Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting Older? Running Can Save Your Life

I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to keep running until I die. I hope to be the one raising money to build a track around my nursing home where I can do my Yasso 800s before a lunch of strained peas and fruit cocktail (after which I will change my Depends). Okay, maybe speed training will not be in the cards (or the Bingo game), but I fully intend to run until my body gives out on me (hopefully this will not be later this year).

One true advantage of continuing to run while I age is that I just might be able to qualify for Boston one more time in my life. The standard to qualify when you’re 80+ years old? 4:55 for men and 5:25 for women. I wonder if they allow walkers (not walking, but an actual device that helps you walk) on the course.

Harriett Anderson, age 77,  was one of my fellow Athleta sponsored athletes last year. She just completed the Ironman World Championships in Kona and has done countless IMs. Amazing!

My desire to run to my grave is precisely why I loved an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday: “Marathon Runners Stop Aging Out of the Race.” What I learned made me smile. Did you know that runners who are 50 years and older are becoming one of the fastest growing age groups in marathons?

Certainly, continuing to run as you get older is not without risks. As the article points out,

The stresses of long distance running are harder on aging joints, feet, muscles and backs, leaving older marathoners more prone to injury than younger competitors.”

On the flip side, running keeps you younger as you age. It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer, depression and other diseases. No doubt running can improve one’s quality of life. Some studies have even shown that runners live longer because running keeps every organ system in your body healthy. Lastly, did you know that running can create new cells in the brain that actually boost memory? {source}

That said, as we age, how can we combat the risk of injury and continue to be healthy and strong runners? Let’s face it, just like recovering from an all-nighter at a frat party is much easier when you’re 21 than when your 41 (you shouldn’t be there anyway if you’re 41, what’s wrong with you?), recovering from long runs or races takes more out of you as you get older. (Hell, I know some 21 year olds who could probably run a marathon after an all-nighter at a frat party).

Here are a few ways to remain a healthy runner as you age:

  • Scale back. If marathon or half marathon training, consider doing a long run every other week as opposed to every week.
  • Chill out. Remind yourself as you get older that you are running because you love it and for the health benefits. You don’t always have to try to be competitive in races and to obtain new PRs. Slowing down and focusing on your love for the activity may lessen your chance of injury.
  • Alternate running days with low impact days that include swimming, yoga, getting on the elliptical or cycling.
  • Rest and recover. Yes, this is important for any runner, but it becomes even more important as you age. After a hard running day, consider taking two easy days instead of just one. The same goes for recovery time after a race.
  • Build strength. Sure strength training can be ho-hum compared to running, but it is an essential component to staying healthy as you age (see sample basic strength training plan for runners HERE).
  • Hit the trails. The soft surface and varied terrain of trails can be easier on the body than running on asphalt or cement. However, do watch out for roots, rocks, dead bodies, etc, because falling is a reality on the trails.
  • Drink up. Did you know that as you age, your ability to feel thirst becomes less strong? This means you might not feel thirsty, but your body desperately needs hydration. One way to know you’re getting enough fluid is too look at your pee. Your goal is to have urine the color of lemon juice. HERE is a good guide to what your pee color is trying to tell you.

Here’s to a long life filled with running and lemon juice piss!

Are you an “older” runner (40+)? How do you stay healthy? Yes! I am 45 and ran my first marathon at 41. Hope to be doing this for awhile!

Do you see yourself running until you die (or at least until you can no longer walk)?

SUAR

Monday, October 29, 2012

10 Must-Have Traits of Runners

We know that marathoners come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Certainly, there is no one profile that would describe each and every one of us. But, there are certain traits that most of us share. Maybe you possess one or two?

1. Hard Headedness: Runners can be a stubborn bunch. Let’s face it, you have to be hard headed to plow through the last miles of a race when you want nothing more than to curl up in a ball along the course with a Coors Light (Fat Tire?) and a pacifier. Not even to mention the grueling nature of marathon training. Without extreme determination, how will you ever leave your toasty bed on a 10 degree morning or trade in that Friday night six pack for boring hydration like water and Gatorade?

