Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Race Or Not To Race?

Even though it was on my calendar, I wasn’t going to do it. Even though I’ve done it the past two years, I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to race this weekend.

Just over a month ago, I had to pull back my training significantly to let my hamstring heal. The past two weeks I’ve been able to ramp up my running and cycling. I haven't been in the pool much, maybe three times in the past month. Doesn’t really sound like a triathlete does it?

Who cares? It’s just swimming. I can do that on my back. I can do it holding my nose. I can do it with floaties on – like this guy at the pool in Vegas last year (although he wasn’t racing, unless you call getting drunk and picking up women racing. He does appear to be breathing hard. I guess that is racing Vegas style):


I also haven’t done any brick workouts. Well, I’ve done them in my lifetime, but not anytime recently. I’ve done a few longer runs and rides. I know I can hop off the bike and run even if I fall on my face and cry. I am not too proud to do that.

Anyway, the Longmont Triathlon is this weekend. It’s a sprint distance. I surprised myself by coming in third in my age group last year.


I wasn’t going to do this race because I was trying to be smart. I also am still holding out to do a half marathon the following weekend. I didn't want to over do it.

But, I tell myself, it’s just a sprint. That means only a 5K run.

I know better than to say I would treat it as a training exercise. I won’t. If I get out there, I race. It’s just what I do. So, I either want to race it or not do it. How’s that for being narrow minded? I think it would be good prep for my Olympic distance tri in four weeks.

My body feels good. I am getting stronger. My PT says my left side is noticeably more stable. She usually rolls her eyes at me and sighs when I try to squat on one leg because my knee buckles in. Yesterday, she did not do that. Yesterday she said I had made a ton of progress.

I love races. I love the race energy. I want to be out there, supporting this local event.


Yet, I don’t want to push too much. I want to still be in that Smart As Shit Athlete (SASA) category.

What would you do? Any advice?

Do you ever enter races last minute?


PS: Don’t forget about my Saucony running shoe giveaway. Ends Tuesday, 6/5.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saucony Shoe Giveaway–Find Your Strong!

Are you familiar with Saucony’s Find Your Strong Project I eat this motivating/inspiring stuff up like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.

The message is clear:

“Strong can be found in every runner. Personal. Powerful. Insanely motivating. We find strong in others. We find it in ourselves, and when we share it, we all get stronger.”

The Find Your Strong theme this week is “My Personal Best” – encouraging runners to think back to a time when they hit their PR in time and distance.

For me, this happened on May 10, 2010, when my months of hard training towards my BQ came to fruition at the Colorado Marathon. My training for that race was smart, independent and smooth. I will take credit for that.

I followed the “Run Less, Run Faster” plan that had me running three key runs per week (tempo, speed and long). My speed workouts were Yasso 800s and I nailed them. My hope was to reach my Boston qualifying time of 3:50, so my Yassos were all kept in the the 3:40 or so range (yes, a bit overachieving). I did some mild cross training that included swimming and yoga. I was not fatigued or overwhelmed while training. I was balanced and at ease. My total weekly mileage never exceeded 50 miles.

I had NO clue if I could or would reach my goal that day. It was only to be my second marathon, and I was (and am) an inexperienced runner at best. But, on May 10, 2010, everything came together in the perfect storm. At the risk of sounding full of myself, I executed an ideal race and crossed the line in 3:43, smashing my BQ time and taking 20 minutes off of my first marathon time of a year before.


That day, I surely Found My Strong (see full race report HERE and HERE).

To get a better idea of this whole Find Your Strong business, take a look at this very short, yet very energizing video HERE. Also, go enter the Find Your Strong sweepstakes HERE for a chance to win one of the weekly giveaways.

Saucony has provided me with a prize to give away to one lucky reader – a pair of Saucony Ride 5’s! These are a neutral, cushioned shoe weighing 8.6 ounces. They retail for $109.

Ride 5 ImageTo enter (each comment is worth an entry):

  • Leave a comment telling me about your Personal Best + 1 entry
  • Go to the “Find Your Strong” link and enter into this week’s sweepstakes. Leave a comment telling me  +1 entry
  • Facebook, Twat or blog about this giveaway. Leave a comment telling me + 1 entry

Good luck! Giveaway ends June 5.


Fine Print:

  • Saucony provided the giveaway item.
  • Open to US residents only.
  • Winner will be chosen on on 6/5

Monday, May 28, 2012

How To Pace an 11 Year Old

Today was a great example of how your mind can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Especially when it comes to running.

This was year #4 that my daughter, Emma (age 11), ran the Bolder Boulder 10K Race. She absolutely LOVES this race. In regular life, she doesn’t run a ton, but is a pretty active kid. She has had a great experience in the past at this race and wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Before you think I am in favor of child torture, let me start out by saying that I do not push my kids to run or to love running. Just because it’s my thing does not mean it has to be theirs. They decide if they want to do races and how they want to pace themselves. I let them take the lead.

Before the race started, it was all rainbows and Skittles. We made some friends at the start (cows), danced to the music and enjoyed the warmth of the early morning sun. I learned how to not mess my tutu in the bathroom. I just knew this was going to be the best Bolder Boulder ever.



Kathy, Emma & Me. You can call me Forehead Freddy if you want.

Then we started running.

We were seriously not .25 miles in, when Emma’s legs hurt. Then she had heartburn. Then her toes ached. Next was a cramp. All psychosomatic if you ask me.  I’m thinking to myself, “Are you kidding me?” But then I remember that she’s 11, and when I was 11 I would never have attempted this.

Emma:Mom. I don’t want to do this.”

Me: “I don’t care if you never run another race again, but we are finishing this one.” (I’m very sympathetic).

At mile .5, she wanted to walk. We took a little break.

At mile 1, she wanted to quit. I said absolutely not.  We will make it to the finish line. I reminded her she had done this three times before, and that just two weeks ago she had run a strong 5K. I sensed that it was not so much that she was tired, but that she had given up mentally. Already.

I also know about the “mom effect.” This is when a child (even a grown child like myself) automatically regresses and needs extra sympathy when they are with their mom. This is the first year that we have run this race together. Somehow when she is with Ken, it’s different.

