Monday, December 29, 2014

He Who Runs in Snow….

Confucius say lots of things. He who stand on toilet is high on pot. He who walk through airport door sideways is going to Bangkok.

Yet, one of Confucius’ truest and most popular sayings:

He/she who run uphill in snow is slow. Clever.
He/she who run in snow have icicle butt. Clever also.

Running in snow can be a total body workout yet be rather tricky. But, here’s why you need to do it (If you live somewhere warm where it doesn’t snow just find some quicksand).

The Benefits:

  1. You get outside. While the first mile or so can be mentally challenging and a physical shock (feel free to use the “f” word), you will then warm up and get into a groove.
  2. Snow running gives you an added cardiovascular benefit (which is a nice way of saying it is freaking difficult at times – almost like running in sand).
  3. Snow running builds stabilization muscles, all the way from ankles to hips.
  4. Anyone who sees you out there running will think you are a badass.

How To Do It To Maximize The Workout And To Not Fall On Your Face:

Make sure you are running with good form. Overstriding and poor traction make it more likely you will fall. If you overstride (i.e., land with your leg out in front of you), you can lose your balance, as you are putting your center of mass ahead of you. Make sure your feet are landing below your hips.

What Gear You’ll Need To Make It Easier:

  1. Trail shoes can provide a bit of added traction and protection.
  2. Find an older pair of running shoes and put screws in the bottom of them for a better grip (for a tutorial, check out this video).
  3. If you’re not into the screw thing (who isn’t into that??) try a pair of Yaktrax. For really tough conditions, consider snowshoes.
  4. Use Vaseline to protect skin from the elements (but only if it’s cloudy. If it’s sunny, this could cause you to burn. In that case, just use a good sunscreen).
  5. Wear a brimmed hat and glasses for extra protection.
  6. Have some Fireball whiskey or peppermint schnapps available immediately post-run for your après-run party.

Snow (not ice) vs. treadmill. Who wins? Snow every time.

When was your last snowy run? Sunday. In slow motion.

For more fun, follow me on Instagram HERE.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Why Christmas Is Good for Runners

1. Calories burned running = calories consumed in cookies, eggnog and wine

2. You get lots of running gear under the tree because everyone thinks that is all you want. Ever. And they may be right.

3. You get to hang all your running related ornaments on the tree (even if the ornament is supposed to be you, but you don’t have brown hair or own red sweat pants or have nubs for hands or a have a smile made of a black shoelace).


4. Even runners who are in a bad mood tend to wave at you when you run on Christmas Eve.

5. You can share your family (and favorite exchange student son) with the blog world:


Thanks for spending this year with me. Looking forward to doing it again in 2015 (if I can think of anything more to write about). Merry Christmas my friends!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday Favorites a Day Late Because I’m Busy

1. Favorite Photo That Made Me Look Twice.


2. Favorite Find. Found this on today’s run. Proof that running pays off and looking down when you run pays off because you find money and avoid dog crap.


3. Favorite Soup I Want To Make This Week. Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup.


4. Favorite Lazy Moment. This is what I looked like last night at 4:30 p.m. Can you even call 4:30 p.m. “night”? Being in pajamas early is my most favorite thing and it seems to keep getting earlier. One of these days I will be eating lunch in my pajamas and dinner in bed while I drool and fall asleep. There was a day when it wasn't even cool to go out until 11pm. I am so glad those days are behind me. I like bed. And laying around. And TV.


5. Favorite Framed Quote:


6. Favorite Current Bucket List Item. Run Rim to Rim at the Grand Canyon (and remember to stay to the far left).


7. Favorite 2 Hours. We watched Elf last night. My friend, Erika, had never seen it, which I would yell at her for, only I’ve never seen the Sound of Music. So there. And, I really don’t want to.

Syrup on spaghetti. Yes or no?

8. Favorite Use of Brick. This wall art seen at my new favorite pizza place in Longmont. I thought this was such a creative way to use the exposed brick. And to repurpose a beer bottle (left corner).