2. Resilience: Have you had a recent run or race that made you call into question everything  about yourself as a runner? Did you feel too slow, too injured, too out of breath, too out of shape, too irritated in general? One thing I have definitely learned about running is that it is kind of like the weather in Colorado – if you don’t like it, wait a few minutes. (most annoying saying around these parts – so sick of it). Or, just wait until your next run. Bad becomes good again if you give it long enough. Runners know how to bounce back from crappy situations.

3.  Humility: There are so many chances to be humbled while you run. Falling, crapping, DNF’ing, crawling, crying, smelling – just to name a few. If you’ve been running long enough, there probably has been some instance that chewed you up and spit you out.

4. Patience: Going longer, getting faster, perfecting technique (TWSS)– these all take a  long ass time.  Yes, there are some people who make it look very easy (yes, I am jealous), but the majority of us have to work very hard to see any improvement. Not even to mention how much patience it takes to be injured and to not be able to run. {If you are currently one of the fallen, read The Stages of Injury Grief}.

5. A Sense of Humor: This one goes hand in hand with humility. If you can’t laugh at yourself, it’s going to be a long life of pounding the pavement. Trip on a root and smash your chin in front of everyone? (I did that) - You are stinking hilarious!!

6. Flexibility: With running, like with life, you can try to control all aspects, but then there is a hurricane on race day (damn you Sandy!) or you have a baby in the middle of your race (I made that up, but I’m sure it’s happened) or the Mexican dinner from the night before wants to make an appearance. As runners, we always have to improvise – to make the most of surprising and sometimes unpleasant circumstances.

7. Masochistic Tendencies (in the best way possible and not in the way you might be thinking): Yes, you have to embrace suffering just a bit if you are going to run long distances. In the military there is a saying, “Embrace the Suck.’ I think of this a lot during races because it is that moment when everything hurts, you hate running and you still have miles to go. Quitting is not an option, and the only thing to do is to accept the pain and the hurt, to acknowledge the suffering and to press on. This does not mean we runners love to suffer, but it does mean we are willing to do it to gain that sense of accomplishment that we know awaits.

Wow, that looks really hard. I think I’ll try to run up it.

8. Obsessive (ever so slightly): Let’s face it - to do what it takes to get through marathon training or the like you’ve got to be kind of obsessed with running. If you just sort of like it, or could take it or leave it, it’s going to be hard to put in your 50+ mile weeks. You got to be all in dude!

9. Curiosity: You run your first 5K and think, hmmm…I wonder what it would be like to run a 10K? Pretty soon you are running marathons, wondering what it would be like to run 50 miles. Bottom line is – there is a sense of wonder about your capabilities and how far you can push yourself. This ultimately is what gets you surfing the Net for your next race.

10. A Desire to Better Oneself: I think most runners would agree that be it for physical, mental or spiritual reasons (or all of the above), we run to be better people. We like the confidence and sense of accomplishment it gives us. It’s our space to get inside our heads, to work things out. It’s our time to connect with other people in the mutual appreciation of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s an outlet for a better life, if you ask me.

Can you identify with these? Have any to add?

What’s one trait about your running self you don’t like? I compare myself to others, then get down on myself.

SUAR

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Might Have Invented Mom Jeans

I am not sure how it happened but yesterday my son, Sam, turned:

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That says “15” in case you can’t decipher my candle design drawing.

I spent a good part of the day watching videos from the day Sam was born and the first few years of his life. This is a sure fire way to make yourself cry and to notice how dorky you were 15 years ago. I think I invented “Mom Jeans” back then.

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Hello, my name is Sam and I am very happy I did not inherit my mom’s pointy chin.

We had a great night of celebrating. Sam is not a cake lover (not sure how I gave birth to someone so defective) so he wanted a chocolate éclair dessert. If you haven’t made, this go do it now. It has 5 ingredients, is a crowd pleaser and is one of those comfort foods that you could eat all night until you are sick. Plus, it requires no cooking , just chilling!

Now I am faced with the reality that he gets his driver’s permit this week. I definitely picked the wrong year to buy a new car.

6:30 a.m. this morning came dark and early and very cold. I did not want to get out of my new bed, and I was thinking I was glad the time changes next week. I hate it getting dark earlier in the evening, but I love the brighter mornings. 

