Friday, January 27, 2017

What Shape Is Your Ass In? (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Marathon training is going well, thanks for asking.

But, I've developed this pain in my ass (literally) and I am convinced it's because 90% of my runs have been off trails and on roads. I don't think roads in and of themselves are the devil (except that they involve scary drivers who insist on not paying attention and I have to be on my guard to jump into a roadside ditch at every second), but what IS awful is that running steady on a harder surface without the variation of the trails can cause my body distress. So, after this Paris Marathon business, I am back to the trails.

Because I like to be my own massage therapist (it's cheaper that way), I have discovered the exact muscle in my ass that is angry. It sits to the right of one of my sits bones in my right butt cheek, I think it's my piriformis but I'm not anatomy expert so get off my back. I spend a lot of time rubbing it, trying to get it to more content, but not sure that is working. And, no, there are no happy endings.

Well, that was interesting. As I tried to find a Google image of butt muscles, I found this and I got sidetracked.
Image result for glute muscles
Which one are you? I can't see my own ass, but I think I might be a heart. I have a crack in my heart!

In other exciting news (beyond ass cracks), I am going to Phoenix this weekend to 1) visit son, Sam and go to frat parties 2) run the Women's Phoenix Half Marathon. 

It doesn't look like the most scenic course, but it is flat and most importantly WARM and full of estrogen and fellow vaginas!

The thought of running in shorts and a tank top is almost as orgasmic as the enticement of the ASU frat parties. Hah! Who am I kidding? I hate crowds and bad beer and vomit, so more likely I'll be in my hotel room sipping Chardonnay and watching We Are the Millers for the 10th time.

In other exciting SUAR news, here are some interesting occurrences from the past week:

Number of miles run: 35
Longest run: 14 miles
Number of speeding tickets: 1 oops
Number of miles driven: 700
Number of podcasts listened to: 10
Number of times I had to poop while running: ZERO!!
Number of episodes of Shameless watched: 6 (that show!! it keeps getting more disturbing and more entertaining!)
Number of races signed up for: 2

So, aside for Phoenix, I decided I'll do the Utah Valley Marathon (or half, not sure). I know I said after Paris I'm done on the roads, but I lied. This course looks awesome and scenic and it will be on June 10, so the family can make a road trip out of it. Plus, I got a free entry.

Image result for utah valley marathon
This is not me

Want free entry yourself? Enter here. It's fast. It's scenic. You get a really cool 10 year anniversary jacket! And, there are both half and full marathon options.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, if you don't win, please consider signing up with the promo code suar15 to get 15% off of your entry fee.

Answer these because I care to know:

Current favorite podcast? Tim Ferriss Show

Next race you're running? Phoenix

Last speeding ticket? Sunday


PS: Thanks to the Utah Valley Marathon for the free entries and the promo code!

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Endurance Diet and What I Eat In a Day (plus, a GIVEAWAY)!

Call me crazy but I don't think eating well is that hard. Or, maybe I'm doing it wrong because Goldfish and wine are technically not food groups.

That said, I used to weigh about 25 pounds more than I do now. I was in the throws of the late night nachos and beer routine. I viewed food as something that was to be restricted, then I'd go overboard (this was in my pre-running days when a workout was the occasional aerobics class in my leg warmers). Over time, I didn't really diet to lose that weight, but changed my attitude about food. Here are my two tips.

1. Understand (and I mean really understand) that food is not the enemy. Food is fuel. Food is good for you. Get in touch with your body. Eat when you are truly hungry (my rule of thumb to find if I am truly hungry or not is to ask myself if I am hungry enough to eat an apple. Stupid, I know, but if I am not hungry enough to do that, then I'm probably not really all that hungry. I probably just want the taste of food in my mouth or am trying to satisfy some other issue that I have going on like boredom or anger or television watching). Voila moment: food tastes much much better when you are really hungry.

2. Once you know you are truly hungry (apple test), then don't just start shoving food in your pie hole while standing with the refrigerator open. Think for a second about what you really want to eat. What wold truly satisfy you at the moment. It could be an egg or it could be a side of beef. You get in touch with what it is. That's not my problem.

For some reason, I really enjoy reading about what people eat. I think it's kind of fascinating and sometimes it gives me ideas. Other times it makes me feel superior or greatly inferior. Here's my breakdown

Early morning (6:30 a.m.): Cup of strong Peet's coffee with an insane amount of half and half.

I don't usually wear shorts over my tights because it's dorky, but it keeps my ass
from turning into a full blown ass-icle

Post run (usually around 8:30 a.m.): Toast topped with smashed avocado, a fried egg and some cheese. Option #2: sauteed spinach and mushrooms mixed with scrambled eggs and feta. Also, a second cup of coffee. If the run is going to be longer than an hour, I will eat something before hand like a banana or a piece of toast.

