Saturday, July 30, 2016

Just Look at That Ass

Last week's high training week has come and gone.

57 miles total with about 6,000 feet of gain.

One of the things that's been great about this training is discovering new routes and trails -for both running and discretely pooping. Even if these new routes kick my ass. The above picture was taken at the Switzerland Trail outside of Boulder.

Another spectacular thing about training for the Transrockies Run is that it's been a necessity to buy lots of new things (or maybe I have a running gear addiction and this just fuels it appropriately). Headlamp, 0 degree sleeping bag, first aid kit. Also, this windproof/waterproof running jacket from Sugoi. Usually costs $189 but I got it for $48 on the Ironman site.

Another purchase? New trail running shoes. You all know I'm a huge fan of the Brooks Pure Line. So, I tried out the Brooks Pure Grit trail shoes. Love. Very light weight, but enough substance to protect my feet from rocks. And hopefully snakes, mountain lions and bears.

By far my newest piece of gear is the Orange Mud Endurance Pack (BPVP70) - I'm wearing it in the first picture. I feel like Orange Mud really did their homework on this one. This pack sits up a bit higher than many hydration packs, so it really stays put. It is very adjustable for smaller framed-people. It holds 70 ounces of fluid, plus has a front pocket for additional smaller bottles. There is a storage area perfect for gels, gloves, phone, etc. If I have to carry a bunch of shit and liquid, then I want to do it in a pack like this because it only weighs 9.5 ounces and hugs onto my body so I (kinda) forget it's there. There are also bungee cord things on the back (not shown in below pic) for carrying trekking poles, jacket, etc. I think my only gripe is that the hose/tube for the bladder is a bit too long. Seriously, if you are in the market for a new pack, consider this one.Endurance Pack - BPVP-70 - Orange Mud, LLC

Oh, and another fantastic thing about the Transrockies Run? On stage 3 (which is the toughest day apparently - 24.5 miles), we have a Beer Mile Race. Apparently this guarantees not only some puking, but some nakedness. This is the guy who won last year:

I am not sure what his left hand is doing
Ultra runners do have nice bodies, no?

So, this week is my last big push right into taper time. So far -

Mon: Off
Tuesday: 3 miles (recovery)
Wed: 8 miles w/hills
Thursday: 7 miles (in Breckenridge at 11,000 feet) + 3 miles hiking
Friday: Off
Saturday: 10 miles (trail, 1,600 feet of gain)
Sunday: 21 miles - planned (3,500 feet of gain)

Total: 52 miles

On today's run:

To tell you the truth, I don't think I'm exactly prepared for this race. How does one exactly prepare to run 6 days straight, 120 miles total and 20,000 feet of climbing, most of it about 10,000 feet? But, I did what I could do with work, family and my reality TV/wine addiction. I know there will be people who put in many more miles. I also know there will be people coming from sea level who will struggle with altitude, so at least I have that on my side.

Regardless if I'm ready or not, here I go. 10 days from today.

Have you ever done a beer mile? Naked? No and no.

Best piece of running gear you've bought lately?


PS: In Breckenridge this week I hiked with my parents (both 77 years old). They rock, no?

PPS: Thanks to Orange Mud for sending the hydration pack my way to try.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Big Running Weekend Coming Up

I can't believe it's here already, but this weekend is my peak training weekend for the TransRockies Run, which starts in 17 days. If I accept the challenge before me, I will run about 57 miles this week, 40 of them on trails. Will be about 12 hours total of running.

I was beyond excited that my new Orange Mud Hydration Pack (the BPVP ) just arrived on my doorstep. It's a 70 ounce (2L) bladder (bigger than my own God-given bladder, which apparently can only hold 16-20 ounces of fluid before I wet myself), with plenty of room for fuel, my phone, first aid kit, etc. For TransRockies we are required to carry a jacket, a hat, a first aid kit, an emergency blanket (and other things I can't remember -probably tampons and condoms) on every run. So I needed something with a big bladder and some storage space.

Look at this beauty. The lime green rocks, no?

I've put in some junk mile this week (about 17). Then today I ran 9 miles at Walker Ranch, which is a tough one for me. 2,000 feet of climbing, some technical trails, one snake.

Tomorrow I'll do a 20 miler with about 2,500 feet of gain. Then 11 miles on Sunday.

