Thursday, June 25, 2015

How to Run in the Heat and Not Die

Quiet! Did you hear that? It’s the sound of runners complaining about the heat. Six months ago it was about the cold. We certainly are a predictable bunch of cyclical whiners, myself included.

photo (23)

Whine and moan all you like but be smart. Don’t take the heat lightly. Here are some tips to keep you running outside even in the hottest months.

  1. Run at 1:00 a.m.
  2. Steal a coffin from the local funeral home and fill it with ice. Plant it somewhere along your run for when you get overheated. I think ultra runner, Scott Jurek, did this at Badwater, so it is the hip thing to do.
  3. Soak your underwear in cold water, then freeze it. Wear it for your next run. Or, just stick ice packs down your pants.

In all seriousness, here are some tricks to try before you just shut up and run:

  1. Strip down. Wear as few clothes as you can without being arrested. Wear light colored, loose, wicking clothing.
  2. Run first thing, or after the sun starts to set. Avoid getting out there between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  3. Adjust your pace. Slow the heck down. Ideal running temperatures range from 50º-55º. For every five degrees above that, your performance can degrade 2%.  This means that if you are running in 75º  heat, your pace could slow up to 10%! Humidity might make it even worse. Don’t expect you can or will perform the same in the heat (from a study done at Team Oregon).
  4. Do 6 every 15. Try to take in at least 6 ounces of liquid (not including Bud Light) for every 15 minutes of running. Plan your routes where you can replenish your water, or hide it along the way.
  5. Think trees. Or, big buildings. Try to plan your route to include the most shade possible.
  6. Skip the beans and peanut butter. Avoid excess protein intake before and during the run. Protein metabolism produces extra heat (source).
  7. Run with your down coat. If you are planning a race in a hot and/or humid climate, try to acclimate first by mimicking race conditions the best you can. To develop and maintain acclimatization for a race in a warmer climate, assume that each layer of dry clothing or degree of coverage, (i.e. going from short to long sleeved shirt or from shorts to tights), is equivalent to 15 or 20 degrees in temperature (source).
  8. Replenish lost fluids and electrolytes after a run. Some people even weigh themselves pre- and post-run to gauge how much liquid they have lost. If you are doing especially long runs or are running for consecutive days in heat, add salt to foods and select foods high in potassium like bananas.

Where do you live? Are your summers to hot that running in the summer months poses a huge challenge? Colorado is generally pretty cool in the mornings for running.  A run before 8:00 a.m is perfect around here.

Do you have any tips for running in the heat that I haven’t mentioned?

Have you ever been severely dehydrated or had heat exhaustion/stroke from running in hot conditions? No. Knock on wood.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Back to Running & and the Perfect Summer Recipe (that I created!)

I am happy to announce that today I can finally walk down these without crying and cussing. It’s amazing how a staircase can become your personal walk in hell:


I can also sit on this gracefully instead of falling down on it because it hurts too much to squat. I am almost by mistake showing you my boob, but not quite.


Damn, that race on Saturday beat me up. Ken’s words, “I haven’t seen you like this since your first marathon (2009) when you waddled through the Phoenix Airport.” Okay, I didn’t waddle.

Today I was finally able to run again. My legs don’t hurt, but they are still tired. I’m trying to respect my body and take it easy on her for a bit.

That’s why I’m drinking rum and creating recipes. As you know I love to cook, but I am a recipe follower, not a recipe creator. I will say that when I was asked to create a recipe with Kenny Chesney’s new line of rum (Blue Chair Bay Rum), I agreed. You see, I am a closet Kenny Chesney junkie. Anything Kenny I will agree to.

Even dragging my kids to just a few of his concerts (2009).


Onto the recipe. Since Kenny is a fan of the island life, I thought it apropos to create a recipe with a tropical twist.

That’s how I came up with Grilled Caribbean Coconut Rum Shrimp with Lime Rice. I am not trying to be full of myself, but this recipe I invented kicked ass. I would even make it again and again. And if Kenny begged me to cook it for him, I might do that.

This is ALL you need (plus shrimp).


