Friday, November 30, 2012

Why Going Fast and Long Might Be Wrong

Many people (including Ken and my mom) sent me the article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal this week entitled, “One Running Shoe in the Grave: New Studies on Older Endurance Athletes Suggest the Fittest Reap Few Health Benefits.” Maybe everyone thinks I’m going to drop dead running. I doubt it. And if I do, I won’t be running in a cemetery.


This is an actual grave in Cleveland where someone left running
shoes as an offering. It is thought that “Young” was a runner.

If you didn’t read this controversial article, it is interesting food for thought.  But let’s just say, for every action, there has to be an opposite reaction. Like how coffee kills you but it also makes you grow hair on your chest and keeps dementia away. Or, eggs are evil and will clog your arteries – oh, wait never mind, there are actually some decent health benefits. Basically what I have decided is that you can make a case for any way that you live your life. You just have to find that one study that supports it.

If you read my blog, you know that I not only do I think running is amazing for you spiritually, mentally and physically (maybe not financially), but I also think it’s a wonderful antidote to growing older (read my post about aging and running HERE). My philosophy has always been that despite any nagging injuries, the risk of falling down on the trail or the very slight chance you will die during a marathon (a one in 100,000 risk), running is a gift and is far, far better than hanging out on the couch eating Doritos and Twinkies (oops, too soon?) and drinking Coors Light.

That said, here’s what this article contends (in a nutshell – go read it for details):

  • For older athletes (I’m not sure what “older” means), running can hurt your heart to the point that the benefits of running are erased
  • Running too fast and too far could make you die quicker
  • Running 25+ miles per week gives you no benefit in regards to lengthening your life
  • Running in excess of 8 mph (7:30 minute/mile pace)gives you no benefit in regards to lengthening your life
  • Most cardiologists agree that “endurance athletics significantly increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, an arrhythmia that is estimated to be the cause of one third of all strokes. ‘Chronic extreme exercise appears to cause excessive 'wear-and-tear' on the heart’."


My first thought is that I’m okay because I can’t run 7:30 minute miles.

In all seriousness, I don’t care what this study says. It won’t change that I like to run far and sometimes for hours at a time. It won’t change that I want to get faster or run into my old age. What the study does not account for is that I don’t only run for health benefits. In fact, if there was absolutely no real health benefit to running, but it still made me feel on top the world, I would still do it.

I would bet all the Power Ball winnings that I didn’t win that few runners will let a study like this really change what they do. I think this because like anything in life, you take a risk. You find what you love to do be it jumping out airplanes, knitting blankets for babies or photographing elephants in Africa and you accept that you take chances (Yes, you could stab yourself in the eye with a knitting needle). How are we supposed to live and love life if we let ourselves be so consumed by every little thing that could happen to us? I can’t and won’t exist that way.

I do, however, think it’s important to be responsible.  Train with a heart rate monitor to be sure your heart rate is where it should be for certain types of runs. Get regular physicals. Eat and rest well. Don’t beat up your body – give it TLC in the form of decent recovery, cross training and bodywork like massage and chiropractic. Listen to your body and be in touch with the messages it is trying to give you. And, if you have a heart condition, for God’s sake pay attention and talk to your doctor.

Do you think an article like this will make you think twice about how you run in terms of miles per week and/or speed?

Do you think that running is inherently risky? Do the benefits outweigh the potential hazards?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gifts Runners REALLY Want

Do you have a runner in your life besides yourself? Ever wonder what runners really want as gifts? There are the cutesy answers like new knees, speed, a firm ass and to not mess my shorts, but what are the tangible and materialistic gifts that the runner really wants?

Hint: It’s not this:


I posed the gift question on my Facebook page the other other and quickly got over 150 responses. A quick tally revealed the top 5 gifts we crave:

#5. Massages – This is the ideal gift because it is not something that people will necessarily buy for themselves. Most of us view the massage as a luxury and we try to put food on the table and a roof over our heads before getting our body rubbed down for an hour. Massages run anywhere from $50-$100 per session, but usually if you buy them in packs of 3 or more you can get a discount. Happy endings are optional and may increase the cost (and the tip).

Tip: A lot of times you can get great massage deals through Living Social or Groupon too.

#4. Winter Running Gear – This is a no brainer. Snow, wind, sleet, freezing rain and plunging temps are upon us. Everyone loves a new pair of toasty tights or a stylish long sleeved running shirt. Throw in some cheapie gloves from Target, an ear warmer, some wool socks or a few hot packs and you’ve got the perfect gift.

Running Winter

#3. Running Shoes – There are a few sure things in life:  death, taxes and that your running shoes will wear out and you will need new ones. Shoes are a tough thing to buy for someone else – but, many runners stick to the same shoe if they have found one that they like. So, all you need to do is sneak into their house/room/closet at night with  pad of paper and a pencil and write down the brand and size of their current shoe. Hopefully you will not get shot or arrested in the process.

