Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It’s All About Girls

Tonight I’m going to Vegas. It is our ten year anniversary. No, not for me and Ken. For me and my friend, Erika. We’ve been friends for much longer than that – since grad school, which is about 18 years – but it is our tenth anniversary of going to Vegas.


In 2002, we took our first trip to Vegas. It was love at first sight. I love my life, but I also love a good escape from reality and Vegas is just that. There is something about not having any rules, obligations or time schedules that puts me in a very good mood. I also do enjoy having a large cocktail at 10:00 a.m., because that is the culture of the town and…when in Rome, right?


We usually stay only two nights, because for both of us it’s tough to get away for more than that. But, being our anniversary, we opted for three nights. Our version of a trip to Vegas has nothing to do with seeing shows, going to nightclubs and eating at fancy restaurants. Our version is something like this:

6:00 a.m. Get up and run (Erika sleeps in). No shit. I really do this.

7:00 a.m. Coffee and lots of it. Find something to eat. Shower. Bikini.

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Lay at pool. This is a full time job and the perfect chance to play cards, people watch (I love the European pool at the Wynn – lots of boobies hanging out to comment on– but not mine).


I have no clue why the guy beside us is touching himself.

5:00 p.m. – Find something to eat. I always bring Ritz and squeeze cheese to have in the hotel room. Dr. Oz recommends this. Shower, fall asleep, watch “Pretty Woman” or some movie that’s on all the time.

7:00 p.m. – Get gussied up. Hotel surf to find some $15 or $25 blackjack tables.

8:00 p.m – ?? – What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas (I made that up).

We girls know how important our female friendships are. They see us through bad relationships, poor choices, marriages, childbirth, parenting, and significant losses. Our girlfriends are the ones who help us pick up the pieces when we think we are just not going to make it through another day. Our true friends celebrate our successes like they were their own. And, a real friend always has your back. Always.

Today I picked up a book at the library by one of my favorite authors, Anna Quindlen.

 Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake


What I found on the jacket of the front cover could not be more appropriate for this subject of friendship:

“Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends.”

When Ken and I (living in sin at the time, don’t tell my mom) loaded up our two cars and drove west from Virginia to settle in Colorado almost 20 years ago, I did not have one stinking friend out here. Except for Ken.  Don’t get me wrong – Ken is probably my best friend in the world. But, we all know a girl needs girls.

I was so depressed. I moped around. I loved Colorado and I loved Ken, but I was desperately lonely for girls. Making friends can be harder as you get older. It is tough to not only meet people, but to take it to the next level of friendship. It took time, but I slowly made friends, and life slowly got easier.

What I’ve learned over the years is that when it comes to almost anything in life, it is the quality, not the quantity the counts. No amount of acquaintances on Facebook equals one, true friend. This quality vs. quantity law applies to blog posts, fine wine, running and toilet paper (maybe – although sometimes quantity is important when wiping). This law certainly and absolutely applies to friendships. You do not need tons of them, but you need a few real quality ones. That’s all it takes.

Not to say that making friends is a project, but if you want some tips for how to set yourself up to potentially get to know and connect with new friends, check out this great article.

See you in Vegas!

Are you someone who has many friends, or just a few really good ones? I have quite a few friends, but only a handful of really good ones. Probably 5 or 6.

How have your girlfriends made your life better? Too many ways to name, but I know without them I’d be in a mental hospital, in jail or dead.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to Run in the Heat and Not Die

Quiet! Did you hear that? It’s the sound of runners complaining about the heat. Six months ago it was about the cold. We certainly are a predictable bunch of cyclical whiners, myself included. In fact, I like to give people the finger when I run in hot conditions.


Iron Girl Triathlon – August 2011 – 95 degrees

When I was racing in 90 degree heat on Sunday and doing the run portion of my triathlon, I started to get that weird goose bump/chill thing that signals the big “H” - heat exhaustion.  I had taken my Hammer Endurolyte Tabs (life savers – I use these during all of my summer races and even tape them onto my bike). I had tried to hydrate enough.  But when you are out there for hours in high heat with little shade, it can be tough to stay ahead of the game.

Fortunately for me, I was almost finished with the race and dehydration would not become a serious issue. After crossing the finish line a huge bottle of Gatorade an some time in the shade did the trick. However, it’s important to remember that once you are very dehydrated or are affected by heat exhaustion, it is difficult to come back. It could take hours and sometimes even days.


So, be smart. Don’t take the heat lightly. Here are some tips to keep you running outside even in the hottest months.

  1. Run at 1:00 a.m.
  2. Steal a coffin from the local funeral home and fill it with ice. Plant it somewhere along your run for when you get overheated. I think ultra runner, Scott Jurek, did this at Badwater, so it is the hip thing to do.
  3. Soak your underwear in cold water, then freeze it. Wear it for your next run. Or, just stick ice packs down your pants.

