Monday, July 30, 2012

Going for Gold: Allyson Felix’s “Journey”

Is only else sitting around all day eating ice cream on the couch and watching the Olympics? Okay, good, I’m glad I’m not the only one. I didn't even know I liked sculling until yesterday. Those Brits can  get it bloody done!

But, I keep thinking - is it August 3rd yet? That’s when the Queen and I will be watching the United States compete in Olympic Track and Field events. Being a distance runner, the marathon (August 5th for women, August 12th for men) is always my favorite event. But, like the rest of the world, I get very caught up in what goes on at the the track. Disqualifications, world records, wipe outs, tears, and super-human speed – what’s not to like?

The U.S. sent a strong contingent of track and field athletes this year, and predictions are that we may top our 110 medal count from Beijing in 2008. One athlete in particular, has not been gold-lucky in her two past Olympic games (Athens and Beijing), but is determined to land gold this year in (at least) the 200 meter event.

After getting second place in Beijing, Allyson Felix states, “Silver can be defined in one word: motivation.” She has spent the last four years with one goal in mind: GOLD. She has had many successes, and in 2010 only lost one race.

At age 26, Felix will also be competing in the 100 meter, the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay. Nicknamed “Chicken Legs” in high school, this 5’6” 125 pound speedster doesn’t mess around. She does tons of strength training including leg pressing 700 pounds. Words she lives by - “I definitely feel God has a bigger plan, and we always make plans and always think we know best, but sometimes that's not the case."

AT&T has put together highlights of some of the U.S. Olympian’s stories called “My Journey.” You can check them all out HERE. Below is Allyson Felix’s journey in her own words. I’ve seen it several times, and it gives my goose bumps every.single.time. Watching sports is all fine and good, but when you put the personal story behind an athlete you get invested in a way you weren’t before.

Felix will compete in the 200 meter heats on August 6, then hopefully both the semi-finals and finals on August 7th and 8th. Don’t forget to grab the ice cream and settle in.

What did you think of the video?

Are you watching the Olympics? Which events are your favorites? I love gymnastics, cycling, triathlon, track/field and the marathon the best.


Fine Print:
Per FTC disclosure regulations, this post is sponsored by AT&T’s video series “My Journey.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Guy in the Overall Shorts

The craziest thing happened on my run today with Ken. If I had been alone, I would have been really freaked out. I was still freaked out, but in a gross way, not in a scared way.

We were out for a 10 mile run on the back roads of Boulder. If you live around here, you’ve probably run these roads hundreds of times. This is the course that the Boulder Back Roads Half Marathon takes. It’s perfect for running. Gentle inclines, wide dirt roads, light traffic, gorgeous scenery, and lots of fit people who make you feel like a sloth.


I love the air my ponytail is getting! It should be in the Olympics.


At about the 5 mile mark we were minding our own business and talking about something important like how funny Mr. Bean was in the opening ceremonies, when a car passed us going in the same direction. It stopped about 100 yards ahead of us and a large guy in overall shorts got out. The fact that someone still wears overall shorts would be enough to qualify as the craziest thing I had seen awhile, but it didn’t stop there. We watched the guy as we ran closer, and Ken asked, “What is that guy doing?” He was facing us,  in the pee stance. I swear, you can tell 49 miles away when a guy someone is peeing – just something about the stance.

Me: Is he peeing? Like standing right in the middle of the road facing us and peeing?

Ken: I don’t know what he’s doing.

Me: Is his thing out? Please tell me he’s not touching himself (this has actually happened to me before twice, not while running and not recently, but it has).

Ken: Nope, he’s peeing. I can see it.

Overall Jean Dude (OJD) finished his leak, got back in the car and drove off. He left a massive puddle in the middle of the road. We were carful not to step in it because we didn’t want to contract hepatitis this morning.

These are not the exact shorts he was wearing because I don’t think his had snaps in the crotch.
Or, maybe they did and that is how he whipped it out so fast.

To clarify, stopping to pee alongside the road is commonplace and totally acceptable. We’ve all done it. But, walking to the middle of the road, facing two runners coming towards you and peeing is just weird and creepy. He could have easily stepped to the side of the road or at least turned around. My guess was that he was a) drunk, or b) going for shock value.

And, another thing - clearly this guy was not playing with a full deck if he was wearing overall shorts. I suppose he might have been on his way to Wal-Mart and was hoping to get photographed for the People of Wal-Mart site.

You can see why this would have creeped me out and scared me infinitely more had I been by myself. I need a Bia Sport for times like this. For real.

I took a dump in the middle of the road on the way back for good measure. Just kidding. Even I have more class than that. Although, if I had my overall shorts on I might have done it. Especially if they had those snazzy snaps in the crotch.

By the way, in case you sleep under rocks, Bia Sport got their funding. The watch will be field tested this fall and will be available for sale in April 2013. Woohoo!!!! And you guys seriously helped to make it happen. One of the founders, Cheryl, told me that 32 backers came directly from SUAR. That’s neck in neck with the Huffington Post!

What’s the weirdest/creepiest thing you’ve seen on a run?


Friday, July 27, 2012

How Lack of Sleep Affects Running & Some Tips

I love my bed. Most days I gaze longingly at it and can’t wait until an acceptable time to crawl between the sheets and snooze for 8 or 9 hours (apparently 5 p.m. is not acceptable). Once I’m in, I start nodding off about the time the weather guy starts lying about tomorrow’s forecast. Groggily, I switch off the light.