Grilled Caribbean Coconut Rum Shrimp:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum (the rum is not sweet at all)
Juice of one lime
2 tsp minced garlic
Dash of ground black pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled (about 30 shrimp)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Thread shrimp onto skewers (about 6 shrimp per skewer). Grill on medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side.

Lime Rice:
1 14 ounce can chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup white rice
Juice of one lime
1 tsp lime zest

In a saucepan, bring broth and rice to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Toss in lime juice and zest after rice is cooked.

Prep time: 20 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes.

Putting the raw shrimp on bamboo skewers.


Grilled to perfection:


Plated up and ready to consume:


The reason I loved the shrimp so much is that it had the perfect subtle taste of coconut – not too powerful, but there enough that the flavor came through. This was seriously good. Make it. Then come back and tell me about it.

So, there you have it.  I ain’t no Julia Child, but at least I tried.

Got a favorite easy summer recipe? Share it here!

What race has made you the most sore?


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Leadville Heavy Half Marathon Race Report (2015)

The 15.5 mile race I did yesterday was unlike any race I’ve ever done. Mostly because I ran up a mountain and back down again. What? You think I’m lying or embellishing like I usually do? Nope.


I’m not experienced at running up mountains or running above tree line up to 13,200 feet. I knew I could do it, but I also knew I would suffer. What I have learned about myself is that I don’t doubt my abilities to finish things, but I can be intimidated and fearful of the pain and fatigue.

Let me tell you how we lucked out with the weather. While it was a bit cold driving up in the morning (38 degrees), it warmed up to 50’s at the start. This is a heat wave for Leadville, Colo., also called the “icebox of the nation” – it sits at 10,200 feet. That’s not quite 2 miles high.


I was a bit nervous, but this one phrase kept coming into my head right before I started. “You were born to do this.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I chose to believe it.

Yeah, so I have NEVER been at a more beautiful start line. Pay attention to that 4wheeler to the left. You will see it later.


So, the gun goes off and if you reference the above course profile, you will notice there is no warm up time. You just start climbing your ass off from the get-go.

By mile one my lungs were screaming, my heart rate was insane and I was heavy breathing like your favorite porn movie. I had a moment of “No, f’n way. I don’t think I can do this.” But it passed. I settled into my strategy of walking the super steep parts and running where I could. This seemed to be what most others were doing too.

The first 3 miles were straight up and then we reached an aid station. I downed some Gatorade and immediately felt sick. I had read something that came to mind about running at super high altitudes. It said to not panic if you felt you couldn’t breathe and to expect you could throw up. If you know me, you know that I would rather eat my own turd than throw up. Fortunately the nausea passed.

The next 1.5 miles brought some relief – a nice easy downhill before we started climbing again. I hit the second aid station at 4.5 miles in about 48 minutes. Yes, I was working my ass off and doing about a 12 minute mile.

This is where the climbing really began.  The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was steep, rocky and at times like a river with all of the snow melt off. I found that I was staying with the same group. We must have all been matched perfectly for pace. You can see below the guy on the left. I named him Where’s Waldo in my head. I was near him for most of the race.


This is about the time that some guy in front of my let out the hugest fart. I mean, he didn’t even look behind him to see if he was farting on someone in a purple skirt. He just let it rip. I was like, “Dude, at least acknowledge it.” What I found was that the higher we got, the more gas I had. I was farting up a storm. They were silent, but I was kind enough to look behind me to make sure I wasn’t crop dusting anyone.

Do you ever notice you fart more on airplanes? I do, much to the dismay of my seatmates. But, I’ve learned that there is something called the ‘Tude Toots or HAFE (High Altitude Flatus Explosion). “The syndrome is strictly associated with ascent, and is characterized by an increase in both the volume and the frequency of the passage of flatus, which spontaneously occurs while climbing to altitudes of 11,000 feet or greater.” {source}

Do NOT say you never learn anything from reading this blog because I will CALL YOU OUT.

So, our journey continues. By this time we are nearing tree line (about 11,500 feet in Colo. I think). I want you to look closely at this picture. If you are not super old you might see people climbing the mountain in the snowy area (switchbacks).


As I looked ahead and saw this ascent all I could really do was put one foot in front of the other until I got to the top and murmur “What the f&ck” frequently.