9. Favorite Run This Week. This trail run on Thursday which goes down in history as the most peaceful run ever. Not a touch of wind. Not another person out there (except the person who took this picture).


Follow me on Instagram HERE

10. Favorite Dose of Humor (and something I’m trying tonight)



Tell me on thing on your running bucket list. Rim2Rim

What’s a movie you’ve never seen that everyone else has seen? Sound of Music and anything Monty Python.

Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation.

Luckiest thing you’ve ever found on a run? A bathroom when I was desperate.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Breathe Better, Run Better?

Some people zone out when they run. While I have moments of zoning, my mind is usually going a thousand miles a minute with random thoughts:

  • Stomach cramp. Please let this just be a benign cramp or a fart but not that other thing because I don’t think there is any place safe to do what I might need to do if it is that other thing
  • When can I get a forced break (because I don’t want to cheat and take a voluntary break) such as a stoplight or tying my shoe or walking across black ice?
  • This song always comes up on my iPod and I always skip it and why is it on my iPod anyway?
  • Does that car see me? If I have to ask if it sees me then it probably doesn’t see me and I should move over into the ditch.
  • Is my cadence quick enough? (I really do think this) Maybe it’s not 180 strides per minute. I should count but I don’t feel like it so I am just going to increase my turn over a bit and call it good.
  • I am too hot I should not have worn this extra layer but I don’t want to take it off and tie it around my waist because then it moves and annoys me.
  • How much longer do I have to go? (always I think this)
  • Here's that cramp again. Shit.

One thing it never occurred to me to think about while I ran was breathing. That is until I went to the Runner’s World Festival in October and heard Budd Coates (renowned running coach and author of “Running on Air”) speak about the importance of breathing patterns while running. Say what?


I take breathing for granted. For example, right now I am breathing and I didn’t realize I was breathing, but if I wasn’t breathing I would be turning blue or be dead so it is good I’m breathing after all.

Why is a pattern of breathing when you run important anyway?

While lots of us give note to our form, far fewer pay attention to how we breathe. It is common for runners, especially those who are inexperienced, to breathe haphazardly while they run with no real pattern or purpose. Yet, research and experience has found that developing a "plan" for your breathing while you run can in fact improve efficiency and pacing.

Why is a pattern of breathing important? Breathing rhythmically puts less stress on the respiratory system. Also, being aware of your breathing while you run helps you to gauge your perceived effort and pacing.

What is an example of breathing with a pattern? A common way to breathe rhythmically is a 2:2 ratio. This means that you take two steps (one with your right foot, then one with your left) and you inhale. You take two more steps and exhale.

Nose or mouth? When running you should always be predominantly breathing out of your mouth as this is the best way to get oxygen in and out of your body.

If you were to read Budd Coate’s book, “Running on Air,” you would learn a crap-load (<scientific term) about breathing, but here are some Cliff note points that I found particularly interesting:

  • If you are always getting injured on the same side of your body, this may be related to your breathing. Why? Well, let’s say you always exhale when you step with your right foot, then your core is always less stable when you hit with your right foot, thereby making you more prone to injury on that side.
  • Rhythmic breathing improves running for those with asthma
  • Developing a breathing pattern can increase lung volume and can help you set a “dream” pace for your training and racing.

At first this whole breathing thing completely overwhelmed me. It is hard enough for me to just RUN let alone RUN and count my breaths, etc.  But, I thought I’d give it a try and HOT DAMN if I didn’t have a pattern already in place.

I find that on my easy to moderate runs, I step three times –inhale- then step three times – exhale (3:3). I do try to keep my cadence around 180 steps per minute. Of course this varies if I am going up hill or on the trails.

There is so much to this breathing/running thing, so just read the book (or for basic info, this article).

Do you have a breathing pattern when you run or are you just glad to be breathing at all?

If you aren’t focusing on your breathing while you run, what are you thinking about? Donuts. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

This Post Will Make You Hungry

What my weekend has involved…

Taking care of a sick Spaniard (I just gave him some tapas with Nyquil on top):


Letting Heidi learn how to drive because everyone needs a hairy designated driver:


Wondering how my baby is not a baby anymore (she got her braces of this week! No more brace face around here):


Ordering this god-awful sweatshirt for my son (no this is not a joke. This is on his Christmas list. I told him he is going to attract some bees and butterflies).


