Monthly archives: July, 2014

Midweek Fun – Running-Related Q&A

I found a running-related questionnaire on several blogs – Kim‘s last week, which borrowed from Audrey‘s the week before, which is based on an old one from the Another Mother Runner team of Sarah and Dimity!

In the spirit of trying new things and my recent Would You Rather and This or That posts, I thought I’d give it a whirl – with a few tweaks.

  1. Best run ever: Can’t choose between: 1) Shamrock BQ – proud of myself for that day and all the work, over years, that went into it and 2) first race post-cancer (a 5k at a race event where I’d already run half and full marathons) – I ran the whole way!
  2. Three words that describe my running: challenging, rewarding, essential.
  3. Go-to running outfit: Champion C9 racerback seamless bra, The North Face Better Than Naked split short, Feetures socks, Adrenalines
  4. Quirky habit while running: Not sure I have one. Either readjusting my yurbuds frequently or having to blow my nose (mostly training).
  5. Morning, midday, evening: morning
  6. I won’t run outside when it’s: too hot, too cold, raining, icy, too dark…..(you already knew this!) This is why I have my treadmill! 
  7. Worst injury and how I got over it: Posterior tibial tendinitis (don’t think they even call it that anymore) that I inflicted on myself training for a marathon in Oct. 2004. It’s never completely over, I don’t think, since if you’re on your feet, you’re loading the tendon, but it’s (knock wood) manageable. PT, orthotics (at least 4 different kinds over the years), shoe changes, trigger point, cautious training, chiro. 
  8. Felt most like a badass when: Can’t choose among: my BQ, running 25.2 miles on my treadmill, or running 23 miles on the mill w/o fuel.
  9. Personal best in marathon or half marathon: 3:49:35 (full)
  10. Next race: Baystate Marathon 10/19/2014
  11. Running goal for 2014: BQ – done! (remaining 2014 goals: BQ again even faster, do my first ultra, and become a Marathon Maniac)
  12. What GPS watch do you use, if you do? (if not, why?) Garmin 620 (in Meb white)
  13. How do you stay motivated to run through everything else going on in life, weather, etc? Eyes on the prize/goal of my race. Every training day matters. Plus, I get more nuts if I don’t run, not good for me OR DH (or coworkers, or anyone who has to deal with me).
  14. Favorite post-run treat: Saturday evenings (long run day), I’ve been loving BBQ ribs and grilled hamburger from a local BBQ joint. Immediately post-run, I’d have to say my Ultragen recovery drink or fresh watermelon/frozen fruit chunks.
  15. During-run nutrition product you love, one you can’t stand, and one you want to try: Love my EFS Liquid Shot vanilla gel. Can’t stand PowerGel, haven’t had it in years. Trained with it for my first couple marathons and burned out on the sticky-sweet thickness of the French Vanilla (like frosting) and the Strawberry (like yogurt). Hear it’s improved now but still shudder at the thought. Want to try Gu Salted Caramel since people rave about it, also want to try their Jet Blackberry flavor since I heard Deena Kastor likes is and finds the caffeine helpful late in a race. My tummy’s so picky I’m not sure I’ll experiment though.

 So what are your answers? What questions would you add to the list?

Bonus Q – I have fairly regular topics on M/F, so what would you like to read about on Wednesdays? Got any suggestions/requests? 






Training Recap – Week of July 21, 2014

Turns out THIS was the last week of my speedwork module before “official” training for Baystate starts. Let’s pretend that it was also a planned cutback week, shall we? I probably needed one, and though it wasn’t planned, I wound up not doing quite the mileage/runs I’d wanted or planned due to fatigue and soreness. It’s a bit frustrating and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. I also was in the office M-W and busier for work Th/F than usual. May be a phase at work, and not sure how my applying for my supervisor’s old job might change my busy-ness level in the future (but I’m going to apply anyway, so hopefully one of the three of us women doing my job gets it rather than someone outside the team…).

Anyway…this coming week, starting 7/28, IS the first week of training for Baystate. Gulp. Tues & Th are pretty hard runs per my plan. Thursday has the added fun that the electric company will cut our power for 5-6 hours starting at 10am Thursday (one of my telework days) AND a day my car is in for pricey servicing. So, I may do the run then go into the office or wind up taking part of the day off.


  • T – 7mi with 4 mi at MGP! (average pace for this run was right around my BQ pace!) Earlier than normal and shorter too – had to get this in before going in to the office.
  • W – 5.5mi ez pace run (faster than recovery pace)
  • Th – 8mi – 1 mi w/u, 1mi 30s faster, then 8 x (0.25mi at 23s faster than MGP, 0.25 recover) then 2mi c/d. This was supposed to be 12-16 reps at this pace, but I could tell I didn’t have it in me. Intervals not too bad tho tired, legs tired, felt cardio/lung effort. Just felt cooked. Had chiro appt at lunchtime where he did ART/trigger point on my glutes (OW), massage (which hit my glutes as well) at 5pm. I was quite sore Th night, but legs and glutes felt better on Friday, generally. My energy was just really low. Even chiro, who always starts by asking me how I am, what’s going on..when I said “I’m tired and cranky” said “you LOOK tired”. He thought perhaps I was dehydrated from the heat and humidity, so I tried some coconut water later. He said always check hydration, nutrition and sleep as the first three things before thinking anything unusual is wrong, and chatted with me about his experiences when those factors are “off” in his training. As usual, he made me feel better (even with the pain he inflicted). I go to him almost as much for his mental support sometimes!
  • Sat – 17mi – 1mi w/u, 5mi ez pace, 11mi faster ez pace (~1min slower than MGP). Not exactly what I’d wanted/planned for last LR of speed module. My made-up run was to have 16-20 with 2x3mi at MGP. But as soon as I got started this morning, though I wasn’t as wiped or sore as Thursday, I could tell it was not going to happen and probably wasn’t a good idea to try. So I adapted. And you got this tweet out of it:
some days

some days

  • Sun – 6.2 recovery pace miles. Tired. Hormones, maybe a little melatonin hangover. Low energy. Legs not too sore or heavy, but could feel they weren’t “fresh”. (wonder if mine ever are!) Feet rubbing against shoes more than usual, or maybe more aware. Reminded me I need to start looking at other shoe options and possibly new orthotics. (the to-do list grows…I groan) Thank goodness for podcasts. Today’s was UltraRunnerPodcast with Joe Fejes. I’m looking forward to following the Six Days in the Dome race next weekend. Can’t believe there was even a possibility that RayK, currently doing the Sri Chinmoy 3100 mile race, would turn around and go to Alaska for this one. Would have been cool but sounds like it may not happen. I met Ray once – had no idea how big in the community and standings he is….he was so nice and gracious and gave me all sorts of great info and encouragement. Love ultrarunners! (well, pretty much all runners, but ultrarunners do seem a bit different – one more reason for me to join the ranks)

