Monday, March 30, 2009


loving mexico. i can't use a spanish keyboard too well, so there are no caps. ran today in the resort gym with a treadmill overlooking the carribean, picture later. it was fantastic, but i underestimated the humdity and sweated more than i have in ages. colorado is so dry and i forget that. tomorrow we will take the kids to swim with the dolphins and i'm hoping to fit in another sweaty workout if time permits. mostly we are stuffing our faces and getting lots of sun. colorado had a blizzard last week, so this is definitely a change of pace...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What To Read On The Beach

This post has nothing to do with running.

I am going to Mexico on Sunday. I am going to lay my ass on the beach and keep the bartenders busy. I need some book suggestions. Do you have a favorite beach book? It doesn't have to be chick lit (I'd kinda prefer it wasn't) and it doesn't have to be light and airy, but not so heavy I will go into a depression. I know you guys have some favorites. Please give me your top three!

And while we're on the subject of travel - what can't you live without when you leave town? For me it's my earplugs and a good book (and these days, my running shoes).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Climbing Sucks

Today's run: 14.5 miles/2:21/9.7 min pace

Erin and I went to do a trial run on the half marathon course we'll be running in April. This course was a bitch. So much treacherous climbing in the foothills outside of Ft. Collins, CO. And while it was scenic, it was intense. That's all I can say. By the end, my glutes and hams were screaming at me. STOP STOP. I swear, I felt more pain in my legs than after my marathon. It didn't help that we took a wrong turn and ended up going 1.5 miles out of our way, climbing a 9% grade hill. Here's the course so you can see for yourself what we were dealing with:

I am just hoping for decent weather on race day. In April, Colorado can get a ton of snow (it's one of our snowiest months). Running this thing in snow would add a whole new dimension.

All and all, I'm glad we did a trial run so we can know what to anticipate come race day. I think that really helps mentally. Also, it was completely beautiful, although I was having to concentrate so much o the climbing that I couldn't take in all of the beauty. the best part of the race is that it ends at the New Belgium Brewery (Fat Tire micro brew) and there is supposed to be an awesome post race party. Something to look forward to while I'm hurting on those hills.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spittin' Loogies

Today's run: 6.0 miles/:55 mins/9.1 min pace

I was running on the dreadmill at the gym today and two things came to mind:

1. After running on an incline for most of my workout, I wondered why there isn't a treadmill that you can decline on. That is, go downhill. It would be kind of complicated because you would need an opening in the floor underneath where the treadmill could lower to simulate a downhill. Kind of like when you get your oil changed and there is that opening underneath your car. What goes on down there anyway. Just a thought.

2. Going to the gym and people-watching is a funny thing because people bring all their personal workout habits to a public space. Like all that grunting and heavy breathing that goes on. And the flatulence. But today's favorite was that the guy next to me brought a trash can over by his treadmill and proceeded to hawk up loogies and spit them into the trash can the whole time. Really pretty gross. You know I am a big spitter when I run and for some reason if I was running with him outside, this probably wouldn't bother me, but seeing it in the gym grossed me out.

So..tomorrow Erin and I are going to Ft. Collins to run the half marathon course in preparation for our race in a month. We are both feeling we need to do this because we are kind of mentally psyched out by all of the climbing involved. We want to know more of what to expect. One thing that certainly freaked me out is that today on the treadmill I put it on a 9.5% grade just to get the idea of what that felt like. And it felt like SHIT. I'm not sure how I will run up that for two miles. Any advice for hills and climbing??

I need new shoes. I like my New Balances okay and they have gotten me through my training and my first marathon, but I could have a better fit. What brand/type do you love? Anyone tried the new Under Armours?

As always love your feedback!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nation's Capital

Today's run: 7.02 miles/1 hour/8.41 pace

The thing (or one of the things) I love about running is you can do it anywhere. Just remember to pack the shoes, Ipod, Garmin, shorts and you're off. This weekend I am visiting D.C. and took a run on a trail that runs from N. Virginia to downtown. I ran 7 miles on this trail and enjoyed the change of scenery and people from Colorado. Do you run when you travel? If so, do you brave the streets and trails or use the hotel gym for your workout?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pre-Marathon Advice, Please!

