Sunday, March 29, 2015

Random Sh*t From My Week (in pictures)

1. You can cough so much that it feels like the hardest ab workout you’ve ever experienced. This is a re-enactment of the past 7 days. Has anyone else had this freaking cough?


2. There are actually vending machines geared towards us runners/cyclists. Brilliant. This machine outside of a bike store in Boulder has gels, Clif bars, Nuun, etc. (it looks like a prison for running fuel).


3. Taking a trail run in shorts and short sleeves after being sick all week was semi-orgasmic.


4. Chocolate can be incredibly beautiful and can be beer-flavored (see Avery and Lefthand chocolates to the left). I think those are chocolate turds on the right.


5. One photo from a friend can make your day (running Jerusalem marathon though the Old City with Teresa).


6. I can be the dog whisperer in my pajamas when I want to be.


7. Newton shoes have been somewhat redesigned. They are incredibly lightweight and comfortable (these are the Kismet model). More info on the technology of the shoe HERE.


8.  It is very easy to break a tooth while eating popcorn. Note to self: do not go to dentist again when you are having coughing fits. It is awkward (but at least I didn’t cough then fart in community acupuncture like my friend Clair).



Tell me one random thing about your week.

Ever tried Newtons? What shoe are you running in now? Brooks Pure Cadence are my favorite, but I am liking the Newtons. They take a bit of getting used to because of the platform/ledge.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Running Hurts Like Hell, But Why?

Running in Moab, Utah  last weekend (and despite being surrounded by beautiful mesas and canyons and rivers), I felt like dog crap. Not the type of crap that is speckled with colorful chunks (because your dog ate your crayons), but the icky non-rainbow stuff.

True, you would not know it from this picture below because this was probably in the first mile. The first mile of a race I can usually be counted on to look fresh as a daisy. Good posture. A smile for the camera. That is before my legs start screaming and the stomach cramps up.


Confession: I steal proofs. There is a special place in hell for me.

It is in the later miles that you can read the “God help me. I am over this - please let this be done so I can lay down and drink beer” expression on my face. That really is exactly what I was thinking. I always ball up my fists when I’m tired. Probably because I want to punch someone.


People tell me all the time that they don’t run because it is “too hard.” Let’s break this down. What does too hard really mean? Too hard on the body? Too mentally taxing? Too hard to breathe? All of the above?

Yes, running is  indeed one of the most intense forms of exercise one can do. That’s why it’s been shown to be extremely effective for weight loss. You get the most bang for your buck. Run for 30 minutes and you will burn about 300 calories. That’s about 30 M&Ms! Or, 42.85 cups of raw spinach (7 calories per cup, yo!).

I remember the days (not so long ago) when I wanted to be a runner, but couldn’t get past the aches, pains and urges to puke that consumed me every time I tried.

I knew nothing about pacing, building up mileage or resting. I would simply head out the door and start sprinting like a bat out of hell. I thought running meant moving like I was being chased by the Kenyans. Consequently, my heart would come out of my chest, my legs and lungs would be on fire and the bathroom was always too far away. Looking back, I know why this happened. My body was in shock.

The truth is, I now understand why new runners feel this way. The body is desperately trying to adapt to the physical stress. And, adapt it will if you give it time.

Here are some symptoms you might encounter as your body adjusts to your running regimen:

  • Itching – Your blood capillaries are waking up and filling with more blood than normal. This makes them expand and itch.
  • Burning muscles – This is caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Your muscles are letting your brain know that you are working hard.
  • Urge to poop (or fart or both) – Your insides get jostled like a washing machine when you run. Your blood goes to your muscles instead of your digestion. Your body is breaking down carbs, causing you to be gassy.
  • Inability to catch one’s breath – You are exhaling too fast to get all of the carbon dioxide (the “bad air”) out of your lungs. This has a snowball effect and leaves you breathless.
  • Side stitches – These are most likely caused by electrolyte depletion or the overuse of your diaphragm while you run.

Although these symptoms might be more acute when you first begin a running program, for some of us they never completely resolve. There is hardly a run that goes by that I don’t almost crap myself. While I no longer get side stitches and never had the itchiness (unless I was recovering from crabs), I do still feel my muscles burning and find myself gasping for air at times. I’m pretty sure the elites do too.

The key to minimizing your suffering is to ease in slowly. If you are coming back to running after a long hiatus or are a new runner, be patient. It takes time to build stamina and to create a foundation. Try running with periods of walking. Tell yourself that you will run for 10 minutes a day (or a few times per week) and add five minutes each week. Don’t forget to take recovery days. Be sure to eat and drink in a way that supports good health. Most of all, know that if you stick with it, running does get easier.

