Sunday, May 31, 2009

Freihofer's Run for Women 5k race report.

No dramatic lead-in: You all know from my last post that I did not achieve my goal of finishing under 23 minutes. I was bummed yesterday but I'm OK with that today.

On with the race report!

On Friday, I went to the expo, picked up my bib and t-shirt and was able to sneak in a chiropractic adjustment (thank you, NY Chiropractic College!). Oh, so good. I got a little massage, the adjustment and some ART and left there feeling terrific!

The race didn't begin until 10:15 on Saturday morning so I had plenty of time to eat breakfast and leisurely get ready for the race. I had a pre-race breakfast of peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat, lots of water and some coffee. Then, Owen, Conal and I headed out on what we thought would be a quick drive to the Empire State Plaza. No such luck. Traffic (huh?) was backed up so we waited and waited and waited and slowly made our way to the parking lot. At one point, Owen suggested that I hop out of the car so I could go ahead and not get stressed by sitting in traffic. I did just that.

So, I warmed up, met up with my friend, Gina, who was running her first race (yay!), and eventually made my way to the starting area. There were 4000 women running in this race so the starting area was packed. I watched the elite runners file in from the side and just kinda gawked at their perfect little running bodies. Every one of them looked like they were made for running. I felt like a hulking who-knows-what compared to those lithe women!

And they are fast! The winner, Teyba Erkesso from Ethiopia, finished in 15:26. That's a 4:59 pace! Sheesh! The Ethiopians and Kenyans dominated, by the way, with the first American, Tera Moody, finishing in 13th place in 16:24.

Me? Not so fast.

I had a goal: 22:59. I visualized myself crossing the finish line in that time. I knew I could do it. I had put in the time with the speedwork, the hills, the long(ish) runs, everthing. 7:22 per mile was what I was going for. Didn't happen. Here's what did:

I went through the first kilometer in 4:40, so a little off pace but since I didn't want to start out too fast, that was OK. I told myself to pick it up and I went through the first mile in around 7:30. No problem. Pick it up a little more. I tried. I pushed through the second mile. I don't remember what the 2k split was (9 something) but it doesn't really matter because my undoing came at 3k/2m.

I made a huge mental error.

I was running through the second mile and just waiting to get my split. I saw the clock up ahead and when I was close enough to see the time, I saw 13:22. Wow. That's fast, I thought. When I ran past the clock it was around 13:45 or so. OK, really, I thought. That's too fast. You're going to burn out. Slow down.

I slowed down. I felt happy to be on-pace, but I knew I needed to slow down.

Only, I shouldn't have slowed down because the clock that I saw was not for the 2m mark, it was for the 3 flippin' k mark! UGH! As soon as I saw the clock for the 2-mile split, I wanted to cry. I had already slowed down, thinking I was ahead of pace, and then wham! I ran past the 2-mile clock in just under 15 minutes but I was so, so, so discouraged. It was just a big kick in the shins and my momentum was gone. How had I made such a stupid mistake? I mean, what was I thinking? Did I think that I had run the second mile in 6-ish minutes? Really??? Well, no. See, I wasn't thinking. Or, wasn't thinking clearly. I just completely messed up with the 3k/2m clocks and it set me back.

From there, I had a tough time with the race. I was angry with myself for my mistake and I knew that by slowing down at 3k, I was completely off my pace. To top it off, all of the negative self-talk was not doing me any good at all!

I ran as well as I could over the last mile and tried to finish strong. I crossed the line in 23:46. Not bad, I know, but not what I would have liked.

The interesting thing is that a year ago, I ran this race in 24:16. Had I run 23:46 last year, I would have been ecstatic! What a difference a year makes . . .

What did I learn? Well, the biggest thing I learned is that mistakes happen and it is how you deal with them that matters. I did not deal with my mistake well. I need to work on being mentally sharp so I'll have to figure out how to fit that in to my training. And, I'll just keep doing that speedwork. I know I have 22:59 (or better!) in me. I just have to bring it out.


Finish: 23:46
Overall pace: 7:40
Age-group place: 30/489
Overall place: 299/3685
Age-graded %: 63%

* * *

The day finished off very well. Owen and I went out for a delicious dinner at a place called Marche. It was the best meal either of us have had in ages! Then today, Owen gave me an AWESOME birthday present: A Garmin Forerunner 305! WOO HOO! It is charging now . . . I can't wait to take it out for a run. I catching up, techno-world, so watch out!

~ Felice

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Too slow.

I didn't do it.

Crossed the line in 23:47, almost a minute slower than I had hoped. Bummed.

