Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gatorade Sucks, Wine Doesn't

She may call herself a regular girl who is trying to be extraordinary, but I can’t find anything “regular” about Angel Stone. This chick, who authors the blog Fit and Hungry, rivals even me when it comes to sassiness. A personal trainer and triathlete, Angel is nothing if not real. So, when she contacted me wanting to do an interview, I gladly obliged. Angel’s unique and provocative questions were a breath of fresh air.

Take a look at the finished product appropriately titled, “Gatorade Sucks, Wine Doesn’t: An interview with Beth Risdon.” You might even learn something new about yours truly and why I show you naked pictures of me in the tub.

Click HERE.

Monday, August 30, 2010

You Might As Well Jump

Tonight’s conversation:

Ken: So, when are you going to jump out of a plane with me?

Me: Well, ummm, don’t we have to give a lot of notice?

Ken: No. Just a week or so.

Me (sighing in a big way): Okay, dammit. You suck. Let’s pick a weekend.

Depending on whether you’re new or not to Shut Up and Run, you may remember that for our 15th anniversary in June Ken gave us both a tandem skydiving jump (also the same night a bat jumped into my crotch). Thing is, I thought I might get out of this. I mean – Dean Karnazes and skydiving and gum surgery all in one month? Holy crap my pants.

But, I made a promise. And it’s paid for. And there is a video waiting to be shot of me jumping from 15,000 feet, so I guess it needs to happen. I will wear a Depends under my skydiving outfit because who knows what’s going to squirt out in fear.

Two airplanes maybe? Just so we don’t leave the kids orphaned? That way if Ken goes first and *splats* or the plane crashes I just won’t do it. The kids will still have one parent. See how considerate I am?

What are you doing this month to step outside of your comfort zone?

Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure.  ~Author Unknown

I guess skydiving might be the one thing you don’t want to “fail” at.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Slow Down or Pay

Okay -  who is going to take the plunge and get me to 700 followers?? You know you want to be #700. Give into the temptation.

You know how people say, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”?

I think that’s crap. I totally recommend biting off more than you can chew if it’s your favorite kind of cake, cookie or donut. If, however, you are taking bites of canned and soggy French cut green beans or yesterday’s egg salad sandwich that you left under the seat of your car, forget it.

This month I have completely bitten off more than I can chew. But, being of the black and white cookie variety with frosting (God, I love those), I have done it willingly and with zest. I am all about taking on too much it is indeed the stuff that I am passionate about and that which keeps me feeling alive.

We are all busy, I know. Just ask your friend how he/she is and they will commonly sigh and answer, “Busy,” or “Spread too thin.” It almost seems to have become a competition about who can be the busiest. I am a firm believer that if we are crazy busy it’s usually because we’ve made choices to be there. Thus, stop yer bitchen (SYB).

Sure - work, kids, and life are busy regardless, but all of the extra time we spend on texting, blogging (indeed), surfing the ‘net, and all the other stuff we cram into the “empty” spaces in our day do pile on. Not to mention all the garbage we say yes to when we really mean no (soggy green beans).

Instead of saying, “I’m busy”, I choose to say, “My life is very full.” Somehow that puts a positive spin on it and makes it seem as if the things I am busy with are the things I love. Which is the truth.

But, back to the past several weeks. How did I think I was going to cram in Running a Day with Dean Karnazes, training for that Running a Day with Dean (and my upcoming marathon), running a half marathon, being the logistical coordinator for a 1, 200 person 5K in Denver (with Ms. Jill’s help), working my part time job, being a loving and available mom who doesn’t strangle her children, and existing as a devoted wife?  I thought I could do this because I’m demented. I have an elevated perception of what I can handle. Lesson learned.

I did survive. Last week was a blur of handling 60 volunteers, stuffing 1,200 goody bags, and driving to and from Denver. Yesterday (with the help of practically every family member and friend I have plus many extra blogger friends and selfless individuals) we successfully pulled off the Skirt Chaser 5K in 95 degree heat. I was there for 12 hours. On my feet. Bossing people around. Sweating.

Things got remarkably better around 5:30pm when the beer started flowing (Jamoosh - Dales Pale Ale and Mama’s Little Yellow Pils by Oskar Blues). I had three. My bossiness got sloppy yet more laid back. I danced with my kids. I just found out volunteer Lynne (who is a hoot, loved meeting her!) caught a site of me dancing (I’m blushing) and posted this video and a great race recap on her blog (that’s my mini-me dancing in the pink skirt up front):

I never said I had rhythm. Lay off.

My favorite thing about the race besides the beer, great volunteers and dancing with Sam and Emma? Porta potties that flushed. Best invention ever. Not sure where the shit went, but it went. Weird how when you into a porta potty your mind screams “Do not look down!”, but you are grossly drawn to the shit-filled hole. Kinda like a car wreck. With the flushers, no car wreck.

It didn’t hurt to get a paycheck at the end of the day too.

All of this action, lack of sleep and physical activity has taken it’s toll. I am fatigued.  I have a huge cold sore on my lip. I have to have gum surgery on Wednesday to remove some cysts in my upper mouth. I had the major squirts on Friday and while running I actually had to squat in a gathering of low bushes along a busy road because it was either that or down my leg. Those construction workers are still talking about it over their salami sandwiches and Lays chips.