At mile 2, there was more complaining. She said she didn’t want to do the race anyway. I held her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. I told her it did not matter how long it took us to finish, what mattered that we did finish. What mattered was her attitude, and I wanted her to turn it around NOW. I told her I thought she had given up right when she started running. I was a mom of few words, trying to make a point without lecturing.

At mile 3, I let her know we were almost halfway. I encouraged her to just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. That’s when she took off.  There was a defining moment when her head got in the game and it was obvious. She was smiling ear to ear, she was running effortlessly. Something about being half way made her think she could do it.

As we got to mile 5, I told her it was only about another mile. I told her in about 15 minutes she would be done running. She was tired, we took a couple of walk breaks. I reminded her that this was when running became about what was going on in your head and not so much about your body. I’m sure she wanted me to shut the hell up, but I saw this as a fine parenting moment – a time to sneak an important lesson in there.

By the time we got into our final lap of the University of Colorado stadium, the crowds cheering and full of energy, I could not keep up with this girl. Literally. She ran her little heart out and crossed the finish two minutes faster than last year, in 1:12. She was beaming. Proud of herself. Accomplished. Confident.

She told me that when she started the race, it seemed so overwhelming. She didn’t think she could do it, and she knew how much further she had to go. She psyched herself out. Once her mind and spirit gave up, so did her body.

Then slowly, she got behind herself.

Isn’t that just what it takes? Getting behind ourselves?

Today was the perfect example of that Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” Yes, we train our bodies physically, but it is the mental strength that takes us through the miles. Our bodies want to stop long before our minds. If the mind is still in it, you can go further than you ever imagined. Just ask Emma!


And as for Sam – well, he and Ken were planning to run together. That is until mile 2 when Sam ditched Ken and busted out a 49 minute race! I think it was the bicep that did it. Ken came in two minutes later.


Yes, all of these people ran the race. About 54,000 of us!

Ever had a race where you were not mentally in the game, but turned it around? To be perfectly honest, almost every half marathon or marathon is like this for me. I have this feeling at about mile 2 of defeat, wondering if I can do it or not. I remember in Boston in 2011, I got to mile 1 and some douche yelled “Only 25 more miles to go!”

With races, I think  it’s especially important to break it up in a way that works for you. I should have done this with Emma. I think the distance might have felt more manageable if I had told her we were running three 2 milers or something like that. Next time. Because despite what she said at mile 2, she’s on board for next year already.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kids These Days

We had a house full of kids sleep here last night. Like 6 of them. For some reason, when it is sleepover central, I always have a hard time sleeping. I’m worried someone is doing something they shouldn’t be doing, or someone is sick or someone is breathing or not breathing properly. In reality, I probably can’t sleep because I know what I used to do at sleepovers. But, I’m not going to tell you what that was because you’ll look down on me more than you already do.

At midnight, I woke up Ken and told him to go check on the adolescents who were holed up in their teen-man-cave in the basement. He was annoyed. I am the worrier and he is the laid back one in our relationship. The laid back one always gets annoyed with the worrier, especially when the worrier makes them do something they think is stupid like make sure the oven is off.

Me: (pushing him, punching him to get him to wake up): Can you go check on the boys?

Him: (sighing, annoyed): No, they're fine. Go back to sleep.

Me: Seriously. Please just go down there. Make sure everyone is okay.

Him: What? Leave them alone.

Me: Just check, please (reaching for my Xanax)

Five minutes pass

Him: I hate to disappoint you, but they're down there looking at the yearbook.

Me: I KNEW IT!! Damn kids. Isn’t there someone’s house they should be TP’ing or some dirty magazine they should be gawking at?

My point in telling this story is that when 6:00 am came, I really didn’t feel like getting up to run. But, as I always say, it matters not how you feel, you just have to do. This blog is not called Be Quiet and Stay in Bed.

So, I:

Got dressed
Brushed my teeth
Took my vitamins
Fed the dog
Fed the guinea pig
Put the coffee on
Ate a piece of cinnamon raison toast
Drank half a cup of coffee
Filled my fuel belt with water and GU

Lastly, I cleaned up the dog’s throw up before he could eat it (he tried, he really did. I don’t know which I understand less - a dog eating their own poop or their own vomit. It is all just wrong and confusing).

I was already tired from all of my pre-run activities. But, I sucked it up and we headed out for 10 miles.


As you know, I've been taking it easy with my running. I’m working on my running form, and this has meant shorter, slower runs. Today I decided to see how 10  felt because I am still holding out to do a half marathon in a a couple of weeks.

It was a gorgeous morning to be out in the Colorado air.


I had no poop urges, my stomach felt great for once in my lifetime. I don’t think I farted once. We kept the pace very moderate and I never felt tired. I stopped halfway and had an Island Nectar GU and I pretended I was drinking a pina coloda. That GU flavor rocks my world and it’s a Roctane one, so there is some much needed caffeine in there.

I had some aches starting at about mile 8, mostly left side stuff like my back, my neck and my calf. I am happy to report my left ear lobe did not hurt. I know that my form is still off, and as I’m making changes I’m sure I’m taxing other parts of my body. I still feel that my left side is weak and wonky. The aches and pains frustrate me, I’m not going to lie. I am beyond sick of feeling limited in my training. I keep telling myself that all of this is a means to an end.

On a different note, I know you have been wondering for the past few days how the tutu making is going for our race on Monday. All I can say is I am clearly Martha Stewart minus the jail time. Here is a sneak peek:



The no-sew home-made tutu is the way to go. Don’t be too jealous. Now the question is, do I go commando underneath? Ken thinks yes, but I don’t want to frighten the other runners. Or, scar my daughter for life.

 What types of stuff did you used to do at sleepovers? I can’t tell because I think my dad reads this blog and he will ground me or take away my Garmin.

Are you the worrier or laid-back one in your relationship? I know Ken gets sick of me worrying. It has been this way for 20 years. Good thing I am so perfect in every other way.

Did you do a long run this weekend?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Etiquette for Peeing on the Trail

Just when you think you had heard it all, you get blindsided.