What’s the most annoying symptom you encounter while running? Cramps. Sometimes foot pain.

Do you have funky thing you do when you get tired while running? I ball up my fists and slouch over. It is a good look.


Source of info from: “What’s Up With That: Why Running Hurts Every Part of Your Body” (WIRED 12/2014).

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Canyonlands Half Marathon Race Report

I did not plan it this way.

Back in the frosty darkness of January, I signed up for the Canyonlands Half Marathon. I was coaching a group with Fast Forward Sports, most of whom were trying to get PRs at this race. I drank the Kool-Aid and figured what the heck I would go for a PR too. After all, it was supposed to be a  fast course (if you are a believer that any half marathon course could be fast). My PR is 1:47 something, so I figured I’d shoot for a 1:46:59 and call it good.

But then this little opportunity called the Jerusalem Marathon came my way and all was shot to hell. There was no way I could run Jerusalem, then a week later run a PR at Canyonlands. I wish I could pull that kind of trick out of my ass, but it was highly unlikely.  Add in jet lag and a lovely head cold that makes me sound like I really do live in Colorado and smoke weed every hour on the hour, and it wasn’t looking good.

What was looking good was the scenery. Good Lord I knew this was going to be one of those scenic races I had ever run. The road trip to Moab told me so.


I found this gem in Glenwood Springs, CO. My inner ten year old can never resist taking a picture with a “no dumping” sign. In college I even stole one of these signs and proudly displayed it in my apartment.


Everyone knows, however, that the best scenery is really my long finger toe (shout out to my friend, Sammi, who has the same toe. We are starting a support group called “TA.” Most people thinks that’s “Tits and Ass,” but it’s really “Toes Anonymous)”.


No, I’m not giving birth

Our hotel – the Red Cliffs Lodge – sat at the top of the canyon where the race would start – about 13 miles outside of Moab. I don’t know what I loved more  the views or the Bath and Body Works toiletries in the room. I am a sucker for quality toiletries. It’s the little things, my friends!


View from our room (yeah, so I just learned how to do pano on my phone):


Another view from the room:


After we drove the course and stopped by a local brewery for a beer (where a lovely older fellow from Alabama wished me all kinds of luck on my 16 mile half marathon and advised me that running does trash the knees. Thanks grandpa!), we had pasta dinner with the team and just one more glass of wine (this race was already shot to hell, why not push my luck?).


The gorgeous 37 degree race morning was the perfect chance to sport my sexy throw away sweater dress thing. It was actually my daughter’s at one point. I’m pretty sure you are supposed to wear pants with it.


The race started and so did I. Like a bat out of hell. First mile I was like, “Damn. I am on fire. I feel great. I might PR this mother f*&ker.” At the mile 2 marker I felt like dog shit and wondered how I would make it another 11 miles. That is not a good feeling.

I really had to dig during this race. I had nothing in the tank. I kept moving on and my splits weren't bad (8:30s mostly), but I had no pep whosoever. My legs simply did not want to go. Ever felt this way? It was ridiculously gorgeous, though. I mean, really.

I walked through every aid station and took a Clif shot at mile 6. This was one of those races where I kept setting goals. Get your ass to mile 6 and you are almost half way. Get to mile 8 and you can walk for a second and drink water. Get to mile 10 and it’s only 3 miles, less than 30 minutes. Get to mile 12 and hell, you are practically there. For the last photo op I tried to do one of those leprechaun heel kicks and almost killed myself. True story.

I was hurting by the end. In the last mile I could see the finish line and I was so dead I actually stopped and pretended to tie my shoe. Pride. I couldn’t have run any further that day.

I met my goal of finishing under 2 hours – 1:56. I could not believe this was good enough for 10/110 in my old lady (45-49) age group! My friend Sylvie won our age group with a speedy 1:40! Girl’s got some wheels.


Another reason to love this race? Moab Brewing is at the finish. You get not one, not two, but THREE beers (I only had one or I would have face planted in the banana pile).


Another race in the books. If you are looking for a fast race with amazing scenery and gorgeous weather, this is the one for you (although I hear we lucked out on the weather. It can be cold and windy).

Funny story – last night Ken was asking me what time the winner did the race in. I looked it up on my phone and told him the guy did it in 1:09 and was from the city of Moverall. Where the hell is “moverall,” I asked? Moverall is nowhere because it stands for MALE OVERALL. Haha. I crack myself up at how dumb I am sometimes.

Now I am full blown sick. That’s what I get for over-extending myself. Totally 100% worth it.

Did you race this weekend?

If not, when is your next race?

What’s the most scenic race you’ve ever done?