In all seriousness, here are some tricks to try before you just shut up and run:

  1. Strip down. Wear as few clothes as you can without being arrested. Wear light colored, loose, wicking clothing.
  2. Run first thing, or after the sun starts to set. Avoid getting out there between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  3. Adjust your pace. Slow the heck down. Ideal running temperatures range from 50º-55º. For every five degrees above that, your performance can degrade 2%.  This means that if you are running in 75º  heat, your pace could slow up to 10%! Humidity might make it even worse. Don’t expect you can or will perform the same in the heat (from a study done at Team Oregon).
  4. Do 6 every 15. Try to take in at least 6 ounces of liquid (not including Bud Light) for every 15 minutes of running. Plan your routes where you can replenish your water, or hide it along the way.
  5. Think trees. Or, big buildings. Try to plan your route to include the most shade possible.
  6. Skip the beans and peanut butter. Avoid excess protein intake before and during the run. Protein metabolism produces extra heat (source).
  7. Run with your down coat. If you are planning a race in a hot and/or humid climate, try to acclimate first by mimicking race conditions the best you can. To develop and maintain acclimatization for a race in a warmer climate, assume that each layer of dry clothing or degree of coverage, (i.e. going from short to long sleeved shirt or from shorts to tights), is equivalent to 15 or 20 degrees in temperature (source).
  8. Replenish lost fluids and electrolytes after a run. Some people even weigh themselves pre- and post-run to gauge how much liquid they have lost. If you are doing especially long runs or are running for consecutive days in heat, add salt to foods and select foods high in potassium like bananas.

Where do you live? Are your summers to hot that running in the summer months poses a huge challenge? Colorado is generally pretty cool in the mornings for running. Lately, we have had a string of 103º heat, so even the mornings are a challenge. Usually, however, a run before 8:00 a.m is perfect around here.

Do you have any tips for running in the heat that I haven’t mentioned?

Have you ever been severely dehydrated or had heat exhaustion/stroke from running in hot conditions? No. Knock on wood.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Why I Should Burn Down Target

If you are here for the first time and want to read about racing, running and training, come back tomorrow when I am focused and on task. Or read on at your own risk. Today I’m sidetracked.

I do not know what happens or why, but it happens every single time.

I go to Target for three things:

  1. Paint roller
  2. Windex
  3. Printer paper

That is about $13 or so dollars of stuff.

But, somehow by the time I get to the register, I have 23 items for a grand total of $83. I managed to find 20 extra items and to spend 70 extra dollars. I admit it - I am weak. I have the mental strength to run a marathon, but cannot stick to my list at Target.



It’s not like I go through the aisles and try to find crap to buy. The stuff I got was actually damn necessary – Timothy hay for the Guinea pig, water balloons for the kids (yes, no summer is right without these), bananas, Hot Tamales, half and half…the list goes on. Do not let me get stranded without my half and half. It gets ugly.

I asked the clerk, “Do people tell you this all the time? They come in here for three things and leave with fifty things?”

Yes,” she said, nodding knowingly. “It is a sickness. A first world problem that seems to be spreading like STDs in Las Vegas.”

Okay. She didn’t say that, but she did agree with me.

By my account, the only way to avoid this sickness is to not go to Target. Or, to send Ken. Somehow when I give him a list, he sticks to the list and buys almost nothing else. He might splurge on some yogurt covered pretzels, but that is it.

I know there are all sorts of ways to avoid impulse buying and over spending. Let’s face it, they are boring:

  • Ask yourself, do I really need this? Yes, my children will be deprived without water balloons.
  • Could I find it cheaper online? Not with shipping costs.
  • Does this money need to be spent right now? Yes. Target might run out of water balloons and then what will I do?

BOOORRRING! But, practical for sure.

Clearly, this is not a post about running, but a post about real life. Does it count that I thought about running while I was shopping or that I stopped to talk to a runner friend I ran into? Voila! Now this is a post about running.

Do you stick to your list?

If you send your significant other, do they stick to the list?

What’s your best tip for having discipline and not regret while shopping?


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review–Health and Fitness Bloggers Conference

As you know I attended the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Denver this weekend. In all honesty, I kind of attended. I missed Saturday, which was the worst day to miss in terms of goings on. When I signed up for the conference I knew this would be the case because I already committed to do a race on Saturday and knew I couldn't do both. I decided to try to have my cake and eat it too, so I opted to do both things.

Sometimes it’s best to choose if you are going to have the cake or going to eat it. Trying to do both can get kind of crazy. And, make you fat or something.

What I learned is that if you are going to attend a conference, then you need to 100 % attend that conference. If you miss a day or cannot participate in any of the extra offerings like fitness classes and dinners, then you are not getting the proper conference experience. Anyone who goes to these things knows that aside from what you learn at the presentations, a conference is about community and getting to know the people around you. It is about sharing experiences and commonalities. I don’t think I got to do this in the way I wanted to.

That said, I did really enjoy my time at the conference at got a lot of of it. The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) is kick ass. Friday morning I took a tour of the facility and ooh-ed and aww-ed at the state of the art fitness equipment like this geeky treadmill (those are computers where you can do Facebook, watch TV, make your lunch, anything your heart desires). Almost makes treadmill running bearable.

IMAG0318 (2)

I also appreciated the pool that had a separate “well” specifically for water running. You all know I became an expert in water running when I was injured. I hated it, but it kept me in shape. I love the idea of a separate “well” where all of us nerdy water runners could congregate and complain.


I loved the 1/10 mile running track that meandered around the fitness center. Just think, you would only have to run this 262 times to get in the marathon distance. Piece of cake.


There is even a rooftop “green” terrace where you can dine, but also where they grow fresh stuff that they cook with in the downstairs' bistro.

The expo was outstanding with many different sponsors including (to name a few) Refuel with Chocolate Milk, Driscoll Berries, Smartfood Selects, Love Grown Foods, Rockin’ Refuel, and Goodness Knows.