Today's run: 10.47 miles/1:32 mins/8.51 avg pace/904 cals

Clair N. posted some great pre-marathon questions as a comment on my blog today. Having only run one marathon, I can give my two cents, but would love some feedback from you all more experienced marathoners:

Question #1: What to eat in the week/days leading up to a marathon?

I took advice from the Ultramarathon Man ("50 Marathons in 50 Days") on this one. I do think it helped me during my run. Usually I am a GI mess when I run longer than ten miles, but during my marathon I had none of that and had only one pit stop (just to pee). Also my energy was good for the entire race. This is what I followed:

Question#2: What to wear.

Running through the Colorado winter I learned a lot about layering. I also learned that it is much better to start out cool/cold and warm up than to overdress. Starting temp for my marathon in Phoenix in January was 40*. I brought throw away clothes that I discarded on the sidelines once the run started. My rule of thumb is that if it's going to be an average of 50* or higher, go with the shorts and minimal layers that you can toss.

Question #3: To iPod or not to iPod.

I was dead set on not using my iPod during the marathon. Felt like I might want to be social and I'd want to take in the sights and sounds of the experience (hah, hilarious I know). When I told Ken this the night before, he looked at me like I'd lost my mind. He kindly reminded me I would be running for at least four hours, and that I might like the option of music. I took my shuffle with me tucked in the teeny front pocket of my running shorts (I'm kind of anti fuel belt if I can get away with it). It was the best decision ever. I found the last thing I wanted to do was to be social or to take in the sights and sounds after about mile seven. That's when the headphones went on. I swear, repaying Green Day, AC/DC, etc saved my ass and kept my energy up.

Any advice for Clair on these issues (or any others)? She is running the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Well, It Kinda Looks Like a Goiter

I'm copying chicrunner. I need help naming my Garmin. Please vote:

In my ongoing quest to find healthy eating choices that fuel my body and don't give me the runs (but help me run), here's an exceptional recipe I tried for lunch today. I used whole wheat pasta.

Roasted Butternut Squash Over Pasta

Roasted Vegetables
3 to 3½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 big handfuls of escarole or spinach, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
8 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar, tightly packed

1 pound bow-tie pasta
½ cup half-and-half
1 to 1½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Toss together all items for roasted vegetables. Turn veggies onto sheet pan; spread out. Bake for 25 minutes or until tender, turning veggies two or three times. Once squash is tender, broil for 5 minutes or until edges of squash are crusty and greens are wilted, turning vegetables often. 3. Scrape everything into serving bowl.
4. Boil water, add pasta; cook until tender. Drain.
5. Add half-and-half, pasta and cheese to veggies. Toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 4–6


Monday, March 16, 2009

Running to Stand Still

6.54 miles/:56 mins/8.46 pace

It's true that things hardly ever go as planned. What's the quote about making plans and God laughing? This evening Erin and I were to take a long trail run (10 miles) at Hall Ranch in Lyons, CO. It's 72* here today, and with the time change, I was looking forward to a late afternoon/evening run in the hills. Just about the time the mountain lions emerge. Erin called this afternoon and had forgotten about a meeting she needed to attend. She has a real job, unlike me, so these things need to be taken seriously.

On to plan B. It was 1:30pm, giving me just enough time to get in a run by myself before the kids got out at 3pm. I headed out towards the foothills and started cussing. The wind was ridiculous. As in, you're running and practically standing still. Isn't there a U2 song about that? "She's running to stand still" or something...I'm looking at my Garmin and seeing my pace at a nine minute mile and I'm pissed!

There is truly nothing more frustrating than wind. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I kept thinking that at least the run back would be quicker/easier, as long as the wind didn't shift and start blowing the other direction. I remember once Ken and I rode our bikes about 25 miles east of Boulder, fighting the wind the whole way. We knew, however, that the ride back would be swift and easy. That is until we turned around to find that the wind had switched direction and we had to fight it AGAIN the whole way back to Boulder. I actually think I ended up in the ER that night, dehydrated.