My newest ailment? I woke up this morning with a numb left hand. Not completely numb, just from my wrist to my thumb and forefinger. I am pretty sure it is not a stroke because I did an 11 mile trail run and am feeling fine. But it is something not normal that probably warrants a visit to the doc. Anyone ever have this? You know I’ve already Google-diagnosed and it’s not pretty.

I am disintegrating a bit, but I will persevere. When your body says “Woah” you need to listen loud and clear. I’m listening now. I swear.

Thanks volunteers!! You made the day a success and I loved meeting you all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Don’t Take It Personally

Recently, Angel at Fit and Hungry interviewed me (full interview to come on her site soon). One of the many insightful questions she asked was, “Soon your daughter will be at the age when looks mean everything. Her friends and the media will pressure her to be a certain size and/or envy the people who are that size. What will be your message to her?”

It’s a great question, and you’ll have to read the interview to see how I answered. But, take a look at this one minute video for some insight on the issue:

Moving on…

Ever have those runs where all is right in the world? The wind is at your back carrying you up hills. The air is distinctly clear affording you wonderful views of mother nature. The temperatures have just the slightest hint of fall. The quiet dirt back roads lead to nowhere and everywhere. Possibility abounds. Magical moments occur you enter an effortless zone, where you almost forget you are running  (I said moments. Not miles).

I had one of these rare runs yesterday.

During those six miles, three unrelated things surfaced:

1. A curiosity:

Ever been running, coming up to someone who is walking towards you and when you get to that moment when you are passing them you do the runner’s wave and maybe say, “good morning”? Ever have that person stare you up and down and completely ignore you?

It happens to me a lot. What I don’t understand is how one person can can reach out with a greeting and the other person can make eye contact and not say anything. It’s rude. The only way this would be acceptable is:

  • They are so struck by my beauty and grace it renders them speechless (not likely)
  • My boob is hanging out again rendering them speechless (at the sheer petite size)
  • They cannot speak due to a medical or mental health condition
  • They are blind
  • They are blind and cannot speak due to a medical or mental health condition
  • They come from some culture where it’s illegal to respond back to a greeting
  • They don’t like runners or me, specifically
  • They are angry, sad, annoyed and it has nothing to do with me.

I learned long ago that it’s a good idea to not take things personally. Certainly there is a time and a place to take things personally like when you cut someone off in traffic and they give you the finger. That finger is for you and you should absorb it and learn from it. But, most of the time when people are cranky and belligerent it has more to do with what's going on with them than you.

What do you think?

2. An observation:

My pace to the beat of the Ramone’s Blitzkrieg Bop is exactly 8:30. I’m going to play this song 105 times during my marathon to keep my stride. Try it. See what yours is.

3. An epiphany:

In the words of SUAR (Shut Up and Run): You do what the day demands.

You plan to run 6 miles. Therefore, 6 miles is what you feel you can do that day. You plan to run 20 miles, and suddenly 20 miles is what you can do that day. For me, my mind sets into motion the expectation for the run and that becomes my ability on that particular run. I don’t really want to go further and I don’t want to do less.

Not greatly profound, but just something that dawned on me.

Don’t take it personally.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Gets You Noticed?

Here is an anonymous comment in response to my last post:

“Well behaved women never make history. So if you're a well behaved woman, that's okay but you gotta be a badass every once in awhile to get noticed.”

Do you agree?

My favorite source of information, the Urban Dictionary, defines a badass as: 1. adjective. having extremely favorable qualities 2. adjective. pertaining to a person or thing that is rugged, strong, and/or ready to show these qualities.

Seems it’s a matter of being a  badass and of finding a way to be memorable. What makes someone memorable in a badassness kind of way?

  • Kindness (Mother Theresa)
  • Controversy (Susan B. Anthony)
  • Courage (Harriett Tubman)
  • Intelligence (Margaret Thatcher)
  • Progressiveness (Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • Authenticity (Oprah)
  • Sarcasm/potty mouthness/irreverence (Shut Up and Run)

Countless other women and corresponding adjectives are left off the list, but you get the idea.

I see the common denominator as being that these women were risk takers. They were willing to to step outside of their comfort zones.  They did great things and were noticed for them because they deserved it. In my book that’s a pretty favorable quality.

Do you have to be a badass to be noticed?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I’m a Badass Too

I’ve decided that sometimes you have to conclude you are good enough. You have to stop comparing.

Since my big run with Dean I’ve been following his runs with other partners along this multi day race (yes, he’s cheating on me). Yesterday he ran with AJ Johnson who is a professional triathlete. AJ’s done something like 15 Ironmans. Oh, big deal. I could so do that if I wanted to. Descriptions of AJ involved the words “tough,” “badass,” and “invincible.” Adjectives to describe me were more like “smiling,” “talented” and “earthy.” All perfectly good words to describe me, right?

At first I felt like the training bra to the double D brassiere. The Cornish game hen to the Thanksgiving turkey. The warm up band to U2.