I grabbed a huge cup of coffee and Ken and I drove up to Walker Ranch outside of Boulder. It was looking quite a bit different than it did a couple of weeks ago:

Then:IMAG0865

Now:

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We did the usual 7.5 mile loop. Ken hadn’t been with me to do this run before and just like I had the most crappy run two weeks ago, he had a low energy run today. The only difference is, unlike me he did not cry and hate running and question if he was even meant to be a runner. He just chalked it up to a bad day and was over it, like immediately. 

One day I would like to be a man and not wallow in things, not beat myself up and not have a period.

I did this run exactly five minutes faster than I have before, despite sucking wind big time and watching my heart rate soar all over the place. Overall, I still had an average heart rate of 160 bpms, and with these crazy hills and 1,700 feet of climbing, I am good with that. This is the third time I’ve done this run in three weeks and while it kicks my butt, I can tell it’s making me stronger.

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Here I am trying to look stronger.

We ran through tons of snow and dealt with some windy conditions, hence my hair:

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No one (except one lone mountain biker) was out there today, which meant I could squat where and when I wanted with no fear of being caught. 

Here is where Ken became unsure if he was having a good time:

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The best part was coming home to donuts. These have become a post run staple for me after my Sunday morning runs.

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Now I’m tired. I’m going to make Chicken and Dumplings for dinner. Ken and Sam are going to the Broncos game, but I will watch it from my warm couch where wine and my fireplace are nearby and where I don’t have to wear pants if I don't want to. But, I probably will.

Has the weather started getting colder where you are? Are you looking forward to the time change?

Anyone dealing with the effects of Hurricane Sandy? I hear she’s a bitch!

Did you race or run long this weekend?

SUAR

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sleep Number Bed Review (i10 Model)

(Update: In April 2013 I did a follow up review of the Sleep Number Bed. You can find it HERE).

