Monday, August 22, 2016

Running and Letting Go of Control

It only seems appropriate that finally writing a post that has sat in my brain for months comes on the start of a new year for me. Today I celebrate another birthday and a new year that is starting with an interesting start. An unexpected trip to the ER last night with Matt meant an unexpected day off work. Don't worry, all is well, we are home and Matt's pain is somewhat better. And the ER visit may have an interesting opportunity in store for me.

This past year has been a lot about giving up having control of everything and learning that as a mom and runner I can't always be in control of my life and others.O made me start to realize this 6 1/2 years ago but I haven't been able to fully understand the need to let some control go until the day I dropped her off at kindergarten for the first time and knew I had minimal control over the day.
Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see, it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly: "You got this. Keep going.":

Over the past few years I have forced myself to do things that took away some control, like jumping on a plane (or a long car ride), sitting in a van with 6 runners (some I had never met) and running 200 miles in a strange state more than once. Most recently having Nichole coach my running has been the biggest choice to give control to another! I no longer decide when and what I run, she does. I know this seems little in the aspect of life but for me this is huge. It is one tiny aspect of my life that means a lot and to not control it is big. I'm also that person who will drive places to have control over when I leave.

I'm sure there is an anxiety component to it which has gotten bigger over the past year, some days just going to work is a mental fight. My biggest thing is bridges, yep crossing a bridge is a huge deal! So much that 2 years ago in Mexico I walked the long way around to avoid a bridge that had me stiff and shaking. For a runner this is a big deal so when I signed up for a race that had about 1 mile over a large bridge I was pretty anxious.  Luckily Nichole has a sports psychologist contact who gave me some great advise to focus on the small tasks and my running. So 9 days ago I hit mile 11 and put on the song I needed, faced forward and ran...
I ran across that bridge!

Before I knew it I was over that bridge! I did it! I conquered one moment of anxiety, I took some control while letting some go.  While that bridge may not seem big to many, it was a huge accomplishment and symbolic for what I want for my 38th year. Let some control go, focus on what I can do, change what needs to change, stop letting the what ifs take over and just keep going!

Control the way you Respond:

 So here is to a year of accepting I can't control everything and letting myself become a stronger runner and mom because of this.

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Friday 5: Things I'm loving right now!

A little late on "Friday" but still we got this, right?! Over the past month I've been introduced to a few new things that I am loving and want to share...

1) UCAN Peach Passion Protein/SuperStarch Bars The latest bar from UCAN and again I'm in love! Each time they introduce a new bar, it is a new debate on my favorite. I still like the cinnamon for during run fuel but the new coffee and peach both have vegan protein too so perfect post run or afternoon snack. Have you tried any UCAN bars? I have a discount code to share, comment if interested.

2) FlipBelt I've said it many times but I hate wearing running belts! They bounce, move, slide up and are just annoying. I end up running long runs with a handheld and refueling. When I was asked to review this product I decided why not?! I wore this running Chicago RnR Half and it didn't move! It comes with 3 water bottles (1 10oz and 2 5oz) so I ran with the 5oz in back and my phone in front, plus ID and key and all stayed put. ON a recent 20 miler I ran with the 10oz and noticed it sits better in front pouch so I had a little adjusting to do but all was good.

One of the best parts...It is machine washable! Throw it right in with all the stinky running clothes and you're good to go.
3) Olympics first t was swimming and gymnastics and right now we are obsessed with track events and how fast they all run! Last weekend we watched the women's marathon and O had the faith in me to ask if I had run that marathon! Not quite, but thanks. Can't wait to watch Meb and the men's marathon Sunday. What events are you enjoying?

4) Summer! but I hate that it is almost done. It goes so fast and we all know what is ahead... Soaking up the last weeks of no school and sun with trips to the farmer's market, bonfires, bike rides and dinners on the patio before school starts. In just a few months the colder weather and snow will be showing itself!
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5) Free Birthday Stuff! So far coffee, desserts, meals, coupon for my overpriced but beloved salon and there are still 2 days until my birthday! I'm not excited about getting a year old on this nothing birthday (you know, one where you done gain extra BQ time or move to a new age group!) it is fun to get the free stuff. 

What are you loving right now? Back to school yet or a few more weeks?

Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Rock n Roll Chicago Remix Challenge

Sorry I left things abrupt with my pre-race posting and then nothing... We arrived in Chicago early on Friday and despite the instructions to rest my legs we walked all over! By the end of the day nearly 30,000 steps and over 12 miles! All without any attempt at a workout, oops! We hit the expo, picked up a new pair of ProCompression socks (that I wore for the 5K), had lunch, walked around and tried to relax. Dinner out at Frontera for Matt's birthday and then an early night to sleep.