No one made me feel this way but me. Dean was more than encouraging and complimentary about my capabilities, as were the Gore-Tex folks. It’s just my hang up.

I know I’m not an elite athlete. I know I’ll never win races or be the fastest one out there. I know that, and yet sometimes I feel inferior for not be being more. Do you?

What I decided today is – no more. We have to put things into context. For being 43 and only having run for two years, I’m doing pretty damn good. I’m going to take my achievements as mine. They are not to be overshadowed by anyone. Being successful is not about being the fastest or strongest one out there. It’s about your heart and your spirit. What attitude and energy do you greet the day with? Who do you touch along the way? Where did  you start and where are you now? Did you give it everything you had?

These are the things that define us. Not our pace. Not our PR. I’m pretty sure when I’m on my death bed I won’t be thinking about if I PR’d at that last half marathon. God, I hope that’s not what I’m thinking.

I ran 20.85 miles with Dean Karnazes. Could he have gone faster and further? Definitely. Did he put one foot in front of the other for all of those miles like I did? Absolutely.  Do I believe him when he says he had a great day with me? You bet.

I’m going to own that. Plus, he posted this picture on his Facebook wall, which makes me giddy. And I didn’t see AJ, the badass, on there. I’m just sayin’.


PS: My friend, Clair, at Own Your Backbone is having a $40 CSN Giveaway. Check it out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

TransRockies Race Report – the Rest of the Story (video)

At dinner last night:


Sorry about the last teaser post, but I’ve got so much to share and so many photos…needed to break it up. Plus, I’m behind with work stuff and house stuff and it’s all I had time for at the moment!! Oh, how I wish I could just blog the days away, and do little else.

Now that I’ve written this novel, you better read the whole damn thing. Go grab a beer, smoke, vibrator, whatever will keep you focused.

Before I get started on this long and drawn out journey, I will answer what you all want to know. Did I crap myself? No. In fact, not so much as a skid. My stomach behaved better than it ever has on any run. And let me tell you, this was actually the longest run I have ever been on in my life, including the marathons. It took us 4:35 to cross the finish line for a total of 20.85 miles. This is actually a pretty respectable time for this race!  I will say I did not pee from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Can I get a shout out for DEHYDRATION!?  But I am alive. And I don’t even hurt today!

So, when we left off, Dean and I had just crossed the start line. He told me a bit about the course and how the last four miles were pretty brutal since it would be scathingly hot by that time and it was a gradual climb to the finish. Brutal for him means deathly for me. He suggested conserving a bit for the first half, which was fine by me.  It was a single track, straight up. People were walking parts of it. It wasn’t until we got on a wider straightaway that we found our stride. Dean kept telling me to lead the way and set the pace. Being very new to trail running, I knew this would be a long and challenging day for me.

Some of you with the eagle eye noticed I wasn't wearing trail running shoes. Yep, that’s right. I only found out about this race a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never been a trail runner or worn trail shoes. I bought some, but they didn't work out and I simply did not have time to break in any others. If I was going to be a rookie on the trail, I was going to do it up right in my Mizuno Inspire road shoes. Hell yeah!! I also didn’t have a fancy hydration pack, poles, compression socks, dirty girl gaiters or any of the other stuff the cool kids were wearing. I probably would have gotten picked last on the gym team that day. And beat up later.

The race format is that you run with a partner and you stay with that person the whole race. No running ahead if you’re feeling stronger. You’ve always got your partner nearby. That meant that for the whole race Dean had to slow to my sorry-ass pace. I know there were times when he really wanted to take off, but he just kept saying he was having a great time and enjoying not racing for once. I wonder if he rolled his eyes behind my back. Except he never was behind my back.  He did comment once that it was harder to run “this way” (meaning slow – occasional walking up the steep parts) because he had a tough time settling into a cadence. I personally messed up Dean’s cadence. I might have to get that made into a bumper sticker.

After running uphill for what seemed like a very long time, I looked at my Garmin. 2.19 miles. Are you freaking kidding me? The trail was very sandy making it hard to get your footing. The sun was heating up and the route was exposed with very little shade. This part of the state is quite arid with cactus and sage along much the of the way. We climbed and climbed and climbed. Dean and I talked about all kinds of stuff – training, marathoning, jobs, Greece. There was a lot of time to just shoot the shit. Probably around mile five I forgot that he was DEAN and not just another person. The conversation drifted to our families, future goals, etc.

When I got really winded and tired he would start telling me stories about races he’d run. It was a good distraction. Dean’s stories are not like most people’s stories. If you talk about running the Hood to Coast Relay (197 miles) on a 10 person team, he talks about doing it solo. If you talk about running in heat and sand he talks about running hundreds of miles in the Sahara desert through knee deep sand and 125 degree temperatures over several days. And winning. His legs and overall muscles were also a distraction. I had a lot of time to watch these body parts on the trail since he was in front of me. He is one BIG ASS muscle.


The climb to the first check point at mile 7 was a bitch for me. Very steep. I simply had to walk parts of it. At this point I was mentally in the toilet. I was tired, hot and psyched out about having so far to go. It was freaking 92 degrees! But I didn’t come to this race to bitch and complain. I knew I could do it. I just had those moments you have in a race where you feel kind of hopeless and discouraged. I continued to take my electrolyte tabs, which I think saved me in the end.