Lunch: I usually will make something at the beginning of the week for my lunches. My favorites are home made vegetable soup, Moroccan vegetable stew, or roasted veggies with brown rice or couscous. Usually accompanied by a kale salad with kalamata olives, feta, tomatoes and Olive Garden Italian dressing (<this stuff is incredible, try it if you haven't)

Snack: I don't know. Probably a cookie or a handful of some snack food in the pantry (Goldfish, pretzels, etc)

Dinner: This really varies. Emma is a vegetarian, so I will usually have  veggie option for her. Some staple dinners for us are: Black bean burgers (favorite recipe HERE), pizza burgers, spinach lasagna (favorite recipe HERE), tortellini, potato soup in slow cooker, red beans and rice, burrito bowls...the list goes on. Always served with aside of some kind of leafy green veggie.

Post Dinner Feast: This is when things go down hill a bit. 2-3 glasses of wine and some kind of salty shit while watching Netflix or This Is Us or RHOBH. I'm only human, you know.

Throughout the day I'll try to drink water (I also drink hot tea and flavored seltzer water). But, most of the time I'm probably a bit dehydrated. You can tell I'm not big on sweets. Salt feeds my soul.

I don't think my diet is too bad, but I was sent a copy of Matt Fitzgerald's The Endurance Diet, so I was interested to see where I can be doing better.

Pretending to ignore Heidi and read the book. I DID really read it.

Matt (<yea I like to think we are on a first name basis) talks about there being 5 Core Habits to focus on, based on the diets of the world's fittest people (a result of his 20 year research of the top endurance athletes):

1. Eat Everything (yes) - meaning to eat from all of the food groups not Twinkies and Cheez Wiz
2. Eat Quality (yes, except for when I don't)
3. Eat Carb Centered (yep, no problem) - there is controversy around that but I see carbs as fuel so it       works for me
4. Eat Enough (yep, I think so. Not like I'm wasting away)
5. Eat Individually (This just means eating in a way that works for and is unique for you)

Matt explains clearly what it means to do all of these things and the best foods to consume. There are also recipes at the end of the book (my favorite is the Moroccan veggie stew). To get the full gist, you need to just read the damn book, but essentially, you don't have to be a pro athlete to adopt some strategies to help you perform at your best. And, just cause I love super food lists, here's his take:

Almonds, bananas, beets, black beans,brown rice, cherries, coffee,corn, eggs, garlic, olive oil, peanut butter, potatoes, red wine (score), salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes,tea, teff (millet like grain with a lot of iron) tomatoes, tuna, yogurt.

Want to win a copy of the Endurance Diet? Enter here (US only):

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Good luck!


Friday, January 13, 2017

9 Things Only Runners Who Are Getting Older Will Understand

I know I've told you many times that I'm turning 50 on February 22. I keep reminding you this mostly so you will send me gifts and money, but also to demonstrate that life doesn't end at 50! I have plans for myself, I have goals! I am just getting started.

That said, let's get realistic. As we age, shit happens. Our bodies change. Our metabolism slows. Bodily functions get more interesting. Our stamina can wane. Oh, boo hoo. But, it's not all bad. Here are some issues we might contend with as we get older and continue to run. Don't let them scare you, but just be aware.

1. You pee yourself. This can also be called "urinary incontinence" if you are a smarty pants. The good news is, peeing yourself unexpectedly is not only reserved for those of us getting older, but can happen at any age. However, as the body undergoes pregnancy and menopause, UI become more of a reality. Why? Because with these conditions comes the weakening of bladder muscles. And, when you combine the impact and jostling that running requires with weak bladder muscles - well, you piss yourself. Make no mistake - this happens to men too, but is more common in women.

2. You slow down. Like anything with aging, it's not a given that certain things will occur, but it is likely. There is a reason that the Boston Qualifying times increase as we age. As the years pile on, the body, unfortunately, tends to break down. Our ability to take in oxygen decreases. We lose flexibility. Muscle strength lessens. While this sounds horrendous and like we should just be put down like a bunch of older and lame horses, there are things we can do. Strength train. Take our calcium. Keep moving. And, most importantly, just because we slow down does not mean we can't still have big goals and strive for them!

3. Recovery takes longer and becomes more and more important. Remember when you were a twenty something stud and you could drink all night and get up and function relatively fine the next day? Fast forward to when you're a forty or fifty something person. You try to drink all night and you find that if you try to move the next day, you are near death and begging anyone to bring you some Nuun while you lay as still as possible underneath your sheets. Running is kind of the same. As we get older, we simply have to rest up more to stay healthy and uninjured. C'est la vie.

4. You just might have a chance at that podium! As age goes up, so do age group race times. This means that if your chances just might increase to place in your age group as you get older.

That's me on the left. So what if there were only three of us in this age group?

5. You risk cardiac death. Damn, this just got depressing. The stats on this one show that marathoners over 50 are twice as likely to have a heart attack while running a marathon than those under 40 years old (source). However, the odds are still in our favor, as only 1 in 100,000 marathoners die during a race. To assume that would be you is pretty self-centered. Plus, by running, we are decreasing our risk of so many other conditions such as diabetes and various cancers. It also strengthens our joints. To me, taking that 1/100,000 risk is pretty damn worth it.

