Friday, June 14, 2013

On Running...Nature and Self-Talk

I'm carrying my phone with me on runs more these days. It keeps me in communication with the fam while I'm gone, especially on long runs. Occasionally I stop to take a picture or two.

I came across these two the other day. When I showed the pictures to Ben and Obi, Obi said it looked like they were walking home from a date! It was morning so they must have be the party all night, sleep all day kind of birds.

Just felt I should take their picture. I felt they were standing in solidarity with me- We get up to eat. You get up to run. Each of us just doin' our jobs.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I had a long run on schedule and decided I could finally get to Geode park a few miles down the road from Bill's parents and check out all the roads for myself. The snails were my favorite though I'm sorry to say a few got squished during my run. I hear a soft crack underfoot and after examining what it was, found that snails covered the roads like nightcrawlers usually do! I tried to avoid them but couldn't. 
 Also on that run, I was surrounded by six- 6!- dogs that came barreling out from some house!! I was at a stand still for nearly ten minutes before I felt I could slowly start to move on. Besides being so scared it's a wonder I didn't mess my shorts, I was really angry that that many dogs were roaming free from one house, never mind it being in the country. A half a mile down the road, I was finally able to start running again although two dogs continued to accompany me at least another mile and a half before turning back. At the edge of the park, I met another dog but it was too old to do anything other than hop off the porch and bark. One last dog greeted me at the beginning of the park and ended up running most of the way through with me. 

Yesterday's run confirmed that I am not a fan of dogs off leash. I ran past a house in the country that is on one of my normal running routes. A dog came out barking and though I slowed down before taking off again, he decided he would help me finish my run. I ended up being way short on distance for the time I needed to be out so I extended my route which took me along Hwy 69. Well, I ended up having to keep that dog out of highway traffic (I ran along the very inside of the shoulder, which is quite wide.) to keep it alive. It followed me well until I got to town and then decided every single tree, sign post, and flower bush needed to be marked. So much for my run. Bill was just leaving for work when I came around the corner and he gave me and the mutt a ride back to his house; the dog panting over my shoulder and me fuming. Owner of a chocolate brown lab with no collar whatsoever-  I know someone was home because a car was in the driveway when I ran past and when I returned your dog the car was gone. You didn't come looking for it. You're lucky your dog didn't get hit or impounded because that's what I intended to do. The next time, I'm just gonna pepper spray it. Take care of your dogs (because you have more than one and this isn't the first dog of yours to come out at me), even if you live in the country. 

Moving on... You all get the magazine American Motorcyclist, the journal of the American Motorcyclist Association, right? For those of you that do you will remember this story from March's issue. I'll recap for the rest of you. Dave and Jody Perewitz are a father - daughter team who have built and ridden a motorcycle that set  a land-speed record. The story is obviously about how they got to that point. In building that particular motorcycle Dave said "We did everything in very small steps. We never rushed to go fast."
Don't rush to go fast. 

Put in the training, bit by bit. As Bob confirmed, Dr. Leo Marvin is a genius.

Also knocking around in my brain is my own phrase "Run your own race"

And I came across this quoted by Theodore Roosevelt "Comparison is the thief of joy."

I'm running because I like to run. I'm racing because sometimes having a goal at the end of the training is good for both the motivation to train and the completion of the training, whether it shows up in race day results or not. 

Well, there you have it. I've spilled my guts on running for the last week. You know all my secrets. I wear goofy socks, eat fried food, feel at one with nature and talk to myself. Running is so healthy for you. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Running... Food

Food. We can't forget food. It's what sometimes helps get me out the door or helps me finish and get back in the door. I'll think, "If I go for a run, I can have a smoothie or a donut or fried chicken." (see below)

When I have a smoothie it's usually just juice, frozen fruit, frozen banana and protein powder and sometimes a handful of spinach, after a good solid run. I stick it all in a pint mason jar, attach the blender blade and base and whirl away. It's a great way to manage the portion size. Smoothies, while made with good, whole food ingredients (no just add water mixes) are good for you, they can pack a wallop of calories quickly. But I guess if you're going to choose, say a Snickers bar because you've already had a smoothie, I guess you could go with another smoothie. There is no limit of smoothie variations. I've seen just about everything (i.e. peanut butter, nut butter, oatmeal, coconut water, avocados, kale, etc.) except meat and potato chips thrown into a smoothie and declared the best ever. It's the drinkers opinion, although I will tell you that a long time ago I said was going to try a kale and avocado smoothie and I did. I can cross that one off my smoothie bucket list. (Do you have a smoothie bucket list? I don't, but maybe you do.)