Anyway, I'm happy to say, that the wind worked in my favor on the way back, but I was so spent from fighting it on the way out that I felt like crap. Plus, I'm not used to running in warmer weather (and yes, 72* is considered very warm in CO) and I had no water. I was wasted by the time I reached the car. Not one of my favorite runs.

I had low energy, both physically and mentally on this run, so I'm going to do my inventory from last week:

how much sleep the night before - 9 hours, pretty decent
what is my mood today - upbeat, optimistic
any aches or pains - nope
what is the weather - see above
what did I have for dinner last night - ate out at favorite restaurant - felafel wrap
did I have alcohol last night - yes, 1 beer & 1 glass wine
what time of day did I run - see above
what did I have for breakfast - peanut butter/honey on wheat
what was the course like - gradual climb for first half

See? This doesn't make sense. Given the above, I should have had a decent run. I can't make rhyme or reason of any of this. I'm going to start going to bed late, eating pop tarts for breakfast, and being in a bad mood. I truly think part of the problem is that I do my best running in the morning. Afternoons I tend to have low energy and stomach issues from having eaten lunch. It's all I can figure.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Free Entree

Kashi, one of my favorite makers of healthy frozen foods, is offering a great coupon this month. Go to for your coupon for a free entree.

Talk about runner's gaffes. This was funny. I was on the treadmill at the gym keeping a nice 6.8 mph pace. After 30 minutes I wanted water, but didn't want to slow down. It's not easy to pick up a nalgene bottle, take off the top, and drink while running. I thought I could do it but was proven wrong when I spilled water down my front and dropped the top of the bottle. It hit the belt of the treadmill, ricocheted into he window, bounced off and hit the guy on the treadmill next to me. He let out a little scream, but overall took it pretty well. Lesson learned - either bring a bottle with a straw, slow down or refrain from drinking.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What Feeds You?

I think the Garmin makes me faster. Being able to check my pace all the time makes me want to challenge myself. Today I had a PR - 6.3 miles in 52:30 (an 8.1 min/mile pace).

I've been reading a lot of blogs about what fuels people when they run. Makes me think I should keep a running journal just to see if there are any parallels on the days when I feel better and stronger.. I'm not talking just food and liquid intake, but also lifestyle issues such as:
  • how much sleep the night before?
  • what is my mood today?
  • any aches or pains?
  • what is the weather?
  • what did I have for dinner last night?
  • did I have alcohol last night?
  • what time of day did I run?
  • what did I have for breakfast?
  • what was the course like?
Considering these criteria, I'll look at today's run:
  • Slept very poorly last night. Slept 10-12, then restless and awake until 3 am. Then slept 3:00-7:00 a.m.
  • My mood was just so-so today. Tired from little sleep.
  • No aches or pains (at least something's going right on this list)
  • Weather was 45 degrees, dry, overcast. A chilly start, but I warmed up.
  • Dinner last night: we ate out at a brewery so I ate like crap - wings, ribs, biscuit, Cole slaw, sweet potato fries
  • Alcohol last night: 2 microbrews (Gordons IPA from Oskar Blues). Amazingly smooth and tasty beer, but also the reason that I slept poorly and woke up tired
  • I ran at 11:30 a.m.
  • I had 1/2 a banana and a blueberry cereal bar for breakfast
  • Course was flat. No hills. Not discouraging. Also, no wind.
There's not much redeeming about the above except that I had no aches or pains and the course was flat. Otherwise it seems I would have been set up for a lousy run. And it turned out to be decent: I had good energy and lots of motivation. I cannot make rhyme or reason of this. The only thing I know for sure is that the less in my stomach when I run, the better. By the end of this run, however, I was FAMISHED. Came home and wolfed down pasta and salad.

What are your common denominators for strong runs? Certain foods? Your mood? Good sleep?

