Saturday, April 30, 2011

She’s a Beauty

I am in the market for a new bike. I am currently riding a 20 year old Specialized Allez that weighs 95 pounds and is a safety hazard. My birthday was over two months ago, and I was promised a new bike then, but I didn’t get around to shopping until today.

I have my sights set on this baby. The Trek Lexa SLX:


She’s a beauty.

It is obviously not a tri-bike. I didn't want one of those, at least not yet. If I want, I can get it souped-up tri-style with aero-bars, seat change, etc. when the half ironman gets closer. It is a women’s design, aluminum frame (I know –not top of the line carbon, but what can I say? My pimp didn’t pay me this month and I’m running low on funds). It’s a great bike and comes in at about $1,300 which is do-able. Actually, with the sale going on now, it will be $1,100 with free maintenance, fittings and tune ups.

Seriously, if you could see the bike I am riding now, you would agree that anything is going to feel like a Cadillac in comparison. It is the equivalent of going from this:


Then trying this:


BTW, that thrown above goes for $12,000. Best place to take a shit on earth.

What kind of bike (or toilet) do you have? Is it a keeper?

Good luck to the love of my life, KEN, who will run his first marathon tomorrow.


And, best possible vibes to my dear friend Julie is is participating in the 2011 USAT Duathlon National Championship in Tucson this morning. If she qualifies, she competes in Spain in September.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Favorite Things–April 2011

I did my first installment of favorite things in March. I loved it so much I am doing it again. One of my favorite things is doing a favorite things list. Do not mistake the SUAR “favorite things” for the Oprah “favorite things.” There will be no screaming, passing out or giving away of free stuff.

Here are this month’s faves:

1. These sweat pants. Because everyone needs little Shut Up and Run on their ass.


2. Skinny Girl Margarita. Have you tried this? I’m not a fan of the super syrupy sweet margaritas, so this is welcome change. Although I’d prefer a home made drink, this is a decent substitute. Tart, light. The perfect summer cocktail. Downside: not many liquor stores in our area carry it yet, and it’s pricey at $13 for a 750 ml bottle. 100 calories for a 4 oz serving, but who drinks only 4 oz?


3. “The Gift of an Ordinary Day.” When you have 8 minutes and a giant box of Kleenex, settle in for this gem:

4. This tank top from Twist Yoga Wear. Stacia was so sweet to send me this as a “congrats” gift after Boston. Love her. Thinking I’ll wear it for the Bolder Boulder 10K at the end of May. If you want to order one, click HERE.



5. These shorts from Forever 21. Because a girl has to pretend she two and a half decades younger than she really is. I love these. And they were $9.80. Warning: these are the kind of shorts where one needs to beware of camel toe.


6.  My new post run snack – whole wheat tortilla with Nutella and peanut butter. Layer on the PB then the Nutella - THICK. Wrap it up and pretend you’re smoking it, then it it.


7. Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. Supposedly this stuff penetrates the hair shaft (that’s what she said), restoring shine and softness while strengthening. Argan oil protects from styling heat and UV damage while creating soft, seductive, silky perfection. I got mine at Walgreens for $7.99. Smells simply divine.


8.  Dunkin’ Donuts coffee from Costco. Pre-ground. 40 oz for $19.99. Now all I need is a Muchkin machine.


9.  “The” Boston Jacket. ‘Nuf said:



10. Odwalla Choco-Walla Bars. I’ve had Odwalla bars in the past and haven’t been impressed. These were in my schwag bag from Boston and are very tasty. Not quite a brownie, but they have huge chunks of dark chocolate in them. A great afternoon snack or pre-run treat packing 210 calories, 39 grams carbs and 4 grams of protein. They sell them at my grocery store for $1.00/piece.


11. This Athleta skirt. Comfy, girly, marathon worthy. I love the color and the ruffle effect. If you decide to get one, order one size down. They run big.


12. Lastly!! These tickets. Emma wanted to go so badly. I was a mean mom and told her it sold out, when I had really bought tickets through Stub Hub before they all disappeared. She cried. On her birthday my friend Joie and I dressed up in blond wigs and cowboy hats, serenaded her and gave her the tickets. I would show you the video, but it could be used against me. Mom of the year, right here.


Got any new faves this month? Do tell!


