Friday, February 27, 2015

9 Reasons It Might Be Hard to Sleep After Your Long Race/Run

I remember before my first marathon (Arizona Rock ‘n Roll in 2009 <- this race recap was my first blog post ever!) I read something about how difficult it is to sleep the night after a long race. I thought that had to be a load of crap because I figured after running 26.2 miles you would want to sleep into next year. Plus, everything you read tells you to sleep a ton after a marathon to aid in recovery. So, what’s the eff’ing deal?

As time has gone on and I’ve run my share of long races and what feels like a bazillion long runs, I’ve realized a trend. It is tough for me to settle in and sleep in a totally relaxed state the night after I put in a bunch of miles.

I thought about this conundrum a lot on Wednesday night as I lay in bed fidgeting and unable to get into a deep snooze. This was several hours after having run 16 miles (would it help if I turned off the light?).


I decided to get to the bottom of this with hopes of educating myself and maybe even you. So, why does this occur? Obviously the body is tired. Is it the mind that keeps us unsettled?

There is not much research on this (leading me to believe maybe I am the only one with this problem). What I found mostly came from running forums such as Runners World, Hal Higdon, etc.

1. This restlessness could be because you are wired and your metabolism is revved up.

2. Leg fatigue can lead to some discomfort. I already have the beginnings of what I think is RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome), so this might come into play somehow.

3. You may be so excited/depressed/frustrated/consumed by your performance that you lie awake ruminating.

4. Dehydration can lead to insomnia. Maybe you’re not getting enough fluids before/during/after runs. Dehydration can also cause an increased heart rate, which can make it tougher to sleep.

5. Not eating enough calories can contribute to restlessness and inability to sleep. Typically I take in the most calories the day after a long run or race and not the day of. I should work on this. Carbs especially will be helpful.

6. It is possible the long run pace is too fast. Pushing too hard can screw things up in the body.

7. If you run late in the day, your core temperature may still be too high causing restlessness and discomfort. Gels with caffeine can carry quite a punch, so watch those.

8. Legs can actually have the sensation of still running (kind of like feeling like you are still on a boat when you get off).

9. Melatonin, a hot bath, white noise or sleeping in a cool room might help.

Anyone else have trouble setting down after a long run? What helps?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You’ve Been Waiting for It…

You are welcome in advance for this video review of the Clif Organic Energy Food: Pizza Margherita! I told you guys I would be trying and reviewing this product. A reader gave me a great idea to do it via video. Genius.

I don’t do videos often (something about watching myself back makes me squirm), but I I hope you enjoy me in all of my sweaty, non-make up glory.

If you want to get right to the review…fast forward through my sob session about my 16 mile run (go to about 2:10). If the embedded video doesn’t work/load, try THIS LINK.



These products were sent to me by CLIF Bar, but all opinions and facial expressions are my own.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Waking Up Half Naked In A Denny’s Parking Lot

I am being a baby and a RP (Running Procrastinator) right now. Because of this:


After a few days of being spoiled and running in shorts, I am now back to bundling up and having my ass freeze. I am reminded of this profound cartoon.

Everyone everywhere is complaining about weather. This happens every year, every season. “WTF! It is snowing in Colorado in February!” “WTF! It is 90 degrees in Florida in June!”

I say, “WTF!! I can see why you are so surprised the weather is doing exactly what you know it does every year!” (Okay, I’ll give a pass to those of you in Kentucky. And Boston. My apologies. Will you thaw out by the marathon?).

So, I can put off my ass freezing for a few more minutes, I will tell you about my weekend.

  • I turned 48. Happy birthday to moi.
  • Emma and exchange student Antoni sang me happy birthday while playing their ukuleles. Best gift on the planet.


  • The Spaniard wrote “Happy Birthday” in the snow


  • The group I coach (Fast Forward Sports) and myself did 3 x 3 miles at half marathon pace on Saturday. It hurt.
  • We played 2 hours of Cards Against Humanity. Got to love a game that has cards like this:


  • I tried Wal-Mart To Go. You know – the service that delivers your groceries. Yes, I will run marathons, but am too lazy to go to the grocery store. This service ROCKS. Free delivery for 3 months. Cheap prices. If you are like me and hate the Wal-Mart shopping experience (butt cracks galore, screaming children), but love the prices, this is the option for you (this is not a sponsored post, I just like the service).