Different subject: DWTS starts tonight. I have never watched this show, but with all the fanfare (I am a sheep) I'm going for it. I do like Shawn Johnson and used to be huge Go Gos fan, so Belinda C. should be fun. And I saw Chuck Wicks in concert a few months back (he opened for Brad Paisley) and while I'm not a huge fan, it'll be fun to see if the boy can dance.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Natural Gas

It's true. You never know what you'll get on a run. The weather may change from sunshine and warmth to wind and rain. That breakfast burrito you ate earlier in the day might come back to haunt your GI tract. Who knows??

Today was such a run. Erin (former marathon Team in Training team-mate) and I met at her house. She said there were some trails nearby that all connected and would take us out for at least ten miles. We started out just fine. About three miles in Erin realized we had missed a turn, so we back-tracked. Despite the "no trespassing" and "private property signs", we shimmied between the barbed wire on a fence and continued on a dirt road. I asked her if this was right, being private property and all. She said she thought, "yes." I noticed a sign signifying "Danger! Natural Gas Pipeline," and thought that we were probably not on an official trail head (we already had enough natural gas without the pipeline, by the way). We continued on. At about four miles, the trail ended. We scaled another fence, keeping our eyes on a school up ahead that we recognized. We dodged prairie dog holes and ended up scaling a few huge boulders to try jumping down to another trail. We crossed over some cow fields, leaping over big cow pies, and finally found ourselves on a recognizable road. Only one more barbed wire fence and we were home free. We were at the five mile point. We stopped for a Gu and water. Erin was apologizing. I didn't really care. It was a nice day and we were getting the miles in.

We headed back towards Erin's house and decided to do some hill training. We sprinted up a .5 mile hill, ran down, sprinted back up a bit faster, ran down. Our total mileage was 9.02 miles. Thanks Garmin.

I was glad I had the Garmin. There was no way to figure what the length of that route was without it.

I know I should eat some high carb thing after a run to replenish muscle groups, etc. Instead after these morning runs, I get a large coffee. Lots of cream. Bad, I know. Later for lunch I had steak and lentils, so that should make up for things (maybe?). I know you supposedly have a short window to give your body food to help you recover. I need to get better about that. This girl LOVES her coffee.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Answer, My Friend, Is Spittin' In the Wind

You were all right! So were those reviewers on The Garmin Forerunner 205 rocks! I know, I know. I'm such a novice. So many of you have been running with these types of watches for ages, but I'm new to running so this thing is like having my first tape recorder when I was ten. It's astounding, exciting!

It's every bit as big as I thought it would be. I can't wait for my left arm to bulk up from wearing it on long runs. I will be known as the asymmetrical chick around town.

I took my first short run with it yesterday and loved having the stats right at my fingertips:

40:30 mins
4.78 miles
8.46 pace
416 calories burned

That thing has enough of a presence and will become enough of a part of my life that it needs a name. Any ideas? Mitch? Hank?

So yesterday's run - had to get out of the house. It was day #3 of being with sick child. So when my eleven year old got home at 3pm, I took off, not realizing how hard the wind was blowing. Of all weather things, wind is the worst for me (well wind and snow might be worse). The only redeeming quality about running in the wind is that when I spit, it flies away from my body (providing I remember to not spit into the wind) instead of landing on my shirt. I realized two things about myself when I started running 1)I need to spit a lot when I run 2)I suck at spitting. Most people (esp. guys who have been spitting their whole lives) can project nice and neat lines of spit. Not me. They end up on my shoulder, on my face or down the front of what I'm wearing. Just an observation. Don't even get me started on farmer's blows.

During the run I played around with some fartleks. I still think that's the craziest word. I read a story in Runner's World last month about a program called "Back on My Feet," that encouraged homeless men to start running and training for a half marathon. It made me laugh cause one of the guys mistakenly called the fartlek the "buttlick." Great story, by the way if you have time to read it.

