Monthly archives: April, 2014

Tips & Thoughts for New Runners, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I posted some tips and thoughts for new runners. I hope it was helpful. Here’s the next entry in the series. (here’s Part 1)

Reminder – I’m not an expert, coach, trainer, elite or anything like that which would make me “qualified” to give advice. What you see below is things I’ve read or heard, learned personally over the years I’ve run, and some opinions.


Your cardiovascular system will improve and progress faster than your musculoskeletal system. This means running will feel easier from a heart rate & breathing standpoint sooner than it really is for your muscles (and especially joints and tendons). It’s easy to push your body harder than it’s really ready for, and you might pay a price for it in terms of soreness or injury. Gradual, measured increases (time/miles and pace) with periodic “cut back” or “step back” segments can help you avoid this very common situation – which is always something of a risk.

Adaptation (which often equals improvement) doesn’t happen during your runs. It’s easy to think it does, because you’re running faster or longer. But that’s because your body adapted from the last times you ran. Stress (running) is a stimulus. The body responds and adapts during the rest and recovery periods (sleep, rest or cross-training days).  Stress + rest = adaptation. If you don’t get the rest, it’s just stress. If your body doesn’t have a chance to make the physiological changes you want (you’re not getting enough sleep, not taking days off from running), you won’t improve, you probably won’t enjoy your running as much, and you’re more likely to get hurt.

Recovery is important. There are many aspects to recovery – including sleep, nutrition and hydration – and there are many approaches you can take to improve your recovery. You’ll find lots of articles on the web as well as pieces in running magazines. One of my favorite authors/coaches, Sage Rountree, has written a very useful book The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery, in which she discusses fatigue, rest, recovery tools, etc., looking at their effectiveness, scientific proof, and cost aspects.

Sleep and hydration matter. If you’re skimping on those, it will – at some point – affect your running.

The best “diet” for a runner is generally a healthy diet overall. Again, this will get more important as you get older and/or run more.  Increasing the amount of whole foods (things you recognize as food, like fruits and veggies) and reducing processed/packaged foods and added sugar is a good place to start. There are plenty of articles in Runner’s World to help you with this, and Matt Fitzgerald has a some good books – Racing Weight, the accompanying cookbook, and The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition – that cover these topics, and discuss in more detail the concept of “diet quality” rather than following a “diet” overall. He also has some articles online in the Nutrition section of Competitor’s site.

Running is only part of the equation of being a healthy, lifelong runner. Stretching/flexibility work, strength and core work, drills and other running-specific exercises and cross-training are all important components of enjoyable and successful running – however you define success. They get more important as you get older and if you have any injury problems.

Don’t be afraid to take a rest day or get a potential injury checked out or cut back on your mileage during a run or in a week. Think long-term health and consistency. Running more right now may be very tempting, whether to see a new number in your running log or to prove to yourself you can even if something hurts or for whatever reason. But if doing that today means you can’t run for a week? That’s not a good strategy.

Should you run if you’re sick? Individual choice, but I go by the rule of “If the symptoms are limited to above the shoulders (congestion, sneezing, sore throat, stuffy head) give it a try, as you might feel better after. If the symptoms aren’t limited – like stomach flu, food poisoning or running a fever – better to take a rest day.” (Note – I recently broke this rule on Boston Marathon Monday – I just couldn’t not run – but I’ll tell you, running while queasy/dizzy, even on a treadmill, is an unpleasant experience at best and dangerous/stupid at worst.) This is another decision where it helps to think long-term. You could probably run an unpleasant short run with an upset stomach or a fever, but why? To what end? If you knew it would sideline you for 3 days afterward, would you still do it? Your body is trying to heal, running is just going to add stress and delay the process of getting you back to normal, which will delay your return to pleasant running.

Speaking of pleasant running – running is not always fun. Running can be hard, and running farther or faster WILL be hard. (“It doesn’t get easier, you just get faster” – unknown) But you will have good and great runs and you may enjoy the feelings during a run or after a run – physical, mental, psychological/emotional. You may love the sense of accomplishment from a pre-work run, or pride in going a little bit farther. Whatever gives you pleasure and joy about running, embrace it. If you’re not getting any pleasure from running (before, during, after) or from the health benefits it can confer (sleep improvements, reductions in weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate) – consider whether it’s right for you. It may not be, and that’s ok.

The rest of your life will affect your running, even though you won’t want it to and even if you may not think it does. The amount of stress, in particular, that you have in the rest of your life (job, family, health, money) has an impact. You/your body are a system, and running doesn’t happen in isolation from the rest of your life even though it might be a little slice of time you carve out away from those other parts of it. If you’re under a lot of deadlines at work, moving, have a sick child and are worried about making ends meet….your running performance will take a hit. Consider running in the context of your whole life and make adjustments as needed. Don’t make it one more stress or demand on yourself in a stressful time, and don’t push yourself to injury by overloading yourself.

Find whatever about running gives you joy or lights you up and go with it! Whether it’s solo running, running with a friend or in a group, trail runs, track work, treadmill runs (ahem)…running morning, noon or night….racing, from foam/color runs to marathons and beyond…DO IT. Because life is short and unpredictable, and what makes you happy doesn’t have to be the same as what makes another person happy – it doesn’t make sense to anyone but you (or even to you, sometimes).


If you have questions or topics you’d like to see addressed in future posts, please get in touch via comments, twitter, email (M@readeatwriterun.com) or the contact form on the site. Thanks for reading!



Weekly Recap – Week of April 21, 2014

This can best be described as “the week that wasn’t” thanks to a teeny tiny stomach virus with a big impact.

Run: 20.1 miles (3 days, Mon, Sat, Sun)
Bike: 2x 1h ez spin (Th/F), plus 10 min after Saturday’s run
Core: 1 (F)
Wharton flex: 0
Yoga: Standing Hip Openers x 2 (F/Sat)
Calf stretches: 4 days


After a weekend of celebrating all my tweeps/bloggy peeps sharing their pre-Boston activities online (thank you!), I was prepared to immerse myself in all things Boston and project forward to a year from the day, when I hope get to be part of the wondrous spectacle. I even took the day off work to do so – hey, they should get used to me not being around on that day, right? I’d wanted to go running with a local running store’s fun run group, had laid out my kit and everything. But.. I woke up feeling queasy and dizzy, managed to get 4 miles in on the treadmill – I do NOT recommend running while dizzy and queasy, it was most unpleasant and possibly stupid. Definitely wouldn’t have done it outside. Somehow I managed to get a little breakfast in me. Then the stomach virus hit….

I was so exhausted I could barely hold my head up to watch the Universal Sports race feed on my laptop. I couldn’t even muster the energy to get more than mildly irritated at some of the poor coverage and announcer missteps, or lack of showing enough of the women’s race. I managed to get a few sips of water/Heed in me, but that was about it.

I did manage to rouse myself to cheer the magnificent Meb, spending the last 10-12 minutes repeating “come on Meb, come on Meb” starting at a whisper and ending in a shout, tears pricking my eyes. Couldn’t have asked for a better winner, such a stellar athlete & inspiration!

Thankfully, DH came home after work and got me to take in some flat Coke (haven’t had Coke in many years) and a Japanese sweet potato (I think). I basically could only lay around with the laptop and try to read what others were saying. So that was Monday.

Tuesday, DH said he at least didn’t think he had to take me to the hospital anymore, so an improvement. I took off from work again. I don’t remember much of the day. I tried to sleep in, but sleep this week was marked with some really horrible dreams, night sweats and the stomach bug that just wouldn’t let go. Tried to leave the house for my chiro appt only to have to call them and cancel at the last minute. Even the thought of getting on the bike was too much for me. Another day of flat Coke and Japanese sweet potatoes.

Wednesday, I managed to telework, barely. I wanted to force myself to get on the bike but thought that might be a bit too over the line between stubborn/stupid even for me.

Thursday, I got on the bike and did an ez spin for an hour after waking up. It made me feel better for a little bit, then my energy dropped. I got more tired after my rescheduled chiro appointment, when he went easy on me out of pity. I started trying to eat more, though little appealed. Teleworked again.

Friday, i did my core workout for the first time this week and got on the bike for an hour ez spin. I had to go to the office as I was part of a team receiving an award (a good, happy thing – I was just too drained to enjoy it). So I even “dressed up”. Managed to get to work on time, with all my stuff….and then fell on my knees on concrete in the parking garage. That’s kind of how the day went. The left knee hurt quite badly and had some swelling. I can’t take NSAIDs, so all I could do was grab a ziploc out of my desk and prop my leg up on a file drawer to ice my knee as often as I could…which wasn’t as often as I wanted. (multiple meetings on a Friday!) Work was busier than I felt like I could deal with in my continued low energy state, and it was a long day. I was able to spend some time researching hotels for Boston (it’s not too early to get reservations, via MarathonTours.com) so that was a good thing. Had my adrenaline spiked by a surprise call from my Dad’s new doc, who misdialed me instead of my sister to give a “things are ok” update.

Saturday – 10 miles (“long”) run on the treadmill at recovery pace. Slept decently, first night all week. Tried to sleep in, but a wrong number at 6:30 am made that impossible. Noted to self – if i ever do that, at least apologize instead of just hanging up! Expected this run to feel better than it did, though I was worried about my knee. Fortunately running didn’t seem to bother it, though it was/is still slightly swollen. Actually had a moment or two when I felt like I was going to fall over and the world seemed to slip sideways, but I pulled it back. (yet another advantage of my treadmill running is that I was in a safe place when that happened) Thought at least my legs would have some pop to them after all the rest. I’ll say my hams were less sore, but I had other weird aches and pains, possibly from the fall or even from disuse. Aome parts of my body apparently function better if I use them a lot, some prefer rest – I wish they’d get on the same page! Appetite improved some. Trying to notice what appeals to me and doesn’t, and how much i really need or want to eat. I figure this is an opportunity to break or weaken bad habits.