Chin up, right? Yup, chin up. And with that chin back in its upward position, I'll take a look at what happened, see what I can learn from this race, and then get started training for the next one.

And I'll write a full race report for your reading pleasure. So, look for that!

~ Felice, the Still Sorta Bummed Runner

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tempted by the fruit of another.

I'm going to come right out and say it: I cheated. But when I tell you the story, you'll understand. At least I hope so!

I hadn't meant to cheat. I've long been a Brooks Addiction girl. They've served me well for years and years. They cradle my gimpy toe and keep my wackadoodle pronation in line. They are solid. Solid, supportive, clunky. And always there for me.

So I hadn't even been looking, as satisfied as I was with my Brooks. I hadn't gone to any running stores, hadn't slipped on any Nikes or Mizunos just for fun, hadn't even gone to the running shoe section in the online stores.

They found me, people. I swear it.

A nice lady emailed me and asked if I would be interested in trying a pair of New Balance running shoes. Yes! I practically shouted. I would! I love running gear! Love it all! (Was I too excited? A little over-eager? Perhaps . . . ) She gave me a code and sent me to the web site to select my shoes. I found a sharp looking stability shoe (the 768), ordered it and awaited its arrival.

And then the package arrived (very quickly, I might add) to even more excitement than the original offer of free shoes. I opened the box and stared in awe of the 768's sleek running superness. Owen warned me not to get caught up in their looks. "You love your Brooks for a reason," he said. Um, yeah. He was right but, dang, these new shoes were hot!

I tried them on. Cushy. Cushy and sleek. And fast-looking. Oh, I was going to love them.

My nerves got the better of me, though, and I didn't try them out for a week. I guess I didn't want to be disappointed. And I wasn't. I took my new kicks for a run on the treadmill one afternoon and they were a soft ride. They felt great -- very different from the ultra-control of my Brooks. So I took them out again, this time for speedwork. Yes, they felt terrific.

Then came the true test: A run over my regular, hilly route.

It was the end.

They just couldn't cut it. My feet felt too . . . too . . . free? I don't know. They felt like they were all over the place when I was running downhill and they were too bendy on the uphills. I don't know how else to describe it. They just didn't work. I went back to my trusty Brooks for my next hilly run and it felt right.

Tempted, yes. I was tempted by the New Balance and I will fully admit that I plan to wear them for treadmill runs and keep my Brooks for all outdoor runs. Luckily for my Brooks, this means they'll get the bulk of my runs. But, once a week or so, when I hit the 'mill, the New Balance will be on.

Do I feel guilty? Nah . . . I now know that, truly, my Brooks Addictions are for me. We're a perfect match.

If you are wondering (and you probably aren't), tomorrow I will wear my trusty Brooks for the big race. No cheating there! I'm seriously nervous, by the way. This afternoon I'll head to the expo and then tonight I'll tell myself -- repeatedly -- that I can run fast enough to finish under 23 minutes.

And I will write more about the tennis ball. I haven't forgotten the requests for more info!

OK, happy Friday. I hope all the racers have a great time this weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Running injuries and treatment.

Take it and Run Thursday topic: Running injuries and treatment. OK, Runners' Lounge, I'll give you what I've got!

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I have a nagging, painful injury: a bunion on the big toe of my right foot. That one is chronic. Chronic, annoying and, after stopping the yoga, not getting much worse. But not getting better, either. There is little I can do (aside from avoiding high heels and using my yoga toes) while waiting for my appointment with the podiatrist but when I finally do get in to see that Magic Foot Doctor, and he magically takes away all my pain, I'll be sure to share whatever I learn.

Until then, what do I have for you? Well, you may recall that I've had several other minor running injuries that, unlike the bunion, have come and gone in a flash. If, that is, you consider a day or two a flash, which, when referring to running injuries, I do. Yes, aside from a twisted ankle last fall (which was a shopping, not running, injury) none of the injuries have kept me from running for long.

I believe that I owe my (mostly) injury-free running to the following:

  • Rolling -- not stretching -- before a run. This may make some people cringe but, for me, stretching before running just wasn't working. My muscles need to be warmed up before I can stretch so I use The Stickto roll out my out my legs pre-run and save my stretches for afterward.
  • Sitting on a tennis ball. OK, the humble tennis ball may just be my favorite running gadget of all. For real. At the first sign of a tight ITB, hip, or hamstring, I'm on the ball. Nothing works better (well, maybe weekly massages would but that's not in the cards . . .)!
  • Resting when necessary. What I have found is that rest is often necessary. I rarely run more than three days in a row and never more than four. That's what works for me. My body operates best when I balance quality runs with rest. And when I feel an injury coming on, I'm not afraid to take an extra day (or more) off. I would much rather skip a run or two than a month of running.
  • Taking on the hills. Maybe it isn't normal to love hills as much as I do but I swear by them. Hilly routes, hill repeats, hill fartleks -- I love them all. I believe that hills helps improve your form and strength and when you run them for speed, there is much less impact on your legs so the workouts are less taxing on your body. Hills are your friends!
That's what works for me right now. I hope some of it can work for you, too!

