Monthly archives: January, 2015

Almost But Not Really Wordless What I (Didn’t) Eat Wednesday on Thursday

When I went to the store on Tuesday to pick up more kabocha, I was a little hungry, a little stressed and still deep in the throes of chocolate craving.

Yet….I did not purchase the following items which, along with others, tempted me from the shelves. Slow clap applause is optional but appreciated.

Pamela's extreme chocolate chocolate chip mini cookies (GF)

Pamela’s extreme chocolate chocolate chip mini cookies (GF)

LaLoo's dark chocolate goat's milk ice cream

LaLoo’s deep (dark) chocolate goat’s milk ice cream

Glutino's chocolate covered and yogurt covered pretzels

Glutino’s chocolate covered and yogurt covered pretzels

WHY didn’t I get these yummy items? Because I’m back on my primarily Paleo diet (with white potatoes and goat cheese/yogurt and some chocolate-y stuff added), trying to get rid of whatever weight/fat I might have gained post-ultra in my gluten-free binge (still no scale involved, but no doubt I gained – I feel different, you know?).

WHY am I following this plan, struggling with it while I crave and want all sorts of snack and dessert and carby gluten-free grain foods, especially given some life stress going on right now? Because last year I trained and raced well in my second year on this type of eating and I want to do everything I can to stack the cards in my favor for April.

In case one might think I’d forgotten (ha) that we’re inside 12 weeks now, know that I’m reading about Boston nightly, thinking about the race every day, still obsesseing about putting boards under my treadmill, etc.

countdown to Boston

countdown to Boston

Staying obsessed, motivated, and a little scared is not too hard when I read and follow tweeps just as obsessed with it as I am. Even the snowstorm couldn’t stop us, even in Boston – or maybe ESPECIALLY in Boston. As Heartbreak Hill Running Company put it “they didn’t cancel the Boston Marathon, so yes, we’re running today” (check out their other great storm related tweets). Kudos and thanks go out to Christopher Laudani for shoveling off the finish line to help keep us all inspired.

If you’re training for a race, are there foods or treats you’ve given up until after the race? How’s it going?

Training Recap – Wk of Jan 19, 2015

The training week – though not everything I’d wanted (and fingers crossed, knock wood) was “directionally correct” as DH would say.

Breaking-ish news – on Monday 1/26, PowerBar confirmed to me via tweet that they are no longer a sponsor at Boston this year. The Boston Marathon folks (not surprisingly) haven’t responded to my tweet asking who will be providing gel or when they will tell us – I’m sure a press release is imminent, and they will do things on their schedule. But it does mean I don’t have to keep training with PowerBar gel, which I didn’t like much. (see text I left in re Saturday’s run) I’m hoping for GU, which I plan to carry and know I can use. Clif is a no-go for me (not gluten-free).

Run: 52.01 miles – over 50 miles, woot!

  • T – 11 miles, 3 miles warmup, 8 miles at 40s/mi slower than goal pace. Quite hot during run, high HR at end plus plenty of soreness and complaining from various body parts. Tried Caramel Macchiato GU (not bad, tastes like Rio coffee candy TJ’s sells).
  • W – 7 miles recovery/easy pace, 3 mi at 0% to take some load of my hamstrings and train the quads a bit. Better HR. Soreness in L foot/arch/PTT. Thinking the orthotics/shoes are getting older but the shoes only have ~200 miles on them.
  • Th – 10.5 miles, 3 miles warmup, 5 mi increasing pace by 0.1mph each mile, 2 miles cooldown then 5x20s strides. Another warmer run but HR better at end. Tried Vanilla PowerGel since that was to be (?) one of the offerings on the Boston course according to the “along the course” page of race website. As of Sunday 1/25, I see this may no longer be the case, it’s not on the “along the course” page now and PowerBar is no longer on the sponsor page of the race web site. The Vanilla had an unpleasant tang to it and was quite liquidy (which you’d think would be easier as my EFS is liquidy, but it’s in a flask). Managed to stretch it out for two servings but only because I could prop it on the treadmill. Stomach seemed to take it ok. I have a Strawberry Banana to try also, not looking forward to it. I feel like I should try every flavor that will be available just to get a sense whether it’d be worth trying in a pinch but I really don’t want to. Liking my GU.
  • Sat – 18 miles Listened to Marathon Talk (Lorraine Moller part 2), Runners Connect with Masters runner Kathy Martin, and Runner Academy with Peter Sagal – yes, THAT Peter Sagal, of NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and Runner’s World. He lives in my hometown! Wore my FlipBelt again, 9 gels in it this time. Tried to add a Hammer flask of water and the belt started pulling down even more, so I took it out. It still didn’t bounce. Next weekend, I’ll try the medium I bought. Tried GU Root Beer (tasted just like root beer barrel candy) and Salted Watermelon (tasted like a slightly bitter Jolly Rancher) flavors. Neither likely to displace one of my favorites, but tolerable taste-wise and ok on my stomach.
  • Sun – 5.51 miles, 5.01 of that outside so I could run some hills! Yes, I know many of you only run outside, but it’s a quasi-big deal that I went outside. Walked 15 min inside on treadmill, then did half a mile at recovery pace on the treadmill to make sure my sore and tired legs would not be trying to actively hurt me if I went outside. (felt like they were out to get me during the walk) Took 2t of my EFS gel before I headed out. The pace of my run wasn’t stellar (no surprise) but Garmin showed my cadence not to be too shabby. I like downhills better than uphills, and think I run them better in general. But I need MUCH more practice on both!

Bike: Mon 45min, F 30 min, Sat 20 min post-run
Core: M, W (pulled something in my abs with a new exercise ow), F (a bit wimpy)
Arms: M, W, F (a bit wimpy)
Wharton flex: M,T, W –  slacking even more 
Chiro exercises: T & Th light Ohnos
Coach Jay GSM routine: Myrtls T, Th (with a few leg lifts)  Myrtl stretches a few times
Other leg/body strength: T, Th
Calf stretches: not enough, aka daily – calves are quite tight
Walk: 15 min before runs.
Drills: As usual, though I did skip them Sunday (walked then ran on treadmill before heading outside)
Other: Chiro Tues, massage Sun. Stress still high. Majorly craving chocolate in pretty much any and every form. Eating too many bananas with nut butter and baked potato chips. Still avoiding the scale since I’d just beat myself up even more.

Boston is now less than 12 weeks away. Before then I need a lot of hill work, miles at/above goal pace & a combo of the two on tired legs so I can run my best from Hopkinton through the finish line.

How was your training last week, and how long till your next race?

Weekend Update Jan 24-25, 2015

This post is part of Tara’s Weekend Update linkup – check out her site to see what everyone’s been up to! 


Sat – 18 miles Listened to Marathon Talk (Lorraine Moller part 2), Runners Connect with Masters runner Kathy Martin, and Runner Academy with Peter Sagal – yes, THAT Peter Sagal, of NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and Runner’s World. He lives in my hometown! Wore my FlipBelt again, 9 gels in it this time. Tried to add a Hammer flask of water and the belt started pulling down even more, so I took it out. It still didn’t bounce. Next weekend, I’ll try the medium I bought. Tried GU Root Beer (tasted just like root beer barrel candy) and Salted Watermelon (tasted like a slightly bitter Jolly Rancher) flavors. Neither likely to displace one of my favorites, but tolerable taste-wise and ok on my stomach.

Sun – 5.51 miles, 5.01 of that outside so I could run some hills! Yes, I know many of you only run outside, but it’s a quasi-big deal that I went outside. Walked 15 min inside on treadmill, then did half a mile at recovery pace on the treadmill to make sure my sore and tired legs would not be trying to actively hurt me if I went outside. (felt like they were out to get me during the walk) Took 2t of my EFS gel before I headed out. The pace of my run wasn’t stellar (no surprise) but Garmin showed my cadence not to be too shabby. I like downhills better than uphills, and think I run them better in general. But I need MUCH more practice on both!

Boston is only 12 weeks away. Before then I need a lot of hill work, miles at/above goal pace & a combo of the two on tired legs so I can run my best from Hopkinton through the finish line.