At around 5.5 miles, I came to the next aid station. This was my first time being at an aid station above tree line. You cannot imagine how beautiful it was up there. I could not help snapping pictures. I really wanted to be competitive in my time for this race, but I kept telling myself that a few extra minutes was well worth it for the memories.

Hey, there’s the yellow 4-wheeler again.


Here’s me at the aid station. Tired but having the time of my life, really. And, I love aid stations with potato chips and M&Ms. And headlights.


We trudged on. And, when I say trudged, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. As we headed up the switchbacks, the trail narrowed considerably with snow on one side and a nice and steep drop off on the other. The trail was very rocky and the wind had picked up since we were so exposed. The temps dropped considerably and I stopped to put on my arm warmers.

We were in a line heading up. No one was running. It was impossible. At one point I looked down and saw I was doing a 30 minute mile. I felt like I was walking in slow motion through quick sand. My heart rate was so elevated, like it would be at the end of a 5K ,but I was moving at a snail’s pace. It was about this time that the front runners started coming back down, so we were now sharing this narrow, rocky trail.

Finally, we reached the summit. This picture does not do it justice. I wish I could have stayed up there longer but it was colder than a witch’s tit (notice the guy in the background in a down jacket and knit hat).


Then the fun part came. Time to run down. My goal was to not fall off the mountain and die. I tried to keep my pace up.

Before the race Ken asked me my goal. I knew the average finish time was about 4:15. I looked up what women in the 40 to 49 age group did last year. My “dream”was to come in top 5 in AG, and to do that I would need a 3:30. I told myself I’d be happy with 3:45.

As I got closer to the finish my legs were really taking a beating from all the downhill. I did some dissociating where I pretended I didn’t have legs and they didn’t hurt.

I ran into the finish, knowing I’d hit my goal.


I had a little party here, which no on cared about but me and Ken.


I crossed in 3:20. 6/55 in my age group and 39/255 women. I was crazy happy about that. 


Then the best part came. Beer and sitting ladylike.


Then this adorable b*tch stole my medal.


I am telling you, this was HARD, but in the best way possible. Today I cannot walk down steps or sit on the toilet, but I am exhilarated and cannot wait for more of these challenges.


Friday, June 19, 2015

17 Ways Running Is There for You

As humans we can come to rely on non-living stuff for support and guidance. While people might let you down and life may take many unexpected and heart breaking twists and turns, there are some constants that remain the same and are always available. Running is one of those.

Non-runners get confused why injuries are so tough on runners. People mistakenly believe that running is all about losing weight and keeping in shape. That is only a small part of what running is to runners. Even if you start running for fitness, you keep running for sanity. It is always there. When and if we can’t do it, we suffer. It becomes a lifeline and a way to gain perspective when things fall apart.

  1. Running is there for you when your heart is broken.
  2. Running is there for you when you lose a loved one.
  3. Running is there for you when you feel like a failure as a parent and need some perspective.
  4. Running is there for you after a stupid argument with your spouse or best friend.
  5. Running is there for you when you are crying so hard you can hardly see.
  6. Running is there for you when you listen to the news and start to once again feel despondent about the state of things.
  7. Running is there for you when  you are fighting addiction.
  8. Running is there for you when you are bursting with happiness.
  9. Running is there for you when you need a mental boost.
  10. Running is there for you when nothing has turned out how you thought it would.
  11. Running is there for you to make you feel strong.
  12. Running is there for you when your pet dies.
  13. Running is there for you when you need a do-over.
  14. Running is there for you when you are recovering from illness.
  15. Running is there for you when your house is a mess, when bills need to be paid and when the toilet is overflowing.
  16. Running is there for you when you lose a loved one and you feel life is over.
  17. Running is there for you when no one else is.

How has running helped you through tough times?


Monday, June 15, 2015

I Never Thought I’d Run In This

Remember I told you about that little race I am doing this upcoming weekend in Leadville, Colorado? (15.5 miles, 3,700 feet of climbing up a real live mountain). Here’s an update and photo I just got:

Attention Heavy Half Marathon Participants! We are hard at work shoveling through the incredible late season snow on Mosquito Pass for your race!


