Week in Review 3.16.15 to 3.22.15

Monday: The first day of third year did not go quite as planned. Woke up with another allergic reaction and spent most of my morning waiting to get more prednisone so I could open my eyes. 6.8 miles with striders at the end.

Really face, again?

Really face, again?

Tuesday am: 5 by 300 meters hard for a total of 6.3 miles. Loving this fast stuff!

Tuesday pm: 4 miles easy with legs afterward.

3 crockpots of corned beef for St. Paddy's Day.

3 crockpots of corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day.

Wednesday: 7.5 mile run, feeling great.

Thursday: Off day, prorate 6.2 miles.

Friday: Easy 5.5 plus striders.

Saturday: 10 by 400 meters in Lane 8 of the actual track! 80, 82, 81, 81, 82, 81, 83, 81, 82, 83. Psyched to see these times early in the Spring and in the crazy Burlington wind! 8.6 miles total with legs after.

There's little I love more than March Madness sadface. Just gonna play my piccolo as my team ruins brackets...

There’s little I love more than March Madness sadface. Just gonna play my piccolo as my team ruins brackets…

Sunday: I try never to be ungrateful for a run but this one just plain sucked. 10.3 miles in 10 degree temps and negative windchill. Again.

Total Miles: 55.2

Besides a miserable long run, this week went really well. I did lots of hip flexor stretching and am feeling almost 100% on that front, my workouts were both fast and efficient and I’m starting to feel really good. I have an adaptation week coming up and am looking forward to feeling the effects of a little rest on my speed. Maybe I’m not just a marathon runner after all!

This also kicks off my last week in Burlington until May. Next weekend I’ll be shoving off for Family Medicine in Lewiston, Maine. I’m anxious about most of that experience but spent a lot of time this week planning runs and finding places for workouts. I’m also excited to be able to do my long runs on the Eastern Trail, one of the most incredible places I’ve ever run. Well worth the hour drive to Portland!

Thanks to a lot of time in orientation this week, I also read the entire internet. Twice. Three articles made it into my bookmarks to share:

Western Mass Distance Project makes a statement: I’m not crazy about USATF in general right now and I share some of WMDP’s criticisms of USATF-NE. I’m a member of Olde Bones and we are members of USATF-NE right now because we need to be able to compete in some of their races, but it will be interesting to see if there’s any response.

Blake Russell: My fricken hero. She gives me hope that just because I’m 31, my career isn’t over next year. I hope I’m flying like her at 39.

Little heartstrings read from New Bedford. I love that race and loved this story too.

Guest Post: El Cajon St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon

(You first met Suzanne a year ago. Since then, she moved across the country and kept spreading the #runlove. Lexy and Suzanne were scheduled to run the San Diego Half two weekends ago but as you’ll read below, sometimes you don’t even make it to the starting line. They ran a half this past weekend in the same heat that affected the L.A. Marathon and did an excellent job adjusting their goals to be safe and still have fun.)

Back in November my friend Lexy and I were chatting about what she wanted to do while her husband was deployed. This was his first deployment and we figured we should have a “deployment bucket list” of sorts. We decided we would sign up and train for the San Diego Half Marathon in March. We paid the race entry and dedicated ourselves to shorter weekday runs and a long run every Saturday. We ran every single weekend. We ran when I had a terrible cold, we ran when Lex could barely put weight on her foot, we even ran when we were on different coasts over Christmas break (Lexy wins the prize for that one – seven lonely miles around a snow covered track in Buffalo, NY). We prepped, we planned, we played around with meals and hydration strategies, we were 100% ready for race day and it was finally here. We had anticipated every obstacle and discussed anything that could go wrong during the race. What we didn’t predict was that we wouldn’t even get to start.

We woke up early on race day excited and nervous for the day ahead. We were on time (for the first time ever) to our friend’s house who so graciously rolled out of bed at 6am on a Sunday and drove us. Everything was going well – we were hydrating, we had our bag ready for gear check, and we were on the road in plenty of time. As we crested the top of the Coronado Bridge, we saw brake lights and came to a stop. Our first thought was that it must be some race traffic – we were only a few miles away from the start so maybe it was backing up a little. It quickly became clear that we weren’t moving at all. The clock said 6:09 when we stopped. At 6:30 we called 911 in case no one had. The dispatcher told us that highway patrol had both sides of the bridge closed due to a possible jumper. Unfortunately, this isn’t all that abnormal of an occurrence on this bridge but it never occurred to us to go the long way off the island just in case. An hour later we hadn’t completely lost hope; we were in a late wave and could still make it into the final wave if we moved in the next couple minutes. We didn’t move. As every minute passed we became more and more aware that we weren’t going to get to the race. We tried to keep everything in perspective; that the reason we were stopped on the bridge was for a far more significant crisis than missing a race. Even though we tried to think this way, we were still completely devastated. At 8:30 a highway patrolman helped all the cars make terrifying three point turns and head back to the island (Google the Coronado Bridge: not a place you want to be in reverse). Lex and I looked at the clock and knew we most likely wouldn’t be allowed to start if we got to the start line, but decided that if we didn’t try we would regret it. We arrived at the start line at 8:45 and there was not a person in sight. As we drove away defeated, we passed the party going on at the Finish Line a block away and started to cry. It was final. We weren’t going to finish our half; we weren’t even going to start it.