At the top of the climb was the blessed check point. I poured water on my head. I drank GU Brew and took in some GU Chomps. I realized that Dean had not been drinking anything on the trail and very little at the aid station. I think he had a half a banana. I asked him about it. He said he doesn’t drink much when he runs because he doesn't feel the need for it and doesn't sweat a lot. WTF? Here I am sucking on my Camelbak, huffing and puffing, pouring sweat. This guy really is superhuman. Believe me when I tell you that. He is also one of the nicest people on the planet. He was kind, patient, easy on the eyes. Overall he exuded great energy. And muscles. Did I mention muscles?

The next few miles were a breeze. Mostly downhill, no sand. Then we started the up and downhills that would take us to checkpoint two at 14 miles. I had some tough moments along this part too, but once I hit the half way mark, I started to perk up. I love being just beyond the half way mark!! It is when you are closer to the finish than to the start. When you can taste the end.

The rest of the miles ticked by in a haze of conversation, gunning up hills, and sweat. At the last aid station I had some Coke (as in cola. I already did my cocaine that morning) – something I’ve never done, but with only 4 miles to go I didn’t give a shit. If I puked or crapped, so be it. A volunteer poured ice water down my back. Dean suggested stuffing ice into my sports bra like he’s seen some elite women do. Since I’m so elite, I did it too. If only. I have to give a shout out to the support along this race. The nicest and most helpful people. When you came into a check point they would ask what you needed and take over from there – filling your Camelbak, getting you e-caps, you name it. They were a real energy booster!

I only farted loudly once and it was when he was telling someone a story about the Big Sur Marathon. I don’t think anyone heard it.

Coming into the finish:      

Call me fist pump Beth. I’m so cool:     




Pointing at my boob:


The guy in the white sunglasses is running with Dean on Stage 2. Check out that bicep:


Sitting in the river post race. SO cold – better than an ice bath. I bet those guys’ balls were shriveled to nothing:


Pus anyone?


Told you it was hot. Gross. I came home and poured this into my salt shaker:


At the camp for the race. Tent city. I was glad to be going home to my bed:



My biggest fan. Couldn’t do any of this without him!


The kids getting ready to try the Gore-Tex wind and water proof gear in the rain/wind booth:



With the kids at the end. He was so sweet with them. Signed their shirts and books, told them he wanted to run with them if they ever came to San Francisco:


A HUGE thanks to Gore-Tex, Outside PR (Kelly and Devon - we love you!!) and Dean for giving me such a great day. And the schwag ain’t too bad either (Timex watch, gloves, jacket, tech shirt, coffee mug, shoe warmers/driers, handheld bottle, Salt Stick tabs, GU stuff, trail running book, running hat, gear bag):

P1070491   P1070492


Lessons learned:

  • The studs who do all six days of this race are insane. Maybe I can be like them someday
  • Dean is all that. ‘Nuf said.
  • You can push through about anything. As they say, your body wants to give out long before your head. Let your mental strength take you through the tough times. Know that you will hit peaks and valleys. Don’t let the valleys make you stop or quit. The peak is just around the corner.
  • Keep taking risks. Continue to do that that which makes you uncomfortable. Continue to live fully! Feel that fear and do it anyway.
  • Run with someone much faster and stronger than you (I recommend Dean K). You will push yourself way harder and the sheer humiliation of being slow will keep your ass going.

TransRockies Run Race Report– Getting Started

Have you ever had a day so chock full of excitement, anticipation, emotion and physical exertion such that when it ends it seems so surreal, like it never really happened?

That’s how I feel about yesterday.

After waking at 4:30 a.m. and dragging the kids into the car for the three hour drive, to Buena Vista, Colorado, a surprising calm set in. For the last three weeks I had been anxiously excited about this day – getting to run Stage One of the TransRockies Run with Dean Karnazes. There were so many unknowns at play here: could I go the distance given the hot temperatures, terrain and elevation? How would it be running with Dean? Would I get sick, hurt, etc? I’m the queen of psyching myself out and questioning my abilities. Sometimes it makes me work harder!

As is the case with the big life experiences, once you are finally knocking at the door – there is no turning back. Fear sits in your belly, but there is nowhere to go but forward. You realize you’ve been through tough things before and you know you can draw on your internal strength again. Most of all, moving out of your comfort zone is what makes you feel alive.

The scenery on the drive calmed me too:



Hope I’m not running over that (Mt. Princeton: 14,000+ feet)


And it helped that the kids were quiet:


As the miles to Buena Vista kept ticking down, my nerves started ticking up. We entered the city limits and Ken started laughing, saying, “You are running with Dean Karnazes!” No shit. Oh, shit!!

We got to the start. I couldn't find my Gore-Tex host or Dean anywhere. Only 15 minutes until the gun and I still had no race bib and no partner. I had them paged, and we quickly got me ready to roll.

This is perhaps my favorite picture of the day. Dean putting on my race bib!  I mean, are you kidding me?


