This week the running community from all over the world have pulled together and made a difference. Hearing about the wildfires in Australia really puts life in perspective. It is so devastating for all who live there. I really can’t even think about all the animals, property loss, and environmental effects. Not to mention the efforts from firefighters and all that are committed to getting the fires under control. What Can I Do? What Can You Do? I will be running 21KM on January 18th 2020.
I came across this post from @samanthagash and signed up immediately! There are a few people in this world that will make a difference. People that thru pure grit make something positive happen. I have watched this virtual run start at a few thousand donations and now it is large enough to make a difference. If this is of interest please follow the link on the Instagram Profile @samanthagash.
It is interesting that we have races that support almost every needy cause. I wonder why that is? Is the running community known for it’s generosity, or is it that runners are committed, responsible individuals that want to help their fellow man? Maybe it is just we are people of action.
This week was a busy full week back to work but my energy level was good. I did take a few days rest after the marathon, but still managed a day of weights, hill workout and a trail run. I surprisingly had no ill effects after the marathon. In the past I have had a mild cold or sore throat after and chalked it up to a stress on my immune system.
Welcome 2020… I am so excited for this new beginning and I hope you are too. I don’t know why starting a new decade feels different but for me it does. It seems that my focus is more clear, or maybe I have just too much to accomplish and know that if I am to succeed I need to be that focused.
So I took another break for the holidays.. I figured all are so busy with family and celebrations. But I am back and boy do I have a lot to catch you up on. I give you fair warning…. much talk about the marathon.
My training for the Marathon went well these past weeks. I did hill workouts, weights, core and long runs. I had some great runs and some that I absolutely struggled with. I was suppose to get a 22 mile in last weekend but only managed a 19 mile and barely made that. Just did not feel good after and took awhile to recover. I seem to be having trouble getting my body temp corrected after a run, end up with shakes and cannot get warm. The following days I would need to taper but when a hiking buddy called to get a trail hike/run in I jumped at the chance to get a bit of confidence back….which it did!
I drove to Scottsdale Arizona on Thursday and was able to relax until the Buckeye Marathon on Saturday. Weather was good, start of the race in the mid 40’s with it finishing for me in the mid 60’s. I have trained to fuel/hydrate and took precautions with my pre-race meal (cooked my own meal). Ya know.. try to control the risk factors.
The race was tough but at mile 23 I knew I had it.. I stuck to my plan and took it easy, I wanted to finish strong. And when I crossed that finish line I was so happy with my PERSONAL VICTORY. My finish time wasn’t extraordinary, and the distance or terrain wan’t the toughest but for me this was a victory. I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to set this goal and I accomplished it. Perfect segway to… this awesome article in Runners World.
This article by Jess Movold really resonated with me .. the concept of letting numbers at the end of a race determine whether I am to be happy or disappointed with myself??? Now reaching a PR, PB or breaking a course/world record is what we are told is the only factor to rate a professional athletic career. But for us mere mortals we still use these factors to rate our performance. Running brings me joy and I need to honor that and if that means to change my mindset then I am ready to give it a try. Please take time to read the whole article if you are interested in this concept.
I was reminded this week by something that I needed to hear…on Instagram “to find your daily wins”. Now this is not a new concept and I am not sharing with you something that you have never heard before. But if you are like me, and your day is filled with all the hustle bustle, you probably have little time in your day to recognize those wins. So why would taking time out to find your “daily wins” be important you ask?
Those wins are progress points that will lead you to your Goal!
Let’s face it the goals we set or the point we want to reach can be daunting. We all have doubts once we have decided on our path. Focusing on those daily wins , no matter how small, helps us to break down our large goal into manageable chunks. Those small wins each day help me to feel like I have accomplished something and motivate me to keep going.
Some of my Daily Wins this week-
-Fitting in a day to do weights/one legged exercises
-Pushing the Hill Workout- waking up very early to fit it in and pushing myself
-Made time to each lunch with a friend
-Catching up my calendar, listing daily mileage and work outs
-Putting up Christmas Tree, shopping for gifts
-Reaching my highest weekly running mileage= 38 miles
We always remember to review the failures. But do we really notice all of our daily wins? I challenge you to try this.
I survive by my lists. Do you make lists? A “To Do” list? I think this is another way to keep on track of our wins. Take that pen and cross it off, nothing is more satisfying that to cross something off my list.
Meal Prep today- Broccoli Soup, Roasted Potatoes, Curry Lentils with Spinach, Chia Pudding, Cashew Butter and Vegan Brownies.