A reader, Rob, had an interesting situation come while running on the trails a few weeks ago. He said he had to make a quick judgment call about what to do, and wondered what true “trail running etiquette” was for this particular puzzling situation.

Rob was running along minding his own business. He took a turn, leaving a heavily wooded area, and came onto an open prairie. That’s when he encountered it - a woman "squatting" just two feet off the trail.

Rob didn’t make it clear if she was doing #1 or #2. I suspect it was #1 or he would have said otherwise (and been traumatized for life). Rob’s eyes met the eyes of the urinator with an "oh crap" expression. He wasn’t sure if he should:

  1. Immediately turn around
  2. Backtrack into the woods and wait for her to finish, or
  3. Keep going.

Rob opted for Door #3. Best part was, as he was running by, the urinator gave a head nod and said “Hello.” What a friendly urinator this gal was!

Rob says, “I've looked on other running blogs for proper etiquette but no one seems to cover this situation. Was I in the wrong?”

I have to say I’ve never encountered this situation, per se. I have definitely been in races where people are peeing everywhere, but I’ve never been on a trail when I encountered a squatter when it was just me and them, gazing into each other’s eyes. 

I don’t know if there is true etiquette around this situation. My thought is that if she had the guts to pee right there by the trail without making an effort to conceal herself, then all bets are off. I would keep running as Rob did, and give a nice friendly runner wave. I might even yell out, “Nice form!”

However, with Rob being a dude, and the urinator being a lady (uh…maybe not), this may had an additional dynamic to take into account. So complex!

What would you do? Is there running etiquette for this situation?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finding My Chi

I was waiting in line at the post office today to send some SUAR shirts to Australia and Canada (people like to shut up and run in lots of countries, apparently), when it happened.

For starters, this is a VERY small town post office. Like, one room. I try to be aware of personal space, so I gave the gentleman at the counter ahead of me a good five feet. That was a smart move on my part because while I was waiting, a fart slipped out. Of me. Not an SBD, mind you. But a full-on airy, loud one.

There were only three of us in the room. Yet, I somehow thought I could get away with it. I gazed around, my eyebrows raised, as if to say “Are you kidding me? Who DOES that in a small room??

I like to think I left them wondering, “Was that a fart or was that duck? Wait! I didn’t see any ducks. Maybe it was my imagination. Now way in hell that girl waiting in line would rip one right in front of everyone at the post office.” If only they knew who they were dealing with.

The fart kind of took my by surprise. I had just come from my daughter’s fifth grade graduation where I had an ample slice of a giant gluten-free chocolate chip cookie. Some people are allergic to gluten and it makes them fart and do other things. Apparently, I am allergic to gluten free products. Go figure.

Oh yeah, this is a running blog, not a fart blog. Well, it is actually kind of both, but let’s move onto running for good measure.

I know you will be surprised to hear this from the injury/fart queen, but my running is actually going well - when I finally get out the door after nine cups of coffee. I put in about 20 pain free miles last week.


I have had two sessions with my form coach and three PT sessions. I am working on:

  • Making sure my glutes are firing properly. HAHA – just like at the post office today
  • Building glute strength
  • Landing on my mid foot
  • Keeping my feet under my center of gravity (hips) when I land
  • Having a slight lean forward at the ankles
  • RELAXING, letting my upper body release.

Let me tell you I can feel the difference in my form. I have almost no pain in my glutes and hamstrings - the source of my pain for so long. However, trying to change something like the way you run is like trying to get milk from a bull’s nipples.

Bottom line, it is hard (the running, not the nipple). There are times when I want to just go back to the way it was, where I could run without thinking about it. But, look where that got me.

I am trying to remember that it takes time to change habits and patterns (great article about changing habits found HERE). I am incredibly impatient. I want it and I want it now.  I am learning that change is slow and it helps to work on one thing at a time. Eliminate one bad habit or adopt one good habit a month. Don’t try for too much and set yourself up to fail.

On that note, I was incredibly excited this week when I got in an invitation to attend a Chi Running workshop with Chi founder, Danny Dreyer. It is on June 2 in Denver, for any of you wanting to learn more about this stuff.

Here’s a snippet about Chi Running from the website:

Running has gotten a bad rap. For many years people believed the myth that running causes pain and injury and is actually harmful to the body, despite its many health benefits.

One aspect of our mission is to disprove this myth. Since 1999, Chi Running customers have changed their running technique, reducing, preventing and recovering from running injuries. Beginning runners have found that our natural, full-foot running technique is easier and more enjoyable. Competitive runners have found increased speed and decreased recovery time, without being plagued by running injuries. Injured runners come back to running empowered with information to prevent recurrence.

If it sounds too good to be true, let’s hope it’s not. Optimistically, I am choosing to commit to a more natural way of running with hopes of becoming a more efficient and injury resistant runner. If it’s not for me, I’ll move onto the next thing, like trying to get milk from a bull’s nipple.

Having an open mind is a wonderful thing.

Any habits you are trying to change right now?

Have you tried Chi Running before or attended a workshop?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dressing Up

Do you dress in costumes when you run? I don’t. As appealing as it sounds to run a marathon dressed as a condom or a hotdog (or a condom over a hotdog), I find it hard enough to just finish races without carrying a lot of extra crap around in the form of a costume.

But, Memorial Day is the Bolder Boulder 10K. We always run it as a family. Well – we split up and each take a kid. Emma, age 11,  wants to dress up. No not as a condom - I do have some parental standards. I decided we could do the old “tutu” thing because it is classy and no at all overdone (insert sarcasm). Plus, it is easy.

Being an over achieving mother, I thought I could make the tutu costumes. Actually, it has nothing to do with over achieving and everything to do with not wanting to buy them (cheap ass!) and having put things off to the last minute (procrastinating cheap ass!).

Mind you, I don't own a sewing machine and am not much a sewer. Which is weird because my mom used to make all of my clothes and she is still an amazing seamstress. I prefer to buy cheap clothes made by child laborers or to hem my own clothes with glue and staples.

Anyway, guess what? There is actually a way to make a tutu that requires no sewing. Or glue. Or staples. Check it out:

I am not promising I will actually be productive enough to go buy the fabric and sit down and do this, but I have the best of intentions. 

