Friday, March 29, 2013

When I Grow Up I’m Going to Be Laid Back (and Run the 100 Meter Dash)

You know how occasionally you have one of those long runs where everything falls into place? No muscles, tendons or bones hurt. Your turnover is swift, steady and light. Your heart rate stays mellow. There is no wind, no rain, no snow. Your intestines and colon behave, keeping everything intact.

Well, I am glad you have those runs because I do NOT, especially not today. Let’s start out with the good:


This was at mile 12 of 16. I had to stop and snap a picture because I have never seen this lake this calm. I loved how the mountains were reflected in the water. If you live in Longmont, you know exactly where this is! Indeed, we are lucky.

The other “good” was that my body felt damn excellent. No aches or pains. I had a decent amount of energy. That’s it for the good – although that is pretty good.

So, what happened? Mile one of 16 my stomach started to hurt. Not a good sign. That’s where you know you’re in for a few hours of hell. 

I want all the men reading (5 of you maybe including my dad and husband) to know that I am about to start my period (men love period talk) and I swear my body breaks down and does weird things (anyone else get upset stomach that time of the month? Keith, Ken, Tom?). Also, I did not follow my own rules and had black bean/pork chili for dinner last night. WWIT??? (What Was I Thinking??)

Mile 3: I knew something was brewing.

Mile 7: I jumped under a bridge and I was not playing hide and go seek or trying to be the troll in Billy Goat’s Gruff

Mile 9: I jumped into a ditch just off the side of the road. Was very glad I did not get arrested for indecent exposure.

Mile 11: I scraped my nose and I’m not sure how. I don’t remember getting into a bar room brawl on this run.IMAG1337

Look Ma! No boogers.

Mile 15.5: I ran by my house because I was short on mileage (DOH!!) and saw police cars. The house two doors down had been robbed. I know I didn’t rob the house because I wasn’t home. But, CRAP I hate it when stuff like this happens nearby.  Why can’t everyone just behave?

Mile 16: and I’m done. I notice chafing from my heart rate strap.  And, a couple of moles I might need to get checked.


Okay, so I am being dramatic. This run was exactly what I needed – a test in learning to take what comes and to handle it. To not get all bent out of shape because things don’t go exactly the way my little brain orchestrated them to go.  Every single run is an adventure. That is the beauty of it – the variety, the surprises.

Lately, I have been doing my best to follow this guy’s advice and to be more laid back and accepting of the adventures, imperfections and detours life throws at you (Ken, I know you are hoping I can really do this so I stop driving you crazy).  There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this great article “12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go with the Flow.” The most helpful thing for me to do is exactly this:

“Realize that you can’t control everything. We don’t control the universe, and yet we seem to wish we could.  First step is realizing that things will happen. Not might happen, but will. There are things that we cannot control that will affect every aspect of our lives, and we must must must accept that, or we will constantly be frustrated.”

And now, to get your weekend off to the perfect start – this morning on the Today Show I saw a video of two men – one 95 years old, and one 94 years old competing in the 100 meter dash and it MADE MY MORNING. Sure it’s cool to be 25 and run a sub three hour marathon…but, to be 90 and sprint for a 100 meters? Now that’s ballsy, incredible and BUCKET LIST MATERIAL.

Tell me one thing on your bucket list. So many! Meet my grandchildren. Run a marathon in another country. Go to Africa on a safari. Visit India. Run a 100 meter dash when I’m 96.

Are you go- with- the- flow or uptight? I don’t need to answer that.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Those Are Just Foot Coffins

Last year Ken and I went to some meet and greet in Boulder for outdoor enthusiasts. I spent two hours drinking beer and trying to make conversation with really fit people wearing expensive North Face jackets who all seemed to have very important jobs.

I am a social person – I really like people – but I hate the networking thing. I just do. I can’t stand small talk. This might be a flaw in my character, but it is just who I am. I am not knocking anyone who enjoys  it. I just find it to be too much EFFORT. If I can’t jump right to bodily functions and how I was kicked out of hula dance class in 7th grade for having a potty mouth (true story), then I get a bit bored.

Like any married couple – Ken and I split off for the evening because we hang out together far too much and it’s good to actually talk to other people. When we got in the car at the end of the night, we did a review – Who did you talk to? What did you learn? Who was weird/funny/nice/boring/cool?

Ken said he spent at least an hour talking to a guy who made invisible shoes – “You know, he was the short guy with the long hair wearing the sandals.” Nope, not Jesus. Anyway, turns out he learned this guy, Steven Sashen, is a minimalist runner and has a company called (get this!) Invisible Shoe! In fact, he and his wife were on Shark Tank a couple of months ago! (they didn’t get a deal, though). I feel so famous being married to someone who talked to someone who was on Shark Tank.

Why do I bring this all up today? Probably because I ran into this video called, “Sh*t Barefoot Runners Say” and realized it was the same dude who makes the invisible shoes. We runners can take ourselves so stinking seriously – so I love how he can poke fun a the barefoot running movement.

My favorite line is, “Look I don’t care if it is a wedding. I’m not going to wear those FOOT COFFINS you call shoes!”

I’m not opposed to barefoot running. I’m not opposed to running with shoes on. I’m not opposed to invisible shoes or shoes with a 95”  heel to toe drop.