Bike: 2 (M/F) 1hr, plus 45 min after Saturday’s long run
Core: 3 (M AM/Tues eve/F AM) – still wimpy, but not as bad as last week. Friday’s was pretty decent.
Wharton flex: Mon, Tues, Wed, Th, Fri, Sat, Sun
Yoga: None. Unless you count bow pose and my core routine. 
Chiro exercises: None. Need to pick up at least the “ohnos” (skaters) again, per chiro instruction.
Myrtl routine: 2 full (T/Th), 2 partial (Sat & Sun – only mobility work)
Calf stretches: T, Th, Sat, Sun
Elliptical: None. Might have been one day in the office I could have done it, but I had no real energy or desire to.
Pool: None.
Walk: pre-run 15 min warmups
Drills: before every run – lunge matrix, high knees, skips, butt kicks, butt kicks moving in reverse, karaoke
Other: weekly chiro visit, Th night massage. All the massage therapists I see have most of their hours on the weekend, and they fill up fast, so I had to take what I could get. I definitely need more massages (this is more sports/tissue) and more trigger point massages, so I’ll just have to adjust my Sat/Sun routines and try to schedule as far in advance as possible.

Thinking of things I need to add/step up: foot strengthening exercises, more rolling, pool run/swim/elliptical. I need to be multiple people!

Miscellaneous on Fatigue/Nutrition

if you follow me on twitter, you may have noted that again Thursday, I was saying how tired I was. (I might call it whining, but I try not to whine or complain, or even whinge or b*tch, so for the moment I’m cutting myself some slack. Note the date and time.) This led to some twitter back and forth with Coach Brett of Zen and the Art of Triathlon (he’d recently talked on a podcast about being too low-carb, and how it affected his performance and caused depression, and how he sees this happen in athletes he deals with). He suggested I start taking in more sugar, but since I eat very little sugar (that isn’t in fruit) and can’t have things like orange juice, I decided to try a return to sweet potatoes. I was pretty frustrated though as I got a bad batch – cooked multiples and they were just nasty inside, couldn’t eat them. Friday I finally got a small one that worked, put some nut butter on it, and had it along with a high protein and high fiber breakfast (what I’ve been doing lately). I did NOT have the dreaded one-hour-later blood sugar/energy drop/hunger, which surprised me. (maybe if you’re scraping bottom on carb stores, eating them works better) I also ate some watermelon chunks and strawberries during the day and some frozen cherries along with my frozen banana and nut butter snack in the evening. (I eat that a lot, so I’m not THAT low carb.) I felt better Friday than I had Thursday, that’s for sure. Less tired, less sore.

On the other hand, this did NOT carry over into Saturday’s long run, though I slept pretty well Friday night. I had gel at mile 6 and 10, helped temporarily – and at least I didn’t crash from it. Cooked a huge Japanese sweet potato (all I could find) and ate 1/4 of it (170g) with nut butter and coco manna about 90 min after my long run and recovery drink (protein, carbs). I didn’t enjoy it that much, and it didn’t make me feel better, though I don’t think it made me feel worse, and I didn’t get the “1hr” effect. So perhaps I’ll continue the experiment for a while longer. After all, I was eating sweet potatoes daily when I BQ’d – but one must try to get better AND be open to the changes the body wants/needs. Sunday, along with the usual bacon & egg whites, I tried more of the sweet potato (ugh), then part of a paleo waffle with some maple butter on it, then some kabocha with nut butter. None of it really made me feel better, less tired/more energetic. Felt like I was sort of panic-eating carbs to try to make myself feel better, which would have been ok if it worked, but leaves me with calorie guilt when it doesn’t. Frustrating.

During my Saturday run, I listened to this episode of Endurance Planet with Tawnee Prazak, discussing sports nutrition topics with Dr. Tamsin Lewis, a triathlete (recently Ironman UK champion) and doctor (psychiatrist?). I don’t always agree with Dr. Lewis (just like I don’t always agree with Ben Greenfield, who’s another sports nutrition person on EP) but…The episode had one question (which didn’t get a long enough answer IMHO) on nutrition for peri-menopausal and menopausal (female) athletes. (I do think some of my ups and downs are the hormone swings of peri-menopause, which are out of my control….and that’s REALLY frustrating.)

About the only thing I found useful in the response was the suggestion that most of us should be taking supplemental B vitamins if we’re not eating packaged food that is loaded with them (like your standard box of breakfast cereal or bread). I used to take them as I know some of my meds deplete them, but it’s hard to find a B complex that isn’t ridiculously high % of RDA. I realize most if not all B vitamins are water-soluble, but I wondered if excess it might make my body work harder to eliminate what it doesn’t need (no basis for that though). Eventually I started taking a sublingual spray of B-12 as I was a little low, and the PPI I take for my stomach means I wouldn’t absorb a regular supplement well – a common side effect of long-term PPI is is B-12 deficiency (and low calcium, joy). I’ve slacked off on that and am wondering about taking a complex again too. I dug out a bottle of a “B-50” complex I used to take that’s still good, so I have started taking it (Sunday). Yep, I’ll try almost anything to improve performance/energy (legally) that I can convince myself is safe and doesn’t have potential to cause me additional problems or interact with my ongoing situations/meds.

It’s also about that time to see my doc for the annual “wouldn’t do it if she wouldn’t withhold rx for my essential meds” physical and bloodwork, so I may ask to make sure I get B, iron and ferritin tested along with the usual stuff (and any unusual stuff I think of, like maybe cortisol through a saliva test). Last year, my ferritin came back low for an athlete, and though the doc (who isn’t used to treating athletes) wasn’t concerned, she said I could take supplemental iron if I wanted. So for a while I’ve been taking a heme iron supplement called ProFerrin. It’s pretty low dose and my stomach tolerates it well – two things that are important for me, especially given the convoluted timing scheme I have to follow for supplements and meds. I do think I notice effects when I miss a day or two – which tends to happen on the weekends when my eating schedule is thrown off.