What happens next confuses me, and seems to be getting worse as I get older. I fall asleep quickly, but often wake in the night and am awake for long periods of time. Or – I wake very early, say 3 o’clock a.m., and never make it back to sleep before my 5 o’clock a.m. wake up call. The result of all of this?

DSD – Damn Sleep Deprivation.


Usually if I have a race the next morning, or a very long/difficult work out planned, it is more likely that I will get less sleep. This must be anxiety related. Yet, some of my best training work outs and races have been after very poor nights of sleeping. How can this be? I’ve also often wondered how sleep, or lack thereof, affects performance. I looked and found some answers.

How Damn Sleep Deprivation (DSD) Affects Running

  • When you run, you break down your body. You actually get microscopic tears in your muscles. Rest and recovery gives your body the chance to heal these tears and to build even stronger muscles. If you are sleep deprived, this process happens less, or not at all. This can increase chance of injury and just make you feel like crap.
  • DSD can decrease your body’s ability to fight colds, flus and other illnesses. In other words, lack of sleep compromises the immune system.
  • Athletes who had DSD report reaching a point of exhaustion 11% more quickly than those who were well rested. DSD makes workouts feel harder than they would if you had adequate sleep. Not rocket science.
  • Less sleep can inhibit your body’s ability to sweat. This can keep you from cooling down adequately in hot weather.

The Good News

  • If you don’t sleep the night before a race, the adrenaline of the event usually overrides the negatives of sleep deprivation. So calm down. You’ll be fine.
  • While some researchers say that 7 hours of sleep is the magical number, other studies show it is more important that sleep amounts and routines are consistent, than how much a person actually sleeps.
  • Sleep aids like Tylenol PM and even Ambien have not been shown to decrease performance. I wish chardonnay was on that list.

How Do You Know If You Have DSD?

  • Everything makes you cry – even the Olympic theme song.
  • You nod off throughout the day. I thought everyone did this, but maybe that is because everyone has DSD.
  • You fall asleep within five minutes of laying your head on the pillow. This often leads to men feeling a different kind of DSD – Damn Sex Deprived. But, that’s another blog post.
  • You get overwhelmed easily: “I don’t KNOW what I want on my f*cking Subway sandwich! Too many choices! Who invented this place anyway?”
  • You fall off the curb, spill things, and fall up the stairs. Your coordination is in the toilet!
  • You drool on your lunch and eat it anyway.


What Do You Do About DSD?

  • Be a creature of habit. Go to bed at the same time every night. Your body thrives on and responds well to routine.
  • Abstain. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine within six hours of bedtime. I break this rule every single night.
  • Get it done early. Don’t exercise within three hours of bedtime. Not a problem. I am too busy catching up with the Real Housewives.
  • Sleep in a dark, cool place. I prefer a cave in the side of a mountain.
  • Don’t arouse yourself. Don’t do anything too stimulating right before bed. Although I think sex is okay.
  • Get a good mattress.
  • Try meditating, or find a way to quiet your mind.

Pinned Image

How Much Do the Pros Get?

According to Strength Planet in their article, “15 Surprising Things About World Class Athletes”, pros sleep an average of 520 minutes per night - 8.75 hours a night. That is approximately an hour more sleep than what researchers found for the average person. According to those researchers, the average person sleeps 7.5 hours per night. 

Bottom Line

Research shows most of us don’t get enough sleep (Americans are some of the most sleep deprived people on the planet), and it affects our performance. But, since I’m not a pro athlete and don’t see that in my future, I’m not going to get all stressed out about it. I do the best I can, but I also realize I have a life and a lot of stuff that swirls around in my head. Some nights will simply be better than others. I was thrilled to read on Running Research News that, “if you miss several hours of sleep for a night or two before your race, your performance is not likely to be impacted.” I can live with that.


How much sleep do you get per night? Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? This is getting worse for me. I now only get 5-6 hours per night.

Have you been able to link how you feel while running or your rate of recovery to your sleep habits? Sometimes, but usually only if I am lacking in many hours of sleep over several nights.

What’s your best tip for getting a good night’s sleep? Sleeping really badly the night before.


Sources for this post:
That’s Fit:
Advice for Sleep Deprived Runners
Running Times: A Good Night’s Rest
Suite 101: Lack of Sleep Can Sabotage Running Training
Running Research News: How Running Affects Sleep and Vice Versa

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Champion Bra Giveaway Made Simple

First, thank you so much for your comments regarding the passing of my Granddad. I read every single one.

Recently I got a coupon for a free sport's bra from Champion. I thought maybe one of you could have it. Any style, any size found at Champion USA. I recently had my breasts removed, so I don't need a new bra. I also had all of my toenails extracted. Both boobs and toenails are such an nuisance while running, so why have them?

Okay, I jest – I just wanted to pass this on to one of you because I felt like it. If you did not think I was nice, you should re-think that thought. And, never fear! My boobs are in tact, as are my toenails.

#proof. Do not be jealous of my chipping polish, my long finger-like Morton’s toe, my neck that resembles chicken skin or my stylish cycling jersey.


To enter – all I want to know is:

What would you tell a newborn baby is the most important tip for living a good life? (assuming a newborn could understand what the hell you were saying).

Leave one comment, and that is your entry. If that is too simple, feel free to spin around and do jumping jacks naked while eating a bagel and listening to “Shook Me All Night Long.” It’s up to you. But whatever you do, DO NOT follow my blog, like me on Facebook or breathe a word about this giveaway to anyone else.