Tip: Great online stores for running shoes (these usually have discounts and sometimes free shipping):

Running Warehouse
Kelly’s Running Warehouse
Road Runner Sports

#2. Race entries – This is a genius idea! Like massages, running races can feel like a luxury. Especially these days when it costs $950 for a 5K where you get a brown banana and a bag of crumbled pretzels at the end. If you have a runner in your life, pick a local race and sign him/her up. If he/she is really out of shape, giving them a race entry is also a great hint to help them get off their asses. You might get your face punched, but at least you tried.

And the number one gift that runners want this year…

#1. Garmin GPS Watch – Yes, we’ve become obsessed by paces, heart rates and race times. Everyone wants to know how fabulously or how shitty they are doing at any given moment.

Garmins range in price from $129 (Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS) to $459 (Garmin Forerunner 910XT) and offer a wide range of options and features. I have something in the middle: the Garmin Forerunner 210 (with heart rate monitor). It is the perfect watch for someone who races and trains consistently, but doesn’t need a million bells and whistles. I got mine at Heart Rate Monitors USA because they have free shipping often have good sales.

Tip: If you can wait until the spring, the new Bia Sport (made specifically for women) is coming out. It’s a GPS watch in a slim, lightweight and feminine design. An extra bonus will be that with the push of a button you can alert someone of where you are if you get into a dangerous situation. It will probably retail for about $299.

So, there you have it. Happy shopping. If you want my address where you can send me the above five gifts, just email me.

Any other gifts you would add to the list? What would you like to see under the tree this year?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Out of the Saddle

Thank you for all of your heartfelt comments on yesterday’s post about my dying dog, Lucky. Weird to think a dying dog is “Lucky,” but I like to believe that he has been Lucky to be with us, and us with him. Even when I am not talking about farting and running and inappropriate things, you still read and respond. I appreciate that you take time for the silly, the gross,  and the serious sides of me.

I agree that I will know when it is “time” to let him go. I sort of equate this to how people told you that you would know when that right person was “the one.” I had faith in that type of knowing and knew immediately I when I met Ken that he was “it.” A strange comparison, but I do think my intuition will also tell me when it is Lucky’s time. In the meantime I am loving him up. The weirdest thing is that my parent’s dog, Brindle, is also dying right now. Lucky and Brindle are best friends and spend a lot of time together.


Moving onto the lighter side of life. I’ve been trying to mix up my workouts quite a bit lately and adding in more swimming and spinning.  My first love is running, and I get into modes where that is all I do and then my body gently reminds me to stop having an eff’ing closed mind and to expand my horizons.

Today Ken and I tried a new spin class. I’ve been to quite a few spin classes and I can’t say I’ve ever had this experience. Maybe I am not well rounded enough in the spinning world. We spent the first 20 minutes out of the saddle, climbing and sprinting. 20 minutes. Not sitting and spinning. Try it. It is not easy. Or, maybe I am just a spinning pussy (<- that sounded weird).

Tomorrow I am heading back to my beloved trails. Trail running has become my favorite thing because:

  • It’s challenging as hell. Maybe even more challenging than being out of the bike seat for 20 minutes
  • It’s gorgeous, peaceful and beautiful
  • You get to see all kinds of animal scat (Guess which one this is? Hint: you may find a piece of Goldilocks's hair in there)

Blueberries on your oatmeal anyone?

  • The landscape can be your bathroom and no one really knows but you, your running partners and the rabbit whose hole you crapped in
  • The soft and varied terrain feels easier on my old bones

Here I am on Thanksgiving doing some trails and I’m really feeling as happy as I look until I fell off and my skirt went over my head exposing my under parts (just kidding).



Did you just “know” when you met your significant other that they were the one? YES! When I met Ken, I had been with someone else for 7 years and the relationship always felt like work. With Ken, it just felt right and easy. That’s how I knew.

How do you mix up your workouts? I spice things up with hot yoga, time on the trails, intervals in the pool, spinning and doing climbing on my bike in the nearby foothills. Keeps things tres interessant! (That’s French in case you were wondering. I am very sophisticated and I bet you didn’t know I was a French major).

What did YOU major in? I was Political Science and French undergrad, then got my Master’s in Social Work.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It’s Getting Steamy In Here

Today is a day of feeling uninspired and just generally blah. Does anyone else ever have days like that? Not about running or working or cleaning or cooking. But, about ALL OF IT.

I think part of the problem is the carpet cleaning guys were supposed to come early, so I couldn’t get in a workout. They came late, which meant waiting around all day and then dealing with the mess. I am kind of not so good without my workout.

Old three legged, one eyed Lucky dog  didn’t like it either.


Lucky probably realized he would be in trouble when the cleaning guy said that when they cleaned the area where he (the dog, not the cleaning guy) usually craps, the house might reek because of the steam. Just what I love. A humid, steamy house that smells like dog poop. Lucky probably also doesn’t like how these guys keep trying to sell me stuff. I mean you are already paying hundreds of dollars and they want you to do one more room or add in one more layer of freaking Scotch Guard. Lay off.

