Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Highlight of My Week (It's Not What You Think)

Is it weird that the highlight of my week was picking up my husband from his colonoscopy?

What's not to like? He is heavily sedated and dribbling apple juice down his chin. He and the other guys in the recovery room are all laying on their sides farting uncontrollably. I just sit there with a wild smirk on my face trying not to pee with laughter. And before you blast me for not being compassionate - I have had a colonoscopy and have been in this exact same spot. I laughed at myself then.

Yes, I think farts are just as funny now as when I was in second grade, third grade, college, grad school.... Not sure why. Is it the sound? Is it the fact that it is highly embarrassing for people and kind of taboo?

I know for certain it is NOT the smell.

Speaking of smells, when I picked my daughter up from school today early (because she wasn't feeling well) I had just eaten an Egg McMuffin, but for some reason I didn't want anyone to know (probably because McDonalds is gross and I like to pretend I don't eat it but on the rare occasion I forgo my kale smoothie for the devil). Well, eggs and farts can oddly smell similarly, so when she got in the car she said, "Eww, did you fart?" And I had to make the quick decision whether I wanted to be responsible for the fart smell and say I did pass gas or whether I wanted to fess up to the Egg McMuffin. What do you think I did?

Yep, the egg.

Anyway...wow that was such a major digression into the dark world of bodily functions. Can you tell how fried my mind is from work and writing clinical/sterile reports that I need to come over here and just start vomiting whatever words come into my head?

The good news is, because I know you have been wondering...I have figured out a training plan for the TransRockies Run. In my last post I was kind of freaking out, but thanks to Maria, who has done this race before, my freak out has subsided. AND I HAVE A PLAN. I love having a plan. I am not a fly by the seat of my pants type of gal.

Here's what I did last week for my first official week of 17 weeks.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday Rest <---- yep training is going well, My excuse? I had to take Emma for her driving permit (proof below)

Wed: 6 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: Off
Saturday: 10 miles. Trails. Hard. 1,800 feet of gain (proof below):

Sunday: 6 miles easy

Total: 29 miles. No cross training even though I should have. This week, I promise.

So, there you have it. GAME ON SUCKERS. (I despise the phrase "game on" but it just seemed to fit. I know, right? < another hated phrase).

And, in random news to make up for Egg McMuffin blues (<cute rhyme) I made this yummy zucchini thing. Go make it, it's really good. You're welcome.

Do you like having a plan or do you prefer to be all laid back and just do whatever the eff you want?

Share a favorite recipe.

When was the last time you had fast food? Today. But before today it probably has been at least 2 months.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I Have No Clue What I'm Doing

Today I realized I have no clue what I am doing.

So, I have this little race in August. It is a multi stage/day running race in which I will cover 120 miles over 6 days with 20,000 feet of elevation gain. That is unless I cry and vomit and drop out the first day then it will only be 21 miles.

But I am not planning on doing that.

Why is the woman behind the man? Well at least she has better form.

Here's the breakdown:

Day One: 21 miles, 2,200 feet of gain. Buena Vista, CO to Railroad Bridge
Day Two: 13.4 miles, 3,400 feet of gain (Hope Pass). Vicksburg, CO to Twin Lakes (Leadville)
Day Three: 24,2 miles 2,700 feet of gain Leadville, CO to Camp Hale
Day Four: 14.2 miles 2,900 feet Camp Hale to Red Cliff
Day Five: 23.6 miles 4,100 feet Red Cliff to Vail <this day is going to kill me
Day Six: 22.2 miles 5,100 Vail to Beaver Creek <-this day is going to kill me more

That all adds up to some crazy shit.

The thing is - with any other race I've done from a stand alone marathon to an Ironman I've had access to a million different training plans and tons of people who had done such races before and could give me advice. However, when you tell someone you are running 120 miles solo over 6 days, you know what you get? Crickets. Chirp, chirp. No one, including myself knows what to make of that or how to prepare for that.

Most people just tell me how awful that sounds and change the subject.