Still staying off the scale. Still under stress and craving chocolate. Also this week,craving vinegar and pickles (no, that’s not it, promise). Intrigued by this post from the smart, funny, cool, nice ultrarunner Carilyn Johnson on cravings, eating and how we develop our relationships with food. Got in touch with her about my current cravings and she said perhaps I was low in magnesium and iron (chocolate) and salt post-ultra, though I’m usually good at supplementing.

I’m trying to balance what I want to eat with what I should eat. Still struggling with stress eating right now (when my appetite isn’t gone…the middle ground is elusive), and missing the treats I let myself have. I keep thinking “well, you could have this….”

Sat  –

Didn’t get done with my run till quite late (12:30), so it was hard to decide if/what to eat after my Ultragen. Didn’t have much appetite but it didn’t seem wise to go all the way to dinner without eating anything else.

Eventually (3pm) I sat down with this snack of coconut paleo bread, peanut-free Nuttzo, TJ’s raspberry jam, and Nutiva coconut manna. Yum.

coco paleo bread, nuttzo, raspberry jam, coco manna

coco paleo bread, nuttzo, raspberry jam, coco manna

and some reading

Jan/Feb Marathon & Beyond, Running Times, and Jan UltraRunning

Jan/Feb Marathon & Beyond, Running Times, and Jan UltraRunning

Dinner was homemade – by me – pad Thai (with Miracle Noodles fettucini) with the leftovers of my steamed chicken and veg, some added WF grilled chicken breast, shredded cabbage and carrots and some bean sprouts. I topped my portion with my usual Coconut Aminos and sunflower seed butter, DH opted for some of the jar of pad Thai sauce (I tried it, didn’t like the taste). We watched DVR’d episodes of Grimm and Person of Interest and a DVD ep of Hawaii Five-O. Tried Cape Cod mesquite BBQ potato chips (quite good). Then I tried this yummy (and very pricey) new treat:

LaLoo's Vanilla Snowflake goat's milk ice cream

LaLoo’s Vanilla Snowflake goat’s milk ice cream

DH said it reminded him of Blue Bell Vanilla (for fellow Midwesterners/Yankees, that’s a fave brand in the South). I think that’s probably due to the egg yolks. It did not have any of the goat “tang” of goat cheese or yogurt, just a rich custardy vanilla flavor.

When I was reading later in the evening, I tried cookies from Out of the Box bakery, a new-to-me Paleo bakery DH found in the newspaper. They have no storefront, so I included a trek down to Misha’s coffeehouse in Old Town to my errands on Friday…after calling to make sure they had the product. (By the way, Misha’s Route 66 blend is quite good if you like a French Roast and is sold at multiple stores.) But back to the cookies, which have an almond flour base. The ginger was only ok, I took a bit and put it back in the fridge and may not finish it. The chocolate chip was pretty decent, Toll House-ish, and I ate half the cookie. I’d like to try their cupcakes and other products, but can only get them by special order so I’d have to get 6 of the same flavor cupcake without even knowing if I’d like it. Not sure about that, definitely sub-optimal.

I was still hungry, so I made a small serving of bananas and nut butter to complete my snacking. (didn’t eat more chips, a small triumph)

I’m trying to hold off reverting to Arctic Zero (off it since 12/1), but everything else is more money and more calories, so it’s tough going right now especially with stress and chocolate cravings.

Sun –

Post-run, DH made an egg white scramble with zucchini (I topped my half with a bit of goat cheese). I followed that with a couple of slices of paleo bread with coconut manna and raspberry jam. Made some of Tina‘s chocolate chia pudding with no banana and chocolate almond milk, though I wound up using more almond milk than I was supposed to, so tossed in another 1/2T of chia. Still quite liquidy, I may just have to pour off the excess. Seems to me cocoa powder used to blend easier, but maybe it’s been so long I’ve forgotten….it sits on top of the liquid and is quite hard to blend by just stirring.

Had my massage, a welcome break. Came back to snack on some kabocha and nuttzo, write this post and do some reading before dinner. The weather forecast has changed, making Tuesday morning look worse than Monday so I may get into the office Monday after all. (one more bad weather Tuesday, when I have my chiro appt – this has been going on for a year, more often than not….no longer amusing)

This week, in theory, will be more of a regular schedule, but of course that’s always subject to…..everything.

How was your weekend? 

Friday Five – Five Things About Me

The theme for this week’s Friday Five linkup, hosted by CynthiaCourtney and Mar, is Five Things About Me.

After you’ve read my post, visit the hosts’ blogs, read, enjoy – and find fun posts from many many other linkup bloggers at the bottom. Enjoy!

Readers may recall that I’ve written “Five Things About Me” posts beforetwice – on a couple past “free” Fridays, and I did one with summer movies.

But wait, there’s more!

I put out a call for questions on twitter, and the intrepid Thumbholes answered, with 3 thought-provoking questions that deserve posts of their own and 2 I’ll take a shot at here. Please take a look at her Small Change project before your next race – it’s such a great idea!

  • I am incredibly near-sighted – can’t see the clock next to the bed nearsighted – and at least in the past have had a significantly weaker right eye than left, which apparently is hereditary. Long after it would have helped, an ophthalmologist told me that I could have had that improved by wearing an eye patch on the stronger eye as a kid, to force the weak eye to work harder (no idea if that would have worked….the little sister of my next-door best friend had one, and it looks odd on a kid, glad I didn’t, I guess) Now I’m also experiencing age-related far-sightedness. Contacts with readers on top, yay! (too scared to get Lasik when I was a candidate, now too old)
  • The only fruit that I don’t like is grapefruit, and I never liked it. My mom’s parents did though, and I wound up having to eat it sometimes at their house, old-school style: half a grapefruit on a plate, sectioned and eaten with a grapefruit spoon. You couldn’t see the pink of the fruit for how much sugar I put on top. The grapefruit spoons in my house now are for de-seeding squash.
  • Hot/sharp things and my hands are a very bad combination. I’ve had a hand go into a window box fan and through a glass pane in a door. I have a scar from cutting cheese for a restaurant opening, have been burned by scalding cream soup serving it at a restaurant (can’t get it off fast enough due to consistency) and have been burned by a towel (misused as a potholder) catching the edge of an electric stove’s heat element. Watching the towel be licked by blue flame while it was still in my hand, and then watching my hands drop it before I even felt anything, was truly odd. I’ve been very lucky. One small scar from the cheese incident, and nothing from the 2nd degree burns from the towel incident (except a true appreciation for the serious pain meds and skin cream used to treat me).
  • From Thumbholes: If you could invent one energy gel flavor, what would it be? Well, as it happens, during my run today I came up with one and tweeted it to GU and their R&D person, ultrarunner Magda Boulet – “flat” cola (“Coke”) or cherry cola – let’s see if they run with it. I can’t think they haven’t tried it to develop it already given they are sponsors of Ironman and flat “Coke” is legendarily used by triathletes in races, but you never know. Maybe the Root Beer flavor was a trial balloon. (I’ve yet to try my one pack of it.)
  • From Thumbholes: All-time favorite TV show? I don’t know if this is what she meant by “favorite” but I went with “most meaningful/influential”…..The original Star Trek because it so influenced me from the very first episode I saw (in syndication in the early to mid 70s), which was The Empath. I saw it while staying in a Holiday Inn in Wisconsin when we went there for my dad’s father’s funeral. The universe of Star Trek – its message, its hope – really informed a lot of who and what I became and what I thought/believed.

Share something about yourself in the comments, or ask me a question for a future post.

Have a great weekend!


Training Recap – week of Jan 12, 2015

Let’s call this a training recap, though I’m frustrated because I feel like I’m not training…though I am doing more than nothing and I am grateful I’m able to run and do anything at all.

It appears leg speed is going to take a bit longer to come back than the 2 weeks post-Baystate and post-Richmond. Let’s hope this is the last week of ugh/sludge running, shall we? My patience is being tried, and that’s no fun for me or those around me.