H20 Audio Waterproof Headphone System & iPod Case Review

I have something to add to my list of confessions. Yes, I lick knives and sometimes jog with scissors. But, my biggest confession for today is that I don’t really like to swim. Which is humorous, because I am doing a Half Ironman in August and it requires a bit of swimming. Just 1.2 miles or so.

For all of the time I spend in the chlorinated and hairy waters of my local pool, one would think we are having a love affair. Not the case.

Sometimes swimming feels like a chore what with having to diligently shave certain areas that I would typically ignore. Then there is the whole locker room thing involving chit-chatting with the pussy posse while we’re all naked (weird). Don’t even get me started on the black raccoon rings the goggles leave around my eyes causing me to look more old-haggish than I usually do.

But, the real reason I don’t love swimming is the endless back and forth from one end of the pool to the other. I break it up with intervals and boards and pull things between my legs. But, I still find it a bit mundane at times.

H20 Audio took pity on me on sent me a gadget to help those hundreds of laps fly by just a bit more quickly. The item?

An Interval Waterproof Headphone System and Case for my 4th Generation iPod Shuffle.


“The Interval is the only waterproof iPod case designed just for swimmers! If you’re an iTunes user, there’s no better way to bring your own personal soundtrack into the pool. The waterproof case for the iPod shuffle 4th generation has integrated Surge 2G headphones and easily attaches to almost any swim goggle. Finally swimmers can have the same advantage of training with music that dry land athletes have enjoyed for years. Train harder, swim longer and have more fun doing it with the Interval 4G.”

Pretty slick, right?

This thing intimidated me a bit.   First, I was worried my iPod would be ruined. Second, the sheer thought of figuring out how to swim with this thing was kind of a mental block. I got over it.

Prior to using the device, you test it to make sure the seal is adequate and that no water gets into the chamber. After doing this, I was confident my iPod would be okay.

Yesterday, I went to try out this baby. I loaded my iPod into the case (all pictures taken at home after the fact):


I fastened to case onto my goggle strap like so (very easy to do; don’t mind my uneven goggle straps):


I put in the headphones:


I swam for about an hour (on the carpet of course. This is a great place to train):


The conclusion? This thing rocks. Seriously. It changed the whole swim experience for me. I just got into a zone and tuned out. The laps flew by. I loved it. I never noticed or thought about the case strapped to my head. It is very lightweight and stays in place. The controls were simple to work.

I did struggle with the headphones a bit. There is a learning curve involved here. You are supposed to put them in before getting your ears wet and secure a seal. If they are placed correctly, no water should get into the ear canal at all. I was sent multiple-sized earplugs so that they would fit properly in my ear.


Yesterday’s fit was not quite right, and although the phones stayed in my ears just fine, the sound quality could have been better. I am convinced this was user error and not the fault of device because other users have had good sound quality. Once I am able to find the correct fit, I will update the review.

All I know is it beats this one-eyed contraption I was using for water running:


Bottom Line: If you like working out to music and do a lot of swimming, this might be a good investment. It is available for all iPod versions and there are armbands as well. The cost for this one is $99 and comes with the case, headphones and five sizes of earplugs (iPod sold separately).

Off to “carpet swim” because who needs a pool,


Fine Print: The Interval Waterproof Headphone System and Case was sent to me free of charge from H20 Audio in exchange for my unbiased review.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Freaking Part-Time Job

This is much harder than I thought it was going to be.

There is no way I’m not doing my Half  Ironman in August. I paid the $250 registration fee and my ass will be there sucking down every last sip of Gatorade and hoping I can find a hunky volunteer to rub sunscreen on my…inside thigh? That area gets a lot of sun, you know.

I’m not sure how I'm going to pull off the distance, but I will because I said I would.

I mean it’s no problem for me to swim 1.2 miles or to bike 56 miles or to run 13.1 miles, but I have never attempted to do all three of those things in a row. I mean, why would I? It’s stupid and it takes too long.

With all of the Boston hoopla, I failed to realize that this small triathlon is less than 16 weeks away. That means training needed to start like last week. Darn it. Too bad I have spent the last week drinking wine, eating Easter candy and admiring my Boston medal like a newborn baby (without the sucking on teat issue).


So, today I buckled down and tried to make sense of what a training plan for this thing might look like.


Yes, I wear glasses when I’m not wearing contacts. Call me four eyes and I’ll ram that pencil somewhere.