Sometimes I just don't have time or don't want to make a smoothie so I'll have chocolate milk. I buy milk and add chocolate syrup. I even make it up in mason jars and take it races for the boys. Way cheaper than buying chocolate milk. 

While we're on the subject of drinking- I need to drink more water. I've experienced some fatigue this past week that seems unnormal because my workouts haven't really increased dramatically to cause it. A runner friend suggested that I was possibly dehydrated as nothing else I said seemed to be a trigger. While conversing with him, I asked about what all I should drink besides water and suggested Gatorade and Nuun. He said Gatorade = garbage. That's his opinion not mine, however, he is an ultra runner and I personally respect authority on the subject. You don't know him; you don't have to. I expect that we will still drink Gatorade but less than before. Sometimes Gatorade is all you've got and that's cool. 
What I really want to tell you about is Nuun hydration tablets. They are like Alka-Seltzer tablets with a little fizziness to them and have the electrolyte benefits that Gatorade other sports drink tout but with less sugar. There are a ton of great flavors. (Right now, watermelon is my favorite flavor.) The cost comparison between one tablet of Nuun and one small bottle of a sports drink is in favor of Nuun. I've seen Nuun at Hy-Vee in their health section but where I've purchased it and gotten the choice of flavors is directly from Nuun. They often run a promotion and that's how I saved quite a bit. Even my kids like them! I'm really excited about Nuun if you can't tell. If you need to quit soda, cut back on sugar (like 99%) of us do, but still want that fizz and a flavor other than water, try Nuun.
I'm not a Nuun amabasador- yet. I purchase all my own Nuun. 

Papa Smurf not necessary but still applicable

Pre-running fuel is a banana and a little bit of oj and a new to me food: spirulina algae. No, it's not the scum from our fish, Swimmy's, bowl! I consume it in the form of little green pills from Energy Bits. There is a ton of information on their site about their product. It looks very safe and quality controlled, which is actually kind of a big deal if you think about what you're consuming. So here's my take on it. I don't actually know if it works wonders or not. It's packed to the max with all sorts of healthy stuff and I think that is all great. But whether it enhances my running/recovery or not, I can't quite tell. I'm tend to think it does help, perhaps in my overall health rather than in my running specifically, so I'm sticking with it for now. If you go to their website, you can read all about it for yourself. 

I'm also trying out GU energy gels a little more this year. Last year I got a free sample of the chocolate at a race and when I tried it, I felt like I was sucking down cold hot fudge sauce- ew! I've tried other flavors since then and like it better. I have not tried the peanut butter flavor but others rave about it. Personally, I think it sounds gross. I think because I don't eat a spoonful of peanut butter these days anymore. (Audrey would probably love it.)

Some just use gels as their only fuel during their runs. I'm experimenting as I go and I think in a long enough run, I would miss real food. In trying to come up with options besides gels and blocks and beans, I've stumbled upon dried blueberries. I'll put together a little bag of them along with some toasted pecans and stuff it in the pouch of my water bottle's wrist strap. I found the dried blueberries at Trader Joe's taste a lot better than the ones at the grocery store. 

After a run and my initial recovery smoothie, I try really hard to keep eating well. This week I tried Iowa Girl Eat's Turkey, Avocado and Hummus Wrap. Super yum! But sometimes you happen to have extra fried chicken chillin' in the fridge from the night before when you decided BFab BBQ was putting supper on the table and it just can't go to waste. I went on a streak, people. I purposely went to BFab and bought fried chicken just so I could have it after the Pilot Knob race (that was cancelled because of a million feet of snow at the beginning of May). It's all protein-y and flavorful and salty. Hey, maybe BFab is puttin' supper on the table tonight...

And sometimes it's National Donut Day and a rest day and so you do what any good mother would do- take your kids to Dunkin' Donuts! (And if you buy extra just so you have motivation to go out and dominate that two hour long run the next day, well, you're not alone.) 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Running...Gear

Well, guess what? My race has been cancelled! I kid you not! 

I got a text from Bill mid-morning yesterday telling me so. I checked the Sugar Bottom Facebook page and sure enough, it was cancelled. 

If you're keeping track with me, that makes 0-4 races for me. So instead of writing a post last night, I scoured the internet looking for another race, which I think I found. The William O'Brien 10 Miler near Marine On St. Croix in Minnesota, June 22 (which was the same day as the now cancelled Sugar Bottom). Feel free to join me. 

Okay, on to gear.