So, the experiment of n=1 that is me continues…..would love to know if you’ve had similar challenges and if so, how you’ve solved them!

Have a great week!

Friday Five – Goals

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
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!

This week’s theme is “goals”.  I tried to keep my post to 5 things, but there was more I wanted to share with you, so consider the “extras” a Friday bonus.

In case it escaped your attention (or you’re reading my blog for the first time) I’m pretty darned goal-oriented. I set both outcome and process goals.

Process goals have the advantage of being a kind of min-target that you can feel good about hitting, because they’re in your control, whereas outcome goals aren’t completely within your control. Here’s a recent post on Triathlete’s site about process v outcome goals.

It seems the general wisdom is that process goals are the ones to have, but I can’t give up my outcome goals (perhaps you can’t either)…I use process goals to do my best to achieve the outcome goals and to try to be healthier and happier along the way!

Note: I highly recommend Racing Wisely by Sage Rountree for wise words and guidance on goal setting.

Training Goals

1 – Run

I have one or more goals and a plan for each run, and each run has a purpose and structure/form to it. Even a recovery run has target mileage and pace. I may choose to – or have to – adjust those goals at any point after writing the training plan, including in the middle of a run. Making those adjustments (assuming there isn’t a situation that just calls for stopping) requires an awareness of the original goal, purpose or intent of the run to make changes that may still allow me to accomplish some part of the goal.

For example, yesterday, I had the last session of my 4 week speed module. The plan was 12-16 x 0.25mi at a certain pace. My energy level and soreness weren’t going to let me do all 16, that much I knew before I started. But I know it’s easy to talk myself out of things (being over-cautious sometimes) and I know I’ve started runs feeling weak/tired and then talked myself through them, wound up hitting my goals and being proud of myself….so I decided just to start and see how many reps I could do before I felt I might do myself harm. Turns out that was 8. While I’m disappointed I didn’t hit my original plan and I worry/fuss about that a little, the session I did met the intent and goal of the run – intervals at a certain pace – and so still provided some of the particular training stimulus I was looking for. Swapping in an easy pace day or a tempo run would have been generally beneficial but not achieved that specific purpose and thus would not have supported that run’s goal.

2 – Strength

My overall goal is to improve and get stronger in a way that supports my running. Any strength work I do has to make my running better or address some problem that’s affecting my running. I don’t do anything beyond that due to time, lack of interest and concern about overtaxing my body in a way that would cause problems for my running in any way. Plus, I’m an ectomorph – there’s a limit to what my muscles will do, and I’m okay with that.

In addition to the core sequence I had been doing, this cycle I’ve added Lauren Fleshman’s moves from her video on the Runner’sWorld site. My goal for core is to do that series 3x/wk. I have strength exercises from my chiro for legs/glutes/hips and I’ve added more from Coach Jay Johnson. Those exercises, the goal is 2x/wk, on my T/Th harder workout days.

3 – Flexibility/Mobility

The goal here is the same as with strength – improve anything that’s going to help my running, avoid what might adversely affect it.

Since last year, when I was fortunate enough to have a couple sessions with Phil Wharton himself, I’ve done his Active Isolated Flexibility routine daily. I haven’t been 100% perfect, but my rate has to be in the upper 90th percentile as I can think of maybe 10 days I’ve missed since last fall. It’s 20 minutes, which seems small until you’re doing it every day (and sometimes you just get sick of it) but it works. And that’s what matters. My chiro has given me a few stretches to do, which I fit in daily – or that’s the goal!

I’ve recently added the Myrtl series of mobility exercises post run, moving through an 8 week progression of strength and Myrtl from Coach Jay Johnson. I’m in week 3 now, where Myrtl is done on both easy and hard run days, post-run, so 5x/wk for me. I do the strength part 2x/wk.

I can’t decide if I’m going to set a goal of getting a certain amount of yoga done per day or per week as other than some quick stretches, it’s the first thing I wind up dropping under time pressure. A recovery yoga session (restorative yoga) once a week would be a good goal, but I’m loath to set it if I don’t think I have a reasonable shot – which is odd, because typically I can set some crazy ambitious goals without regard for their reasonableness.

4 – Recovery

I don’t have any goals here, and maybe I need some. Recovery to me includes things like trigger point, foam rolling, compression and icing. I also include my post-run recovery stretches and nutrition here. Probably the only thing I’m doing consistently is having a recovery drink after my long run. It’s not that I don’t do the other things as needed, it’s just that they’re “as needed” and perhaps I could benefit more and have better recovery and adaptation with a routine. I’ll have to consider that, because I seem to be recovering more slowly than I’d like and than I had been. A routine takes time, but might be a more effective way to get the results I want in a minimum amount of time. Even setting goals of foam rolling in the morning before work, trigger point in the evening would be a start.

5 – Nutrition

My goals here are to eat healthily and support/improve my performance, energy and recovery. I have a fairly large number of constraints in terms of what I can eat, how much (volume), when, etc. that make juggling my nutrition a big part of my daily life….sometimes almost overwhelmingly so. I still try to optimize and analyze and improve though it would be easier not to, but everything changes all the time, and life is constant adjustment, so it’s not always up to me if I want good results and to feel okay.

For example, in the couple of weeks, I cut out eating sweet potatoes (previously a breakfast mainstay with nut butter) because I kept getting a real energy/blood sugar drop an hour after eating them (and got horribly hungry again), no matter what tactics I tried. So I’ve gone with more protein heavy breakfasts – paleo bread sandwiches with eggs or turkey, anywhere from 20-30g of protein and 10g of fiber, but fairly low carb. Since I don’t eat grain, I get my carbs from fruits and veggies (bananas, squash, even regular veggies have some) so cutting out sweet potatoes reduced my carb intake a fair amount. This seems to have taken care of that blood sugar/energy drop and the associated 1hr later hunger…..but my energy levels have been pretty bad this week, and I don’t feel like I’m recovering as well from my runs (which are shorter because I’m sorer and lower energy). So I bought some sweet potatoes and will try to add them back in, maybe combined with the heavy protein/fiber breakfast sandwich to slow the sugar down in my digestive system.