I begged Ken to help me. He is doing it also. I reached out to Jason and Mama Runs Barefoot for some SOS. I googled “70.3 training plans,” looked over Beginner Triathlete, Tri Newbies and Amateur Endurance.  I realized, much to my alarm, that most people train like 15 hours a week for these things. Seriously? That’s like a part time job. I don’t know if hookers even work that much.

Now I have a plan. It is in pencil, but it is a plan. It requires 9-13 hours per week of training including 2 swims, 2 brick workouts (bike then run), yoga, one long run and one rest day.  This mighty SUAR plan is infallible. I just know it.


Pretty soon this mess of pencil and crooked lines will be transformed into a picture-perfect chart with equally- spaced rows and columns and lots of pretty colors, unicorns and rainbows.

This plan starts Monday. That means I have exactly four more days to slack off. Except that today I am swimming because I have the coolest new product to try out and review  - hint: what happens when you put water and music together?

  1. You have the pussy posse doing water aerobics
  2. You have an electrocution
  3. You have a way to swim to your favorite tunes?

You will have to wait and see.

I know my friend, Dana, said “Don’t go jumping into lots of races” or something like that. Take time to rest. I guess this is technically jumping into another race, but I have convinced myself it’s okay because it’s a “running lite” plan. Kind of like when you’re trying to cut back so you drink “Coors Lite” instead of full blown Coors.

A couple of you asked to see the training plan when it’s done. Okay. I’ll do it as soon as I do it.

Ever done a 70.3 or *gasp* full IM? Any tips?

Off to find some lite beer,


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Winner & First Marathon Advice–Mine and Yours

A reader, Monica, emailed me with this question:

“I just wanted to know if you had any advice for my first marathon in a week? I have run 2 half marathons but this will be my first full...”

Oh yeah, sister. I have some advice for you. Prepare to soil. Or is that just me?

First of all, you are ahead of the game. When I ran my first marathon in 2009, I hadn’t even run a half before. I had no time goal, no watch, goofy clothes, a mixture of random gels safety pinned to my shirt. No mantra, no pace band, no cute clothes, no clue – really – except that I did not want to pass out or die on the course. I didn’t.


I used the shorts as a tent later in the summer. And don’t even ask why I had that ribbon tied around my sleeve. Maybe I was trying to be in the “present.”

Here are some tips that work for me:

Days leading up to the race:

  • Limited or no dairy or fiber three days before the race unless you want to make a mess. Or is that just me? If you don’t tend to have GI issues when you run, then don’t sweat it, but I tried to follow this (from Dean’s book 50/50) for both fueling, rest and running:


  • Learn about course. There are so many unknowns about race day, so at least this is one thing you can know for certain - the one thing that will not change.   When checking out the course, I always visualize myself running the race strong, smiling and at my desired pace.  
  • Have a time goal? Make it known. I make my goals public. There were times when I really wished I hadn’t done this because I felt like if I didn’t get there, I’d be a failure. But in the end, I think it made me work harder
  • Sit on your ass. The week before the race I watched inspirational movies like “The Spirit of the Marathon” and “Race for the Soul.” These help get you motivated and in the right frame of mind.
  • Trust your training. You’ve put in your time. Don’t psyche yourself out.
  • Check and re-check the weather. Do not be ill-prepared. Go to Goodwill and buy a fancy outfit to throw away. Wash it well in hot water and Tide before wearing. Don’t buy underwear from Goodwill. This was my best throw away ever. I got very attached to it and almost couldn’t toss it:


Day of the race/during:

  • Wait on the tunes. If you are going to run with music, try waiting until the half way mark to put your buds in. This will give you something to look forward to and will give you a boost in the later miles.
  • Turn off auto pause. If you use a Garmin, be sure it’s not auto pause or your total time running will be off.
  • Have faith. Even when things fall apart, it doesn't mean everything's going to hell. Always have hope. NEVER lose sight of your goals. Keep the faith. If you don’t get them this time, try again. They’re yours for the taking.
  • Stop worrying about what other people think. Do what’s right for you. Have confidence. Run your own race.
  • Be kind to yourself. A time at the finish line is only hours and minutes. It doesn’t define you. You are not “good” because your time is “fast,” and you are not “bad” if you run at the back of the pack.
  • Expect highs and lows. This is one I think you learn from experience. Now when I run a marathon and I get frustrated, tired, etc. I know it will pass. I don’t get sucked in.
  • When the going gets tough:
    • Distract yourself with spectators, participants, and the scenery of the course. Think about your form. Tweak it a bit to take your mind off of pain.
    • Stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks and change them to positive affirmations.
    • Think about how proud family members and friends will be of you and your accomplishment.
  • Have your family/friends there in the later miles. Knowing you will see them will get you through some hard spots.
  • Hold your head up. When you cross the finish line, don’t look at your watch or you’ll miss your photo op. Here is a picture of Ken at the RnR Denver Half. Notice how he stops his watch, but looks up for the photo. I married him because he can multi task.