I do love my little doggie and I worry about him. A lot. I don’t think you realize until you are a pet owner how attached you get to these creatures.


Lucky has issues. He’s about 14 or 15 now. We adopted him ten years ago with only three legs. A couple years ago he had to have an eye removed due to a cataract gone bad (If I ever have a band I will  call it “Cataract Gone Bad”). A few months ago he started coughing and an x-ray showed a mass in his lungs. We also know he is in kidney failure. On top of that, you can add in that he shits in the house and is pretty much deaf. He sees okay out of the one eye, but not great.  Can you say ticking time bomb?

You all are probably screaming, “Put him down already! My God what do you need a formal invitation?” But when it is your dog and he has been a member of the family for so long, you don’t want to let go. You want to know that you made the right decision at the right time. You don’t want to hold on too long, but you don’t want to give up too soon. You want your kids to be at peace with the decision.

Day by day he’s doing okay. He’s coughing more and more, but he still follows me everywhere and has a voracious appetite (which becomes a problem when the kids will not stop throwing away banana peels and candy wrappers in their trashcans. Damn kids). Also, sometimes  he is delusional and barks at the bookcase. Maybe he’s seeing dead people or the white light.

What to do. I don’t know. One day at a time. I think I will know when it is the day to say goodbye.

Carpet guys are done. No time to workout before picking up the kids. Thinking about hot yoga tonight. Sounds like a plan.

Have you dealt with end of life issues with a pet? Lucky is the first dog that was ever my own. I remember putting our dogs down when I was young. But, it is different when you are an adult and the primary pet owner. It is up to you to make the decision. Having pets is great but this part of it sucks balls.

What happens to your mood when you miss a workout?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

My 15 Unwritten Rules for Runners

I don’t get it. Why does my family get all pissy on me for playing Christmas music in the car? As far as I am concerned, holiday music is fair game from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day.  This is one of those unspoken holiday rules.

This got me thinking. Are there unwritten rules about running? Sure! Here are some I can think of:

1. Be sure to look before you spit or blow out a snot rocket. In a triathlon a couple of years ago, I had just started the run and the girl in front of me turned and spit. Right on  me. I beat her up later in the finisher’s shoot.

2. If you are running with a group, do not carry a bunch of coins in your pocket. By mile 3, you will be shot and left for dead after they steal your GUs.

3. Don’t overshare. I can’t believe I am saying this – pot calling the freaking kettle black! It’s definitely okay to say you farted, pooped, peed, puked or that you smell. But seriously, you do not have to give explicit details about how big your poop was in the porto, your period flow level, or other minute details that conjure up images in our heads that are tough to get rid of.

4. If you stop to tie your shoe, puke, catch your breath, pick up change, take a picture -whatever – move to the right. Get out of the eff’ing way! So many times I have plowed into someone in front of me who stopped unexpectedly. And, I might be guilty of doing it once or twice myself.

5. Turn off the treadmill when you get off of it. This seems obvious, but once someone left it on and I got on it. You can only imagine the words that escaped my lips as I was sling-shotted across the gym, squealing.

6. Look to make sure the treadmill is turned off before you get on it.

7. Say “hello” or nod when you pass other runners.


8. When you are having drinks with a non running friend, put a time limit on how long you talk about running. Avoid using acronyms like AG, BQ, PR and DNF.

9.  Run facing traffic. That way you can see that 18 wheeler and smile at the driver before he hits you.

10. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Unless you make your living as a runner, you need to lighten up.

11. If you fart and someone is behind you, always yell out a warning (I have gotten in trouble for this one way too many times. Now I just yell, “FART!”).

12. Run with your dog, but put that bitch on a leash. I can’t tell you how many dogs I’ve almost fallen over when they cut in front of me (one exception is my friend’s dog, Newman. So well behaved while we run).


13. Don’t whine. We’re all tired when we run. We all want to be done. So shut up and trudge on (SUATO).

14. Don’t fib about your PRs. Paul Ryan learned this one the hard way.

15. Don’t judge other runners be it for how fast/slow they are, if they run with music or not, what shoes they are wearing, etc. Only judge them if they don’t wave to you, if they carry coins, if fart with no warning, or if they spit on you.

Can you think of any other unwritten rules for runners?

Have you been guilty of breaking some of these rules? Yes, many of them. I’ve been guilty of over-sharing (duh). I also have farted with no warning. I’ve been known to whine once or twice. And, sometimes I take this running thing WAY too seriously.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Good Thing I’m Not a Travel Agent

Wednesday we went out of town, but we didn’t really go out of town. Whatever does she mean?? I’m so mysterious!

The best way to miss the hassle of travelling over the holidays is to do a staycation where you go on vacation where you live. Or, as defined by the Urban Dictionary: a vacation for cheap asses.