Me with Liz and Traci from Refuel with Chocolate Milk.

My favorite new produce was the Smartfood Selects Cinnamon/Brown Sugar Multi Grain Popped Chips. They are like crack.



The presentations and speakers I saw were  informative, touching on such subjects as obesity in America, performance testing, weight loss and weight management and how to use the internet to grow your fitness business.

IMAG0323 (2)

I felt like I was in college again, only I wasn’t hungover.

There was a ton of great info, but some of the facts/ discussions that stuck with me:

  • The most effective way to lose weight is to focus on diet and cutting calories. Exercise is an important component, but not as important as diet in losing weight – this was brought up again and again by the “experts.”
  • Exercise becomes crucial once the weight is lost and a maintenance program is started.
  • A factor leading to obesity in this country is that we have too much good, cheap, and available food at our fingertips and it comes to us in large portions. We are still in the mentality that it is best to “eat when food is available and rest when we don’t have to work.”
  • When losing weight, it does not matter what the food composition is (carbs, protein, etc.), it matters how many calories you eat. For instance, if you eat 800 calories a day of carbs vs. 800 calories a day of protein, it is not relevant whether your calories come from carbs or protein – what is relevant is the number of calories consumed.
  • Changing one thing in our culture, such as making soda less available, will not do much to “move the needle” towards a decrease in obesity. Multiple factors need to be addressed like – how much television we watch, school lunches, sedentary lifestyles, etc.
  • People who successfully lost weight focused on the following (from the National Weight Loss Control Registry)
    • Reduced caloric intake
    • High level of activity
    • Limited television watching
    • Frequently weighing oneself
    • Eating breakfast
    • Consistency
    • Restraint when it came to temptations

As you can tell, much of the focus was on the obesity epidemic and how to address it. There was also an outstanding presentation by Dr. Inigo San Millan about exercise performance testing including information on the types of diets elite endurance athletes have. One of my favorite slides showed what the members of the Garmin cycling team eat per day:


Crappy picture, but that says 8,000 calories per day – 75%  of it from carbs. The point was that carbs get a bad rap, but some of the healthiest areas in the world eat tons of carbs (Asia, Mediterranean countries). The difference is that these populations are more natural active through walking, bicycling, etc. I’m going to start eating 8,000 calories a day and walking to the mailbox.

The info from the conference was presented by some of the leading experts in the wellness field including James Hill, Executive Director of the AHWC and Director, Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center, and Dr. Holly Wyatt, physician and clinical researcher at The Center for Human Nutrition in Denver , Colorado.

Overall, lots of good info. I will say that I preferred the setting of last year’s conference better – it was held in Boulder where you could hike, go to great restaurants and just enjoy the beauty of the town. While the Anschutz Wellness Center was amazing, it is located in east Denver, in a very un-scenic and concrete-jungle area. I think since so many people travel from out of town, it would be nice to have it in a better location. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to just move the wellness center to Boulder.

See? Have your cake and eat it too mentality.

Thanks again to Refuel with Chocolate Milk for giving me a scholarship for this weekend!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lake to Lake Triathlon 2012 Race Report

I hate it when a race gets off to a shaky start and I am already stressed out and cranky before I even start moving. Does that ever happen to you?

It started out decent enough even though I looked like crap at 5:00 a.m. on the drive up. Wait! Am I 45 or 65? She needs a shopping cart to go with those bags.


The sun was rising and it appeared to be a very good day to swim, then bike, then run.


We got to Loveland a full hour early just to have time to set up. Little did we know that everyone is more anal and organized than we are. Apparently 600 people had gotten there at 3:00 a.m. or spent the night in a tent in the transition area. Parking was slim pickings.


We wheeled our bike up to transition and promptly realized there was a huge line just to get into the transition area. I have never seen this before.


I really wanted time to set up my transition area and take a dump, so I was kind of stressed about the line. I did smile, however, when I saw this guy wearing his robe. Why didn’t I think of that? I love people who don’t take themselves so seriously.


We finally got into transition and there was nowhere left to rack our bikes. Some people were setting up along the fence, so we did that.

Lake to Lake Tri 2012 001

Is Ken putting on a condom? Not the time or place.

That is, until lady-in-charge (LIC) came and told us to rack our bikes or we would get a penalty. I’m not big on penalties. I need all the help I can get in races. So, I did the unthinkable and moved someone's bike over so I could fit my stuff.

Finally, wetsuit on, we were ready to head to the lake. We had 15 minutes until our 45-49 swim time of 6:42 a.m.

That’s when LIC visited me again and told me that I needed to plug the end of my aero bars and she was going to WAIT RIGHT THERE until I did it. Somehow my plug had come out. I ran over to the maintenance guys and they literally shaved off a wine cork for me to use. Perfect because I love wine.


We got to the lake and realized our age group was already in the water. I zipped up my wetsuit and the gun went off. Just like that.

Lake to Lake Tri 2012 007

Lake to Lake Tri 2012 009

Mark is telling us how much shrinkage he has once he starts swimming.

Lake to Lake Tri 2012 010

The death walk. Me on the far left. Does everyone's butt look horrendous in these suits?

Lake to Lake Tri 2012 011

Me on the left doing the doggy paddle.