**How about you? What advice can you give Monica or the blog world about running your first marathon? You know you’ve got something up your sleeve.**

The winner of the Sporty Girl Jewelry Giveaway is 49/338 – Beth S.  Please email me at I don’t have any way of getting ahold of you!



Monday, April 25, 2011

Peeing Technique

I took my first post-marathon run today for 5.5 miles. I wore my battery operated glowing shirt.


My legs felt great, but because I have a cold I had snot coming out of every orifice. I gagged on my own phlegm, which was pleasant.

My friend, Dana, who has been running for 40 years (including completing the Leadville 100 seven years in a row), had some sound  advice this week that I think we can all learn from:

Enjoy the buzz for the next few weeks and go back to your training gradually.  You have put an enormous amount of stress and pressure on yourself over the past 18 months, yes including the 6 months leading up to the 2010 Colorado Marathon. You qualified for Boston, ran with DK, completed your training for Denver and then spent 6 months trying to get in good enough shape while injured to survive Boston. Forget about the physical aspects, you have been emotionally at your redline for a LONG time. You need to give your mind, heart and soul a little rest.

Do whatever makes you happy but if running for the next 40 years is in the plans, think about spending the next month or two simply running for the JOY of running without the pressure of what's next.

Think of it in terms of quality vs. quantity. Typically, newer people to the sport start with quantity and evolve to quality. The reason is they can't get enough at first but soon realize too much can be a big detraction from the whole picture. Everyone needs to find what works for them, I'm just trying to point out that there is a balance between every day running and how many events you enter.

After a few weeks when the Boston high starts to fade, look forward to just going out for a run with no pressure to perform and with the sole purpose of running for your spirit. There is so much joy in being able to run whatever distance and speed makes you feel the happiest.

I love what he says about quality vs. quantity. If this injury has taught me one thing it’s that less really can be more. That and that everyone needs their own personal pussy posse.

And, now for some stolen Boston photos:

This first photo was taken around mile ten, I think. After that I ripped my name off my shirt. I am weird, but for some reason it annoyed me to have people screaming my name constantly.


Here is where I have an extra flap of skin above my knee:


I was trying to be cool with my fingers here:


Finish line:


One thing I did not share about Boston, but that has very much been on my mind, is girls peeing. I’m a girl and I pee outside so I know about the squatting thing. What was new for me was watching girls do the straddle thing in the woods. These brave souls would jump off the course and into the woods, straddle their legs, pull their shorts aside and let the pee stream fly. This was the stance. Just pretend I have shorts on and am pulling them aside:


This is a wonderful technique and one I will be using from here on out. I may even start using it in my yard and forego the toilet completely. I don’t think I will try it for #2, however.

Happy Monday,


PS: Don’t forget my Sporty Girl Jewelry giveaway, ends tomorrow

Sunday, April 24, 2011

You May Not Know This

Or you may. But, I didn’t.

Sam: Mom, want to know why I’m the best son in the world?

Me: Because I gave birth to you?

Sam: No, because I found your name on the Boston poster!

Me: WTH? What do you mean? There aren’t any names on the Boston poster.

Sam: I’ll show you.

Me: You liar.

Damn if he wasn’t right.

See, many people had told me to pick up a poster from the Adidas booth at the Boston Marathon expo. I took five because they were free and I’m greedy. There is one hanging in my office and Sam has one in his room. I’ll put one the bathroom for good measure.

But, little known secret – the background of the poster has every runner’s name listed, so small that seriously only someone less than 15 years old could read the names. They are in alphabetical order. All 27,000. Sam found mine:

Poster Beth Risdon

How did I not know this? Did you all know this and I did not know this? Why didn’t you tell me? What else are you keeping from me?