If there was ever a time to say “WTF,” it would be now.

I love running because you never know what the hell you are getting into. There are advantages to this scenario:

  • I can lie down and make snow angels when I am tired
  • It is the first time I will run in short with 4 feet of snow on either side of me (it’s supposed to be in the 60s that day)
  • No porta potty, no problem. I’ll just build a snow cave/igloo
  • I can write my name in the snow (hmmm..easier to do if you’re a guy. Or you have a Go Girl)

Last week was a decent training week, although I didn't et in the vertical climbing I wanted.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles – trail (500 feet climb)
Wed: 6.5 miles
Thursday: Rest/swim
Friday:  5.5 miles
Saturday: 12 miles (dirt road up to 8,500 feet – 1,200 feet climb)
Sunday: 4 recovery miles

Total: 32 miles


Magnolia Road outside of Boulder. Nathan Fire Catcher Race Vest.
Altra Trail Shoes. Shorts from Kohls – no joke they are awesome and $7.

I realize will will suffer on Saturday. I also realize it will be exhilarating, gorgeous and a confidence builder (or destroyer depending on how things go).

If you run on trail then you know there are times the trails are either too steep or too rocky (or both) so you have to power/race walk.  There is actually a skill to this. One that I do not possess. Here’s what I’ve learned.

  • Check your ego at the trail. It’s okay to walk
  • Keep cadence constant, stride short
  • Bend into the knees
  • Lean slightly forward, don’t hunch
  • Breathe
  • Don’t cry
  • Use butt more than quads/calf muscles
  • Fart for propulsion (I made that up but I think it might work)

Would you rather be hot or cold when you run? I think I’d rather be too hot. Cold destroys me.

What are the worst conditions you’ve ever run in for a race? Probably the Boulder 70.3 a couple years ago when it was 100 degrees by the time I started the half marathon.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Shut Up & Cook: What I Thought of Blue Apron

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile then you know I love to cook.  I’m pretty big on making meals from scratch at least six days per week. I’m also big on variety. While we have some go-to routine meals for busy nights (hello, frozen pizza), I really like to mix it up and try new stuff all of the time. Once my daughter, Emma, became a vegetarian/pescatarian (a year ago so I think it’s going to stick) I had to beef up my variety even more (see what I did with that? BEEF?).

 So, when Blue Apron contacted me to try their service I was excited. I had heard a lot about Blue Apron from other bloggers and was impressed. Basically, it’s a dream come true for people who like top-notch restaurant quality meals but are too lazy or busy (or both) to make them. You may not know this (I didn’t) but chefs in training around the world wear blue aprons – it’s a symbol of lifelong learning in cooking.

Blue Apron helps you to create unique, healthy and delicious recipes at home. All recipes and ingredients are shipped fresh to your door in a refrigerated box (so it’s okay if you’re not home at the time). There is a very large selection of recipes and you can tailor the meals you get based on types of cuisines (Asian? Creole?) and main ingredients you like the best. Shipping is free and you can start and stop at anytime.

A week before my shipment came I got an email letting me know what my meals would be: Pizza Burgers with Parmesan-Garlic Zucchini Fries and Seared Salmon with Asparagus/New Potato Hash and Lemon Aioli. YUM.

 My shipment arrived right on time and in its refrigerated box. The first thing I noticed was how top notch and fresh all ingredients were. Especially the salmon and the produce. I loved how I was sent just the right amount of ingredients – no measuring and no wasting food.


For our big Saturday night extravaganza (we are really crazy around here) I made the Pizza Burgers. Emma was gone for the night so we needed to have a meat-dense dinner.


I started by quartering four zucchinis.


Next I tossed those babies with fresh garlic and parmesan. I added some salt because I am addicted to it (but that is my own personal issue).


This studly son of mine then helped me mix up the burgers (spice pack included).


The patties were formed and we were off to letting them sizzle (yeah, okay, I desperately need a new pan).


I think it will work if you scratch ‘n sniff your computer screen. The aroma was mouth watering.


While the patties cooked away, I got busy making the home made sauce.


I grabbed the “fries” from the oven and loaded the burgers onto the buns.


The end result. This was incredibly tasty and fresh.


