Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Don't Be An Idiot! Do These 5 Things If You Plan to Run When You Travel

Very early tomorrow morning while you are sleeping sound in your beds, hopefully in an Ambien induced rest, I will be on a plane to Costa Rica. Bloody Mary anyone?

Like you guys. I run when I travel. I mean, I brush my teeth when I travel, so why wouldn't I run? It's just what I do, regardless of where I am. I also poop. Well, most of the time because traveling constipates me. TMI, but that's the theme of this blog anyway so get over it.

Costa Rica circa 2011 when my abs were 5 years younger.

That said, you've got to prepare yourself to run somewhere new.
  1. Check the weather  - This is the biggest DUH ever, but some people don't do it. It's currently 40 degrees in Longmont, CO and will be 90 degrees in Tamarindo. I don't think my tights and ear warmers are going to work there. Naked running might work very well there, but then I'd scare the Ticos. My point is, know the weather so you can pack appropriately.
  2. Don't plan on speed. Running in a new place where you will probably get lost and where you will most likely be hungover (if you're on vacation) means you shouldn't plan your big interval and tempo workouts while traveling. Save that torture for when you get back.
  3. Check MMR. I don't mean to check if you've had your Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine (although that's a good idea too). But, check out May My Run. You can search by city and you can see running routes that other people have done where you are going.

  4. Remember the stuff! Don't forget to bring the obvious stuff you usually run with. Handhelds, GUs, condoms, etc.
  5. Use your resources. Before you go, see what's available to you to stay active other than running routes. Is there a fitness facility? Can you rent bikes? Is there a nearby pool to swim laps? Remember that if you are traveling outside of the US, most of the world (except for Burma, Liberia and the US!)  is on the metric system - that means if you are using a treadmill it will be in kms/hour for pace and distance.  

In Playa del Carmen Mexico a couple years ago. View could be worse.

That's all I got. Hasta luego!

When's the next time you're traveling? Tomorrow

Do you run when you go on vacation? Why/why not? Always

Most beautiful place you've ever run? Nevis, BVI


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Blue Apron: Why It Works for Busy Runner Types (Like You & Me)

Blue Apron (meal delivery service) has rescued me once again. Between work, training, trying to be somewhat of a parent and laying around watching The People vs. OJ, I've not only run out of meal ideas, but also time to buy ingredients.

Last week I cooked up a couple of the meals sent by Blue Apron. I chose these two winners (wait for your mouth to water): Seared Sirloin Steaks with Roasted Potatoes and Creamed Kale and Star Anise and Soy-Glazed Cod. My daughter doesn't eat any meat (with the exception of fish) so I wanted at least one of the meals to cater to her. That's just how good of a mother I am.

As I was cooking up the meals, I was thinking about why this service just WORKS. I'm always impressed by the quality of ingredients that arrive on my doorstep and the fact that everything is portioned out for me. But, this time (my fourth time reviewing Blue Apron), I realized a couple of new things.

First of all, the way that the recipe directions are laid out in steps means that everything comes together at the same time. This is something I've struggle with over the years in my cooking. If I make a main dish a couple of sides, it takes a work of God to make sure that the dishes all are finished at the same time. It seems like something usually ends up sitting around and getting cold or soggy. With Blue Apron, they have it carefully orchestrated so it all finishes up together. To me, this means the recipes have not only been constructed based on the right combination of ingredients, but have also been tried and re-tried to make sure that cooking times somewhat correlated.

Check out one recipe card and how it takes you through the steps.

The other thing I noticed was that with Blue Apron I'm using ingredients I would never use normally. While I'm a pretty experimental gal, I find I don't often choose recipes with things I've never heard of before. For example, the cod recipe from Blue Apron had me using star anise (wtf is that) and gai lan (huh?). In case you are curious and want to name drop these ingredients at your next party to make yourself sound cultured, star anise is a spice form Northeast Vietnam and Southwest China.  It has a strong, licorice taste. Gai lan is a Chinese broccoli.

Moving on. Let me show you some pictures, so you can see how the process works.

When cooking up the sirloin steak dish, I first chopped up all of my kale and potatoes.

I drizzled the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and popped them in the oven. Ken pretended to help while I bossed him around because we both know I wear the pants (running skirts) around here:

I cooked up the kale and added some butter and parmesan to it. Kale can be quite bitter if not cooked right. If you take off the stems, steam it well and add in enough butter, it is fantastic. Ask Ken. He typically hates kale, but really liked this version.