The other weekend I was running with a bunch of people in a single file line over the hills, I met a woman who had done this race last year.

Can you tell who is me? Probably the last one.

Me: Can I have some advice?
Her: You'll be fine.
Me: Umm...well like how much did you train
Her: Not that much. 90 or 100 miles per week.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I don't even drive that far in a week (BAHAAA I know you've never heard that one before).

Me training that much per week is the funniest thing I've heard since that girl got tricked by her brothers when she had her wisdom teeth out and she thought it was the zombie apocalypse (true story. Funny as hell. Go watch it HERE. Pants! Funfetti!)

So that's about the time I started looking for training plans and I found one. Only one. There are back to back long run days and my highest mileage week is 72 miles. There will be lots of power hiking, high altitude training and EATING.

This is what I figure. Even if I suffer for every minute of the six days (that is 8,640 minutes), running is ALL I have to do everyday. I don't have to cook, clean, pick up dog poop, work, or yell at kids. I don't have to take out the trash, shuttle people places or ponder why it is so hard for anyone to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Nope. Just run.

So for now I will take it one day, one run at a time. I will remember that I can do hard things and that I've never backed down from a challenge. I will embrace the suck that can accompany tough training and hard goals and know that that is part of making it to the finish.

And, Heidi is happy to join me on the trails for a little morale boost.

Anyone ever done back to back marathons or multi day stage races? Advice please.

What is your next BIG goal. Don't have one? Why not?


Sunday, April 17, 2016

I Shut Up and Ran

Yesterday, Saturday, was the perfect example of a a shut the hell up and run day.

I had slept awfully the night before (what is it with getting older and being restless and never sleeping through the night anymore?) I had been dealing with a couple of stressful issues weighing heavily and that probably factored in. I woke up to 30 degrees and rain (that was promising to turn into snow). I was planning to meet a friend for her first ever trail run (you know who you are) and Ken said, "You could just text her that you are canceling." 

WTF. Are you kidding me? How long has this man been married to me. No way do I cancel running. Shut Up and Run is my blog title for a reason. It is not Shut Up and Text To Cancel Running.

Tired? SUAR. Busy? SUAR. Hungover? SUAR. Have your period? SUAR. Don't feel like it? SUAR. Clearly, SUAR is the answer. I might make an exception if I was projectile vomiting only because that's socially awkward (or diarrhea - but traditionally that hasn't even held me back). Other than that, I'm in.

So, off we went. Do not ask what prompted me to wear shorts. It was warmer at my house than in the hills, that is my only excuse.

Before you ask (because I get tons of questions on this):
My hydration pack is the Hydra Quiver from Orange Mud
I am happy to represent as one of their new ambassadors!

We did 8 miles with about 1,200 feet of gain. We were literally the only ones out there with the exception of some fatso huge wild turkeys (if I had brought my gravy and mashed taters I might have slaughtered one right there) and some deer with a little baby. I am a sucker for "baby" anything. Baby-most-poisonous-snake-in-the-world? I love you.

As always I was glad I got out there. And my friend? She killed it. She is a 52 year old strong as hell runner. She will be doing the TransRockies with me this year (6 days - 120 miles). Bring it on. She was smart enough to dress for the weather.

And after a nap, many calories (egg/avocado/salad/birthday cake) and a glass of wine I have transformed and am headed out for the night. Because, well, I deserve it dammit.

Tell me about you run this weekend. 

Do you have more trouble sleeping the older you get?


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tips for Running With Your Kids (and Avoiding Meltdowns)

You love running. You love your kids. The idea of running a race with your kids combines two of your passions and can only amount to an all-around wonderful experience.  You will spend the time together bonding while you run. You will take in the scenery, get some good exercise and cross the finish line holding hands and smiling. You will exchange high fives as your children look at you glowingly and with a sense of accomplishment.

Yeah, right.