I’ll pick a winner on Monday 7/30. Have fun.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Saying Goodbye

My grandfather died this morning. He was 99 years and 4 months old. Two weeks ago, I thought he would make it to the 100-year mark. But, then he stopped eating, and we knew it was a matter of time. He died at home, his wife by his side.


This is my favorite picture of Granddad.  He was 94 years old here (2007)

Despite the distance – he lived in Maryland – and the fact that I saw him infrequently, he has been a consistent presence in my life forever. Since the day I was born.

When I was six years old, he shaved my head and put stiches in it after my brother spun me around and cracked my head on the edge of the coffee table. He was pretty self-sufficient that way. No need for a hospital ER when you can take care of it at home!!

Every night (until very recently) he had a cocktail – an Old Fashioned. I have memories of him muddling the orange wedge, bitters and sugar into the bottom of the glass and topping it off with bourbon. See? Daily drinking does produce longevity – or it did in his case.

My grandfather was an incredibly smart man, who had an undying passion for trains. He even built steam engines – his pride and joy. Although he became legally blind many years back, he finagled a magnifying system that would allow him to read recipes and to cook. Mostly serious by nature, I remember rare times when he would break into deep, teary-eyed laughter. It surprised me to see him like that, because he was always so serious, almost stern. His laughter made him real, relatable and warm. Seeing him laugh made me happy. He had kind eyes.


Granddad holding my son Sam – almost 15 years ago

I think when someone very old passes, you still aren’t prepared. The finality and reality doesn’t completely hit you until it is really over and done. Death is so strange. Someone is here, then they are not. There is the sensation that my parents are next in line, then me. Yet, things never really go in order, do they? When we are young, we think we will never be old. When we are young, we never think we will die. But, we will and we will. Let’s enjoy the ride while we’re still on it and able to feel the wind in our faces.

Today my mom, my aunt and my uncle lost their father, and I am very sad for them about that.

My grandfather had a long life and a life well lived – 99+ years ain’t too shabby. Goodbye, Granddad.


Monday, July 23, 2012

I Finally Got Off the Pot

I took my own advice to sh*t or get off the pot and got a new running watch. I mean, I’ve been talking about this purchase forever: HERE and HERE. I can be such a cheapskate about spending money on myself. Probably because I am so selfless. Hah – got ya! I am actually a cheapskate about spending money period. What? We don’t need more toilet paper! Can’t you all just re-use the napkins from last night’s dinner? I mean, I’ve been making my own tampons for years!

I took the watch buying plunge because I couldn’t resist the promotion Garmin is having right now – $50 back when you trade in your old watch (only certain models qualify). Read about it HERE.

After lots of research, mostly on the DC Rainmakers blog (if you don’t go here for your gear reviews, you are nuts. This dude is so thorough it hurts. I still don’t know if he can make it rain in D.C., however), I decided on the Forerunner 210.


I chose this one because:

  • It has a feminine outline in teal – c’mon you know you buy cars and shoes based on color.
  • It provides “instant” pace vs. just lap pace. I am used to this with my 205 and can’t see giving it up.
  • It does not have a bezel. I am a weenie. Bezels intimidate and annoy me.
  • It fit my price range ($180 with free shipping after the $50 cash back and a 8% promo code I found). That’s $70 extra dollars for toilet paper. Or tampons. (Watch retails for $249 normally).
  • Can be used for running or cycling. Or swimming if I don’t want it to last very long.
  • Has a heart rate monitor. Yes, I am going to start heart rate training soon. Don’t get a boner.
  • Is sleek and small enough you could wear it as every day watch if you want to be all full of yourself.

I got the watch online at Heart Rate Monitors USA. They had the best deal I could find. If you want a promo code for further discounts, you can find one here.

I am so used to wearing a large piece of machinery on my wrist, that this one felt like a delicate tennis bracelet from Zales. It’s like the 205 had a baby or something.


It feels different in part because the watch doesn’t bang up against that weird bone in my wrist that sticks out – I don’t know what it’s called but if you are an anatomy freak or an orthopedic surgeon you can let me know.

I’m going to give this baby a whirl on my early morning ride tomorrow and my run on Wednesday. Call me crazy, but I am simply having a good feeling about it. Probably because the dogs like smelling it more than each other’s butts. Weird!


I’ll let you know how it goes because I know you won’t sleep until I do.

Make any fun purchases lately (running or non-running)?


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Boulder Iron Girl 2012 Race Report

I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but I thought I had a shot a the podium today.  Mother f’er - I finished 4th in my age group.

Yes, 4th is acceptable, competitive, blah, blah. But, I want to be faster, stronger and to slide into one of the top 3 slots, dammit. The good/bad news is that I wasn’t even close to making the 3rd spot (about 5 minutes short), so I don’t have to torment myself that I fell short by just a few seconds when I slowed down to fart or pull out that wedgie.

 I always want more. I am never satisfied. This makes me annoying, but also makes me driven. It’s who I am. There is a fine line between acceptance and pushing yourself. I am still trying to find it.

Enough wah, wah, wah. It was a GREAT morning to be racing in Boulder today.


I knew temps would reach at least 100 degrees later, but hoped my 7:35 a.m. wave start would make me beat the worst of the heat and it did.