My new theory – to make myself feel better – is that perhaps the number of weeks post-race till you can do a quality run is the number of hours you raced divided by 2. I made that up to make myself feel better in comparing my recovery (brain saying “it was just 5 more miles, why is this going so slowly?!”) so we’ll see if it holds. Expectations are so much a part of the game. It’d also be nice if I could get back to my regular low energy level from the lower-than-that one I seem to be stuck at right now.

DH points out that the 50k wasn’t an isolated effort, it was my 3rd marathon distance in 71 days, and that probably matters. Further, it’s unclear whether my 2 weeks off Paleo hurt or helped in any way other than weight – could that be affecting my recovery or my training? Who knows. Or could the first week back on Paleo have been tougher for me? Who knows. Too many variables and moving parts, with some added family stress starting Wednesday and really ramping up starting Friday. This all contributes to me feeling “blah” and tired, sort of numb and empty. That seems to be how stress manifests for me the last couple years – more of an energy and mood suck than an adrenaline anxiety. (at least the anxiety would feel energetic!!)

Run40.2 miles. I wanted to be doing more. Seriously hoping all this caution and not pushing when I’m not feeling it pays off.

  • T – 9 miles: 2 mile warmup, 7 miles in easy pace zone. No speed in my legs or the rest of me at all.
  • W – 4 miles, after work. Unusual for me but just couldn’t get going in the morning (teleworked for weather). So I did core and 20 minutes of walking, lunge matrix and arm workout. At 5pm, I did 20 minutes of walking, skipped my drills (I know) and did 4 miles at recovery pace. My legs felt horrible during the warmup as I’d been standing to work all day and they felt so fluid-logged and heavy. That said, my hamstrings were better than they’d been during the morning’s warmup and I made it through the run without bonking (had applesauce and protein powder about 90 minutes before). Good to know I can do a short, super easy run in the evening if I have to. I’d love to get back to being able to do doubles.
  • Th – 7.5 miles recovery pace, last 3 miles at 0% to do a little decline work and work my quads over my cranky hammies. Lots of weird little physical complaints and still feeling physical muscle fatigue, but HR wasn’t as high at end. (had been really out of whack) Bad sleep Wed night, really funky dreams.
  • Sat – 13.5 miles in the “easy pace” zone. (not to say it felt easy) Followed the Boston course profile (decline/0 = 0% on treadmill). No gel. Used Vespa again before run. Listened to my beloved Marathon Talk and an episode of Athlete on Fire with ultrarunner/RD Michele Yates. Would have preferred 16, but for many reasons, didn’t seem wise and surely didn’t feel like I should go further. Wore my new fluorescent yellow FlipBelt (gift from MIL). Got a large because I knew I’d wear it on my hips. It didn’t bounce – with 8 GUs in it – but did start to slide…down! Might need to try a medium. Bad sleep Friday night – nightmares, stomach ache.
  • Sun – 6.2 miles, recovery pace.  Listened to the first Tina Muir-hosted Runners Connect podcast, with one of my all-time faves Dave McGillivray. Give it a listen. Tina’s really been ramping up the RC social media presence and is extremely (and quickly) responsive to requests and feedback. Felt a little better overall than yesterday, still stiff and sore. Obviously my slacking on things like Whartons, rolling, etc. must stop. Less bad sleep Sat night, at least less dreams and no stomach ache. Sunday night I had a very hard time getting to sleep.

Bike: Mon: 30min AM, 30 min at lunch; Fri 30 min.
Core: M, W, F (amazed as I soooo didn’t want to do this)
Wharton flex: only 3x, really slacking 
Chiro exercises: did my Ohnos (only 2) on Tuesday
Coach Jay GSM routine: just Myrtl stretches a few times
Calf stretches: not enough, aka daily – calves are quite tight
Walk: 15 min before runs.
Drills: As usual
Other: Chiro Tues, massage Sun. Craving chocolate. Missing my GF treats. Eating too many bananas with nut butter and baked potato chips. Still avoiding the scale since I’d just beat myself up even more. Trying to hang in for this all to pass and my mood/recovery to “break” for the better.

Tell me how your training was last week – good, great or not so much?

Weekend Update – Jan 17-18, 2015

This post is part of Tara’s Weekend Update linkup – check out her site to see what everyone’s been up to! (Feel a little rusty at this, the last one was a month ago! )


Sat – 13.5 miles in the “easy pace” zone. (not to say it felt easy) No gel. Used Vespa again before run. Listened to my beloved Marathon Talk and an episode of Athlete on Fire with ultrarunner/RD Michele Yates. Would have preferred 16, but for many reasons, didn’t seem wise and surely didn’t feel like I should go further. Wore my new fluorescent yellow FlipBelt (gift from MIL). Got a large because I knew I’d wear it on my hips. It didn’t bounce – with 8 GUs in it! – but did start to slide…down! Might need to try a medium.

Sun – 6.2 miles, recovery pace.  Listened to the first Tina Muir-hosted Runners Connect podcast, with one of my all-time faves Dave McGillivray. Give it a listen. Tina’s really been ramping up the RC social media presence and is extremely (and quickly) responsive to requests and feedback. Felt a little better overall than yesterday, still stiff and sore. Obviously my slacking on things like Whartons, rolling, etc. must stop.

A little concerned, frustrated, miffed (you get the gist) that I’m now 3 weeks past the 50k and not feeling “better”. The third week after Baystate and Richmond, I was able to do some quality/speedwork. This past week, no way.

I have a new theory….perhaps the number of weeks post-race till you can do a quality run is the number of hours you raced divided by 2. I made that up to make myself feel better in comparing my recovery (brain saying “it was just 5 more miles, why is this going so slowly?!”) so we’ll see if it holds. Expectations are so much a part of the game.

(Life lesson: If you’re disappointed, you had expectations – whether you were aware of it or not.)

DH points out that the 50k wasn’t an isolated effort, it was my 3rd marathon distance in 71 days, and that probably matters. Further, it’s unclear whether my 2 weeks off Paleo hurt or helped in any way other than weight – could that be affecting my recovery or my training? Who knows. Or could the first week back on Paleo have been tougher for me? Who knows.


I REALLY want to get on the scale but I know it would be a bad number, and I’d rather the treadmill numbers of speed & distance improve, frankly. Or so I keep telling myself. Struggling with some stress and emotional eating right now, and missing all the treats I let myself have.

Sat  – Friday night brought a stomach ache and some nasty nightmares. (have some family stuff going on that’s spiked the stress meter way up there) Even “sleeping in” didn’t help. I was groggy, sore, tired.

Started run late so didn’t even eat until noon. Managed to finish Runner’s World and look at a few web sites/blogs (soooo behind) but mostly was feeling exhausted and almost falling asleep in the chair. Waiting for the phone to ring wasn’t helping.

Finally around 4, DH and I walked over to a nearby grocery store to pick up a couple of things and to the handy local running store branch to pick up a couple of PowerGels for me to practice with. That’s what’s on course at Boston, and they’re gluten free, so I want to try at least one of each flavor to see if there are any I can’t tolerate. I plan to carry all my own gel (leaning toward all GU, have to try the flask with my new FlipBelt) but I want to know whether or not I *could* take one at mile 17 just in case.

Dinner was some reheated pork BBQ from a local place along with some “salad rolls” from the grocery (a place that uses tapioca paper instead of rice paper!).We watched a Blacklist ep, The Flash and a DVD ep of Hawaii Five-O. Some baked BBQ potato chips and goat yogurt (yes, dairy, see what I mean?) were also eaten, then later frozen bananas and nut butter, part of my last bag of yuca puffs and some chocolate sorbet. As I said, stress and emotional eating. (craving chocolate – frosting, chips, cookies – when it was never a thing for me before)

Sun – Still tired but at least no nightmares. Felt slightly less ugh that yesterday but still in than zone. Watched the Half Marathon Championships online before and during my warmup (thanks USATF!) so I got started a little late.

Post-run, DH made a scramble with zucchini and bacon. So I had a huge breakfast of that, asparagus, a few strips of bacon, paleo bread and jam, then some kabocha and nut butter. I oven-roasted a small kabocha, spaghetti squash and some diced butternut squash for the week (hoping to re-create the kale/butternut/cranberry holiday salad).