Friday, March 20, 2015

Israel: Top 13 Photos

Being the good tourist I am, I took 5 million pictures of everything from cereal boxes to the Western Wall. So, I shall pick out on the best and most intriguing of my photos to share with you (these don’t  include Jerusalem marathon photos. For those, go to my race report HERE).

1. Putting my hand on the spot where Jesus put his hand almost 2,000 years ago (station #5 on the Via Dolorosa). Acquiring (in one second) the germs of 9 million people from around the world.


2. Leaving a wish in the Wailing/Western Wall. Better than a birthday cake and candles. What did I wish for? A better butt, of course.


3. Hello. I am a tourist.


4. I was intrigued by the “security fence/wall” that separates the country (mostly the West Bank is cut off) into two pieces (422 miles total – some fence, some wall). 13 years old, this wall costs about 260 million per year in maintenance alone. There are conflicting views about this wall. In 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered it as a measure to protect Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers. Israeli sources say it has stopped terrorism by 96%. (if you look closely at this picture in the top left, you can see the wall).


5. Rubbing Dead Sea mud on my body and those bodies of my counterparts, who are all really out of shape. #dontmindrubbingotherpeoplesbodies


Patrice, Dax, Teresa, Adam, me

6. Getting the best lamb schwarma in the universe from this over-enthused and bad ass young man.


7. My skinny-ass floating in the Dead Sea. You really float. Like, with no doggy paddling or anything. It is crazy.


8. Drinking on the tour bus. What? When you have a DD (designated driver) you need to embrace it


9. Finding canine love in Tel Aviv. Trying to make my Heidi back home jealous so she misses me more.


10. Eating my face off at every.single.meal. This might help with #2 (not #2 as in “poop” but #2 picture in this list).


11. Catching air on the coast of the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv/Jaffa. This only took 49 tries.


12. Taking a trip to the local grocery store and being mesmerized that they have Trix (I thought they were just for kids, but they are for Israelis too!):


13. Viewing the vastness of the Dead Sea and the Judean desert from the infamous Masada.


I could go on for days about this trip, and I have.

I don’t quite know how to encapsulate it all or how to adequately express the experience. Suffice it to say that Israel now has a piece of my heart and I have a true fondness for the country and its people. I felt brave leaving my cozy and safe home and venturing to this unknown place alone. What I quickly realized is that I was never alone. I made life long friends and was embraced by the people of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I always felt welcome and I always felt safe (even often surrounded by groups of security men/women with machine guns).

The world feels a bit smaller to me now. An Instagram picture immediately travels 7,000 miles and is “liked” or viewed by friends within seconds. A Face-Time call to my family in the middle of the night Israeli time puts me at my spot at the dinner table with my family. A sleepless night spent on an airplane over the Atlantic has me waking up in a different world, but with people who are just people like me, one way or another.

Well, since I don’t sit still for long, today Ken and I leave for Moab, Utah for the Canyonlands Half Marathon, which is tomorrow.

Food for thought:

Would you rather travel the world for free your entire life (flights, hotels) or have $200,000 added to your bank account right now?


For more fun and updates, follow me on Instagram HERE.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 Jerusalem Marathon Race Report


I had this really weird dream last night that I went to Jerusalem and ran a marathon. Not only that, but I  traveled with 15 other “strangers” who quickly became life long friends. Too bad this type of thing doesn’t happen in real life…or does it?

It was February 3, 2015 (5 weeks pre-marathon) when I got the most random and intriguing email of my life:


I thought it was a joke. All expenses paid to run in the Holy Land? Yeah, right. I actually emailed back asking if it was a joke and saying it wasn’t very funny. Nope, no joke.

While I’m no super hero, I am glad I’m in the type of shape where I can pull a marathon out of my ass at the last minute if I have to. It certainly wouldn’t be pretty, but I could manage it. I could have run the half or even the 10K but there was no way I was traveling 7,000 miles and not running 26.2 full miles. Give me a challenge and I will take it every.single.time.

I don’t know where to begin with any of this, so I’ll start with the race itself. Many people have asked what my favorite thing was from the trip. Hands down, it was the race. This marathon combined all that life is and should be about: pushing one’s limits,  being present, connecting with others and feeling plain and simple joy.

The expo:

Who knew that an expo in Jerusalem was strangely similar to an expo in for any race, with some Hebrew thrown in. Lots of samples, stuff for sale, photo ops.


Me and my partner in crime, Teresa. I’m glad I got my lunging done the day
before the marathon because after the race my quads were toast.


The cool kids: Adam, Teresa, moi, Heather, Lorraine and Dax.
We thought we were pretty bad ass with our press passes.

