Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why Turning 50 Doesn't Suck

The perfect thing about having a blog is it can be all about YOU, all of the time! And, your dog!

Today is my 50th birthday.


Think about that.

As my son told me, "You are half way there." Hmmm...not sure I have 50 more years in me, but I like that he thinks I might. I'm just glad to be in a new f&cking age group.

I started my day running and taking in views of my beautiful Rocky Mountains and thinking hard.

I had the best feeling come over me. Today, I am exactly where I want to be. And, exactly where I should be.

Naturally, mostly of what I write on this blog is about running. Sometimes other parts sneak in like my kids, my husband, my dog, my friends, my travels.

But, there is probably a lot about me you really don't know - like how I hate it when people quote Monty Python!

It's not like I'm some sage or something, but I can look back and recognize things I've learned over the years, things that have become personal mantras. Here are 50 of them.

1. In the middle of the night all problems are 10x as worse as they are when the sun comes up.

2. I don't understand pineapple on pizza.

3. Age does not define what I wear.

4. Travel is the best way to expand the mind.

5. Dogs make life happier.

6. Everyone should know how to swim.

7. One good friend means more than 100 acquaintances. 

8. The most soothing sound is rain on the roof.

9. The most important work may not come with a paycheck. 

10. Everyone should learn how to drive a stick shift.

11. Time doesn't heal everything. We just learn to live in a new normal

12. Confidence gained from running applies to all areas of life.

13. Being truly able to listen to someone is a gift.

14. It's okay to tell your kid, "because I said so."

15. Never trust a fart while running.

16. Airplane turbulence isn't dangerous. It's just unsettling. (Flying used to really scare me and I      would tell myself this).

17. The last six miles of a marathon suck balls.

18. Costco samples can be lunch.

20. Everyone still wants their mommy sometimes. 

21. You know you've got good kids when they send a thank you note without being reminded.

22. Donate anonymously.

23. Googling medical conditions will always make you think you are dying.

24. A broken heart can be mended.

25. You know you picked the right person when they give you the perfect gift you never had to ask for.

26. A fried egg is not is good Halloween costume (I know because I was one in 2nd grade)

27. OPI needs a nail color called "black toenail" for runners.

28. Gossip. What's the point but to hurt someone else or to make yourself feel better?

29. It's a good idea to let your kids feel uncomfortable and to let them fail.

30. Sometimes there is not a right decision, but just the decision you can live with more.

31. Running starts the day right.

32. Library books win over Kindle books.

33. You don't have to know what you want to do. You'll probably change careers 6+ times.

34. Your doctor doesn't know you like you know you. Take charge of your health care. Get second opinions if necessary and advocate for yourself.

35. Winter in Colorado is amazing and sunny (best kept secret).

36. Friendships can have an expiration date and change over time.

37. Don't feel guilty unless you did something truly wrong. Then, say you're sorry.

38. Being right is over rated.

39. I wish Kelly Ripa and I could hang out.

40. I wish Jimmy Fallon and I could hang out.

41. Learning to type in 9th grade was one of the best things I've ever done.

42. Your kids need you to look at them more than your phone needs you to look at it.

43. Running trails are my church.

44. Eating only when you're really hungry changes your attitude about food.

45. Chicken broth has healing qualities at mile 130 of an Ironman.

46. Social media life isn't real life.

47. Being ultra busy is not a badge of honor. 

48. A good night's sleep is everything.

49. Drinking a huge malt milkshake and eating a giant pastrami sandwich right before meeting your boyfriend's family = most embarrassing moment ever. 

50. You're only as old as you perceive yourself to be. 

Costa Rica. April 2016. Wait! Does that say, "VAG?"

So, I just gave you 50 things!! Can you give me at least one of yours?


PS: Follow me on Instagram HERE for more fun. I promise.

Monday, February 13, 2017

8 Tips to Make Your Long Run a Bit Less Hellish

Happy Monday! (<oxymoron)

I'll start this post off with a gross disclosure. I thought I'd make it to the age of 50 without having a hemorrhoid, but I was wrong! I'm officially 9 days short of turning 50, so DAMN, almost made it. You can do with that what you'd like. You are welcome.