Do you happen to remember a post I wrote awhile ago called, “How Lack of Sleep Affects Running”? (What?? You don’t memorize every post I’ve ever written?) In the post I talked about how I wasn’t getting quality sleep every night, why that might be the case, and what I (and we) can do about it.
Enter my next product review.
After seeing that post, the Sleep Number people contacted me and asked if I would be willing to review one of their beds and to make efforts to create a “Bedroom Haven” for better sleeping.
I’ll be honest. I’ve never tried a Sleep Number Bed and it wasn’t even on my radar. But, a free bed to try? Yes, I was in.
Let me tell you, this Sleep Number thing is quite a process. First, Ken and I spent several hours at a Sleep Number store in Boulder on a cold and rainy night. Jeff, the very helpful and patient sales guy, navigated us through what a sleep number means and let us jump around on the beds and make messes of everything.
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I got yelled at for putting my shoes on the bed
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I hope my chiropractor does not see this. Not supposed to sleep on your stomach.
The idea behind Sleep Number is that everyone is different and therefore mattresses need to be individualized to the specific person. The bed has dual side air chambers that help to distribute your weight properly, decreasing discomfort, back pain, etc. There are pumps underneath the bed that respond to a remote control. A 100 setting is the highest and most firm the bed can go. Zero is the least or softest. To find your number, they start you at 100 and take you down to zero. You go up from there until just the right amount of firmness or softness is achieved.
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I can’t figure this crap out
One of the coolest things was this 3-D technology they have in the store. You lay on the bed and can view on a computer how your weight is being distributed. As you moved towards a more ideal sleep number, the distribution becomes more even, taking pressure off of your back, hips, etc. For more info, watch this video HERE.
Ken and I like a pretty firm bed, so we were surprised by how low our numbers were. I was a 30 and he was a 40. After much laying around and diving from bed to bed, we settled on the a bed from the Innovation Series – the i10 model because it was the most comfortable, had a layer of memory foam in it and had a 15” pillow top that felt really plush, but not like marshmallows. We also picked the In Balance Queen Sheets and the Air Fit Adjustable Pillows in Goose Down.
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Next up was getting the bed delivered. The set up is quite a process because there are pumps and air chambers and different layers of stuff. First they set up the foundation, then they put in the individual air chambers on each side of the bed:
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Then they add a layer of comfort foam and a layer of memory foam (you can reverse them if you want):
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And, voila! The bed is ready to go and delivery guy is glad he is done with the crazy lady taking pictures.
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In addition to getting this kick ass bed, I was asked to create a “Bedroom Haven,” which just means adding some elements to your sleeping environment that make it more peaceful, restful and conducive to actually sleeping and not tossing and turning and sweating and crying because you can’t sleep and you have a race the next day. They even sent me an Illume saffron/lavender scented candle to “create a mellow mood in the bedroom.”
Here are my tips for creating a better sleep environment (i.e., Bedroom Haven):
  • I like to spray lavender aromatherapy on my pillow. I find the smell soothing and relaxing.
  • It's not too original, but I really enjoy Sleepy Time tea with honey before bed.
  • We’ve got warm, soothing colors on the walls.
  • I like a cool room and I also like white noise when I sleep. I always have a soft fan on when I go to bed.
  • The darker the room the better, so I use dark wooden blinds on the window and a darkening blind over the skylight.
IMAG0906 Go the the Sleep Number Bedroom Haven page to get more tips and to get a coupon for your own Illume Candle! The (honest) review: Admittedly, I have only slept on this bed for a few nights, so I can only give initial impressions. In my opinion the true test of a bed is only achieved after several months of sleeping on it. So, I will be back in about February to tell you more impressions. Until then: Pros:
  • I’ve got to say this is probably the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. I’ve been having lots of lower back issues lately, and for some reason they are much worse at night. I find that the mattress/foam conforms to my body and supports it well, while not being too firm. My sleep quality has been very good and uninterrupted, which is different for me.
  • Ken’s impression was that while he woke a lot the first night (he usually does that these days), he said it was the first time he has gotten out of bed in the morning (in a long time) and not had his usual 46 year old aches and pains.
  • Ken and I are not heavy people, but for some reason we ruin our mattresses. No matter how high quality they are, we get visible sag/impression marks where we sleep. I am really excited that the Sleep Number bed will not sag or get too broken in (because the support comes from air, not coils, etc.).
  • The sheets rock! I’ve got to say, I don’t mind spending a bit extra for good sheets. These  have fancy temperature balancing fibers to remove excess heat and are incredibly soft to sleep on/in. I highly recommend them, although I will say I thought it was rather cheap that pillowcases were not included in the set.
Cons:
  • Price. While I did not have to pay for this bed (score for me!), if I did, I would not have one. They are pricey (about $999 to $4,999, but there is a sale going on now). But, when you take into account the technology behind the bed, as well as the quality and benefits, it just might be worth it.
  • This is a complex system of air chambers, pumps, etc. That means there stuff that can go wrong. It also means this would not be the easiest bed to move. There is a 20 year limited warranty on the bed, with the first two years having no extra cost for repairs/replacements.
  • I would not recommend the pillows that we got. While the idea behind them was pretty fancy (they have a valve that lets in or releases air, giving you the ideal firmness or softness), they are super dense and firm. I like my pillows fluffy and flexible, so this pillow did not work for me at  all.
Overall, I am really excited about this new bed. Like I said, you can’t truly judge a bed by only a few night’s sleep, so I’ll be back to give more impression in the upcoming months. But, for now sleeping on this bed is a total treat and I’ll probably be able to run a sub-3 hour marathon because of this bed (if only). If you want more info on the products, go online to Sleep Number or visit the Sleep Number Facebook page. Have you ever tried a Sleep Number bed or do you have one? What do you think? What type of mattress do you sleep on? Any tips for getting better sleep (i.e., stuff you do or don’t do before bed, how you have your room set up, etc.) SUAR Fine Print: I received these free Sleep Number products to review from Select Comfort/Sleep Number for this post to create my bedroom haven.












Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Race Is On!

It is October 25 and it is freezing and snowing.

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I like the idea of snow because then I can cuddle up on the couch and drink tea by the fire. But, the reality is I never do that anyway because I am too busy going to the gym and looking like a dork (Probably because I’m taking a hideously blurry picture while trying to squat and hold the ball against the wall. Multi tasking at its best). Look! I am sitting in a chair, but not really sitting in a chair!

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Maybe why I've never done strength training is it is hard. I don’t understand how I can run a marathon, but trying to hold a sumo squat with a 30 lb weight for 45 seconds makes me want to cry and crumble onto the floor. And, my legs shake so badly that people probably think I have some kind of disorder. Or, that I am detoxing.

