Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Do NOT Forget to Do This While Training for Your Next Race

Before I start...remember how a few weeks ago I said I was doing the push up challenge? I could barely do 5 push ups. Yesterday I did 24!! I am pretty much a beast in my own mind.

Last week. A fantastic training week as the miles start to pile on.

Tuesday: 5.2 easy miles in the rain.
Wednesday: Swim 1 mile.
Thursday: 7 tough miles on the trail (climb 1,800 feet)
Friday: 6.1 miles with 10 short hill sprints thrown in (pooped under a bridge!) Climb 700 feet
Saturday: Off (well, 1 mile with Heidi because she can only run that far)
Sunday 15 miles easy, but 15 miles never feels easy Climb 1,200 feet

Total: 34.3 miles of running, 1 mile of swimming. Climbing = ~3,700 feet

Scenes from it all:

A most spectacular day for running in Boulder

Happy runner:
Just had a cherry chocolate gel. Only 6 miles to go. Don't even have to poop.

Doing my favorite post-long run stretch. "Leg Drain" - blood drains down so when you stand up,
new blood circulates in. Or you pass out.

In my opinion, there is one aspect of training that is often overlooked.

Sure we all know about recovery days, preventing injury, nutrition, etc. But, what about race specific training? When you are training for a race, how accurately and thoroughly do you study the course (even if you are far away, these days there are pretty decent course maps online)? Running 13.1 or 26.2 miles can vary tremendously based on certain things. Take the following 5 things into account when training for your next race and make adaptations/changes to your plan as necessary.

  1. The surface: Will you be running on pavement, concrete, road or trail? This matters because you need to train your body for that surface. 
  2. The elevation gain/loss: What are the hills like on your course? When people think "hills" they think mostly about running UP. But training to run DOWN is equally as important. Not only is there actually a way to run down (see HERE), but you need to train your legs (quads) for the descents.
  3. The weather: It's easy enough to get the average temperature for the time when you will be racing. Also look at things like humidity or lack thereof. If you aren't used to dry air, there could be some adverse affects on you as you run (see HERE). On the other hand, if you live in a dry climate and aren't used to humidity, be prepared to potentially see a dip in your performance. The risk of overheating is higher during humid workouts because the body is working harder to cool off in the saturated air.  
  4. The altitude: This is a no brainer. If you are training near sea level and are traveling for a higher altitude race, you need to prepare yourself. Less oxygen in the air means breathing can be tough as hell. Read this closely: If you are going to a race at a higher altitude, the best bet is to get there 7 to 10 days in advance to let your body adapt. However, if you can't do that, your next best option (even though this sounds counter intuitive) is to arrive as close to race day as possible, preferably within 18 to 48 hours. This is because the body has the toughest time acclimating to altitude 2 days to 7 days after arriving at a higher elevation.
  5. The numbers: Know about how many people will be running the race. Will you be among a crowd of 50,000 or with only 100 people? Will you be held back in the beginning due to crowd congestion? Will you find yourself alone a lot on the trail? These are all good things to know.

Bottom line, race specific training is essential. Not just for performance, but for confidence. 

And just for fun:

Heidi and I like to make out. We just got to first base.

What's your best training tip?


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

4 New Products I'm Trying and a Giveaway

I get lots of random requests to test products and do reviews, as I'm sure many of you do too. Although I've had some real winners (hello, Sleep Number Bed!) some of the requests I get are for odd products like the Squatty Potty (already have one) and the Diva Menstrual Cup.

My point is, I don't always take companies up on their offers unless there is something intriguing about the product or it is something I think I could really get behind. Here are a few of the newest things I've tried.

1. The Ampla Shoe:

Talk about unique! I was quite curious about these, but also very skeptical. I still kind of am. Here's the item description:

The Ampla Fly is a running tool that empowers the efficient use of force. It encourages better mechanics, which provides a platform to help you run faster, run farther and become the beautifully elastic athlete you were meant to be. 

Neat concept. I tried them for a run and yes there is some springy-ness to the shoe and it's comfortable, I am not certain, however, that I'm sold on running in this much of a shoe, or one that has this type of structure.  Anyway, they are a fun and trendy time to try, but can't say I'll be logging long miles in these.

2. The Skechers Go Run Ride 5 Shoe:

I am an official blogger (see profile HERE) for the Bolder Boulder 10k that takes place every year in Boulder on Memorial Day. About 50,000 plus people do this race and it's kind of our thing as a family. As part of blogging for the BB, I was sent some products. Skechers is the shoe sponsor, so I got these to try.

I think it was funny when I picked them up  someone said, "Oh you'll never wear those, they don't have much support" You don't know me, woman.

Here's the thing. When I first started running I wore a pretty heavy and overloaded shoe because I thought lots of cushion and stability was a good thing for long distance running. I'm not saying it's not, but I am saying it's not for me. Going to a lighter, more neutral and lower heel-to-toe drop shoe has helped me to improve my form (i.e., mid strike) and feel lighter.  I happen to love these shoes because they are extremely lightweight and non-bulky.