So, I'm curious. Do you all have weird bodily stuff come up after your long runs?

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I did a 16 mile run this weekend. I love my IG stories. They are full of the most mundane shit. Did you also know I made shrimp scampi? That I took Heidi for a bath? That I wore a plunging neckline to a party and didn't care that there was no cleavage? You get all of this and more if you follow me in IG and look at my stories.

Moving on.

Let's talk about the long run. Let's talk about the mental fortitude needed to complete the long run.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, my head wasn't in the game. It was kind of a cool, grey morning. But, that wasn't really the problem. The problem was wrapping my head around the distance and how long I would be out there. It had been along time since I had done a 16 mile long, steady run on the road. I wasn't worried about finishing the run, I knew I could that. I was more in my head about the number "16" and how that seemed so far. I've run 16 miles so many times before, but it just felt different. I think it's because i wanted to nail a certain pace and that would mean plodding along, steadily, without many walk breaks like I find on the trails.

Just skipping along

There's no magic to getting motivated for the long run. You just do it. It can be mundane. You are out there a long time. It can get lonely. But, it can also be a time for reflection and zoning out. The long run is a test in perseverance, discipline and determination. And, believe it or not, there are some tips that can make it just a tad easier.

1. Plan a Route You Can Get Excited About. I like to use Map My Run to get creative. There’s nothing like starting a 20 mile run already bored to tears with where you are going. I’d rather drive a bit to start somewhere that inspires me versus following some old worn out route that puts me to sleep. Here was this weekend's run. I do love the back-roads of Boulder County.

 2. Drag Someone Along. Distraction is a wonderful tool. Bring a friend and talk about every mundane thing you can think of like Beyonce's even fuller breasts since getting pregnant or how long it takes corn to move through your system (this is very easy to figure out. Just keep a diary of when you had corn chowder and when it showed up later). A good friend will also share supplies with you like toilet paper, an extra gel, a tampon or condom (now that really would make your long run more fun).

3. Bring Happy Fuel. If you hate the taste of gels, but you eat them because you are “supposed to” or they were on sale, that’s no fun. Bring along your most favorite candy or gel flavor.  Maybe companies should market cocktail themed gummy treats for runners (jam packed with electrolytes and carbs of course) like Rum Runner (get it?), Sex on the Beach (for the wild crowd), Bloody Mary (for those running in the morning or during Sunday brunch time) and Mint Julep (for the Southerners).  My favorite choice these days:

4. Tell People Even If They Don’t Care. I like to let a few friends know if I’ve got a really long run (say 16-20 miles) because in my head I think they are cheering me on and that they really care if I finish or not. Somehow it holds me accountable. Ok, maybe my mom just cares, but so what?

5. Break the Mileage Up. Do not start the run and think “Yay! only 19.82 miles to go!” Think “Okay, only 5 miles until I can have my uncrustable”, then “Only 5 miles until half way” etc. I find that 5 miles feels manageable in my head, but use what increments work for you (three 10Ks plus a bit more, two 10 milers – you decide).

6. Get Lost in Your Head. If running alone, let your mind wander. Meditate as you listen to your breathing and the sound of your feet. Focus on the sights and sounds around you. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line of the race you are training for and how it will feel to meet your goal. 

7. Try Not To Stare At or Be Consumed By Your GPS. Watching your GPS and waiting for the miles to tick by is a bit like watching a pot of water until it boils. It feels like forever. Just let it go. Tell yourself you’ll check in every 30 minutes, every 3rd song on your iPod, whatever. But, don’t constantly check it or you will feel like you ran 40 miles, not just 20.

8. Make a new playlist that gets you all fired up. Or listen to podcasts. Personally,, I like listening to podcasts while driving, but not while running. If I listen to anything, it'll be music. In lieu of a playlist, sometimes I like to put on Pandora and to just be surprised by what comes on. 

Any tips you have for making long runs just a bit easier?

Weird body issues after long runs? 


Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 Phoenix Womens Half Marathon Race Report

For me, the best combination in life is family/friends + travel + running. Oh, and wine. And, maybe cheese and bread. Coffee is good too.

If I can put these things together then I stop caring so much about all the other bullshit going on in the world.

This excellent combination was in full effect this weekend when we traveled to Arizona for the Phoenix Women's Half. The main reason to go was to see Sam at Arizona State, but then of course it never hurts to add on a race, especially when it fits perfectly into my training plan.

Like I told you last week - my ass pain was kind of evident days before the race, but in my perfect denial style I figured I'd take a couple days off pre-race and miraculously all would be well. Magical thinking is fun. Until reality sets in (foreshadow).

We got in early on Saturday morning (the race was on Sunday) and visited Sam's dorm. Not much has changed since he left home:

  Ate something too big for my mouth:

Sat in the hot tub and watched the planes fly over because our hotel room was directly in the fight path of the Phoenix airport. TGFEP (Thank God For Ear Plugs):

Someone in this picture needs their own pair of sunglasses

Then I ate a large dose of Chick-fil-A right before bed because that is what you do when you want to risk a poop surprise episode on the race course (not a foreshadow, thank God).

Race morning involved showing up, pinning on a bib, freezing for a minute, then heading to the start. It was a small race (about 320 people) and supposedly was limited to women, but I did see about five men out there. Vagina envy?

The weather was perfection and running in a skirt and tank top instead of 29 layers was fantastic. We ran the first 4.5 miles or so on a combination of concrete and asphalt path along a canal. It was flat with the exception of about 10 under passes (fully stocked with a lovely urine smell). I can't say the course was overly scenic, but the sun was shining and I was running, so I didn't complain to anyone.

At about mile 2, my sore piriformis (right buttock to be precise) started acting up. I knew it would probably be a long 11 miles to come. The pain didn't slow me down much, but I thought about it. A lot. Pain when running equals no good.

After hitting a turn around spot at mile 4.5, we headed back to the start line where we would go out another 2 miles or so, then back. So this was basically a double out and back. Not sure what I think about that, but no one asked me.

I took a strawberry/banana GU at 6 miles and swigged water. Fascinating.

At this point I was hitting my mile splits consistently - about 8:30 - 8:40 min/miles. Being so flat it was pretty easy to stay consistent.

I finished up in 1:52 (8:35 average pace). My goal was to break two hours, so BOOM. Not a PR, but not a PW.

8th/49th in age group (45-49); 34th/313th female.

Now I show you the worst race photo ever. And, for once it's not because I'm crying or sweating or ugly, but because THIS DAMN WOMAN IN THE BLUE COAT IS IN THE WAY.

I saw the family. They were like blah, blah...yeah, another race. Can we go eat? You smell.

Yay for my hype extended knee!

Then I went to find Erika. She's my dear friend and auntie to the kids. She traveled with us to the race. I knew she'd been having hip problems, but she finished strong.

And, there was bling:

Pros of this race:

  • Small and manageable. No parking issues or traffic. Able to stay warm in the car until the start.
  • Great aid stations and support. Water/Gatorade every two miles and GUs a few times as well.
  • Good energy from the particpants
  • Plenty of porta potties
  • The weather!
  • Pretty fast course, being so flat and uncrowded

Cons of this race:

  • Almost no spectators along the way
  • Kind of a boring course
  • By the time I signed up, they were out of the race shirts, so they are sending me one.

After the race, well it was out to lunch to Pita Jungle for food and beers, then more hot tubbing and a nap. Pretty spectacular day overall.

So...with this ass pain, I'm taking a few days off to see if I can deal with this thing before it gets worse. How do you know a runner is injured (or staving off injury)? This picture:

That's funny. I never realized until now that by wearing this swim cap I am advertising for a condom company. Go ME!

Which do you prefer, small or larger races? I like smaller for the logistics and crowd control, but I like larger races for the spectators and other distractions.

Do you bring your family to races? Not always. I usually let them choose if they want to come or not unless it's some really big deal thing.