I could not find my groove on the swim. Probably because it was a mile and I hadn’t trained much and my brain got the best of me. “I hate this.” “Why do I do these races?” “I don’t know if I can do this.” “I am going to drown. Like right now.”

We made a left turn directly into the sun and I could see nothing. I just tried to settle in and follow whoever was in front of me. I got kicked, swam over and I think I even lost my virginity. I kept telling myself to be patient, that I would be loving life when I got on the bike.

1500 meter (.9 mile)  swim: 31:00 minutes.

Much faster than I expected or than I felt.

I cruised into transition, determined to have a fast T1. My transition times suck the big one, so I really wanted to prove to myself I could get out of there quick. While wheeling my bike out I fell and my bike came crashing down on my knee. It felt unpleasant and I’m pretty sure if there were any sailors around I offended them with the string of obscenities that flew out of my mouth. I was out of there quick – in 1:34! Progress!

After about two miles on the bike and when my heart rate settled, I downed a GU and a bunch of water. I started hauling ass on the bike and felt like my groove and energy returned. The bike route was simply gorgeous. I felt like I made up quite a bit of time on the bike and passed a lot of people. Had another GU at about 20 miles. 

24 mile bike: 1:09 – 20.8 mph

Transition 2 went off like clockwork (1:05). This is the first time I’ve done a triathlon and not worn socks for the bike or run to save time. The only issue I  had with that was that with every step in my shoes there was a loud fart sound, but that is perfect for me and kept me somewhat entertained.

Lake to Lake Tri 2012 039

The run was a grind. That’s all I can say. It was about 85 degrees. I just got through one step at a time. I will say that because my legs were so tired from the bike, I kept trying to practice leaning forward and letting gravity do the work (Chi Running stuff). My legs were just along for the ride. I think that this was the first time my form really felt “right” and I didn’t feel like I was efforting as much as normal.

5.2 mile run: 8:27 min/mile pace

As I came to the finish, my friend Leigh was cheering me on, got close t me and said,  “Show me your tits!” (I have the best friends). What an excellent way to end this race. So, I flashed the crowed. Kidding.

Total time: 2:27. 6/19 in age group. 53/230 overall female.


This was supposed to be an Olympic distance, but ended up being shorter because of a forest fire in the area. They had to re-route the bike and run routes. I was not going to complain.


In case you were wondering, NO, Ken did not wear a cotton white t-shirt for the race.

Sometimes I wonder why I do races because there is so much planning, training, expenses and angst involved. But, then I remember how much I love the race environment and how amazingly good it feels to push myself to the limit and finish strong. There is NOTHING like it in this world. Except maybe pushing out a baby.

Tomorrow I head back down for the final day of the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Denver. Yesterday was very informative and fun. We bloggers may be full of ourselves, but we’re nice. I’ll fill you in soon.

Did you race this weekend?


Friday, June 22, 2012

Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference 2012!

Today I’m headed to Denver for the first day of the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference. I received a scholarship from Refuel with Chocolate Milk, who is a sponsor for this event – so a huge thanks to the chocolate milk folks for their support!

I attended this conference last year in Boulder with these four studs. This time, I am on my own. I will try not to cry out of sheer loneliness. After all, I will be surrounded by other hip bloggers. I hope they talk to me.

The location for this year’s conference has moved to the new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, which apparently will cause all of us fitness buffs to go into orgasmic fits.

Some of the highlights:

After I slough my kids off on a good friend, I’ll be heading down to catch some morning sessions hosted by FitFluential (also a sponsor of the conference). I am an ambassador for FitFluential, but am still learning about what they do and how I can best be involved with these guys. I will say that FF is an amazing platform to connect bloggers with lots of exciting brands and opportunities. It is also a wonderful community of like minded fitness enthusiasts! So, if you haven’t checked them out yet, get the hell on it!

Jill is coming to meet me for lunch at the fancy Bistro located in the center. I’m excited because I haven’t seen this girl in far too long.

I’m looking forward to an afternoon of learning about the science behind achieving and maintaining fitness and some breakout sessions on healthy cooking and more information on how athletes are tested for performance (VO2 Max, lactate threshold, heart rates, etc.). You may remember I did performance testing with Dr. Inigo San Millan last year. Dr. San Millan will be speaking at the conference today and now works at the Human Performance Lab at Anschutz.


Tomorrow this is lots more cool stuff on tap, but I won’t be there as I’ll be racing and dying of heat exhaustion at the  Lake to Lake Olympic triathlon – it’s supposed to be 100 degrees here tomorrow. Shut up and sweat your balls off. Anyway, I’ll be back at the conference for the Sunday sessions.

I never know what to wear. You’d think I’d be over that issue by now since I’m 45. They said dress casually or look like you want to work out. This is what I came up with (very exciting for sure), but I will leave the toilet at home:


I always hang out in the bathroom with my foot on the toilet.

I guess I can break out into a moon walk or sprint to the bathroom if needed.

Have you ever attended a blogging focused conference? Or would you have any interest?

Ever had your Vo2 Max, lactate threshold, etc. tested? I have only been tested on the bike. Would love to try testing on the treadmill.

More to come…


Thursday, June 21, 2012

How To Dig Deep When You Want To Quit

I’ve got a client, we’ll call her Betty. I am coaching her towards her first marathon. Betty has been running solidly for the past few years, but has never attempted the marathon distance. She is in her 6th week of a 20 week marathon training plan.