Cookie baking on crack.  10 different kinds of cookies, my friends.

photo 1

{Can you tell which two of the above are related? I kind of think we all look a a bit related}.

I did not run today, but I did do a cookie marathon in 3 hours and 49 minutes, so I’m good.

photo 3

This is the first year we did not have any cookies that turned out like dog turds. They were all amazing, so I feel I should share you these winner recipes (yes, these are the actual pictures of OUR cookies):

1.S’mores Cookies  -> These are outstanding. A real crowd pleaser.

photo 4

2. Walnut Brandy Balls

photo 2

3. White Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies:


4. Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Cookies –> From America’s Test Kitchen and I cannot find recipe online!

photo 1

5. Cashew Icebox Cookies with Butterscotch:

photo 5

6. Lemon Cream Icebox Cookies:

photo 2

7. Million Dollar Cookies –> These are Joie’s grandma’s famous recipe, which I don’t have (or she’d have to kill me) but the link is similar.


8. Cocoa Nut Balls –> These are a family recipe that I had growing up. Can’t find the recipe on line!


9. Peanut Butter Blossoms –> An annual favorite.

10. Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies with Chocolate Chips –> These were a huge hit. You make them with a white cake mix. So very easy and yummy.


Happy baking!

What's your favorite Christmas cookie?

Anyone sick in your house right now? There is SO much crap going around it’s ridiculous.

Did you ever have braces? Yes, I got them off when I was 12 and the next week I hit my mouth on someone’s head and knocked out some teeth. Nice.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

When Your Run Gets UGLY (and you have the picture to prove it)

I love a picture that sums up a race perfectly.


I am not sure what is going on here, but I do know I felt like crap the entire 16,404 feet of this Colder Boulder 5K race last weekend.

Some races are just like that. Some runs are just like that.

Maybe it’s because a pony tail is shooting out of my ear.


Or, better yet it’s because my shirt is riding up and I had gas pains (sorry woman behind me).


I used to get really attached to all of my runs and races. If they sucked, then that meant I sucked as a runner. Now, I just see these experiences as part of being a long-term runner. There will be a”it” days and there will be “shit” days. Move on from the bad and keep a positive mind.

That said, here are 5  reasons your run might have sucked today…and how to move forward (I posted something similar about a year and a half ago…always a good reminder!(

1. You’re More Dehydrated Today – It doesn’t have to be hot as hell outside for you to feel the effects of dehydration. Even in the winter and springtime, you’ve got to make sure you’re drinking enough. The trick is not just to drink while running, but to start your run already hydrated. 

How do you know if you’re drinking enough? Instead of focusing on the number of ounces consumed, I like to go by this rule of thumb (or “rule of pee” as I like to call it) - make sure you urinate at least six times per day and that your piss looks like the lemonade that you get at a kid’s lemonade stand (very pale, watered down).

Don’t know how much to drink while you run? Check out these guidelines {source}:


2. You’re More Stressed Today – Stress can really mess with you and zap all of your energy stores. When you are stressed, your body becomes WAY out of balance. This can lead to all sorts of physical and emotional conditions like headaches, GI distress, loss of appetite, racing thoughts, poor judgment, worrying, overeating, cheat pain and elevated blood pressure.

No wonder your run feels difficult – you are not only carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, but your physical body is breaking down.

It is true that many/most of us use running as a means of relieving stress. And, it works. However, when we start our runs already very stressed out, our energy level and physical sensations may be gravely affected. Just be prepared.

3. You Didn’t Sleep Last Night – I am sure I don’t have to tell you how important sleep is. In fact, I wrote an article on the effects that lack of sleep has on running performance (view it HERE).  Basically, without proper sleep, your body doesn’t  recover as well from previous workouts. Your immune system can become compromised making your more susceptible to illness. And guess what? You simply FEEL MORE TIRED when you try to run (<I am so incredibly smart).