Iron Girl puts on an A-class race. This race caters to newer athletes and strives to provide racers with an experience, not just a venue to swim, bike and run. Case in point – have you EVER been to a race where they had tampons, pads, extra toilet paper and nice smelly soaps on a table outside the porta potties? I almost wished I had my period so I could partake:


In the parking lot, I ran into Dimity (Another Mother Runner), which was nice because I didn’t really know anyone doing this race. We did a bunch of people-watching commenting on how freaking in shape and perfect lots of these people are. One girl seriously looked like she just stepped off of a fashion show runway and put on a tri-suit. I wanted to give her a hamburger, but I didn’t have time.

Ken and the kids showed up right before the start and it always calms me to see them. My kids are probably sick as hell of waking up to see us race, but whenever I feel selfish about it I remember two things:

  1. Let’s see – how many piano recitals, baseball games, soccer games,  school plays and choir concerts have I been to? Oh, yeah about a million. ‘Nuf said. I think it’s good balance for mom and/or dad to be the focus sometimes.
  2. I’m hoping coming to these races and watching people (me included) dig deep plants a seed in their minds about perseverance, going for goals and not giving up. They certainly don’t have to do triathlons or marathons, but there will be many opportunities in life for them to work their asses off for something they want. I need them to know it’s theirs for the taking.

Water temperature was 74 degrees. I did forgo the wetsuit since it was such a short swim. After a moment of silence for the victims of the recent Colorado shootings, we were off.



That’s me in the pink probably praying that I don’t get clocked in the nose.


Yes, it's the best to swim into a nice sun glare that makes you legally blind.

My swim (1/4 mile) was slow, sluggish and frustrating. Lots of people were doing the backstroke, just trying to to drown and I was having a hard time getting into a groove. Everyone really should just get out of my way. Swim time: 8:53.


Here I am giving someone the finger.

The bike (17.2 miles) was speedy and a blast. I spent the entire time trying to catch this one girl in my age group. I never got her, but passed her later on the run. I swear, she made me faster because she was like a little carrot the entire time. So, thank you anonymous 45 year old girl with the bony spine (c’mon, you know you notice these things too when you are riding someone’s ass forever). Bike time: 51:45 – 20 mph.


Clearly the dude in the stripes should be shot for blocking this photo.

The run (5K) was uneventful except that it was getting really hot and no shade. They had ice cold sponges, which I shoved in my non-existent cleavage. My friend Julie was at the aid station and it was a mental boost to lay eyes on her!! Run time: 24:39 – 7:56 min/mile.


I hate this picture. My legs look like tree trunks.


I finished in 1:28:18 which is exactly 31 seconds faster than last year. 4/55 in age group, 25/444 overall.


I am happy with that time because at this time last year I had just done the Boulder 70.3 and was in better racing shape than I am right now. I also went to a party last night and might have had a few drinks and lots of Mexican food. I think that will have to be my pre-race fueling from now on.

Sometimes I think the sprint races are harder for me because I am PUSHING my ass off the entire time vs. a longer race where I settle in pace yourself. Regardless, it’s never easy. And shouldn’t be. I always like to know I gave it everything I had so there are no regrets. When I get tired in a race, I constantly tell myself that. No regrets after I cross the finish line about what I did or didn’t do.


The best fan club in the universe.

Thanks so much to Athleta for today’s race entry!

Which do you prefer, shorter/sprint races or longer/endurance races? I am more of an endurance girl, but I do like a shorter race. I mean sometimes it’s nice to not be out there for 49 hours.

Do you drag kids to your races? No, not every single one, but most. If Ken and I are both racing, my mom and dad will often bring them to the finish.

How’s the weather where you are? Colorado is stinking HOT. Over 100 degrees everyday. Time for a nap.


Friday, July 20, 2012

It’s the Law

This Murphy’s Law for Runners has been making rounds on the Internet. It’s kind of cute, but a little predictable (I do love the poop one though).



I’d like to add a few of my own:

  • At the final mile of your race you are presented with the mother off all conflicts: PR or stop to poop?
  • The one time you don’t wear your fuel belt in a race, the aid stations run out of water.
  • At mile 8 of a marathon you put your ear buds in only to realize you only synched your “mellow bath song” playlist.
  • You think you are hauling ass during a race only to realize you didn’t turn off the auto pause on your Garmin.
  • In your head you swear up and down it will only be gas, and are surprised once again by the almighty shart.
  • The race wasn’t clearly marked (or you are clueless) and you run an extra two miles.
  • You pee on yourself during a race because you are gunning for a PR. At the aid station, you grab for water to rinse it off, but get Gatorade by mistake. Sticky leg syndrome!
  • Your period is not due for five days. Yet, somehow it shows up on race morning, taunting you at the start line.
  • The first time you ask your girlfriend to come watch you finish a race, you chafe and you cross the finish line with two bleeding bright red bleeding nipples.
  • Your Garmin dies halfway into your race, even though you charged it all night. Turns out your kid unplugged it to charge their iPod. The iPod that they will now not see again for two years.
  • The porta potty you choose is out of toilet paper. Every.single.time.
  • Race shirts only come in two sizes – too large or too small.

Any of these every happen to you? Yes, all of them. Except maybe for the bleeding nipple one.

Got any to add?


Thursday, July 19, 2012

In the Sky and On the Ground

We got back from Florida in this afternoon and it is far hotter here than it was there. Go figure.