We were staying just across the park from race start so I got up and ran an easy mile before lining up to race the 5K. The plan for race and see what was left for the half. It was hot even at 6:30 am. I made a point to line up a few rows back thinking this would prevent going out too fast. We were off and soon there were walkers! The first mile was on road then we turned on the Lakefront path before turning towards the finish...

The finish was just around the corner, road was less than ideal for a speedy finish as I dodged potholes.

Done...20:54! First 5K under 21 in years, although I wasn't where I hoped, it was hot and I am happy with this.
Bean Selfie
Sunday was half marathon day and we were both running. It was hot, I was tired from the 5K. I did my 1 mile easy warm up and hit the start line. The goal was 7:40s to start and if I felt good then speed up later. I did fine with the 7:40s but forgot how many bridges Chicago had! Yikes! At least I could position myself in the middle and focus ahead. So I ran. It got hotter, my legs got tired...

Soon it was even hotter and with about 4 miles to go, no shade it sight. The only perk to a very annoying Mile 11-12 was the dark. The course went under the convention center, it was dark and difficult to see, the road was full of holes and people were tripping! Yuck! It was slow going for a little while as my main goal was not to get injured. Soon the finish line was in sight and I gave it my all to get there... I finished 1:41 can't complain after a 5K.

As a Rock n Blog member I hit the VIP tenet and had the best post race massage, my legs needed the stretch! Ate a little food and drank a mimosa and coffee waiting for Matt. I also talked with Julia Webb right after she smashed the World Record for a half with a stroller! She was so nice, I love how runners a re all equal and supportive of each other, I had not idea how speedy she was until I asked how her race went! She seemed even more impressed by my previous marathon training with the stroller!

Then the storms started! Matt was told to leave the course but with no where to go they decided to finish in the rain. He joined me for a short time but we headed back to the condo to dry off before heading back to listen to Echo Smith play.
All dry after the race!
Overall it was a fun weekend, I got to meet some other Rock n Blog members and run some fun races. I would suggest a couple changes to the course but I'd be back to run again. Anyone up for running a Rock n Roll Race? Earn some bling? Use my code for a discount and join me!

Check out my race goodies! Love the shirts and all medals, can't wait for my combo medal to arrive!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Back to Back Racing Strategy for RnR Chicago

This coming weekend I am traveling to Chicago t run RnR half and 5K while celebrating Matt's 40th! I know after running Dopey and Looney in 2014 I said no more back to back races but as a Rock n Blog Ambassador I was given free entry to the races so why not?! Plus Nichole wants to continue to torture me and have me race a 5K!

We've gone back and forth over the race strategy, I wanted a fast half, she wanted both! Then we thought about the hamstring...

The weekend is about the run but also having fun and relaxing. I want a fast half but in the long run ( I want a fast marathon more! And then we looked ahead to the weather...

It is kind of sad that the Saturday weather with high of 82 is the better of the days for racing. Even though the 5K starts later (7:30) it should be cooler. The half will be hot and humid with no clouds, yuck! So I guess the strategy is still up in the air. The latest plan is the race the 5K and see what my legs have left on Sunday, race it if possible but push myself no matter what. This will teach my legs to run when tired and benefit me in the marathon. 

What is your strategy for racing back to back races? 

Giving control of my racing to a coach has been tough but I'm putting my faith in her to know what is the best strategy for the long term goal! Sometimes we sacrifice the immediate goal for a bigger long term goal!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

TC Red, White Boom Half

6 years ago when O was just over 5 months old we ran this for the first time, it was the first year they held the 4th of July race and we've gone back every year! I think the group is down to about 100 who have run every year. Once again we were up and read for an early start to the 4th! This year it was rough, after a long day of working outside we were exhausted and didn't sleep well.

As we headed down I drank my usual UCAN cinnamon and vanilla mixture about 30 min prior then stood in the long line for the bathrooms! It was s quite start since it is residential and so early, but we were off. A new course from previous years. I started out where I wanted to be but quickly realized I had nothing! I wanted to find a comfy spot and go back to sleep. My body was tired, my breathing tough and despite cooler temps I was warm.