Had my massage at 2:30 – definitely in need some stress relief. Whiplash from the family stress roller coaster is pretty real – and I’m still runner sore. Also, my MT is a friend and it’s always great to chat with her. She gives me such a different perspective and wonderful support.

Stopped by the grocery store and scored another tapioca paper salad roll (veggie only, mislabeled as California)

tapioca paper salad roll

tapioca paper salad roll

and some of our fave Heinz Organic Ketchup (the best, rec though it’s a small bottle for $3)

Heinz organic ketchup

Heinz organic ketchup

Still having chocolate cravings. Resisted buying chocolate frosting, bought some 80 calorie fudge coconut milk frozen bars instead. (there are only 4 in the box – ridiculously expensive though – I love old style fudgesicles and would buy them if ingredients worked)

coconut fudge bars

coconut fudge bars

This week, Monday is a holiday! (yessss!) I’m looking forward to that AND to a pair of Karhu shoes I ordered showing up. (yes, having returned 7 more pairs of failed shoe candidates, I’m willing to try almost anything even if it’s out of the mainstream.) Tuesday is telework and chiro, Wednesday in the office, Thursday telework and haircut, Friday my semi-annual dental appointment in the morning, probably taking the whole day off work. I suspect I’ll appreciate that extra time – and yes, I know I’m super lucky to be able to take time that way. (I may be venting about some stuff, but I do realize how lucky I am, and I’m grateful every day.)

How was your weekend? 


Friday Five – What’s in My Gym Bag, ATY edition

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.

Today’s topic is “what’s in my gym bag”.

I’m going to take little bit different tack with this topic, showing you my brand-new super-swag from Across the Years! (paid extra for it)

What you got if you registered for the race was short-sleeve tech shirt with the race logo (not pictured, explanation follows) and a race bib holder belt with the race organizer’s logo/name on it (Aravapai Running). I don’t like things around my waist, so I pinned my bib on my shirt, but it might be useful someday.

ATY/Aravaipa Running bib belt

ATY/Aravaipa Running bib belt

However, I bought the “extra swag” bag and I’m so glad I did. It was a bargain for the quality and items, with lots of cool stuff! Buying this got me a long-sleeved race shirt instead of short sleeved.

First – an actual BAG….bright yellow duffle, with shoulder strap (and shoe compartment) with the race logo on it. Very spiffy.

ATY yellow duffle - 1

ATY yellow duffle – 1

ATY yellow duffle - 2

ATY yellow duffle – 2

Packed in the bag:

  • Black lightweight fleece gloves (pictured at end of post) – no logo, but useful
  • Fleece lined knit beanie with race logo (comes down well over ears with plenty of room in the head portion…liked it so much I bought one of their prior year ones, same logo a light blue fleece and have been wearing it almost non-stop since, including crewing and around back in NoVa)
fleece lined ATY knit beanie

fleece lined ATY knit beanie

  • Long-sleeved tech race shirt (only minor grumble here is placement of the different races – on the bottom back – men’s has it down sleeve, think that looks cooler) The volunteers were great and helped me figure out that the size I’d ordered would be too big and let me try on sizes till I found a fit.
race shirt - front

race shirt – front

race shirt - back

race shirt – back

  • My favorite! A soft shell jacket (think it’s the same company I got my Baystate jacket from). I was disappointed because the women’s had pink under the arms and lining the neck (I don’t do pink) and the men’s was a beautiful blue. After we went to the tent, DH suggested if it was really bothering me, I go ask if I could swap. I went back and explained my situation, and the volunteers turned to Jamil Coury (ultrarunner, one of the two Coury Brothers in charge of the org and RD’ing) and he said “if we’ve got spares that aren’t packed in bags to be given out, sure”. They had some and the volunteers helped me find my size among what was available (turns out men’s XS fits me well, better than my women’s Baystate jacket), so I have this beauty (the photo doesn’t do the slightly turquoise shade of blue justice):
ATY jacket

ATY jacket

But what I prize most wasn’t in the bag – the heavy glass finisher’s stein/mug! (shown with the black fleece gloves from the swag bag, for contrast). Somehow I hadn’t gotten one when I left after my race on Sunday, and I didn’t know I was supposed to get one – and then I figured maybe because I didn’t run the full 24 hours, I didn’t get one. The runner I crewed said “no, everyone gets one”. I went over to the timing tent where both Jamil and Nick Coury happened to be and asked “what’s the difference between who gets the mug and who doesn’t?” Jamil said “everyone gets one”; I said “no they don’t”; he said, “yes, they do” and I replied “no, they don’t” at which point he started to smile and he or Nick said, “you didn’t get one?” I said no, and they promptly turned around to a table and handed me one. Now perhaps they recognized me but at this point I wasn’t dressed as a runner, didn’t have my bib or anything to prove I’d run the race. They didn’t even ask me what my name was so they could check. They just gave me the mug. (again with the AWESOME!)

The mug and some other fragiles we picked up on the trip were shipped home via UPS in copious quantities of bubble wrap, all made it safely.

ATY finisher's mug - front

ATY finisher’s mug – front


ATY finisher's mug - back

ATY finisher’s mug – back

What was the best race swag you got with your entry fee?

What about the best race swag you bought? (other than the above, my Baystate jacket – but wait till April!)

Have a great weekend!

Arizona and after – What I Ate (the treats & the experiment)

Long post warning!

Faithful readers have patiently read (put up with) my discussing/analyzing/obsessing about my food plan post-race, a potential gluten free (GF) experiment, and what I’d do after. So this is to share what I actually did pre and post-race, what I learned, and what’s next.

(I actually wish I’d taken MORE photos and some I am sure I took seem to have gone missing. However, I’ll say it was weird to be taking photos of so much of my food, especially in restaurants. I found it a bit disruptive, got annoyed with myself at times. While I enjoy blogging and tweeting and connecting with you all, I’m not a “professional blogger” and I don’t live to blog/tweet. It felt like I was breaking the flow of actual life somehow and putting priorities in the wrong place. Anybody else run into that sometimes?)

Pre-race, I stayed on my Paleo diet plan. As always, not the easiest of plans to follow when eating out, but research, grocery shopping and being able to tolerate very limited options made it mostly work. (Thanks and kudos as always to DH for his patience and support!) I am gluten-free (GF) because I’m gluten-intolerant if not celiac – so out of need. I’m Paleo by choice due to other intolerances and a desire to limit carbs and sugar. I’m not Paleo because I believe we should eat what cavemen ate or anything like that, though I do think the less processed foods and sugar in one’s regular diet, the better. Paleo is just the easiest shorthand for the combination of foods that seem to mostly work okay for me – though I also follow the GERD diet for GERD/hiatal hernia and past ulcers, don’t eat nightshades for autoimmune reasons, though I do eat eggs, and am inching toward lower FODMAPS as I seem to have issues with some veggies, especially raw. The Venn diagram of what I can/do actually eat would be amusing.

After the race however……I’d decided to go wild and temporarily abandon Paleo tenets (no dairy, legumes, etc.) after almost two years of following them. I also allowed myself to eat foods that are prohibited on the GERD diet (spicier foods, carbonation, caffeine, citric acid), a bit risky, and I did have some acid issues, especially toward the end of the two weeks. I continued to eat gluten-free as the pain of not doing so would be not literally intolerable, but severely miserable, and not worth it. (I did contemplate trying the gluten-containing Tammie Coe cupcakes and other yummies – we had the Ooey Gooey cupcakes at our wedding, or naan at our Indian restaurant, but decided the risk/guarantee of pain was just too high. If you can eat gluten though, make sure you eat Tammie Coe products while you’re in Phoenix. Amazing.)

One reason for this “break” is that for the last year or so, the Paleo diet had felt like deprivation more than a positive choice. We had some problems over the 2013 holidays while visiting DH’s family that caused stress for everyone, and it seemed everywhere I looked was something I couldn’t have or chose not to have. It got to be kind of upsetting. Another reason I chose to do it after my ultra is because so many of my favorite foods are in Arizona, places that handle GF well (and my favorite brand of ice cream). It would have been best if I stuck to only restaurants for higher quality food but I did pick up some GF packaged foods like Glutino’s pretzels (ate while crewing), some bars I wouldn’t normally eat (Hammer Whey and Picky) and discovered – thanks to DH – the amazing Tim’s Salt and Vinegar potato chips. You may think you’ve had good salt and vinegar chips, but believe me, these are THE BEST. (and, dangerously, available directly from the manufacturer – not sold in our geographic area).