Basically I will be one with the trails. But, hopefully not like this:

What I learned this week:
  • You can never bring enough water. Or, have enough stored in your car at the trail head.
  • Cola flavored PowerBar Energy Blasts are the bomb.
  • The last song I hear on the radio is the only song I hear in my head the entire run (when I don't bring music, which I never do on trails). Today it was appropriately "Born to Run."
  • You can chafe wearing shorts you have been wearing for years that you never had a problem with before. WTF?
  • Not everyone on the trails knows the etiquette of who yields to who. Drives me nuts. Horses have the right of way before bikes and runners. Runners have the right of way before bikes. $50 fine!
  • These cups of oatmeal from Costco are quick to make, fit in a car cup holder and are the perfect pre-run breakfast.

More next week!

What running plans do you have for the weekend?

Best pre-run breakfast?

What hydration pack do you use? I always use the Orange Mud Single Barrel, but I can only carry 22 ounces with that.


PS: Your daily does of cuteness. Krosby thinks (or wishes) Heidi was his mama.

PPS (but for sure deserves more than a PPS) My dear friend, Clair, completed her first Ironman distance triathlon in Roth German on Sunday. Go read her inspiring report!! HERE

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

8 Tips for Running in the Scorching Heat

I'm back from Chicago. This picture says it all:

Giordano's pizza. And, whiskey.

Ken's high school friends who all turned 50 this year. God, they are old. 

Might have gotten a bit crazy after the Cubs game
It was a hugely fun weekend with the boys. No I am not an escort. Just crashed the guys' trip because Ken didn't really tell me it was a guys' trip. I think if you can fart like a champ and deal with penis talk, you're good.

Oh, and we did get in some great runs along Lake Michigan both ways. So thanks for the advice.

Only bad part of the trip: Spirit Airlines. Yeah, that was a shit show.

I have now flown Spirit twice and have had flights cancelled twice. That is 100% of the time, in case you suck at math. Fool me once...I could go on a 15,000 word rant about this, but suffice it to say that if you choose Spirit to save money you will be paying hundreds more in the long run when they cancel your flight, only offer you a flight 4 days later, don't help with re-booking and don't compensate for hotel.

Oh, and seats don't recline. I am surprised there is not a slot to put in a quarter so you can lean back your seat. At least it doesn't cost to take a huge dump on the plane. In the cockpit. JK.

Moving on.

So, like you all I have been suffering through some sweltering summer runs. 

In my TRR Training I am out there for 4+ hours at a time, on the trails, at altitude. Dehydration, cold sores from the sun, crying, extreme thirst and ridiculous fatigue have all been part of my training. I have tried to be really careful about fueling, hydration, taking my SaltStick tabs and recovery. But the heat still sucks the life out of you. This chart will make you feel better.


I've come up with some tips for running in the heat. These have helped me, so I hope they help you too.
  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.

Worst airline in your opinion? Best? Spirit sucks. I still like Southwest.

What's your best tip for summer running? 


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

10 Tips Guaranteed to Make You a Better Runner (or your money back)

I've had a lot of time to contemplate the meaning of life and the best gel flavor (salted caramel) on my runs lately (as I've been running about 10 hours total per week). I've also given lots of thought to what I've learned about running over the past 7 years, Most of these amazing words of wisdom come from other runners, the check out girl at Target ("It's a match!), my dad and construction workers. Well, not really, but they did come from a variety of sources I can't remember.

1. Don't Let the First (or Second) Mile Scare You Off. The first mile is a shit storm. Always. At least for me. I have to power through it mentally and know that I will settle in. If I gave up every time I had a shitty first mile, I'd never run more than a mile.

2. Don't Compare. I suck at this, but I try. The saying really is true: "Comparison is the thief of joy." I can be plodding along feeling really great about my training or my latest PR, then I notice all the people who are faster and stronger and just like that I can get down on myself. Just don't even go there. It's your journey. There will always be those who are faster and stronger and there will always be those who are slower and weaker. Just be you.

3. Buy Running Shoes at Least a Half Size Larger Than Your Regular Shoes. Your feet swell when you run. That means your shoes will feel small if you don't size up. You will also lose more toenails if you don't size up. Trust me on this one. 

4. Never Trust a Fart. This one goes back to that movie "Along Came Polly" when the infamous combination of fart and shit were combined into one beautiful term: shart. Runners experience this more frequently than they would probably like to admit. When we run, the gut gets sloshed around and the stomach can get cranky. This often results in the need to pass gas or poop. Often times runners will take a chance on a fart, assuming it will only be air. However, there is sometimes a chaser...if you know what I mean. These days, I don't stop for every fart (I'd never finish  run), but I'm damn careful.