My initial goal was 7:30 pace but after a few miles I decided to just aim for sub 8s. For some reason this race has always been tough for me, even the years I've been racing great I finish slower here. Soon my leg was sore  too so I took a few stops to stretch the glute and hammy. Then the 1 GF beer I drank Sunday night decided to mess with my belly and I had to wait in line for the bathroom around mile 8, ugh! Lesson learned!

Soon we were getting close to the finish and the mentally tough part, I hate bridges! The last 3/4 mile is on a bridge, with my stops I was running a faster pace than those around me and add to that the desire to get off the bridge, I was flying past others! I finished with a 6:40 pace for the end!! Had to get off the bridge!

Thanks to having a 2 month old Garmin, everything is a PR at least in Garmin world! For anyone stalking my "real" finish time is about 10 minutes slower thanks to the stops, but really who's counting that?! I ran a little further to finish 14 miles.

O and I hung out at the end of the bridge waiting for Matt to finish before she hit the Slip n Slide in the park, a little chilly for me but when it is 90 degrees like a typical 4th that would be amazing! Good thing I had extra clothes for myself that she was able to put on a dry (although big) shirt.
A jacket post race on the 4th!

How was your July 4th Holiday? Who else ran a race? If you are ever in Minneapolis on the 4th make sure to #RunTheBoom to start the day. I think I like the new course even better!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July Goals

June Accomplishments
Completed MET course so interesting, now just to complete the exam!
No races! I stuck with this, a big change from the Jen of 2-3 years ago racing weekly.
Weekly yoga/pilates! Finally! 
190.5 miles! Biggest month this year
O finished kindergarten! I now have a big 1st grader minus 2 more teeth
O and I got to cheer on Maggie after watching her at the gym!

July Goals
Back to sub 1:40 at half
Walk at lunch 1-2 days per week
Focus on Metabolic Efficient eating
Pass ME certification exam!
Get out on my bike! It hasn’t been off trainer since my cash
Finish the house projects! New deck and landscaping in the works.
Celebrate Matt’s 40th in Chicago. 1 dinner reservation made, half marathon and what else do we need to do there?
Start figuring out winter vacation (yes already!). Any suggestion of good warm weather gluten free friendly resorts?
1st July run in gloves! This is crazy!

What did you accomplish in June? What are your July goals?

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday

Friday, June 24, 2016

Metabolic Efficiency

Last Friday I spent my day at a Metabolic Efficiency Certification Course and learned so much. It was so much fun to connect and share ideas and experiences with dieticians, PTs and medical providers from all over the U.S. I went into this thinking I’d personally benefit and would use it for my runners but left with ideas on how to implement the idea of metabolic efficient eating with my patients as well. I also came away considering a new career path in sports nutrition and spent Friday night researching only to discover the $ and time it would take without a lot of job opportunities. Ugh, I hope this isn’t my midlife crisis!

With all the buzz lately on fad diets I’m sure people are thinking this is the same but honestly it makes sense for nearly everyone. We are in a society of fast, quick foods, we grab processed junk on the go and expect or bodies to stay healthy. I was a carb addict for many years, living on bread, cereal and pasta along with sugar! Once I was diagnosed with celiac this all had to change, I cut way down on processed carbs just because of gluten and realized how much I relied on carbs and avoided fats. I have gotten much better overall but it needs work.

What is Metabolic efficiency? Simply it is having your body burn a higher percentage of fat than crabs at a higher exertion level.

Why is it important? No matter how thin someone is or how small their body fat %. As endurance athletes this is important for fueling. The average person has ~ 1,400-2,000 calories of carbs and 50,000-80,000 calories of fat stored! For us this means less fuel during events, leading to less GI distress and ease of racing! I remember the days of carrying 4-5+ gels for a marathon and gagging down those last ones because I needed energy but my stomach was not happy.

Is it healthy? Functioning as a fat burner and eating metabolically fit can result in decreased blood glucose, decreased triglycerides and as a result decreased body fat. For us endurance athletes, recovery is improved and energy increased.
For more information check out Enrg Training and Bob’s posts

Marathon training is officially on and I will be adding in well timed meals with carbs/protein rations to fit my training and added fats as well as limiting excess processed foods. This will mean planning and thinking ahead for meals and snacks. Next week I am having baseline bloodwork done. I have a family history of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease so yet another reason to work on better eating. For athletes we can also test to determine paces where fat burning and carb burning are equal (a point we want to increase) which is called Metabolic Efficiency Point.

Luckily my UCAN fits in well

So here goes nothing….time to really focus on nutrition! Anyone else following this nutrition plan?

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday. Have a great weekend, Any fun plans?