Sunday – Second night of decent sleep! (probably means I won’t be able to fall asleep tonight) Got up, feeling a little queasy/dizzy again. I’ve been told this bug likes to hang on. I was not “feeling it” in any way, shape or form. Gorgeous outside, but decided it would be wiser to stick to the treadmill instead of my usual (ish) outside Sunday run. I’d wanted to do 6, but the first 3 miles or so were tough, even at recovery pace – I felt like I was working harder than I should be overall, not in any one aspect (not huffing, HR not elevated) so probably just overall fatigue. But around 3.1, I had a moment of feeling better and thought “if you can do 3, you can do 6, keep going” so I did. Around 4 I wanted to stop again, but told myself I was fine physically and the extra 2 miles would make me mentally feel better, so I kept going. I’ve had barely enough energy today to do cooking and food prep, and my brain isn’t playing when I try to read anything complicated. So I think the bug is still trying to have its way with me in a slower recovery, and I’m irked…which is good in that being aggravated by my limitations is usually a sign I’m getting better after an illness, but I’d rather not have anything to be irked at and be back to “normal”. Hoping that happens soon. Also realized I hadn’t been taking my lunchtime supplements, which includes my iron, for over a week. Perils of being off schedule. That could be a contributing factor, so I took it when I remembered today.

Meb and the Boston Marathon in general (read/watched so many interviews, enjoyed recaps, blog posts – yay!) were real highlights to my week, as was the amazing weather Saturday and Sunday. I got quality front porch time with beautiful flowers, bird song and some chat with @MrRdEatWriteRun (who took such good care of me this week). Also got a kick out of following those doing the Boston2BigSur Challenge (congrats Mike Wardian!) Pretty course, might want to do that one someday. Hoping for a better running week this coming week and that the bug and its effects say farewell!


Thanks for reading. I love comments, tweets, and emails so feel free to contact me. Happy Monday!



Follow Friday – Friday Five Linkup

First things first – who’s still riding the MebStrong high from Boston? (raises hand) His amazing-ness runner/race-wise and person-wise, and Shalane’s gutsy move, along with seeing Boylston Street as it should be on Patriot’s Day, flooded with celebration and happy runners, offset the low of the stomach bug that took me out of commission for several days this week. You may have noticed I skipped my recap of last week – I figured no one would be reading ME on Marathon Monday. I may at some point do a post about Boston, but so many people have said so much, eloquently, that I’m not sure I have anything to add. I am, of course, incredibly excited for next year, and already looking at travel arrangements.

Happily, to get me back into blog mode, my blog buds/local tweeps Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and Mar at Mar on the Run have a fun theme for this week’s Friday Five – Follow Friday! Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Follow Friday (#FF on twitter) is a way of pointing people who follow you to people you follow in hopes of helping us all make more connections to the many awesome folks out in the e-world and “real” world who we might not otherwise find. Kind of a big warm twitter hug. Since this a blog instead of twitter, I thought I’d share five (x2) blogs I follow, ones perhaps you haven’t run across before. I’m not even scratching the surface of the (gulp) over 200 feedly says I follow (makes sense, I follow almost 250 tweeps). Perhaps over time, I’ll share more blogs I enjoy with you, since there are so many and I’m finding more all the time.

RUNNING

The Girl Who Ran Everywhere – the adventures of big-hearted Massachusetts marathoner (Boston, woot!) Nicole Bedard

Running with Scissors – follow Steph Jeffries from Raleigh NC “careening through life” (and most recently a trip to the Galapagos Islands!) as a mom, runner, ecologist, and writer

The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail – gutsy young Canadian Krysten Siba Bishop sparkling her way through life, athletic and otherwise, with a robotic heart, double prophylactic mastectomy, and the loss of her beloved father, always heartfelt and inspiring

Ann’s Running Commentary – Maryland runner, mom, and blogger Ann Brennan shares her life honestly, including the struggles both she and her daughter have with depression, helping many in the process

See Mom Run Far – based in Wyoming, Erin Henderson, mom of 12 (really, 12, many adopted and with special challenges) who started running April 25, 2009 (happy 5th runniversary!), blogs about family life and running as she aims at an Olympic Marathon Qualifying time – yep, she’s a fastie, but you’re gonna love her anyway (hey, she coaches!)

ULTRARUNNING

Misadventures in Ultrarunning – funny, LA & Texas-based mom and ultrarunner (4x member of the USA’s 24 hour championship team!), Carilyn Johnson blogs about training, parenthood, food and whatever else might cross her mind (best not to be eating or drinking when you read her posts or tweets, she can be spit-take worthy)

FitBee – NH runner, marathoner (just ran Boston at 34 wks pregnant!), ultrarunner, mom and mom-to-be and now nutrition/training coach Colleen Murphy transformed herself and shares her continuing journey

2014 Focused Ultra Year – Wisconsin marathoner, ultrarunner, personal trainer, writer and cross-country/track coach Tracey Hulick‘s training, coaching and other experiences and ponderings, often quite thoughtful or thought-provoking

The Runner’s Trip – California trail and ultrarunner and writer Sarah Lavender Smith on races, places, family

Small Steps & Serious Chafing – follow mom of 3, runner and ultrarunner Jess as she progresses to her first 50 miler

Looking through my selections above, I realize they’re all women. I do read a number of male bloggers, just not as many, so my selections this time reflect the majority. Perhaps next round there’ll be some guys.

BONUS – some tweeps to follow too, in the original #FF spirit:

Running-Related Inspiration @bartyasso @live2runbfree @mikewardian @GOi2P

Inspiration but not running-related @DalaiLama @bunnybuddhism @tinybuddha

Running-Related Education @kineticrev @TheGaitGuys @A_Tx_A

Tweeps whose wit I particularly enjoy @seedanerun @tai_fung @marclutz @fizzhogg

Food-related @RealFoodforFuel


That’s all for now, thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me a comment, tweet me or contact me via the contact form or email me at M@readeatwriterun.com – and happy Friday!



Podcasts [updated 5/20/2014]

[update is at end of post]

I love podcasts and that’s primarily what I listen to on my runs these days (music for races, nothing for non-race solo outside runs at this time). I also listen to some on my commute via my iPhone, and some around the house just doing stuff (like my Sunday veggie cookups) or stretching. I’ve tweeted recs in the past, but thought I’d give you the current list in one place. Within the categories, there’s no particular order. If I run with it, I’ve pulled it through iTunes. If I listen around the house, I may just use the podcast’s web site. On my iPhone, I use the Downcast app. I’ve gotten so far behind with my regulars and found new podcasts too – obviously I need to run a lot more miles!

Favorite guests (will listen pretty much no matter what podcast they show up on)

Greg McMillan – used his book YOU (Only Faster) to train for my BQ and plan to use it again. His site also hosts the amazing McMillan Calculator.

Matt Fitzgerald – author of many books and articles. I’ve found the books RUN, The New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition, and Racing Weight (newest edition) helpful.

Tim Noakes – author of the massive tome Lore of Running and more recently, Waterlogged. Interesting guy, researcher, learn a lot from him.

Dean Karnazes – huge fan, loved his books, impressed by his athletic efforts and activism. Waiting to see what he’s doing next.

Chrissie Wellington – again, huge fan… her autobiography was so full of exuberance and enthusiasm. I love what she’s done for others in her public/service life before, during and after triathlon. She is competing in different types of events (Leadville bike race) and works to bring attention to worthwhile causes – like equality for women’s cycling

Mike Wardian – terrific athlete but also all-around good guy, undaunted enthusiasm and positive attitude. He is open about managing his time and how much the support of his family and employer and sponsors mean to him. He’s clear on how important his family is and keeps a great perspective. He manages to be a fantastic ambassador for our sport and do good things for others while competing in (and often winning) jaw-dropping events like the North Pole Marathon, the Costa Rica Challenge…then he will come back home and the next day run a local 5k to support a good cause. He’s also local to me, and I hope to meet him someday.

Bart Yasso – do I even have to explain why I’ll listen to the Mayor of Running anytime, anywhere? I finally was lucky enough to meet him and run with him at a shakeout run at Shamrock, and hang out at a coffee place after. He’s just as nice and great as he seems or you’d imagine.

I’ll listen to most of my favorite marathoners or ultrarunners no matter the podcast. I’m also fascinated by stories of “ordinary” people doing extraordinary things – ultras, cross-country runs for charity, challenges like 52 marathons in a year.

Always (will give these a listen almost no matter the guest or topic)

Marathon Talk – Tom Williams and Martin Yelling, “relentlessly positive” hosts of interesting and useful episodes on – wait for it – all things marathon and some beyond (a bit on Comrades, occasionally some triathlon talk, a little on track/running competitions). They are terrific hosts and have very interesting (sometimes really elite or even icon-level) guests as well as segments on training, and a couple of regularly appearing personalities (Tony/Tony’s Trials, Duncan/Boy on the Run). They have built an international community of listeners who can interact on the web site by rating runs, submitting race times to make the listener podium, chatting during televised races and just having general discussion. They are usually my first listen on my long run.

Endurance Planet – There are multiple podcasts under one umbrella here, with host Tawnee Prazak. My favorites are the ones with Lucho aka Tim Waggoner (Ask the Coach, Ask the Ultrarunner). It’s fantastic to be able to submit questions and hear them answered – I’ve done so many times. The Ask the Doc episodes are usually quite useful. I enjoy most of the Sports Nutrition episodes with Ben Greenfield and other guests as well, though I don’t necessarily agree with or follow all the concepts Ben has talked about. I usually listen to the triathlon and personality/athlete episodes if I have time and the guest is vaguely interesting.