Next, time to eat!

This was delicious. The quality of the meat and the freshness of the produce is evident.

The other dish was the Star Anise and Soy Glazed Cod. This was FABULOUS. Lots of flavor and felt very healthy. Yeah, this picture could be in a cooking magazine.

Couple other things to note about Blue Apron.

  1. They now offer a recycling program! More info HERE.
  2. Each menu is between 500 and 800 calories a serving. That info is found on your recipe card. Meals take under 40 minutes to prepare.
  3. There are two types of plans: the 2 person plan and the family plan (serves 4)

Want to give it a shot?? The first 20 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order. Click HERE to redeem.

Have you tried Blue Apron? Why or why not?

What's the last and best meal you made? I've got to say the COD pictured above.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why It's Best to Never Be Behind Me

Pre-run breakfast:

There is something people tell you when you move to Colorado. But, I always deliberately forget to believe it or maybe I just don't want to.

The two snowiest months are March and April. That makes no sense. Doesn't Mother F&cking Nature realize that March and April are spring months? If you want to have snowy months, fine. But have them when it is supposed to snow, like in December and January.

So, when I was sitting around looking at the weather forecast on Tuesday and saw this, I just shook my head and screamed WTF??

Although meteorologists are notoriously wrong, they weren't this time. Yesterday looked like this.

And 15" later, the skies cleared and it looked like this.

And we spent the day doing this.

1,000 piece puzzles really suck. But in a weird way they are addictive. Kind of like reading Sky Mall on the airplane. outside run for today was not occurring for obvious reasons.

If you read this blog you know I really don't care for the treadmill Satan's Wheel. But, there is a time and a place. And today was that time and that place. I love a good view from my treadmill.

I can get easily distracted by counting how many strokes it takes swimmers to go from one end to the other (Hey guy in little itty bitty Speedo - 17 strokes is impressive and you have a very long, lithe, muscular body that glides. Not that I was looking that hard).

I will say that I felt kind of badly for the three women very close behind me doing yoga or TRX or something because the farts were flying and I had no control. I don't know if they were loud or not because I had my ear buds in. Oh well. That's just a side affect of running. Kind of like snot rockets and chafed nipples.

All of this to say...bring on the warm weather so I don't have to crop dust women doing yoga.

What's the weather like where you are?

What do you eat before a run? If it's a long run, I'll do a banana or toast or something. Shorter runs, usually not much.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

9 Running Mistakes You Need to Make At Least Once

What I've learned over the years since I started running is this:  If I am going to be a better, stronger, more successful runner I need to keep making mistakes. Mistakes (not just in running, but in life) help me fine-tune what works for me.

It's not about being perfect. It's about experimenting, learning, improving and overcoming. You can know intellectually what to do and what not to do. The truth is, however, we all have to find out for ourselves and this usually comes from trial and error. Think about the child who touches a fire by mistake. You think he/she goes back in for more? Not usually.

Here are a few mistakes I've made as a runner and how they've helped me learn the hard way. I am sure I still have much more to learn, so check back another day when I tell you more mistakes I am making.

Try these mistakes!

1. Do something different on race day.

Everyone tells you not to eat, wear or try anything new on the day of your race. At some point in your life you probably will. You'll get that new cute pair of shorts and you'll think, "What the hell? How bad can it really be to wear these new precious shorts...?" Then, half way into your marathon the chafing is so severe you are wincing and dropping the f-bombs right and left. The shower you take later on that day will have you screaming like a little girl. Lesson learned.

A proud moment. Finished a half marathon with such bad
chafing, I had to take off my skirt and wear my race shirt as pants. Don't be me.

2. Eat/drink too much of the wrong food before a long run or race

One time I thought eating chicken wings and drinking a a few Bass Ales the night before my first half marathon was not a problem. Until it was a problem at mile ten the next day. Paying attention to how you fuel and hydrate is a huge component of how you will feel and how you will execute on race day.

3. Buy the coolest/hippest/most colorful pair of running shoes even if they aren't right for you

Yes, it is very tempting to get the cheaper shoes or the prettiest ones. Go ahead and see what happens. Then limp back into the running store and buy what you should have bought in the first place. Good shoes matter.