Sam who thinks we don’t eat enough red meat around here was particularly beside himself:


The next night I made the Seared Salmon and that was seriously to die for. And EASY. The fresh lemon aioli was perfection and it’s not something I would have ever made on my own.


I’ve check out lots of recipes on Blue Apron and have found a TON I’d like to try. I’m impressed with how well-rounded, interesting and creative they are. I’ve got my eye on the Pan-Seared Cod with Curried Basmati Rice, Snow Peas and Mint and the Spiced Chickpea Burgers with Vadouvan Sweet Potatoes and Lemon Yogurt Sauce.

Here are a couple of other pros to using Blue Apron
  • Each menu is between 500-700 calories per person.
  • All meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less.
  • Blue Apron lets you learn to make new recipes and cuisines so you can get out of your dinner rut of making the same old dishes or relying on take out < this one is HUGE for me.
Because I can read your mind I know you are thinking, “Yeah, this sounds too good to be true, so what's the cost?” I’m glad you asked. The price for a family plan (4 servings) is $8.74 per meal or $69.92 per 8 serving delivery. There is also a 2 person plan selection. Yes, this might seem pricey, but you have to keep in mind convenience and the quality of ingredients. I also think it would make a great gift.
Final thoughts: This is a perfect service for busy professionals who want quality food but don’t have time to cook. Or, those people who don’t want to go out for “just okay” food for the same price that they could make a more gourmet meal at home. Or…for someone who is learning to cook and needs some extra hand holding. Personally, I am a frugal shopper and a pretty good cook so this is not something I could afford to do on a regular basis. More of a splurge. But, I REALLY enjoyed it and think it’s a great product.

Bonus! The first 25 readers will get two meals of their first Blue Apron order free! Click HERE for the special offer.

Would you consider giving Blue Apron a try?
This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. All opinions are my own.

Monday, June 8, 2015

12 Things Your Running Might Be Teaching Your Kids

In the back of my mind I kind of hope that my running is rubbing off on my kids. In the best way possible.

They hate to run, but I did too when I was their age. After all I didn’t start running until I was the age of 41 so it’s not like I can judge them for not doing it. That would be the whole pot/kettle black situation.

Anyway, I still hope I am setting some kind of example that is sinking into some more their acne covered pores. Here’s what I wish:

1. They realize hard work and discipline pays off (me hugging my mom when I got my BQ in 2010).


2. They appreciate that their mom does not require Kleenex to blow her nose (snot rockets work fine, and look at all the money we save)

3. They have acquired lots of patience and endurance by spectating me as I run races. Sorry I am not faster.


4. They see me leave the house as a stressed out freak and return as Mother Theresa, so they learn that exercise has the power to transform.

5. They understand that you are stronger than you think you are. I didn’t know this until I started running, but I hope I’ve taught this to them.

6. They realize that bodily functions are not something to be ashamed of, but are something to write about on your blog (well, guess that doesn't apply to everyone).


7. They learn that just because you are old (I’m 48, which is ancient in their adolescent eyes), doesn’t mean you have to stop pushing yourself and setting new goals.

8. They know that just as I support them in their activities, they can support me in mine (i.e., being at finish lines – Boulder Ironman 2014).


9. They value a strong body and realize it’s not about what you weigh but about how truly healthy you are.

10. They see you deal with failure/heartache/challenge and still get back on your feet to try again.

11. They know to be extra helpful and un-snarky when mom is injured.


12. They get how amazing the running community is and how deeply we support each other (a virtual race that raised $10,000 when my cousin Sherry was murdered while running).


On some level I know my kids get it. Here is something my dearest daughter wrote in 2011 when I ran Boston (she was 9 at the time):



Even if your kids are not runners themselves, I think your discipline, drive, determination and guts speak volumes. I think you are rubbing off on them in ways you may never know. As parents we are role models, we are defined by the examples we set.

How do you think your running affects your kids? Are they runners?


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

National Running Day and a Giveaway

It’s National Running Day, friends!  What is NRD anyway? Basically it’s a way to make love to running all over again (by getting out on your favorite route and moaning with joy). Or, if you are not a runner, start doing it because it’s the best thing ever and your life will change. Sue me if it doesn’t.