Ultrarunnerpodcast.com – Eric Schranz (formerly with Scotty Sandow, now with Nate Dunn and some other folks co-hosting, like Sarah Lavender Smith recently) interviews name and “regular” ultrarunners and people involved in ultrarunning. They’ve had some fantastic guests and the podcast is a really enjoyable listen. Eric also sends out a daily newsletter (see the site). Way back, you’ll hear hosts including Don Freeman and Scott Warr, who now host Trail Runner Nation. (Disclosure: I guest-edited one of the URP Daily News posts.)

Trail Runner Nation – Don Freeman, Scott Warr and Faith Goss host a variety of guests (some faves of mine are Coach Jimmy Dean Freeman, Ashley Walsh and Sunny Blende) on topics related to trail running and ultra running. The hosts and guests like to have fun, but manage to get information out while being entertaining. The web site has some ability for users to interact with each other, and you can get a “performance enhancing Kokopelli” (temporary tattoo). They also have started to bring in some guest co-hosts, like Coach Sally McRae (she’s fun).

Often (depends on guest, what I’m interested in at the time, how much time I have)

Athlete on Fire – This one is fairly new, I’m not interested in all the athletes, but most of them. The host is pretty good, the format is consistent, and they’re ambitious, putting out multiple podcasts a week. Scott Jones, the host, is enthusiastic and interested in his guests. They’ve had big names Hal Higdon and Dean Karnazes (I’m a fan) on already.

AnotherMotherRunner – This is women (and mom) focused, don’t think most guys will be interested. I’m not a mom, but I’m a fan of Sarah & Dimity and they’ve done a great job creating a community for women runners of all levels. They’re like friends you’d want to chat and laugh with, who you could ask embarrassing questions and confess doubts or odd thoughts/behaviors. Their podcast has primarily female guests, which is nice as some of the others I listen to tend to have more male guests, possibly because the hosts are male or because there are still more men than women in some areas of our sport. One of my favorite eps is their recent interview with Kathrine Switzer.

Competitor Radio – A weekly show with (usually) famous names in endurance sports as guests, hosted by former triathletes Bob Babbitt (who writes the back page of Competitor Group’s Triathlete magazine and co-founded Competitor Publishing) and Paul Huddle.

When I’m not running

TalkUltra – Hosted by Ian Corless (super photographer) with additional ultrarunning names like Karl Meltzer (aka Speedgoat and the “100 miles is not that far” man) sharing some duties, this podcast is kind of a one stop show for ultrarunning news and info. Races, athletes, coaches – you want it, they probably have it. Their web site is hosted off a page on the Marathon Talk site but the podcast is available in iTunes. Note these are ultrarun length (some are 3+ hours)

DFL Ultrarunning – Hosted by Eric Sherman and Mike Saporito of New England’s Trail Animals Running Club. Yes, DFL means what you think. These are also long and really cater to regular (non-elite) and new ultrarunners though they’ve had guests who are elites or names in ultra like Joe Fejes, the Jester, and Joe Uhan. Eric and Mike talk races (this is where I first heard of Across the Years), training, gear, etc. They’re very candid and it’s helpful to me to hear about ultrarunning from people who aren’t at the front of the pack. The associated blog site is new, has some interviews with runners.

Zen and the Art of Triathlon – Hosted by Brett, an impressive athlete in his own right and coach (and husband, dad, guy with day job), this long podcast includes triathletes, coaches and other interesting folks as guests, as well as including a news segment and (my favorite) the Training Log, which is basically a sequence of stream of consciousness snippets of Brett before, during, after training sessions and talking about training for the weeks between podcasts. He also talks about Zen and triathlon, Zen and life (not so much Zen lately, sadly). Pretty upbeat, and he takes questions and is active on twitter. Check out his blog and look at his (annual) IronBaby event – a self-supported triathlon near his house in Texas to raise funds for good causes that help children with medical needs. Brett’s also a hoot to follow on twitter.

Cloud 259 – I found this podcast, hosted by Brenn Jones & Gregg Lemos-Stein, because they were going to England to compete with the Marathon Talk hosts in the Manchester (UK) marathon on April 6th. Focused on distance running (and mostly marathon distance as the hosts started with their goals to break 3:00) they have good guests including Sally Bergesen of Oiselle, Jason Hartman, Alan Culpepper, Ryan Vail…they also discuss their training, running/racing news, a couple of book reviews and miscellaneous topics. I’ve only listened to a few, but am planning to work my way through their archive as I continue to listen to new eps. (They beat the Marathon Talk hosts in Manchester – I’m  hoping for a rematch in a US race!)

Occasionally

Coach Jay Johnson – This is interesting depending on the guest, can be focused on talking to coaches instead of to athletes, but has been useful, and his site is a good resource.

Sadly Running Times radio and podcasts (link is iTunes) with Scott Douglas doesn’t appear to be live anymore but you can still get the old episodes. Interesting guests – runners and coaches. I think I may have listened to most of them by now, many of them are quite short.

In the past I’ve also listened to The Long Run ultrarunning podcast (host Emily in UK and Israel, now in US, can be long) and IMTalk (NZ, long). A new Michigan-based podcast, Endurance Evolution, seems reasonably good, run by an events management company. Occasionally, I’ll go back to the sites (if I didn’t subscribe) to check out the guests – for example, I’ll probably listen to a recent The Long Run ep with Warren Pole.

I’m finding some new podcasts lately, but won’t rec them until I try them out.

One note, just my opinion: there is a dearth of women podcast hosts, especially compared to the percentage of women running races and the growing interest of women around the world in taking part in our sport. Tawnee, Sarah/Dimity, and Emily are the only ones I’ve run across where women are the primary or consistent co-hosts (did find one podcast of two women triathletes chatting, but it’s gone dark). While I do appreciate the podcasts that are adding women as guest hosts or co-hosts, I think the running/endurance sports podcast universe could use some more female hosts. There are opportunities to be seized!


[updated 5/20/2014]

On 5/20/2014, Jeff Gaudette of RunnersConnect accused Matt Johnson of RunnerAcademy of plagiarizing his content. The accusations do not appear to be related to the podcasts each site hosts, but to other content published by RunnerAcademy. I don’t condone plagiarism, so my first instinct was to remove my RunnerAcademy review entirely. However, I am for “innocent until proven guilty”, so I am not sure yet that’s the right thing to do. I don’t have any knowledge of the facts one way or the other other that the link I shared above. I wanted to make you aware of the situation so you can make your own decision. For now, I’ve moved my review of both of their podcasts to this separate section. I may change my decision on leaving the reviews posted as events unfold.

Below is my original text, as published in April 2014, regarding the RunnerAcademy/Everyday Runners and RunnersConnect podcasts.

RunnerAcademy – The description on the web site says “actionable information” and it’s true. The guest is usually a coach, elite athlete or expert, but in addition, the host, Coach Matt Johnson, provides tips and answers questions. Useful, interesting, encouraging. I’d list favorite episodes, but I’d say at least 2/3 of the almost 50 he’s done so far would fall into that category.

Everyday Runners – This is a newer podcast from Matt Johnson of RunnerAcademy in which he talks to regular (non-elite) runners and hears their stories. We can all learn from and be inspired by each other, and this is a nice addition to my collection.

RunnersConnect – Originally hosted by Coach Jeff Gaudette (who owns the business I believe), whose articles you may see on the Competitor running or Active.com web sites. (He also was great at responding to questions via twitter.) Jeff stepped away from hosting, and I stopped listening. They appear to have had more people than just me dropping subscriptions, and they’re making some changes. They have a new host, and I gave it another try (Greg McMillan interview), think it’s improved and I may make it a regular again. Note, on the web site you can see some of these have associated videos, but the audio portion is available as a podcast through iTunes. For most of them the visual doesn’t matter and some may not have visuals at all. The guests are usually coaches or elite athletes. There are good resources on the site, including my go-to calorie calculator.

[end of update]

That’s the end of the list, for now anyway. Have questions about the above or care to share one you’ve found that I might like? Leave me a comment below, tweet me or use the contact me form. Thanks for reading!



Race Report: Parkway Classic 10 Miler

This is a long post – feel free to skip to the last section if you don’t want the play-by-play.

In last week’s post about my race plans last week, you may recall I was going to run the 17.75k on Saturday and the Parkway 10 Miler on Sunday. By now you’ve read the weekly recap (right?) or seen on twitter that because of a nasty calf twinge, I decided to DNS 17.75k. It was a disappointment, and a decision I felt a little bit bad about, in the “am I being wise or a wimp?” kind of way. However, I believe it was the right decision….and not only because I PR’d Parkway. I have to keep in mind that, just as short-term pain can equal long-term gain, short-term gain can lead to long-term pain and problems. Parkway was a race I cared more about doing (though the unique challenge of 17.75k and its prize of MCM entry were appealing) and it was more suited to where I am right now in my training and where I’m looking to get in the next year.

Saturday (day before race)

Sat 4/12: RUN 6.2 miles, increasing easy pace. Walked 15 min before as usual, then did my chiro calf stretches. Felt fine during the run. I seemed to be running more from my quads, which meant my hams complained less. Not quite sure what I’m doing differently, need to figure it out so it’s more controllable or so my form improves overall. Afterward I spent some time spinning on the bike, then did the chiro stretches again. Mid-afternoon, I did my Wharton flexibility routine, plus trigger point on the calf, per a video from Athletes Treating Athletes (a site I like) that I saw cross-posted on Kinetic Revolution. I also found a spot on my L lower glute that, when trigger pointed (so to speak) with the ball, seems to help my ham, bonus! In the evening, I did the calf stretches again. I decided I’d try the race, just go and run easy and try to have a good time, though I really wanted to PR and had a “dream” time goal beyond that. I was looking forward to meeting some local runner tweeps and just appreciating the experience.