While writing this, I found myself wondering what some of the best costumes are that people have actually worn for marathons…Here are a few of my faves:

Rhino – This guy should win the whole race just for wearing this piece of crap for 26.2 miles. I bet Lance Armstrong couldn’t do that, unless he…well, never mind. Don’t want to get into a doping conversation.  (NYC Marathon, 2011).

Jesus. Running a marathon really is a cross to bear. (Tokyo Marathon, 2011).

Camel. This is just not efficient in any way, shape or form. Plus the rear hump is heel striking and over striding (London Marathon, 2010).

The Most Excellent Costumes at 2010 London Marathon (42 pics)

Whoopee Cushion. This makes a hell of a lot of sense. You have full permission to thunderously fart your way through 26.2 miles. It is part of your costume, it’s strongly encouraged (London Marathon, 2010).

The Most Excellent Costumes at 2010 London Marathon (42 pics)

Do you ever run in costume?

What’s the best one you’ve ever seen out there? My favorite was this one seen at the Boston Marathon in 2011. I swear it’s not me.



Monday, May 21, 2012

7 More Tips to Not Let Injury Defeat You

Are you kidding me? Another injury post?

If you could see the number of emails I get about how to survive running injuries, you’d understand why I write about this subject so often. It’s relevant, people. The running world is at least 50% injured right now. Fallen soldiers every.stinking.where.

It’s true that we all handle hardship differently. Some wallow, some are proactive. Some eat everything in sight, some lose weight. Some drink their faces off, some show their resilience.  I wrote a post awhile back about the stages of injury – you can read it HERE.


Although fun, not the best solution

What I know is that once we move out of the pity party stage (also known as anger/denial - which is totally acceptable for a short period of time), we do better when we can a) see the big picture, and b) remain optimistic.

Recently someone asked me “Do you ever get so angry and/or depressed that you don’t know what to do? Sometimes I just feel so defeated and that I’ll never get back to normal.”

My answer? YES and YES.

She then asked, “Do you have any personal experience or advice on having these feelings and what I can do to possibly make myself feel better? I really think the only thing that could make me feel better is to run again. No one seems to understand.”

My answer? YES. I have some ideas of what you can do to feel better. But, you first have to stop feeling sorry for yourself. I am saying this in the most loving way possible. Everyone has crosses to bear. Accept that this is yours for now and be open to tackling it head on. Here are some guidelines that have worked for me, so I tell them to you:

  1. You are not alone. Remember that many, many people are feeling exactly how you are feeling right now. It is incredibly frustrating and sad to not be able to do what you love to do and that feeling is universal. Just knowing others feel like you do helps.
  2. Feel athletic. Find something, anything that you can do that make you feel athletic. It will not be running, but it will be something. Try to not compare it to running, but just see it as the thing that will help you get back to running eventually. Be in the moment. When you are on the elliptical, don't judge the fact that you are not running out on the open road. Just be on the elliptical, get your heart rate up, sweat and feel your body. Know that running is there for you when your body is ready. Look forward to that day.
  3. Have hope. Know that this temporary. Stop reading stuff online, that is usually worst case scenarios and will not help you mentally. When I had my hip stress fracture, I looked at online forums and found all sorts of awful scenarios -people who never could run again, those who had to have surgery, you name it. Chances are very good these scenarios will not be you.
  4. Get perspective. You are a strong and capable runner. You have a an injury. Injuries heal (unless there is some extenuating circumstances). I had to remind myself that cracks in the bone heal if I give it time and if I rest. It did heal. It took four months, then I was running the Boston Marathon with no pain.
  5. Ignore those people who don't understand. Confide in other runners, even if this means on line friends like me. Read chapters of books that talk about injury like Zen and the Art of Running, Running with the Mind of Meditation and Brain Training for Runners. Most running books have a section devoted to injury because most runners get injured at some point.
  6. Get help. If you are really down and depressed consider seeing a sport's psychologist even just one time. I had a friend/fellow blogger who did this last year when she was injured and very down about it. She just went once, but it really put her in the mind space to be able to see beyond the injury and to move out of that dark place.
  7. Focus on the gifts in your life outside of running. They are still there.

You are a runner even if you can't run right now.

What tips would YOU give this person who is really down in the dumps? What has worked for you in the past?


Sunday, May 20, 2012

One Track Mind

I really have to laugh about my one track mind. Unlike some, my tunnel vision is not about sex or donuts or meth.

Case in point. I was in Starbucks today when a saw a woman, about my age, wearing sweat pants with the logo Rock ‘n Roll printed above her right thigh. As I poured two cups of half and half into my coffee, I got a bit giddy.

Not the actual pants, but you get the idea.

This woman, who had that “runner” look (gaunt, veins protruding from her arms), had clearly done some Rock ‘n Roll races. My mission was to find out which one(s). Maybe we could even compare notes. Half or full? Were you in Vegas this year? Did you vomit or pass out like the rest of us? Which is your favorite Rock ‘n Roll race? How long have you been running?

We would be fast friends forever bonded as runners. I made my move:

Me: Hey! Which Rock ‘n Roll race did you do?

Woman in Sweat Pants (WISP): Huh…uh…what?

Me: Oh, I saw your pants. Just wondering which race you did.

WISP: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I bought these at Target.

Me: Oh, uh, well there’s a race series called “Rock ‘n Roll.” Marathons and half marathons.

WISP: I don’t run. I just liked the logo on these. My daughter thinks I’m ridiculous for wearing these sweats. I’m going to go home and tell her that I’m actually kind of cool wearing these because it makes me look like a runner.

I left, shaking my head. How do you exist on this earth and not know that Rock ‘n Roll is a race series? That’s like not knowing what a Swiss System tournament is in chess. Uh, wait. Does anyone know that?

This got me to thinking about all the other ways my mind is on one track about running:

  • Whenever I pull of the guide on the TV and I see “marathon” I get all worked up. Until I realize it’s a Beavis and Butthead marathon. As in - marathon = back to back episodes of a TV show. Doh!
  • Sometimes I’ll wake in the night, look at my clock and it will say something like “3:39”. My first thought is not that I am an a-hole for being awake at 3:39, but that 3:39 is four minutes faster than my fastest marathon time of 3:43. There is something wrong with me. Who does that?