In celebration of NRD, I’ve got a couple of running related suggestions for you.

I was sent the new movie McFarland USA (DVD) to watch and review. Not going to lie, I am a sucker for 1) true stories, and 2) stories about people beating the odds and overcoming obstacles. This movie encompasses both Thing #1 and Thing #2, so I was excited. Plus, I will watch any movie about running. Duh.

Runner + Social Worker = someone likely to enjoy this movie. < this is about as mathematical as I get.

I told the family we were eating pizza and having movie night. I am bossy like that. Being ages 14 and 17, my kids think they are a bit too cool and advanced for a PG movie (what? no foul language? no violence? no butt cracks?). But, the four of us watched it….and the four of us really enjoyed it (not just speaking for myself,…I don't think…although Ken might have wanted more nudity).
Here’s what I loved about the movie:
  • Naturally talented runners doing what they do best
  • Getting more of an insight into Hispanic culture and familial expectations.
  • Tamales
  • The fact that merely by participating in cross country these kids became motivated to do better in school and became more connected to their education. Many of them became the first ever in their families to graduate from high school. Many also went on to college and ran track there, later becoming teachers and coaches.
  • The filming/photography. McFarland is certainly not the most scenic of areas, but I thought there was some amazing running footage.  Just wait until you see how they train on hills by running on mounds of almonds.

This movie came out on DVD and Blue Ray yesterday and retails for about $18.00. But…you can win a copy here by entering below! (click on Rafflecopter link if you don't see the image).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And…one last thing to support your love of running and reading about running (especially if you have a vagina). You can now get a subscription (6 months) to Women’s Running for just $5. But,  just for today. Insane. Go HERE.


The DVD and giveaway item were sent to me for free. All opinions are of course my own.

Monday, June 1, 2015

He Did WHAT In My Yard?

This has been a week of semi-weirdness.

It is the kids’ first full week of being out of school. As a mom I kind of love having my kids around. What I don’t love are the excess dishes in the sink that somehow don’t make it to the dishwasher and waking up to messes from nacho parties that occurred at midnight after I had been asleep for 3 hours. I find that charging the kids $1 per dish left in the sink has miraculously and quickly solved the problem (and initially gave me some extra coffee money).

Why else has this been a weird week? Let’s see. My neighbor told me that on Tuesday evening he saw some youngish kids (7, 8 year olds) hanging out on the street. One was jumping around like he had to go the bathroom. He then proceeded to take a dump in my yard. What? Who does that? Well, I suppose an 8 year old boy does that. Maybe this is karma somehow. But, I will say I have never pooped in someone’s yard.

In the world of awesome weirdness, I found this chair labeled “free” on the side of the road and it is my new favorite post run spot. I get to relax and Heidi gets to lick of my sweat. It is a win-win. Who needs a shower when you have a Golden Retriever.

Also kind of amazing is that this year the Bolder Boulder made their race photos free. Can’t say I’ve ever had a race that did this so I say, THANK YOU.

My daughter actually hates to run, but she’s faking it pretty well here!

In the midst of work, parenting, and kids taking dumps in my hard, I’ve been trying to get my ass out on the trails for some vertical running. In 3 weeks I’ve got this very vertical race (that’s a nice was of saying it’s a mother f’ing run up a real mountain to 13,200 feet)
On Wednesday with my mace in hand and my Road ID on my wrist, I took to the trails. I don’t usually go on trails alone, but on this day I did.

 Elevation gain =1,300 feet over 7.3 miles.

On Saturday, Ken and I did some more climbing at Walker Ranch outside of Boulder. 1,700 feet of gain over 7.4 miles.

I’m not sure who put these steps here at mile 2.5, but they were painful.

I ran into a friend on the trail who is also doing Leadville.

There you have it. My week in review.

Tell me one weirdish/random thing that happened to you this week.

Are your kids out of school yet? How’s it going?

What’s the best thing you’ve ever found for free?  A kitten someone threw out of their car (when I was 12). We had her for 10 years.


PS: Sorry for all the weird spacing and picture image size inconsistencies. Windows Live Writer isn't working and Blogger is making me crazy.