Prepped gel flasks. Made a bottle with my recovery drink mix (no water) in it, a packet of SportLegs and a Larabar for DH to bring with (along with water) when he picked me up post race.

Ate regular pre-race dinner (think that’s 9 times in a month!) of steamed chicken & veggies with sunflower seed butter, etc. However, something was definitely amiss, as I slept for about an hour, then woke up from an absolutely horrible, deeply upsetting dream dripping in sweat, with my heart racing like I’d just done intervals and my head pounding. It took me a while to get my heart rate down, and then the tummy troubles started. So, I was awake and in pain most of the night. Not what you want the night before a race. (so glad it was this race and not Shamrock though!)

Race day

Got up around 4am. Stomach sore from my overnight difficulties. Walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes, then did trigger point on my calves and glute and did my chiro stretches. I took my pre-race supplements (not my beet stuff though) and added water to the gel flasks I’d prepped the night before – one with 3 servings of gel (+2 of water) to carry during the race, and another with 1/1 to be taken just before starting and tossed. Made my tea to have when I got back.

The race starts at 8am, but because of the start location, it’s best to take one of the shuttle buses Pacers provides. There’s a stop less than a mile from my house, with buses running 5:30-6:30. Buses to the race are only for bibbed runners, but they’ll bring you and spectators back post-race, all for free. DH woke up and graciously drove me to the shuttle buses (yay). This year I aimed closer to 6 am for a bus boarding time as last year I got one of the first buses and froze in the cold waiting in the start area for way too long. This year it was probably at least 15 degrees warmer pre-race and at the start than it had been last year; mid to upper 50s and perceptibly humid. I thought “this is gonna be warm when the sun comes out”. Despite it being warmer, because I dressed for heat and am easily chilled, DH gave me an old cycling jersey he was going to donate, which helped.

I met a nice runner on the bus, Rachel, who lives in a nearby apartment/condo complex, and we whiled away the drive down the Parkway chatting about running (she’s new to running and loves the Disney races). I love these situations, people you’d perhaps never otherwise talk to become people you share things with just because you’re both runners. Saw the clouds pinking up as sunrise approached, and saw volunteers setting up water stations on the side of the course. We got off the bus, found our way to the portapotties and back to the waiting area, where we got heat sheets. We continued to chat about running shoes/gear, special diets and other fun topics until I excused myself for another hike down the road, after which I went in search of some local running tweeps I’d wanted to meet – we’d arranged a time/place to connect.

I finally got to meet Teresa, Kristin, tai_fung and a friend of theirs (not on twitter, and I’d only mangle his name) – and they were just as nice and as much fun as I’d expected from our “conversations”. (love when that happens) I wish I’d taken photos of them, but if you check back in their feeds, I believe they all took photos of each other hanging out after the race. While we were chatting in the bag drop area, I managed to knock the velcro band on my Garmin and the watch took a nice fall onto the asphalt – again…I did this in the corral at Shamrock! It got a bit dinged up, and now I’m itching even more to get a new one as the 620 DH has actually seems to fit me reasonably. (think someone would still buy a dinged-up one on ebay?)

Teresa, Kristin and I smushed into the corral together (there’s really no other word for it). I wasn’t sure where I should start time-wise given I didn’t know what pace I’d run, so I just hung with them and chatted till the start. We had fun comparing Garmins and other toys and talking about past/future races, running stores, places to run. It was great! I look forward to catching up with them again, maybe on a run. The National Anthem was sung (I remember buses still arriving at this point, later than normal) and the anticipation mounted. I did remember to take off the cycling jersey and take my gel/water and Energy Surge. Teresa and I ran together for a minute or two, losing Kristin behind us, until she suggested I go ahead, and I did.

The race – first half

I reminded myself just to run so it felt good and easy, and to monitor myself, not overdo the downhill start. It was pretty crowded for the first few miles. I did a LOT of weaving (I’d love to see the Garmin map of that). I started on the left side of the road, wound up passing people in the middle, or running in the right gutter to do so, doing quick zig then zags to get around multiple people, etc. I tried to stay as close to the middle of the road as possible, road “furniture” and potholes notwithstanding. I noted at the first mile flag that my Garmin was about 0.1 off already, so would have to keep that in mind. There are huge mile flags at every mile, which is really helpful. I’ll warn you that my recollection of what mile I was near when something happened is a bit fuzzy, so I may be mixing things up a bit.

Somewhere in the first half, I started thinking “I must have forgotten that this race has almost no flat”. No big hills really (except one that feels big at the end) but it is a pretty good prototype of a “rolling” course. I kept checking my pace, happy with it…ok, very happy and kind of surprised…and thinking, “well, this doesn’t feel too bad, maybe I can just keep going at this pace”. I kept wondering if I might be going too hard and blow up, but it didn’t feel that way, just solid effort. I took some of my gel/water mix just before the first aid station, which I think was between 2 and 3. I also took water at the aid station (did so 3 times!) since I figured it was hotter and more humid than I’m used to, and I’d hate for dehydration to affect my time. I think it did help me. It also proved to me that I CAN take water at aid stations at a reasonable pace and get some or most of it down (in addition to wearing some), which is good, though I can use more practice.

If you’re considering running this race, I’ll say the water stops were frequent (about every 2 miles), well-staffed and supplied. No worries about not getting water (except for not crashing into other people), nice cold water, plenty of trash cans past the tables and people raking the course to try to keep it clear of cups. Thanks Pacers for using the regular wax paper cups instead of the slick, dangerous plastic I’ve seen at some races! There are also portapotties at the water stops – I can’t remember if they’re at all the stops, but at least two or three.

Past mile 4, I started noticing more spectators with dogs on the side of the road. That’s always fun for me, since I love dogs. I remember one late in the race that looked like a huge curly-haired teddy bear with a big grin, wriggling in its owner’s lap for a tummy rub. Some of the spectators clapped, cheered or had cowbells, and there were a few signs. I kept checking my pace (good) and how I felt (fine) and wondering how long I’d keep feeling this way.

The next thing I remember is the sort of stone bridge that goes over the Parkway. Last year and this year (I’m guessing it happens every year, but I’ve only done the race twice) there were quite a few cheering spectators on it. I was in good shape, so I raised my arms, clapped, cheered back and appreciated their support. It’s a nice lift, though the course there is pretty enough it’s not needed.

Somewhere in the first half, it had gotten sunny and started to feel warm, especially given that the trees hadn’t fully leafed out yet. I could see people sweating quite a bit, but I wasn’t aware that I was. I felt warm, but not unmanageably so, and spilling some water on myself every time I went through a water stop probably helped. I do recall some lovely breezes around mile 7.5. (not wind, like at Shamrock, breezes)

The race – second half

For the second half of the race (didn’t notice him before that, he could have been there) a skinny male cyclist with a yellow jersey and what looked like a Go-Pro camera on his helmet was cheering and clapping at every mile marker  – which meant he had to ride between them, leaving after I saw him and arriving before I did…it got to be kind of fun to see him, he was very encouraging and looked like he was having a great time. I don’t know if he was supporting one runner in particular, or part of the Pacers volunteer team or just a nice guy who decided to cheer us on.

My pace was still pleasing, and I still felt good. Not that I wasn’t feeling the effort or impact in my legs, but I didn’t feel stressed from a cardio perspective, wasn’t huffing or gasping (except after drinking water) and my stomach continued to accept my gel around mile 6 and 8.5. So I just kept going.

I heard one guy shouting “almost there” encouragement between 7 and 8. It made me think “there should be a rule that you can’t have those signs or say those words unless you’re a certain distance or less from the finish line…”

I kept wondering if/when I would blow up, and after mile 7 started thinking things like “well, if you had to drop back to 10 minute miles now, you’d still make it in x time”. I also thought “I’ve held this pace or close to it for a marathon and long training runs, I can get through 10 miles just fine”.

When we got up toward the city, we went up a small rise, then turned a corner into Old Town (where there was a woman with an “almost there” sign), running up the last hill that was right about mile 9. It’s an unpleasant place for that level of incline, but at least it’s pretty short. Then you get a quick downhill into a sharp left turn onto the final straightaway. You can’t see the finish immediately, but within a few blocks you can start to make it out. I got a kick out of the fact that this race, like the 12k I did a while ago, runs right past my chiropractor’s office.

As we ran toward the finish, in the last block or so I tried to keep track of the runners around me as I wanted to speed up toward the finish but didn’t want to make a point of passing anyone – or having anyone pass me right at the end as someone did at Shamrock. I think I succeeded, but haven’t seen photos yet. I was a little tired at the end, breathing hard from the last kick and the warm temps/humidity, and immediately started drinking the water bottle a volunteer handed me (usually I don’t bother and sometimes don’t take them). I got my medal, picked up a banana and a food box (though there’s usually nothing in it I can eat) and headed out of the runners-only area toward the post-race festival.

Post-race

I’d given my beer ticket to Teresa pre-race, since I don’t drink and wasn’t going to hang around afterward. I could feel my legs tightening up, so I tried to do a little stretching. Stretching my L ham made my L calf cramp a little. I chatted to a couple of runners while I was stretching, then happened to see tai_fung, talked to him for a minute until DH called (he was driving around Old Town waiting to pick me up). I had my Ultragen & SportLegs in the car on way home. Then once home, I had coconut water & hot tea while spinning legs 20 min or so (R calf cramped on bike) then Roll Recovery. Then, on to breakfast.