I didn’t realize how much I needed a break from real life until I let my hair down and relaxed. I felt like I could have slept and eaten forever. And, sat by prickly plants that stab my eye.


Here some things I learned about myself/experienced this time around:

In the sky:

  • Flying sucks for me. I hate turbulence. Being crammed into a spot smaller than a porta potty for four hours makes me batty. And, doesn’t smell much better.
  • I love kids, but I want to strangle the one who sits behind me and kicks my seat.  Maybe my real issue is with the hands-off parents who let them kick my seat for four hours. These were the same parents who let their kid run barefoot along the luggage carousel. If my kids do it, it’s okay, however. Just kidding.
  • I dislike not being given the whole can of soda. And paying for checked bags. And food. 
  • I get unnerved when the air gets rough, and the flight attendants give you a lecture about what to do when/if you get airsick. I don’t get airsick but I have a major phobia about other people throwing up anywhere in my vicinity. The whole scenario stresses me out.
  • Beware of laying your head on your drink tray. The minute I put my head down, the woman in the seat in front of me farted. True story.
  • It sucks being in line for the bathroom on the plane and the person in front of you is in there for a very long time because you know what that means. Stink central.
  • I always kiss the plane before I get on. Always. And I haven’t crashed yet. Although I might have a bad case of Jet-Herpes.

On the ground:

  • One of the best things about travelling is running in a new spot. I got in three perfect runs. One of them was in the pouring rain and I loved every minute of it.
  • Sometimes it’s okay to pick a rental car based on the cool factor, and to not be practical. Sam is a cop-wanna-be and we he saw that one rental option was the Crown Vic, he about peed himself. It got the suckiest gas mileage and felt like you were driving a boat, but damn if I didn’t feel like I was on 21 Jump Street.


  • As I get older, I handle crowds with less grace. Universal Studios was a blast, but there were a lot of bodies slightly too close to mine.
  • It’s fun when you have so little to do you sit around waiting for the lizards to mate. Nice foreplay!


  • While on vacation it is permitted to eat and drink whatever you want, sleep as much as you want, watch as much TV as you want and wear your bathing suit all day.
  • Awkward family photos are better than no photos at all.


  • For some reason my kids argue far less while on vacation. Why is that? They actually acted like they liked each other. I swear the minute we walked in the door the bickering began.


  • Getting out of my home and town always makes me re-evaluate what I like and what I want to change about my life. Everything and nothing.

Got any pet peeves about flying? I know the airlines are struggling, but the flying experience has gone down hill SO much in the past 15 years or so. Little to no customer service (although Southwest does pretty well), you get nickel and dimed for every stinking thing, flights are always packed.

What’s something you learned about yourself/experienced last time you left home? Or do you ever leave home?

Do you ever/always run on vacation?


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Me, My Bike & a Killer Insect (video)

The only reason to watch this video is because at the end a HUGE butterfly was about to attack me. That part is funny.

Leaving for Florida later today, so have a great week!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Interview with Ryan Sutter– “Quitting Is Never An Option.”

You may know him as “that guy from the Bachelorette,” but this 37-year-old dad of two wears a few more hats: father, husband, lieutenant in the Vail Fire Department, former pro football player and endurance athlete. He’s also slightly easy on the eyes and has two twins I call his biceps.

Ryan running at Ironman Lake Placid

Ironman Lake Placid – 2010
Finish Time: 11:06:37

This endurance junkie is always looking for the next challenge. He’s found satisfaction in combining his passion for digging deep and pushing himself to the limit, with raising money for a charity close to his heart – First Descents (a free outdoor program for young adult cancer fighters and survivors).



When I heard about Ryan’s newest brush with insanity – doing the 100 Mile Leadville Mountain Bike Race  (August 11 ) and three days later running the 6-day GoreTex TransRockies Run (120 miles) – I wanted to see just what makes this guy tick. We spoke by phone yesterday.

You are crazy. Why two back-to-back brutal races? Over a period of nine days you will cover 220 miles and climb a total of 36,000 feet.

I’m driven by watching young adults with cancer overcome so many adversities. I enjoy the aspect of challenging myself physically. You reach a point where the physical body wants to stop, so you've got to have a mental strategy. This builds a strength that can be applied to other parts of life. For me, it’s about personal growth and I guess this is one of the selfish reasons I do these races.  (Sutter is doing both of these events to benefit First Descents and his friend, Ethan Zohn’s charity  Grassroot Soccer).

You talk about your physical body wanting to quit, but your mind working to keep you in the game. What are your strategies for digging deep when you want to quit?

I start to think about how fortunate I am to be out there. I don’t want to squander any opportunities. I know there are people who are unable do things (due to illness, etc.). I recognize the pain, but quitting is never an option. It doesn't even enter the equation. My biggest challenge has just been getting older. I know when I get to the finish line, then I can rest.

How did you train for these two races simultaneously?

I’ve done the Leadville 100 three times before and it takes me about 8 ½ hours. I do most of my cardio training in on the bike. I am not a great distance runner. Getting older, I only have so much left in my legs, so most of my running training focused on hills and climbing. My partner for the TransRockies will be a friend from the fire department. We’re not planning on having a blistering pace, just pacing ourselves well and keeping it manageable.

How do you fuel while training?

When I first started doing endurance races, I had no regard for nutrition. Now I know it affects performance. It’s hard for me to eat solid foods while I run, so I use gels a lot. After a work out, I drink a Gatorade recovery shake and have a good meal. Plus lots of rest (he also likes ice baths and compression stuff – see HERE).