I AM opposed to there being one and only one right way to do things – and people judging people who don’t do it their way. I think we all need to find out what works for us and stick to it. In the meantime, life goes just a bit easier and smoothly if we can laugh at ourselves.

Ever tried barefoot or minimalist running or have any desire to? No, I haven’t. I have moved to a lighter, more flexible and more neutral shoe (Mizuno Wave Elixir) and I do think this (in conjunction with form changes) has helped me to be a more efficient runner.

How’d you laugh at yourself today? I was vacuuming the stairs, with the vacuum two stairs above me. I pulled it down on my head by mistake. It hurt like hell and I almost passed out, but then it was funny.

Do you watch Shark Tank? I am kind of obsessed by this show. It is my dream to go on there one day although I am not sure what product I would pitch since someone already invented this and this.


Monday, March 25, 2013

I’m Not Wearing Pants

If you have been reading this blog for a while, then you know I am sucker for inspiration. I’ll take it where I can get it.  I will even take it form of bumper stickers if need be. Often, I am just sitting at stoplights picking my nose anyway, so why not get inspired?

Some favorites:

Wait, not so inspiring. Just creepy and wrong. This person should clean their seat immediately when arriving home and NOT stop along the way at any toll booths or drive thrus.

Okay, maybe not inspiring, but certainly honest and relatable. Once I got stuck at a train crossing and almost destroyed my upholstery. I definitely would have been speeding had it been an option.

What? I might find this inspiring if I had any clue what it means. If my vagina was on fire, I would not dance. I would scream and jump in a lake. Plus, it should VAGINA’S not VAGINAS. Right?

marathon bumper sticker

There we go!! Finally some true inspiration. I love being called a “Special Kind of Idiot

In all seriousness -  I got the best dose of inspiration today reading THIS BLOG. The post was called “8 Wake Up Calls You Need to Receive" and was an amazing reminder to focus on the stuff we always take for granted and forget to focus on – like telling people we love that we love them, realizing you’re human and that you don’t need to be perfect, and not being afraid to fail. Go read it. NOW!

This got me to thinking about what a recent wake up call has been for me (a wake up call does not have to occur from a life threatening moment or something as equally traumatic. It can be related to an every day, small occurrence).

This is my wake up:

Last week I was behind a guy in the liquor store who was probably in his thirties. He was paying for a pack of cigarettes and two small airplane-sized bottles of vodka. He slurred his words and spoke slowly as he laid a piggy bank full of change on the counter. The cashier had to help him count out the $5.93. At first I thought he was drunk. But, something told me this was not the case. Once he left, the cashier told me he had been kicked in the head by a horse. He had had several surgeries and became sicker with each one. She learned this from his mom, with whom he now has to live full time.

What I learned:

  1. Don’t judge or make assumptions about people and situations. There is usually a lot more to the story than you know.
  2. Life can change in a moment. There are no guarantees. Don’t waste your time being petty, worrying about what you can’t control or holding grudges. Be open to life. Be present with people. Be AWAKE.

What is a recent wake up call you have had (running or non-running related?)

What’s the best bumper sticker you’ve ever seen? (besides the vagina one above).  When I was a kid my favorite was always “Save Gas, Fart in a Jar”. Some things never change.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Stupid Runner’s Feet

After my 18 mile run today (you can tell me to shut up about my running if you want, or you could just not read), I cleaned myself up (think: hot bath with Epsom salts) and jumped into my compression wear. No, let me rephrase that – squeezed into my compression wear. It is so tight my ass might start pooping diamonds or something (that does not make sense, but whatever. I’m tired).

I guess tight is the point of compression stuff, n’est-ce pas? (did I ever tell you I was a French major in college? My son always asks what the heck I thought I might do with that degree. Ummm…run a lot and use a French word on the blog every other year?)

These are my favorite compression tights from 100% Play Harder. I did a review on them a couple years ago HERE. The best thing about them is they have little pockets along the hamstring and quad areas where you can put ice packs (or condoms or jellybeans). Genius.


I also added in my compression socks, but no picture. Sorry.

Over the last three miles of the run many of my body parts hurt (not injury-hurt,  just I’m-sore-and-tired-and-ready-to-stop-moving-hurt). At least the scenery was decent.


One of my many aching body parts was my feet. So, let’s discuss feet. I have not been blessed in this area. Toenail polish can only do so much. It’s kind of like putting a girdle on Homer Simpson.


First of all, check out that freakishly long second toe. That toe could go to a costume party disguised as a finger. I can pick all kinds of things up with that toe – dirty underwear that needs to go into the hamper (this an advantage because no one wants to touch that with clean hands), dust balls, and used syringes I find on the street (kidding). I could also probably even flip people off:


Morton’s Toe

I’m sure you all know but this long second toe (longer than your big toe) is called a Morton’s Toe and can be a runner’s nightmare.  It can (but not always does) lead to inefficient running and problems with biomechanics (some say it can cause the knee to not track straight when running).