Here are the shoes- 
What I'm wearing most these days is the Superior by Altra Zero Drop. I picked it not only for the zero differential between the heel and toe but also for the foot protection I felt I needed. It's a lot more shoe than I'm used to wearing in the last year but I'm getting used to them. I think they are a great shoe and the Superiors are one of the least ugliest shoe Altra makes. No offense, Altra, but by not cutting out the arch in the design, it makes for one ugly shoe and while one should pick a shoe based on the needs of the wearer, we also go for the flash of a good looking shoes. (If you want to try the Altra, stop by Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny. I ended up purchasing mine through Running though.)

I alternate the Superior with New Balance's Minimus 10 Trail shoe. This is a very snug, lightweight shoe that I love, love, love. It's 4mm heel to toe drop is not that much in comparison to regular running shoes and this is the shoe I wore all last summer. I wore them sockless last summer and accumulated blister upon blister, which I've decided not to re-enact this year. They came out with a version 2 of the Minimus trail, which I've already tried and don't like. My shoe color this year is a brighter teal color, which I also love.

Finally every once in a while I will wear my original Vibrum 5 Fingers Bikilas. I still love 'em a lot and wear them for easy runs. I have still my original blue ones but also a pair of green. I've tried the bright pink/orange ones I linked to but felt like I was wearing tropical flowers on my feet.

I like to support local stores if I can. Jax in Ames, Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny, Fitness Sports in Des Moines are my main stores I visit but sometimes I will order online and Running Warehouse is a great main source. Also, visiting the brand's direct site can help a lot. 

I told you I'm not running sockless any more and these Injinji socks are what is protecting my toesies these days. I've heard pretty good things about them and decided to give them a try. They are lightweight and so far I don't have any blisters from the socks themselves. I think that's all I really want in a sock. I know they're goofy with being toe socks and all. I guess the write up says it helps keep your toes aligned by them being separated. I say whatever to that. I tried them and liked them, that's all. I'm also rubbing down my feet with Vaseline before I slip on my socks. I'm like a major league pitcher- anything to help give me an edge. (Actually, it's supposed to help protect against moisture and blisters, says Bill at Kyle's Bikes.)

Also new to my running collection are compression socks. Yup, compression socks. Just like your grandma has to wear, except in totally awesome colors. So, yes, I could have gone to the medical supply store and purchased some for less, but I'm going to be honest here- I don't want to wear ugly compression socks. I don't think I will want to when I'm old and have to wear them for non-running reasons. To my children, if you ever read this, buy me awesome colored compression socks from Pro Compression when I'm old. I wear a size small. Love, Mom.

While I'm on the subject of old people stuff, I occasionally take Epsom salt baths now. It's supposed to help alleviate muscle fatigue and increase recovery. At my last massage, my therapist told me to soak for twenty minutes in lukewarm water. That's after I stretch, foam roll, make and drink a smoothie, fix breakfast, clean up breakfast... Yeah, I don't take a bath very often. (Though I do shower every day.) Get your Epsom salts at Target, Walmart, Walgreens, etc.

I keep up on my chiropractor visits. Dr. Kurt VerHelst keeps me aligned and feelin' fine! I've had a few Graston technique sessions this spring as well. I can tell you it helped me. I can tell you I bruised quite a bit and once my therapist saw my legs after my first treatment, he said I was an easy bruiser because that was the most bruising he'd ever seen on a patient. He was careful and methodical. If you're interested in knowing more, let me know and we can talk.

Finally, I'm finally adding a regular massage to my routine. I just can't stretch or foam roll enough and I need to be nice to myself in a healthy way more often so I decided I'd go in once a month for an hour massage. My first visit was the morning of the last day of school. After just a bit, the massage therapist asks me how I'm doing. Let's see. It's 9:00 am. I'm laying down. It's dark in here. It's smells nice. I've got warm blankets covering me. I'm doing great! 

So how was that? Hopefully not too bad. These are a lot of brands, products and ideas I had never heard of until this past winter when I joined Twitter and started following a lot of running people. All these items have helped me and I would say so if they hadn't as no one is paying me to say any of this. I've joined up in the Runchat sessions and gotten a lot of info that way. I've also had discount codes and joined mailing lists for specials.

Are you ready for a running fuel post? It involves gel and fried chicken... 

Monday, June 10, 2013

On Running...My Upcoming Races

I said I would write about all things running so here it is. 

I'm still running. The end.

Just kidding about the end part. 

Truth be told, when I said I would write about running, I had ideas of what I would write. Then I didn't write it right away and now that I'm sitting here forcing out something, I've forgotten what stuff I felt like I must share with you. Let's see how this ends up going. 