You’ve got two young children, a marriage and a demanding job. How do you balance training with your other commitments?

The key is prioritizing. There is a fine line you can’t cross when it comes to family. First, I ask my wife. I want to make sure that Trista is okay with whatever goals I have. Sometimes you have to compromise your goals. At one point I wanted to see if I could train to run a sub 3 hour marathon (his PR is 3:18). But when I looked into what this would take, I decided it wasn’t that important. One of the cool things about training and racing is seeing my kids take interest in what I’m doing. Trista is really supportive and the family comes to most of my races. They enjoy being at the finish line!



You’ve done two Ironmans  – Kona (2004) and Lake Placid (2010). You’ve also done the NYC Marathon twice and the Boston Marathon once. Which is tougher, marathon or Ironman?

My first marathon (NYC) and my first 100 mile Leadville mountain bike race were both pure pain by the end. In this sense these races were tougher than an Ironman. But, the Ironman is harder mentally, just being out there for 11 hours.

Boston Marathon 2012
Finish time: 3:36

What’s next?

I’d love to do the Leadville Race Series  (which would include the 100 mile ultra marathon plus much, much more). I think I’ll see how these other races go first, though. It’s definitely on my radar.

Do people still call you “the guy from The Bachelorette”?

Yes, especially when we visit the mid-west people recognize us. When I was on the show, I was told I’d be recognized for three to six months. But it’s ten years later and still happening!


Would you do another reality show?

Sure, I’m open minded about that as long as it doesn’t compromise family time. I love the opportunity to meet new people. You only live once!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Confessions from My Imperfect World

If you hang around on Facebook long enough, you may want to slit your wrists. It seems everyone is at party and you are at home cleaning the toilets. The grass isn’t just greener, every damn blade is perfectly mowed and manicured.

For example:

  • People have the cutest kids and puppies vs. your kids wake up with  bedhead and need haircuts. Your 15 year old dog smells and craps on the carpet.
  • People’s kids are all the best athletes and smartest students vs. your kids sit on the bench and struggle in math.
  • Everyone is travelling everywhere – pictures of Italy, the Florida beaches and the Colorado mountains fill your Facebook home page vs. you are doing a stay-cation this year that includes putt putt, McDonalds and the Red Box.
  • Every person's dinner that they have so nicely photographed looks delectable and expensive vs. you are having frozen pizza tonight, the generic brand.
  • People are setting PRs and placing in their age groups left and right.  All of their runs felt good (i.e., “Becca ran 38 miles and felt good!) vs. you are running four miles each morning, slower than you did last summer. You fart, sweat, spit and occasionally shart.
  • Everyone’s relationship is loving, gooey and romantic vs. you consider the  Dutch Oven as your form of foreplay. Don’t even get started on the toilet seat being left up and the dog getting into the tampons that were left in the trash.
  • People love all members of their family at all moments and just “feel so blessed!!” vs. you hate your siblings and your parents make you feel like you are three years old. Blood is not thicker than water.


It’s not that I think it’s bad that people are happy, healthy and perfect. And, I have certainly been guilty of posting lots of rainbow and unicorn statuses (statusii?) But, let’s be honest. I feel better about my imperfect life when I know everyone else is not so damn perfect. Guess that’s my own hang up.

So, in the spirit of keeping it real, here are some not so perfect moments from my week.

  • Monday night my daughter woke me up because she was scared. I freaked out and had a fit because I was tired when I should have been compassionate. I then got back in bed and threw another tantrum that included F-bombs because I was tired. I know Ken rolled his eyes. I could feel it in the dark. Thank God the people who love us cut us some slack.
  • While watching the Bachelorette, I ate a bag of popcorn and drank two glasses of wine. I then got into bed and finished off the Hot Tamales I keep in my beside nightstand.
  • Yesterday while cycling with the ladies, I got smoked going up a hill. I was pushing my hardest and couldn't keep up. I think it’s good to run and cycle with people who are stronger than you, but I also hate feeling behind.
  • I saw someone I knew at the grocery store and ran into the next aisle because I didn’t feel like making small talk.
  • I went to the new fro-yo place in town and had so many free samples, I didn’t buy anything.
  • I went to my hot yoga studio and took a few day’s supply of tampons. I know you are supposed to take in case of emergency, but I stocked up.
  • I parked in the five minute spot at the library even though I knew I’d be in there for at least six or 30 minutes.
  • In Target, I farted in the bread aisle. Out loud.

There you have it - all of my imperfectness. Perfection is over-rated anyway (as I talked about in this post).

Am I the only one who feels this way about Facebook?

What’s your confession from the week?


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tweedle Dee Rocks

My 11 year old daughter, Emma, started an acting camp last week. Her first one. She will go to camp for nine days, then perform Alice in Wonderland at a dinner theater with a bunch of other amateur kid actors. For some reason I’ve always hated Alice in Wonderland. I find it weird and annoying. But, that’s just me. I didn’t tell Emma that.

On day two , the instructor would be assigning everyone their parts.

Emma (after day one): “I just want to warn you. It’s possible I’ll be assigned the part of a tree.”

She seemed worried, almost embarrassed about the fact that she would be a tree. She had no reason to believe she would be a tree, but it was as if she was preparing us – like we would be so disappointed to have a tree as a daughter. As if we would never be able to look her in the eye again. Mostly because all those damn leaves would get in the way.