Holiday treats? I need to get on it 🙂
LENTILS are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates also a good source of iron, potassium, folate and manganese. Lentils come in a large variety of sizes and colors. Split lentils cook much faster and are good for use in curries. If you haven’t tried them for awhile I suggest you do.
Exercise- 38 miles running (what!) including pick ups, long run (17 miles) and a trail run/hike with elevation, and 1 day weights
The last year or so I have started listening to podcasts on training, sports nutrition, conditioning, running and specifically Ultra Running/Racing. I still enjoy reading my magazines, Trail Runner/Runner’s World that I get but it is nice that while I am driving home from work I can get the latest info from some the leading experts and athletes. It is also very exciting to listen to a race recap especially since the sport is not consistently televised. I am just beginning to find my way thru all the many podcasts that are available. I believe it is so important to keep educated so ..down the rabbit hole I go and I am taking you with me.
KoopCast- Ultra Training Banter-Jason Koop- Author/Coach/Athlete
The Art and Science of Running-Malc Kent-Scientist/Athlete/Coach and Jacob Puzey- Athlete/Coach
The Rambling Runner Podcast-Matt Chittim- Athlete/Coach
Like A Bigfoot Podcast- Chris Ward- Athlete/Teacher
the morning shakeout poscast- Mario Fraioli- Coach/Athlete/Writer
These are just the top 5 that I am currently listening to. Truthfully, I cannot keep up. I am listening to one right now while typing this ( Episode 11 Tommy Rivers Puzey- the Art and Science of Running) that I didn’t get a chance to finish earlier.
I guess you can approach this like a cafeteria or a la cart menu.. pick and choose what you want. I enjoy hearing from experts but truthfully I get so much out of an episode from a non professional athletes or when the discussion involves not all success stories but the times when the race or training completely fell apart. If we are honest that is probably closer to home for us that are not professional athletes and so beneficial. I ask that if you haven’t subscribed to a podcast you need to and give it a try.
Recent Great Podcast – Reminded me how important a recovery drink or meal is- My version frozen Spinach, Pear, Collagen and water, blend until smooth.
Happy Training Week #3 to me! I am definitely feeling the mileage. Even in my 20/30’s I had not ran this kind of weekly mileage (I usually ran 3 times a week and no more than 30 miles) or had been this consistent, so I am tired and nicely surprised. Early morning running is where I feel most comfortable so that means some very early mornings (3:30AM) with my current work schedule. I am doing 30 to 35 miles a week and fitting in a hill workout, long run, pick ups/strides, and some weight sessions.
Hi All! So nice to be back , had a great holiday and hope you did too! I took the Thanksgiving week off. This time of the year is so busy. We seem to overbook ourselves in all areas, and I want to be thoughtful with this medium and not just rush thru a blog post. So lets catch up:)
The Plan- or at least the most recent plan is
Try my very best to follow the dietary recommendations after learning about my food sensitivities.
Follow the Running/Training 16 week Plan for running an Ultra.
Have you ever wondered what Lacto Ovo Vegetarian meant? Or maybe what a Vegan can eat or why they choose their dietary lifestyle? With my restrictions I fall somewhere between most dietary labels. Here is a breakdown for you:
Vegetarians have many reasons for making their decisions, Health Reasons, a distaste for Animal Products, or a love for Animals.
Flexitarian– the term was coined to describe those that eat mostly vegetarian or semi vegetarian.
Pescatarian– those that abstain from eating all animal flesh except fish.
Lacto -Ovo Vegetarian- those that abstain from eating beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products.
Vegan– those that do not eat any animal products, even as far as not eating any animal -derived ingredients such as gelatin/collagen for animals. Honey seems to be under debate even today.
Raw Vegan or Eating Raw– diet consisting of unprocessed vegan foods, items that have not been heated above 115 degrees F. The belief is that the food consumed is more beneficial to us if not heated above 115 degrees F.
And Finally Macrobiotic Diet– includes unprocessed vegan foods and allows for the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are not avoided but Asian vegetables are promoted, such as daikon radish and sea vegetables that include wakame and other seaweeds.
My Diet- I currently do not eat Eggs, Dairy (also including goat), or Red Meat. This was my first holiday trying to follow my new restrictions and it was difficult. I accepted an invitation to a local restaurant known for their Buffet which has a wide variety of food choices. I assumed this would make my eating easier, well I was unfortunately wrong. Most of the main dishes had either cheese or a cream sauce added. I do find it necessary to tell whoever I am with why I need to make the choices I do and when I mention it is for health reasons that seems to be readily accepted. Why would people make a judgement on whether my food choices are for moral or physical reasons? And the other question… Why do I feel the need to give an explanation? I need to ponder on this more.