Later on Sunday, I finally loaded my Garmin data for the last three years (!) into their online tool and geeked out a bit. My pace graph is beyond spiky, far more than the race profile. Some of that surely is all the weaving that was necessary to stay toward the middle of the road, avoid potholes, pass people or back off when someone slowed down. That said, I only ran an extra 0.11-0.2 miles per my Garmin, not too bad.

Race swag

The gray shirt isn’t as attractive as last year’s navy, would have preferred another blue shirt or maybe green. 

2014 Parkway shirt

2014 Parkway shirt

Also would have liked the option to pay less and not get a medal, though it’s nicely done. They gave medals as this was the 30th year of the race, but I believe it hiked the registration fee to $75.

Parkway finisher medal with ribbon

Parkway finisher medal with ribbon

closeup of medal with red center image

closeup of medal with red center image

closeup of medal with center spun to other side

closeup of medal with center spun to other side

Gear details

Wore my The North Face Stow-n-Go bra to have a place to carry my iPhone (it doesn’t bounce, really). Other than that, same race kit as Shamrock: The North Face Better Than Naked gray shorts, The North Face Better Than Naked yellow tank, The North Face visor, sunglasses, Feetures yellow socks, Brooks Adrenalines, UltrAspire Quantum belt w/ Hammer gel flask. Listened to my a shortened version of my Shamrock playlist on my iPod, found some songs I used to run to unbelievably slow and liked some of the newer music I’d added.

So how’d I do?

The race results tell me I PR’d by 8min 35sec over last year, with my average pace 3sec/mi faster than goal pace for Shamrock had been. According to my Garmin, one mile had a new (to a race) first digit!! And, I surpassed my “dream” time goal (which DH assured me I could easily do). Also, I ran the second 5 miles almost 2 minutes faster than the first – negative split!

So all in all, a good race. Fun, pretty course, got to chat with nice folks, and a time I am very pleased with! I’m quite happy with my performance and with how I felt. I’m even more satisfied with my decision to skip 17.75k – I don’t think  could have pulled off this result at Parkway with that race in my legs from the day before.

Parkway is a well-organized enjoyable race, and I’d do it again. I noticed when i was looking for race results that Pacers already had the date and registration page up for next year, with an early bird discount. I mentioned it to DH who told me that I won’t PR at Parkway next year. I asked, “why not?” and he answered “because you’ll be in Boston”.


Thanks for reading! If you ran the race, how did it go for you? Leave me a comment, tweet me or use the contact form.

 



Weekly Recap – week of April 7, 2014

I’ll be doing a separate Parkway race report, probably post it on Wednesday. I did not run the 17.75k on Saturday (more about that below).

Totals:
30.4 miles run
3 x 1h bike plus post run Sat, post run Sun, probably 20 minutes each time – super low resistance but high cadence
3 core workouts (my workout is basically this one)
3 Wharton flexibility workouts
lots of calf stretches rx’d by chiro Fri/Sat/Sun

multiple Roll Recovery sessions and Trigger Point sessions with the ball on my calves, hams, glutes, also some orange TP roller on hams
Other: weekly chiropractor appt. (Friday)

Got my chiro exercises in twice this week! (ok, I forgot one of the set on Tuesday, realized it on Thursday and skipped it anyway, but still….)
Highlight of the week – PR’ing at the Parkway 10 Miler on Sunday, especially following scary calf twinge and week of not the greatest running, combined with allergies.

This coming week will be somewhat of a recovery week. I’d planned to take Monday off work thinking I would be doing 2 races this weekend, but I expect I’ll go into the office instead, save some leave. Telework Tuesday with a chiro appt, massage Wednesday. Not sure yet what kind of miles I’ll do, probably just play it by ear based on recovery from the race. Looking back at last year’s log, I biked the first 2 days after Parkway, then went back to my (then) 7 days a week running schedule. This time I’ll hang with 5 days a week for a while I think. I’ll be starting to work on my training plan for Baystate, expecting to start it mid-May with a 4 week hill module, then a 4 week speed module, then the 12 week marathon-specific plan.

Note – right now, thanks to the Another Mother Runner folks (I read them & tweet with them but have no other connection), you can get 20% off the Trigger Point therapy tools with code AMR20.

If you want more detail, read on. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and have a great day!


Mon 4/7: Core workout, 60 min bike in the morning – telework during the day, noticed while walking around on conference calls (and doing laundry) that my legs felt fairly fresh – not too stiff or sore. Yay! Forced myself to do my Wharton flexibility exercises before dinner, along with a moment in cow-faced pose and then low lunge with a bit of hamstring stretch before doing my Roll Recovery.

Tues 4/8: RUN 6.2 miles – 6 mi at varied ez pace (1st 3 slower, 2nd 3 faster) with 0.2 at a fast pace. My L knee and my R glute min (the R now too?!) complained during my walking warmup – the R glute to the point I was a little concerned, sharper pain rather than soreness. Was ok during the run. My hams, however, which had improved yesterday, didn’t love the run. A bit frustrated by that as we’re 3+ weeks past the marathon now. They need to get with the program as fall marathon training is only about a month away! First day of 3 days of almost all-day (sitting) meetings at work, not great now that I’m used to standing most of the time. Both glute mins were screaming this afternoon. May have to try to surreptitiously use a trigger point ball during the meeting tomorrow. I realize it may be helpful in a “taper” week to have more time off my feet, but this is a bit excessive. I did my chiropractor exercises before dinner, and was surprised at how decent they felt, including the plyometric “Ohnos”. (realized Thurs that I’d forgotten the leapfrogs on Tuesday, chose to omit them Th)

Wed 4/9: RUN 3 miles at ez pace. Toward the end of this run, felt a horizontal “zing” sharpness pain across my R calf. It persisted for <1min, then started to fade. Never had that before, a bit worrisome. Core workout before. Had a full day of sitting in meetings today, and brought my Trigger Point therapy ball. I sat on a Spri disc to elevate my hips, then put the TP ball against my L glute min and tried to push back into it (challenge with a mesh chair back). 2 hours in the morning, an hour and a half in the afternoon, and I stood at lunch and whenever I wasn’t in the meeting.  I felt like it helped some, but not as much as I wanted. However…..

Th 4/10: Woke up to NO pain in L glute min. Amazed. Must get another TP ball for work (and maybe something for my car commutes too). RUN 5miles at ez pace. Both glute mins were as happy as I can remember them being in quite a while, and even my hamstrings weren’t complaining too much (probably due to slower pace) or at least the L wasn’t complaining any more than the right. For some reason I felt like I was using my quads more on this run, not sure how I changed form to do that. By the evening, L glute min was making a little noise, but still much less, and hams were still fairly happy. This is nice. A little tightness in my hips, not a lot of energy. This could be explained by the spike in the pollen count – even with the commercial HVAC in the office, by the afternoon my sinuses were buzzing. Did my chiropractor exercises again (skipping the leapfrogs) – the Ohnos weren’t quite as good, some soreness in the outer hips. But I figured better do them today instead of tomorrow. Hope to work in my Wharton routine on Friday. (taking the day off work, yay! necessitated somewhat by packet pickup being almost an hour away for the Saturday race, and no race day packet pickup)

Fri 4/11: Core workout, 60 min of bike in the morning. Had taken the day off for my chiro appointment, haircut and driving down/back to 17.75k packet pickup (the location/times are not good). In the morning I had another moment of weirdness in my R calf, so I made sure to mention it to my chiro – it became his immediate and only focus for the appointment. He fetched one of his many anatomy books and explained to me that what I’d felt was where the gastroc and soleus in the calf narrow down and start turning into the Achilles. He said the pain meant the calf was very tight and that I needed to get on top of this right away with stretches as there was risk to the Achilles if I didn’t get some length back into the muscles. The way he explained it, the muscles/tendon work as a system, and when the muscles contract or shorten up and can’t contract further, the tendon starts trying to do that job, and that can have bad results. He did ART (Active Release Therapy) on my calves first, then e-stim, then Graston up and down the calf and even around the ankles. It hurt quite a bit, probably more than anything he’s done to date. His words before starting, somewhat gleefully, were “you’re gonna hate me”…afterward he said “you hate me now, right?’ and I said “not as long as it works!” He also gave me some variations of the common calf stretches that he feels are more effective and said to do them at least twice a day, more is better. He said I could run, just stay aware of it and back off if there was a problem.

Then I went to get my haircut and to deal with packet pickup. On the way home from that (2.5 hours in the car), my calf started zinging again, when my foot was stationary on the brake pedal. I freaked out and called the chiro office when I got home. Though he’d left, his assistant assured me that spiky pain was common the first day, with more soreness the next day.

With all that, and my frustration with a slower-than-desired recovery from Shamrock, I decided to DNS the 17.75k. The decision-making process caused me a fair amount of angst, self-doubt, self-flagellation and other such probably unnecessary emotional and psychological stress/turmoil – but you know how that goes, right?

Factors:

  • 17.75k is a hilly race – really spiky at some points – which I’m not used to, and has some trail segments, which I’m also not used to. I was doing it to do a race with DH and so that we could both get entries into Marine Corps (though we were not sure we would run it).
  • I prefer the style and course of the Parkway, did it last year.
  • I decided there was no real benefit – and a fair amount of risk – to run 17.75, given that my goals are Boston, my fall marathon and December ultra. Anything that could cause me setbacks, delays or otherwise compromise my training and performance for those isn’t worth it.

I decided I’d try a shorter, easy pace run on Saturday, see how my leg felt during the run and for the rest of Saturday, and then decide about Parkway. Overnight Friday into Saturday, I felt a zing or two in my calf just laying in bed, so motion doesn’t seem to be a trigger, just tightness. I wind up having to unkink my legs and stretch some before I get out of bed to avoid cramping anyway.