  • We watched 3 episodes of Homeland Season 3.
  • I received my first pair of non-black running tights (Under Armour).

imageThis is not me

  • I finished this book. Love.

  • I educated myself about Israel culture/history for my upcoming trip. So much amazing history that my brain is on fire.  I learned (among other things) that breast milk is kosher but only if taken directly from the breast and if the child is under the age of four.

Wow. All those bullet points. What a weekend.


Tell me one random thing about your weekend?

What’s the last book you read?


Thursday, February 19, 2015

7 Tips to Survive Your Long Runs (and Feel Pretty Damn Good)

A couple of weeks ago I was minding my own business, training for the Canyonlands Half Marathon on March 21. I was putting in about 30 miles per week and doing long runs in the 10 mile range. I had no marathon on my agenda, and wasn’t especially sure I wanted one.

Then, this happened. I fell over myself saying “yes” because who wouldn’t want to run a marathon in Jerusalem? If I have to crawl over the Wailing Wall I’ll do it, while wailing.

I want to ramp up my mileage but I’m not stupid. You can’t and shouldn’t train for a marathon in four weeks. So, what to do? I decided that I’d do three longer runs (14 miles, 16 miles, 18 miles), keep weekly mileage around 35 to 40 miles and call it good. This will give me a 10 day taper. I’ll be sufficiently undertrained and will suffer on race day. But, I will be in Jerusalem for crap’s sake.

Yesterday I went out for 14 miles. I kept the pace pretty chill. I stopped at mile 9 at my friend’s house for water. No one was home so I stole a bunch of Girl Scout cookies and short sheeted the bed.  I remembered to flush because no one likes to come home to a floater.

This is what I would look like if I was bald (and didn’t wear make up every day and never tweezed my eyebrows).


The run felt good until mile 12 when it didn’t feel good anymore. My legs hurt. I haven’t run that far since my Ironman in August (if you could even call that running). My lower body was pissed. At mile 12 I put music in to take my mind off of things. My newest favorite song = Mess is Mine by Vance Joy.

While I was running I had shit ton of time to think about long runs and how we can make them the most comfortable and successful as possible.  Here’s some thoughts:

1. Eat enough before. My rule of thumb is this equation. .5 x my body weight x #of hours before I run = grams of carbs I need. This translates to .5 x 112 x 1 hour = 56 carbs (or 28 grams if I’m running in a half hour).  That is Algebra VII. I ate two pieces of toast slathered with avocado and a fried egg.

2. Use music as a reward. I love running with music but I don't want to be dependent on it. For that reason, I do some runs without tunes. For really long runs and races, I’ll listen to music for the second half if I’ve been a good girl. I won’t listen to music in Jerusalem because I don’t want to block out one minute of the experience. Plus, I wonder what “GO BETH” or “Looking strong!” sounds like in Hebrew.

3. Drink to thirst. While I try to take in 4 ounces ever 15-20 minutes, my thirst obviously depends on weather and how much I sweat. I try to listen to my body on this one.

4. Take in 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour. The amount you consume depends on your size. I do about 30 grams. I ate an Apple Pie Clif Shot at mile 7 (highly recommend), Girl Scout cookies at mile 9 and a few cherry Shot Bloks at mile 12.

5.  Go by feel not pace. I used to do all of my long runs at a set pace (a minute or so slower than marathon pace). The problem with that is that there are so many varying conditions like weather, being hungover, etc. that it doesn’t work to stick to a certain pace.

Instead, I try to ignore my watch and go based on feel. I keep myself at pace where I could easily carry on a conversation (when running alone I just converse with myself the whole time) and a pace where I can’t hear my breathing (no, I’m not dead, but I just can’t hear myself doing any heavy breathing).