I have now run at least seven BolderBOULDER 10Ks with my kids. Some have gone smoothly and some have involved excessive whining and tears. This has taught me a lot about how to approach doing races with kids. While running with your family can be amazing, it is important to go into it eyes wide open and to keep your expectations relatively low. This is not to say you approach it as a Debbie Downer, but more that you have a healthy dose of realism as it pertains to how the miles might shake out.

Here are some things to consider:

      Does your child even want to do the race? Although I am a runner and think that running races is equivalent to the heavens opening up and the angels singing just for me – not everyone looks at it this way. If your child is going to make it through the 10K run, then it’s essential that they actually want to cross both the start and finish lines. Sure, you can nudge them in the right direction and tell them about all the perks, but ultimately, let it be their idea and their decision.

·        Is your child in shape to go the distance? Start discussing the possibility of doing the race months ahead. If they are on board, then make sure they do some training. Build up to the race distance slowly but surely. A good idea is to start with a run/walk program and gradually increase your run time and decrease your walk time.  Make a plan for race day – for example, that you will walk through all aid stations or that you will run five minutes, walk one. Whatever works for you and your kid(s). If your child is properly trained and knows what to expect, your day will go a lot smoother.

·       Make sure your goals don’t get in the way. This race should be about your child and not you. Maybe you can run a 10K in under an hour and you think your child can/should do that too. My best advice is to not set a time goal, especially if this is your first time running with your child. That just sets everyone up to fail. Instead, make the goal to finish strong, whatever that looks like.

·         Hold back at the start. With so many people doing this race, you will be waiting for your wave start for a while. You will be listening to the waves in front of you as they count down and begin running. The excitement and adrenaline builds and everyone is ready to go and to go fast when that gun goes off. Kids, in particular, do not usually do well at pacing themselves when the race starts. Make a plan ahead of time that you are going to start out casually and relatively slowly so that no one burns out too early. Most importantly, explain this concept to them!

·         Keep safety in mind.  Dress appropriately. Take in fluids along the way. Take your time. Some runs may be very crowded and busy. Make sure you set up a meeting place at the finish in case you get separated.

·         Have fun! Don’t take it all too seriously. Races can be a blast. The runners and spectators combine forces and the result is a sort of magical and infectious energy. Your kids will remember the race for a long time, I promise.

      Do you Run races with your kids? Why or why not?

     How much do you think we should push kids to run? My opinion that is that pushing kids to do things because you want them to do them is a recipe for disaster and will come back to bite you.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Why You Need to Visit Costa Rica and 11 Tips/Observations

I'm back from Costa Rica and all I have to show for it is a fading tan and remarkable family memories. 

Our last night/sunset on Flamingo Beach

Could we 100% afford this trip with child #1 leaving for college and a house that needs new gutters and a million other repairs? Not especially. But, I knew that this would be our last family spring break, maybe ever, and this mom wanted everyone together for one last hurrah (and bickering and getting on each other's nerves, but whatever). Around here we try to give equal attention to the practical and the experiential expenses.

Catamaran tour for snorkeling and sunset cruise

Over the years we've done the all-inclusive thing in Mexico. Sure, that's all fine and good because what's not to like about constantly flowing drinks and water aerobics? But, let's be real, this is not the way to authentically see a country.

GET A ROOM! Sunset on Flamingo Beach

So this time, we rented a condo on HomeAway (a cousin of VRBO) and we also rented a car. My hope was that we would explore and get a feel for the country itself without doing all the typical tourist stuff (although there was some of that). I was a French major and love languages, but I don't speak much Spanish. Prior to going, I downloaded the app Duolingo, and it helped me tremendously to be able to say short phrases and to recognize words.

Over the week we quickly settled into a routine of beach time, exploring, running and eating. And while there is much I do not know about this country, I did learn a lot about visiting Costa Rica. Here are some tips and thoughts:

1. Renting a car is cheap, but the required insurance is not. In most countries you can waive the collision damage insurance, especially if you have coverage through a credit card. In Costa Rica, even if you show proof of coverage, you are required to take some insurance. While we rented a moderate sized car and it was only $200 week, our total cost ended up being close to $500 with insurance (and this was with a letter of eligibility from my credit card). Ouch. Keep this in mind. There is no way around it, so don't bother wasting your time arguing.