4. You Overindulged Last Night – I don’t know about you, but I run much better when I’ve paid attention to my my eating the night before and the hours leading up to my run. It’s not rocket science to know that your body has to work harder to digest fatty, heavy foods than it does leaner, lighter foods. Also, richer roods can lead to more stomach upset, which can absolutely cause you to feel sluggish during your run (and to maybe have to make more pit stops). Other items such as dairy-based foods, berries, chocolate and alcohol can also be difficult to digest and cause heartburn and acid reflux (and keep in mind that even healthy foods like broccoli and cabbage can lead to stomach distress/gas).

5. You Have a Bad Attitude Today– Let’s face it. Some days you just do not feel like being out there. That’s just human nature. However, it is amazing how quickly those negative thoughts affect your physical well being and immediately zap your energy.

In my case, I fell prey to numbers 1, 2, 3 & 5 during my 5K race.

The good news is that 97.6% of bad runs are followed by good runs (I made that up, but I am sure it is true). I think this is because the sucky run was so sucky that your expectations for the next run are LOW. Having low expectations can sometimes be a good thing because you are usually pleasantly surprised. The moral of the story is - don’t get discouraged. Some runs are just harder than others. Control what you can (sleep, hydration, fueling, attitude) and keep pushing on.

When was your last sucky run?


Monday, December 8, 2014

Eddie Bauer Performance Wear Review

What do you think of when you think “Eddie Bauer?” Comfy slippers worn by a fire, fur-lined down vests and quality flannel shirts, right? Well, now you can think of Eddie Bauer when you dream about running because EB performance wear is here!

Here are just a few of the many items offered (and the ones I tested):


First up is the Hangfire Pro Hooded Jacket (MSRP: $129).


Living in Colorado where mother nature can be an unpredictable bitch, I have a wide assortment of running clothes. One item that I lacked, however, was a running jacket that worked for very cold temps (under 20 degrees), but had some breathability. Enter the Hangfire jacket. I tried this for the first time when we had an arctic blast of snow and zero degree temps (and when I did my best to look like a boy).


The jacket is form fitting, yet is easily worn over multiple layers. It has a fleece-lined hood that can be worn under a helmet for cycling, skiing, etc. When fully zipped, it has a high neck that can protect the bottom of the face. I would highly recommend this jacket as your go-to cold weather running choice. You really only need one quality item like this, so why not get the best?

Next, I’ve got the Incendiary 1/4 Zip Pullover (MSRP: $70). This is a wicking base layer that is designed to be worn against the skin to generate heat. This is designed to have a snug fit that does not impair mobility. In terms of aesthetics, I really love the length of this pullover. Some running tops can be short and hit just below my waistband. This one goes a few inches longer, allowing for greater warmth but also covering my butt, which no one needs to see anyway.

It is hard to tell from the picture, but there is a subtle striped design on this pullover, which gives it a unique flair. It also comes in green, bright blue and plum. In regards to size, this could fit me a bit tighter, so I should have gone with x-small, not small. Keep that in mind if you order.

This is my best effort to look like I am a magazine model since I will never be one.


Also pictured above are Eddie Bauer’s Movement Leggings (MSRP: $75). These running tights are comfy and allow for excellent mobility. There are no strangely placed seams that hit your lady parts awkwardly and painfully like the time I wore THESE.  While these tights are not, IMHO, designed for freezing cold weather, they do well in temps down to 25 or so degrees. If you need a pair of durable, wicking, machine-washable tights, these are for you.

Lastly, we’ve got the Power Stretch Beanie (MSRP: $16). This would be a great stocking stuffer. This is a lighter weight hat with a hole in the back for your ratty pony tail (well mine is ratty). It is warm, yet not heavy and fits snugly on the head. A bonus is that it’s got reflective tape for visibility and is machine washable.

Bottom line – quality performance wear with a stylish flair (like that rhyme?).

And, guess what? I just learned, everything at Eddie Bauer is 40% off today with free shipping!!