Tim's Salt and Vinegar Chips

Tim’s Salt and Vinegar Chips

Here’s how it went…..

Thursday 12/25 (left home 5am ET, ate my own food on plane, arrived at the hotel around noon local, which is MT)

Ate our holiday “lunch” at the hotel restaurant, beet and spinach salad with candied pecans and small chunks of steak. We went to Walgreens to pick up SmartWater and snacks, but there wasn’t much available. I believe I got a fruit cup. Our shopping was limited as all the grocery stores near the hotel were closed on the holiday and even Walgreens had limited hours.For dinner, room service burger with bacon (which got remade as they’d put GF bread on it) and sautéed veggies.

Friday 12/26

Breakfast – in the room, Paleo bread sandwich and nut butter (I carried these on the plane)

Lunch – salmon and asparagus along with another beet/spinach salad (no meat) at the hotel’s spa cafe

Dinner – spinach/spring mix salad with mushrooms, chicken, bacon, nuts, strawberries and fig balsamic dressing at Picazzo’s (if you eat gluten-free, this is a place for you…only 2 items on the whole menu not available GF)

Picazzo's spinach salad

Picazzo’s spinach salad

We went to a favorite local grocery store and found kabocha! DH pushed me to get it. It IS possible to cook it in a hotel room microwave, but it takes forever and doesn’t turn out as well….also, I think it wasn’t quite ready to be picked.We also went to Whole Foods and picked up sweet potatoes, fruit, asparagus, turkey lunchmeat, a new loaf of Paleo bread, strawberries and some nut butter. I think we also got some GF treats in preparation for my post-race “indulging”.

Arizona kabocha

Arizona kabocha

Saturday 12/27 (day before race)

Breakfast – in room, asparagus, Paleo bread and turkey sandwich, kabocha, some strawberries

Lunch – grilled chicken and asparagus at the hotel’s spa cafe

Dinner – PF Chang’s steamed Buddha’s Feast with chicken – this was a bit disappointing as while I was very clear with the server, some “unapproved” (can’t eat) veggies wound up in my meal. I chose to pick them out as it took so long to get the order in the first place and I needed food in me early, but it was stressful and not the first time it’s happened at PFC. It makes me think I’ll have to re-evaluate them as my go-to option.

Snacked on frozen bananas w nut butter (yes, managed that with a freezer compartment) and Terra sweet potato chips.

Sunday 12/28 (race day!)

Breakfast – none. I did my regular BeetElite and FRS chews in the room before we left. I’d debated about trying to eat something before the race as it was a 9am start (11am ET) but I just didn’t want to risk it. I was pretty hungry at the start.

During the race I had a craving for flat Coke (DH said aid station didn’t have, but post-race they had flat Sam’s Cola which is remarkably similar and was yummy). My brain translated that into also wanting fries and a burger.

Post-race – my usual Ultragen immediately after. Then we had to pack the car and get back to the hotel, get cleaned up, etc. Fortunately, racing usually kills my appetite and the Ultragen held me for a while.

Let the binging begin……

Dinner – Five Guys… glad they have gluten-free fries! First time I’d had potatoes in almost 2 years. I got a little burger w/ bacon (no bun) and a medium fries to split between me and DH, and Coke Zero. Turns out all I really wanted was the fries, at a bite of the burger and a little bacon and ate about 2/3 of the fries. Went to Picazzo’s and picked up GF skillet chocolate chip cookie and coconut milk ice cream.

Picazzo's GF skillet choc chip cookie w coconut milk vanilla ice cream

Picazzo’s GF skillet choc chip cookie w coconut milk vanilla ice cream

Monday 12/29 

Breakfast – Went to the AMAZING Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe where EVERYTHING is gluten-free and almost everything is unbelievably delicious! This place is uber-dangerous. Have the pancakes. Trust me. The texture is a revelation in GF pancakes, and they have a “buttermilk” syrup – I don’t know what’s in it, it has a hint of sweetness but not necessarily maple, but it will become your new favorite. (think it might be butter and agave)

Jewel's biscuit and pancakes

Jewel’s biscuit and pancakes

Donuts, oh, donuts, puffy yeast donuts. I loved the cinnamon sugar (but I love cinnamon sugar on its own, so that’s an easy one) but I think I loved the glazed more.

Jewel's donuts

Jewel’s donuts

Also got scones (blueberry, maple pecan, chocolate chip, all excellent – made from their biscuit dough I think), cookies (terrific molasses, dense and subtle oatmeal raisin, okay peanut butter), cupcakes (Elvis – banana cake good, pb frosting good, fluff and bacon overkill, Vanilla birthday cake only okay) and a sample of a swoon-worthy pecan bar.

more Jewel's yummies

more Jewel’s yummies

Dinner – Chelsea’s Kitchen, owned by LGO, which owns other restaurants we’ve liked. I had smoked trout dip (cream cheese, ok, not great, good tortilla chips though), kale salad unique and pretty good, short rib tacos and seasoned fries excellent – great tortillas, amazing fries and nice sauce on the meat (which reminded me of pot roast). They’re pretty good at GF, but always make sure to double-check details with the server as modifications may be required.

Tuesday 12/20 (day before race for runner I was crewing)

Breakfast – leftovers in room

Lunch – kale salad leftovers

Dinner – Picazzo’s again…..sauteed spinach as I was trying to include veggies (even a half order was too much, and a lot of olive oil)

Picazzo's sauteed spinach

Picazzo’s sauteed spinach

and this beautiful GF flatbread/cracker crust pizza with BBQ sauce, goat cheese, chicken and artichoke hearts

Picazzo's pizza

Picazzo’s pizza

Wednesday 12/31 – 24h race crewing day

Breakfast – in room before leaving at 7am.

Rest of day, night, into next day, was food I brought to the race along with a couple of chunks of cold boiled potato with salt. (I’ll put more detail in my crewing post)

Thursday 1/1/2015 – 24h race continues…still crewing (until 9am, then getting everything to the hotel, getting showered, etc.)

Dinner – picked up from Picazzo’s – an even better GF pizza! Cracker crust, BBQ sauce, artichoke hearts, bacon, mushrooms, 1/2 white cheddar, 1/2 smoked mozzarella. And of course another cookie.

Friday 1/2/2015

Lunch – Waldo’s BBQ – a LOT of food. I had pulled pork and a different type of rib than I’m used to…pretty reasonable. Side of a baked potato and lettuce salad (no dressing, unapproved veggies removed) as the GF options were….a baked potato/sweet potato and lettuce salad. (I saw onion rings and mac-n-cheese pass by.)

Waldo's pulled pork and rib

Waldo’s pulled pork and rib

baked potato and salad

baked potato and salad

We’d tried to go to Little Miss BBQ which smelled amazing, but after waiting in the parking lot line for 15 minutes, it became apparent we’d have to stand at least another hour to even get in the door, so we left. Perhaps another trip. Both BBQ places were helpful in answering my question about GF options via email or twitter. (I always research and try to confirm ahead of showing up.)

Stopped by Gluten-Free Creations, which had been my favorite GF bakery and cafe (prior to Jewel’s). I had a couple bites of their English muffin, which needed to be toasted more and wasn’t quite as good as I remembered. Had a bite of a holiday cookie (meh). Ordered their pumpkin pancakes, ate one and took the rest back to the room (think I only ate one more). Bought their buttermilk biscuits (making trip home to be frozen), maple walnut scone (one of these going home too) and a huge iced cinnamon roll (which I’m eating over 3-4 days). Being able to compare them to Jewel’s makes them overall less attractive, though they do offer more breads (bagels, buns, English muffins) than Jewel’s. I think I actually liked GFC’s cinnamon roll better – more Cinnabon-y but with sugar icing which I prefer. Both ship so I could get more if I wanted. Both are worth checking out.