We drove 45 minutes down the road to Denver. Our plan was to take the kids to a nice hotel, out for a nice dinner and to view the city from a tourist rather than local point of view.

We got there and I realized I had booked us in the wrong hotel. There are two Hyatts in Denver – a nice one and an older/used up one. Ken had said, “Let’s go to the nice one where we take our dumps before the Denver Marathon!” Guess where I booked us by mistake? Yes, that is right. Dumpsville. Everyone tried to pretend  it was okay, but it wasn't. Let’s put it this way – hotel #1 was fine, but kind of old and used. They are renovating the whole thing and you could hear construction throughout. Hotel #2 was the same price and much more grand and modern.

After we had valet-checked the car and checked into our blasé and dark room I had a mini fit about how I can never do anything right and I suck at planning staycations (which is too bad because I was going to become a staycation un-travel agent). I talked Ken into seeing if they would transfer us to the nicer Hyatt. He sighed a really, really big husband sigh that means I am on his last nerve. That’s what he gets for marrying a high maintenance wench.

Hotel #2? Much better, definitely worth the hassle. What do you think?

                                   Thing #1                                                                                   Thing  #2

We had drinks up on the 27th floor.



                                           Thing #1                                                                                          Thing #2


Guess which drink is mine? Hint: it doesn’t have a strawberry or a head or ice.


Yes, I took this picture. The Hyatt will be contacting me to get a copy for their brochure.

Then we  headed out for shopping, more shopping and a nice steak dinner. Ken and the kids got in the hot tub while I fell asleep in a lounge chair at 8:00 pm. Staycations wear me out. Or maybe it’s being a cheap ass that wears me out.

I got up early to work out in the awesome fitness center:


The night before Ken had written on the treadmill waiting list and it was still there:


He’s funny.

When we left they had just put up a tree in the lobby and it was the perfect family photo op, which my family HATES.  Some dude offered to take our picture, letting us know that he used to live in the mountains and take pictures for so many tourists all the time so he is really good.


Definitely the best blurry picture I’ve ever seen.

My daughter said, “Well it is  Christmas Vacation now!” No, honey. It is Christmas Staycation, which stars Chevy Chase’s much less funny younger brother.

That’s all she wrote. Staycation 2012 DONE.

Costs a 1/4 of travelling somewhere else
Quick drive from home
Know our way around

We live here. It didn’t feel like a vacation. Duh.

Did you travel this holiday?

Ever try the whole trendy staycation thing?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Be Grateful When You Don’t Feel Like It

Let’s face it. It’s cool to be grateful. Oprah made it a worldwide phenomenon when she started keeping a gratitude journal way back when. And, there’s a reason it’s so popular. Focusing on what you have and not what you lack is one of the most simple and profound ways to learn to appreciate your life and the people in it.

For some, gratitude comes easily. For others, it takes work. Here are some ways I’ve found to revive the gratefulness perspective:

Go for a Run. I know I am preaching to the choir here. Pre-run you are down on your life, annoyed by your family and friends and generally irritated by everything. During your run something happens. Life opens up. You get perspective. You start to notice the beauty around you. You appreciate the strength of your body. Post-run your head is clear and you are often able to feel and see the gifts around you.

Stop comparing yourself to others. This is the single most important thing to do if you want to feel better about your life. This is your day, your journey, your race, your family, your relationship, your job. Make it a point to be the best person you can be, and refuse to feel less than because someone else is stronger, richer, prettier, faster, smarter or more intelligent. If you feel envy, use it to your advantage. Being jealous of someone tells us what we might want more of in our lives. Figure it out, and go get it.

Don't compare yourself to others<br />Because, it'll only make you feel like complete crap.

Do it at the same time everyday. Make being grateful a part of your day just like brushing your teeth. I do an inventory every morning before I get out of bed of the things that are going right in my life and the people who I cherish. If I’m dealing with a particular struggle - a problem with a friendship, an injury or a misbehaving child, I try to think about what I can learn from the situation to make it make me better. I try to be grateful for the challenge.

Stop looking at Facebook. FB is a wonderful tool for reconnecting with old friends and staying in touch with family. But,  it can be the perfect breeding ground for feeling less than (Suzy ran another PR! Johnnie’s marriage is so perfect! Mary’s kids are all geniuses! The Smiths travel all of the world every other month!). If it brings you down, stop going there.

Give to others. Sometimes we get so stuck in our heads about what our personal challenges are. When we reach out and take time for others, gratitude and a sense of well being creep in. Send a friend a card. Volunteer at an old folk’s home. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee.

Stop thinking it should be a certain way. When we get caught up in an ideal of how we think life needs to be, we become inflexible. We get let down. We forget to be grateful. Do your best to accept how life is unfolding for you right now. This doesn’t mean you can’t have dreams and a preference for how you would like things to go. But, do not be tied to that plan. Go with the flow, be adaptable.