Then I get on the treadmill because I want to get in some cardio, but my legs are so tired, they don’t want to move. Some chick gets on the treadmill beside me and I have no clue why but I feel like I have to race her. Why? Why do I even care? If you’ve ever driven with me in the car, you know I do the same thing there. Life does not have to be an imaginary race, but I make it that way.

And, I have to say that all of this trail running/climbing I’ve been doing has made my thighs explode with muscle. I do know that is a good thing, but my jeans are tighter than…well, than…I can’t say. Because if you are trying to say something is tighter than something it usually ends up being naughty and I’m not going there. Which is funny because I always go there.

Okay, okay. My jeans are tighter than…a nun’s…something?

Speaking of gaining weight and muscle, here is someone who seems to be shrinking. I did not even know who this was when I saw the picture:

Going Rogue sure has changed her.

The scoop is that she is writing a fitness book with her family. Apparently she went from 140 lbs. to 105 lbs. Must be all that moose huntin’ and salmon fishin’ with Todd.

Advice needed: If you are going to do strength training and cardio in one workout, which do you do first? Today I did strength first and it made my run tiring. But I’m afraid if I run first I will be tired to do the other stuff.

Do you think S. Palin looks better before or after? I think she looks a bit too thin and unhealthy in the first picture. I’d like to see her somewhere in between. Because I know she really cares what I think.

Do you play the race game on the treadmill?

Finish this sentence: My jeans are tighter than…the pastor’s girdle at a pancake breakfast.

SUAR

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strength Training For Runners Who Hate It

Today I finally did something I should have done four years ago. I usually don’t do things I don’t want to do until I am forced to do them. Kind of like when I am having people over for dinner and for the first time in two months I finally clean the toilet. I mean MY family can live with an unsightly toilet, but I would never want my friends to know I live like that – skid marks and all. GASP.

So, here is what I did. I went to a personal trainer and I finally got a stinking strength training plan. I have never had one of those. I swear I tried to make one up myself, but I never did it. I thought about it a lot, but it didn’t happen. Loser-ville. But, now I know it is time:

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Why have I avoided it for so long:

  • I didn’t know what or how to do it
  • It’s not running
  • It’s boring
  • I didn’t believe it would really work (yeah, I can be hard headed and delusional)

I can no loner deny that lack of strength, especially on my left side, is making me an inefficient and injury prone runner. There I said it.

Not too long ago I was about to go for a run and my mom was looking at the back of my legs  (probably admiring that she had given birth to me). She said, “Did you know one of your calves is much more defined than the other?” That’s when I realized that my lopsidedness had gotten out of hand.

Can you see it? Wow, that’s weird. It’s not very often you look at the back of your legs.

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I have been compromised on my left side since my hip stress fracture two years ago. Yeah, I told you it took me along time to get around to things.

So, let’s just say you don’t have a strength training plan. You can copy mine, but don’t say I never gave you anything. You will notice this is a very mild and easy list of things to do. That’s because I am a weakling at this stuff and I have some lower back pain so we are being careful. I will do this 2-3x per week. Thank you Kim!

Runner’s Basic Strength Training Plan
(that can be done at a gym, at home, in an airport, in a hotel room, or at your in-laws)

Ball squats (put a huge exercise ball between your back and a wall): Single leg, 10 reps x 3; double leg 10 reps x 3

Resistance Band, 4 ways. Tap to side, press to side, tap behind, press behind – 10 reps each side x 3

Single leg squat (on bench or step) – 10 reps each side x 3

Single leg lunge/lift (on bench or step) – 10 reps each side x 3 with12-15 pound hand weights

Single leg dead lift – 10 reps each side x 3 with 12-15 pound hand weights

Side/lateral step up onto bench: 10-20 reps each side x 3

Sumo squat with 30 pound weight - 10 reps, then hold 15 sec; 10 reps then hold 30 sec; 10 reps then hold 45  sec

 

So, there you have it. I am going to cycle this into my regular workout schedule. I swear I am. You will know I’m telling the truth when you see my buns of steel at the pool this summer. And my triple D boobs. Now you know I am kidding.

What type of strength training do you do, if any?

SUAR

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

20 Things No One Tells You About Running

When I first started running a few years ago, I was one clueless newbie. For a sport that is supposedly so simple, running can actually be kind of complex.