The Gore-Tex folks snapped a quick picture:


We ran to the back of the starting line, making small talk. The gun sounded and just like that we were off on the journey:


More to come….

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Did It!




20.85 miles

On trails, over mountains

With Mr. Dean Karnazes

Story to come soon!

…or for a sneak peek visit Dean’s blog for his perspective on the day and me

Friday, August 20, 2010

Countdown to the TransRockies Run!

Based on the feedback from my last post, we are all crazy for running like we do, we don’t care that anyone thinks we’re nuts and we plan to keep running well into old age because it is better than harvesting a beer belly and watching TV. It keeps us sane and makes us feel powerful, productive and strong.

What I am fascinated by is the number of you who swear by pizza the night before a race! Man, my body must be screwed up. The first time I really crapped my pants in a race I had Old Chicago’s Pizza and two Bass Ales the night before. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an all out mess, but enough to call it gross. Sometimes major amounts of cheese and me don't agree. I learned my lesson on that one.

Oh, the excitement and the NERVES!  The countdown is on. About 36 hours from now I will be running out of the small mountain town of Buena Vista, Colorado with Dean Karnazes for the first stage of the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. I will be giggling like as school girl all a-twitter (at least that’s what Shana said I should do). I will be trying to act like I’m not tired as we head up the first 7 mile stretch which goes from 8,000 feet to 9,300 feet. What do you think we’ll talk about? I’ll probably ask some really dumb questions like, “OMG!! Like, how do you run so far??” I could be like the late Chris Farley in those Saturday Night Live skits where he interviews celebrities: “Hey Dean. Remember that time when you ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days? That was so AWESOME!!”

After the initial 7 mile climb, it’s 13.4 miles of ups and downs (literally and figuratively) to the finish.

Here are some pictures from last year’s Stage One (source). Looks pretty amazing to me. The forecast is in the 80s and there is very little shade on this course. Between that and the climbing, I might cry a little.






Here’s what I know:

  • Check points with fruit, sport’s drink, power bars and water every 7 miles. Tequila shots and full body rubdowns would also be nice.
  • Last year Dean broke several ribs on day three. He powered through the next couple of days, but was unable to finish the race.
  • Last year Dean ran with Helen Cospolich, who is quite the dynamo. She won the Leadville 100 trail race in 2008 if that gives you any idea. Dean referred to her as “Sherpa Helen.” They finished the first day (20.4 miles) in 3:25. I know. Insane. There will be absolutely no comparison between Sherpa Helen and I. Except that we both have lady parts.
  • On this race, you are only as fast as your partner. Poor Dean.
  • A professional film crew and photographers will be document the race. That night we’ll have a slideshow and awards ceremony with a dinner cooked at the camp (fajitas and rice with pine nuts, I think).
  • Dean says he will be posting nightly on his blog about the days of the race. So check in on Sunday night for his perspective. I will try to write my story the next day if I can type. P1070365
  • The family will see me off at the start and will be waiting at the finish. Man, will be glad to see them! I will carry the good luck charm from Emma the whole way. I will carry your thoughts and support with me because you’ve been so generous with those. 

Now all I need is a snazzy new running shirt to show my curves.

If you want to wish me luck (again) now’s the time. I could use it. Hopefully I’ll have some great stories to relay back to you next week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marathoners Are Crazy?

I find it very interesting how non runners react to runners. We get all sorts of comments:

  • Doesn’t it hurt your knees?
  • Running will give you ___________ (pain, arthritis, tendonitis, etc) later in life!
  • It’s too hard on the body. You should stop.
  • And, the infamous…you are running 26.2 miles? You’re sick. I can’t even drive that far!

There was even a post on peoplethinghater.com:

Who are these types of people who run and smile?

They\'ve got miles to go

I hate running. More to the point - I hate shin splints. I really don’t like the idea that my body now needs additional exercise to stay in shape. Where is my happy pill?

I bet that guy is fun to hang out with.

A couple of days ago USA Today published an article entitled, “Runners, take your time: Marathon training can lead to injury.” Well, duh. From the tone of the comments left about the article on the site (except mine), it seems many people view distance running as risky.

I get it. Runners get injured. I got injured. At any given time lots of runners are either injured or recovering from an injury. We live, we learn.

What I struggle with is this overall belief that marathoners are crazy. That we put ourselves at too much risk. That we are jeopardizing our health. That we are running ourselves in the ground. If you’ve been running for any period of time, you know the drill when you start training:

  • Don’t do too much too soon
  • Cross train
  • Ten percent rule ( increase intensity, frequency or duration by no more than 10% per week)
  • Rest
  • Pull back if you are getting sick or experiencing continued pain
  • Fuel and hydrate correctly
  • Don’t eat pizza the night before a long run (or you’ll have the runs)
  • Put band aids on your nipples

Following these rules of thumb will not guarantee you will be injury free. But it greatly cuts down on your risk.

Maybe that’s why we runner stick together. We get each other. When I tell you I have a 20 mile training run, you don’t balk and tell me I’m nuts. You wish me luck and remind me to bring the toilet paper. When I tell you I think someday I might run an ultra or do a half ironman, you tell me you know I can do it and that you might do one too. When I tell you I’m going to sit on the couch for 48 hours and watch a Beverly Hills 90210 marathon and eat Chips Ahoy, you tell me NO, don’t do it! Step away from the cookies. Get your ass going!