6 – Sleep

The goal: better if not more. Due to job and training schedule and the vagaries of my body, it seems 7h a night is about the maximum I can get. So I try to get that consistently, and do what I can (mostly) to make it restful. My bedroom is cool, lights are covered, I am off the computer an hour before bed and use orange glasses before that. I even take melatonin or other supplements if I have trouble falling asleep. Unfortunately, my GI and eating issues play a role here too, and sometimes my sleep is disrupted because of them. This is definitely a process goal – do the best I can, try every day and deal with what happens. Analyze, adjust, move on.

Racing Goals


For races, I always have multiple outcome goals, some of which I share with others, some I don’t. For Shamrock, I had 5 outcome goals. 4 of them were achieved and I came close to the 5th. For Baystate, right now I have 4 outcome goals.


I also try to set process-focused goals for how I want to feel during a race, what thoughts I want to hold in my head, how I want to approach certain situations (what will I do if x happens, what mantra will I use if things get tough, etc.).

What are your goals? Are you more of an outcome goal or process goal person? How do you set and adjust goals?






This or That: non-running edition

I enjoyed the “would you rather” post I did recently. I believe the concept was based on the usually lighthearted “this or that”, so I thought I’d give one of those types of posts a try.

Note: for many of the food ones, I no longer eat that food/type of food (but you can tell I still think about and miss some of them) so I answered from my last recollection of them.

Let me know what your answers are – and what you think of this post – in the comments!

On a PB&J sandwich – grape or strawberry for the j?

Grape. I think this choice goes by family (and possibly region). I think it’s usually what you grew up with. I go grape, DH strawberry. I’d never even had strawberry jam till I was out of the house, much less considered it on a PB&J.  My mom was allergic to strawberries, that probably had something to do with it.

PB (or other nut butter) – creamy or crunchy?

Crunchy. I grew up on creamy…maybe that’s why I like crunchy now, was more “exotic” and rare growing up. Another example of it being what you grew up with….my parents bought Jif, my grandparents, Skippy. I liked Jif better. Of course now I only eat natural (and non-peanut) nut butters.

Coke or Pepsi? 

Regular Coke, diet Pepsi. I grew up with regular Pepsi at home, so Coke was a treat at my cool girlfriend’s house. (along w/ nacho cheese Doritos!) Introduced to the extra-special Fresca at my grandparents’ house….and my sister drank TAB. (what a taste that was! only thing worse was diet Coke) I did have regular Coke recently, when I had that stomach bug: regular Coke, gone flat, was all I could manage to get down. But one of those individual plastic bottles (16 ounce) over 2 days was plenty. I couldn’t recall the last time before that I’d had it as I’d been diet-only for so many years and have been off soda entirely for several years now. Coke Zero was pretty great for a diet, if I recall.

Ice cream – chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla, high quality, unless it’s the chocolate w/ chips & brownie bits in it that DH & I found somewhere in Baltimore on a trip a number of years ago – I believe it was Lee’s Death by Chocolate.

Coffee or tea?


French Fries or onion rings?


Bacon or sausage?


Pancakes or waffles?

Pancakes. I have fond memories of pumpkin pancakes at a place out in Naperville IL – I often spiked them with bacon or chocolate chips, yum.

Doughnuts – yeast or cake?

Cake. My favorites had always been powdered sugar (from wherever) or cinnamon sugar from the summer Farmers’ Market in Oak Park IL – fresh from the fryer, so hot the sugar was melting into them. I was never that fond of yeast doughnuts till my DH introduced me to Krispy Kreme on a trip to visit his brother in Atlanta. The hot glazed yeast doughnuts were a revelation – I understood how and why people could eat more than 1 of them (an honor formerly reserved for the cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar ones from the Farmers’ Market. At some point after that, I had the good fortune to have a Krispy Kreme chocolate cake doughnut with vanilla glaze, hot….swoon. (hadn’t liked chocolate doughnuts before that)

Hamburgers or hotdogs?


Movies or TV shows?

TV shows. There are more of them (that are better) to choose from, and they don’t take as much time.

Kirk or Picard?

Both. (“my game, my rules”, to quote Dave McGillivray!) Kirk was my first crush…but I’d follow Picard.

Fiction or nonfiction?

Nonfiction. I’m using fiction to mean novel, not mystery or sci-fi/fantasy, in which case I tie.

Shower or bath?

Shower. I get too cold in bathtubs.

Rather be cold or hot?


Stay up late or hit the hay early?

Bed earlier than I’d like from necessity and choice.






Training Recap – Week of July 14, 2014

Last week (I think) of my speedwork module, then we start the 12 week training plan for Baystate. (feels like I’m already out of time!) This coming week (7/21) will be a little different as I need to be in the office M-W and will be in an all-day meeting on T/W. (gak – at least people will tolerate my getting up and standing against a wall for a while, but it still throws off a lot of my schedule – runs, chiro appt, food) But hey, I’ll adjust, and there are so few annoying things about my job I can’t really complain!

Remember last Sunday I tested the elliptigo. I don’t think it’s related, but Sunday night my right hip felt “off”, like it wasn’t seated quite right. Monday morning when I got up, the outside/back of my R knee hurt when I moved the leg – not loaded it with weight but swung it forward. Figured it had to be something in hip/attached to hip.

Thank goodness for the flexibility of my job! (see, back to the good stuff about my job) I cut back my bike (it didn’t hurt most of the time on the bike) and got ready to leave for work, but called my chiro’s office and got him before opening. Amazingly they had a lunchtime opening they didn’t have a wait list for, so I took it and told my boss I needed to telework. Chiro said it was the “bicep femoris” in my R ham, worked on it, did some e-stim and Graston, and gave me a new stretch to do. I’d had similar on my left, though it has gotten much better, but that had only hurt while stretching, so I hadn’t made the connection. He talked me down and said he thought it would only be a blip if I managed it carefully. Plus, I usually see him on Tuesday, so he’d have another chance to check. It did get better. Now I’ve got one more stretch I’m doing multiple times a day.

Run: 52 miles!