4. Run through pain

Denial is a positive force. We want to do what we want to do, so we test the limits. "Oh, this stabbing pain in my ass will pass. Running will make it go away!" Once I had a major pain in my foot, but thought I should go ahead and run the Boulder Backroads half marathon anyway. 2 hours and a few tears later I had to be carried to the car. The result? Stress fracture. I will not make a mistake like that again. The longer you run the more aware you become of your body. You realize what is normal muscle ache and fatigue and what is not right and potentially the start of an injury. Be smart.

Me and my friend the boot. Not fun. Don't be me.

5. Don't lock the porta potty door

During the Boston Marathon I stopped to take off my underwear (don't ask why, long story, see #6). This was a solo potty at an aid station and I thought surely it was obvious someone was inside. Nope. Right as I had my shorts off and was ditching the pants, some guy barged in. Yes, it is worth the extra 2 seconds it takes to secure the door (and don't ask me why I was wearing underwear anyway...)

6. Trust a fart

Come on. You know you've done it and it hasn't been a happy, clean ending. You just had to try it, right? Once you trust a fart and realize it has a chaser, you will never do it again.

7. Run too much too soon because you think you are invincible

This one happens to newer/beginner runners all the time, me included. You just want to do all the races!  You are a runner! You love running! You want to show the world! Then, BAM. You are burned out and/or injured. Over time you learn to not be greedy with your running. You get selective.

8. Go out too fast in a race

You are excited. You have been waiting for this day for months. The adrenaline is flowing. You know you should hold back, but you can't. The result? You burn out early. All those runners you passed early on are zipping by you. You are defeated. You knew better, but you did it anyway. Now, you get it.

Finish line of the Bolder Boulder 10K. Yes, I went out too fast and
hung my head in shame
9. Compare yourself to others

Give this one a try for awhile. See how long it takes you to feel like shit once you realize how many people are faster, stronger, prettier, fitter than you are. Relatively quickly you'll see that comparing yourself to anyone else reaps no benefits. Be the best YOU that you can be. We all have unique gifts, strengths and challenges. Come to peace with it.


I like to think that the mistakes I've made not just as a runner, but in life, have made me resilient and  want to fight back. Knock me down and I will try to stand back up (and punch you). In this day and age of chasing perfection as we are bombarded by social media, I say go SCREW UP. Do it often because it means you are trying. But, ultimately, make sure you learn from your mistakes.

What is a running mistake you have made and learned from?


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

6 Things You Need to Know (Including My 2016 Race Goals)

I don't know why, but I thought there were a few random things you needed to know.

1. Today I made an omelette in a coffee mug. No pan, no stove, no mess. I cannot believe I am 49 years old and have never done this before. Just goes to prove there is so much more life to live and things to learn! I mean if it's possible to create an omelette in a coffee mug, then the possibilities for other aspects of my life must be limitless.

If you want to create your own omelette, see how to do it HERE.

2. Since I had my little injury a couple of weeks back, I've changed things up a bit. Once more I have learned from my training mistakes. Lesson #1 that I seem to have to learn over and over again is:

I cannot just run. I have to mix it up. My body likes variety and balance.  

So, I've been on my bike a fair amount, which has included doing annoying things like this when I reach the top of a big hill.

I've also been swimming at least once per week.

Last week shook out like this:

Running: 21 miles (8 on trails)
Biking: 25 miles
Swimming: 2,000 yards

3. I am refining my race list for this year. It's not overly extensive, but there are some biggies in there.

May 30 - Bolder Boulder 10K
June 3-4 Ragnar Trail Relay (Snowmass/Aspen)
June 18 - Leadville Trail Marathon
August 9-16 - TransRockies Run
October - Chicago Marathon (hopefully, fingers crossed).

You might remember I did the Leadville Heavy Half (15 miles) last year. It single-handely kicked my ass which is exactly why I am going back for more torture. I love a good ass kicking on the trails and nothing makes me feel more alive (except for making an omelette in a coffee mug. BOOM!)

4. In about a month or so, I'll start gearing up for the TransRockies Run. This is my solo 6 day run totaling 120 miles and climbing 20,000 feet. I will probably tell you this 1000 more times before August because it is kind of a big deal and will definitely be the toughest running thing I've done. I'm in fact wondering if it will be harder and more painful than childbirth. I would get an epidural while I'm doing it, but then I'd lose all feeling in the lower half of my body and fall down a mountain. At least I will not be pushing a watermelon out of a straw if you know what I mean.