~ Felice

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Running support.

OK, wow. You all are awesome.

I just love your comments, they make me feel so good. All the time, though, not just yesterday. But, really, yesterday? Rock on! Thanks for pumping me up. Now, I just hope I don't disappoint on Saturday!

I can promise you one thing: I will give it my all. I will run with all I've got.

Right now, though, I'm giving my all to keeping my feet up, eating well and getting some sleep. And . . . trying to think of what to do for my birthday. Yup, this here happy runner has a birthday coming up the day after the race. My nice husband arranged for my parents to watch Conal overnight on Saturday (second time in one month! Woo hoo!) so we can do something fun. Dinner? Movie? Salsa dancing? Who knows! OK, I know that we won't be salsa dancing. That's just not our style. But, dinner? Sure. Movie? Haven't been to one in over two years, so that could be nice. We'll see . . .

In the meantime, thanks for your support. I appreciate it!

Running support. It's great.

~ Felice

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pre-race jitters. Already.

I'm already nervous and my race isn't until Saturday. Not only that, it's only a 5k. Not a 50k or even a 15k. Just a 5k.

Except, for me, it's not just anything. For me, it's a big deal because way back at the beginning of this year I set a goal for this race. I want to cross the finish line in 22:59 or faster. My fastest 5k ever was 22:57 and that was run when I was a spry 32. Post-baby, my fastest 5k was 23:27, run last October. Since determining my goal, I have been working hard to shave those 28 seconds.

I've run speedy intervals of varying lengths (200s, 400s, 800s, mile), hill repeats, hill fartleks, and tempos. I've balanced the hard work with enjoyable recovery runs, run at true recovery run pace. I should be full of confidence that, having done the work, I will achieve my goal.

Yesterday's 4-miler felt great and the entire time I was running I envisioned myself doing exactly what I need to do over the course of Saturday's 3.1 miles. Positive thinking. Visualization. Will it work? Tell me it will work . . .

I can do anything for 22 minutes and 59 seconds. I can run hard. I can ignore a problem toe that likes to make its presence known all the time now and especially on hard runs. I can cross my fingers behind my back and lie to my lungs, making them believe that this is the last time they'll have to work this hard. Last time ever.

Only I know that even if I cross the line in 22:59, it won't be the last time. I'll be setting my sights on 22:30 and then 21:59. And -- let's not even think about it -- if I cross the line slower? Well . . . try and try again. Sorry, lungs. And, legs, I'll apologize to you, too. You're all going to have to work hard. This Saturday and beyond. Whether or not I achieve my goal.

But, really, I'd like to do it. 22:59. It's doable.

Yes. It's doable. Even for jittery me!

~ Felice

Sunday, May 24, 2009

GHI Workforce Team Challenge -- Spectator Report

Earlier this week, I mentioned that I was going to be a spectator at the Corporate Challenge. I misspoke. I was a spectator at the GHI Workforce Team Challenge -- a renegade race, if you will. I guess a few years ago they broke from the official Corporate Challenge to do their own thing. But, it's still basically the same idea. Companies field teams to run the 3.5-mile race.

Anyway, with that unimportant stuff out of the way, I bring you my report!

Did you know it was hot on Thursday? For real! It was! Like, 87 degrees at race time hot. Holy cannoli hot. Ozone warning hot. Hot, hot, hot.

Conal and I met up with Owen and his team and hung out with the several thousand runners (there were over 7700 of them) and spectators at the great Empire State Plaza. Just before the race started, we found our spot and watched the runners slog past in the heat.

Conal was on the lookout for Owen, but we couldn't spot him in the crowd.

We did, however, spot a gorilla:

We cheered for the runners and Conal proved himself to be a good clapper. Owen crossed the finish line a little slower than he expected, but it was a super hot day so I think that was the case for most runners.

This weekend has remained warm. I got in a nice run Friday evening and then I had an all-day volunteer event yesterday. Today's 4.5-mile run was a hot one, so I took it slow. It felt good once I got into it.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

~ Felice

Friday, May 22, 2009

For (ce)real.

A while back, Adam from [me] & goji asked me if I would like to create a custom organic cereal to try out and, one would hope, enjoy. I scooted over to their web site to check this stuff out and decided that, yes, I did want to create my own custom cereal. So, he sent me a code and wished me enjoyment.

