Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hills, Hormones, Hours of Running

I have a big race coming up, Savage Gulf Marathon, 15 women and 66 men.  No trail race is complete without repetitive hills. The hills are tough, but I love hills! It’s going to be tough. Elevation gain is 4300′. In my mind, I would rather enter a race knowing that without a doubt it is going to be hard to impossible to finish. That way, finishing is winning. 🙂 I cannot wait to race.

Well, today was my last long training run before my race. Why is it that the last long run before taper is tougher than the race? Ugh. I ran for 4 1/2 hours on the trail. Elevation gain was 3810′. When you are running for 4 1/2 hours on the trail, you have to plan A LOT. I am getting good at it. Here’s how I fueled, quinoa bar, cliff bar, almond trail mix, and my favorite drink Perpetuem. It is the best. My favorite flavors are Strawberry/Vanilla and Orange/Vanilla. It is for the runner who is running over 3 hours straight. I cannot say enough about this drink mix. I ate every hour. I also drank about 60 ounces of water. I planned for extra clothes and a hat because it was raining. I also wore compression socks. The hills are relentless and tend to be punishing after 3 hours. I want my calves comfortable.

Okay ladies, let’s chat a bit about hormones. I’m mentioning hormones in this post because it was a hormonal day. The older that I get the more I am willing to admit that I am affected by my hormones. Each month, without skipping a beat I suffer from loss of memory, the inability to make decisions, lack of focus, a sweaty night and sometimes insomnia. Let me be frank, for years it was about when I was on my period and when I was ovulating. My husband knew that when it was close to my period that I would be ‘cranky’, and that when I was ovulating, it was time to get pregnant! Now, it is almost more important to know the ins and outs of my cycle, because not only does it mess with my mind and body, but now I am learning how much it intrudes into my running routine!! This can be worse for my husband, and let me explain why.

Running is a hobby that brings endorphins to my day. Training hard helps me to reach my targets. It is a huge stress reliever for me as a wife and mom. Well, when hormones surge and decline, my training surges and declines, my stress reliever is not working so well. My targets are not being hit. It is almost worse than the bloating and memory loss. Do you see? I think I am going to sit down with my husband and explain how estrogen and progesterone teeter totter together between the  follicular and luteal phases. This teeter-tottering can act as a detriment to my running. Once I am finished explaining, I will be able to walk in from a run and call out, “luteal phase!” He will know that I probably did not sleep well because my core temperature is higher, thus I will felt hotter running and my run may not have gone as hoped. Which might predispose my day to be not so good. BUT, when I trot in and call out, “follicular phase!!”, he will know that I ‘rocked’ my run and it’s going to be a good day. These insights into the female (hormonal) world might help him know how to love this hormonal, runner better.

These links are great for some more information on hormones and running.

http://www.runtheplanet.com/trainingracing/training/women/menstruation.asp

http://www.runnersworld.com/health/how-menstruation-affects-your-running?page=single

http://running.competitor.com/2012/08/features/the-role-of-hormones-in-running_57112

7 Things I love about Running

It is no secret that I love running. Here are a seven reasons why.

1. Free Therapy. I have several longtime, wise women that I run with. I get free therapy for HOURS during marathon & ultra-marathon training.

2. The clothes. I have outfits for every season, every weather condition, night running and early morning running, overnight running.

3. The hills. I LOVE running hills. I will take a hill any day versus a flat run. I think the hills are part of the reason why I am learning to love my hips and thighs and part of the reason why I cannot get enough of the trail running scene.

4. The track. My track intervals have completely changed my pace after 11 years of running. Last year, I added track workouts to my marathon training for the first time in my running career. I improved my marathon time by 20 minutes.

5. The trails. Getting off the road and on the trail has been one of the best things that I have tried in the past year. The trail offers softer ground, less boredom, peaceful/car-less surroundings, hours of training time.

6. Being a Master’s Runner. Let the competition begin! There are more opportunities to “compete” as a Master, and I want to be competitive!

7. Starting out in the dark and watching the sunrise.

“Did you ever know that you’re my (running) hero?”

Let me start by defining hero for the context of my post. The definition that best defines hero for this post is defeater in competition; preeminent supporter. I researched hero quotes. Check this one out from Warren Buffet, “Tell me your heros and I’ll tell you how your life will end up.” I thought to myself, “Oh good (sigh of relief), I’m on the right track.”

Okay, follow me on this one. . . I hope to get you to hum this ‘catch-y’ chorus the rest of the day and think of your (running/swimming/fitness) heros. Do you know that Bette Midler song, “Wind Beneath My Wings”? The chorus goes,

“Did you ever know that you’re my hero? You’re everything I would like to be.

I can fly higher than an eagle, cause you are the wind beneath my wings.”

Here’s the deal. I have heros, running heros. They are not the wind beneath my wings because I have Jesus for that. They are my heros. These heros work hard and LOVE the hard work they are doing.