If you need Sam to find your name, you have one of two options. Send him a round trip ticket to your town and he will come there with a Sharpie. Or, simply send your poster in the mail to:

7th grader with good eyes
P.O. Box  20/20

Feeling famous,


Saturday, April 23, 2011

“When My Mom Ran the Boston Marathon…”

It’s tough to hang out with a marathoner before and during race day.

As runners we drag our kids, spouses, mistresses, and life partners through  the tangled and crowded messes called “expos.” If you are a Siamese twin whose better half wants to run a marathon, you are screwed.


Damn, that’s weird

We then ask these “support staff” to drive around strange cities, or better yet, decipher confusing public transportation just to watch us run by for 30 seconds. They must do this several times over the course of one to five hours.

When I spectated my first marathon last October, I could not BELIEVE how exhausting, draining  and exhilarating it was to be a spectator. I’ll never take this for granted.

Ken, the kids, my aunt/uncle and my cousin, her husband and their son went to ridiculous lengths to find me during the Boston Marathon at 7 miles, 13.2 miles, 20 miles and the finish. They pushed their way through crowds, got into traffic jams, struggled to find parking spots and waited patiently until I arrived. They met me with smiles, encouragement and love. They never once complained. They accepted my sweaty and grotesque hugs and didn’t mention that maybe I needed to change my underwear.



The night we got home from Boston, Emma, age 10, wrote a memoir as a school assignment. It is a daughter’s perspective on the day. It steals my heart:


My favorite part is “I felt like the coolest kid in the world, for having a runner mom.” Priceless.

A week from tomorrow I get my turn to watch it all go down. Ken is running his first marathon. One of my clients, Deb, who is 50, is running her first marathon. My dear friend Joie will complete her second marathon. I’m all choked up just thinking about finding them along the way and watching them finish. Thank God they’re all doing the same one.

You can say, “It’s just running, it’s just a race.” But those of us who run know that completing the race represents so much more.

It is the final expression of miles upon miles run in the cold, wet, heat. Of solo training runs that sometimes tax you to your core and sometimes build your confidence to the sky. Of self doubt and self pride. It symbolizes doing what we said we were going to do. Of finding our inner strength and challenging it beyond measure. It simply makes us better. To share that with those who mean the most to you is the ultimate gift.

Damn. Way too early on a Saturday to cry at my own post.

Off to watch the snow fall,


PS: Don’t forget my Sporty Girl Jewelry Giveaway!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Winner and Sporty Girl Jewelry Giveaway!

The winner of the Running on Empty book  giveaway is Joanne who wrote:


Congrats to this tough and committed runner with a huge heart!!

On to the next giveaway. As I told you before leaving for Boston, Ann at Sporty Girl Jewelry made me the coolest piece to wear on race day. Screw race day! I wore it from the moment I got it and still haven’t taken it off!


Sporty Girl Jewelry is offering one winner $50 to shop with!

There is so much amazing stuff to choose from (a couple examples below)!


To enter, leave a comment for each:

  • Visit the Sporty Girl Jewelry website. What would you get if you won? + 1 entry
  • Become a follower of my blog if you’re not already + 1 entry
  • Facebook, blog, Twitter, etc. about this giveaway + 1 entry
  • “Like” Sporty Girl Jewelry on Facebook HERE and let them know I sent you! + 1 entry

Giveaway will end Tuesday,  April 26.

Good luck friends!


Fine print:

  • Sporty Girl Jewelry provided the giveaway prize as well as the Shut Up and Run necklace. I did not pay any thing for them.
  • The winner will be chosen by on 4/26.


First off, thank you for reading and caring about my Boston experience. I KNOW you must be sick of my hip injury and talk of Boston by now, so thanks for sticking with me on the journey. As one commenter so eloquently said:


Jeez. Can you just give me a minute?

Before we completely move on, one more thing. Just one more freaking thing! Sorry, anonymous. You might need to go take a dump or something to avoid reading this.

Leslie Rubinkowski of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed me post-Boston to get some impressions and reflections on the race. You might remember that Leslie interviewed me a couple of months ago, when I was still unsure about Boston. She is running her first marathon in Pittsburgh on May 15, and has been doing a blogging column regarding her training. She is such a talented writer and it’s a great and inspiring read for sure.

You can read her interview with me HERE. I thought she had some insightful questions and it gave me a chance to process the race, including my lesbian experience and how I got naked at mile 22.

Off to Whole Foods for almond croissants,