I may have a problem. Please tell me I am not the only one. I’m going to start going to R.A. meetings soon. My name is Beth and I have a running problem.

Do you have a one track mind when it comes to running? How so?

Okay, off for a bike ride on the Froot Loops of Lyons, CO. See? It is NOT all about running. It’s about coffee and bedhead.



Friday, May 18, 2012

So, When You’re…

Go surf Facebook (or buy stock) or Pinterest and you’ll see it’s chock full of quotes to motivate, excite, inspire and make your life better. You might even see pictures of puppies and kittens and a few phallic symbols.

That’s all fine and good. I am a quote-a-holic myself. But, after reading one too many quotes about believing in yourself and not being afraid of failure, it all starts to blend together. Sometimes what’s needed is a visual. A reminder of what it means to live those words, not just read them.

Watch this video. Just watch it until at least 1:20. You’ll see what I mean.  (Thanks, Howard!)

Now tell me about how you got your period or ran out of time or were too tired to run today. After watching that, I bet you won’t want to admit your excuses.

Getting in shape or running your first race or exercising for even ten minutes a day is not something you will feel like every time you are getting ready to do it. The feelings are not important. The action is important. Getting up and following through is important. Even when you don’t want to.

We might not be track stars, but we can learn to pull ourselves up and keep going. Determination is something we all have, deep down. Yet, it is not something we all use.  To achieve your goals, you have to be determined to the point that you are stubborn. Too stubborn to not succeed.

So when you’re…

  • Tired, know that a run will invigorate you
  • “Blah,” know that a run will give you energy
  • Angry, know that a run will give you perspective
  • Feeling bad about yourself, know that a run will give you confidence
  • Unmotivated, know that a run is the first step
  • Busy, know that a run is worth fitting in, and that people much busier than you are making it happen (yes, I read that quote somewhere)

Try this: Squeeze your hand into a fist as hard as you can. Now squeeze a little harder. See? You always have more to give than you think you do.

How would you complete this sentence? When I don’t feel motivated, I __________________. I’d say, “When I don’t feel motivated, I don’t overthink it. I go before I can talk myself out of it.”


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Should We Push Kids to Run?

I got a thought provoking question from a reader yesterday. I think it really hit home because it combines two things I am extremely passionate about – running and kids.


Emma – age 8

The question speaks to the bigger issue of how much we should push our kids to do things, and how much we should let them evolve naturally into their own little people. Before I get too much into that, here’s the story:

Stacy* has a daughter, Mia. Mia HATES to RUN. Mia is in 6th grade and doing cross country and track. She will whine and make excuses not to run. She has major anxiety before meets. She is worried she will let everyone down. She will complain for hours before bed about how her parents are the worst parents for making her run.

The parents respond, “Every one is given a gift from God to be good at something…you many not be the best at math or reading but you were given legs to run.” The parents say, “We can’t pick what we are given, we just need to make the most of it.”

Stacy’s ultimate question was – “Should I take her to get some anxiety happy pills? Know of anyone like this? We don’t want her to quit.”

I’m hoping/thinking she was kidding about the happy pills.

In my opinion, this wasn’t the right question to ask. The “right” questions to ask would be:

  • Why do we care so much if she runs or not? Is this more about us?
  • At what point is okay to let your child quit something they have committed to if they really hate it?
  • On that note - when is it “right” to insist a child do something. When is “right” to let it go and to allow them the choice?

Parenting is a touchy thing because everyone has an opinion. Parents are protective of their kids. Parents want the best for the kids. The tough thing is – parenting is very subjective. What works for one kid or family might not work for another. There is no handbook, no perfect way of parenting. There is trial and error, finding what works for each individual.

That said, there are times to push and insist a child do something, and there are times when we don’t have to pick that battle. I learned this lesson very early on with my kids.

There are some issues that, as a parent, you must put your foot down about because you ARE the parent and you DO know better (school, being honest, being safe, etc.). Yet, there are some times when we need to give our child the autonomy to know what is best for themselves. Even at an early age we can do this by giving them choices that make sense (do you want oatmeal or Cheerios?). This is how we teach them that we trust them and have confidence in them. This is how we prepare them for the big, bad world out there.

This was my response to Stacy, probably not the one she wanted:

“If she hates to run and has this extreme anxiety about it, why make her do it? There are so many options of sports and activities, help her find something she likes to do and is excited to do. This is the age when they experiment. She may come back to running eventually, but if she is pushed, she will just learned to hate it. Usually the things we are good at are the things we also love, but not always. So even if she has a gift for running, it doesn't mean she has to do that. She can do many sports where running is a part of the sport and probably be very successful.”

“If she LOVED to run, but had anxiety about races, that would be a different story and would require a different approach.”

“That said, I'm also a believer that if kids have committed to a team, they need to stick it out until the season is over.  Then they don't have to ever do it again.”

I think one of the toughest parts of being a parent is realizing this is your kid’s journey, not YOUR journey. Of course you are there to guide and protect them. Parents get so invested in their kids being successful and excelling because they think it reflects poorly on them if their kid fails or quits. Some parents even live vicariously through their kids and depend on them to do all the things they never did growing up. I am not saying this is what is going on in this case, I am just saying it happens.

My kids run. They do not run because I want them to run. They run because they made this choice and they enjoy it.


Bolder Boulder 10K - 2010

My son has run cross country for the past three years of middle school. He has made it clear he doesn’t want to do it in high school. “I just don’t like it that much,” he tells me. Would I like to see him continue? Of course. But, there are many activities to choose from and I want him to choose the ones that light his fire. I don’t want it to feel like a chore. If I thought he was quitting because he thought he couldn’t do it, that would be a different story and a different conversation.

I do think it is essential that kids are active. They need to do something. There are lots of “somethings” to choose from. As we all know, being part of a team promotes camaraderie and accountability. Being active fights obesity and helps to maintain good health. Doing something keeps kids out of trouble (sometimes).

{There is a great article on this subject found at Livestrong}

I’d love your thoughts. I don’t care if you are a parent or not. Just tell me your gut reaction.