Yesterday, Betty sent me this email:

“I have to vent a little  I am so disappointed in myself on today's run. I mentally was not strong today. I set out and was great then my head got inside my brain and all heck broke loose. I was hot, I was stiff. I was this and that. I have been hot and stiff before. But I just could not over power my brain.

I feel so lame. Honestly I sit here writing this and I am like holy cow I was weak! I could have made that run.  But as I was running I seriously talked myself out of running. This has never happened. I have always been able to be stronger and power though it. But today I feel down and weak. Does this sound like I am off my rocker?? “

Off your rocker? No way! My response (by the way, it was 98 degrees here yesterday):

“If you only knew how ‘normal’ and expected this type of run is! First of all, the heat is degrading. It sets you up to want to give up. Secondly, there will be some runs during this training cycle that you will feel this way. Not many, but some. Expect them and don't be hard on yourself about it. If this was happening all of the time, that would be one thing. But, every once in a while is very normal, especially as your mileage increases and it gets hotter outside.

On the flip side, you will also have some runs that are so amazing and energizing, but this will not be every run either. You will be somewhere in the middle on most runs and you will probably find that your mind-set fluctuates a ton throughout your runs, especially the long ones.

Do not beat yourself up. Next time you go out, don't go out with today's run weighing on you. Make your next one fresh and new. I bet it will be much, much better. I actually like that it bothered you so much. I think this shows how much fire and motivation you really have!!

Later, I saw these pop up on Betty’s Facebook page. Spot on!



Betty’s experience got me to thinking about how we can dig deep when all we really want to do is give up. Here are seven ways:

  1. Have a mantra. Like I said above, pick one or two simple and short phrases that motivate you and keep you in the game. It may sound hokey, but when you are desperate, it gives you something to hold on to.
  2. If it’s hot, slow your pace. Nothing is more discouraging than trying to keep a certain pace when you are about to pass out from the heat.
  3. Think back. Remember a time when you were so mentally and physically done that you wanted to quit but kept going. Squeeze your fist as hard as you can. Then squeeze it harder. See? You had more to give than you thought you did.
  4. Remember the big picture. Training can be mundane and boring. Runs can seem routine, almost purposeless. Keep the big goal in mind. Imagine running your marathon or big race. Imagine crossing the finish line. Know that each step of your “mundane and boring” run is getting you closer to that big goal.
  5. Stay present. Don’t think about the fact hat you still have 5, 10 or 15 miles to go. Get to the next corner or stop sign then re-assess how you feel.
  6. Keep perspective. Remember it is not supposed to be easy. If is was, everyone would be doing it. Instead of breaking yourself down with negative thinking, boost yourself up with encouragement. You are out there. You are doing it.
  7. Get bigger than yourself. You are tired, you want to quit. Shift your thinking. Remember that you can run, when many people cannot. Think of Sherry Arnold or Sarah Hart. Think of someone close to you who has trouble even walking. Remember a friend or family member who has passed away. Be grateful and just keep moving forward.

Any other tips on how to keep going when all you want to do is quit?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bia Sport and a New Race Series

I so appreciate your insightful comments on my running safety post from Monday. As always, I learn so much from you guys.

One safety tip that was most helpful for me was to remember to look people in the eye as they pass you, especially if it is someone you think is kind of squirrely. This oozes confidence and sends the message that you are paying attention to details that that person might not want you to pay attention to.

Some of you also pointed out that us women can have the pleasing disease. When it comes to stranger danger, this is a BAD habit and one that I am guilty of. Not too long ago I was pulling out of a Target parking spot and a guy knocked on my window. I actually stopped to see what he needed. WHAT? I think he was telling me my tail light was out, but it would have been much better to ignore him. I’d rather appear rude than dead.

That said, I want you to know about a new product other there – The Bia Sport – A women’s GPS watch.

Dimity McDowell of Another Mother Runner did an interview with one of the founders, Cheryl Kellond, blog last week.

Cheryl contacted me Monday with a reminder that this watch not only provides GPS technology for runners, but has a built in safety alert to send  information to loved ones and emergency services with the push of a button when you can't grab for your phone. They designed it because they heard over and over from women how they were afraid to run alone, or at night, or in the early morning, or on trails. She agreed that while it won't solve everything and it's only part of an overall defensive running strategy,  it plays a roll in allowing us to keep our freedom and give our loved ones peace of mind.

The watch is not out yet, but is trying to come to market through a Kickstarter campaign. Go support them!

On another note – who doesn’t love a new race!

Last week I was contacted by LÄRABAR, makers of the tasty and all natural, gluten free energy bars. Lara, a local mom and entrepreneur, and her team are launching the first ever LÄRABAR Up & Running Half Marathon series. This race, which has 1K, 5K, and half marathon options, will run along the Platte River in Denver and will occur on August 18.


My favorite part of this whole thing is that proceeds are going to the Denver Urban Gardens, which is dedicated to supporting communities in creating sustainable, food-producing neighborhood gardens. LÄRABAR aims to fund the completion of two elementary school gardens, 1 middle school garden and 1 high school garden, all in the Denver area. The half marathon registration is only $55 (5K is $25, kid’s 1K is $10).

Again, a great example of encouraging community involvement and fitness through running.