5. Does anyone else's kids take their phone when they are not looking and take selfies? Is it just my kids and my dog that do this? At least it's pretty damn precious.

6. We just booked a trip to Costa Rica for spring break. Flying into Liberia (west coast) and renting a condo at Playa Flamingo near Tamarindo. This cannot come soon enough. This view!

Sunrise in Flamingo

Ever been to Costa Rica? Any recommendations? Yes, we went 5 years ago, but not to this part of the country.

What race are you most excited for this year? TransRockies


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

7 Ways You Are a Rude Runner and Don't Even Know It

Something fumy about me (beyond the fact that I have the potty humor of a 5th grader even though I turned 49 last week) is that I can be cluelessly rude.

Here's the thing - I can honestly say that I am not rude on purpose. Unless of course someone has done something really egregious like hover over me while I am checking out at the grocery store. Then I can get into passive aggressive mode lickety split.

However, there have been times when I have been exceptionally rude and I didn't even know it. The day I started my first ever real job out of college, I went to catch the commuter bus from Columbia, Maryland to downtown Washington, D.C. This was not only my first day on the job, but my first day riding the big people, adult bus. Can you see me?

I drove to where I'd pick up the bus and just as I got out of my car the bus pulled up and the doors opened. Sweet, right on time. I hopped on thinking this day was going swimmingly so far. I took my seat, rested my head on the back of the seat and took a deep breath. That's when I was approached by an older professional man, a fellow commuter. He began screaming at me in front of every single other person on the bus. "Who the hell do you think you are cutting to the front of the line?? Do you think we are all standing in line for our health? How dare you."

I was speechless. My eyes filled with tears. How could I have been so clueless? And why was this man such a dick? I was so focused on getting on that damn bus I never even saw the line. I spent the entire bus ride fighting back tears and showed up to my first day on the job rattled, blotchy and blood shot.

Writing this story, 25 years later, still takes me back to that day and just how awful it was. I felt stupid and humiliated. I made an effort from that day forward to be more aware of my surroundings. But, I still fuck up.

All of that to say, I like to believe that we should give people the benefit of the doubt when we perceive them as rude. Sometimes people just.don't.know.

Are you one of these people? Further, are you one of those people when you run? Here are 7 ways you might be a rude runner and not even realize it. The good news is you can change! You can be better! So can I!

1. You spit or snot rocket without looking. I know how it is. Mucous builds up and you need to eject it from your body. Without stopping, you spit a loogie or execute the perfect snot rocket. Unbeknownst to you, there is someone running beside you and you've hit them with your bodily fluid. Not cool. The lesson? Look before you spew.
2. Your shoe becomes untied or you simply need to stop for a walk break. You do so in the middle of pretty crowded race. Your fellow runners have to stumble and swerve to avoid you. The lesson? Move to the side of the road or path.
3. You are a close farter. Last year I did my first super high altitude race in Leadville, Colorado. What I didn't know at the time was that running at high altitude causes people to expel gas. It's a real thing called alti-tooting or something like that. As we made our way up to 13,000 feet, we were all brought to a slow jog/walk in a single file line.The dude in front of me was letting his farts fly into my personal space without so much as a care in the world. Really? The lesson? Be sure to create ample space between your ass and your fellow runner.

4. You don't wave. This issue has come up a million times in a million different running articles and blogs. Why don't your fellow runners wave at you when you wave at them? Perhaps the non waver is in the zone, is blind, hates you or follows a religion that doesn't believe in waving. The lesson? Be aware of your surroundings. If someone takes the time to wave at you, return the favor.
5. You don't stay where you belong. Corrals/waves at races are there for a reason. It keeps the flow of the race going. While you may be tempted to move ahead and get up with those faster than you, it's going to be frowned upon. The lesson? Know your pace and stay in your place.
6. You carry loose change or other obnoxious things. There is nothing worse for your fellow runners than when you carry noisy things in your pockets. The lesson? Leave your quarters and maracas at home.
7. Your music is obnoxiously loud. Just because you have ear buds in doesn't mean others can't hear your music. Or, if you carry your phone and play it through speaker, we can hear that too. The lesson? Keep your music quiet enough so only you can hear it, or forgo it completely.

The bottom line is, most of us probably don't intend to be rude. But, with a healthy dose of awareness and sensitivity we can rise above.

Any other ways you think runners can be rude?