How would you respond to Stacy? What I said above. And for God’s sake…NO PILLS.

As a kid, did your parents ever insist you stayed in a sport/activity you wanted to quit? My parents were not into sports and didn’t have much input about that. They were strict about making sure I did well in school, was respectful and honest, etc. This was non-negotiable. The other stuff, like friends and activities, they let me make my own choices.


*Names have been changed

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do Runners Wear Out?

If you read this blog, then you know I label myself as a “newer runner.” It is like reading a description for a house you might buy and seeing it has “newer carpet.” This just means that the carpet is not brand new, it has some wear and tear, but it can hardly be classified as old, decrepit and used up. It also does not have the history behind it like a seasoned carpet would. It has not gone through all of the highs and lows that life has to offer.

Hence, that “newer” carpet, just like the “newer” runner, still has a thing to learn about the ways of the world.

{And no, I have no clue if the “newer” carpet matches the “older” drapes. I guess it depends on the dye job.}

In my short running career, many other runners I have met ran track and/or cross country in high school and college. These people intimidate me – they have some sort of competitive history I will never have. They have running experience and a broad running foundation that I will never know. They actually did more moving in college than just kicking up into a keg stand (this is where my gymnastics history came in handy).


This is my dear friend, Julie, who ran in college.
Here she is a couple years ago
busting out a 1:36 half marathon.

Many times Ken and I have sat around, beers in hand, and questioned whether we would be stronger, faster runners if we had only started before we entered our fourth decade of life. Sometimes we even used it as an excuse: “Oh yeah. If I had started running right back then I would be on my way to London this summer for that big athletic event…what’s it called?” Oh, just get me another drink so I can dream on.



Does starting earlier make you a stronger, better runner or does it simply wear you down? The New York Times addressed this exact issue yesterday in an article entitled, “Can Runners Have ‘Too Many Miles on the Tires?

Trouble is, the article basically said nothing, or maybe I am dense. I re-read it a couple of times, but still got nothing out of it. Seems there is no data to support whether those who have been running longer have better performance than those who started later in life.

One study of athletes over the age of 50 who participated in the national Senior Olympic Games found a small decline in performance up until the age of 75. Then, it went down hill fast after that.

Probably the only interesting tidbit from the article was that the majority of masters distance runners did not take up running until they were well into their 40s. This statement gives me hope.

What do you think?

When did you start running? High school? College? Not until after you had kids? I started running when I was 41.

How do you think when you started running affects your current performance, or does it? I have no clue. I think maybe if I had developed a base for running earlier in life I might be a better runner now. Or, maybe I would just be more injured. Who knows. See – I could have written the article.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Watering the Grass

Happy Monday! I am off to Bikram yoga. I’ve been avoiding yoga lately because my PT tells me it is not good for my hamstring. All of those forward folds really pull on the ham hock, which is apparently not conducive to healing a tear. I have dearly missed yoga, however, so I will just alter my practice to avoid pulling or stretching the hamstring too much. Hot, sweaty crack yoga – here I come!

On a different note -  sometimes I am astounded at the stuff that goes on that we don’t realize is going on. If you think too much about it, it will make you kind of edgy, even a bit sick.

An example would be when I read in the local appear that a teenage couple was caught copulating at midnight at a local park on the same slide where my children play. Ick, just ick. Those are the really gross sneaky things that make your skin crawl. You begin to get a complex that whatever you touch in public has been somehow made gross by someone. Don’t even get me started on hotel room comforters and remote controls.

Then there are the funny sneaky things that are totally harmless and give you a chuckle. Let’s focus on those because the other stuff sucks.

This week I got an email from a reader who needed to pee really badly during her half marathon, but didn’t want to waste time by stopping. Her solution? At the end of the race she sat in the grass to stretch and let it flow. Yep, just right into the grass (and, I suppose her shorts). This would be an example of a time when you definitely want a change of clothes in your car.

I have done this many times while in the ocean, but never on the grass. In the water I love to have conversations with people while I am peeing because they never know that it’s even going on. I feel as if I have some great little secret. “Ha! Yes I would love to go to dinner at the steak house tonight! And did you know I am peeing right now? It is likely flowing onto your leg just about…….NOW!” Mind you, I do not pee in pools, although I did this until I was at least fifteen. I’m just lazy that way.

Anyone want to go to the beach with me?

If you have to pee during a race, do you ever just go while running or biking? I have a friend who is a competitive runner and she does this all the time. She just rinses off her leg with water at the aid station and tries to remember to not use Gatorade by mistake. I tried once, but no flow. Haven’t been able to do it on the bike either.

On a different note, I want to welcome my newest blog advertiserRethreads T-Shirt Quilts (see right sidebar). I love this concept, and you may have seen it before. You can repurpose your old race shirts by having them made into a memory quilt like this:

What a creative alternative to leaving all those shirts stuffed in your bottom drawer or using them as dusting cloths or toilet paper. What a fantastic gift for that runner/triathlete/cyclist in your life!

Hop on over and check out Rethreads T-Shirts Quilts. You can get 10% off through the month of May by typing “SUAR” in as your coupon code.

What do you do with old race shirts? I usually give them to my kids if I don't wear them.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ups and Downs of Mother’s Day (with video!)

I’m not going to lie, Mother’s Day started out crappy. I really wanted to run, and run I did. But, it was easily one of the WORST runs I’ve had in a long time. I am still not sure what happened. Over the course of seven miles I managed to:

  • Have a sore back
  • Have a sore foot
  • Be more tired than I should have been
  • Have to poop
  • Have Ken guard while I hid in the trees

The good news was that my actual injuries didn’t start hurting until mile six, and the pain was minimal. It was simply one of those runs where you are not  in the zone, everything hurts and it feels very, very long probably because you stop 14 times for various reasons. I came home and had a huge cup of coffee and a gigantic donut (screw post-run protein, it’s Mother’s Day), but my spirits were still kind of in the gutter.

We went to the baseball fields to watch Sam’s team lose.  I immensely enjoyed a HUGE screaming match between two grown men. The cops were even called and I’m not kidding. Why are kid’s athletics the scene of so much angst for parents?