We build each other up. We have a spirit that wants to move forward and to do more. It’s called living fully!

In my mind there are riskier things to do than running. Like, for example, sitting on the couch eating Oreos. Like not exercising at all. Like playing video games until you can’t see straight. Like remaining stuck in the same old rut you have been in for years.

There could be worse things than training for a marathon.

Run on my friends!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This Altitude Ain’t No Joke

This is how the day started – watching Miss Emma walk up to school. Bittersweet. She just keeps walking away. For the rest of her life! She claims she will always want to live with me, but I know the minute she gets her period she’ll hate me and be ready to move out


Two hours after the Emma drop off, Sam and I were in Breckenridge for my trail run. I told Julie to kick my ass. To take me climbing up some big hills on trails.


By mile one, my ass hurt and I was crying mercy. She didn’t mess around. We started at 9,600 feet and within three miles we were at 10,300 feet. I had to walk up some of the big inclines. I was gasping for breath. If you have not tried this high altitude running thing, just imagine a time when you felt you could not catch your breath. Someone is sitting on you like your big brother and they are pretending to drop those big loogies into your mouth. It almost makes you panic.


I was truly humbled today on this run. We only went 7.5 miles, but it hurt me. My run with Dean will not be this high. It starts around 8,200 and the highest we get is about 9,600. That’s high enough. I am hoping I am not such a pathetic mess.

The good news is I ran with and LOVED the Camelbak. I used this one, only in red. I got it on sale at Dick’s for $35 (I love me some Dicks):


It holds 50 ounces and is effortless to run with. It stays in place, is light and has an extra pocket for gels, phone, etc.

Tomorrow is Sam’s first day of 7th grade. If you read this blog regularly, you know that Sam is my precocious yet precious boy.  I fell in love with him while he was still in my belly, his butt wedged under my left rib. I loved him even more when he came out sunny side up (always had to do things differently), demanding attention and engaging us all. He hasn’t stopped since. Long ago I started writing down Sam quotes.

When he was two, some lady in a restaurant said, “You are a very cute boy!” He replied, “And YOU are a very cute girl!”

Again when he was two he told Ken, “Dad you need to go back to the office and make some more money for mama.”

That was then:


This is now:


I love how as they get older they become your biggest fans and you theirs No one is more excited for me to run this race this weekend than these two. Sam has read Dean’s books, long ago, and is an admirer. Emma just thinks he’s cute and strong. I told Dean about the kids and he said, “Tell them I can’t wait to meet them.” Nice.

One more big thing for today then I’m going to get wine and lie down. Someone emailed me today saying they learned about my blog from Dean’s Runner’s World blog. He posted today about the TransRockies Run. He didn’t single me out, but said, “The TransRockies is a team event. This year, I’ll be running with six different individuals  {one each day} during the course of the event. The experience level of these individuals ranges from elite athletes to beginning trail runners. For someone who has competed in hundreds of endurance races on all seven continents, twice over, I’m really looking forward to experiencing this race through the eyes of another.”

That’s right. He’ll be seeing through the eyes of me as I fart, crap, whine and cry my way along the trail. Bet he’s never done that on seven continents.

Obviously he was talking about me when he said beginning trail runners. In fact, that part linked back to my blog and the interview I did with him. Nice again!


Bye, Bye Baby

As I watch my baby daughter, now 9 years old and in 4th grade, disappear into the doors of her elementary school for the first day, I tear up and am on my way to the hills for a high altitude trail run. Back to school marks those new beginnings like birthdays and New Year’s where we re-evaluate life and progress and what is important. I love watching them grow and become their own little people. But, what I wouldn’t give to go back for one day. Just one. To hold her two year old soft baby hand, to watch her babble “mama” as she pushes her baby stroller around the living room. Sigh.

So, Sam (who starts school tomorrow) and I are off to Breckenridge. My stud friend Julie who just set a new course record at a duathlon in Leadville, is taking me on a ten mile jaunt at 9,500 feet. This will be my final attempt to convince myself that I can and will complete all 20.4 miles with Dean on Sunday. My mom who is as good of a Greek cook as any Greek mama (she’s not Greek, but we used to live there and she can make a mean moussaka and tzatziki), has agreed to make Dean a huge pan of baklava for the finish line festivities. You’ve never tasted baklava like hers.

I had my ass worked on yesterday. My massage therapist gets in there and digs like an excavator. She found the trigger points and dug deep. At one point when I was laying butt naked face down on the table she said, “Whatever you do, do not fart right now.” Laughing I told her her I wasn't planning on it but asked her why. She answered, “Because my face is right by your crack.” With respect, I held it in. I was sore post massage, but knock on wood the ass feels pretty great today. We’ll see how the mountains treat it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shabby Apple Running Skirt Review

Ever heard of the Shabby Apple? Don’t be fooled, there is nothing shabby about these folks. They make stylish and unique clothing for women, focusing on keeping their apparel simple, elegant and high quality. They also sell jewelry, swimwear and items for girls and pre-teens. There is even a new bridesmaid line!