Basically this means I was screwed as a runner from the day I was born. Oh, well. Nothing to do but keep running and getting injured I suppose.  Also, having a Morton’s Toe can cause excessive pressure on the second metatarsal of your foot. There is also something called Morton's neuroma can also develop, which is an inflammation of the nerve between the 2nd and 3rd toes. Very painful apparently and sometimes requires surgery. What to do to help prevent issues with this pain in the ass toe?

  • Add more cushioning in the forefoot of your shoes (where you push off)
  • Wear shoes with a wider toe box
  • Consider orthotics if you have pain or constant injury
  • Ice after runs


How do you like my fancy bunion (an enlargement of the big toe joint)? I have them on both feet. The first time I ever went to a sport’s medicine doctor when I had just started running, he asked if the bunions caused me problems. He said they are an issue for lots of runners.  What does one do to prevent it from getting worse and causing pain?

  • Wear a shoe with a wider toe box to give the bunion room
  • Arch support inserts might help take the pressure off of the bunion area
  • When not running, avoid wearing high heels or shoes with narrow toe boxes
  • Do some foot rehab exercises
  • Surgery is apparently the only way to completely eliminate bunions

Don’t even get me started on other foot issues like black toenails (a great reason to wear nail polish), non-existent toenails (you can’t even tell, but my Morton’s Toe actually does have a nail) and blisters. I did hear on the Doctor’s show today that you can put antiperspirant on your feet to keep them dry and to help avoid forming blisters.

How about you? What feet issues do you have? Ever lost a toenail? Yes, I’ve lost a few in my day. I collect them and make necklaces that I will hand down to my children.

Do you wear compression stuff after every run or just the really long, hellish ones? I wear compression during and/or after runs of 10+ miles.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do Runners Need to Shut Up About Their Running?

I don’t know if any of you caught Jimmy Kimmel the other night (I didn’t. I had already been asleep for five hours). He said,

“Did you know it's illegal to run a marathon unless you tell 80 people about it all day every day for three months?"

Yes, runners can get a bad rap for bragging about their training and their races be it at parties, on social media, to the cashier at the grocery store or to the homeless man on the corner. Let’s face it – when you cover 26.2 miles you’ve gone on a journey of sweat, puke, shit, spit, tears, smiles and delirium. So, naturally you want to tell the world how you suffered, how you persevered. But, does the world really care?

Probably not so much.

Let’s face it. Marathon training hijacks your social life, your eating and drinking habits, your sleeping, your relationships, your bowel movement schedule, your clothing allowance and every muscle group you never knew you even had.

This hijacking leads to another phenomenon – tunnel vision. We runners get a bit obsessed and focused on the training-on the goal. 

  • We schedule our lives around our long runsuh, yeah, I can’t go out Friday because my long run is Saturday and I need to eat the right foods so my colon doesn’t blow up and if I go to a restaurant I might not do that and I can’t go out Saturday because I’ll be recovering from my long run and I need to refuel and rehydrate with the right carb to protein ratio and well I might just need to go to bed.
  • We get astonished and put-out when someone asks how far a marathon isoh and next you’re going to ask me how far a half marathon is. NICE!
  • We become meteorologistsokay so my long run is on Saturday, it’s going to be breezy with intermittent rain showers and a high of 49 degrees. There will be light cloud cover later in the day with winds out of the north-northwest. 
  • We count grams of carbs and proteinit’s true I used to just know that beer had a lot of carbs and that’s why I did keg stands in college, but now I am basically a nutritionist and dietician, or I think I am. 
  • We think we’re sick and dying and injured when we taper  - okay I’m feeling this ache in my foot it wasn’t there yesterday I am sure it is a tumor or a stress fracture. Oh and I swear I’m getting a head cold which is probably pneumonia and I wont be able to breathe and then I’ll DNF and oh my god this is the worst week of my life. 

Basically, we are consumed! Bitch-slapped by the marathon herself!

So, it’s only natural that when race day comes and we actually FINISH this mother task of completing 26.2 miles without an engine or a set of wheels, we are proud and accomplished.  But, is there such a thing as over-sharing when people don’t really give a crap?

I’ll tell you my take on it. When I ran my first marathon in 2009 I had NO CLUE I would be able to go the distance because my longest training run was only 20 miles.  Would I be able to cough up the extra 6.2?  When I did indeed finish, I was on top of the world – boners all around! While I didn’t tell many people (except family and friends who called to check in) I did wear my medal home on the airplane (GEEK) but I was so proud of myself I could have cared less what anyone thought.


Nowadays my friends and family know I train and run races. I talk about it when they ask (unless they are runners then that is pretty much all we talk about). I don’t expect people to love running like I do and I respect the fact (although it’s appalling and unnecessary) that some people hate to run or are totally bored by the subject.  In other words, I try to contain it somewhat. Maybe that’s why I have a blog!

Different strokes for different folks – I mean I would die if you asked me to watch a golf tournament all day (unless there was a lot of beer, pizza and sunshine or I could run around the course and set a PR).

How much do you share about your training and races with others? Humble and quiet or loud and proud?