Disclosure: This was a sponsored post for Eddie Bauer, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Friday, December 5, 2014

What Only Runners Understand

Without going into detail, I’ve had some very tough things go on in my life this week.  For the first time in about 5 years I simply don’t have the heart or will to write a blog post.

I am always astounded at how life can throw things at you that shock and shake you to the core.

I am always amazed by how when this happens – you get very clear, very fast about what is important.

That said, I did write (what I thought was) a hilarious article for RunHaven this week (before the shit hit the fan). So, in lieu of a post on SUAR, go check that out (click on photo).


Tune in next week for a review on Eddie Bauer’s new line of performance/fitness/running clothing: First Ascent. Trust me, this is GREAT stuff.


Monday, December 1, 2014

8 Ways to Afford Fitness Gear This Winter Season

There are two types of weather people: those who like the changing seasons and those who don’t. Personally, I cannot imagine living some place where the weather is steady all year round. I love the variety that comes with changing temperatures and landscapes. Call me crazy, but I’d get bored with perfect 80 degree days every single day.

 That said, it can be more expensive to live where the seasons change. In Colorado it’s not as if I can wear the same running clothes in December that I wear in July (well I could, but I wouldn’t live to see the next July). Bottom line: a change of seasons means  a change of clothes. So, how can we keep from going bankrupt every time the temperatures drop and rise? Below are some ways to make your transition from wear to cold weather run a bit more affordable.

1. Pick quality over quantity (even if you have to do laundry more often). You simply need a few basic necessities for cold weather running – a good pair of tights, wool socks, a base upper layer, a windbreaker, gloves and a hat. 
2. Go with a dependable, stylish and affordable option such as Target® C9 gear.  I’ve been wearing this brand for years and find the gear to be comfortable and durable with no compromise on performance or quality. 
3. Get creative and frugal. Make your own arm warmers using a pair of long socks or use wool socks as mittens. Wear Vaseline on your face to protect your skin from the wind.
4. Use what’s already in your closet for layering purposes. If you have a good first performance layer, that is what really counts to pull the sweat off of your body (“wicking”), but keeps you warm.
5. Purchase items that have more than one purpose such as a hat that also can become a balaclava or a windbreaker with removable sleeves.
6. Make your fitness clothes last longer by letting them air dry rather than using the dryer. In the winter air drying also reduces static and can be easier on your electric bill.  
7. Visit a  thrift store. This is a great option when you need clothes to hang out in prior to beginning a race, because you can just discard them when you begin running and warm up.
 8. Shop end of season sales. While it might be a bit late to do this for the 2014 to 2015 winter season, make a note at the end of February to start keeping an eye out for discount clothing for next year’s cold weather running season. Target® C9 has some great online and in-store close out deals.

Do you have any tips for affording winter running gear? Do you prefer to live in a multi or one season climate?


 Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9 all opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What Happened Today at Mile 4

I am a bit obsessive about the weather. I think when you run outside in the winter you kind of have to be.

However, unfair = when the weather does something that your iPhone or local meteorologist did not warn you about. If anyone lives in the Denver area and ran this morning you know what I mean.

I have lived in Colorado for 20 years. I know the weather changes quickly and drastically. We have a saying here that is so overused I roll my eyes every time I hear it: “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”

I am usually pretty damn prepared. But, this morning? What the f&ck with the f&cking fast temperature drop? F&ck!

Ken and I started out on an innocent 6 mile trail run. The temperature was 58 degrees and sunny. Little wind. I wore shorts and a t-shirt, so did he.

I knew the weather was going to cool off later in the day – into the 30s by 3pm. NBD. By that time I’d be lying on the couch under a blanket.

We hit the turn around point at three miles of climbing. The wind was starting to pick up, but it was still sunny. I felt kind of cold, but nothing worth bitching about.

Mile 4. It all changed. I could feel the air turn from cool to freezing. I knew we only had a couple of miles to go, all downhill, which on trails can take a bit.  The wind picked up even more. The freezing air became arctic. My exposed head, arms and hands HURT. Like, really HURT.