Lower your expectations. We are taught to have very high expectations for ourselves. That is all fine and good, but it can ultimately breed dissatisfaction. If your expectations are low, you will rarely be disappointed. You will be grateful for any positive outcome that comes, no matter how small.

Any other tips for how to feel grateful?

What’s one thing you are grateful for on this Thanksgiving Eve? My quirky, funny, loving family, safe and sound within these four (or more) walls.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yes, Pole Dancing Is Considered Cross Training

You guys crack me up. In my last post I told you how much I hate anything to do with vomit and then you proceed to write me graphic stories about when your kids/husband puke. For me this is like a bad wreck on the highway. I cannot turn away! I must read every vomitus detail. Thanks for that!

Today I am trying to be a good little runner, so I went and did my least favorite form of cross training: swimming. bethsuit

{Underwear is optional, but I always wear it because I might get into an accident and I don't want to be caught without it}.

When I got home, Ken and I had a deep discussion:

Ken: How was it?
Me: Okay.
Ken: Did you have fun?
Me: Sure. Back and forth. Back and forth. 86 times. I fell asleep and almost drowned.

Actually I am being dramatic, it wasn’t that bad. When I swim I like to do specific workouts to keep it interesting and this was today’s:

Warm Up: 200 free, 200 kick, 400 free
Main: 7 x 150 @ 3:00 min with 20 seconds rest
Cool Down: 100 kick, 100 pull, 100 free
Total: 2,150 yards

Find 50 swim workouts HERE

I don’t know how long it took, but it felt like forever. Maybe 50 minutes? I worked on my flip turns which meant I got lots of water up my nose and gagged a few times.

Many fitness websites tell you why cross training is important. Go to one of those for the specifics. But, if you want to know why I think cross training is important, read below:

  • It helps you not get injured which means you can avoid being a bitch to your friends and family.
  • It forces you to shave in areas you might not otherwise.
  • You get exposure to things like pool locker rooms where naked older people engage you in conversations (great story that happened to Ken HERE).
  • If you cross train enough, you probably will then want to do a triathlon. All the cool kids are doing it and tris seems to be the trajectory for runners who get injured and start cross training (I just like using the word “trajectory” in a sentence. Makes me sound smatr).
  • You meet a whole new breed of people, which means a whole new slew of unsolicited advice from strangers. YES!
  • You get to buy even more gear such as a bike, a swimsuit, goggles, bike shorts, bike shoes, stand up paddle boards, yoga mats, etc. You might also need to join a gym. Money is no object when it comes to your health, eh?
  • You will develop new muscles you did not know you had. I have doing tons of breast stroke with hopes of developing breasts. I know it is in my future.
  • If you think outside of the box, you can introduce things like Pole Dancing to your cross training repertoire and use your stripper name. But, be careful. Kids are watching.

The back story about this picture is that the mom was at Home Depot during a snowstorm
and people were fighting over who got to buy the last shovel.
Her daughter then drew this picture. Sure. Right.

There you have it. I hope I have convinced you to add variety to your life.

What’s your favorite form of cross training? Running. Oops sorry. I suppose cycling, but only when it’s warm.

Ever taken pole dancing class? Some friends and I did once a few years ago. I sucked.

Do you triathlons too or just run? I do both. I love tris, but the training can be time consuming. An Ironman is on my bucket list for sure!


Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Things You Should Know About Me If We Are Going To Be Friends

1. I speed. I do not follow the speed limit, but I have not had a ticket in over 20 years (just 950 warnings). My rule of thumb is that 10 miles over the speed limit is acceptable. And I follow this rule 97.5% of the time. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it’s what I do.

2. I talk about running. A lot. Probably too much. This is fine if it’s with fellow runners because they have the same one track mind.  My non runner friends might be sticking needles in their eyes.


3. No sugarcoating allowed. I think it is the responsibility of a friend to be honest. If you ask my opinion I will tell it to you straight (yes your nipple is showing). Or, if you are dear friend and are doing something harmful to yourself or your family I will tell you that too. I expect the same from my friends in return.

4. I don’t diet or obsess over food. I don’t talk calories and burning off fat and fitting into clothes. I eat well, drink wine, train hard, sleep when I can and do my best to be the healthiest 45 year old possible while still having some vices. It’s all about balance and personal choices.

5. There's on Open Fart Policy (OFP). Flatulence is done in the open and without embarrassment. What I mean is - I have NO desire to hold gas in. It makes me cranking and gives me cramps. I also don’t like to play the mystery game of “It stinks in here – who farted?” when you can just admit it right before, during or after it happens. This in no way means my friend has to be open about farting, but I will be and it’s easier if we do it together. Most people are relieved to be able to rip one out in the open. Even prudes.

6. I ask too many questions during movies. Unless it is a Lifetime movie that is so shallow and contrived a newborn infant can understand it, I am always lost during movies. I’ve gotten to the point where I cannot watch anything to do with the CIA or terrorist plots because it goes over my head.