Their fitness clothing is especially unique, offering all sorts of running and yoga outfits. They sent me a running skirt to try out – the Firefly Pose Skirt (Tittibhasana) - $44.

In the next few weeks there will be a giveaway featuring this very skirt (well, not the one I wore, but a brand new one just like it), so check back!!

Here is the website description of the skirt:

Your butt and legs never looked so good!  Features a special 3" waistband that can be folded over to show off your awesome abs, or pulled up to tuck in your mom pouches, leaving your tummy flat!  With a fitted top and vents at side, a slight A-Line makes this skirt flattering yet perfect for your run.  This skirt also features built in fitted shorts that tighten up your tush and don't ride up like most other skirts, because they are slightly longer than other leading brands.  Graphic at bottom of skirt keeps it feminine and practical for any athlete. Comes in Black or Grey with White waistband.”

Some photos:

Since the skirt is named after a yoga pose I thought it appropriate to throw in a Warrior I (I never said I had good form):


And a full frontal:


I’m telling you, this skirt has the cutest design on the side:


Action shot:


Here’s the rollover band at the top:


Trial Run:

When I first got the skirt, it felt substantial. This was before I put it on. I am used to lighter fabric, and this nylon/spandex blend felt heavier. I ordered an extra small because the description said the skirt “fit generously.” It ended up being a perfect fit. Because I was doing ten miles on the day I wore the skirt, I had my fuel belt with me. I don’t know about you, but my belt always slips and I’m constantly adjusting it for the right fit. One of the best and most unexpected things about this skirt was the band kept my fuel belt in place. I LOVED that aspect.

The skirt itself was very comfortable throughout the run. It felt light and moved well as I ran. The undershorts are tight, yet didn’t ride up where the sun don’t shine. My rule of thumb for running clothes is that I don’t like to notice them. I don’t want anything rubbing or flapping or bouncing. Mostly, once I started running, I forgot about the skirt except to notice how well it kept the fuel belt in place. I think you’ll agree, this skirt has a unique and stylish element to it!!

Bottom line: This is a quality, attractive and practical piece of running apparel. Any more, a decent running skirt will set you back $40-$50. If you are going to spend that on a running skirt, this could be the one for you. It’s comfortable to run in, has a stylish flair and holds up well in the laundry. Try it for yourself!

Stay tuned for an upcoming Firefly Pose Running Skirt giveaway!

A True PR

Five days and counting until the TransRockies Run with Dean K. Fingers crossed that I will triumph. That I will not fail. That I make it the full 20.4 miles. Ken said the only way I am allowed to not make it is if I am flown out by a helicopter.

With the upcoming Pike’s Peak Marathon and Leadville Trail 100 this weekend, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about trail running. It gives insight into the muscles you engage while on the trails and how some doctors recommend TR over road running because trails offer the body a break from concrete and asphalt. You can find the article HERE.

I realize you’ve been holding your breath as I anxiously awaited my race results from the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half. 48 hours later I found out that yes, indeed, it was a PR. But by the skin of my freaking teeth. 21 seconds. Last year’s time for this half marathon: 1:47:57. This year? 1:47:36.

Good thing I didn’t stop to high five that cute kid or to pull out that wedgie.

19/148 in the 40-44 female division. 140/1390 overall (female).

Meh. Could have been worse. Definitely could have been better. I always say we have our official race time, then the time we think we should have gotten if  ___________________(insert your favorite excuse here) – we didn’t stop to crap, the wind wasn’t blowing, our allergies weren’t acting up, that blister didn’t rear its ugly head, etc.

The ass still hurts. I will get massaged today. Nothing like a butt massage. I will give a good tip to the masseuse for her trouble. I just realized I had a high mileage week last week (at least for me). 50 miles! That’s why my ass is talking back. However, my ass will not have the last say. My ass will not eff up my run with Dean K. My ass will be chilling on ice and rolling on foam all week long. And if my ass is lucky there will be one run this week. Only one. Dean K. will not be happy if my ass acts up.

Moving on from the ass (I wrote “ass” 7 times in that last paragraph), do you have your official time and  your should have been time in races?

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Key to Running Faster?

Is it just me or do you hit “refresh” like a million times after you run a race to see your official results? There is one site, Active.com I think, that actually says, “The results are not in. Calm down. We’re sure we did great. Now go take a shower.”

It’s not just about the time because I’m pretty sure my Garmin got that right. At the end of the race my time was 1:48, but that was the gun time and it took me at least 30 seconds to cross the start. But what I really like to know is how I did comparatively. What rank in my age group? Overall? Did I win the race? For those who are bored, the race report is HERE.

Bummer of it is that the official results are still not posted. 48 hours after the race and still not posted. Seriously? I am wondering if I should sue on the grounds of mental cruelty or anguish. Okay, so it’s not that bad. I’m one for a bit of exaggeration from time to time.

The Week magazine posted an article from BBC.com this week about how listening to music actually helps a runner go faster. “In a study of Australian triathletes, researchers found that listening to music tracks by the likes of Queen, Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers increased the athletes’ energy efficiency by 1 percent to 3 percent, enabling them to do more with the same amount of oxygen.” Apparently listening to tunes can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent!! Yowza!