5. Dress Like It's 10 Degrees Hotter Outside Than It Is. This means, don't over dress, you idiot. When I first started running I seriously contemplated wearing my down coat. I mean, I do live in Colorado and run in cold temperatures. But as any runner knows, your body temperature heats up quickly and your heart rate soars. This means in no time you will be stripping off the layers. Probably easier to endure 5 minutes of being a bit chilly, than an entire run of sweltering. I learned this little tip by Googling, what to wear when running. There is actually a sweet little tool where you input weather conditions and it tells you what to wear. Just like your mama! Basically this means in the summer you go naked 100% of the time.

6. Shut Up and Run. Hmmm...can't recall who said this one. Basically, this is the mantra to get you out the door. Truly I started this blog because I got so sick of people making excuses for why they didn't do what they said they were going to do (myself included). SUAR means stop your bitching and just do it (<I also made that up). It means stop letting your brain talk you out of things. Get out the door before you even know what you are doing and simply get it done.

7. Don't Assume It's Going to Get Worse. It was my physical therapist who gave me these words of wisdom when I was training for Ironman Florida. He told me that I was going to hit really low points or run into unexpected challenges and that it was imperative that I didn't catastrophize things. I use this mantra all of the time now. When I am in the middle of a ridiculously challenging long run or race, I remind myself that the pain and experience of being in the mental toilet is temporary and that it won't get worse. And, it usually doesn't. 

8. If It Doesn't Feel Right, It Probably Isn't. For a variety of reasons, but mostly because my cousin Sherry was murdered while running, I am hyper vigilant when I'm out there. I make eye contact if someone is looking at me. I pay attention to people sitting in their cars when I run by (and I usually cross the street). I carry my phone. I run with confidence and alertness. If my gut tells me something is wrong, I listen. You can never be too careful.

9. Injuries are Expensive and Depressing.  My first few years of running were plagued by injuries. In hindsight this was because I was doing too much too soon and definitely not listening to my body. I would run with pain, thinking it would go away or that I just had to toughen up. Nope. This is the worst thing you can do. If it hurts, don't ignore it. Take time off.

10. Carry Toilet Paper, Money and a Phone.

Best running tip you've ever gotten?


PS: I'm going to Chicago this weekend and want to run about 8 miles each day. I'm staying downtown on Adams St (JW Marriott). Any advice for where to run?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Product Review: Ironman Recovery Sandals (aka Happy Hour for Your Feet)

We all have our post-long run or post race rituals -  those things that make us feel a bit human again after we have been beating up our bodies for a few hours.

For me, recovery typically includes coffee (unless it is a race, then beer because...well, it's beer), and some sort of egg thing. My favorite is a fried egg with cheese on an everything bagel and pressed on the panini maker. We call it the "press" around here. As in, "KEN! Make me a freaking press before I miss the window for getting my post-run protein!"

Also - if there is a freezing body of mountain water I will soak in that.

And, then the leg drain. Because it feels good and allows Heidi to spoon my head.

But, probably my most favorite thing to do after a long run or race is put on flip flops. There is something so refreshing about removing those hot, stinky, sweaty shoes and socks and putting on the flops. I think you know what I mean.

Truth be told, the only thing better than your ordinary, boring flip flop is putting on these:

The Ironman Women's Spenco Recovery Sandal.

These are the Mercedes/Lexus/BMW of recovery sandals. They have slight arch support and controls to stop foot odor. The foot bed provides nice, soft, soothing support. They are breathable and lightweight, the opposite of running shoes, which is the point. Just as you wouldn't run in recovery sandals, you shouldn't recover in running shoes.

Since I got these babies I have worn no other shoe after a run. I stick them in my car before driving to the trail head for a long run (like last weekend's 16 miler) and they are waiting for me when I get back, all tired/sore/sweaty. After the impact and stress of running far, these simply make my feet happy.

Here's the order of events:

Run far:

Recover well:

We runners need to care for our feet - bottom line. This includes wearing shoes that minimize the damage of beating up our feet and support recovery.

What's one post long run or race ritual you have?

Do you wear recovery sandals? Why or why not?


Ironman sent me the product for review, but all opinions are my own