PS: Funny video here of the “aid station” Jimmy Kimmel’s crew set up at the L.A. Marathon last weekend. Jello shots, green shrimp and water bottles glued to a table at mile 11.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Giveaway! Box of Fitness/Health Goodies from Sweet Relish

Recently Sweet Relish (the ultimate place to make your wish lists) sent me a box of fitness related goodies featured on their website:

  1. Go Key Silicon Wristband – lock your key in a band and put it around your wrist while you work out!
  2. Stuffitts Drying Inserts – slip these babies into shoes, gloves, helmets and bags to absorb moisture and kill odors.
  3. Brush On Block – SPF 30 – I’ve never seen anything like this – it is sunscreen that you put on like blush. It is a mineral powder applied with a brush.
  4. Clean Well Disinfectant wipes and spray – Great to keep clean on the go (I keep mine in the car)
  5. Zing Anything Citrus Zinger – This bottle has a fruit grinder on the bottom to infuse your water. You can also put in mint, lavender, etc. because they bottom portion acts like a filter.
I think my favorite is the Citrus Zinger. I love lemon and lime infused water and this makes it easy.
The Brush on Block sunscreen is also an inventive idea – I would be curious to see if it works as well as the regular cream-based sunscreens. I am going to admit right now that my son’s shoes stink (mine smell like roses), so I’m trying the Stuffitts in those – because if they can tackle 15 year old B.O. they are amazing.

Want to have a box of these goodies for yourself? It's easy - just enter below telling me what products you like and/or share this giveaway on Twitter. Good luck!

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

I Ran 16 Miles and Hated/Loved It

I’m pretty convinced that if we wait until we really FEEL like doing something, very little would ever get done. Well, maybe lots of potato chips would get eaten, but that’s about it.

People wonder how you are supposed to get motivated to work out, to train for a race, to lose weight. There is a very secret key to motivation, drive and determination, but it might not be what you think.

You see, I think lots of us hang out waiting to FEEL like we want to run or go to the gym. Then when that feeling of really wanting to do it never comes, we bag the workout or ditch the run. My belief is you need to turn off your brain – to not engage it about whether it wants to do something or not. The trick is to just start and your motivation will follow.

I’m going to be honest. Yesterday I had a 16 mile run planned. I knew I would do it, because I don’t miss training runs unless I am injured or sick. But, I have to tell you – my heart wasn’t in it. I woke up to grey skies and cold temperatures. Wah, wah, whine, whine (wait! Did someone say “wine”?).


The thought of being out there running for 2-3 hours just didn’t give me a boner. Even when Ken agreed to run the first 8 miles with me, I just felt incredibly BLAH and unmotivated. Anyone who tells you that they love every minute of marathon training is probably lying or high. Yes, I am healthy and CAN run. I don't take that for granted. But that doesn’t mean I’m always going to feel like doing it.

We drove to the halfway mark to leave Ken’s truck and my refueling supplies. As we drove west towards the mountains, I saw the sun peek up into my rear view mirror. It was a ball of fire – so bright and full of light…


Too bad I didn’t care that much. Still dragging, wishing I was in bed.

As we started we were headed into a strong and nipply headwind. This did not help my mood. I was freezing. ¾ mile down, 15 ¼ to go. I turned off my brain. I stopped the chatter. I chanted “relentless forward motion.” And I went. Step by step.

We didn’t talk much. I’m not sure Ken was totally in the mood to be out there either. I stopped to crap once, because that’s what I do. Ken decided I should run with a toilet paper roll around my wrist (great running invention! Tell Mark Cuban). Genius except that you would have to have stick figure arms to make this work.


At a bit more than halfway Ken was all bundled up in his warm truck listening to Howard Stern while I fueled with a gel and topped off my water. I headed out for the last 8 miles, realizing my motivation and energy was creeping back in. Damn endorphins! I came up on a couple, probably in their 60s, having the time of their lives running 11 miles and training for a trail race. Seeing them out there smiling, their noses running and spittle gathered at the corners of their mouths, I noticed they were just glad to be out there. And all of a sudden, so was I.

The last mile was a bit of a torture fest – my hamstring started to hurt and I was just ready to be done. I once again thought about how if you set out to run 16 miles, then your body only wants to go 16 miles. If you set out to run 20 miles, your body can go 20 miles that day. So, so mental. I swear I don’t think I could have run 26.2 miles yesterday. See – I look like death warmed over:


16 down, 18 to go next week. I guess the point is not that I didn’t want to do it, but the fact that I did it anyway and eventually found my groove. Need more motivation tips – go HERE.

What’s the longest training run you’ve ever done? Me –> 20 miles

What are your tips to getting through a long run? I listen to music during the last half. I also try to not focus on the whole distance, but just increments like 5 miles, then halfway, then only 2 miles to go, etc. I think a lot about post run rewards like a huge cup of coffee and a donut (with bacon on top?). Having a friend/spouse join me for part of the run helps a ton too.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things That Make Me Go “WTF?”

Do you ever have days when stuff happens that you just don’t understand? They’re not necessarily bad or negative things (well, maybe kinda), but that stuff that leaves you scratching your head and screaming inside your brain “WTF??” Yeah, I had some of those today.