My Training Plan- I had posted the picture of the “16 week Running Plan for my first Ultra Race” in a prior blog. The weekly plan seems very doable, building from a 10 mile long run on the first week, and still leaves me with enough rest days. Today ends my second week, so I started the plan on the week of November 18th. I have stuck to the plan with the exception of moving Thanksgivings run from Thursday (bad weather) to Friday. Also I added a weight day.
Meal Prep-Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake, Crusty No Knead Bread, White Beans, Turkey Pesto Panini, Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats, Veggie Dip. Also made a Thanksgiving meal ..just for the leftovers.
There is something to be said for taking stock of where you are. Could mean looking at where you are professionally, personally or health wise. But to truly take stock you have to be open to all that you’re going to see and that can be hard to swallow. It is not easy to look at your surroundings, your body/mind and put a value on it. To examine the choices you have made so far and to decide which of those you would do again or not. After you have come to those conclusions, what would be the next step? To make a plan…
I have spent the spring and summer building up my base. Running long easy runs, incorporating altitude training and weight training when I could, using hill workouts instead of speedwork and always conscious of the benefits of running/hiking with elevation gain. Now I can step off from my base and begin building with a plan.
Back to taking stock…Do you have an idea of where you are professionally? Do you enjoy it or spend too much time stressed out? What else do you see yourself doing? Where else could you do it? I moved clear across the country , but that story is for another day.
Looking at health, we can determine strength and weakness and what you can actually control. Age is one of my weaknesses, and I believe that my discipline and commitment is one of my strengths. Am I taking stock of where I am at? Absolutely! I have to face that I have lived more than half my life now and what else do I want? I try not to see the years as a countdown but I would be lying to say I don’t sometimes. Maybe that is why I am supper focused on preventative health. Has this helped me to push myself to do what I want to do, to take more risks …yes. But it is not easy and there is always a possibility of failure.
To Take Stock American Heritage Dictionary
To take an inventory
To make an estimate of appraisal , as of resources or of oneself
This reflection is necessary considering tomorrow I begin my 16 week Training Program for the Antelope Canyon 55K Ultra. Below is some excerpts from an awesome article about training.
In an article “Three Lessons from Running Ultras” from Ultra Running Magazine by Drew Dinan on 3/13/2019
Don’t Fear Failure-Fear the distance, fear the terrain, fear the chafing, but don’t fear the challenge of achieving something you never dreamed possible
2. Compare yourself to no one not even your former self-running is about being our best selves, whether that means finishing on the podium or just crossing the finish line.
3. The race is only a small part of a much larger picture. Before you click the register button, think about the hours hard work you will need to put forth in order to give yourself the best chance of success. Celebrate it.
Antelope Canyon ….Here I come!!!
Exercise-17 Miles hiking and running, 1 day of weight training/jump rope
Meal Prep=Baked Shrimp, Pasta with Creamy Pesto ( Creamy Cauliflower sauce from last week + Trader Joe’s Kale Pesto , Vegan Snickerdoodle Blondies, Tabbouleh
Aloha! I am back! I took a vacation last week but I am here now and this seemed like a fitting subject. I am warning you there will be vacation pics 🙂
Vacations… time off.. rest days, these all mean different things to each of us. To me vacations are not a time to sit or lay around and be idle. I typically have my vacations planned with excursions that may be physically demanding in some way or at least give me an opportunity to learn something about the location or how life is there. I last all of about 30 minutes laying on a beach or by a pool. This vacation was no different. I had planned hiking, a farm tour and visiting some old favorite spots. I admit I was most excited about hiking Mauna Kea but was disappointed to find that the controversial that has been around “the white mountain” had not ended and would make hiking impossible. Please look further into the situation if you are interested, I do not feel knowledgeable enough to explain it. Needless to say it has to do with the passions of a proud people and their protective nature on this beautiful island.
I instead remembered a wonderful hike to a remote black beach up on the North Kohala Coast, Pololu Valley. Where is Pololu Valley Look Out? You can find it by taking Route 270 until it dead ends and park. Hike down the rather steep vertical trail to the black beach below, a favorite of the locals and surfers. If you cross over the dry creek bed (usually dry but be aware of the tides) you will find the Honokane Nui Awini Trail, 3.2 miles and elevation gain of 1200 ft.