Sat 4/12: RUN 6.2 miles, increasing easy pace. Walked 15 min before as usual, then did my chiro calf stretches. Felt fine during the run. I seemed to be running more from my quads, which meant my hams complained less. Not quite sure what I’m doing differently, need to figure it out so it’s more controllable or so my form improves overall. Afterward I spent some time spinning on the bike, then did the chiro stretches again. Mid-afternoon, I did my Wharton flexibility routine, plus trigger point on the calf, per a video from Athletes Treating Athletes (a site I like) that I saw cross-posted on Kinetic Revolution. I also found a spot on my L lower glute that, when trigger pointed (so to speak) with the ball, seems to help my ham, bonus! In the evening, I did the calf stretches again. I decided I’d try the race, just go and run easy and try to have a good time, though I really wanted to PR and had a “dream” time goal beyond that. I was looking forward to meeting some local runner tweeps and just appreciating the experience.

Sun 4/13: RUN 10 miles – PR! (race report to come) Got up around 4am. Walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes, then did trigger point on my calves and glute and did my chiro stretches. DH woke up and graciously drove me to the shuttle buses (yay). It went well. During the run I felt good, my calf didn’t bother me, and the usual/new issues (new one being some weird ankle/foot twinges) didn’t bother me to the degree I needed to change anything.

Writing this sitting on the porch late Sunday afternoon, my calves are very tight (I’ve already stretched and done Roll Recovery once, need to stretch and do trigger point once or twice more). The R calf cramped during my post-race bike spin (never happened before) and the left cramped a little when I was trying to stretch my hamstring at the park at the finish. I’m well-hydrated (now anyway) so I think it’s the tightness plus all the extra attention my calves have been getting. I see the chiro again Tuesday.

Thanks for reading! As always, I love to hear from you either via comments below, through twitter or via the contact me page on this site.



Five More Things About Me

The theme for this week’s Friday Five linkup, hosted by CynthiaCourtney and Mar, is….random! Or, free Friday five.

Since I got some positive responses to last week’s “Five Things About Me” post (thanks for reading & giving feedback!) I thought I’d try another round of it, with a little twist.

Read – Five Books I’m Reading (or Have Recently Read)

  • Live from Mongolia – memoir by Patricia Sexton “from Wall Street Banker to Mongolian News Anchor” – young woman follows her dream to, well, Mongolia. Not as long as I would have liked, and not quite as good as I’d expected, but still pretty good. She does a reasonable job weaving information on Mongolian history and culture in with her story, though I could have done with less of it.
  • Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love – ed. Andrew Blauner ($5 from each copy to The One Fund)
  • Running and StuffJames Adams, British, about his journey into ultrarunning, including running across the US. Right now, only on Kindle. Honest, funny. I’m enjoying this a lot.
  • Overthinking the Marathon and Chasing the Runner’s High by Ray Charbonneau, a runner who writes honestly and pretty well. I read and re-read these in the months leading up to my race. Overthinking the Marathon is my favorite, basically a daily log of his life and training leading up to a goal marathon. I look forward to reading more from Ray, who you may have caught on podcasts recently as he edited The 27th Mile (proceeds to the One Fund). From Ray’s siteThe 27th Mile is an entertaining collection of stories and articles contributed by a wide range of talented writers who run. They’re marathon champions and weekend warriors, ultramarathon racers and fitness joggers, running magazine pros and bloggers, best-selling novelists and indie publishing standouts. All proceeds from sales ofThe 27th Mile go to The One Fund Boston.
  • The Champion’s MindDr. Jim Afrenow – one of several “mental training” books for athletes I read in the last weeks preceding Shamrock. Useful. The author even responded to tweets and gave me advice on what sections to read, as when I got the book I had less than a week to go. (I bought it on Kindle.)

Eat – Five Things I Love Eating

  • Sweet potatoes, garnet or jewel usually. My favorite are the purple inside/purple outside “Stokes” variety that’s not widely available (and not available again until November). I eat one every morning as part of my breakfast, topped with one or more varieties of nut butter.
  • Nut butter (surprise!) You’re either going to love me or hate me for telling you about Fastachi, which has THE most awesome specialty nut butters. It’s not cheap, especially with shipping, but worth it – and a great gift. (their raisins are quite good too, and reasonably priced) Sign up for their newsletter as you get an initial discount code and then they’ll mail out sale/offer info. I buy their pistachio (only place I’ve seen it), walnut, cashew and pecan (which is eye-rolling good and dangerously decadent). Their almond butter is fine, but not worth the price for me. My fave almond butter is Whole Foods chunky, almost impossible to get these days (guess there IS an almond shortage), so I’m liking Maisie Jane’s chunky or creamy. (Fastachi’s  peanut butter was good but DH is the only one who eats pb in the house now, and he’s fine with Smucker’s natural.) I also eat creamy peanut-free Nuttzo, which I didn’t think I’d like because of the hazelnuts, but have become addicted to just like the others. It’s really expensive, especially if you have it shipped, but I like the backstory of its creation and that it supports a good cause. You can often find bloggers with discounts or a sale – I bought 8 jars last time Whole Foods had it on sale as it was almost 50% off. I tend to use walnut/almond on sweet potatoes during the week, saving pecan for post long run or post race. My nightly snack of frozen banana chunks is topped with walnut, pistachio, cashew, almond and Nuttzo.
  • Arctic Zero – this is going to be another “you’ll love me or hate me” for telling you about it. It’s expensive. Available originally in Whole Foods and many other stores (now). It’s kind of like a whey protein shake with fiber, formulated to taste similar to ice cream or ice milk. It’s one of the two exceptions I make to my non-dairy rule (the other being post-run whey protein). I take Lactaid with it just in case, but it’s gluten-free and generally fairly lactose-intolerant friendly. I can’t eat the chocolate flavors anymore, but I used to like chocolate and chocolate pb. My favorite is Vanilla Maple – alone or with fruit or nuts and maybe some Torani sugar free syrup (brown sugar cinnamon is a fave for this purpose). I also enjoy Strawberry, Coffee (quite good) and I’ll eat the Cookies & Cream on occasion (no actual cookies). When they make it – seasonally and not every year – their Pumpkin Spice is a treat. Sometimes I’ll order by the case (8 to a case) to get a discount from the store, but it’s pricey and I can easily eat too much. Did I mention – a pint is only 150 calories and gives you a good dose of protein? My case habit is one of the reasons we bought a chest freezer (along with the specialty frozen meat we order). I didn’t like the bars, the chocolate coating fell off (very messy) and you can eat a whole pint for less calories than two bars.
  • Frozen fruit – strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango chunks, banana chunks (I freeze the bananas myself)…. Over the winter we bought frozen in bags from stores. Last year I scored big at a Whole Foods sale on organic blueberries and froze 2 cases worth in plastic bags. I’ll be looking for that kind of sale again, organic, on blueberries and strawberries especially, as I eat some almost every night.
  • Kabocha squash – probably my second favorite veggie/carb after sweet potatoes. I love that you can eat the skin, and I can either top it with nut butter or eat it plain. They can be hard to come by around here (without a trip to a Japanese market half an hour away), so I often buy multiples since they keep for weeks. I’ve found I like the green-skinned better than the orange skinned. I simply scrub, poke a slit or two in it with a knife, and roast in the oven at 450 for at least an hour – or if DH is charcoal grilling, it goes out there. I can tend to forget it’s in the oven and overcook it, which can make it a little liquidy.

Write – Five Writers Whose Work I Enjoy

  • Anna Quindlen – her non-fiction. Similar voices I enjoy: Connie Schultz, Mary Schmich.
  • Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird (of course) but I do enjoy her other non-fiction, generally.
  • Bill Bryson – A Walk in the Woods is my favorite, haven’t read all of his.
  • Tracy Kidder – The Soul of a New Machine is an amazing book, I still have my really old paperback copy.
  • Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files series – and Paul Blackthorne was a perfect Harry in the sorely missed SyFy TV series based on it.

Run – Five Places I’d Like to Run (or Run Again)

  • Chicago’s Lakefront path – Despite growing up mere miles from it, I’ve only run there once, in a women-only race years ago. I’d like to just go for a run along the path, but I’m also looking at ultras held there.
  • Sedona – have run there, in neighborhoods and some trail near Bell Rock. Would like to run more trails there. Similar places might be Zion or Moab.
  • London – not sure where precisely, maybe along the Thames or through a famous park. Definitely would want to do a Parkrun (free weekly 5ks, hear about them on MarathonTalk) They’re starting to happen in the US, right now only 3 exist – including one in Durham, NC – need more people to organize them! I’d also love to meet the MarathonTalk hosts, Tom and Martin. I visited London when I was 10, with my parents (their anniversary trip) and loved it, have always wanted to go back.
  • Hawaii – not sure which island, maybe multiples! Definitely along the water though. I’ve been to Oahu, but would like to go to Maui, Kauai and maybe the Big Island as well.
  • San Francisco or Big Sur – have seen both in Runner’s World “Rave Run” section, haven’t been to either. Running the Golden Gate Bridge would be cool (though I’m not prepared for the hills in SF proper), and Big Sur would be lovely. Maybe someday I’ll do the Boston to Big Sur Challenge!

Visit the hosts’ blogs, read, enjoy – and find the other linkup bloggers at the bottom of their posts

Cynthia
Courtney
Mar

As always, thanks for reading! Leave me feedback in the comments, and reach me via twitter or the contact me form.



UPCOMING RACES & FUTURE PLANS

Boston 2015 is the “big dance” for me and everything will lead up to that, assuming I am fortunate enough to get a slot. My races and training between now and then (less than 13 months, less than 55 weeks) will be geared to at least not adversely affect Boston if not in some way support it and other ambitious goals I have.

So, here’s what’s up for the rest of 2014, starting with 2 races 4 weeks after Shamrock.