Here are some secrets that you might learn about running after you’ve been doing it for awhile.

1.  Your feet will look like crap. Blisters, black toenails, callouses. If you get pedicures, just apologize when you go in.

2.  When people (non-runner types) learn you are a runner, they often like to tell you how much they hate running or that running will ruin your knees.

3.  You don’t have to look like a runner to be a runner.

4.  If you only run and don’t do anything else (cross train, strength train), you will probably get injured.

5.  Most people, especially non-runners, really don’t care that much about your running.

6. You will run a race and in the middle of the race you will tell yourself you will never do this again. Yet, 30 minutes after you are done you will surf the Internet for your next race. Running is kind of like childbirth that way.

7. You will go through phases where you feel totally inadequate as a runner.

8.  You will go through phases where you feel totally like a rock star as a runner.

9. You might gain weight instead of lose weight while training for a marathon.

10.  Having a spare pair of shorts in your car is important. Soiling of all kinds can happen.  Eww!

11.  You will be pissed if someone refers to you as a “jogger” instead of a “runner.”

12.  Sometimes other runners won’t always say “hi to you when you run by them.

13.  You might pee yourself while your run, or worse.

14. Running is expensive. It’s not just about a pair of shoes and shorts and a top. There are race entries, massages, watches, sports bras, cute running skirts, gels, blocks and recovery stuff.

15. You will get addicted. Yes, there are worse things to be obsessed about than running (like meth and prostitutes), but you might be surprised by how hooked you get into the whole running thing once you start.

16. After awhile, you cannot get the stench out of your running clothes.

17.  You will never be the fastest runner you know. You will always never be the slowest runner you know.

18.  Farts happen. A lot.

19.  Running performance is as much, if not more, about mental strength as your physical strength.

20. You will never forget crossing the finish line of your first marathon or half marathon. That moment in time will come to mean a lot to you. Your feet might not even touch the ground.

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Are any of the above true for you?

What other “running secrets” did you learn once you started running?

SUAR

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Don’t Always Stretch, But When I Do I Pretend To Know What I’m Doing

I’m confused. About stretching. Stretching was something runners used to be told to do before and after. Then it became just after. Now it’s become never, depending on who you talk to. The last sport’s doc I went to highly discouraged stretching and this guy does too.

What? And, why?

I do know that when I stretch more I don’t always feel better, and sometimes feel much worse. It feels good in the moment, kind of like doing that fourth shot of tequila, but then it seems to mess me up over the long run. Or, maybe stretching isn’t messing me up. Maybe it’s a multitude of other factors. Why, oh why is it so tough to isolate the messer-upper?

{source}

So, I did some research because that’s what I do when I want to fix my life. But let me tell you friends, there is a shite load of conflicting messages out there in regards to stretching.

  • Don’t stretch! It will lengthen your muscles too much and decrease performance.
  • Stretch! It will decrease your chances of tearing or straining a muscle!
  • Only do dynamic (moving) stretches, never do static stretches.
  • Never, ever stretch before you run because your muscles aren’t warmed up.

After all of my research, it seems most can agree on a couple key things:

  1. More injuries would be prevented by better warm-ups, strength training, and balance exercises than by stretching.
  2. Older runners (example: me) benefit more from stretching because as you age, you lose elasticity.
  3. The benefits of stretching likely vary from runner to runner. Most runners do best sticking with whatever routine they have been doing and not changing it up.
  4. If you are going to stretch, don’t do it until you’ve warmed up.
  5. Stretching will not make you able to do what a dog does – you know what I mean (I made that one up).

Okay, now that makes sense to me. You?

Do you stretch? Do you think it has helped with injury prevention?

If you don’t stretch, why not?

SUAR

PS: The winner of the Subway gift card is # 337 Heidi Back. Email me at beth@shutupandrun.net to claim your prize!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

He Depresses Me

I do not know what you think about the flip flop runner, but I think he depresses me. I can barely slog my way through a marathon under the best of conditions. I have to fight my ass off just to get in under 4 hours and I usually do that gritting my teeth and sprinting to the nearest porta potty.

Then this dude comes along and runs the Baltimore Marathon last weekend in 2:46. Impressive time, no? But, he also did it in a pair of flip flops. Hot dang if he doesn't look happy. I first heard about this guy from Miss Zippy who is a member of his running group. But, then Runner’s World interviewed him and now he is a celebrity. I wish Tosh.O would have him on.