And, on a final note - Hanna from Boufee e Bambini (fun blog!) interviewed me to talk about my favorite race distance/race, training plans and family matters. Check it all out HERE.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Another Running Tragedy & How To Stay Safe

My heart sank as I got an email the other day from a reader with bad news. Another runner, Sarah Hart, was killed last week while running alone in Kentucky. Sarah was the mother of three, and was pregnant. As I read the story, along came a flood of memories about my cousin, Sherry, who was murdered while running this past January.

Sarah, age 31, had started out running with her sister, but turned back alone when she did not feel well.  She was robbed and killed on her way back. You can read the full story HERE.

Sarah with her three children and her husband.

Earlier this year, Sherry’s story motivated runners to be more careful and to be more aware of their surroundings. Many people stopped running alone altogether, or withdrew inside of the safety of their treadmills. Some took self defense classes in Sherry’s name. I know that I started to feel scared of evil lurking in a way that I had not before.

I think it’s important to say that Sherry did nothing wrong or “unsafe.” She was running along the streets of Sidney, Montana, a small town where she had grown up. A town where she knew most everyone. She had run like this countless times before. On this particular morning in January, two men had driven into town from Colorado. They parked on the side of the road and as she jogged by, she greeted them with a simple “Hi!” in her usual cheerful way. That’s when she was struck down and choked. Her story is one of those horrific, horrendous, random tragedies.

Could her situation have been avoided? What if she had slept in? What if she had gone with a friend? What if she had crossed the street? For me it’s too painful to play that “what if” game. We can do that all day long, for our entire lives. The point is that things happen and we can’t go back and orchestrate what is done. One of the most important and healing things we can do for ourselves is to accept, learn and move on.

The way I see it, there are three common denominators of these two incidents:

  • Running alone
  • Being a woman
  • Running in an area or at a time of day when not many people were around.

Makes me mad. No, makes me furious.

I’m going to make a confession here. Even after Sherry was killed, I still run alone – only about half of the time, and not in isolated areas or when it is dark. But, still alone. And, I know for a fact that MANY of you do too.

I also drive a car even though 110 people are killed daily in car accidents. I go to Target alone even though women have been abducted in such parking lots numerous times.

I may be going against the grain here, but I’m not going to stop running alone. I will take every precaution that I can. I do this when I drive by wearing a seat belt, by not being distracted, and by assuming everyone else on the road is stupid. In other words, I’m aware of my surroundings and I drive defensively. I also run defensively.

Let’s face it, we are never totally safe. We do what we do to minimize risk, then we go on living, unafraid.

Here are some other things to do to be safe – not just while running, but in general.

  1. Always tell someone where you are going.
  2. Stay on well travelled and well lit roads. Don’t take short cuts through woods, poorly lit areas, etc.
  3. If possible, run with a dog, a group or at least one other person.
  4. Ditch the headphones.
  5. Bring your phone.
  6. If someone looks shady to you, cross the street or go the other way.
  7. Vary your routes. Don’t be predictable.
  8. Know where you’re going. Looking confused and lost can make you a target.
  9. Don’t be distracted. Perpetrators specifically look for people who aren’t 100% aware of their surroundings.
  10. Consider taking a self defense class. You never know when you might need these skills.
  11. Reconsider the pony tail. This is an easy thing to grab and pull.
  12. Have an air of confidence. Walk or run tall with your head up.
  13. Trust your gut. If something/someone doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
  14. Bring pepper spray, but keep in mind it can be used against you too.
  15. If attacked, do everything in your power to not be taken to another location.

People say it’s not fair that women have to be more careful and are easier and more frequent targets than men. Fair or not fair, it’s a fact. Let’s deal with it the best we can while continuing to make efforts to take back our streets.

Do you run alone? Why or why not?

Any other safety tips to add?


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Who Can Eat the Most Calories First?

First thing this morning, Ken and I did a brick workout – 28 mile bike and 30 minute (3.5 mile) run. The whole thing took about 2:05. Not too shabby considering this is the one and only brick I’ve done during this training cycle. And, since my race is next weekend, that’s all she wrote for bricks, except for any I leave on the side of the road. My goal is to be an under achiever for a few minutes of my life.

It’s our 17 year anniversary today so we held hands and made out for the entire 28 miles.

Halfway, I stopped and had a Honey Stinger waffle. These were the staple of my diet last summer while training for the 70.3, but I haven’t had one lately. I’ve missed you Stinger waffles. Especially when I smother you in peanut butter and Nutella.


Today I really wanted to ride the course for next weekend’s Oly tri, but there is a huge forest fire up that way, and we weren’t sure if the roads would be open. So, we settled on doing the Froot Loops course outside of Lyons. I like rides named after sugary cereals. We then went and drove the Olympic course instead. I had heard there were some good hills, and based on the look of the elevation map, I had heard right, dammit.

Bicycle route elevation map

At one point you climb up to the Horsetooth Reservoir outside of Ft. Collins. I actually did a half marathon up here a couple years ago. That’s one to try if you are into hills and crying.




Ken and I agreed it was as do-able ride, but that we might not exactly feel like running a 10K afterwards. But, as I always say, it doesn’t matter what you FEEL, you just have to shut up and do it, right?

On the way home we spotted this contraption.


Yes, that is a real dog and yes he is wearing goggles. Do you think you have to take your dog to training class at Pet Smart to get him to wear goggles? Do you think he also cleans up his own poop?


In lieu of some heavy burger/beer lunch, Ken decided to stop at Menchis (fro yo). We are such rebels.