3. These Under Armour Rival Sunglasses:

I have one good pair of running and cycling glasses (Oakleys). I am a fan of the Under Armour brand so I was anxious to try out these new glasses. They are bigger than the others I wear, so for running I probably wouldn't use them much. But for cycling?? They are the bomb.

With cycling you get a lot more wind, elements, bugs, in your face. These give better coverage and I'm really love them. I dig the blue lens too. They fit really well and provide 100% UVA protection.

4. These CozyPhones Earbuds.
Lycra Headband Headphones by Halo Acoustic Wear

This is the coolest concept. Earphones within a head band/ear warmer. I hate it when my earbuds constantly slip out due to wind, sweat, etc. This is the perfect solution to keep them in place. And the sound is excellent. Only downside is that in the summer these would be way too hot to wear. But, for fall/winter/early spring - perfection.

Want to try a pair? Enter the giveaway and I"ll send you one just like mine.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Something Very Alarming You Need to Know About

Guys. I just had the most amazing massage. For the past few years I've gotten massages that were mostly torture to treat or release some body part that was hurting due to running. Not for relaxation.

For Mother's Day Sam gave me a gift certificate to Spavia, a new spa in town. I love how they asked me what fragrance lotion to use (white ginger lily), what music I wanted (soft new-agey stuff) and best of all how much conversation I did or did not want during the massage (little to none). I am not a huge conversationalist when I get a massage unless it's feedback about my body, so this was a nice thing to take into account. Two things the massage therapist commented on:

  • "Your left IT Band is so tight it is alarming." Wow no one has ever called my IT band "alarming." Alarming is usually when someone's house is on fire or when you find out the mailman is your dad or you crapped your pants and you are not a baby.
  • "You are lucky you can wear pointy shoes." WHAT? Oh, she means because of this situation. 
Can someone pay for me to get a manicure? Or just a toe transplant?

My toes never cease to amaze people or myself. Freaky freak finger-like toes.

What's new with me? Here are a few things.

1. I am trying this.

I have little to no upper body strength. Last week I could barely do 5 push ups. Today I did 12.

2. As I get older I do not want to get into ruts. That's why I keep signing up for stupid ass and crazy races. That is also why I keep trying new recipes. This one was a winner. My daughter, Emma is not only a vegetarian (well technically pescatarian), but she is also picky. Her response to this meal, "Mom. That was a 10 on the scale." Sometimes I do things right.

Seafood Cakes with Mustard Crema Recipe
Seafood Cakes with Mustard Cream

3. Because I am putting in the miles these days and most of them should involve climbing, I've been heading out to the trails a lot more than usual. This means that I am running by myself on trails some. I haven't really done this before - mostly for safety reasons - i.e., wild animals, wild people or falling. So, I've been going at times when I think more people will be out there and I've been running with my mace, just in case.

Pictures from today's 8 miler, which covered 1,500 feet of climbing:

My attempt to get a timer shot. You get an up close of my leg and the crotch of my shorts instead

Another fail at a timer shot

Happy runner. Crooked sunglasses.

4. I'm bored with TV. I have turned to Netflix and House of Cards. Political shows tend to confuse me because I can be kind of dumb, but I am doing my best to stick with the plot. It's good.

5. I signed up for the Leadville Marathon. I almost didn't because it looked too easy.

You might remember I did the Heavy Half (15 miles) last year (race report HERE). There was suffering, but there was also fantastic scenery and beer at the end, so that made it okay.


6. I was reminded this weekend of how creepy Raynauds disorder can make my hands look after I run in the cold:


When was your last massage?

What are you watching on Netflix now?

Newest recipe you've tried and liked?

How many push ups can you do? Prove it.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Hour Talk

48 minutes until official happy hour. The countdown has begun. Sure, like they say, it's 5 o'clock somewhere, but that's for hard core drunkards, not suburban moms like me (bahaha).

If we were to sit down for happy hour today and have a glass of wine, this is what I would tell you.

Today I got curious about the Whole30 plan. In five minutes I got un-curious about it because...what? No alcohol. No beans. No sugar. No pancakes. I'm sweating just thinking about it. All of the refraining. All of the cravings. All of the desperation and longing. They say do it because you will feel a million times better. But what if you already feel pretty darn good? No alcohol. No pancakes, I said. Have you tried it? Maybe I will live vicariously through you.

If we were having a glass of wine or two I would let you know that I cannot wait for this weekend of running. I'll be doing a total of 20 miles - tomorrow 6 miles with hill repeats, Sunday 14 miles of trails. If you ask me what I want to do on Mother's Day, it truly is to run on the trails, eat good food, have my family around me. I'm pretty simple that way.

Two glasses in, and the inhibitions are starting to slip a bit. I would now probably tell you that one of my worst habits is picking. Picking my cuticles. Then I'd show them to you like an ashamed child. (what? I could be picking my butt. I don't do that).  I've done this for years, but at times it's worse than others. It's not a nervous habit, it's just a habit and something I like to do for some weird reason. Right now my cuticles look like a war zone. Angry, red, torn up. I'm not proud of it, but in the world of bad habits, this one is probably more harmless than some.