7. Monty Python is off limits. I realize you all (or most people) think quoting Monty Python movies is a great past time, but I it annoys me for some unknown reason. Probably because once people start, they just don’t stop. For days. Or, maybe in a different life I had a flesh wound and no one took it seriously enough.

 MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL:   Eric Idle, Michael Palin, center from left: John Cleese, Terry Jones (helmet), Graham Chapman as King Arthur (front), 1975

8. I don’t answer my home phone. I don’t even know why I have a home phone. I will 77% of the time answer my cell phone, however.

9. I am controlling and demanding. My good friends and I have a running joke about when we get together to make Christmas cookies. I am a total drill sergeant – no nonsense, all bossy pants and no fun. “Stop eating the batter and get your ass in gear rolling out that dough” and, “This is not the time to talk about your pregnancy/crumbling marriage/child’s potty training issues. We have cookies to make, so shut your mouth and start dropping teaspoons of chocolate crinkles onto that cookie sheet.”

10. Vomit terrifies me. I can’t hear or smell it or I’ll have an anxiety attack. I can’t even watch people throwing up in movies (Bridesmaids was a tragic experience for me). If you are my friend and have to puke, I cannot hold your hair or clean you up. I apologize in advance.

What’s one thing people should know about you?


PS: The awesome Anne Franklin designs is running a great sale this week on running necklaces. Regularly $15, they are now just $10!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

5 Things I’m Liking In November

Do you even care what I like? Probably not. But, in case you do, read on.

1. This book:

It’s been awhile since I was so engrossed in a book (hated the ending though) and I can see why this is being made into a movie. I’m not sure if they’ve cast the parts of Nick and Amy yet, so who do you think should play them? I wouldn’t mind seeing Ryan Gossling (for obvious reason) paired with __________ (Gwyneth Paltrow? Rachel McAdams? Amy Adams? Clare Danes? Beth from Shut Up + Run?).

2. This new product:

God bless the cold hearted wench who invented this heated throw blanket. I just bought one as a gift for someone (maybe it’s you!) at Costco yesterday (on sale for $23.99). I’ve made it known to anyone who will listen (Costco cashier) that I desperately need one for myself.

3. This shirt:


I will never be injured again. Okay, I might be. If this is the case, I will buy this shirt and never take it off until I can run again. I will wear this shirt everyday, eat Cheetos and cry. I would like it better if it said, “Caution: Injured  Runner. May Slap the Shit Out of You.”

4. This treat:

Thanksgiving morning Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Pumpkin Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze. Nothing bad about that. Suck it cinnamon rolls!  Recipe HERE.

5. These pantaloons:

Since it got cold in Colorado the other day, I have been running in these Go Lite Thermal Tights. In fact, I ran in them this morning. I would model them but I’m too lazy and they’re dirty and they smell. They are lined with a light layer of fleece that keeps your woman parts comfy and cozy. They are on sale for $55 (originally $140), but I think I got them at the Go Lite outlet in Boulder last spring for $40. That means I saved $100 so I can go spend that on something else. That’s how it works, right?

Read any good books lately? I’m always looking for ideas.

Random question: if a story was being made about your life, who would you want to be cast as you? Meg Ryan. I’ve always had a girl crush on her. She would be a prettier, cuter, more dynamic version of me. We watched “You’ve Got Mail Last Night” from 1998. I kept wondering when they were going to move to Seattle because for the first half of the movie I thought I was watching “Sleepless in Seattle”. Yes, I am Clueless in Colorado.

Any new products you’re liking on this low-key pre-Thanksgiving weekend?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

It Must Be a Damn Good Sign

I swear that marathon signs are like fine wine, they get better with age (not that I would know anything about fine wine. I get a lady woody when the big bottles of Woodbridge chardonnay go on sale for $9.99).

Anyway, when I ran my first marathon a few years ago, the status quo signs were, “Run Like You Stole Something,” and “Just Beat Oprah.” Great signs, but a bit tired and overused. Just like your mama (kidding!). I don’t know what’s happened these days, but it’s like the sign makers got a sassy attitude and a major sense of humor. Check out some of these from recent races:

The male perspective sign – he still might not get sex after holding up this sign. She could possibly be using training runs as an excuse and next it will be “I am still recovering from my marathon”:

The male perspective sign: I can’t imagine a woman holding up a sign that says “Go Sweet Ball Sac Go!

The backhanded compliment sign: My hope is that this sign was made for his frat brother and not his wife.

The odd yet strangely funny sign: I wonder how long it took these two rocket scientists to think this one up. I hope they don’t do things to innocent mares.

The tell it like it is sign: My personal favorite because it happens to the best of us.