Driving over this when we arrived in San Diego remains one of the scariest moments of my life.

Driving over this when we arrived in San Diego remains one of the scariest moments of my life.

What happened that Sunday was so far out of our control that we never could have planned for it. The bridge didn’t re-open until 11am that morning. By that time, Lex and I were out running on the bike path near our house. As we ran we talked about how disappointed we were, how much we could never have predicted this, and how we go forward. We decided that we had to sign up for another half – as soon as possible, regardless of the cost. We signed up for the El Cajon St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon scheduled for just a week later.

We approached this race a little differently. Our goal was no longer to finish the race, but to start it! We did start it (although there was an incident on the course that delayed the start for 15 minutes) and we finished it! It was not an easy race day. San Diego County saw record-breaking heat for March (El Cajon was in the 90s) and the course was very hilly with no shade. We had driven the course the day before and knew there was a hill from mile eight to mile ten. Around mile six we were really starting to feel the heat and knew we still had a huge hill ahead of us. We slowed way down to make sure we could make it the rest of the way and tried to keep our bodies cool by dumping water over our heads at every water stop. We crossed the finish line a little later than planned but it didn’t matter, we were still proud! Although it wasn’t the best introduction to the half marathon for Lexy, she was already strategizing for “the next one” before the race was over.

Looking great!

Looking great!

The El Cajon St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon was much smaller than the San Diego Half Marathon but it was still well run. The course was hilly and hot but well staffed and there were lots of water stations. There were almost no spectators which made for a lonely stretch but the finish line had lots of people and live entertainment cheering us through the last mile.

It certainly wasn’t the easiest way to run a half marathon but the best news of the last two weeks was that the San Diego Half Marathon deferred our entry to 2016 so we will get to race next year! In the meantime, we’ll keep running here in beautiful San Diego!

Two happy finishers.

Two happy finishers.

Great New Gear: Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights

This article showed up in Runner’s World last week and was sent to me yesterday. I am not really a gear head but got so excited to see this product, both because it helps me get closer to my goal of being a human Christmas tree but also because it fills a need that anyone who runs outdoors year round absolutely encounters. I can’t count how many stutter steps, trips and staggers I take during night time runs but the ability to see where my feet are landing is a welcome improvement. Especially as I head into the clinical years when 3 am (eewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww) runs are going to be a reality, I’m excited to try out these attachments!

I’m making the Marathoner pledge ($50) for one pair of Night Runners and highly encourage you to do the same! Supports a running couple and gets you a product that can really improve safety for you and drivers.

(Not at all sponsored, just an awesome product I found out about and wanted to share with my little blogging world.)

Week in Review 3.9.15 to 3.15.15

Classic March weather here! Ran in shorts and a tee shirt for a few days and then just struggled through a snowy, slippery and windy long run in full winter gear.

Monday: Muddy 6 mile recovery run.

Tuesday: 5.85 mile recovery run where I accidentally ran up an enormous hill for 2 miles. Striders in the last mile. Core after.

Wednesday: 2 by (200, 200, 400) on the bike path. Really worked hard to nail the effort. Such hard work to learn to run fast but thrilled with the outcome. 7.5 miles total, legs after.

Thursday: 6.2 mile recovery run. Surprised at how good my legs felt. Arms after.

Friday: 6 by 3 minutes hard and 9.62 miles total. Right glute is really not firing well and starting to affect my stride. Legs after.

Saturday: 4.6 mile struggle fest run. So sore!

Sunday: 11.5 mile long run in the snow. Kicking myself for not wearing my Icebugs.

Total Miles 51.3

Really happy with this week of training; nice to start getting back to mileage that feels more normal for me and to get in two workouts. I’m enjoying the shorter speed work; it’s really hard for me since I haven’t done work like that in ages, but it’s fun to have 200 meter workouts instead of 2 hour steady state runs! I’m frustrated with my right glute but think it’s stemming from hip flexor tightness so I’m working hard to strengthen and stretch so it starts firing properly again.

 

How I Use Nuun and Discounts for Everyone!

Discount Code at the bottom!