We went to Whole Foods to get Sweet Republic ice cream (best ice cream, IMO) from their gelato counter there (rather than going to the SR standalone store, also this way could get more flavors by the scoop). All flavors were incredibly yummy: eggnog, pumpkin spice (like pumpkin pie), cinnamon (different than fave Maggie Moo’s – good thing I didn’t realize they were in Scottsdale or we would have had to have a taste-off) and Belgian Chocolate (like Lee’s from Baltimore but Lee’s had chunks). I tried a taste of the peaberry espresso, it was terrific too. I’d say DH and I shared them but I’m sure I ate most of them.

Dinner – accumulated snacks, bakery, produce and leftovers in room

Saturday 1/3/2015

Breakfast – some Paleo bread with nut butter in the room

Lunch – buffet at Indian Delhi Palace (hugely recommend, we visit them every trip to Arizona) THE BEST Tandoori chicken I’ve ever had. Excellent chicken tikka masala, goat curry, palak paneer. Very good kheer and a dish of ground lamb, peas and spices. They do their rice with ghee and saffron, unique and works well with their entrees. Unfortunately, no naan for me (I miss naan) but DH assures me it’s still good.

Dinner – the leftover pizza from Thursday and other accumulated snacks, bakery, produce and leftovers in room – we were pretty full from lunch.

Sunday 1/4/2015

Breakfast – Jewel’s again where I ate more than I’m willing to tell you (but you MUST have their pancakes and one of their donuts, whichever kind is your favorite of cinnamon sugar, glazed, white/chocolate iced – the cinnamon roll is okay

Jewel's cinnamon roll

Jewel’s cinnamon roll – that glob is cream cheese icing

but I think the donuts are better) and picked up scones, cookies (chocolate chip, also good), a loaf of their flax bread and pancake mix to take home. Also got some pancakes for breakfast Monday – since we have to be up and out earlier than they open, I wanted breakfast to be something yummy to soothe the pangs of leaving. I wound up eating one pancake and bringing one on the plane with me, then deciding to save it and freezing it to have Saturday morning (Jan. 10) after my run.

So full from brunch that no lunch was required and there was barely room for dinner….during the afternoon while we were packing I did, however, take a little bit of peanut butter from some DH had bought and remembered how much I loved peanut butter.

Dinner – Tottie’s Asian Fusion, a new-to-us Thai/Vietnamese/Chinese place reputed to be able to handle gluten-free and other special needs. They seemed knowledgeable and answered my questions well. The spring rolls and chicken satay were both outstanding and a bit different. The rolls were heavy on veggies including mint, and the satay marinade had a hint of lemongrass in it, which I loved. The peanut sauce was only okay. The appetizers would have been enough for a meal for both of us but we didn’t know that when we ordered.

Tottie's satay and summer roll - 1

Tottie’s satay and summer roll – 1

Tottie's satay and summer roll - 2

Tottie’s satay and summer roll – 2

I had Pad Thai with thin rice vermicelli (how they made it GF) but wasn’t fond of the sauce, not what I’m used to. Ate some of the noodles but mostly the chicken and fresh veggies. DH had a red curry dish that he let me taste which was excellent – I even put some of the sauce on my noodles and it improved them significantly. A good find and one that we can return to again as it has a pretty big menu and can handle my needs.

Tottie's GF Pad Thai

Tottie’s GF Pad Thai

Sunday evening, did some in-room snacking to finish off some pastries, enjoy a few more tortilla chips, pretzels, etc. One day I had a handful of DH’s microwave popcorn, tasted just like I remembered.

On the plane home Monday, I had a Paleo bread and nut butter sandwich, part of a Quest bar and some dried bananas. I brought some Jewel’s treats on the plane but decided to save them for when we got home.

In the week of vacation back at home in Virginia, I continued the binge…. had 2 varieties of GF BBQ chicken Naked Pizza both excellent. Got Pad Thai from the place near us where we get my Chinese food (they changed the noodles and I didn’t like it as well).I checked out Happy Tart GF treats again, European-style bakery goodies – including this flaky apple turnover

apple turnover - 1

apple turnover – 1


along with some okay regular chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, and some yummy cake pops! (lemon, a really good red velvet, and chocolate)

I also stopped by Buzz Bakery (the GF brownie is tremendous). I made plenty of toast from AnnaB‘s multigrain and cinnamon raisin breads (bought at Richmond and frozen) as well as the flax bread from Jewel’s. I ate all the treats from Jewel’s other than the bread (saved some). I tried and liked goat’s milk yogurt both as yogurt and as a sour cream type dip. Wish it wasn’t so expensive.

I ate one Reese’s peanut butter cup, but was much more interested in the new spread DH had purchased. My rec: don’t get it – it’s way too dangerously delicious to have in the house. I’m not kidding.

Reese's spread - dangerously delicious

Reese’s spread – dangerously delicious

Once home, I also tried additional packaged things I’d missed or thought I wanted like GF clam chowder (Progresso). Okay, not great. Packaged GF oatmeal – over sugared and sticky. Didn’t get to the Annie’s GF mac & cheese we bought. (DH may be eating this leftover stuff, or I might take it to work and leave it out for folks.) Tried Swiss Miss instant hot chocolate. I did enjoy it, but it’s one of the suspects in a tummy ache I had that day. Enjoyed some Cape Cod salt and vinegar potato chips (we brought Tim’s back, but they’re hidden for the future) and some Green Mountain Gringo tortilla chips (wow, they were excellent!) as I’d been craving tortilla chips. I enjoyed the bizarre chemical taste of PopChips Salt and Vinegar chips quite a bit – you know you’re not eating real food, but it’s addictive. I also discovered that Harris Teeter (local grocery) makes their veggie “sushi” summer rolls with tapioca paper, not rice paper, so I can eat them even when Paleo. Yay! I did have some of the regular rolls with rice while I was off Paleo, as well as some yummy brown rice from our Chinese place – amazing what you miss, toast and brown rice. (By the way, goat cheese on toast is quite yummy.)

So what’s the result of all this? What did I learn or get out of it, other than probably a record for caloric intake in a 2 week period? (a record I am not proud of holding, btw)

I learned that I do still love the GF stuff – though I’m sure some of it was just the wonder of “look at all I can eat!” after so long of ignoring so much food I see (you should have seen me at the grocery store). I was reminded how much easier it is on me and DH if I’m only restricting to GF. I remember when that used to be difficult – it’s still limiting, but there’s so much more awareness and availability so I feel a little bad imposing Paleo on him.

I also learned that it can still be hard for me to stop with the sugar and carbs – at some point I seem to keep eating them whether I want to or not or whether I’m hungry or not (or even enjoying the food or not). Within the first couple of days I was feeling over-sugared and over-carbed, a bit bloated but decided to carry on with the treats (though i should not have eaten anything near the quantities I’ve eaten – it was a fairly stressful and sleep-deprived vacation but that’s not really an excuse).

I had treats every night after we got back and tonight (Mon. 1/12) is the first night I won’t be doing that, but I can feel the pull. “Fortunately” I ate almost all the treats and have frozen everything else out of sight and will ask DH to hide anything else. Making do with frozen bananas (no nut butter for a while, probably) and blueberries/mango/cherries is going to be a bit rough, though my appetite on Monday is really minimal. It’s 4pm and I think I’ve taken in maybe 600 calories, a chunk of that in a purple sweet potato I just ate. My system is really out of whack now.

Strangely however, given how sensitive I’ve seemed to be to carbs like sweet potatoes – I’d get sleepy and a blood sugar drop resulting in huge hunger 1 hour after eating them – I had NO blood sugar issues or sleepiness at all during my GF grain carb fest. Truly bizarre. My system did start to crave veggies though, and let me know that it was getting a little sick of all the junk I was eating. I also didn’t notice any big boost of energy from all the grain/carbs I was eating, which makes me think I was doing just fine on my prior plan (as my performances would indicate, but I’d been concerned about recovery, etc.). Of course, the real test would be to eat – moderately! – GF grain during a training cycle, but given past good results NOT doing so, I’m sticking with what’s worked.