Emma asked how my Mother’s Day was. I said, “Not so good so far, but it’s not your fault.” I was just trying to be honest.

Then it turned around when I came home and got this:

Lame video, but you get the picture. I have been wanting this fountain for several months. Few things make me happier than sitting with friends or family on our back deck, looking at the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, having a good meal, drinking a fine glass of wine and listening to the gentle sounds of a fountain. Even though it makes me have to continuously pee, I still love it.

I also got this and there is no reason to tell you how much it brightened my day:


Yeah it’s okay if he brings down the house with his fart, but I get judged for mine.
Betty Sue is our Guinea pig, btw.

There was also Almond Roca and chocolate with sea salt, so this day was turning the eff around in a big way.

We went out for lunch and I was slightly disturbed at the ASLEEP (or drunk?) person driving beside us. In this picture, she is not at a stop light, she is driving about 50 mph. This cannot be safe.


At the risk of sounding sappy and like I’m lying, our little family is perfection. I ate a wonderful pizza salad and drank a glass of wine.


On our drive home from lunch, Emma pointed out what a tough day this must be for Sherry’s family, especially her children. Truer words were never spoken. My heart goes out to them with the enormous loss they feel everyday, but especially today.

My life is amazing. It’s all good. Seven mile run from hell is a distant memory.

Tonight I get to celebrate with my own mom. It’s hard to know how to thank a mom for 45 years of devotion, caring and worry on your behalf. If I am even kind of a decent mom, it is because of what she has taught me.

What’s the best part of your Mother’s Day?

Ever try a salad pizza? I was a salad pizza virgin until today, but I will be back for seconds.

Ever deal with uptight/rageful/tantruming parents at sporting events? I have to say that our team’s parents are pretty well behaved. This is probably the worse incident in several years.

Have you fallen asleep while driving? No, not even close. I actually have nightmares about this happening.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two More Reasons

If you’re not sick of me yet and want to read an interview with yours truly, click HERE to visit the Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine’s Happy Feet Blog. You’ll learn the one secret I think all runners should know (and it isn’t carrying toilet paper or doing an enema before a big race).

I heard one of my favorite quotes ever come out of my 11 year old’s mouth today. She had just finished a local 5K  -the Happy Smackah (Remember this one from last year? Our community raised money for Mr. Cribby, my son’s teacher who almost died and lost his arm to a deadly bacterial infection. Today was the second year of this race, and while Mr. Cribby is fine, the community raised money for two local 15 year old twins who are suffering from nephrotic syndrome which threatens their kidneys. You can read more about Kaylee and Aubree HERE. A wonderful race for a wonderful cause).

Anyway, we were driving home after the race and Emma said,

Whenever I see on old or tired person running on the road, I want to yell out to them to keep it up and to keep going. I just want to give them support.”

I am not sure what her version of “old” is – maybe she was talking about me. But, I think she was referring to anyone who is out there really pushing it and doing their best. I love that girl. I think her statement shows how runners feel about runners. We are a community of support. Even an 11 year old feels the connection that runners share.

Here are some pictures from today:

I worked the water station. Yes, it was freaking freezing:


You hear it all the time – thank your volunteers. Being on this side of things, you really notice when people take the time to thank you. Means so much – don’t forget to do it!!

My two amazing girlfriends, Kathy and Nicky, volunteered as well:


There goes Mr. Cribby! He ran this year. Incredible. Hard to believe a year ago he was fighting for his life. This man, who now is missing his left arm, stops at nothing. He runs, mows the lawn, drives a stick shift. So, if you are making excuses, knock it off.


My girl, Emma, about a mile from the finish:


One of the absolute coolest things about runners is how we rally for each other. We saw this with the Virtual Run for Sherry, and we see it every day with Team in Training, and hundreds of others of charity races around the world. It is genius go combine giving with running. Participants donate to a worthy cause while doing something that they love. The community spirit at these events is always overwhelming and incredibly positive.

Running unites. Running gives back. Two more reasons I love this sport.

Ever participate in or organize a charity race? My first marathon was with Team in Training. Since then I’ve done several other charity races of all distances.

Do you volunteer at races? I don’t volunteer a ton, but I try to do it at least once per year. As a runner, it is invaluable to know what the “other” side of a race is like.

Do you run races with your kids? This is one of my most favorite things to do. We try to do at least 1-2 races a year. One races we never miss is the Bolder Boulder 10K coming up on Memorial Day.













Thursday, May 10, 2012

Running Form–It Matters

We hear it all the time: running is simple and basic. Lace up your shoes and go, right?

Not so much.

In theory, running should be simple. When I was a kid it was simple. I didn’t wear shoes all summer. I’d run out the front door first thing in the morning, only pausing for a second when my feet squished into a fresh, warm pile of dog crap. I’d run all day to friend’s houses and while playing kickball. I’d run all night (or until 9:00 p.m. when Love Boat came on) during a rousing game of Ghost in the Graveyard and Capture the Flag.

Running was a means to an end. A way to get places and to get there fast.  Running meant freedom and being alive in my body. It still does. Yet, it is no longer simple. As we get older, we forget how to run. We forget how to relax while running.


My son at his recent track meet where
he finally broke 6 minutes in the mile (5:45).
Decent form I think – although the arms need some work. But what do I know?

Most things appear basic on the surface. Have you ever done a home improvement project? Usually you have your ideas of what is to be done, the supplies you will need and the time it will take. Always, you find out there is more to be done than you thought, more supplies to be purchased than anticipated, and that it takes 95 times as long as you projected. Or, maybe this is just how DIY goes in my house.

Running is kind of like that. When I started running 3 ½ years ago, I bought a good pair of shoes and a pair of running tights. For a long time, I did not purchase anything else (yes those tights got stinky). Then came the Garmin, the second pair of shoes, the gels, the race entry fees, the roller to roll my ass on, the massage appointments, the running books, the air fare fees to travel to races. You all know exactly what I am talking about. You need a part time job just to support your recreational running habit.