6. Have a mantra. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it really helps. My favorites are “can’t stop, won’t stop” and “enjoy the mile I’m in,” and “I am strong, I am tough.”

7. Eat protein/carbs within approximately 24.2 minutes after having finished your run. This will rebuild your destroyed muscles, restore glycogen and help you recover faster. The idea ratio is 4:1 carb to protein. I came home around lunch time so I feasted on leftover pulled pork, mac ‘n cheese and sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Looks like hell on a plate, but it rocked my world.


Looking forward to trying this on my next long run (well, I’m not really looking forward to it, but I will be a guinea pig and try it so I can tell you how it is):


Any other tips for the long run?

What is your mantra?

How far was your last long run?



PS: Speaking of long runs, my dear friend Erika is training for her first marathon. She is doing this to raise money for an organization called Children’s Treehouse that supports children whose parents have cancer. PLEASE consider a donation to her cause and check out her blog here: A Marathon for Children’s Treehouse.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Hung-Over Run

I am going to go out and a limb and assume that I am not the only one who has ever run with a hang over.

I don’t really recommend it because it is a miserable undertaking. Also, it’s just plain dumb. You feel like crap and you are dehydrated and you might end up asleep in a crosswalk (do you love the bottom of my shoes?).


Thankfully hangovers are a rare thing for me. I’m too old for this shit.

On Saturday night we went to a couple’s Valentine’s Day party. There was an open bar (dangerous) complete with a bar tender found on Craigs List. He was a nice man although he did have crazy eyes that went in different directions. I alternated which eye I looked at every time I ordered a glass of wine.

Ken and I pretended we were at Prom. Get a room!

valentines 008

I am not sure what is going on here, but it looks fun.

valentines 030

Our partners in crime for the evening.

valentines 014

There was a ton of dancing to the songs middle aged people like. We really get excited when Love Shack came on. I was accused of dancing like a white woman who thinks she is a gifted dancer, but in fact has no rhythm or natural ability. Just like my running.

valentines 039

OMG! That was so much fun…until 7:00 a.m. Then it wasn’t fun anymore. At all.

Ken and I had planned a long trail run for Sunday. I was going 14 miles, he was going 10. That is hilarious.

Me: This is going to be awful and torturous
Ken: I might puke. Or take a nap on the side of the trail.
Me: Please don’t puke. I’m really not up for that. Or at least go way off the trail.
Ken: My legs are shaking.

We got to the trailhead and I spent a considerable amount of time sitting on the pit toilet. I hate pit toilets with a passion, but I just wasn’t moving that quickly. I sat there terrified that something was going to come up from the depths of the toilet and bite my ass. I wondered how the powers that be keep animals out of these toilets. You think very profound things when you are hung over.

We started running and it was amazing. It was the distinct feeling of running through molasses and quicksand with weights on your feet. 14 miles seemed more impossible than doing my next marathon on Mars (or in Jerusalem). I started to re-evaluate. Perhaps I could run fewer miles and do 14 later in the week? I mean, was I really getting any decent fitness running under these conditions?

In the end we covered 8 miles and climbed 811 feet.  At the top point is where enough was enough already.


I spent the entire time thinking about a huge egg sandwich and a nap.


Enough about me. Let’s make this post educational.

Tips for Running with a Hang Over

  • Shut up and run. Sweat out the toxins, baby! Oxygen increases the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down, so get outside. Running may even release some endorphins to boost your crappy “why the hell did I do that” mood.
  • Coffee. That is all.
  • Poop. Try to clean the pipes beforehand. Like me on the pit toilet. This will hopefully cut down on GI distress while running. While running, fart and burp as much as possible. Get it out.
  • Drink Nuun. I have no scientific evidence for this, but replacing some electrolytes and fluids is a good idea. I love Nuun because it is fizzy and not too sweet. It was the ultimate in refreshment on Sunday morning. Regardless if it’s Nuun or not, hydrate well before you even start.
  • One word - eggs. Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to reverse liver damage caused by a night of debauchery.

I hope you learned something today.