Fording a river in Costa Rica
One thing is certain - if you drive your rental car through a river your contract is voided.
Driving through water is actually not uncommon in CR during the rainy season.

2. Running is a thing! I have run in some foreign countries where you are looked at like an alien. Costa Ricans are active people and running is fairly common. In fact, we met someone who had just done a triathlon in the area where we were staying. Although there is not much of a shoulder on the roads, drivers tend to be courteous and give you room. There are also running trails in the hills. CR is a great place to hill train! But the humidity and heat nearly killed me.

3. Groceries are generally more expensive than in the US and not all stores are created equal. The first night we got there, we set off for what we assumed was the largest grocery store in the area - Super Compro. This was a smallish, dark and un-air conditioned store (mind you it was 95 degrees). We found the basics there, but in the following days we found larger stores. For a relatively small cart of groceries, just the essentials, we easily spent $80!

4. Eggs are not refrigerated. Americans tend to balk at this, but actually most counties do not refrigerate their eggs. This is due to how the eggs are treated once they are laid. In the US, the eggs are immediately washed and refrigerated. Other counties tend to vaccinate their chickens against salmonella and don't wash and refrigerate. Bottom line is that it's fine to eat the non refrigerated eggs in these countries.

5. The typical "Tico" breakfast is fantastic and my new go-to meal. This includes black beans, rice, tortillas and maybe eggs. Throw in some avocado = perfection.

6. Sometimes you can't flush. I'm not sure about the rest of Costa Rica but the guy who rented us the condo said that the plumbing was temperamental and that we shouldn't flush any toilet paper. We immediately set up a house rule that when you took a dump you had to take out the trash. Hence, we were all made aware of each other's poop schedules. Good family bonding (btw this was also the case in our honey moon in Greece. A friend of ours had an apartment in Athens that we used and we couldn't flush paper. Romantic).

7. Costa Rica is not always tropical and lush. It depends on where and when you go but we were staying on the northwest coast (Gold Coast). This time of the year it is especially dry and brown. There were multiple fires in the hills. On our first day we watched a huge house burn to the ground! Generally, the rainy season (or "green season") is from May to mid-November. Costa Ricans call this wet time of year their winter. The dry season, considered summer by Costa Ricans, is from mid-November to April.

8. The roads are touch and go. If you stick to the main roads, they aren't bad. However most of the roads are not main roads and are dirt and narrow. Even on the main roads there is not a shoulder and the locals use the roads as a means of getting from point A to point B as there are not many sidewalks. This means there are always many people walking and biking on the side of the road. There will also sometimes be animals and livestock in the road. I snapped this photo on our way to lunch one day.

Ribs anyone? Yes, the cows are extremely skinny in CR. 

9. You can drink the water. Unlike Mexico and some other countries, Costa Rica has potable water and it tastes good. However, it is not recommended that you drink the water in a cuople of port cities such as Limon and Puertaneras.

10. It's hard to find half and half. (major First World Problem). This was probably my issue - but I love half and half in my coffee. Costa Rica has amazing coffee (the Britt brand is very good), but I couldn't find my half and half. I bought something called semi-descremada, which turned out to be partial-skim-milk. Ick.

11. Your iPhone GPS might not work. I rely on my iPhone map/GPS a lot. It didn't work well in CR even though I had data service. I downloaded an app called Waze that worked very well.

Bottom line: Costa Rica is an amazing vacation destination. It is safe, relatively easy to get to and family friendly. You can mix it up by having lazy beach days and active adventure days of zip-lining, hiking and rafting.

One of the many beachside restaurants we found for lunch.
Fish tacos FTW every single day.

Which do you prefer? All inclusive or do-it-yourself?

Best tip for traveling abroad? Be open minded and flexible. Expect bumps in the road and roll with them. Instead of resisting difference. embrace it. This is how you truly learn about how others live.