Me to kids: Do you want to stop at Menchis for lunch?
Emma: For lunch? Like, we’d have frozen yogurt for lunch?
Sam: Sure, if you’re really not kidding. Don’t mess with me.
Me: No, I’m serious. Dad wants to go there.
Sam: Yes! You guys are finally cool parents.

Oh, so I guess I wasn’t cool when I carried you for nine months, pushed your watermelon head out of the opening of a straw and let you suckle my breasts for another nine? Or, how about when you put that penny in the outlet and blew up the wall, and I remained calm? Volt Sleeveless WetsuitI’ll show you cool.

The kids and I gave Ken and wetsuit for Father’s Day. Xterra is having a great clearance sale and we got this one for half price (regularly $200, now $99). I also have an Xterra wetsuit (review here). I think it’s a great product – durable, comfortable and it doesn’t disintegrate when you pee in it while swimming.

Tonight my dad comes for dinner. He’s been lonely because my mom is out of town. Either that or he is having keg parties with the neighborhood girls every night. He can be wild like that. In any case, my dad is the best. Kind, funny, smart. He’s taught me everything I know about farts. In fact, I found this perfect card for him (Dad, if you are reading this before coming over, don’t look):



I’m making a very healthy and light meal of BBQ ribs, Tatar tot casserole, green beans, and Ghirardelli brownies with Baby Ruth ice cream. Trust me, you don’t even want to know what’s in that casserole. It makes me clench just thinking about it.  We’re going to have a contest to see who can ingest 10,437 calories first. Tomorrow - back to spinach smoothies and flax. Everything in moderation, right?

What did you do for Father’s Day?

Favorite fueling food while working out? For me, it depends on the activity. I don’t fuel unless I’ll be out there longer than 1.5 hours. For running, I usually do just gels and water.  Sometimes, Chomps or Blox. For biking, I’ll do waffles, protein bars, PB&J.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Baby Smeller

I know I do things that people don’t understand. In an effort to be myself, I don’t hold a lot back in public, but that sometimes makes for awkward situations. It’s not like I have no filter – I do, in fact, monitor what I say - somewhat. But, there are times when things escape my mouth and as they are spilling out I am a bit astounded at myself.

Case in point. Last weekend Joie and I were having a post-race dinner at some hot spot in little Pagosa Springs, Colorado, called Kits. This place had amazing fish tacos – tender pieces of fish in soft corn tortillas, covered in grated cheese and huge slices of avocado. We were listening to some mellow acoustic music, drinking wine and reminiscing about our day on the trails.

That’s when they showed up. A man holding a baby. But, not just any old baby. A 5 month old, chubby baby boy with bright white hair and rosy cheeks. A baby dressed only in a diaper, so that you could see all of the sweet fat folds and creases. An angel baby.

I could feel my dried up eggs sitting in my old ovaries. If I had any milk left in these ducts, it would have let down and started spraying onto my fish tacos. If you are a mama who has ever nursed a baby, you know what I am taking about. It doesn’t take much to spout a leak.

I knew I would be producing no more babies of this kind.  Yet, my maternal instincts kicked in, as did Joie’s. At that moment, we craved baby. Just then, that little baby’s big blue eyes locked into mine. His tiny lips curved up into a slight smile. His dad leaned over and told me the baby’s name was “Tev.”

That’s when I popped the question. I just had to ask.

Me: “Umm…well…do you think I could just smell your baby for a minute?”

I swear this dad did not even miss a beat.
He must be one of those ultra sensitive dads who just “gets it.”

Dad: (leaning Tev’s chubby naked body towards my nose): Sure!

Me: (breathing deeply through my nose): Okay, that’s so good. Thank you.

Joie, who was across the table, was trying to live vicariously. “What did he smell like? Was it really good?”

Yes, it was really really good. It’s hard to explain that baby smell, but I would buy a Yankee candle in baby scent if I could.

Weird? Maybe. Sue me. I’m a baby smeller and I like fat babies. I had a couple of them myself.


Emma at…maybe 4 months?

The thing is, sometimes I think it’s good to say right what’s on your head. It makes you real. It makes you authentic. Maybe sometimes it makes you weird, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take.

Happy Friday! I’m off to hug (but maybe not smell) my big 11 & 14 year old babies.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Are Race Entry Fees Making You Bankrupt?

Some people spend lots of money on fancy shoes and daily mocha no-whip lattes. Me? I spend my “extra” income (if there is any) on – yep, you guessed it– race entry fees.

I will tell you this – I almost spit my non-fancy coffee up out my keyboard earlier this year when I thought I might enter the lottery to for the New York City Marathon.  I know NYC is on everyone’s marathon bucket list. I wanted to get there, or at least start trying. I went through the motions to enter the lottery, but stopped dead in my tracks when I got to the fee page.


Yes, that is right. $255 for a stinking marathon. There has been a 65% increase over the past five years for this race. Last year it was $196. Oh, and if you are unfortunate enough to live outside of the U.S., it is $347.

Yes, I get it. It is NYC and everything is expensive there. I understand that somewhere in that town there is a famous statue holding a torch and arguably the best pizza in the world.  All I can say is that for that price, the water at the aid stations better be specked with gold and the porta potties better be spotting the softest Charmin this side of the Mississippi. No, I did not end up registering.