April 12
Marine Corps 17.75k

Why: It’s supposed to be a good race, a unique distance (automatic PR) and finishing gets you a slot into the Marine Corps Marathon. My husband suggested we do it for all those reasons, even though he’s running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler the weekend before, and I went with his idea. We both managed to get registered in the 9 minutes it took the race to sell out online. This is a very hilly course, which I’m not used to, so just completing it healthy is the goal. Getting some hill experience is a good thing for me, something I need to work on for Boston.

Late breaking as of Tuesday night: Looks like there’s a fair chance of rain for the 17.75k. If that happens, I will likely pass on the race. As you learned last week, I don’t like to run in the rain AND – not being experienced on a hilly course with some (potentially slick) trails – the risk/reward equation would be skewed the wrong way for me. One race – particularly not an A race – isn’t worth derailing my future training and racing.

April 13 (the next day)
George Washington Parkway 10 Miler

Why: It’s a really pretty race, the only time the Parkway is closed. I ran it last year and liked it. I’d forgotten it was the day after 1775 until after we’d registered. I was briefly bummed, then DH suggested “Why don’t you run both? You are interested in doing ultras and the training is often back to back long runs. Your long runs for Shamrock were longer than the two races combined.” His rationale seemed sound and the challenge caught my fancy. When I get one of those ideas in my head, it plants roots quickly. How I approach this race depends on how the race Saturday goes. If I can run it at a decent pace, I may try, or I may just take whatever pace my legs are willing to give and not push.

May-September: no races

It’s generally too hot here in the summer, for me, to race, and I’m not into 5ks or 10ks. So I’ll be starting my next training cycle in May, after recovering from the April races. That’s probably a good thing anyway as I may have some trips to make, we may need to move over the summer, and those efforts, plus training, my day job and blogging will keep me plenty busy.

October 19
Baystate Marathon

Why: I love fall marathons and I wanted to have a chance to BQ if I didn’t make it at Shamrock. Now I’d like the chance to better my time for 2016 and see what I can do. I’ve been looking at this race for a couple of years. It’s got a good reputation as a BQ race (25% of the field usually BQ’s) so it’s flat and fast, and it’s put on “by runners, for runners”. Also, runner tweeps I’d like to meet recommended it and my sister lives within a couple of hours of the venue, so I might get to see some folks while I’m up there. DH won’t be able to make the trip with me, so I’ll be solo. This would be an “A” race for me, as Shamrock was, so my training after the April races would be focused on Baystate, probably starting in May with a hill module then a speed module from Greg McMillan‘s YOU (Only Faster) book (which I used to train for Shamrock) before starting the 12 week marathon plan.

October 26 (one week later)
Marine Corps Marathon (MCM)

Why: Good question. DH is considering run/walking this (see rationale for 17.75k). Though we’re local, we’ve never done the race. Last year I was going to go cheer some of the runners but friends came in from out of town. It kind of seems like since we’re here we SHOULD do the race. It’d also be another chance to see and run with Bart Yasso at his shakeout run (only partially kidding). And, it would get me Marathon Maniac status! (2 marathons in 16 days is the one of the criteria for entrance into the “club”)

I haven’t run it before as it does have a little hilliness (when I want flat, I want really flat), it’s huge and I prefer smaller races, and (pet peeve) I run with headphones and MCM prohibits them. The big question is – what can I do, what should I do – the week after putting forth a big effort at Baystate? Thinking back to a week post-Shamrock, I did 6 miles fine at a slow pace, not sure I could do 26.2 at that pace. It would definitely be a “finish it” race, not done for time. Two weeks post-Shamrock, I did 11.5 miles Saturday and 10.35 miles Sunday. I was sorer than I’d like Saturday post-run and worried going into Sunday that I wouldn’t be able to get the run done due to soreness or injury concerns. The third week – day 18 post-Shamrock – was the first time I started to feel the training in my legs more than the race effects. Given the timing, unless I get my recovery to be faster or get fitter (both possibilities), I wonder if it’s wise to do two marathons so close together, especially when I plan to run Baystate at least as hard/fast as I did Shamrock.

I will have to decide whether or not to register for Marine Corps quickly as the 17.75 “access granted” only lasts a couple of days post-race. I could sign up and then transfer the bib if I decide not to run it, but that is money gone, of course.

Then, another suggestion of DH’s that burrowed its roots into my brain and won’t let go. I may try to do my first ultra in 2014! I’ve been interested in ultras for a couple of years now, but hadn’t chosen my debut race.

Because I’m not a trail runner (yet) and my goals for the next couple of years are road marathons, it makes more sense for me to look for road or track ultras. Many of the road ultras of interest to me, like Chicago and Mad City, conflict with other races or important segments of my training. But, as I learned more and more about ultras and the community, I started hearing about Aravaipa Running (the Coury Brothers) and the races they organize, including Across The Years (ATY).

ATY is a timed ultra (24, 28, 72 hours and a 6 day) run on a 1+ mile loop track at a baseball training facility in Arizona across days at the end of December into the New Year, hence the name. I’ve been in contact with the organizers, and they have no problem with me signing up for the 24 hour and only running 50k if I want, 50k being the shortest ultra race distance, 31+ miles. I plan to go for 50k (not sure if I want a particular time or not) and then see how I feel. I surely wouldn’t go more than 50 miles and probably wouldn’t go that far, keeping Boston 2015 in mind. But the Courys sound great, the race looks unusual and fun, and I’ve heard the community of runners at the race is fantastic. DH and I like Arizona, so there’s the potential for a vacation for both of us if things work out. Also, I could run it either in 2014 or 2015 (since it goes “across the years”). I think if I train for it and run it wisely, it could help me for Boston or at the least, not cause me any problems. It would help keep my mileage up, and taking a couple recovery weeks afterward wouldn’t affect the start of my Boston training.

Other possibilities for the fall…

One alternative that’s recently come to mind and would still get me Marathon Maniac status, since 3 marathons or more in 90 days is another way to get in at the entry level, is:

Baystate 10/19, then the Richmond Marathon 11/15, then Across the Years (minimum 50k distance)

Why Richmond? I’ve done the half a couple of times, and in 2013 I’d planned to run the full marathon and try to BQ. Then, in August 2013, I got injured because I’d ramped up my mileage too quickly (started the year at 50mpw, hit 80mpw just before injury). I pulled back and rehabbed and probably could have done the race “to finish” but that wasn’t what I wanted and I decided to retarget for Shamrock. Richmond 2014 would have the advantage of being 4 weeks after Baystate, and thus potentially less damaging to my body and a more pleasant experience. The disadvantage would be a 2 hour car ride each way, at least one night in a hotel, and the concerns about food I have away from home. Also, DH probably can’t make this trip either.

No matter what I decide about a second or third race in the fall/winter of 2014, Boston training starts in January. Eyes on the prize for 2015, which is a Boston I can be pleased with and hopefully proud of, so a strong race though I haven’t decided on a time goal. Keeping that in mind, I may not do MCM, may do Richmond (or not) and I may change my mind about trying to get Maniac status this year. I’d love to reach a lot of goals in one year, and am already planning to race more races than I ever have in one year, but I have to be wise about my choices. I need to be able to keep training to keep improving. Anything that puts my consistent and continued healthy training at risk is not a good idea, no matter how appealing it sounds.


Thanks for reading! If you have thoughts on the above, questions or want to share your plans, feel free to do so in the comments, by reaching out to me on twitter, or by using the contact form on the site.



Weekly Recap – week of March 31, 2014

Last week of “training” for the Marine Corps 17.75k on Saturday 4/12 and the George Washington Parkway 10 Miler on 4/13. Now, a “taper” (run less miles on T/W/Th, keep a little intensity, nothing fancy).

Totals:
43.2 miles run (would have liked 50, but that’s just because I want to get back over that number)
3 x 1h bike plus 30min post run Sat, 10 min post run Sun – these are all very easy spin workouts, super low resistance but high cadence
3 core workouts (my workout is basically this one)
2 Wharton flexibility workouts
2 sessions of Standing Hip Openers yoga podcast, plus a couple high lunges
A short restorative session of legs up the wall and supported backbend/cobbler pose (much needed)
multiple Roll Recovery sessions
Other: weekly chiropractor appt.

Didn’t get my chiro exercises in this week. Lack of discipline plus soreness. Need to get back to them, and have more work to do!
Highlight of the week – starting to feel the legs coming back after Shamrock! Finally, day 18 post-race. Still somewhat sore, stiff, tight but it’s getting harder to tell what’s race leftovers and what’s new, especially on Sunday’s run (following Saturday’s run).

This coming week will have me in the office T/W/Th in a lot of sitting meetings (not optimal) so I’m teleworking Monday and may take Friday off to fit in chiro and some other errands including driving an hour each way for 17.75k’s packet pickup (ugh).

If you want detail, read on. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and have a great Monday!


Mon 3/31 – core workout, bike 60 min. Allergies started acting up while at work (could smell the outside air), then sitting on the porch for dinner and another hour or so after probably didn’t help.

Tues 4/1 – RUN: 2 mi warmup, then 2x3mi at faster pace (not yet tempo, still within easy pace; started second set closer to tempo but hams didn’t like it, so pulled back), 1mi ez between, 1mi cool down. Feet still sore from the weekend or from the race. Hamstrings seem to be the last to recover. Tendon/ankle on L its usual complaining self. I tend to think it’s PTT but chiro seems to think it’s from the whole back line on that side begin tight – hamstrings, calf, sole of foot – and just manifesting there. Annoyingly bunion/big toe bone on R sore underneath.

Woke up very congested from allergies, then probably didn’t help matters by running with the window open. Quite tired. Another night of heavy sleep mixed with bizarre nightmares. I always forget that April is when the allergies really start to get nasty and affect my energy, mood. Bleah. Good thing I had a chiro appt today. My calves are very tight – some foam roll or roll recovery is in order.