  • T – 10.1mi:  2.5mi warmup, then 2x (1mi at 12sec faster than GMP, 0.5 recovery), then 0.5 recovery pace, then 4mi ez pace. Last mile best mile, felt like I opened my stride up. Plan for day had been 5-6 1mi reps at 13-25s faster than GMP, was nervous going into this because of hamstring and during warmup felt like trying to push would be too much risk today given that and fatigue.
  • W – 5.15 ez pace miles. Felt the effort but felt again like I was opening my stride more.
  • Th – 11mi This day started with a horrible stomach ache that had me up since 330am. Suboptimal for sure, and no apparent reason. Anyway – 10 mi ez pace then strides 6x (10s 23s faster than MGP, 50 sec ez) finished with 0.4 ez. More leg effort than cardio but still tired. Felt this run in hams & glutes.
  • Sat – 20.5mi! My first 20 miler since Shamrock. All ez pace miles, but 2nd half felt better than first. Went back to Beet Elite before and Liquid Shot gel mixed w/ water. Took in about 60 calories of gel+water at mi 10 & 13, 80 at mi 16. Ice water to drink, but drinking only at Baystate water stops (which are kind of weirdly spaced…but it’s a 2 loop course, new for me). Noted weird quivering in my R ITB on and off during the run. Felt run in glutes and hip flexors. Toward the end, my R calf had a tight spot. Finished and spent 30 min on the bike with my recovery drink. Then did Myrtl mobility exercises, then an hour later did my Whartons and about 25 min of foam rolling and trigger point. Did some roll recovery on my ITBs – L sorer than R, but only R quivers – in the evening while watching TV.
  • Sun – 5.25mi Another not good night of sleep – for reasons I’ll skip, was awake until about 3am. Pill alarm goes off at 4. Then I woke up around 630 and got up. Since it had been a tough night, I decided to run inside. Wasn’t sure I was going to run, even walking around and doing my walking warmup, my ITBs hurt. But strangely, they didn’t hurt while I was running (or only an occasional moment). Post-run, did my Myrtil mobility. Will do Whartons before dinner. Hoping the recovery miles helped my legs and glad they helped my mileage total! Makes me happier to be over 50. (I know, I know….fighting the mileage monster, but I really want to be 50+ when I start my marathon training)

Bike: 2 – 30 min Monday – due to weird knee problem, 1h Friday, plus 30 min after Saturday’s long run
Core: 3 (M/Tues/Th) – my core workouts felt really wimpy this week, arms tired & sore, cut back on reps/duration – could this be because of adding the GSM and Myrtls? Not liking having to pull back.
Wharton flex: Mon, Tues, Wed, Th, Fri, Sat, Sun
Yoga: None. Unless you count bow pose and my core routine. 
Chiro exercises: None. Runs and GSM/Myrtl seem to be what I can handle right now, which is concerning. 
Myrtl routine: 2 full (T/Th), 2 partial (Sat & Sun – only mobility work)
Calf stretches: T, Th, Sat, Sun
Elliptical: None. Only in the office on Wed this week. Next week doesn’t look great – the days I’m in the office are wall-to-wall meetings.
Walk: pre-run 15 min warmups
Drills: before every run – lunge matrix, high knees, skips, butt kicks, butt kicks moving in reverse, karaoke
Other: weekly chiro visit plus the extra one on Monday

Have a great week!

My Race Nutrition: Runners Tell All Linkup

I’m joining, at least this month, a linkup called Runners Tell All. Thanks to Deb at Deb Runs for posting as part of this linkup last month – gave me the idea to hop in and join. Wish I’d found it sooner, some fun topics I would have liked to have written about!

The linkup hosts are Amanda at The Lady Okie and Becka at Sunshine to the Square Inch. There’s a running-related topic provided for the post on the 21st of each month. That it’s a Monday means you get a two-fer, this post along with my regular Monday training recap.

This month’s topic is nutrition – “go-to nutrition to optimize training or what you eat to get you through races”. 

I’m not sure I’ve got my training nutrition optimized! I’m trying (sort of) Generation UCAN now, but I’ve had mixed luck with it. I recently heard there’s an adaptation period – 2 weeks where you can expect to not feel right, then 6 months to 2 years to get the best performance benefit. I’m not sure I want to spend that kind of time in this training cycle when I have other products that seemed to be working for me. Trying to optimize and get better brings some risk with it – but the old faithfuls could also stop working. It’s an ongoing experiment….like most aspects of my training, and really my life.

So, what about races? Here’s what I did for my BQ marathon at Shamrock in March. (Note to those who have read the blog from the beginning, this a re-pub of my March Shamrock nutrition post.)

Fueling is a very personal issue. It’s taken me quite a while and a lot of trial and error to get to “what works for me” and even then there are days where my very twitchy tummy has issues on the run.

As you’d expect, I race with the products and protocol I’ve used in training. For Shamrock, I got lucky – the day wasn’t warm so I wasn’t thirsty, and my stomach cooperated completely. Some days it all comes together, and it’s pretty amazing. I still can’t quite believe it.

Below is a LOT of detail. You may wish to skip to the “during the race” section if that’s your primary interest. Reminder, I link to products only for your information. If I’ve mentioned something in a prior post, I may not re-link here.


Let’s start with food before the race. Because of GI issues and food sensitivities, I’m even more set on eating EXACTLY the same things before, during and after long runs and races than your “average” runner (who might easily get labeled superstitious or OCD by those who don’t understand how the tummy affects your run).

At home, Fridays are Chinese takeout and snacks. I always eat the same thing (moment of pity/sympathy for my dear husband – DH – please). That’s steamed chicken and vegetables (broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, baby corn, mushrooms) from a local place, with some Coconut Aminos (fake soy sauce) and sunflower seed butter on top. Then I move into snacks like a few kale “salt and vinegar” chips and some kale “greenola”, some frozen organic strawberries, a pint or so of vanilla maple Arctic Zero with frozen organic blueberries, and my nightly snack of frozen banana chunks topped with a variety of nut butters and sea salt: pistachio, cashew, walnut, pecan, almond and Nuttzo peanut-free creamy. (my snacks deserve a whole post of their own)

I realize the above has a lot more fiber than most would recommend and doesn’t adhere to the carb-loading protocols many follow. But it’s what works for me, and what I’m used to. Since I don’t eat grain, I get my carbs primarily from sweet potatoes, which I eat daily, squash, and a variety of fruits/vegetables.