At this point, I’m thinking of keeping white potatoes as another carb source (even though they’re nightshades) in my diet. I had forgotten how much I liked them. I’ve read they’re considered Paleo/Whole30 ok now – and supposedly if you peel them you address the autoimmune concerns, though I think I’d eat the peel for the nutrients. I doubt the intent would be to let me have baked/regular chips and fries, but that may happen as well as baked or boiled or mashed potatoes. (boiled/cooled have resistant starch, a good thing) It’s easier to be able to have those things and a bag of baked Kettle potato chips is less calories and fat than the straight up Terra sweet potato or Terra chips…yes, I know the answer is “don’t eat them” but I’ve got to be realistic….sometimes it’s just choosing the least bad option. I might also keep the goat’s milk yogurt – like yummy sour cream – and goat cheese as I didn’t seem to have any lactose/dairy reaction. I’m debating that. I’m not a Paleo purist, but it can be easier for me to just say no than have to repeatedly make decisions. (I’m also saving a can of GF chicken noodle soup I didn’t get to…in case of a cold or something, sometimes you just wanna open a can of soup and not have to make it yourself!)

I think not having GF stuff in the house (or hiding it so I forget it, freezing it so I have to think about eating it) is how it has to be. I’ve also decided to try to – next time I do this, possibly post-Boston – go with something I did a few times this trip: is take a bite and if it’s not exceptional, get rid of it. It’s wasteful of money and food, and both those things are problems for me (if I’ve bought it, I feel obligated to eat it) BUT better to waste those things (if I can’t resist buying them) than be in the position I am now, where I’ve overindulged and need to lose weight.

It was yummy, but it wasn’t all great or worth it. I didn’t need to eat as much or as often as I did, and some of it I’ll be regretting as I now have to lose whatever weight I’ve gained and get my body back to feeling normal. (I’m not going to weigh myself – I think I’d just get too upset and it wouldn’t change my approach in any good way.)

Thanks for reading! Hope you found something interesting or enjoyable in the above, whether it’s places to eat or the details of my experiment in informing your own food choices.

What, if any, “rules” do you follow about what you eat, and how did you arrive at them? What experiments have you tried?





Arizona – Where I Went

Many thanks to Tara for graciously allowing me to cover multiple weekends (and the days in between) as part of her Weekend Update linkup!

While most of my time in Arizona was spent in the “Across the Years” zone – preparing for, running, recovering from, crewing, recovering from crewing the race – we did manage to see some sights and enjoy some favorite and new places. Note, there is some crossover between this and the “what I ate” post that’s coming soon.

Friday 12/26 – Hit up the great folks at Tribe Multisport for an extra flask of my gel in case I needed it. Turns out I didn’t, but I am glad I was able to get it. They have the largest section of nutrition products I’ve seen anywhere! Their friendly folks talked to us about races, trails and the general area. Also went to the iRun running store, again, great folks. Really enjoyed talking to people in both stores. What a terrific endurance sports vibe and community in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area!

In the evening, we went to the Desert Botanical Garden – a place we’ve enjoyed before for the plant life and the Chihuly exhibits. They were running a holiday event called “Luminarias” in which the garden was lit with hundreds of luminaria and “fairy” lights on trees, and various local musical groups were playing at different spots on the property. It’s a hugely popular event, we ordered tickets well in advance. I was captured by some great jazz music while walking the path through the garden….it drew me to a tent where I heard a great jazz group – the Adam Roberts Jazz Ensemble (he’s the saxophonist and appears to be the leader, and he has some stuff on youtube). I actually recorded their version of Holly Jolly Christmas (which the leader said was their “demented” version, seemed perfectly fine to me) but it’s too long to embed and I haven’t figured out how to clip it. Perhaps for next year.





tree at Luminarias

tree at Luminarias

more Luminarias lights

more Luminarias lights

star lights, jazz band

star lights, jazz band

Adam Roberts jazz ensemble

the jazz group I liked – Adam Roberts jazz ensemble

Saturday 12/27 – Across the Years (ATY) race packet pickup started at 2pm. After a lazy morning at the hotel, we drove the 35-40 minutes to the race site. We were able to get our bibs and race belt, and the extra swag bag (purchased, got some nice logo stuff!). Here’s the registration tent (white, on left).

ATY registration tent on left

ATY registration tent on left

Below, on the right you see the edge of the red medical tent (not shown and closer to me would be the white warming tent) and the blue/black large aid station tent where the vast array of foods and drinks provided by the race organizers were available during the race (they even changed some of what they served during the race, depending on time of day and across days so people would find something they liked and wouldn’t get bored). The volunteers were uniformly terrific, whether at the registration tent, the aid station or anywhere else. Friendly, welcoming, enthusiastic, helpful.

aid station on the right

aid station on the right

We scoped out the “tent city” – you could order a tent of different sizes, a cot, and tables. We ordered a tent big enough to stand up in the center (smart move by DH), a cot and a table. To our delight, the tents were set up, sparing us the (planned) time and stress of doing it ourselves, and cots already inside. Brilliant! One more reason Aravaipa Running ROCKS! We chose a tent right next to the track, across from a light, and put our name on it. We also put the table up in front of the tent, next to the track.

tents for runners & crew

tents for runners & crew

We even got a chance to walk part of the course (the part that wasn’t inside the Camelback Ranch gates, which were closed to us until the race). I saw this 30 times in the course of my race (this is the way the last 90 minutes or so went, the first part of the race I was going the other way).

part of the ATY course

part of the ATY course

Sunday 12/28 – my race! In case you missed it, here’s the recap. The only places we went other than the race were to Five Guys and Picazzo’s to satisfy post-race cravings that evening. I’ll share all the food details with you in an upcoming post.

Monday 12/29 – Recovery day, so nothing was planned. I did some light biking in the hotel gym before starting the gluten-free binge with breakfast out at the tremendous Jewel’s totally gluten-free bakery/cafe. (more on that to come, just let me say….pancakes) We spent some time at REI shopping for rain and cold gear due to the race forecast. We hoped that by doing (as I called it) the “credit card anti-rain dance” and dropping a fair amount of funds, the rain wouldn’t show up for my runner’s race. No such luck, though it could have been worse. (more on that in an upcoming post on crewing a 24 hour race) For dinner, a new yummy place called Chelsea’s Kitchen.

Tuesday 12/30 – aka the day before crewing my runner’s race…..I had a massage while DH went out to breakfast to a non-GF friendly restaurant. For dinner, we hit Picazzo’s again.

Wednesday 12/31 – Up at 5am, at race site by 7am for 9 am start – enjoyed crewing the race!

Thursday 1/1 – (still) Crewing the race till 9am, then getting runner & car full of stuff back to hotel, not a trivial task given all the supplies we’d brought. Got back to hotel. slept, got up and ate (I don’t even remember what!) and tried to get more sleep, which was tougher than you’d think.

Friday 1/2 – DH & I both got massages. I was so tired I almost fell asleep in the lounge afterward (the massage therapist suggested I lay down for a while). We went out to eat BBQ – tried one place that smelled fantastic but after standing outside in line for 15 minutes, we decided not to wait for what looked like another hour to get in the door to order, and found a second only okay BBQ place. Later we went to Whole Foods and got some Sweet Republic ice cream/gelato.

Saturday 1/3 – Started the day with my first run since the race, 6.5 miles on the hotel treadmill. We visited the Japanese Friendship Garden, lovely, fairly peaceful, and interesting. Apologies for forgetting the names of the stone sculpture structures (we didn’t keep the pamphlet). I even bought a packet of food to feed the 300-500 koi that live in the pond (some gorgeous colors, especially a blue/white and a blue/orange). It took both DH and I multiple attempts and a combined effort to get the food to the koi instead of the really pushy ducks (who’d peck at the koi, follow you around….they get a lot of practice at stealing food I think).

Friendship Garden sign

Friendship Garden sign

castle guardian fish

castle guardian fish




stone sculpture

stone sculpture

stone lighthouse

stone lighthouse



We also walked in the neighborhood as it had interesting houses, more like Portland or Craftsman type – with green grass lawns, not the norm in Arizona! I didn’t take any photos, just enjoyed the stroll.