Thoughts on running hung-over? Ever done it?

What did you do for VD?



Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Almost Won the Power Ball Jackpot

I want you to know I almost won the $500,000,000 Power Ball. I had 2 of the 6 numbers right. Oh, so close.


I asked the woman who I bought my ticket from to make sure it was a winner. Bitch. I think she didn’t give me a winning ticket because of that time I farted in her store. True story. Read it here.

The thing I love about playing the lottery, which is something I rarely do, is that it allows me to fantasize. I spent more time than I care to admit yesterday thinking about what I would do if I won. I heard one time that fantasizing in this way enables you to get in touch with what is really important to you.

If that is the case, then what is most important to me is  putting a gigantic new back porch on my existing house that would afford me a sweeping view of the Rocky Mountains, paying for college for my kids, their friends, my friends’ kids and my nieces and nephews, doing one marathon each year in a new country, having a second home where I could fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing, drinking La Crema chardonnay every night and spreading the love around to various charities.

I also wouldn’t mind buying this old, closed down gas station/convenience store (about 2.6 miles from my house – I know that because I know the mileage of every running route around here) and turning it into a kick ass coffee shop/snack store. It would be chock full of Stinger Waffles, chews, home made scones, breakfast burritos, sports drinks and rich, dark fresh brewed coffee with real half and half.  Maybe I would sell wine and beer too. Just for the hell of it.

I might even start a running radio show from this gas station where people could call in for running advice and tell their running stories.

This gas station used to be a stop for runners and cyclists on their way to the back roads of Boulder County. In fact, it is where they had a bathroom tip jar to help offset the costs of toilet paper and Lysol (and many visits from the plumber – damn runners and their pooping). I wrote a post about that tip jar way back when I first started running (2010). That bathroom saved me a bazillion times when I couldn’t make it the 2.6 miles home without soiling myself.

Dreaming is fun.

Finish this sentence…If I won the Power Ball, I would ______________.



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Do “Slow” Runners Ruin Marathons?

Thanks for all of your enthusiasm about my upcoming trip/marathon. Shabbat shalom! Holy land here I come!

I got a comment on my last post – someone who considers herself a “slow” runner. She wondered if it bothered me to have slower runners in a race. She read some article awhile back about slower runners “ruining” races.

From the Google searching I have done, I think this must be the article she is referring to (New York Times, October 2009): Plodders Have a Place, But Is It in the Marathon?

{Disclaimer: I am not a fast runner. I am an average runner. I have good and bad races. My typical marathon time ranges from 3:40 to 4:00. That means I’m right in the middle of “fast” and “slow.”}

First of all, I’m not sure anyone – runner, walker or run/walker wants to be called a “plodder.” That sounds like someone who wears shoes that are too big and stomps down the street like a clumsy donkey. Certainly not someone who can cover 26.2 miles.

In the words of one cross country coach cited in the article: “It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours. It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’” 

Hmmm…judgey at all?

Indeed average marathon times are getting slower as the overall number of marathoners increases. I attribute the rise in runners to marathon fever – running is infectious much like the flu. If you have a friend or family member who has the bug, you can quickly and unknowingly contract it too.

We also live in a country where we are constantly being reminded of how fat and unhealthy we are. Running a marathon is the ultimate “eff you” to being unhealthy. It represents choosing a goal and accomplishing something that was once thought to only be for the most elite of athletes.

If having the goal of running a marathon makes someone’s life better, then they should do it. Maybe it helps you lose weight or bring you out of the depths of depression. Perhaps you become a better parent or spouse when you take on the marathon goal. Maybe running and training for a marathon is the one thing that keeps you from taking that drink that would send you into a downward spiral.

Who are we to say what constitutes doing a marathon the right way? I don’t recall it being in the Bible or the Constitution that you had to RUN the entire marathon. You just have to cover the distance.

Yes, it it is assumed that marathons are to run, but why the hell do I even care? I have my own goals for my own race, which means to run the whole thing in a certain period of time. As long as I don’t have a million walkers blocking my way I couldn’t give a rat’s ass.