You can read the full article HERE.

Do you run with music? Would you agree with these findings?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon Race Report

Getting out of the house on race morning is never easy, especially if it involves a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call. My body is simply not meant to function at that hour. Forget eating. Forget crapping. Ain’t gonna happen until my normal wake up time of about 6:30 a.m.

We hit the road at 5:00 a.m. for the two hour drive up to Georgetown, CO. Not an hour into the drive I feel the urge. We pull over at Loaf ‘n Jug. I’m sure you know why they call it that – duh -for all the people like me who stop there, don’t buy anything and pinch off a loaf. The jug part? I do have jugs, although it would be more fair to call them 5 oz bottles.

We made it to the start with time to spare. It was 45 degrees. Summertime in the Colorado mountains. Did the pre-run ritual of waiting in the porta potty line. Seemed every single person in front of me was in there at least 10 minutes. Since it doesn’t take that long to pee, I could only guess what was going on in there. The smell confirmed it.

Then we sat in the car watching people warm up. One of my favorite past times. My pre-race warm up, if anything, involves a 50 yard jog to get the nerves out. Other people, however, are more serious than I. They do push ups and jumping  jacks, they sprint, they even do this:

I’m pretty sure that this guy kicked my ass in the race, so maybe I should be doing this from now on before all my races. I am going to study his form.

I, however, preferred to sit in the warm car eating my cinnamon toast. I will say that I was sort of dreading the race. I wasn’t feeling the greatest (time of the month) and my piriform-ASS had really been bugging me lately. While this butt pain hasn’t kept me from running and doesn't jack with my pace or gait, it’s still no fun running with any kind of discomfort. In the back of my mind, I felt worried that by racing I would be jeopardizing my run with Dean Karnazes next weekend. I told myself that I could use the race as a training run, but my personality won’t let me do this. If I show up at a race I am going balls out, regardless.

I had to pee again, but no way was I going back to those smelly potties. I had Ken hold up a blanket by his truck and I squatted, giving many folks a gander at blinding white cheeks . Nice work.

I was feeling nerves - those moments right before the gun when you know the next couple of hours will hold a certain amount of exertion and pain. You know  you will want to stop, but you know you won’t. You might feel sick, you might feel elated, you might get discouraged. Chances are all of these things will occur at different points in the race.

They played the National Anthem and this got me into a more centered pace. The gun went off at 8:00 a.m. sharp.

The first two miles are through the small town of Georgetown, Colorado (elevation: 8,530, population: 2,000). This was the largest year ever for this race – 3,000 people in all – which made for some congested running through the narrow and pitted streets of this old mining town. Some woman inadvertently elbowed me hard in the left boob (or should I say 5 oz bottle?). Ouch, dammit.

Mile 1: 8:26

Mile 2: 8:13

We headed east out of town on a newly paved back road. I still wasn’t feeling it, but kept up the pace. With a cool breeze rustling the Aspen trees and cloudless bright blue skies, the day could not have been more perfect. Now if I could only turn around my attitude.

Mile 3: 7:55

Mile 4: 7:48

Mile 5: 8:15

Mile 6: 7:46 (fastest of the race)

At mile 6 I pulled my gel out of my pocket and my fingers grazed the good luck charm Emma had made for me the day before. I smiled big.


My ass was really starting to hurt. I even contemplated stopping not because I couldn’t go any further, but because I didn’t want to do more damage. I told myself to press on to mile 7 and see how I felt. I slowed a bit and the pain calmed down, or maybe i just got used to it. I stopped to stretch at the next two aid stations. I knew I probably wouldn't beat my half marathon PR that I made on this course last year.

Mile 7: 8:06

Mile 8: 8:10

Mile 9: 8:15

Mile 11: 8:08

I was mentally really done. I’m not sure why this race felt so hard. Maybe the elevation or maybe my head was just messing with me. I told myself to hold back until mile 12, then kick it in a bit to the finish.

Mile 12: 8:44

Mile 13: 8:26

Mile .1: 8:00

The official race results aren't posted yet, but my Garmin says my final chip time was 1:47:36 (8:10 average). This is actually a new PR for me!! 21 seconds off my time of last year! Quite a shocker given how slow I felt I was going and those stretch breaks I took at miles 8 & 10.

Ken and I meandered around the post race activities. I rolled my butt on a cold bottle of water. It helped. This is probably the first race I’ve ever run where my stomach didn’t revolt at the end. I felt great. No cramping, no nausea. I could actually eat and took in a strawberry cream Myoplex shake for protein.

We met up with blogger friends Shana, Marcia, Tara and Jill. Really fun to see these guys and to finally meet Shanna and and Marcia in person. Catching up with other bloggers is great because there is no small talk. You just get right into subjects of erections and crapping right off the bat. Kind of like old friends. Here we are – Ken, me, Tara, Marcia & Shana.


A couple of pictures when we got back to the car. Told you it was a nice day:


P1070358  P1070360

Overall a good day. Time with Ken. A PR. Peeing on the ground. Clean shorts. Meeting new friends. Can’t complain.