  • I visited the loo (I’m very sophisticated saying “loo” – I could have said “crapper”) no less than four times before my run today. Within five minutes of running I had to go again. What the hell?
  • I picked out some broccoli at the grocery store. While I was putting it in my cart I heard the produce guy say under his breath, “What a slob!” (yes, apparently referring to me). He stomped over the broccoli display and started rearranging the broccoli that I had apparently messed up or misplaced. Wow. I didn’t know the display was a work of art. Kind of made me laugh, actually. At least he takes his job seriously.
  • The car in front of me was weaving all over the place. As I passed, I noticed the guy texting away. When will people learn? Seriously. In my book, texting and driving is on par with drinking and driving (CNBC says so too). And, it’s not just about you – Mr. Texter Man. You might actually hurt someone else.
  • I went to get my hair highlighted today. I am not sure what happened – but after the first round I swear there were hints of orange in my hair. She did it all again and I it now looks great (or at least fine), but the whole thing took FOUR hours. No joke. And I didn’t even get a hair cut. At least I don’t look like Bozo. Do I?


  • I saw something small and black lying on the stairs. After going up and down the stairs forty million times I finally picked it up. Guess what it was? One of Lucky’s toenails. He has been gone now for almost four months. I swear I have no clue where this even came from. Some might think it’s gross (Ken did), but I love having just one more little reminder of him. Call me crazy. Can someone make me a necklace out of it (joke).


What made you go WTF today?

Ever go then have to go again when you start running?

Ever had a disaster hair cut or color?


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Placebo or Legit?

August 22, 2010 and I had just finished running 21 miles and 2,600 feet of elevation gain on trails through the Rocky Mountains. You may remember that Dean Karnazes was my partner for the first leg of the Trans Rockies Run that day.


(Yes, I am name dropping and I am doing this because I have so few names to drop from the past 46 years that I have to repeat-name-drop on occasion ((okay – well – I did go to high school with Greg Kinnear. But, he wouldn’t know me from a turd in the toilet, so that probably doesn’t count)).

Anyway, as I finished this run, my first on trails ever, it was a scorching 90 degrees. One of the support people handed me a packet of Emergen-C and told me to take it for recovery. I had never heard of it. She said it would boost my immune system since I was pretty depleted and that it had lots of good electrolytes. I do what anyone tells me (yes, mom I did jump off a cliff because Lisa did it), so I dumped it in some beer (I mean water) and chugged away.


Since that time, I haven’t taken Emergen-C. I haven’t even really thought about it, although I do hear people talk about it all the time – “I swear I was getting the Ebola virus and I took a packet of Emergen-C and am a new person!

The other day someone in the grocery store gave me a sample and I had it stashed in my purse. When my throat started hurting yesterday, I remembered that secret packet in my purse and decided to give it a shot. The entire world around me has been sick lately and laid up for days. I’ve been training  hard and probably could use a bit of a boost. Plus, I don’t want my training to get derailed by illness. I mean could it really hurt? Don’t you just pee out extra stuff your body doesn’t need? So, I drank it down. And, my throat stopped hurting. Coincidence? Perhaps.

When my kids got sick all the time when they were little and it was impossible to avoid germs (yeah getting puked on makes that tough) I used to take Echinacea a lot for immunity. I never really was sure if it helped. I am one who hardly ever gets sick, so I don’t do a lot of herbal or medicinal prevention stuff.

This got me to wondering if this would be a good thing to take every once in awhile during training – both for electrolyte replacement and an immunity boost. So, I did some research from unbiased sources and here’s what I’ve found:

  • The Mayo clinic suggests not exceeding 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day. One packet of Emergen-C has 1,000 mgs
  • Pregnant women should not take high doses of vitamin C because it can cause scurvy in infants
  • Too much vitamin C can cause stomach upset. YES! I love crapping myself unexpectedly.
  • There’s a lot of sugar Emergen-C (percentage wise per serving)
  • It might be good mixed in vodka (this is my own assessment)
  • No one knows if it really works or does anything.


See? I don’t always wear running clothes.

Do you take any stuff if you think you’re getting sick? Does it work?

Would you take it during training for a boost?

Got any names to drop? Give me one.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

2013 Race Plans and Advice Needed!

I’ve been working on planning out my life lately. Well, at least the next six months. When I say “planning” what I mean is picking all the fun things I want to do with myself, my friends and my family. I do not mean planning the boring things like budgets and work deadlines and meal plans – although I guess that might be important too. But, oh so boring.

First up are my RACE PLANS. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

March 16, 2013 – Buddy Up Against Bullying Virtual 5K. This is a is a joint effort between an assistant principal and a police officer in North Carolina, trying to raise awareness against bullying. Go print out your bib and help raise awareness!

May 4, 2013SHAPE Diva Dash. This is one of those obstacle course races that is about 3 miles long. Emma and I are doing it with another mom/daughter team. I love that one of the sponsors is Smart Girl, a nonprofit organization specializing in empowering adolescents.

May 19, 2013Colorado Colfax Marathon. This is my biggie race for the spring/summer and the one I have been training for. I have NO clue what to expect. Part of me just hopes for a strong finish and the other part of me really wants another BQ (which is 3:55 for me). I think I’ll know more about what’s realistic once I know how much I DIE on my my 18 and 20 training mile runs.

May 27, 2013Bolder Boulder 10K. We always run this one as a family. I dress up in something that will embarrass my son. This year I’ll probably go as a condom.


June 2, 2013Longmont Triathlon. I love this race and have done it a few times. It’s just a short, local sprint.