Imagine that each of these millions of bodies paid $255

You have to figure that for most people the race entry fee is just the beginning. Then there are airline tickets, food, lodging, car rentals, etc. It costs about 4 million dollars just to travel to and run a race. Too bad Oprah doesn’t do marathons anymore because her bank account has got what it takes.

I’ve only been running for a few years, but even in that short time I’ve seen race entry fees sky rocket. Running is now a business.  I understand the costs that go into putting on a race (permits, timing, police, emergency services, aid stations, staff, insurance, swag bags), and I can appreciate that entry fees need to offset certain expenses. I also know that with more people running certain races, the course has to stay open longer, thereby increasing costs.

Is it just me or have the Rock ‘n Roll races gotten way more expensive? I think my entry for Vegas last year was $165 or so. In the end, that was some big bucks to have post-race diarrhea for four days. But, that’s another blog post.

Here is a detailed graph from Stride Nation showing the fee increases for some of the most popular US marathons:


Yes, I make a choice to enter and pay for races. Yes, I could stay home and watch The Simpsons and eat Pop Tarts. The bottom line is that race entry fees have gone up, and it seems that the increase is inching towards price gouging. As running, and marathons in particular, get more popular, it seems the race planners are becoming more and more opportunistic. I guess they figure, why not charge it if people will pay it? I know most races donate to charities, but I would love to see the actual breakdown.

For me, I see race entry fees as a necessary evil to do something that I love.  I enjoy races. I love the race energy. I love the swag and the after race beer gardens. I enjoy destination races where I can make running a part of my vacation. I have budgeted the fees and will continue to pay them. But, just like your Aunt Ethel who complains every year that her hemorrhoids are getting worse, I will complain about the rising costs of racing. Heck, I’ve got nothing better to do. First world problems for sure!!

Some tips to save money on races:  

  • If you want to stick to smaller or less known races, you can still get some real bargains.
  • With most races it’s worth it to register early for reduced fees.
  • The Rock ‘n Roll races usually offer coupon codes, so Google that before you make your final payment.
  • Another way to offset costs is to join a group like Team in Training and do some fundraising. They will usually cover your race fee and travel in exchange.

What do you think? Have race fees increased over the past 3-5 years? Are the increases warranted?

What’s the most expensive race you’ve ever done? The Boulder 70.3 at $250. I can “get” why races like this are so pricey given the multi sport aspect.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

5 Things I’m Loving Right Now

I haven’t done one of these “favorites” lists in awhile. I absolutely love it when other people do these types of posts. There are so many millions of products to try, books to read, recipes to cook and movies to watch that I always miss some of the good stuff. By seeing what other people are trying, watching, reading and cooking, I get new ideas.

On that note – why don’t you join me? Do a post of 5 things you are enjoying right now. Tag 5 people to do the same.

My list:

1. Vitalsox Compression Socks.


My left calf has been tight and sore. I find these socks help both with feeling less sore while running and with recovery. When I roll my calf on the foam roller, it seriously feels like there is a a foreign object in there like a baseball. My PT thinks that my calf pain is a “growing pain.” Because my left side has been so checked out for awhile, I’m now using those muscles more and they are reacting. Last week she dry-needled the hell out of that calf muscle. I yelped like a little girl (wait, I am a little girl), but I have to say it made all of the difference. Anyway, the socks help.

2. Real Medleys Quaker Oatmeal Cups









I do make my own oatmeal most of the time. I add in all sorts of stuff like brown sugar, raisins, bananas and nut butters. Every once in awhile I like to be lazy and just add hot water and a scoop of almond butter to one of these pre-made cups. There is not a lot of crap in the ingredients and you get some good carbs and protein. It’s the perfect post workout snack or breakfast. They go for about $1.50 each.

3. Yankz Laces


Ken gave these to me as a stocking stuffer at Christmas. Looks complicated, but it’s not. These laces are especially for triathletes to help make their transition #2 times quicker because you don’t have to tie shoes. Ken knows my transition times suck the big one. I finally put these laces in my shoes and I am loving them. They make it easy to slip the shoes on and off, but the biggest bonus is once you have them set at the right amount of tightness, you never have to adjust unless you want to. For some reason I always have a hard time getting my shoes just right. I’d say these are for triathletes and runners alike! They go for $8 and come in tons of colors. The ones I have are the pink Susan G. Komen laces.

4. Pork Chalupa Recipe


Who said you can’t use the crockpot in the summer time? I use mine all year round. I love this recipe because it makes a ton of food and is so easy even if you are cooking illiterate. Also – very inexpensive to make.

5. Phil Keoghan  “The Ride” movie

I am a huge fan of documentaries or films based on true stories. I’m not really sure what Phil’s claim to fame is outside of the Amazing Race, but I really enjoyed this documentary. Phil rides over 100 miles per day for a total of 3,500 miles from L.A. to New York to benefit Multiple Sclerosis. He also did this to commemorate turning 40 and still being strong.

My favorite part is when he rides over the Rocky Mountains in what appears to be early spring when it ridiculously cold and windy. By the time he reached Ohio or so, he was spent and had to use every ounce of willpower and body strength to keep going. These type of dig deep, don’t give up stories are my favorites. I found it really motivating. The movie is 90 minutes long and is playing on the EXTRAHD television channel.

What are you loving right now?

Ever try any of my above favorites?

Blog about 5 things – anything from running gear to nutrition items to recipes to books that you are loving right now then tag 5 others to do the same. Let me know when it’s up!