As many of you know, I became a member of Team Nuun at the beginning of the year. Since then, I’ve been furiously working to test out as many of the Nuun products as I can so that I could do another product review for everyone and share how I’ve incorporated all the Nuun products into my running (and studying) life. Prior to being sponsored, I’d only used the Active as it was available in my local running store. Now that I have run of the farm, however, I’ve tried Natural, Energy and All Day.

Typical order in our house.

Typical order in our house.

Not as many people know why hydration is so critical for me personally. I have a heart…feature (hate the word condition) where even moderate dehydration can cause a significant rise in my heart rate, colloquially known as “holiday heart.” It is among the worst feelings in the world. For me, my heart hammers against my chest wall, I struggle to breathe and I can’t even hold my head up. I struggled with it a lot at the end of college when I was coaching sailing on Lake George (sun + long hours = disaster) but really hadn’t had a problem with it again until second year when my schedule got crazy and my hydration stopped being a major focus. During the fall, including one race, I had six runs where my heart went nuts and I had to pray I’d make it home. It’s always terrifying because I’m never totally sure whether it’s the inevitable time when it goes from tachycardia to arrhythmia. Because I’ve struggled with it recently, one of my quiet New Years Resolutions was to refocus on always being as hydrated as possible. With the exception of one or two skipped beats, I’ve been doing really well. So here’s how I use Nuun to support my running, prevent my holiday heart** and generally keep my life on track.

First Thing in the Morning

Nuun All Day: 95% of the time, I start the day with an All Day tab in my regular water bottle. It tastes great but doesn’t have the salt of the Active tabs so it’s an easy way to get 20 ounces of water down before you can even open your eyes.

Flavors: Blueberry Pomegranate and Tangerine Lime are my favorites, Grape Raspberry is good (and I usually never like Grape flavor), and Grapefruit Orange doesn’t work for me. I was bummed to find out that I don’t like the Grapefruit because I generally love that flavor.

Recommendation: Buy the Mixed 4 Pack first (60 tabs) to see what you like the best.

Lunch Time

Natural Hydration: This product appears to be missing right now from the Shop (I’ll ask about it), but this is the clear favorite in our house. In fact, now that I know it’s sold out, I just hid the last tube from Will. Tangerine Ginger is my flavor of choice and it is DELICIOUS. It’s made with Stevia so is a little sweeter, perfect to go with lunch and (try) to avoid diet soda with my sandwich.

3 PM Slump

Energy: This is where Nuun really started to shine for me. I started replacing my 3 pm cup of coffee with a Nuun energy instead and used this exclusively when I took Step 1 because it helped to quench my thirst AND keep me awake without the diuretic effect of coffee. The myth about coffee dehydrating you has been debunked (here and here, for example) but I still prefer to avoid the jitters that happen after a few cups or lay awake all night. One tablet contains 40 mg of caffeine, about half a cup of coffee and for me, it’s enough to get me through 3 pm with 20 ounces of fluid instead of 8.

Flavors: I love the Wild Berry, which also appears to be sold out right now. Lemon Lime is pretty good and I couldn’t do the Cherry Limeade; tasted like baby aspirin to me.

Recommendation: Buy the sampler pack and find out what you like, then try to sub out a cup of coffee for a bottle of Nuun. I haven’t been doing long enough runs to need hydration recently, but I’m also looking forward to using the Energy during long runs and races in lieu of caffeinated gels and to mixing it into Sarah-ade.

Post Workout

Active: The original and the one with lots of flavor choices! I have a Nuun Active after every run and sometimes two after hard workouts or between workouts. When you break down the electrolytes, it is isotonic with sweat (fancy word for same) so it satisfies the cardinal rule of fluid management: replace what you lost.

Flavors: I LOVE Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade, like Lemon Lime and Orange, tolerated Fruit Punch and BLECH NEVER AGAIN to Kona Cola. That being said, Will almost exclusively drinks Kona Cola, so I’d recommend trying it if you can because it seems to be polarizing. I cannot wait until Lemon Tea and Watermelon are back in season, because I suspect I’ll love both.

Recommendation: Pick a flavor you typically like and order one to try. The only one I’ve hated was Kona Cola, the rest were fine even if I didn’t love them. Flavors are introduced fairly regularly too, so keep an eye on the site for new ones.

Bonus

Nuun also has some cute gear, my favorite item of which is the Trucker Hat. My original one disappeared only to end up on my brother-in-laws head, so I had to buy a second one. Fits great, great color and perfect for wearing to the gym or up on the Podium after a race.

Discount for Everyone!