Lastly, who is to say that just because you walk your first marathon and it takes you 6 hours, that you won’t one day run the whole marathon in 4 hours? We all have to start somewhere.

I have to wonder if “faster” runners feel the marathon is being watered down and made less of an accomplishment if some people choose to walk most of it. I stand by the fact that we all need to have our personal goals of what it means to accomplish the race. Just because Runner #1 finishes in 3 hours and Runner #2 finishes in 5 hours doesn’t mean they both didn’t accomplish something monumental.

That said, I don’t think finish lines should be open all day. There should be cut off times. Regardless of how fast you do it, I believe the marathon is supposed to be a push and the ultimate challenge throughout. With a time deadline, this “push” is encouraged.  Also, runners should be in the proper corral for their pace.

Just my .02¢

Do you think slower runners “ruin” marathons?

Where do you fall on the fast/slow spectrum?

What are your thoughts on cut off times?


Friday, February 6, 2015

I Just Found Out I’m Traveling 6,873 Miles to Run a Marathon

What city is 6,873 miles from Denver? You don’t know this off the top of your head?


Earlier this week, I was invited by the Israel Government Tourist Office to run the Jerusalem Marathon on March 13. Yes, like in 34 days. I’ll be running and “covering” this event for the blog . I’ll travel around the country to some historical sites and will have the chance to lend a traveler’s spin to this blog.


Jerusalem is a special place to me. When I was 15, my brother and I were part of a “pilgrimage” to Israel. We got to visit Bethlehem, the Old City, Masada, the Dead Sea and many other historical spots. It was my first encounter with a camel (but not his toe) and the first time my taste buds experienced falafel.


Dave and me circa 1982. Hilarious. Farrah Fawcett would be proud of my hair.

Now, 32 years later, I will return in a much different capacity. I get to combine three of my most favorite things in the world: running, traveling and writing.

No, I am not in marathon shape. No, I do not care. Yes, I can cover the distance. No, it will not be fast. Yes, I will for the first time in my life carry a camera in a race and stop and take pictures. No, I will not stop in the middle of the course and cause a cluster f&ck. Yes, there will be selfies.

I am so overwhelmed by the potential of this experience. It has been my dream since I started running to do a marathon in another country. To be surrounded by this type of history and scenery is beyond amazing.

I think to myself: what is an aid station like in Jerusalem? Do they have hummus flavored GUs?  How about the porta potties? (my guess is they smell the same as they do here). What will the expo be like?

Jerusalem is about 37 miles from Tel Aviv, where the international airport is located. This ancient city is mountainous (Judean Mountains) and sits at 2,500 feet. It is nestled between the Mediterranean and the Dead Seas. As you know, the city is holy to three different religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, people! (5,000 years).

The marathon course is crazy hilly and boasts many twists and turns. Not a PR course for sure, but I will have many other things on my mind like the fact that I am running on 5,000 year old sacred ground. This is the fifth year for the marathon, which now includes 25,000 people from 54 countries (2,500 are foreigners). The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, is an avid marathon runner himself and typically does the race. I’m excited to have a briefing with him before the race!

Some say this is one of the hardest marathons in the world given all of the hills. I’ll let you know after I have a recovery soak in the Dead Sea (for real! It’s on the itinerary…I’ll never have a better post-marathon soak).

So, there you have it. Lots more to come, so I hope you can follow me on this adventure. 

I better get training because it is almost time to taper.

Have you ever run a marathon in another country? No

Do you want to? Yes. One of theses days (years) I will get to Athens and the Great Wall.


PS: I cannot thank the Israel Government Tourist Office enough for so generously sponsoring my travel, race entry and accommodations.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Showed That Blister Who’s Boss

Very rarely do I finish a long run and not have  story to tell. I am out there so freaking long there is ample time for all kinds of shenanigans.


This picture was taken in another life when it was not winter and  when it was warm and sunny and the birds sang.

Sometimes it’s some story about an emergency (usually of the bathroom variety – like this time I blew up a nice bathroom at a local cafe). Other times, I have some clothing malfunction or odd encounter (remember that time that guy got out of his car, turned towards me and just started peeing in the middle of the road?)