July 19-20, 2013Rocky Mountain Epic Relay. 10 old co-ed people, 191 miles, 12,100 feet of climbing, 2 vans, lots of B.O. I did the Wild West Relay with this same group last year. BLAST! I’m the one in the blue shirt.


August 10, 2013Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon. This is the one I told you to sign up for awhile ago because for one day only it was $15 to register. I love this race because it’s scenic and downhill. Two great ingredients.

August 24, 2013Iron Girl Triathlon. I’ve done this one for the past two years. It’s now changed venues, but it’s always a great time. It’s the only race I’ve ever done that has white table cloths and a fancy buffet at the end (which I can never eat because my colon is usually in revolt-mode by the end of races).


I am a girl who likes a lot of variety, and I’d say this race schedule shows that. My “A” race is definitely the marathon and I’m just hoping the rest falls into place.

Next up are vacation plans and this is where you come in. I am going to make a confession and please don’t look down on me or stop reading my blog when I tell you this.

I have never been to California

Yes, it’s true. I’m not lying when I tell you I’ve visited every state in the union except for five: California, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and Mississippi.

So – I think this year’s family vacation will go something like this:

Fly from Denver to San Francisco and spend a few days in the city. Rent a car and drive down the famous Pacific Coast Highway towards Santa Barbara (but, maybe not that far south), spending at least one night along the way. Cut over to Las Vegas and spend a few days there. Fly back to Denver.


I know many of you either live in CA or have spent time there. Here’s what I need help with:

What is the best area to stay in San Francisco – Fishman’s Wharf? Union Square? Any hotel recommendations? What’s one thing not to miss in the city?

If we do drive down the coast, we want to stop somewhere along the way for the night – what would you recommend – Carmel? Monterey? Cambria?

What’s one race you have on your calendar for this year?

How many states have YOU been to?

Thanks for your help friends!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Stuff I Do When I Train for a Marathon

I think my body is finally adjusting to marathon training. Even though I was in decent shape when I started “official” training three weeks ago, my body was still like “WTF? What’s with this structure, these puke inducing treadmill workouts, these 2 hour runs?”

Last week I told you I had been feeling kind of tired and I have to say this was messing with my confidence and motivation. I’m glad I stuck in there because I had a powerful speed workout on Tuesday that made me feel like a super star (and kind of made me want to throw up or crap my pants for a second, but that’s not lady-like to do at the gym unless you’re on the Biggest Loser).

On today’s long run (only 10 miles because it is a recovery week), I also felt like a million bucks (or at least a thousand bucks or a million pesos). And, it was not the easiest run:


The goal was a 9:30 pace, but it ended up being 9:14 by mistake. I am trying to keep my long runs at least 1 minute slower than marathon pace, but it doesn’t always happen.

I notice with training that I develop habits and routines. Here are some training, fueling and recovery strategies that I find helpful during training:

  • I go to bed early. Really early. I need to move to a nursing home.
  • For runs I do early in the morning (before 7am), I can’t eat much. My staple is a cup of coffee and a banana. Then I come home and pig out on Costco loaves. If you haven’t had these, I am sorry for you. They have become so popular in our house we just call them “loafs,” as in “Go get your mama another loaf. NOW. Or you’re grounded.”


  • For long runs (I usually do these on weekends when can start a bit later), my go-to pre-run fuel is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • I drink 2 or so ounces of water every mile while running. When my Garmin beeps, I drink. It is the boss of me.
  • During long runs, I do a gel every hour or so. My favorites are GU: vanilla bean, orange cream, or strawberry banana. They seem to sit best in my stomach. I love the chews and beans, but when it’s cold, these get too hard and then my jaw gets sore or I almost choke. Sounds pornographic.
  • Post run I am religious about foam rolling my ass, my IT bands (hurts like a mother f&cker), my calves and my hamstrings. I then do some light stretching.


Worst picture ever taken of me in my life. I love you enough to share it.

  • After workouts of an hour or more, I’ve started drinking EAS AdvantEDGE shakes. I like these because they are light, yet have 17 grams of protein, kind of light on the carbs, but I make up for that later (remember the loaves?). Chocolate milk works too.


  • Post long run I've been taking long, hot baths. I know many of you are fans of the ice bath for recovery, and yes –those are supposed to be much more beneficial than the hot bath. But, I don’t give a crap. When I have just been out running in 20 degree weather for 2 hours, I want warmth. And, I swear, my muscles love it. I soak in 2 cups Dr. Teal’s Epsom bath salts each time.
  • I’ve been supplementing my running with one session of hot yoga each week and one VERY tough spin class. The yoga gives my entire body an amazing workout and gives me more strength and stability. The spin class has lots of sprinting, climbing and intervals. I swear it has made my running stronger. Note: farting in hot yoga should be a crime. People need to stop it.
  • I go to acupuncture every second to third week and this has helped tremendously with my back and hamstring pain.


  • I noticed on long runs my feet were hurting so I started using Super Feet insoles (blue). So much better, so much more comfortable.
  • And, then of course I drink wine every night because that is what I do whether I am training or not.

What’s one must-have habit or routine you acquire while training?