My dear friend Clair ran the Richmond Half Marathon last weekend and saw some of my all time favorites:

It this were easy, it would be called: ‘your mom’

Camel toe check here

{Let’s face it, camel toes are a very popular sight at a marathon. I wonder if some people spectate just for that. And the funny thing is, at mile 20, who gives a crap if everything is wedged all up in there? If I really cared, I get one of these but it might make me chafe worse.}

Seen any good signs recently? I saw another one that said something like, “Please finish soon, my arms hurt from holding this sign.” Couldn’t find a picture of it, though.

Do you look at signs while you run? No. Never. I am trying to hard to not die.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Did Not Deserve That “Thank You”

I am not proud of my behavior today.

Let me set the scene for you. Early on in my 6 mile run I was having major stomach issues. I’m not sure if it was the Chips O’Hoy from last night or the Utz Pub Mix, or a combination of both. In any case, by mile 2.5 I was doing that desperate and sweaty glance to the right and to the left, urgently searching for a bathroom alternative (BA) . Oh, don’t pretend you’ve never done the desperate glance as you use every muscle to hold things in place. It’s a universal experience.

I don’t usually use businesses as my BA because I feel bad for not buying stuff when I am most likely going to stink up the establishment. I also run mostly on trails or back roads, so it’s not like there is a McDonalds on every corner. I used to love this one gas station I would run by on a country road because they had a bathroom tip jar (I wrote about it HERE). If I put a dollar in there, I would feel all was right with the world. An eye for an eye. A dollar for a shit.

That placed closed down (see below), which was a travesty. You can buy it for only $250,000, and then I can leave you big tips ‘n turds.

But, today was an emergency.  So, I broke down and went into a very small breakfast café. It is only two rooms, so there is no way to be not obvious when you enter. The lady/owner was friendly enough when I asked to use the bathroom. She obviously knew I wasn't looking to sit down and eat a short stack with a side of eggs. I tried to act nonchalant about the whole thing, thinking maybe she would buy the fact I was just going for a tinkle. I strolled on in, not rushing, not clenching.

I spent some time in that tiny WC, and what I did in there should be illegal. I still had over two miles before I would be at home and things would have gotten very ugly had I waited. I felt less guilty about the whole thing because there was a nice citrus spray in the bathroom, which I drained. Without getting graphic, I will say I hope the plumbing in that old and tired breakfast café is pretty stellar because voluminous about describes what went down. And, yes, it did go down, thank God.

As I was leaving, I waved, smiled and gave her a huge thank you for letting me use the bathroom. She said, “No, thank YOU!” Damn friendly small-towners. That immediately made me feel guilty. I so did not deserve that thank you. In fact if she would have just said, “You’re welcome a-hole, but don’t ever let that happen again,” I would have been satisfied.

In the end I made it 6 miles in 52 minutes, not counting the voluminous episode at the country breakfast spot. I guess that was better than yesterday when I ran .12 miles on the treadmill, quit and went home.

Ever had an emergency on your run? Where did you go? On the trails it’s an easy solution, but in town it’s trickier. Many times I have wanted to stop at an acquaintance’s house, but that just seems rude. Although, I would SO invite another runner into my house if they were desperate. I’d even give them citrus spray.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Clif Bar Fail & The Workout That Wasn’t

Nothing gets me more excited than seasonal stuff at the store like this candy cane hot chocolate:

Or this tea:

Or these waffles:

In fact, today I even bought chocolate stuffed advent calendars for my kids. It is the only time of the year they get to have a side of candy with their breakfasts. I am hoping that when they are older and in therapy about what a miserable parent I was they remember how I let them have chocolate in the morning from December 1st to December 24th. POTY (Parent of the Year).

Needless to say, I about got a boner when I saw the season varieties of Clif Bars:

I do enjoy a Clif Bar every now and again, especially the white chocolate macadamia ones. Sometimes they can be kind of heavy, so I have to be in a true Clif Bar mood. Well, today I saw the Spiced Pumpkin Pie bar on the shelf and knew I had to try it even before I left the store.

(By the way, this is not stealing. You can open and start eating things in the store as along as you keep the wrapper and pay for them. I learned this from my mom when I was six and she gave me a box of animal crackers to shut me up while she shopped.

This however, does not apply to produce. You cannot eat a bunch of grapes and then take them to be weighed at the register because then you are not weighing the grapes you ate. Unless of course you get on the scanner, but then you might get arrested and it wouldn’t be accurate anyway).

So, I bit into this bar while the security cameras were pointing away from my cart.

The verdict? Ewww. I can’t even tell you why, except that there was some strong taste of something (cloves maybe?) that tasted really off balance. And, mostly, this bar tasted nothing like pumpkin. So, I did what any self respecting shopper would do and I shoved it back in the wrapper and put it back on the shelf. Just kidding. Don’t call grocery store security. I brought it home and took pictures of it, like any self respecting blogger would do. Yes, I take big bites. Sue me.


I just realized this is not at all a very interesting story. Not in the least. Sorry if you were not entertained.