We made a quick trip to Walmart for a luggage strap, with a stop at Jewel’s for pastries. I think we just ate leftovers in the room for dinner. The iPhone Health app tells me I managed 6.5 miles of walking on Saturday.

Sunday 1/4 – Our last day in Arizona (sad face). After a quick 3.5 miles on the hotel treadmill, headed back to Jewel’s for one last breakfast and to pick up pancakes, mix and a variety of pastries to bring home for my next week of GF binging, ahem, recovery. We walked the neighborhoods around the hotel a lot – another 6 miles according to my iPhone – and up and down a hill near the hotel. Some lovely views.

house overlooking golf course

house overlooking golf course


view of Camelback Mountain from neighborhood behind hotel

view of Camelback Mountain from neighborhood behind hotel

cactus lit by the setting sun

cactus lit by the setting sun

sunset our last night there

sunset our last night there

Monday 1/5 – We headed to the airport before 7am, saw a lovely sunrise from the rental car center, and flew back to DC/NoVa. Here are a few photos from the plane, which came out surprisingly well! I don’t really know what any of them are of, though….

Phoenix from plane

Phoenix from plane

river in canyon

river in canyon

snow-capped peak

snow-capped peak

Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of my trip – posts on what I ate and on crewing the 24h are likely coming sometime relatively soon. (ICYMI, I updated my podcast list.) I’ll also be getting back to more “regular” posts on training (here’s an update) and such, as the day job, life and training permits. I’m toying with putting up a page of book recommendations and a 2014 recap as well.

Happy Monday and have a great week!



Boston Training so far

Welcome to new readers! I’m pleased to join the Runners Connect linkup today to share my training for my first Boston in April 2015.

Boston 2015 Acceptance Confirmation

Boston 2015 Acceptance Confirmation

NB: I do my running on my treadmill unless it says otherwise.

Training Recap Week of Dec 1, 2014 

Run summary – details here

Bet you thought I’d forgotten how to write training recaps! Looking back, the last one was for the week of November 3rd (two weeks pre-Richmond). I don’t know why I didn’t post the week leading up to Richmond, but I didn’t post the weeks post-race because I figured my recovery wasn’t all that interesting.

BUT, since December 1 was 20 weeks to Boston, training has started again. (and the ultra is fast approaching) So here we go!

Run: 47.1 miles – this week, wearing the men’s Brooks Adrenaline 13s, size 9 2E, with toe separator for bunion

Training Recap Week of Dec 8, 2014 

Run summary – details here

Inside 18 weeks to Boston, less than 2 weeks to the ultra.

Run: 55.1 miles (woot!) Stopped wearing toe separator as of Wed. as it seemed like it was causing knee problems. Through Saturday, wearing the men’s Brooks Adrenaline 13s, size 9 2E. Sunday, had to go back to the women’s Adrenaline 13s (10 2E) I’m trying to save.

The two weeks above were hard but great training weeks (details at the links). I nailed the workouts and the second week I felt stronger than the first week. Then, the next two weeks, I was tired, sore, and heavy-legged.

Training Recap Week of Dec 15, 2015 

Run summary – details here

Inside 17 weeks to Boston, the ultra is this weekend! The hay is in the barn for the ultra. Hoping that last week’s fatigue is finally starting to move on out and this week will be an upswing to get me to the race.

Run: 42 miles Turned out to be kind of a “down” or “cutback” week – unplanned, though I probably should have planned it – after 2 great weeks of training. Pretty high fatigue load all week, and some sore, tired and heavy legs. So I went with it instead of trying to push through. We’ll consider that a win – trying to be smart about it.

Training Recap Week of Dec 22, 2014

Ultra race week pre-race week (structured just as I structure race week for marathons)

Mon – biked in the AM and at work at lunch

Tues – 7 mi including cruise intervals

Wed – 6.3 mi including leg speed intervals

Thurs – travel, up for 19 hours

Fri – biked 45 min at hotel gym

Sat – 3.35 mi easy pace shakeout run

Sun RACE DAY – 50k! Completed my first ultra! Race report here

Across The Years

Across The Years

Training Recap Week of Dec 29, 2014

Recovery week 1

Mon – biked 40 min at hotel gym

Tues – biked 25 min at hotel gym

Wed – crewed a runner at 24 hour race starting 9am Wed. (I am working on a post about this.) Up at 5a, to race site at 7am. Over the course of my crewing duties, I was up 33 hours, on my feet and outside most of the time, mostly standing, some walking, a little short running to and from the tent. It was very cold and rainy on and off. My iPhone Health app says I walked ~6 miles during the 24h of 12/31.

Thurs – finishing crewing, back to hotel around 10:30a, started to crash around noon. My iPhone health app says I walked 6.5 miles during the 24h of 1/1.

Fri – hanging with recovering runner, walked about 6 miles just easy out and about at hotel property and running errands, sightseeing

Sat – first run post-race! 6.5 miles easy pace on hotel treadmill, walked an additional 6.5 miles during day at property and sightseeing

Sun – 3.5 mile easy run on hotel treadmill, walked an additional 5 miles during day at property and sightseeing

Training Recap Week of Jan 5, 2015

Recovery week 2

Mon – travel day, no workout (sitting on plane should count for the soreness it caused)

Tues – 7 recovery pace miles, back on my own treadmill (yay!)

Wed – 7.1 miles, easy pace, increased pace 0.1 each mile

Thurs – 8 miles, recovery pace, followed by my chiropractor-prescribed “skaters” exercises (I call them “Ohnos”) and “hard day, weeks 1-2” of Coach Jay Johnson’s General Strength Exercises.  Of course, all my runs are preceded by a 15 min walking warmup and Coach Jay’s Lunge Matrix plus calf stretches on a rocker and drills including high knees, butt kicks, Monty Python walks, karaoke and lateral/front leg swings.

Fri – XT day

Saturday will be my first long run since the ultra. I’m hoping for anywhere from 10-16 miles but will take the “discretion is the better part of valor” approach and go shorter if any problems or excess fatigue seem to be in evidence. Sunday will depend on how I feel, longer would be better, but don’t want to push it. Monday is 14 weeks to Boston! I’ll be working to increase mileage, speed and hills over the next week or so before picking up my “official” 12 week plan.

What’s your biggest concern going into Boston? Mine is the downhills. I can simulate the uphills on my treadmill just fine, but it doesn’t have decline capability and 0% isn’t sufficient (though since I run at 1%, I do feel a difference). In past races, I’ve built confidence and comfort in the training cycle by simulating the race course to the extent I can during my long runs. I’m doing that as best I can for Boston.

Boston elevation spreadsheet and course profile on my treadmill

Boston elevation spreadsheet and course profile on my treadmill

I need to get my leg strength plan laid out (whatever I add to Coach Jay Johnson’s General Strength progression and my chiro exercises). I want to do whatever I can to improve in that regard as well as get outside at least once a week to do whatever downhill I can in my area. I also have core and upper body work to do. I’d like to add in some exercises from Sally McRae for whole body/running strength. I will keep up my usual Wharton Active Isolated Flexibility and hopefully add some Sage Rountree yoga via DVD/podcasts or YogaVibes. I’ve been reading books like Unbreakable Runner and Ready to Run as well as Build Your Runner’s Body. The concepts and exercises in those books, as well as things I learn from my favorite podcasts, will all play a part in my plan/training. I have to be careful not to do too much strength work though, as past experience has shown me it can tire my legs too much and affect my running.

I am torn between trying to soak in the experience of my first Boston (which is what most people suggest) and running as hard and strong as I can to give it my absolute best and do justice to the race, its history, and all the work and years it took me to BQ. If you’re interested, here are the posts on my BQ races: Shamrock – my first BQ, for 2015; Baystate, PR & BQ for 2016, and Richmond, 3rd BQ. I am thinking of a goal time that’s pretty ambitious even on a flat course, but I like to set the bar high. I’ll adjust during training if needed.

How has your training been going? Are you excited, nervous, both? Tell me in the comments or on twitter.

See you in Hopkinton!