I wanted to continue my training and to get my mileage in while on vacation so I also did a 11 mile & a 6 mile road run both with some elevation. The new location for my training were both beautiful and inspiring! So that brings me back to our subject here..to rest. I struggle with balance. Trust me I believe I have enough down time but I also hate to waste time and laying around a pool drinking a non alcoholic pina colada all day is not my idea of fun. I want to see all the places, eat all the food and do all the things!
Rest is an important part of training and not only physiological by psychological, muscles need to repair and strengthen and the spirit needs the rest also. What we don’t want to happen is Overtraining which can lead to an injury or burnout.
What happens during recovery? the body adapts to the stress of exercise, replenish energy stores and repairs damaged tissue. When there is a lack of recovery time, you increase the risk of overtraining. The signs of overtraining can be a staleness, depression, decreased performance or immunity, and a risk of injury. Recovery should be focused on both Short Term or active recovery which refers to low intensity exercise or cool down immediately after a hard workout and also the days following. Another part of recover has to do with replenishing the energy stores and fluids which includes Macros and electrolyte replacements. The specifics depends on many factors of the individual. I do struggle with this, I usually find myself nauseous and have to force myself to get enough fuel and enough hydration after a super tough workout. Flower Break….. then a way to self diagnosis overtraining.
The following info I found on verwellfit.com
For the full article please look for “Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome in Athletes by Elizabeth Quinn – July 26th 2019.
Conditioning requires a balance between overload and recovery. Too much overload and/or too little recovery may result in physical and psychological symptoms of overtraining.
Signs and Symptoms- These are common warning signs:
-washed out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
-mild leg soreness, general aches, and pains in muscles and joints
-sudden drop in performance or increased incidence of injury
-decreased immunity, headaches, moodiness and irritability
-decreased appetite or a compulsive need to exercise
There are several ways you can objectively measure some signs of overtraining. One is by documenting your heart rates over time. Track your aerobic heart rate at specific exercise intensities speed throughout your training and write it down. If your pace starts to slow, your resting heart rate increases and you experience other symptoms, you may be heading into overtraining syndrome.
Track your resting heart rate each morning. Any marked increase from the norm may indicate that you aren’t fully recovered. Another way to test recovery to use something called the orthostatic heart rate test, Heikki Rusko ( for method see article).
Well- rested athletes will show a consistent heart rate and if that rate is elevated it could be a sign of over training.
Treatment-Rest and Recover, Hydrate, Get a Sports Massage,Begin Cross-Training.
On my vacation after I had a hard workout I did take a day off to rest. Beach Break!
I came back a day early to run with a friend in the Joshua Tree Night Trail 1/2 Marathon Race. This race was sooo tough, when they said sandy they meant SANDY. About 90% of the race is running in sand both hard packed and very loose. Our time was under 3 hours and for this race we were happy with that. Well organized race, a challenging course, and a gorgeous medal!
Exercise- good mileage week! 30 miles running, 1 day weights, 3 mile hike.
Meal Prep- Cinnamon Apples, Chili w/ ground turkey, beans & squash, Vegan Corn Muffins & Basil and Spinach Meatballs
I could have used the phrase “being grateful” or “remembering to be grateful” but I choose to use ” Living in Gratitude” and for me that is taking it to the next level. I consider myself a normally grateful person, believe that it is in my core, but add up a decade or two of life’s stressors, the state of the world’s affairs and what came as automatic now takes effort. I took a month long gratitude challenge and it wasn’t trying to find what to be grateful for that was difficult but actually remembering to take the time to acknowledge it. What was my take away? That I need to take time to honor those feelings more and since I have a birthday coming up this is a good time to hit reboot.
Gratitude– the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness… Oxford Dictionary
from Psychology Today -Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has. It is a recognition of value independent of monetary worth. Spontaneously generated from within it is an affirmation of goodness. Studies show that there are specific areas of the brain that are involved in experiencing and expressing gratitude.
Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology, UC Davis believes that there are two parts to gratitude. First it is an affirmation of goodness. Second, we recognize the sources of this goodness as outside of ourselves. Emmons also sees the social dimension as being especially important to gratitude, a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.
I cannot possibly list all the things I am grateful for but in this moment what comes to mind.. Nature, my health, peace of mind, my pets, my spirituality, friends, my work, my community, memories.. I plan on trying to live in gratitude and I need to make it a priority. How about you?
Super busy week, I played tour guide for a visiting friend and had so much fun. I had also felt a little tired physically so I did take some extra rest days.
