The Beginning Cyclist’s Guide to the Rules of the Road (and All Those Funny Hand Signals)

If you’ve started cycling to become a stronger runner, you’ve probably discovered the rules of the road are often confusing, misunderstood, and, sadly, ignored.

It isn’t out of spite — it’s usually just lack of knowledge. However, when cyclists don’t follow the laws, they don’t just put themselves at risk, they give a bad name to other cyclists.

You know how people are always bitchin’ about how cyclists think they own the road? This is what I’m talking about.

But most cyclists aren’t reckless asshats — and yet that stereotype about cyclists is prevalent in almost every community.

To help clear the air, I’ve invited Laura, badass triathlete from one of my favorite sites, Frayed Laces, to help me put together a primer on what you should know before you hit the road, whether on your own or in a group.

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Stuck Running on a Treadmill? Make the Most of It with These 3 Workouts

The dreadmill.

The hamster’s hell.

The death belt.

Geez. The way people talk about the treadmill, you’d think it was a medieval torture device. Mention a treadmill to a group of runners, and you’ll be met with a symphony of groans, accompanied by a list of why the treadmill sucks.

Because, really – the treadmill effin’ sucks. You don’t go anywhere cool, commune with flora and fauna, or feel the sun on your face. Nope. You get on the belt, turn it on, and run (and run, and run…for what feels like forEVER). The treadmill, essentially, has no benefit to anyone who wants to enjoy running.

Or does it?

If the treadmill sucks so much, why do so many exist?

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The One Thing Harder than Ironman

It was one year ago that I told you about Carlos and his cancer diagnosis. Many of you responded to “You Have to Fight” and the follow-up columns about him, “The One Word to Ignore” and “Out There: Never Stop Fighting” with an outpouring of support for him.

For weeks, I’ve been working on a one-year update for you. It’s been difficult to write — every time I sit down, I’m filled with tears, laughter, and pride for my best friend.

Recently, Carlos was asked to give a speech about his experience as a cancer fighter. As soon as I read it, I threw all of my drafts for this article away. No one can tell the story better than he can.

I am not here for pleasant conversation.

I write to you about things that happen to people — bad people and good people. Things that make some cry, and question life’s fairness and God’s existence. But it’s OK, because I know I am in good company. Many of you have likely gone through hell and back. I know, like you, how it feels being in pain, scared, hopeless, helpless, defeated, cheated, and alone.

But I also know we are made of some tough stuff. Every one of us is equipped to climb over obstacles. We are all made to fight and never give up.

One year ago

I was what people call “super-fit.” My sport makes regular people cry in pain just watching it on TV! Ironman consists of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then running 26.2 miles, a full marathon, in less than 16 hours. I have done this 13 times in races across the United States and Europe.

I was in the midst of training for yet another Ironman last April when I suddenly got sick. It wasn’t a gradual, progressive illness. One day I rode my bike for 6 hours, and the next I had emergency surgery. In an instant, everything changed.

One year ago, I was told that I had Stage IV colon cancer, the most advanced stage of cancer.

The tumors in my colon had metastasized to the lymph nodes and to the liver. With luck and chemotherapy every oncologist said I could live another year, but the odds of survival beyond that were slim. Liver surgery is an option for some with my cancer, but I was not a candidate for it, as I had too many tumors.

The doctors didn’t say it outright, but I could tell what they were thinking: Start writing your will.

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7 Great Ways to Pay it Forward (in Your Running Shoes)

Post written by Susan Lacke.

There’s an amazing camaraderie among runners that’s unlike what you’ll find almost anywhere else.

Tell someone you’re a runner, and often you’ll get back an excited, “me, too!” If I see someone wearing compression socks at the grocery store, I’ll talk his ear off about the 10-miler I just finished while I escort him to the coconut water.

Does it make me crazy? If I were an outsider, I’d say yes. But I know it just makes me one thing: a proud runner.