What is wrong with me?
Tipsy. Glass three. I better watch what I say. I could be on the verge of disclosing a bit too much.

Now I would tell you that I feel motherhood slipping away from me. Yes, I will always be a mother, but as my kids get older, they are around less and need me not quite as much. That's why when they ask me to do something for them that I know they can do for themselves, I do it (i.e., "Mom you are the only one that can make Kraft Mac and Cheese taste the best...can you make it for me?"). That is why I still stand by on the sidelines, watching them as they navigate their way through basic daily tasks, witnessing that they are their own people and now live their own lives. More than ever I am understanding that damn corny ass book that always made me tear up, "Love You Forever" (as long as I'm living my baby you'll be).

That is why I pause while in Target watching the woman with the toddler in her cart as they chit chat away about if they should buy Cheerios, because it was just yesterday I was doing that exact same thing and I did not realize the total perfection of that moment.

Then I do it. Oh, no. I fast forward my brain to 94 days from today and I visualize helping Sam set up his dorm room and that moment when we hug and cry and I slowly let him go and I get in the car and I feel in every cell of my being that this moment changes everything. Don't leave. Yes, you have to leave. This is what I raised you to do. And the fact that I will miss you so much is a testament to how cool and remarkable of a person you have become. I love you as my son, but I also simply love you as a person and more than anything I will miss your company.

If I was finishing my third glass of wine I would tell you: Hell.  How did this become an open letter to my son? Let me get my shit together.

Glass #4, yeah that's nearly the whole bottle. Now I tell you let's get off the sentimental boat. A confession: did I ever tell you about the time I was in labor and pooped the delivery table 10 times? Maybe that's for another day.

This has gone downhill fast.

So, tell me:

What are your Mother's Day Plans?

Ever tried Whole30?

Have you sent a kid off to college? How did you handle it?

Happy Friday!


Monday, May 2, 2016

7 Slightly Shitty Moments Every Runner Has Experienced

I had lots of time to think this weekend as I ran two back to back days, 9 miles each day.

These runs were pretty uneventful, but many of my runs are plagued by all kinds of issues. Farts, cramps, being too cold/hot, getting lost, being afraid, to name a few. While we all know running is a Godsend that is the single best form of exercise on the planet, stuff goes wrong. And, when it does, the runner doesn't exactly lose his/her lust for running, but there is a  moment of confusion as to why we put ourselves through these things.

Shitty Moments:

1. The obvious one here - the elephant in the room - is the jostling of the bowels when one runs and how these can lead to the immediate need to poop. Not poop in a mile when one gets home, not poop at the next gas station, but NOW. Whey do you think the Eagles sang, "I was running down the road tryin' to loosen my load?" Because running does loosen our loads and not always at the most convenient of times. I have long had trouble with having to go at the worst times (see my most embarrassing moment ever HERE), and I'm not entirely comfortable telling you the number of times I've had to jump off the trail. It's just part of many runner's stories. But, definitely a shitty moment. literally. You are not alone!

2. Ever feel like someone is following you or you somehow feel threatened while running? This is not so much a "shitty" moment as it is an all out terrifying moment. I have a handful of those - some involving mountain lions that I know are close by (how do I know? Well because I saw where the lion had just dragged the deer down a canyon). And, stepping over rattlesnakes has increased my heart rate more than running ever could.  I've also had a time where a black truck was following me, passing me way too many times, and I had to go to a house on the side of the road. All scary, all in broad daylight. Be safe out there.

3. One of my least favorite of the shitty moments is when I have been on a long run and I've had to call for the dreaded PP (Pussy Pick Up - when a friend/spouse has to pick you up because you can't finish your run). This usually happens when an injury gets the best of you, you are sick, an expected blizzard or storm crops up or you just hit the wall and hit it hard. Or, maybe you crapped your pants. That is acceptable too. Tell the driver to bring wipes, towel and nose plug.

4. The most obnoxious running pain (aside from true injury) to have is the one that involves things rubbing together and causing chafing. Chafing is very sneaky because while you know it is happening and it kind of hurts, the real agony is yet to come and will occur later on when you take a shower and the first bits of soap touch the chafed area. The first time this happened to me I squealed so loud the neighbors called the police. Well, not really, but it was piercing.

5, I don't know about you, but when I go for a long run or am racing, I have it in my head that I can go that distance and only that distance. Seriously, do not ask me to go .1 miles more. This is all fine and good until you become lost during a run or race thereby causing you to go quite a bit further than anticipated. This is just plain shitty. No way around it.

6. Feeling tired at mile 2 of a marathon. Shitty. Shit. Shit.

7. Realizing that the breakfast/lunch/snack you had or that last GU is not agreeing with you and it is just a matter of time before you puke. Mouth gets all watery, stomach turns inside out. Yes, puking and running can go together, but puking is no fun. Not at all.

What's a shitty moment you've had on the run? Give me a good story. It's Monday and I need it.