Have a splendid weekend! We are getting tons of snow. I hate being cold, but I do love the snow. I never said I made sense. Anyone every try snow milk before? We used to put chocolate syrup on snow when I was little, but snow milk is like that on steroids.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One Key to Happily Ever After

When you get married or start a long term committed relationship, you don’t always know what you’re going to get. What I mean by that is – as we get older, sometimes we change. Our interests diversify, we might become more or less spiritual/religious, our political beliefs might shift. Some of us might even adopt or reject certain morals and values. The sad truth is, we may not grow in the same way as our significant other, and that can cause problems. Distance. Separation.

When Ken and I met, I was fairly athletic – I wasn’t a runner, but I had become a cyclist in college and enjoyed long distance riding. Ken, for a lack of a better word, was a couch potato. He did drink a lot of orange Gatorade, but this wasn’t because he needed electrolyte replacement, he just liked the taste.

I fell in love with him the night I met him in the back seat of a car where we drank bottles of Budweiser and threw them out the window (yes, the truth – you always knew I was a wild girl). It never really occurred to me to care if he liked to work out. I knew he was adventurous, outdoorsy, smart, funny and cute. That was enough.

However, when he did buy a bike and started riding with me, I loved it.


1996 - I like a crooked helmet

Then when we moved to Colorado from Virginia and took marriage vows. We acquired jobs, a mortgage and babies (in that order). And, we still liked being active together.


But, it wasn’t until 13 years into our marriage that our activity level bumped up a few notches. We started training for and running races together. Suddenly I realized that this was as much bonding time as a date night out with a bottle of wine (if not more so). I am convinced that one of the reasons we’ve remained so strong in our marriage for the past 18 years is that we share the love MOVING and SWEATING.

And, the love of farting, but that is another story.

Perhaps the place where our love of training and racing served us best was when Ken got laid off in 2011. He was unemployed for a year, and that’s when we decided to train for our first Half Ironman. As you know, the stress of unemployment and finances can wreak havoc on a relationship. Training kept us aligned, sane and connected. In fact, Good Housekeeping interviewed us for a story about marriage and job loss that I think will be in the April or May issue. So stay tuned.













Boulder 70.3 2011

I’m not sure there is one key or secret as to how to have longevity in a relationship. But, I do think having activities and interests you share (outside of the kids) gives you something to talk about, something to bitch about, something to (hopefully) laugh about (Ken has seen me squat in the bushes too many times to count), and gives you a way to spend time together. Plus, it helps you to speak the same language. If I tell Ken I didn’t PR but I sure as hell didn’t DNF, he knows what I mean.

Do you train or race with your significant other? How does it affect your relationship?


Make Your Wish Lists Come True {Sweet Relish Site Review}

I don’t know how it goes around your house, but every time Christmas or my birthday crops up, everyone starts asking, “So, what is it you want?”

For some reason, this is a tough question for me. I have no problem thinking of things I’d like while hanging out at Target (where I am supposed to  just be buying frozen waffles, but end up with $50 of crap not on my list). I also have no problem dreaming about stuff I’d like to own while hearing other people gush about their new running skirt, or that bestseller they just read or that new flavor of Jelly Bellies.

The problem is, I don’t keep track of any of it, so when the time comes when I finally have a few extra bucks to spend or when Ken lovingly whispers in my ear “What the eff do you want for your birthday?I have no clue.

Until now.


Ever heard of Sweet Relish? (No, I am not talking about that green chunky stuff you load on your hotdog at the baseball game).

I am referring to a site that was launched to help share what you like and see what others like. Sweet Relish calls itself the “secret sauce” because this is the piece that has been missing from your shopping experience forever.

Confused? I was at first. Let me break it down for you.

Basically, Sweet Relish is a place to set up your wish lists – books you’d like to read, running gear you’d love to show off, gifts you want to remember to give others at some point. You give each list a name (i.e., one of mine is “What I Need to Read”) and you start adding items from around the web. It’s SIMPLE to add things. When you find an item on Amazon, Athleta. Lululemon or ANYWHERE, simply grab it with your relish button and add it to your list. After you add them you can easily share them on Twitter, Pinterest, etc. with just the click of your mouse.

All you have to do is register, get a relish button for your tool bar and click that button each time you want to “save” an item to your lists! I am technologically challenged and if I can do it, you can do it.



Most of you know, I don’t spend much time on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Honestly, I simply do not have the time to devote to this blog, my job, my family, marathon training and all of that social media stuff. The nice thing about Sweet Relish is that it is not something you have to tend to everyday or keep up on. It’s simply a place to keep track of your personal wish lists, or even those items you repeatedly buy and don’t want to forget (make up brands/colors, shampoo, types of running socks, etc.).  Plus, it makes it super easy to shop for others if they post their lists! Major time saver.

Here’s a sneak peek at my Running Must Haves List:


Want to see all my relish lists? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours (click on the link to see my list).

Following me is easy on Sweet Relish – just go HERE.


What would you call one of your wish lists? Go make one! If you do make a list, let me know. I want to check it out.

Are you easy or tough to shop for? I think I’m easy in the sense that everyone knows I like running and books. And gift cards.


Fine print: I was sponsored by Sweet Relish to complete an unbiased review of their site.