The night before:

I have never been so unprepared or done so many stupid things before a race. From only getting three hours of sleep to stuffing my face with all sorts of wonderful dishes that could certainly foreshadow crapping one’s pants, to drinking wine – I decided to be a rebel and accept the mantra “do everything NEW on the night before race day” just to see what would happen.

I did manage to lay out my clothes. Some people asked where my shirt was. I decided not to wear a shirt because it just gets in the way. I figured the spectators would understand.


Can you spy the long finger toe in this picture? Yeah, it traveled to Jerusalem as well.

Race morning

I first did the obligatory hotel room in the mirror selfie.


There were only four of us running the full marathon out of our group: me, Teresa, Dax and Adam. We met at 6:15 a.m. to walk to the start (7:00 a.m.). The weather was perfection: 45 degrees, no wind, deep blue skies.


The crew. Adam needs to lose some weight. Teresa needs to cheer up.
Dax needs to look at the camera. I need to find a bathroom.

Teresa and I settled in around the 4:30 group. We were going for a PW (personal worst) time because that’s why you do when you are under trained and hoping to take pictures, meet friends and enjoy every step (40,000 in all?)


There were not a lot (or any) porta potties at the start, so people took things (literally) into their own hands.


We started running and Teresa was not excited.


She must have a really big thumb (see below. I could have cropped it out, but I thought it was funny). I’m not sure what I doing here. Raising the ceiling? :


I have never run and tried to take pictures at the same time, so I have a lot of these now:


We ran by our hotel:


Before the race someone told us there were only 4 hills. Hmmm…I’m counting exactly 21. Jerusalemmarathonelevation

Here is where I tell you that this course is no joke. I mean just look above. Do you see any flats? The answer is “no.” You are always either ascending or descending. I think the total gain was almost 1,900 feet, which is pretty bad ass for not even being on a trail and running over mountains. Jerusalem, you and your hills are impressive.


On top of Mt. Scopus following a wicked climb. I know you think you can see the outline
of my nipples, but those are just my gels stuffed in my bra. Don’t get too excited.

Mile 15 or so and this was our favorite aid station by far. Yes, those are fresh veggies and hummus. There was also a coffee urn. I stuffed my face with some of those pickles.


There were about 25,000 people running this race (all races combined). I am guessing about 7,000 of those were marathoners. The U.S. is the most highly represented country after Israel. This is only the fifth year for the race and it grows exponentially each year.

There is a part of the course that actually goes through the Old City of Jerusalem.


You run on cobblestone. This is the part where I kind of cried. It was just too surreal and overwhelming.


My video footage:

The support and spectating along the course was amazing. No shortage of water, well wishers or smiles. Below is a typical aid station. The water was all in short water bottles, which were opened for you when you grabbed them. Yes, all were recycled! GUs were served generously on the course.


Around mile 18, I was starting to peter out big time. Teresa was seeming amazingly peppy (#bitch), so I told her to go ahead. I started walking some of the hills. My legs were screaming. The finish came after another long hill (see above), which is mean but probably the only correct way to end a marathon this challenging.


I came into the finish about 15 minutes behind Teresa, but we quickly reunited.



Shortly after the finish we ere interviewed by ESPN Latin America. American girls in Israel interviewed by an Argentinian #oneworld.


Along the way I thought a lot about how this marathon differed from those I’ve done in the states:

  • No running skirts to be found (except mine)
  • The guys wear very short shorts. Not a bad thing.
  • There was hummus
  • Porta potties seemed scarce
  • Many fewer women than men (I think in the US it is the opposite)
  • Not many people listened to music
  • I only saw 2 women running in sports bras with no shirts. They were complete eye candy and stared at constantly.
  • No mile markers, only kms – duh!

But, really – the differences were minimal and trivial. I was once again reminded that running is the great unifier of people regardless of culture, age, religion, speed or ethnicity.

Yeah, so this was my slowest (non Ironman) marathon by far. But I earned every single step of that 4 hours and 37 minutes. I didn’t miss a thing. I suffered righteously without whining and in the best way possible. Every marathon brings unique memories and an astounding sense of accomplishment, but this one…well…it was literally out of this world. I could not have asked for a better day.


Do you want to run an international marathon some day? Where would be your dream place?

What’s the most challenging marathon you’ve ever done?

I am going to post at least once more about the sightseeing we did (Jerusalem, Dead Sea/Masada/Tel-Aviv). So, stay tuned in the days to come. And, if you are feeling wild, sign up for the 2016 Jerusalem Marathon HERE.


Disclosure: My trip was funded by the Israeli Tourism Board. All opinions are of course my own!