How to recreate this on the road? Enter PFChang’s, a restaurant with a reliable gluten-free menu and educated staff that serves just such a dish in the form of Buddha’s Feast with modifications. This time I brought my aminos and sunflower seed butter along with the rest of my food. (I don’t travel light when food’s involved and the stakes are high.) We ate both Friday and Saturday dinners from PFC – Friday to test their ability to provide what I needed and ensure my stomach didn’t have any problems, and Saturday (takeout) as a regular pre-race meal, a bit earlier than normal, around 5pm. I brought/created the rest of my evening snacks thanks to coolers, lots of space in the car and Whole Foods. For the entire trip, everything I ate was either brought from home, purchased at WF or from PFC. Also, while on travel, anything I haven’t brought and prepared myself gets eaten with a dose of Gluten Defense enzymes just in case.


I take a number of supplements daily (again, a post or two could be devoted to these). Do they do what they say? For some it’s hard to tell, and I may go through times of not using all of them, but once I find something that works and I’m in a training cycle, I won’t change it.

Among the dailies are Wobenzym, EndurolytesAcid-Ease and Master Amino Acid Pattern (MAP) as well as Prevacid for acid and Allegra for my allergies. I down two FRS Chews (a little caffeine and some taste).

On long run and race days, I add Endurance Amino and Anti-Fatigue Caps. I also take BeetElite beet root concentrate – I mix it with about 4 ounces of water and use it to get my supplements down.

Before runs, I take an Energy Surge. On race day, I took a second one right before the start while waiting in the corral (good suggestion by DH).

I can’t eat before running. Once my stomach starts processing solid food, it’s going to be very displeased with that level of activity, and bad things happen. However, I can usually manage just a smidgen of gel before I start a run, especially if mixed with water, and I did that for Shamrock (see below).


I use EFS Liquid Shot in vanilla (we’ll call it gel). The taste, texture (runny) and electrolytes suit my palate, my tummy and my body. I thank Ray Maker at for mentioning the product a while back when I was looking to get off other gel products due to some blood sugar spikiness.

I put my gel in Hammer flasks (because they fit in my fuel belt better) in this ratio: to the line marked 4 (4 ounces), then added SmartWater (which I drink) to the 5 line. So a flask had about 320 calories in about 80g of carbs with 1 ounce of water. I added the water to ensure I’d get some water along the way even if the aid stations didn’t work out and I’m glad I did! I made 4 flasks, carried 3 flasks in my belt, plus gave an extra to DH to carry and meet me along the way.

I made an extra flask of 1 serving of my gel with 1 ounce of water, brought it to the corral and downed it a couple of minutes before the start.

I had a plan going in to take some gel roughly every 3-4 miles, with more if I felt like I was starting to need it. I don’t really remember taking it except in the Fort Story section where I was trying anything to make the badness stop, but from what I had left and the fact I didn’t bonk, I must have been taking it about that right for the day.

When I finished the race – didn’t take the flask from DH – I had one full flask, had pitched one empty flask, and had a flask with contents to about the 1 mark left in it. I estimate I took in only ~700 calories pre and during race, and maybe 6 oz. of water in total.  I took somewhere between 160-180g of carbs from the gel, which works out to at least 40g per hour if you assume a constant rate of consumption…unlikely because I know I didn’t take gel early and sipped more late. (one benefit of the flasks is you can take as much or as little as you want) Supposedly at least 30g of carbs per hour is desirable, more up to 60 or so if you can tolerate it. (read The New Rules of Marathon/Half Marathon Nutrition for an interesting discussion and ideas)

I didn’t have any problems with dehydration during the race but I was probably dehydrated at the end. However, the more I read and hear about hydration, the less I worry about it during the race itself. If I go in hydrated, drink to thirst whether from aid stations or what I carry, and rehydrate well after, that seems to be a reasonable balance between health/safety and performance concerns, as long as I’m mindful of conditions.


As I mentioned in a prior post, DH brought an empty bottle and a packet of Ultragen and mixed my recovery drink immediately after finding me at the finish. The packet is – to me – 2 servings. At home I’ll use the canister, which allows me to use 1 or 1.5 scoops instead (2 scoops = 1 packet), but the packets are great for travel and I figured I’d need all the help I could get. Ultragen is amazingly easy on my stomach, and seems to help recovery. I try to get it in down the first 10-15 minutes after long runs, usually when I’m cooling down on the bike (at home). I’ve also started taking SportLegs again. I’d take the product years ago and stopped when I started reading about how lactate is good for you instead of bad. But in this past training cycle, after particularly tough long runs, about 4-6 hours later I’d get what I called “screaming legs” when suddenly my legs would just ache horrible and that would last 4-5 hours. One day I decided to pull out the SportLegs (DH had a bottle) and took a dose with my Ultragen. No screaming legs! I’ve been using it since then and plan to continue.

It’s taken me years to get to the above, which is what works for me. Trial and error can be such an unpleasant process, but maybe something I’ve shared can help you. I hope so!




Friday Five – Friday Favorites!

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
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!

This week’s theme is “Friday Favorites”. I’m going with – favorites ON Fridays….


I read all my running sites every day, but on Fridays I spend a bit more time looking to see who’s racing over the weekend (elite and non) so I can wish them well and remember to find out how the race went. If it’s a big race, I might be able to find TV or streaming coverage.


Chinese food for dinner! Our regular Friday night, pre long run/race meal. For me it’s steamed chicken and mixed vegetables with coconut aminos and sunflower seed butter.

Then, there’s probably some Arctic Zero (maybe with sugar-free flavored syrup or frozen fruit or nut mixed in), possibly some frozen bananas with nut butter and some frozen berries/mango.


Most of my writing on Friday is at work, though I may update my weekly training blog post with Thursday and Friday’s info, or tweak a future post.


Friday is a XT day…but I usually spend time throughout the day/evening obsessing about my long run, despite having it laid out in the training plan. How long, what pace for how many miles, which podcasts I’ll listen to, what nutrition I’ll use, what time to get started (and thus get up), what I’ll eat afterward. It’s a lot to consider. (grin…I love it!)