Sometimes, though, we get so hung up on our individual goals (PRs, BQs, LTs, and MHRs) that we forget we were once newbies to the sport, asking other runners for help.

Those runners paid it forward. They knew what it really means to be a runner, and it has nothing to do with PRs. It’s about being a role model in health and fitness and a member of this great, supportive community of runners.

So step outside of yourself for a moment and pay it forward — your fellow runners appreciate it, and you’ll build up good running karma. Here are seven great ways to do it:

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5 Ways Cycling Can Make You a Stronger Runner

Post written by Susan Lacke.

#5: The Brick Workout (which actually looks nothing like whatever it is she’s doing)

Admit it — you runners love to poke fun at us cyclists.

We’re dork-ish looking people in our helmets and padded-ass shorts who think it’s fun to spend hours pedaling away through roads and up mountains, pretending we’re in the Tour de France.

But those of us who both run and cycle know a secret: cycling helps make you a better runner.

Many runners turn to cycling after injury- that is, they’re forced into riding a bike to stay sane while rehabilitating a stress fracture or joint pain. However, they soon discover something remarkable when they return to running — cycling actually made them better than ever before!

How cycling can make you a better runner

If you’re a runner, you might want to consider joining the ranks of Lance wannabes. Even if you’re not injured, riding a bike is an excellent cross-training activity, one which can improve your running performance significantly. Here’s why:

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The Only Thing Stopping You is You

The boy who was born without a right hand and wanted to play baseball with his classmates.

He devised a one-armed throw/catch method, and when the other kids didn’t play with him, he practiced by throwing a baseball against a brick wall. Years later, that boy pitched in the Major Leagues and the United States Olympic team.

The musician who epitomized the rock-and-roll lifestyle, complete with frequent drug and alcohol use.

One morning, he put on a pair of running shoes for the first time and covered the miles back to his bike, which he had left at a bar the night before. He became a runner, and never touched alcohol or drugs again.

The junk-food addict who decided long ago her running days would never return. 

Today, she is one of the fastest female marathoners in the world, participating in the US Olympic Trials this month.

What’s your excuse? 

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A Thanksgiving Transformation: Katie’s Story

Meet Katie!

Last year, Katie Adzima’s Thanksgiving was filled with what so many of us love about the day: friends, family, football, and food.

Lots of food.

That day, before dinner, Katie noshed on chips, dips, and appetizers. When her aunt announced dinner was served, Katie giggled with glee as she ran through three full rooms of food – each room more delicious than the last. She loaded up with two full plates of dinner and then prepared to call it a day.

And then came the pies.

With a weakness for desserts, Katie dug in to eight pieces of pie. That one’s worth repeating: eight pieces of pie. In spite of her stomach ache, when her family rolled out a full Italian meal at 11 p.m., Katie loaded up again.

“I think I blacked out,” says Katie, “or that’s what I tell myself, because the next thing I know, I’m eating pasta.”

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Could You Be at Risk for Protein Deficiency? 6 Simple Rules for Protecting Yourself

Post written by Susan Lacke.

The doctor with the disheveled hair leaned in, inches away from my face:

“To be honest, Susan, I’m not really sure what to make of this.”

In her hand, she held the results of my lab tests. A lot of things were out of whack.

I had been feeling like absolute crap lately, but chalked it up to a heavy load of work, school, and Ironman training. All of a sudden, it looked more serious than that.

In the past, I had some major health problems, which contributed to my decision to become vegetarian, quit my unhealthy habits, and start running. As I sat in the doctor’s office that day, I began to question that – had all of my healthy activities been pointless? I considered picking up a pack of Marlboro Lights and a giant jug of wine on my way home to tell my partner, Neil, I was dying.

The doctor ordered more tests and told me to stop being a drama queen – it wasn’t time to jump to conclusions just yet.

The two words every vegetarian dreads

When I went back to the doctor the following week, I got the verdict: I wasn’t dying. But my diagnosis still didn’t give me much cause for celebration.

I had extreme protein deficiency.

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