At first I didn’t say much, just reassured her that she’d be given the part that was best for her and not to worry about it.

At dinner, the subject resurfaced.

Emma:I know I keep saying this, but just so you know I could be a tree in Alice in Wonderland.”

I sat there thinking, why is this bugging her so much? Why does she think we will be so let down? Have we made her feel as if we can only accept her if she is in the spotlight, if she has the biggest and best part out there? Oh God. We’ve failed her as parents. Therapy here she comes.  I wondered what type of motherly response would fit best in this situation.

Me: Well, if you are assigned the part of the the tree, then be the best damn tree you can be!


What is most important is not that we are the star of the show: the fastest runner, the most popular kid on the block, the top-paid lawyer in the firm. The point is that whatever we do, we do it 100 percent. If we are a 12 minute per mile runner, then we should be the damn best 12 minute per mile runner out there and not apologize for it. Sure, we can aim to be a ten-minute per mile runner, but until we get there, we shouldn’t waste our time wishing away who we are. The joy comes not so much in the task we are tackling at the moment, but the fervor and drive we use to apply ourselves to the task of 100 percentness.

Even if where we are at this moment is not our ideal, it is given more meaning when we take it seriously, when we see it as our challenge.

I am a middle-aged recreational runner (MARR).  That’s where it is for me. I could sit around wishing I were a spring chicken with perky breasts who ran a 7 minute mile. I could put my energy into beating myself up for not making the top three at any race. Or, I could embrace where I am and be the best damn MARR I can be today. Maybe that means someday I’ll get on the podium. Or, more likely that means I won’t (unless only 3 people show up in the 45-49 age group). But, regardless I’ve done my best.

What I find is I am infinitely more happy in my job, my role as a parent, my marriage, my friendships and as a runner when I accept where I am, welcome it and be the best damn runner, friend, social worker,writer, wife, or mother I can be at that moment. It becomes less important that I am the  fastest, most important or richest and more important that I devote myself to greatness in the doing what is simply before me - what is real for me. The joy comes from the pride in taking ownership and doing it well.

Emma was not given the part of the tree. She was given the part of  Tweedle Dee. My guess is that when I watch her perform this week she’ll be the best Tweedle Dee I’ve ever seen.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Just the Push of a Button

This morning, as a friend and I were running at 10,500 feet in the Colorado wilderness, I remembered why I love trail running. 


Boreas Pass – outside Breckenridge, CO

You are so removed from the hustle and bustle of “real life.” It is just you, your breath, and the sound of your feet softly making contact with the trail. I also remembered why I occasionally fear trail running - you are so removed from the hustle and bustle of “real life” that it leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of things.

On this particular run at 6:30 a.m., I have to admit I was more afraid of wild animals than wild humans. Every dark tree trunk resembled a bear. Every rustle in the trees had me looking around for a cougar (wait, maybe that was just my 42 year old cougar friend beside me). Even having a buddy with me, I felt strangely at risk.

Which brings me to…

I want to give one last push for the Bia Sport watch. Aside from being a sporty GPS watch, it has a safety feature that provides peace of mind. The safety alert feature enables the athlete/user to send an alert via text message to a predefined contact.  It will also send the athlete’s coordinates – enabling the receiver to go assist that person if they are hurt, lost, or at risk for any other reason.

This watch is not available for purchase yet. It still needs many dollars worth of backing before it can begin to go to market. This is the final week. There are only five days to go, and if the funds are not there, the idea of this watch goes “bye, bye” forever more. Consider going HERE to back Bia. You can do it for as little as a $1. If the funding doesn’t happen, you will get your money back. If it does happen, you will have access to an amazing product that could even save your life.

So, if you’ve ever felt at risk out there on your runs, support Bia. Even if it is not a watch you would buy, it’s a great product to help bring to the masses. Think of Sherry, think of Sarah Hart. Think of it as one way we can encourage safety amongst our running sisters!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Go Faster, Leaner and Longer with HIIT

Today I turned a corner. I turned a corner and there was the treadmill waiting for me, tempting me to do something I hadn’t been able to do for awhile.

HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training

I don’t love the treadmill. In fact, I give it the finger on a regularly basis. But, I think the treadmill is hands down the best place to do speed intervals because you can completely control pace and incline.

I haven’t HIIT it in at least a year and half because my body’s been out of whack. Ever since my femoral neck stress fracture (fancy way of saying hip stress fracture) in October 2010, I’ve had to put any kind of speed/interval training on the back burner. Every time I did speed work, it set me back. Today was the first day I really felt like my body was up for the challenge. The fact that I am finally here tells me that dedicating the past 10 weeks to changing some elements of my running form has really paid off.

The HIIT verdict? Invigorating and amazing. There is NOTHING like pushing yourself to the almost-puking, short-soaking, heart-racing edge.  Honestly, when I was done I felt energized and giddy like a school girl in heat (what?).

What is HIIT?

HIIT alternates very intense bursts of anaerobic activity (running, biking, jump roping, rowing, etc.) with periods of aerobic recovery. The key to HIIT is that the intervals are at your maximum effort, not just an increased pace or heart rate.

HIIT is for anyone who wants to improve overall endurance and speed and to burn fat.

