you escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a 1.3 mile stretch running through the amazingly beautiful Rock Creek Park. To run this route, start from the Front Gates and head to 35th Street. From there, hang a left and follow until you reach Wisconsin, which you follow uphill until Garfield Street. Take a right on Garfield and follow to Cleveland Avenue. Cleveland dead ends at Calvert Street, where you take a left. Then, take a right onto the footpath before you  reach Connecticut Avenue to enter Rock Creek Park. Follow the running path until the P Street bridge, and take P, Dumbarton, O or N back to Georgetown.

Photo credit: Sari Frankel/The Hoya