6. You gain weight. No matter how much you run. This phenomenon is a drag and is largely due to hormonal deficiencies that occur as we age. And Oreos. We begin to lose muscle, get belly fat, have trouble sleeping and can be more prone to depression and anxiety (another reason to keep running).  Weight gain can be a runner's nightmare because who wants to carry around an extra 10 pound sack of flour while running? To combat this, be diligent about eating a smart diet high in grains, veggies, lean proteins. Keep moving.

7. Aunt Flow shows up when she damn well pleases. As we age and those hormones fluctuate, our periods can become incredibly irregular. This comes in super handy on race day or during a long run when the floodgates open and you aren't prepared.

8. Sleeping becomes a pain in ass. As we age, sleep times decrease. We may find we wake a lot in the night and spend the next two hours worrying about how we're going to pay for our kid's college, if we left the iron on, how much pesticides are on grapes and how we're going to finish that marathon we signed up for. You also might wake up for your run and find you are fatigued from cumulative nights of not getting enough rest. There are lots of anecdotes for getting better rest: hot tea with apple cider vinegar and honey (Tim Ferriss swears by this), Melatonin, lavender oil on your pillow or just a good solid Ambien or bottle of wine.

9. You manage life better than your non running friends. Let's face it. As we age, life can get pretty stressful. We worry about having enough money for retirement. Our kids leave. Our parents get sick. We come to recognize our own mortality. The bright spot is that people who run have less depression and anxiety, on average. This is because just 10 to 20 minutes of running can produce feel good chemicals in the brain.

One of my favorite shirts. Truth!

That wasn't so bad, was it? While it's true that we may deteriorate a bit as we age, I'm a believer in embracing the older years and continuing to set high expectations for myself. Sure, I may have to work a bit harder, I might have to pay closer attention to recovery and I might have to deal with the unexpected, but I'm not dead and until that day, I'm going to keep at it.

What have you noticed in your body as you've gotten older?


Disclaimer: Obviously I'm not a doctor and not uber smart, so don't take my word for any of this. Get guidance from professionals who know what the hell they are talking about.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Marathon Training Has Begun. Just in Time for Shitty Weather

As I sit here and look out my window it is -10 degrees and the ground is covered in 8 " of new snow. Here's how it looked when I woke up. It was actually colder in Longmont this morning than Antarctica. I am not shitting you:

I find myself wondering how I will do my long run of 13 miles tomorrow without having to resort to the treadmill. 13 miles on the treadmill sounds slightly like a slice of hell. But, I remind myself running is a choice and a privilege. And, people, I have goals for myself, so I just keep visualizing that start line in Paris in 93 days!! I could not be more excited to be celebrating my 50th birthday in one of my favorite places on earth doing one of my most favorite things on earth (getting trampled!).

Image result for paris marathon start

Remember, treadmills are convenient for pooping when necessary and water fountains. And there is no black ice on a treadmill. I will, say, however that yesterday someone left the treadmill on at the gym and I almost stepped on it and got ricocheted off. This has happened to me before so I always check now to see if some ass hat as left it on. And, sure enough.

This brings me to training. I have a new marathon training plan!! I am giddy about it!!! I want to smash my goals and be a star!

So, I poked around for quite a bit of time trying to decide which plan to use. Yes, in the past I have created my own plans, but I didn't want to do that this time. I wanted someone to tell me what to do because I like being bossed around sometimes. I also wanted results and a challenge.

I'm wearing glasses because I have an eye infection, which makes me look like I'm high all day

Finally, I decided on McMillan Running to create the plan. I didn't want an ongoing coach, just a solid schedule and the opportunity to ask questions when needed. Long ago I became a fan of the McMillan Running Calculator. Do you know about this? Basically you enter in a recent race time and it tells you what you could potentially run for other distances. It also gives you your goal training paces for long runs, tempos, 800s, recovery, etc. I used this a ton when I was trying to qualify for Boston and it worked.

Now I've got this shiny new plan chock full of a variety of speed workouts, recovery/easy runs and long distances. Tailored for just me by Greg McMillan himself (well, probably not, but I know he secretly has a crush on me). I'll be running 5 days per week, which is what I do now. Weekly mileage starts around 33 miles and ramps up from there with recovery weeks thrown in. It's a 14 week plan taking me right up to marathon day on the Champs Elysees! Mon Dieu.

Let me speak my goals so that I can make them very real and you can hold me to them and mock me if I fall short (<calm down you know I'm kidding. No mocking. Just shame me instead).

Goal A: PR the marathon. My PR is 3:42 (2010). That is a damn long time ago and I am much damn older. So what? Age doesn't mean much to me. I feel stronger than I did in 2010 and pace/speed are things I can work on. Paris is a pretty flat course and at an elevation of 115 feet. 115 feet is for pussies!

Goal B: Qualify for Boston again. The good news is that when you are 50, you qualify by running a sub-4 hour marathon. I think I've got that in me for sure.

Running Boston - 2011. I'll be back.

So, there you have it. In the bleakness and coldness of this winter blah time, I've got my eye set on the prize. I love having goals to propel me through...

What's the last training plan you used? Probably one I got through Andrew Kastor for the LA Marathon.

What are you training for now? Paris and just maybe a 50K or 50 miler.