Why you should do it:

  • Improves your VO2 max (your ability to utilize oxygen), thereby improving overall endurance
  • Increases the amount of calories you burn during and after exercising because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session
  • Is a very intense workout for a shorter period of time (20-60 minutes max). That means if you normally start drinking beer at 10 a.m., you can start at 9:30 a.m.
  • Effectively burns fat (two magical words in the English dictionary) by using fat stores as energy.
  • Allows for fat, not muscle, loss
  • Because the max effort intervals recruit fast twitch muscles, you can keep burning calories (after burn) for one to many hours post workout (depending on your fitness level and how hard you pushed).
  • HIIT might increase your resting metabolic rate.

Note:  “To get the benefits HIIT, you need to push yourself past the upper end of your aerobic zone and allow your body to replenish your anaerobic energy system during the recovery intervals" (source).

How to do it:

  • Be ready to get the hell out of your comfort zone and to sweat!
  • Play around with the treadmill to find out at what speed, incline or speed/combo incline you will be at a PRE (perceived rate of exertion) of a 9 or 10. Being at this effort is the key to HIIT. Don’t wuss out.


  • Decide on your interval times. You can do an even ratio (1 minute max effort to 1 minute recovery), or make the recovery slightly longer. Intervals can be up to 4 minutes, but are usually much shorter (1 minute is common).
  • Decide on how many repeats you will do. 6 to 10 is the norm.
  • Warm up for at least 5 minutes before you shock the hell out of your body.
  • If you like music while you run, this is the time to blast your best, loudest and most energizing playlist
  • Take a deep breath, press the “increase speed” button on the treadmill, take a deep breath and  and GO!
  • NO HANDS ON THE TREADMILL (as our friend Dolvett says, “Get your hands OFF my treadmill!”). Try not to fall off. It would hurt. A lot.
  • Initially, limit HIIT workouts to twice per week and space them 48 hours apart to let muscles recover, adapt and get stronger.
  • Increase workouts to three times per week for optimal results
  • Before you begin HIIT workouts, you should be able to exercise for 20-30 minutes at 70-85% of your estimated maximum heart rate.
  • If you have any cardiovascular or other health problems or you are just starting a fitness program, don’t try this one yet. Not until your doctor clears you.

My Ball  Bustin’ Workout:

5 minute warm up @ 6.5 mph
60 second burst @ 8.8 mph (6:49 min/mile pace)
90 second recovery @ 6.3 mph
Repeat 5 times

60 second burst @ 9.0 mph (6:39 min/mile pace)
90 second recovery @ 6.3 mph
Repeat 5 times
5 minute cool down at 6.5 mph

Total time: 33 ½ minutes
Total distance: 4 miles

I realize there are some people who run entire marathons at 9.0 mph. The fact that I can hardly hang on for a minute at that pace makes me think that I am either very out of shape or those people are freaks of nature (I say that in the nicest way possible).

If you are trying to decide what incline and/or speed to do your intervals at, below is a nifty chart that shows you equivalent paces per treadmill incline increases. You can see the full chart HERE. Keep in mind that you can also do a fast walk for your recovery, you do not need to run or jog.



So, what’s the advantage of this type of workout for long distance runners who might take 3 to 5 hours to finish a marathon? My opinion is that HIIT should be used as a variation of your speed work in your training.   HIIT may not be as specific for marathon training as say Yasso 800s, but it might help overall speed and endurance. Arguably, HIIT might be best utilized when training for 5K to half marathon distances, although I could not find a lot of research on this.

Have you incorporated HIIT workouts into your training? If so, have you noticed in improvement in your speed and endurance?

If not HIIT, what type of interval or speed work do you do? When marathon training, I typically stick to the Yasso 800s, because I’ve found them the most helpful with my race day performance.


Sources for this post:
8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training
Treadmill Workouts Using High Intensity Intervals – HIIT
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Marathon

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Take My Runs on the Rocks

Happy July 4th! No better way to show allegiance to my country than to run through some Purple Rocky Mountain majesty, right? There might even be some amber waves of grain involved.


About 1 mile in – Heil Ranch

I know some people like to sleep in, but for me there is no better way to start the day then getting up super early and heading to the hills for a trail run.

Joie, Ken and I went to the Heil Ranch trailhead between Boulder and Lyons. We got there at about 6:00 a.m., and after taking my token dump, we started climbing. We did a nice 8 mile lollipop loop. I like to think it was a Charms Blowpop because those are my favorite. I love this trail even if there are one or two or nine million rocks.


The first 2.5 miles has a fair amount of climbing (1,000 feet or so), but once you get to the top for the short loop, it flattens out a bit.


The views are tremendous. I know you think this is a postcard, but I am just that gifted.


Here is a little bench you can sit on if you are not used to the altitude. I will try not to call you a pussy.


I think this would be a fine camping spot. If you look really closely, you can see Longs Peak in the distance.



This picture freaks me out. Ken is all super imposed on himself. Either that or I’ve been sleeping with a ghost for 18 years:


Coming down, Ken was behind Joie and me. He said we smelled. Like a B.O. smell. I didn’t get my feelings hurt because I’m sure his schweaty balls are no carnival either.

We got home and I filled my pie hole with an English muffin stuffed with bacon, scrambled eggs and cheese.

Now, it’s time to clean. We have a big July 4th party every year because we have a great view of the fireworks show from the golf course behind our house. However, this year Longmont (and many other Colorado cities) have banned fireworks due to all of the fires and the dry conditions.  Wonder what we’ll do now? I’m hoping to kick everyone out by 8:30 so I can get to bed on time.

Did you get in a run today?

How are you celebrating tonight?