This brings me to today. If anyone told me 3 ½ years ago I would hire a running form coach, I would have laughed my ass off. Talk about random. Oh yea, and I also need someone to coach me on colonics and making rice that doesn’t stick. Why do a need someone to coach me on my form? It is perfectly fine. So what if I don’t look like some elite Kenyan runner? I never will and not just because I have shitty form.



My first marathon in 2009. Talk to the hand. This shit is hard.

What I have discovered about form, however, is that if you run long enough and far enough with poor form, it will catch up to you. You will get injured. You will recover. You will get injured again. You will stop getting faster. You will be inefficient in your muscle and energy usage.

This is the hole I have dug for myself. In all of my joy about becoming a runner, I literally ran myself into the ground. Now I am having to slow way down, back way off and almost start over. Sometimes I think to myself, man if I could BQ and have shitty form, what could I do if I was actually running “right”? Or, maybe I’m just too old to ever do that again.

Today was coaching session #1 with Douglas. A lot of progress was made today. Perhaps the sweetest words ever spoken to me with the exception of “I do” and “It’s a boy (girl)!” were, “You will make some changes to your form, it might take some patience and time, but then you will be able to run as much as you want to.” I almost cried. For the past year and a half, I have felt so limited due to recurring pain. I have lost some of my confidence.

Here’s what we focused on:

  • Grounding my body – getting centered. Relaxing.
  • Leaning into the run at my ankles (think falling forward to get momentum). I tend to be very straight up, almost leaning back.
  • Landing under my center of gravity.
  • Relaxing my upper body. I am so stiff when I run from the waist up.
  • Using my core, not my legs, as my power.

{More info on running form HERE from Runner’s World}

Douglas rode in his car along side me behind a 7-11 with a video camera. Kind of like a creepy stalker who I pay to watch me. He would yell out things for me to focus on which really helped. The bottom line with making form changes, even if they are subtle, is that what you think  you are doing is not what you are doing. You need someone to watch and give you feedback.

Remember this picture? It’s true.

After the videotaping we went back and watched the videos. Ugh. Who hates having themselves videotaped, raise your hand. Mother shocker of all shockers - with this few gentle shifts in my form, I actually kind of liked how I looked. My cadence was quick and very light. I was landing under my hips. I really just need to work on leaning into the run and relaxing my upper body. It will take practice and diligence. It will mean slowing down and backing out of some races. The payoff will be huge.

Light at the end of the freaking tunnel. Feels good. I know this is not a panacea (that means “cure all” for all of you all drop outs out there), but it is a start.


Yes, I’m on the stairs again. And my boob is glowing. Bite me.

In your gut, do you think you have decent form or that your form needs work?

Have you ever hired a running coach to help with form issues?


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Man Behind Me In Line

I love people. I really do. I know it would surprise you to learn that I am an extrovert. I get my energy from people, baby! 

But, some days I feel like I have a sign on my head that says, Hello all strangers! Talk to me. Tell me about your hemorrhoids or your Aunt Edna who has herpes. Talk to me and do not let me get a word in edge wise. Talk to me and speak only of yourself.”

Does this happen to you too?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy human interactions and meeting new people. But, occasionally there will be these very random exchanges that make me go, “Huh? Am I even part of this conversation?”

This weekend I was at Barnes and Noble. I was innocently in line waiting to buy “Chi Running.” I almost bought “50 Shades of Grey.” I had it in my hand, thinking I wanted to buy it, imagining that my local library might be too prude to have it. But, in the end, I put it back. 

If you don’t know, “50 Shades of Grey” is a very erotic novel that is selling like gluten free muffins at a celiac convention. Have you read it yet? Are you running out to buy it right now? (BTW, hilarious skit on SNL this week referring to the book).

Anyway, so here I stand, my “Chi Running” book in hand, waiting in line to make my purchase.

Man Behind Me In Line: Oh, hey, so I see you are reading CHAI running.

Me (thinking, does he think this book is about spicy tea?): Yeah, I’d like to learn more about it…

MBMIL: Well, I’m getting this book on running in Colorado. I live in a very small town. I am the town runner. I work at a prison. I run everywhere. I love to run. I want to run  in Boulder. I am fifty years old. Have you heard of that Bolder Boulder race? I like races. I want to run a race. In Colorado. In Boulder and it’s supposed to be a good race.

Me: Yes, that’s a fun one. Really big race, it’s…

MBMIL: Well, I was going to do a marathon, you know. I was training. I’m fifty years old. I was training then the ex-wife got cancer and, well, had to stop training and stuff. But you know I’m going to do a marathon. I am the town runner. I run everywhere. I’m fifty.

Me: Oh. Well, I…

MBMIL: I mean I might do a half marathon, not sure. Don't have much time. I work the late shift, so I sleep all day, work all night. I come home from work, then sleep, then get up and run before I go to work. I work all night. I’m getting this book. Looks good. About running in Colorado. Might do a 10K.

Me: Neat. Well, nice talking to you. (or nice having you talk at me)

It’s a damn good thing I did not have “50 Shades of Grey” in my hand. God only knows what kind of conversation would have erected from that (Get it? Erected?)

Nice enough guy. If you are reading this MBMIL, you really are nice and thank you for saying hello. I just didn’t really feel like I was part of the conversation. Sometimes I wonder if people are lonely and that is why they give so much information and just talk, talk, talk. Either that or they just really like themselves a whole heck of a lot.

Oh, I just thought of one more crazy interaction. Eons ago we had just moved into a duplex in Denver. I came out to meet our neighbor. She was a different type of lady – older, red hair, Rosemary was her name. She told me that the walls between our two apartments were pretty thin. She told me she hoped she never heard me throwing a frying pan at Ken’s head and calling him a “cocksucker.” I’m not kidding. That’s what she said.

Ever have these kind of awkward/unusual interactions with strangers? Actually, I feel like this happens to me almost on a daily basis. I’m not trying to be a judgmental jerk. I really do love people.

I’m curious about this “50 Shades of Grey.” Anyone read it? It kind of reminds me of being in 8th grade when Judy Blume’s book, “Forever” was kind of taboo and all the rage. I did find 50 Shades at the library. There are about ten copies and I am number 65 on the wait list. GO Longmont sex fiends!