Finally, the only reason you read all these words, is that from now until March 26th, everyone who shops with Nuun and uses the code “LuckyNuunFriends” gets 20% off almost all the products on the site! This is a great way to try out Nuun for the first time or stock back up before the temps climb again. If you shop between now and March 17th, you also get a free St. Patrick’s day pint glass. Your call on whether you use it for beer or Nuun…

**Although I am halfway to being a Doctor, this is not intended to be medical advice nor should it be interpreted as such. If you have a similar or any medical condition, please seek the care of your physician.

You’re Too (Muscular) (Fat) (Thin) (Tall) (Whatever)

A couple of weeks ago, I was lifting in the gym, headphones on and minding my own business when another gym-goer came over. “You know, if you lift lower weight and higher reps, you’ll be lean without looking so…muscular.” It was not a compliment. For whatever reason, this stranger thought I might need guidance on how to look more appealing to him. I turned bright red and stammered out “thanks?” I tried to pretend it didn’t bother me; I’ve worked insanely hard to have any definition in my arms but in one sentence, he managed to make me feel like some ugly masculine freak. Thanks dude.

Then over the weekend, I came across this story. It breaks my heart that not only did someone make him feel that way and gloat about it, it got spread across the internet. I’m thrilled that some other strangers stepped up to try to mend the situation but also imagine that no matter how many people step up to say “dance on,” he’ll carry that (and whatever other abuse he’s subjected to daily) forever.

As Suzy said upon hearing about my experience at the gym, “What’s with people telling us what they think about our bodies? Did we even ASK THEM?”

Anyone else entirely fed up with the body shaming trend? How do you avoid it? How do you address it when it happens?

Week in Review 3.2.15 to 3.8.15

Woooo a week of training that resembled training!!

Monday: Took a little test called Step 1. Snuck out for 3.5 after we got home. Surprised I didn’t accidentally run in traffic.

Tuesday: Second half of the State Meet so lots of time on my feet but no running.

Wednesday: Fartlek workout. Warmed up then 2 by (30, 60, 90 seconds) at I pace. Thrilled to find my pace around 5:00 for each segment. 8 miles total. Hour ski up to Indian Lookout afterward.

Thursday am: 6.2 mile run with Megan early morning.

Thursday pm: 3 mile recovery run with Kenzie in the afternoon.

Friday: 5.7 mile run with the dogs and Will. Icy!

Saturday: Speed workout. 6 by 200 uphill. Thrilled with this one; learning how to run hard again. Legs after.

Sunday: 10 mile long run. Bikepath is snow covered but runnable.

Total Miles: 43.6

So nice to have a race on the schedule, a training plan and some time to run! Planning to get up to 50 miles this week and hoping to get back on track with lifting at least 4 times through the week. The weather looks like it’s improving (more 30s and 40s) so I think we’ve survived most of winter.

State Champs!!

Yes, I’m still standing! It’s been a crazy week but I’m starting to dig out from all the madness. The Boards happened but more importantly, the MMU Girls Nordic team won their first State Championship since 1995! It was truly an awesome day and one that we’ll all remember for a long time.

After the most insane relay finish I've ever seen...

After the most insane relay finish I’ve ever seen…

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Bottle that happiness for a rough day!

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Girls First, Boys Second and a whole lotta hardware.

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Evidence that this is a great community: present from the parents for finishing my Boards.

Week in Review 2.23.15 to 3.1.15

It’s March?!? That escalated quickly…

Monday am: 10K skate ski at Catamount. Amazing conditions, despite the cold.

Monday pm: 60 minute hike in Centennial Woods with the dogs.

Tuesday: -18 again, so 8 mile progression run on the treadmill. Lifted legs after.

Wednesday: 15 minute ski at Donna’s then waxing/team meeting.

Thursday: Day 1 of the State Meet! More skiing than I’ve done in a long time; at least 20K continuous-ish and then lots of coaching Ks. Girls head into Tuesday in the lead, guys in second.

Friday: 7.2 mile easy run. Feeling pretty good.

Saturday: 90 minute easy classic ski at Sleepy. Sun!

Sunday: 4.5 mile easy run plus striders. Right IT tight from all the sitting.

Total Miles: 19.7

Total Skiing: 45 to 50K

Total Miles for February: 112 (yikes)

Knew this week wouldn’t be great so I’m grateful to have gotten as much activity as I did. Also grateful for my experience as a marathon runner; Step 1 crazy is not unlike taper crazy it turns out. I’ve eaten more Goldfish (don’t ask) and candy in the last three days than I ever do (carbo-loading?) and I’m mostly convinced that I know nothing after studying for 3 months. Doing some last minute studying today but mostly running through my exam approach, food and hydration plan (we have very limited break time).

Tuesday is the second part of the State Meet, so no expectation of running but looking forward to a long run on Wednesday and getting back on track!