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I wanted more info on flip flop man. All I know is he looks to be having the time of his life. I want to ask him - wasn’t your weenus hurting (isn’t that what you call the area between your big toe and second toe)?

Maybe he is wearing a special flip flop with super powers. Maybe he is a pro athlete who has the best coaches and nutritionists and foot massage therapists. Maybe he cheated, stopped at Wal-Mart at mile 25.2, threw away his $200 running shoes and put on the flip flops. No, he is the real deal, just a regular dude like you and me with crazy running talent.

Here’s what I found out about our friend:

Name: Keith Levasseur

Age: 34

Hometown: Glen Burnie, MD

College Attended: University of Maryland

Profession: Program Manager

Running History: Ran cross country and track in high school, stopped for awhile, resumed running in 2008 to get back in shape.

Legs: Nice

Tattoo: Yes, on left bicep, but I can’t tell what it is (he was in the Marine Corps, so maybe it has something to do with that). Or, maybe it is a smudge mark from changing his oil.

Brand of flip flop: Reef (retails for about $40)

Marathon PR: 2:38 (Marine Corps Marathon, 2011 – in traditional running shoes)

Half Marathon PR: 1:17

100 Mile PR: 24 hours, 44 minutes

Furthest he’d ever run at one time in flip flops before last weekend: 14 miles

Next Step: Filling out paperwork to get into Guinness Book of World Records for running the fastest marathon in flip flops.

I love it when people do surprising things that make all of us shake our heads and wonder, “How the crap did they pull that off?”

What did you think of this guy? Impressed or do you think he is nuts? Impressed, dude’s a stud. 

Have you or would you ever try running in flip flops? I ran in flip flops once when I was ten and trying to catch the ice cream truck.

SUAR

Friday, October 19, 2012

Running Safely In Color

Happy Friday – any big plans? I’m going to the local high school football game tonight because I like to try to pretend I am in Friday Night Lights. I just hope I don’t wind up pregnant, in a fight, or doing something under the bleachers I will regret.

It doesn't happen that often, but don’t you just love it when someone does something for you and they don't want to be paid, complimented, stroked or given any other kinds of favors in return?

This happens every once in awhile – like I’ll be at the Starbucks drive thru and the person ahead of me will buy my coffee. More often than not, however, it’s the opposite. Someone will rush to get ahead of me in line, or ignore me when I say hello or beat me up in a dark alley. Probably the reason it doesn’t happen to me more is I don’t do it for other people all that much. Yeesh! I’m such a selfish turd.

So, I thought it was such a nice gesture when Calee from Life Plus Running took the initiative to create these amazing graphics based on a post I did a few months back after my cousin Sherry was killed while running.

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I just love how she made these graphics colorful, simple, to the point and eye catching. Calee also did a post on boring me and these tips this week and you can find it HERE.

I’d love to get the word out even more about running safety. So, if you feel so inclined, please “pin” one or both by clicking the pin button at the end of this post.

Do you follow one or all of these tips? I try to, but I haven’t yet taken a safety defense class. I also do still run with ear phones.

SUAR

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I’m Going To Turn Around and Slap You

Does anyone else struggle with what the hell to wear when you run? I don’t mean - should I wear my kilt or my sequined thong – I’m talking what to wear so I will not be:

  • too cold
  • too hot
  • too sweaty
  • too annoyed by things rubbing
  • too confined

{When I first started running, I was so clueless about what to wear in different temperatures, so I used this cheat sheet from Runner’s World.}

Today I thought would be a slam dunk. It was to be in the mid 40s to 50s. Sunshine. We would be on the trails and climbing a ton. My rule of thumb is to dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than it actually is and add in a couple more degrees for the climbing and sunshine. Basically, this meant I was dressing for 60-ish degree weather. Make sense? You have to be really smart and good at math to be a runner.