Exercise- speed work, stair workout
Meal Prep- Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Cucumber Mint Dressing, Cream of Asparagus soup, Almond Butter, Sweet Potato & Chocolate Chip Blondies
What a beautiful week! I was able to get my training in and feel good. Weather still too hot for comfortable running at normal hours but that just means you need to be creative. Runs were done on treadmill, very early mornings, or up to a cooler location. The hill workout challenge is on week two so that means two hills, had never used this type of workout before and having fun with it. Next week three , yikes!
Well Crap… say Goodbye to dairy! Received my results of the Food Sensitivity Blood Panel, this one measures the food specific IgA and IgG antibodies that are present after eating a food. The reaction and symptoms may vary by individual. I went into this thinking that maybe I was sensitive to Gluten but never even gave a thought about dairy;(
So to read the results take any food item that is a II or above as negatively reactive by your body. I had also been told that I had an allergy to egg when I was born but brushed that off as not valid. Guess I was wrong! So am I grateful to have this information? Absolutely but I am also disappointed that I have a whole food group that I will have to eliminate from my diet. I choose to take this test with the hope of gaining information that will improve my health and my next step needs to be to incorporate what I have learned into my diet. I am only looking at the results I will be getting and not feeling regretful of what I cannot have because in this day and age there are so many vegan sub items I am confident that I will be able to find what I want. Other interesting findings.. Bananas, Lamb, Tuna and Beef. Good thing I have given up beef or over 27 years.
I spent time investigating stores that I will be able to get the items I want to try and have a feeling this will be an ongoing project. I was impressed with Trader Joes. I went in and after a few attempts of walking in circles I asked for assistance and was surprised when I was given a print out, a list with all of the vegan items that they carry. I purchased a few different milks (coconut and rice) to try and was very impressed with the coconut yogurt. I also expected to have to pay more for these items but did not. One huge take away.. I wish I would have done this 20 years ago.
Exercise- 25 miles, hill workout, pick ups, trail run and long easy run. 1 day of weights.
Meal Prep- Chicken Salad for lunches, Salmon with blistered tomatoes, Cauliflower mash, Chocolate Nut & Coconut drops.
This week my training seemed to finally start clicking. Yes! I decided to incorporate a long easy run to start to build up my base and the weather just wasn’t permitting in the desert. So Big Bear Lake and cooler temperatures was my Saturday morning destination. It was so worth the hour and a half drive up. “Long Runs should be at an easy pace….” That is what seems to be the latest theory on training, at least that is what I am learning. Again I am no expert on athletic training, and definitely a novice but I am trying to read as much of the latest research and opinions from respected sources.
.. On easy days, you’re mostly using slow-twitch muscle fibers. They have a higher density of mitochondria, high levels of aerobic enzymes, and greater capillary density than fast-twitch fibers, which are more involved in higher-intensity training, says Dan Bergland, principal sport physiologist at Volt Sportlab in Flagstaff, Arizona. On easy days, “you increase mitochondria and capillaries and blood flow to those muscles, so they’re better able to utilize oxygen,” he says. “Without that, you can’t do the intense runs.”
Then there is the whole subject of fueling/glycogen stores…from Greg McMillian
With long runs during a marathon program, you are trying to accomplish two distinct purposes. On the one hand, you are trying to maximize your ability to burn fat and spare your limited muscle carbohydrate (glycogen) stores as well as improving your leg strength and resistance to fatigue (both physical fatigue and mental fatigue). You are also trying to teach your body to better handle lowered blood glucose levels. On the other hand, you are trying to become more economical at your marathon race pace (learning to burn less fuel for a given pace) along with testing out your race equipment and nutritional plan. You also want to give the mind a taste of the focus and determination that will be required in the latter stages of the marathon itself.
My long run (10 miles) started at 39 degrees with the sun just barely up in a very clear blue sky and my confidence at a high. Well that didn’t last long, I mean the confidence part the weather stayed just perfect. Mile 1 -10.40 min pace.. so I thought this was too fast. Tried to slow down the next three miles but still managed 11.0 min pace and checked my heart rate which was high ( meaning extra effort) but the only thing I could blame it on was the altitude. So now I am thinking slow it down Marta … the goal of this run was to not push it.
Why do we seem to always be pushing it? Whether it is my long run, or just in day to day, I can’t help but strive for more. Now I know in certain situations that is a good quality to have but not if you cannot control it. The final last three miles of my long run were at a pace I had planned for but by that time the pace wasn’t as flowing as I had hoped. I finished happy with the long run and banking the 10 miles but also with a feeling that I need to get my pace under control. I will take a serious look at my exertion or effort and try with practice to know how a long easy run should feel.
Exercise Week- 24 miles total that included, hill workout, pick ups, long run and a trail run. No weights or plyometrics.