Today another funny (and somewhat sad) thing happened. I went to the gym, did strength work, and intended to run a few miles on the treadmill. I got on, ran .12 miles, and got off and went home. Yes, .12 miles, not 12 miles. I just wasn’t feeling any treadmill love today (not like I do any day) and didn’t have warm enough clothes with me to go outside. So I went to Starbucks instead and got a piece of gingerbread loaf. And, I didn't even beat myself up about it. Next time I promise I will Shut Up and Run. Even I don’t take my own advice sometimes.

Do you like seasonal items? What's your favorite? I love the holiday coffee drinks (peppermint mochas, etc).

Ever start a workout and quit it? I have to say I’ve never done this before. I think if I was training for something I would have stuck in there, but this is my down season so I didn’t mind too much. Please I did do half of my workout. That counts for something I’m sure.

What’s your favorite protein/sports bar? I know they’re not the healthiest, but I love Nature Valley Protein Bars. They are pretty cheap at Costco too – $13.51 for 24 bars or .$56 per bar.


Monday, November 12, 2012

How Your Period Affects Running

If you are a female between 12 and 51 years old and reading this, you probably have a period (unless of course you're pregnant, nursing or have had body parts removed). If you are a male of any age and are reading this, you might be (negatively?) affected by a female in your life who has a period.

Do you ever wonder how that time of the month affects your (or your girlfriend’s, wife’s, mother’s) running? I was very curious about this so my period and I decided to do some research. I cannot believe I didn’t learn this stuff earlier because it sure explains a lot of shitty and glorious runs.

How Your Period Can Affect Running

  • You Swell and Heat Up. During ovulation (mid-cycle or so) progesterone levels peak. This can cause you to retain water (bloating) and increase your body temperature. So, hell yes we are irritable! If you are running in the heat during this time of the month, you should pay extra attention to hydration and to dressing even cooler than you normally would.

  • You Might Be a Speedy Rock Star Some Days. During the first 13 days of your cycle, estrogen is at its lowest. This means your body uses carbs as the primary fuel source. Typically, tempo and speed workouts will be stronger during this part of your cycle (because your body is quickly breaking down glycogen for fast energy).
  • Days 14-27 Might Feel Sluggish. On day 14, estrogen peaks and remains high until your period starts on day 28. Higher levels of estrogen mean that your body uses fat for fuel and is more efficient when running longer, slower distances. Speed or tempo work may feel more challenging during this time. (Read more info on how estrogen levels affect performance HERE). Heart rates may also be higher during this time.
  • You May Lose Fe (Iron): While in the midst of your period itself, you will be losing iron, because you are losing blood. This can lead to anemia, which causes fatigue. If you can’t kick the feeling of being tired, see your doctor and have your levels checked.
  • Things May Shift. Starting training or a new exercise regimen can change your cycle. This could be due to a lack of body fat (if you get under 12%, your periods can stop – amenorrhea). In addition, “Ghrelin, a hormone that may reduce secretion of other hormones that regulate menstrual function, tends to be higher in athletic women (source).”  If your period becomes very irregular, slows or stops completely, definitely see a doctor (and have a cheeseburger).

How to Minimize the Negative Effects of Your MC While Running

  • Keep It Up. First of all, don’t stop exercising during PMS or your period. If you have side effects such as cramping, back pain, nausea, nastiness and fatigue, running or exercise in general can decrease these conditions. This is because exercise increases blood flow and the release of endorphins, which can lessen physical symptoms as well as your f&%king depressed mood (source).

  • Write It Down. Keep a journal for a few months of your high energy vs. sluggish runs. See if you find a pattern and plan training intensities and races accordingly. Include heart rate stats if you can. Some people may want to plan to run longer races like marathons during the 14-27 day phase and shorter races during the 5-13 day phase given the way that their bodies use fuel during those times.
  • Try the Cup. If you are running a very long race and don’t want to carry a tampon or take the time to change it, consider a Diva Cup.  Great stocking stuffer!
  • Watch the Doritos. PMS symptoms are made worse if you eat a poor diet.  Be sure to ingest foods rich in magnesium, B-Complex and calcium – things like dairy, green leafy veggies, whole grains, nuts, fish, and beans.

  • Hide It. Wear dark colored tights or shorts while you run. Duh. Whoever invented white tights should be shot.
  • Prepare for the Worst. Many times GI distress accompanies a period. Know that you might feel the urge to fart, poop or vomit more while running. Plan accordingly.
  • Dress the Part. If all else fails, just embrace your inner period and run in a tampon costume (by the way, I wouldn't recommend Googling “tampon costumes.” Gross).


Seems the string is in the wrong place. Costume probably invented by a man.

{For a more scientific look at all of this, read Running Time’s “How Menstruation Affects Your Running”}.

Do you notice a difference in your running performance at certain times of the month?

What is your best tip for running while you have PMS or your period?


PS: The winner of the ring from Sporty Girl Jewelry is #134 Alison. The rings are still for sale, so go HERE to get yours!