Sunday I ran 10 miles. It was snowy and slippery. But, that is beside the point and not really a part of this story. Except that I like to put that in there because it makes me feel like more more a BAMF.

I got to about mile 3 and I had this hot spot on the bottom of my foot. It felt like a a blister forming, which is stupid because I never get blisters on the bottom of my feet. The pain got really bad and I could relate to people who drop out of races and cry due to stinking blisters. All for a small bubble on the skin filled with serum and caused by friction.

I had to get to the bottom of things.

I stopped, took off my shoe and sock (in the snow, mind you - BAMF) and saw a huge blister (or small bubble filled with serum) on the middle of my foot (look away if you’re squeamish. Don’t email me and bitch me out because this picture made you gag/throw up or ruined your day):


Yes, it’s true that thing has its own zip code. Just like your mama.

Anyway, WTF?  I never get blisters except the Herpes kind – up top, not down below. (You know you get those cold sores too. You might not know it but they are Herpes Simplex 1. It’s okay if you don’t want to admit you have Herpes, but I believe in full disclosure).

I looked at my removed-sock. Culprit. I had this hole the size of a quarter on the bottom of my sock. My naked foot was rubbing my shoe. This further confirmed my belief that socks are there for a purpose (remember that time I didn’t wear socks at the half Ironman and had to borrow some teenager boy’s socks at the aid station? Socks are important).

Side note: Man, I have a lot of stories. One of these days I’ll tell you about teaching a class the other night and farting in front of everyone by mistake. But, that is for another day.

Anyway, so here I have this hole in my sock and this painful angry blister on my foot. It is a good thing that we runners are problem solvers and improvisers. I took off my other shoe and sock (yes, now I am barefoot in the snow – BAMF) and traded socks. This meant that the hole was on my other foot and was in a better, tougher spot. I finished the run in 1:33. BAM!!

There are many morals to this story:

  • Never run in holy socks (unless they are the kind that have been blessed by the Pope)
  • Socks are important, but you need to know when to throw them away
  • A blister can ruin your day
  • Always lather your feet in some kind of lube - JIC (Just In Case)
  • You can take off your shoes and socks in the snow and not die
  • Most of us have Herpes
  • Teenage boys can be charitable sometimes
  • Socks wear out and need to be replaced
  • You can write a 500 word blog post about anything


Do you get bad blisters? Ever have to quit a run or race because of them?

What’s the craziest/worst thing that ever happened to you on a long run?

Blisters: are you supposed to pop/drain them?


Sunday, February 1, 2015

You Know You’re Addicted to Running When…

1. You enter a porta potty and you feel at home.

2. You plan your races around your menstrual cycle.

3. You wake in the middle of the night and look at the clock - it says 3:42. You automatically think of your marathon PR time.

4. You actually debate whether you should crap your pants during a race so that you can get your PR.

5. You’ve run out of sticker real estate on your car.

6. The voice mails you receive all say, “Sorry I didn’t get ahold of you. You must be out on a run.”

7. You critique other people’s running form while you are driving (even though your running form could use some work).

8. Before every trip/vacation you research what runs you will do.

9. For your birthday you ask for race entries, sports bras and massages.

10.You get a boner every time a new GU flavor comes out. Salted caramel? Root beer Float? Yes, please!

11. More than 2/3 of your laundry every week is running clothes. With skid marks.

12. You don’t take your dog on runs anymore because he/she can’t run that far.

13. You wear compression socks under your work clothes on recovery days.

14. You’ve stopped doing other high risk activities like skiing because you don’t want to get injured and not be able to run.

15. People tell you you have a running addiction.

16. You talk in acronyms, e.g. “I wanted to get my PR so I could BQ, but I ended up with a PW. At least I didn’t DNF.

17. You read running blogs.

18. You run even though you think you might be injured.

19. You deny you have a running addiction


Which ones apply to you? 1-9 and 10-19

Any others you’d like to add?