We kept descending into the extreme wind. I am not a pussy when I run. I try not to complain. But by the time we had 1.5 miles to go I was on the verge of a breakdown.

I momentarily stopped to see if I could somehow shelter my arms and hands for a minute. Ken came up behind me and said, “Don’t stop. We have to keep moving. Just GO!”  By all the drama involved you would have thought we were caught in a burning building and only had 2 minutes to get out.

I swear that last mile we descended 800 feet in about 8 minutes. I was hopping over roots and rocks like my life depended on it. It was brutal.

We jumped in the car cussing, rocking back and forth, carrying on. These are the times that make you closer as a couple –> NOT. I looked at the temperature:


What the hell had happened in an hour? We went from 58 degrees to 22 degrees. Wind chill was probably –100.

Yes, today I learned some lessons.

1. Saying “f&ck” while you run does not make you any less cold.

2. This is not an outfit for 22 degree weather.


3. When it is that cold and you are that desperate you couldn’t give a crap if your nose is running.


4. It does not help to try to put your entire hands and arms into your shirt while running downhill. That, in fact, is a recipe for disaster.

5. Carry arm warmers and gloves and a down coat and a space heater and a stove and cup ‘0 noodles…just in case.

Ever been ULTRA unprepared for the weather on a run?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy T’Giving…and You Might Learn Something New About Me!

Ken and I started our Thanksgiving the best way – by doing a double date 10 mile trail run with our friends, Tom and Joie (sorry, for whatever reason I have no pictures of them. Maybe they are my imaginary friends because I don’t have any friends).

It was windy and the trails were very icy and snow packed in places, but I couldn’t have been happier.

photo 1

Longs Peak.

photo 2

No-shave November and his woman who has a large as shit hamstring:

photo 3

Happiness is new trail shoes.

photo 4

So, I stole this off of HRG’s blog, but I thought it was  fun little survey. I love these because I always learn things about other people I didn't know.

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

1. Hon (Ken calls me this always. I hate it when he calls me “Beth.” I feel like I’m in trouble).

2. Mommy (my 17 year old calls me this when he needs something).

3. Bitch (other drivers on the road call me this)

4. Bethie (best friend Erika calls me this)

Four jobs I’ve had:

1.  Cashier – 7-11 (don’t be jealous. It’s really fun to come home smelling like a big bite)

2.  Black Jack dealer (perhaps the coolest job I’ve ever had)

3.  Waitress (too many times to count)

4. House cleaner

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

1.  Forrest Gump

2.  Airplane

3. Christmas Vacation

4.  Christmas Shoe

Four books I’d recommend:

1.  Gap Creek

2.  Finding Ultra

3.  The Tender Bar

4.  Power of Now

Four places I’ve lived:

1. Chicago, IL (I was born there. Lived there until I was 5)

2. Athens, Greece

3. Paris (France, not Texas)

4. Columbia, MD

Four places I’ve visited:

1. Costa Rica

2. Loch Ness (northern part of Scotland where the monster is)

3. Jerusalem

4. Istanbul 

Four things I prefer not to eat:

1. Dog food  

2. Dog poop

3. Jelly donuts

4.  Bleach

Four of my favorite foods:

1.  My mom’s chicken and dumplings

2.  Avocados

3.  Chipotle bowl

4. Eggs Benedict

Four TV shows I watch

1.  Biggest Loser

2.  True Detective

3.  Walking Dead

4.  Survivor

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

1.  Christmas with Antoni, our exchange student

2.  Doing my first ultra (maybe?)

3.  Teaching a parenting class at the YWCA

4.  Playing Cards Against Humanity because I never have

Four things I’m always saying:

1.  I farted

2.  I’m cold

3. At the end of the day…(just kidding, I hate that expression)

4.  Please put your damn dishes in the dishwasher


Your turn. Consider yourself tagged and let me know a bit more about you (in the comments or leave a link to your blog post).

Have an incredible Thanksgiving!

She clearly had too much turkey. Why can't dogs pace themselves?