Wed 4/2 – Second week where I had wanted this to be a run day but turned it into a bike day. Legs were quite sore, either from yesterday’s run or from some chiro work that had me making fists and doing “hang on” breathing. Core workout, 60min fast/ez bike spin, a quick version of Standing Hip Openers and a high lunge. Not ideal prep for a day of meetings (sitting), but I want quality workouts Th, Sat, Sun. Need to figure out where the holes are in my recovery – strength, stretch, nutrition, and get to plugging them!

Spent too much time sitting in meetings – my L glute min was quite unhappy through the afternoon and evening. My calves were still tight and hams sore. Took a real mental effort to get myself to do my Wharton flexibility routine before dinner, but I did it. I got quite cranky in the evening about how sore, stiff and tired I was (some of that due to allergies and every night’s sleep being disturbed by something).

Thurs 4/3 – RUN: 10 mi. 2 mi warmup, then 2x3mi at still not quite tempo pace (21sec/mi slower than tempo, but 32sec/mi faster than Tuesday) with 1mi recovery between, 2nd set went 0.4 longer because I miscalculated time, so cooldown only 0.6mi. Thought about going longer but then thought “don’t be greedy, this is enough”.

Seems like this is my first really decent run (where I could feel that I was trained) since the race! I probably could have pushed the pace a little more if I wasn’t concerned about giving my hamstrings as much recovery time as possible. Decided to have Ultragen after in case lack of calories was affecting my recovery. Because I’d woken up stiff and sore (still) after a night with 1.5h of sleep lost to stomach pain, I used my Roll Recovery even before I did my walking warmup, then used it again post-run after my recovery drink. Did a quick version of Sage’s Standing Hip Opener routine. Hams still not thrilled but not as cranky. Glutes sore, hip flexors tight – gotta watch R hip, felt some odd torque toward the end. Each knee complained at some point during the run.

Started a fresh pair of shoes today, that was pleasant – have higher hopes for these as they don’t seem to be too large like the prior ones (which I abandoned pre-race). Started the shoes not only because I am pretty sure I need to (went into Shamrock with ~150 miles on the shoes, which I’ve been wearing since) but also because of next weekend’s back to back racing days. If Saturday is wet/muddy, I wanted to have a dry pair of shoes for Sunday without my first run in them being the race. I may wear the older shoes for Saturday’s race just in case, even though they’d probably lead to my feet being a bit sorer.

Fri 4/4 – core workout, 60 min on bike. Legs still felt pretty good. Worked the Cherry Blossom expo this afternoon – a lot of standing in one place and was hoarse from trying to make myself heard, but it was fun. My first running-related volunteer experience, and I’d do it again.

Sat 4/5 – RUN: 12.2 mi, 1 mi w/u, then 11.2 mi ez pace. Slept in until 6am. Last “simulation” for the 17.75k next weekend, so wore fuel belt w/ gel flask. Threw in short spiky hills (5-8% incline) for first ~0.15 of miles 2-11, followed with 0% (decline) up to 0.5 mark, then 1% for rest of each mile. Though I had gel, decided not to take it just to see how I felt. Did okay energy-wise (probably would have been better with a little gel), was quite thirsty so drank to thirst though water stops will only be every couple of miles. Another run where I turned the a/c on in the downstairs part of the house. Took my SportLegs after, 30 min on bike with Ultragen, then iced in my 110% shorts and calf sleeves while eating breakfast. New shoes still doing okay. Did some Roll Recovery later in the day.

Sun 4/6 – Woke before 5am, worried that DH wouldn’t get up to make it to Cherry Blossom on time/early. (he got up and headed out just fine)  Kept him company, then puttered for a bit (reading tweets, syncing new podcasts) before heading to treadmill after 6am.

RUN: 1 mi w/u, then 10mi at a pace 2 sec/mi faster than I ran the Parkway race last year, with a kick of speed the last 0.1mi. Started 10mi on 0% for 0.5mi since race starts downhill. Put in 0.25 incline of 2% every 2mi, followed by decline 0% to 0.5, then 1% rest of mile. Took my gel today, at (in the 10 mi segment) 2.5, 5.5 and 8.5, with a little water after, hoping to mimic where the water stops are, though I mixed water in my gel flask just in case. Wore my fuel belt yesterday and today with the single flask in the front. Noticed my stomach was sore today from wearing the belt yesterday though that’s the first time it’s happened…it’s also the first time I’ve worn it 2 days in a row so it’s good to be prepared for the soreness. Afterward, my usual 3 SportLegs and Ultragen. Short bike (10 min) because DH was calling to tell me he was on his way home post-race! Iced glutes, hams, quads, knees in my 110% gear while cooking veggies and eating breakfast of sweet potatoes and nut butter, waiting for him to get home to share the bacon.

After a hot shower, spent some time doing the legs up the wall post (ow, hamstrings) to get some fluid and icky heavy feeling out of my legs, then a few more minutes in bolster-supported backbend with my legs in cobbler pose (knees supported by yoga blocks). I used to do some of these poses (restorative yoga) much more regularly, and from how I felt, I obviously need to get back to it! I noted I was holding tension in my face especially jaw and eyes – I tend to clench my jaw. This morning I noticed I keep pulling my shoulders up to my ears when I’m running – and when I’m on the computer! (just pulled them down now) That could help explain the soreness between my shoulder blades and tightness in the back of my neck and where my neck and shoulders join. The position of my neck, shoulders, lower arms and hands is very similar on my runs, computer time (standing or sitting), driving my car or reading. Stuck in one position too long is not good! (she says, sitting on the chaise lounge on the porch in the exact same position….) Wearing my CorrectToes for a few hours this afternoon – wore them Friday and noticed it helped, forgot to wear them yesterday. Some Roll Recovery tonight, maybe some magnesium lotion on my legs before bed.

And – DH did better than he’d expected in the Cherry Blossom race, yay! We’re both running 17.75k, should be interesting to see how it goes.

That’s all folks! Thanks for reading. As always, feel free to comment below or reach me via twitter or the contact form on the site. Hope you have a great Monday and a great week!



Five Things About Me

The theme for this week’s Friday Five linkup, hosted by Cynthia, Courtney and Mar, is….no theme! Or as they call it, “Free Friday”.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some things about myself, kind of a “get to know your blogger” post.

Five Things About Me – Read

  • I learned to read when I was 3 – my sister taught me – and got my first library card shortly thereafter. When I finally had to turn it in for one in the new system (after multiple decades), it was one of the oldest the librarians had ever seen.
  • If I don’t have “enough” reading material around me to choose from (books, magazines), I get kinda nuts. There have been emergency bookstore trips and Amazon orders because of this quirk.
  • I read primarily mystery and nonfiction. I read some sci-fi/fantasy and straight up fiction. I will not read “fem jep” and serial killer/horror genres.
  • I finally started reading on a Kindle and actually like it. It might make me pack less books and magazines on a trip….maybe.
  • I subscribe to MANY running magazines (almost all of them), a couple triathlon mags (they have running info and other interesting stuff), a yoga mag and a couple of mags related to Buddhism. I gave up on women’s magazines years ago (made me much happier!) and news mags in the last couple of years.

Five Things About Me – Eat

  • I have never, ever, liked onions or bell peppers and so am not sorry at all that I can no longer eat them.
  • One of the snacks I learned from my mom was: peanut butter on saltines, topped with sweet butter chip pickles. It’s way better than you think! I grew up with Jif creamy, but I recommend natural crunchy pb for adults. 
  • I actually liked braunschweiger as a kid, and even a few years ago…but the last time I tried it was disappointing. 
  • What I think I miss most about being gluten-free and grain free are Tammie Coe cupcakes/cookies and naan.
  • I can consume a dangerous amount of produce, especially things that have to be cut up like watermelon or cooked kabocha squash, but berries are another danger zone. A quart at a time might be a bit much. 🙂 

Five Things About Me – Write

  • I edited a (published) book on wedding planning.
  • I am interested in writing about health, fitness (including running, of course), medicine, and perhaps someday freelancing. I enjoyed taking a creative nonfiction class a couple of years ago.
  • A couple of decades ago, I wrote some business “reviews” for a local paper and learned they were really just puff pieces, ads without being ads. I quit after a few because it bothered me so much.
  • When I get in a writing zone, I can forget to move, eat or drink for hours. When I come out of the zone, my brain is mush. This happens at work too.
  • I prefer the British spelling of some words, and some of the British punctuation rules make more sense to me than their counterparts in American English.

Five Things About Me – Run

  • I didn’t start running until after age 30. I was never athletic.
  • My first race was a 5k, in the rain, in my hometown. It set me completely against running in the rain. I didn’t mind being soaked to the skin, it was the “squish squish” of my soggy socks and shoes I couldn’t stand.
  • The most pairs of shoes I have bought at once (so far) is 7 – same model, same size. Since I can only ever seem to find one particular model that works for me at any given time, when they bring out the next model, if it doesn’t work for me (typical), I binge buy whatever I can find of the old to put off the shoe quest as long as possible.
  • I once took 2nd in my age group in a 5k. I didn’t realize it until we’d gotten home, several states away. They mailed me the mug, which I still have.
  • I’m interested in (maybe) being a Race Director someday, probably a small local race. I love running and worked for a number of years in project management, and before that in restaurant management/event management, so I might be reasonably good at it. I think, though a lot of time, work and stress, it would be a lot of fun!

Visit the hosts’ blogs, read, enjoy – and find the other linkup bloggers at the bottom of their posts

Cynthia
Courtney
Mar

As always, thanks for reading! Leave me feedback in the comments, and reach me via twitter or the contact me form.