Thanks for all the feedback on weight gain while training. My friend and resident sport's physiologist, Macker, had some really good points I hadn't thought about. Increased glycogen stores and increased muscle mass. That and increased intake of Jelly Bellies and German chocolate cake.

So tomorrow my running buddy, Erin, and I are hoping to get in a long run (10-13 miles). It's supposed to be 40 and maybe snowing, so could be a cold one. A thought - does anyone know if the Garmin shows temperature? Does it have a built in heater?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Where's Fed Ex?

My new Garmin should come today. I am counting down the hours. Fedex: usually around 4:37 p.m.

My son looked at the pictures on of the watch. He laughed his ass off. It looks pretty ridiculous on the wrist (so big) but I don't care. I can't wait. I would have loved to have it on my trail run the other day 'cause I got lost a few times and wanted to know my actual mileage. And like I said before, if I fell or got eaten by a mountain lion, I was hoping my link to the sky and the satellite (however that works) would save me. Just see Mall Cop if you don't believe me.

I am stir crazy this week. The weather in CO has been absolute perfection for running. I, however, have been stuck inside with a sick child. I worked out to a DVD yesterday (Jillian's Shred - she just yelled at me the whole time, but good workout). Today I am bound and determined to get out in the sunshine. The kids have a "late start" day today (they don't start until 10:30 a.m. due to teacher planning or partying or something). Em is still sick but I think Sam can hold the fort down for an hour while I run. I'm sure an 11 year old could do the Heimlich if necessary.

Two subjects I've had on my mind: a friend of mine who is training for a marathon said she has gained four pounds. Why is it that in intense running training you sometimes gain weight? I know it is muscle, but you are also burning a tremendous amount of calories, so what the hell? I'm luckily and naturally thin (don't hate me - I have really small boobs and am not especially pretty), so I don't run to lose weight, but just curious. Second issue: I was part of Team in Training but now that is over and I find myself without a team, a coach or a group to run with. How do you find such a thing??

Input..input..please comment...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

On the Trail I get it. That is, why so many people like trail running. I haven't done much of this in the past, just some trails in Boulder while training for my marathon.

Today, in the interest of preparing for the Horsetooth Half Marathon in Ft. Collins, CO in April, I figured I needed to get in some serious elevation gain. I've heard the Horsetooth half can be kind of a bitch - it starts out with a 6.4% then 9.2% grade hill for two miles. Total elevation gain in just these two miles is 500 ft. That's a lot for someone like me who finds 30 seconds at a 5% grade on the treadmill challenging.

I did today's run at Rabbit Mountain, which is a trail head outside of Lyons, CO. It's mostly known for hiking and mountain biking. It's a pretty scenic site coming up the trail head as Rabbit Mountain is an uplift of sedimentary rock that was formed when much of the Great Plains consisted of an inland sea. Ken and the kids came along to hike while I ran.

The route took me up a very steep 4x4 road for the first 1/2 mile. I then veered off on a single track and very rocky trail for 2.5 miles. I ended up back at the 4x4 road and got onto another trail that headed straight up. This one was incredibly rocky and I almost lost my footing several times. This area is very known for rattlesnakes and mountain lines and that combined with almost biting it made me think I should have brought my phone. There were very few people out there and absolutely no runners. I was wondering if when I wear my GPS watch I can be located if I got lost or hurt. Like in Mall Cop, since that was such a realistic movie.

It occurred to me as I took in vast views of Longs Peak and the continental divide how what I was doing at that exact moment was combining two things I love: running and Colorado. Being away from the cars and the asphalt and out in the open space was amazing and inspiring all at once. One of the cool things about this trail run was that it was so incredibly rocky that you couldn't go too fast. I was so focused on my footing that I forgot to feel tired. I also loved that I couldn't go any faster, because usually during my runs I beat myself up for not going fast enough. In total it was six miles, but I definitely felt these miles were harder earned than the ones I do on the paths and streets near my house.
It's runs like this that remind me so much why I love running: the simplicity of it, the meditative quality of it, the ability to go almost anywhere (geographically and in your mind).