We drove a few miles outside of Boulder and realized I forgot two things in my calculations:

1. We would be starting at about 6,000 feet.

2. The beginning of the hike is really exposed because you start at the top of a mountain and that can mean wind.

We got up there and it was gusting to the point where little dust tornadoes were firing up all over the parking lot. I knew I’d be in trouble because I wouldn’t be warm enough. I hate the wind, but I almost hate being cold more.  I was proud of myself for throwing a pair of Target gloves in my bag last minute. But, truthfully I just wanted to stay put with my ass planted on those heated seats.

Joie and I had to troll around her car for some layers of things we could put on. She found a long sleeved shirt for me, and stylish flower cap not unlike this one.

Just kidding. It didn’t look like that at all, but that would have been funny.

After we got out of the exposed part of the mountain, I got hot, of course.  Mostly because we were climbing so many mother eff’ing hills (and a few stairs – who put those on the trail)?

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This was when I had to strip down and tie things around my waist (HATE that) and tuck my hat in my underwear except I wasn’t wearing underwear, so figure that out.

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BTW, this was a really ugly run with no scenic views and tons of crowds of people.

Next time I’m going to hire a doula or…what’s the right term? Oh, yeah, Sherpa, to carry my clothes when I don’t need them. This running hobby is getting expensive.

That looks about right with my toilet paper, jackets, protein bars and tampons.

Overall, a great run. It was the same one we did last week, only we did it in reverse. It was MUCH harder this way. 1,700 feet of climbing over 7.5 miles. I did not poop or even have to poop on this run, which was amazing and refreshing, especially because I forgot the TP.

One pet peeve – when we were almost done we passed a group of hikers, about 8 of them with their walking poles. I gave them a warning as I came up from behind and said, a nice “thank you” and “good morning.” But, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO – no one so much as mumbled a hello. I just don’t get it. Some day I am going to turn around and tell someone, “Never mind, I take my good morning back you big fat turd.” That will show them.

Do you ever have a tough time dressing for the weather when you run? Maybe it’s just me.

Ever want to slap someone when you are running past them and they don’t return a nice nod, good morning or hello? I dare you. It would make for a good blog post, but I am too chicken.

SUAR

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

$25 Subway Gift Card Giveaway!

I hate fast food in the traditional sense (like McDonald’s and Wendy’s) mostly because of how it makes me feel when I eat it. How does it make me feel? Like an unhealthy lump of lard that’s been injected with sodium and fat who needs to run to the bathroom. Even their salads don’t do it for me.

My son informed me the other day (after he watched Super Size Me in health class) that the average family goes to McDonald’s about six times per month. Seriously? WTF (Why The Face? as Phil Dumphy would say). My son was feeling very neglected because we probably don’t go even six times per year. Wah, wah,wah. That’s a big FWP. He will thank me later when he is still alive.

One fast food place I do actually enjoy is Subway.  Aside from other places like Chipotle where you can get in and get out quick, it’s probably the place I go the most. I don’t feel gross after eating it and it actually tastes pretty good. I usually get the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki.

Subway sent me a gift card to try the new Tuscan Chicken Melt, which will be available through the end of October. Tender, juicy chicken tossed in zesty herb seasoning, then fresh toasted with melted cheese on your choice of bread. It’s topped with a tasty balsamic vinaigrette.

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I got mine toasted on Italian Herb Cheese Bread with provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, spinach and balsamic vinaigrette. It cost about $4.50 for a 6 incher. A tasty combination if I do say so myself. You can copy me if you want. The nutritional info for the sub I created is this:

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Not too shabby, although a bit high in sodium. I do love the way you can go to the Subway website and customize your sub to find out the exact nutritional breakdown. You can also order online now to avoid waiting in that gruesome line while people in front of you debate which of 95 toppings to get on their sub. Genius!

This is a very good sandwich. I wish they were keeping it around longer than just the next couple of weeks. I have to admit I polished this thing off in about 3 minutes flat. Note to self: foot long next time.

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Why don’t my pictures ever look like the ones on the website?

Not everyone can eat a Tuscan Chicken Melt and ponder the economic crisis at the same time.

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Want to try one? I have a $25 Subway Gift Card to give away.

To enter (comment for each):

  • What’s your favorite sub including  toppings? (+1 entry)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter or your blog (+1 entry)

A random winner will be selected on Monday, October 22.

SUAR

Fine print: I was sent a $25 Subway gift card  as part of a promotional program for Subway and the Tuscan Chicken Melt. They also provided the giveaway item.