Winter training is always difficult. For the last two winters, I've found that if I pick a goal race, I'm more likely to stick with a plan that keeps me from excessive comfort food eating and keeps me warm during those cold months. This year I eyed the Zumbro 100. It's a hundred mile race in the same area the rest of the family has gone riding at. From the moment Bill described the trails and showed me pictures, I've always had a longing to run there. They always hold the 100 mile race and a 50 mile race but this year for the first time, they offered a one loop race, which is 17 miles. That would be my farthest distance and definitely over the most difficult terrain I've ever run (although Bill said the running here was very similar) but I wanted to give it a try. I've followed a few Twitter chats on trail and ultra running and knew I just needed to take a plunge and go for it. So I was going to until I found out it was the same weekend as Audrey's musical. No race for me.

So I spied the Superior Hiking Trail 25k and 50k spring race. I could do the 25k (15.5 miles). Ballard's graduation weekend. No go again. 

Even though there are plenty of races to choose from (pick any weekend and you can run a 5k somewhere in Iowa- Fitness Sports has the list), I want to try trail races. I loved Sugar Bottom last year and love Living History Farms even though that's its own sort of crazy race. I kept looking and finally found one- Pilot Knob 15k- the first weekend in May. WooHoo! Then on May 1st, it started snowing and snowing and snowing. The race director said the race would still be held despite the twelve inches of snow. You could run in snow shoes but no cross-country skis. I started contemplating exactly how I would run in that much snow. I have a pair of snow shoes but have never run in them more than a few steps so there was no way I was going to take on 9 miles. Then the race director heard from the park ranger that there was too much snow to make it safe to access the park and the race had to be delayed. Sigh.

I'll keep trying until I can race something. And if I get a chance, I'll let you know how it goes. In two weeks, I hope to run the Sugar Bottom 10k again. (I suppose I better check course conditions as we've had a ton of rain.) The week after that is the Kael Man run. You're coming, right? I'm cautiously eyeing a 25k trail race in October and a couple others sprinkled in there maybe.

Okay, so that's my race itinerary that may or may not happen. On to other running stuff tomorrow. Which do you want to hear first- gear or food?


Friday, June 7, 2013

Get Your Run On For Adoption

I want to let you know about the upcoming Kaelman Race at the end of the month. Just like last year, it is for raising funds for adoptions. They have had tremendous success with distributing the funds raised from last year and are hoping for an even better turn out this year so they can help more families.

So what do you say? Are you busy June 29th? 

Not a runner, eh? No prob (I would say no sweat, but you might still sweat a little), you can walk. Really. I saw my neighbor there last year and all she does is walk. 

Just starting that Couch to 5K plan? Super. Make race day part of your training. Do your run/walk combo and then see how you feel and keep going. 

I'm gonna be there. Lots of people will be there. Micah and Amanda might even be there with Miracle in their heart.

Ok, now that you've decided to come, go to and get all the information you need to register. 

See you there!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Catching Up

Think I'll just dump a bunch of stuff today. Maybe I'll do the same tomorrow. Who knows?

School finished up last week for the year. I now have a sophomore, a 5th grader, and a 2nd grader. The sophomore part gets me the most. I've already had a panic attack about her graduation in 3 years. 

A real text between my sis and I (she's the white bubbles, I'm the blue bubbles).

My family gave me Photoshop Elements 11 for Mother's Day so my panicking can ease up a bit. I've yet to install it but plan to soon and when I do, I will be taking some online classes by Shoot Fly Shoot. (tell ya more later)

This year was the first class that had the most former students of mine. Throughout the years I've had a few here and there graduate but this was the first big chunk. It made me a little bit extra sad. I wish them all the luck in the world.

Since I don't teach anymore, my studio is sometimes the most depressing room in my house. I haven't done a thing in two years to weed out what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of. It's in need of a serious makeover. I play here and there and advise Audrey on some of her playing. She also helps me turn pages for the elementary concert I accompany twice a year.

Soccer season for us is over. My favorite part is probably the swishy shorts, at least for the little kids. My favorite part for the big kids is trying not to get hit if the ball goes out of bounds. They kick hard!

We went to Bill's parents for Memorial Weekend. I haven't even looked at the pictures on the camera so I'll try to make that a separate post. It was a wet weekend but had enough dry spells so we could be outside. By the end of the weekend, Lucy was exhausted. And wet. And dirty. Girl needed a serious grooming.

So we took her to the groomer's yesterday and got her spiffied up. She now looks like our puppy again. We love her sleek look and pink bandana.

Today is National Running Day. I guess I'll go run. Tomorrow I'll write a post about all things running. (I can tell you're getting goosebumps in anticipation.)

Bill and I celebrated our 18th anniversary on Monday. We squeezed in casual supper after soccer and community band practice at Cafe Beaudelaire in Campustown. The we took a stroll around Lake Laverne and the Friley complex. 

Today is Bill's birthday. We love him lots!