Bonus Favorite – Friday night routine

Watching saved TV shows on DVR (Elementary, Person of Interest, Motive, Suits, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Arrow), on Netflix (Numbers, Lie to Me), or on DVD (The Mentalist, a season behind, travel shows, food shows). We’ll usually watch anywhere from 1-3.5 shows (half hour shows like food or travel are 0.5) with breaks for checking twitter, sitting on the porch or just chatting.

What are your Friday Favorites?

People I’d Like to Run With

I’ve already been fortunate enough to run with Bart Yasso (group shakeout run before Shamrock) and it was just as great as I’d been led to believe it would be. He was gracious and took time to sit and chat with the group afterward.

That experience and some other podcasts, events, and just random thinking made me compile this list of people I’d like to run with. These are the fairly well-known folks (“famous”) people I’d like to run with. I find them inspiring and interesting, and bet we’d have some good conversations. I may do another list of lesser-known folks I’d like to run with….


Dean Karnazes

Mike Wardian

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Jonny Lee Miller

Dave McGillivray

Meghan Arbogast

Ann Trason 

I keep thinking of more people to add to the list!

Who’s on your “I’d love to run with….” list, and why?






Training Recap – Week of July 7, 2014

Just passed 14 weeks to Baystate, and just inside 9 weeks until I register for Boston 2015. Week 2 of 4 of my speedwork module, then we start the 12 week training plan for Baystate.

Run: 46.12 miles. Glad it’s above 45, bummed it’s below 50 again. I can see it’s from shorter runs during the week than I’d prefer, but still, something I need to work on.

  • T – 8mi, speedwork. 2mi w/u, 6 x (0.5mi at 30s faster than MGP, 0.25 recovery), 1.5mi cool. Nothing before or during except water, Energy Surge tablets. Had both my regular gel and UCAN “gel” handy, thought about taking the regular but went with the Energy Surge tabs instead. This was a workout I approached with a little trepidation given that it was taking the same pace as last Th’s 0.1mi intervals and doing it for 0.5mi at a time – on top of last week, and longer runs back-to-back Sat and Sun. Legs were a bit heavy during the warmup. Rep 1 was hard, reps 2&3 were the best (3 actually felt decent), 4 was ok, had to push to 5 and really push to 6. I noticed that when I go faster, I feel like I’m striking more on the outside of my foot – I feel that on the whole foot and even the front part. I wonder if my form gets better as I go faster (less pronation). I think I am somewhere between a heel and midfoot striker, have moved more into midfoot as mileage and pace has increased without doing anything particular to change gait. Strengthening may be helping also. I’m particularly proud of this day as I didn’t really feel like doing this workout (or any workout) but I pushed myself through it physically and mentally…and then I did my chiro exercises (which I’ve not been doing) and my first day of Coach Jay Johnson’s GSM and Myrtl sequences, plus a few regular stretches and calf stretches. I can tell I’m going to be feeling this day for a bit. Glad I have a chiro appointment today.

Thought about a 2nd run Tuesday, but didn’t really feel the energy at 445. This may be a case where UCAN 30-60 before would help. Did 2mi walk on the treadmill instead (would have done a 15min warmup for a run anyway), figuring that would flush the legs a little and hopefully make tomorrow’s run better but not put too much stress on them post-speedwork/strength. (did feel a little low blood sugar 2nd mile and after) Trying to be smart, ramp up carefully & always look to stay on the good side of that fine/red line (which is not always linked to mileage numbers, one of my past gotchas). Steady as we go! Decided to do my core work after the walk instead of tomorrow morning (hey, let’s throw some more strength work at my glutes!) on the “hard days hard, easy days easy” concept – plus that means I might be able to run a little longer in the morning and maybe get my Whartons in before work so I can run errands after.

  • W – 4.5 recovery miles. Glad I did my core workout last night! Slept like a rock and really didn’t want to get up. Poked along, legs sore and stiff…didn’t go as long as I wanted due to that and time. No time for Whartons in the morning, did them before dinner. Didn’t get down to the gym at work. Probably better for my legs anyway. Speedwork again tomorrow, long run Saturday. Gotta remember the goal isn’t total miles (grumble) or total workout time with XT, it’s being able to run the race I want at Baystate and races after.
  • Th – 8.32mi. Ez pace miles + strides. No gel or UCAN, just an Energy Surge tab mi 1 & mi 4. 2mi w/u, 2mi 20s faster, 2mi 20s faster then 15 x (10sec on, 1min recover) with 1st 10 being at GMP, last 5 at 30s faster than GMP. Strangely, the strides felt the best of any part of the run – maybe because it was only 10 seconds at a time. Sometimes faster running feels better, and I know sometimes I underestimate how fast I can go. Lower back/R hip feels a little tweaky. Slept ok, not as well as Tues night (a dream or two, a 330 wakeup). However, still didn’t want to get up. Glad it was a telework day. Legs less sore (except hams – both sore but cranky L more so) but sort of “dead” feeling. No energy there or anywhere else. Did manage to make myself do GSM, Myrtl & bow pose after a protein drink and some tea. Finished up the day with another 2mile tmill walk after work, then my core routine (so I don’t have to do it Friday AM – in theory I can then do Whartons after bike) and Whartons before dinner.
  • Sat – 18.3mi: 4mi w/u, 3mi 20s faster, 4.3mi 20s faster, 5mi marathon goal pace (yes!), 2mi c/d. Was the distance and target for run (5 at MGP) I’d wanted and planned – and only 2nd 18miler since Shamrock in March, last one in mid-May, so that’s good, right? Took 1/2 serving of my EFS Liquid shot gel mixed with water at mi 11.3, other 1/2 at mi 14.3, along with ice water (well, it was ice water at the start) at Baystate water stop points. Nothing before. After, 3 SportLeg capsules and 1 scoop of chocolate UCAN+1/2 scoop of Ultragen in ice water while riding 40min on the bike to spin legs out. Pretty trashed. Was tired when I started this, tired the whole way through. Started with pain in/below L knee (on and off, but seemed a little swollen), soreness in arches, and a worrisome pain on inside of L ankle that seems to indicate m my PTT is not happy. Trigger point on calf makes it better temporarily, but may mean I’m overpronating more than I should, thus making me worry about shoes/orthotics and such. Will mention to chiro. As I ran, got rid of some of that and moved my pain into outer hips, glutes, hip flexors and upper hams (oh boy!). After bike, got myself to do the mobility exercises in Myrtl routine (yay me!) skipping clams and leg lifts as they are strength and my legs were quite done. I feel like I should be more pleased with this run than I am. It certainly was a test of mental strength and willpower. I’d like to get my energy level a bit higher, but could be just one of those days, though I’m having a lot of them….and I gutted through it anyway. No “feel good” after, just wiped and sore. Wore my compression shorts and knee sleeves (no ice) for a couple hours afterward. Couldn’t face the ice as I make the house so cold for my runs that after I freeze. Did ice my ankle while on the porch this afternoon. Whartons before dinner. Legs hurt in evening.
  • Sun – 7 miles, recovery pace on the treadmill. Legs somewhat better than yesterday, but still feeling that long run. Noticed that I felt better in last mile when I focused on lengthening my stride. That may be the flip side of shorter stride length and higher cadence that I think I’ve gotten from being a treadmill runner – my hip extension needs work. Gotta keep an eye on L PTT/ankle. Did the mobility part of Myrtl, bow pose and down dog post-run as well as calf stretches. Sleep has been getting more broken and more bizarre-dream-filled as the week went on. Not good.