Monday, March 4, 2013

11 Reasons You Might Be Running Slower Than You Used To

Yesterday was a 7 mile run with 5 miles at tempo pace. This was the first day in MONTHS I’ve been able to actually run in shorts since it was a balmy 44 degrees at 8:00 a.m. If I look tired, I am.


Pre-run coffee rocks my world. And my intestines.

I am noticing a trend. While I am hitting all of my speed work, tempo and long run mileages and paces, I am working harder to hit these paces than I have in the past. I thought it might be my imagination, but when I looked at my training notes from three years ago, I saw it was indeed, the sad truth. Not to say that paces are everything, but I am still wanting to see progress.

Surprisingly, there is not a wealth of information on this topic. But, here are some likely reasons that I, and you too, may be running slower than you have in the past.

1. Too little sleep. We all know lack of sleep can greatly affect performance as well as mood. When you run, you break down your body. You actually get microscopic tears in your muscles. Rest and recovery give 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. Athletes who had too little sleep report reaching a point of exhaustion 11% more quickly than those who were well rested.  More info on how sleep deprivation affects training HERE.


Nothing wrong with a little drool

2. Not enough recovery from hard workouts. As stated above, running (especially doing speed work or other strenuous activities) causes fatigue and tearing in your muscles. If you don’t give yourself adequate recovery time, the recovery process doesn’t happen as it should. Take at least one rest day per week and incorporate recovery weeks where mileage is reduced about 20%. The number of hard efforts should also decrease during a recovery week.

3. Age. I hate to say it, but often times (not always!) runners slow down with age. Obviously this is the case or Boston age group qualifying times wouldn’t increase as entrants get older. Perhaps a reason that as we get older we might get slower is that we become more injury prone, have increased body fat, have decreased VO2 max(10% per decade after the age of 30!), have a loss of range of motion and can lose muscle mass. Certainly there are ways to combat these issues such as strength training, yoga, diet, etc. For more info on how aging affects running speed, read this informative article from Runner’s World.

4. An iron deficiency (aka anemia). At first, the signs of anemia may be hard to detect, but as the body becomes more iron deprived, the symptoms become more noticeable. Signs that you have an iron deficiency might include paleness, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, cold hands/feet, fast heart rates, dizziness, irritability and/or possible soreness of the tongue. A quick blood test at your doctor can determine if you are anemic. Depending on the cause of the deficiency, different supplements and/or injections can be recommended. In general, women are at greater risk of anemia due to menstruation.

5. Stress. You’ve heard it a million times before. Stress takes a toll on the body and can result in a myriad of symptoms including headaches, elevated blood pressure, upset stomach, chest pain and difficulty sleeping. Naturally any or all of these conditions put an additional strain on the body and could contribute to a decline in running performance.

6. A recent boost in speed work and/or mileage. If your runs are causing soreness, fatigue and/or burn out, you may be doing too much too soon. An increase of no more than 10% per week regarding distance, frequency or intensity is recommended.

7. Diet. While running, and especially during training, special attention needs to be given to diet. The runner needs to ensure enough calories are being consumed to compensate for the amount burned (HERE is a good place to figure it out). In addition, it’s important to make sure you are getting the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and fats (40%/30%/30% is a good rule of thumb while marathon training). Lastly, hydration is key to flushing out your organs and carrying nutrients to your cells. Aim to drink 60 to 90 ounces of water per day (depending on how frequently you exercise).

8. Attitude. Are you starting your workouts with a lack of confidence or motivation? We have all heard the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” Prior to starting any workout, especially one where you will be pushing your limits, it’s crucial to get right in your head. Replace negative messages like “I am not strong enough to do this,” with uplifting thoughts such as, “Believe! You are capable, fierce, unstoppable.” Or, whatever works for you (more mantras HERE).

9. An underlying medical condition. While this is probably a less common reason for slower running, it is always a possibility. If fatigue is persistent, see a doctor.

10. An injury. Although you may not have a full blown injury, if you are running with a nagging pain that won’t go away, you are likely altering your gait. This change in form just might be making you runs tougher than before. In addition, any pain while you are running will affect physical performance was well as mental well being. Take time off if you can’t shake an ache or pain. It could be the start of something that could become much, much worse.

11. Time of the year/weather/conditions. Heat, in particular, can affect running performance by elevating your heart rate and making you prone to dehydration. Other conditions such as wind, muddy trails, frozen sidewalks and driving rain or snow will also slow you down (duh!). Lastly, I find that winter temperatures (as well as summer heat) can wear on you after awhile. I am simply sick of starting each run freezing cold and uncomfortable. I know these negative feelings are affecting me mentally and are probably ultimately affecting my performance.


How long have you been running? Has your speed changed over the years? I’ve been running for 4.5 years – starting when I was 41. I think I peaked right before I got injured in 2010. Since that time I’ve been trying to get back to where I was.

Have you become faster or slower with age? Recently slower. But I’ll be back.

If you’re slower – why do you think? Now that I’ve done the research for this post – I think it’s a few things for me. Lack of sleep, stress, adding in speed work and increased mileage and being SICK of winter.


Fine Print: This information is simply based on my research and personal opinions. I am not a doctor or nutritionist. Get advice from a professional, not me!