Heros do not have to be people we wish we were and would give anything to become. When we allow anyone or anything to have that much power is when a hero turns into an idol and an obsession. Let’s face it, running is not always easy. There are times when we have got to work hard and long and it hurts. I believe that God gives us heros, because He knows that we need inspiration. He has given me inspiration in my running heros. I have four of them right now. Each of them is a hero for a different reason. I will tell you that although they are all runners of impressive achievements, they are all very different.

Kris Whorton trail running extraordinaire. I ran my first 50K trail race last year. I was hooked. Kris and her husband put on a series of trail races in Chattanooga, TN. I read her bio and decided to contact her. I had no idea that she would be so gracious to me. She answered my e-mails, and I sent a lot, still do. She has an impressive race history. She inspires me.

Sonja Friend-Uhl track specialist, my running coach, fitness/nutrition expert. Sonja introduced me to the track and helped me improve my marathon time last year from 4 hours, 40 minutes to 4 hours, 20 minutes. She inspires me because she is over 40 and STILL winning big races. She is also a caring friend. 

Betsy Sloan I do not have a link for her. She is an amazing triathlete. As long as I have known her, she has qualified and ran the Boston Marathon. She is under 40. She trained in the pool and on the road up until the day she delivered her second child. Then, she ran Boston last year, as a nursing mom in the insane heat. Temps last year reached the 80s in Boston. She inspires me.

Kay O’Connell I do not have a link for you to read about her, yet. I should just make my own. 🙂 Kay is over 40, and she ran her first marathon in Memphis, December 2012, after 2 1/2 months of training. Her finishing time was 3 hours 48 minutes! She has been a runner, but she did not have marathon dreams, until she realized her talent for running. It is fun to watch her blossom as a woman over 40!! She inspires me.

You may not have made my (limited) hero list, but guess what?! YOU are a hero to someone. I guarantee it! So be the best you where ever you are in life, because someone is looking up to you.  We all want someone on our side as our cheerleader. We all want someone to believe in us so much that we start believing too.

What I’m loving now. . .

Being in my 40s. I am finally a Master’s Runner! I LOVE being in my 40s. I love running in my 40s. I am in the best shape of my life. I am going to cruise into my 50s with a huge smile on my face and MANY miles run.

Trails! I could go for hours on a trail run. My goal this year is to finish a 50-miler. My job, now, is to stay healthy and be patient. Trail running is therapeutic. Trail running is easier on my body. Trails have some fantastic hills that get me to some fantastic views. The trail running ‘crowd’ is really laid back, more laid back than the road runners and the road runners are pretty laid back too. The races are smaller and tougher.

Hills! I love to run hills, hill repeats, mile long, you name it. Hills have given me a love for my hips and thighs. God gave me a body with ample hips and thighs. I could not make it up a hill without them.

My Lululemon Runder Unders. These are the warmest and softest pants for my winter running. Lately, I have been running in 20-30 degree weather. My legs stay warm and are not red and raw from the cold. You cannot go wrong with this purchase. Get them at Lululemon
or search for some on ebay.

My Montrail Badrock out dry trail shoes. I have tried several pairs of Salomon trail shoes in different sizes, in different styles. . . to no avail. Montrail’s fit my feet well. For the winter trails, I chose an out dry shoe (mostly water proof). I have been very satisfied. The Badrock is a stability shoe with some serious lugs on the bottom. I run on some technical trails, lots of rocks and roots. My feet feel comfortable and dry.

My Brooks Ghost 5 road shoes. I have worn Mizuno’s for about 8 years. I have tried the Brook’s Glycerin 8, but I did not like them. Then, I bought the Ghost 5! I love this shoe. It feels lighter and softer than my favorite Mizuno’s. My “go-to” Mizuno’s were the Creation and the Enigma. Just bought my second pair of Ghost 5’s, pink this time.

Almonds. Lately, I am putting these on my lunch salad. I have been eating them with some dark chocolate chips for snacks.

Avocados. I try to have at least 2 a week, if possible, in salad and on sandwiches.

My friends. I will need to dedicate a post to my friends, soon. I cannot say enough about them in this intro post. Stay tuned. . . friends.

Magical Running, by Bobby McGee. This book has really changed my mind. I intended to read this and to make some mental gains for a marathon. Well, this book is much more than marathon preparation. It has taught me of the power of the mind and the power of positive affirmation. We affirm ourselves every hour, both positively and negatively. There is much power in positive affirmation. The more positive you put into your mind, the less room there is for the negative. Check this book out.

My Swiftwick compression socks. I wish I would have known about these a long time ago. They are great and add a touch of ‘sass’ to my skirt or shorts.

Strength training. My gym workout includes, squats, single leg dead lifts, tricep press, push-ups, biceps curls, lat pulldowns, planks and stretching.