After breakfast and some house stuff on Sunday, I headed to a bike shop to do a test ride on an Elliptigo set up on a trainer. Yes, I finally found a place that would do it, with a nice, knowledgeable mechanic/bike guy! (talked to a different guy, same shop, never called me back – this guy helped me at light speed) He was somewhat mystified that I didn’t WANT to ride it outside, but got onboard with my program, answered lots of questions, even took one out to my car to see if we could fit. My sense is, if I want it, he’ll make it fit, get me in touch with Elliptigo’s east coast rep who lives nearby, and provide help as he can.

So how did I like it? Well, he set up the 11 (the lightest and highest priced model – no way I’m buying that one) so it wasn’t a completely perfect test as I’m vacillating between the 8 and 3 (numbers are gears, and lowest is cheapest, go figure). There was more side-to-side movement than I’d expected or probably would want, though he pointed out it’s less than you’d get on the road, and it’s helpful for strengthening core stability muscles. True. Checked with my twitter bud who’s used it on a trainer and he said it does rock a little, but he could still manage to do hands-free. (impressive!) I could definitely feel the effects of the elliptical motion in quads and hip flexors (learned I would probably want the toe cage accessories) and felt like the rear part of the stride was less than I expected.

It was hard especially at first, but I went a minute or two, stopped and talk, went a minute or two, and the “intervals” got my heart rate up, which doesn’t happen on the bike. It would be very different from my minimal resistance, high spin bike (with iPad and hot tea) sessions – can’t see a way to use the iPad during it for one.  But it would certainly mimic the motion of running with much higher fidelity and help me develop muscles that I think need it (quads for hills) with low/no impact “miles”. It would take me quite a while to work up to a continuous hour or more, I think, but maybe intervals spaced out over that time would be a good enough start.

At some point, it’d be interesting to see if I could perhaps do second “runs” on the Elliptigo most run days, and longer sessions on XT days. I need to do a little more research on the gearing ratios and such….the bike guy suggested the 8 ($700 more than the 3!!) because not only does it have more gears, the gearing ratio means that the lowest gear on the 8 is easier than the lowest gear on the 3. And I’d surely need easy to start. There’s a lot I could do with that money, so it’s going to be a tough decision. If you want to know what it looks like to use one on a trainer,  watch this.

Bike: 2 – 1h (M/F), 40 min after Saturday’s LR 
Core: 3 (M/Tues/Th)  
Wharton flex: Mon, Tues, Wed, Th, Fri (AM), Sat, Sun
Yoga: None. Unless you count bow pose and my core routine. 
Chiro exercises: Tues, yesss! Decided against it on Th, legs pretty dead. 
Myrtl routine: 2 full (T/Th), 2 partial (Sat & Sun – only mobility work)
Calf stretches: T, Th, Sat, Sun
Elliptical: nope
Walk: pre-run 15 min warmups, 2mi on Tues after work, 2mi on Th after work
Drills: before every run – lunge matrix, high knees, skips, butt kicks, butt kicks moving in reverse, karaoke
Other: weekly chiro visit

Have a great week!

Five Things Friday – Fitness Snapshots

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps
Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
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!

This week’s theme is “Fitness Snapshots”.

As you know, my “thing” is running, and I’m a treadmill junkie. So here is, as a friend put it, “where the magic happens”:

my beloved Landice L8

my beloved Landice L8

Console view – I went for the longer, wider deck and the simplest console when I bought it some years ago (no map, no TV):

console view of tmill

console view of tmill

The incredibly important shoes….currently Brooks Adrenaline GTS13, with custom orthotics:

running shoes

Brooks Adrenaline 13s w/ orthotics


My cross-training is bike, pool run/swim or (occasionally) elliptical at work:

trusty bike on trainer

trusty bike on trainer

my pool running float belt

my pool running float belt

Here’s where most of the core work, yoga, trigger point, AIF stretching and rolling happens – in the sunny sitting room off the kitchen:

my yoga mats, Wharton rope, Roll Recovery, trigger point ball and rollers

my yoga mats, Wharton rope, Roll Recovery, trigger point ball and rollers

Occasionally, I do go outside for a run that’s not a race (goal is to do so on Sundays, but I am not hitting that target lately). When I do, I enjoy seeing the gardens, trees and houses in the neighborhoods where I run. Here’s an example of a lovely tree near the house.

tree near house

tree near house

When I do run outside, I wear my Garmin – here’s my new one, which I’m loving!

my Garmin

my Garmin

On Saturday afternoons, after my long run, I retire to the porch with my running reading and some Arctic Zero (usually coffee flavor), and look at my Boston-themed flowers. I had pansies that finally couldn’t take the heat, just replaced them with some mums (tag said) or daisies (what they look like). I like gazing at them while thinking about training, visualizing the race, or just listening to the birds.

chaise lounge on front porch

chaise lounge on front porch


Arctic Zero

Arctic Zero



summer Boston-themed flowers

summer Boston-themed flowers                                    between my basil (left) and lemon thyme (right)

What snapshots would you share about your fitness routines or habits?