And enjoyment it was!

First, the web site is fun and easy to use. Second, and probably more important, the options are all very enticing. I was a little overwhelmed at first but I forced myself to focus and I made it through. The custom Happy Runner! (no lie -- that's what I named it. I'm so creative.) cereal consists of:

Flax Flakes
Chocolate Goji Berries
Dried Cherries
Dried Cranberries

Once I had selected my ingredients, I placed my order and received a prompt confirmation. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly my cereal arrived. Overall, the entire order process was a breeze.

I wish I hadn't gone the greedy, indulgent route with the chocolate covered goji berries, though. They are tasty, sure, but they are also covered in chocolate. And since this is cereal, I should have opted for the less dessert-like option of plain gojis. So that's on me. I mean, they are super tasty, but I have to pick them out when my son has the cereal (and he loves it, so he keeps asking for it). If I didn't, he'd be covered in a chocolate mess and that's just no way to start the day!

Anyway, I really like the taste of the cereal as a whole and the individual ingredients on their own. It's a bit pricey for cereal but I look at it like this: The ingredients are all high-quality and organic and each order is custom, all of which comes at a premium. Since I've been eating my cereal as a snack, I look at the price as being comparable to what I would spend on energy bars. And when thought about that way, the price isn't high at all.

Head on over to the [me] & goji web site to check out the cereal. It's yummy! For real!

* * *

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Eating to run.

I haven't read the book Eat This, Not That! yet but that's the theme of this week's Take it and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge.

I'm not the best eater in the world but I do try. I want to be healthy and I want my family to be healthy so I make every attempt to prepare healthy foods. But they have to taste good. And we have to want to eat them. I mean, what's the sense of eating food that you don't enjoy or don't want to eat?


So, here's my food thing. I try to keep my overall diet fairly clean -- minimally-processed foods, mostly plants. I'm not a vegetarian; my diet is probably 80% vegetarian and 20% not. It might also be characterized as 80% healthy and 20% not. I like jelly beans (clearly neither minimally processed nor plant). And ice cream. And I do believe I've mentioned that I enjoy a good vodka & tonic as much as the next guy. Or gal.

But, overall healthy.

Specific to running, though, is this: The better I eat, the better I perform. I've been modifying recipes lately, to make them healthier -- using fewer refined and otherwise processed ingredients, etc. -- and I've started to put them together here. I'll be adding more recipes soon, so stay tuned!

Also specific to running is this tip: After a run, I eat a carb/protein combo right away. My choice is about 10 raw almonds mixed with a handful or so of dried cranberries. Best post-run treat! Or anytime treat, really. In fact, I could go for a handful now . . .

That's the thing with eating. You need to find the things that work for you. I believe you need to enjoy your food and, hopefully, those foods will also be good for you and performance-enhancing. Don't be afraid to tweak your diet! Don't be afraid to try new things before runs (but not races!) to find out what works for you.

* * *

Busy day today, ending with Owen's race this evening. Conal and I will be cheering hard!

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

'Milling about.

You know what I'm really enjoying these days? My treadmill. Isn't that weird? Yeah, I know. It even makes me shake my head.

But I'm running on the treadmill these days because I want to, not because I have to. That's the difference. Although the weather has been perfect for outdoor running for a while now, I've been running on the treadmill once a week. And it makes me feel good because I'm making the most of my time -- I'm running on the 'mill while Conal naps.

Yesterday was a treadmill tempo run. Warm-up, tempo at 8/mi pace, cool-down. Oh, and I tossed in a quick little quarter mile at 5k pace (7:20 -- I hope!) because I felt like it. 5.5 miles total. All while my little guy slept.

Today I'll run outside and then tomorrow . . . well, tomorrow is big. Tomorrow I will take the day off and cheer for my husband while he runs our local Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile race. Yay! I'm so rarely the spectator in the relationship and Owen is always a great spectator/supporter so it will be a nice change.

Off to play some (more...) golf!

~ Felice

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Working on commitment.

I've mentioned before that I have some sort of problem with registering for (committing to) races in advance. Once I register, I'm fine. I know, for example, that I am going to run the Freihofer's Run for Women 5k on May 30th. I am all registered and I have no doubt that I will do it.

But, oh, there is something going on with me and other races. I have such a fear of dropping out or not being able to handle the training and bleck. I love racing! What is going on here? Major conflicts among my id, ego and superego? And which part is winning?

The thing is, I don't know and, even if I did, I'm not sure I'd know what to do with that information. Fight the superego? Can you do that? Again, I don't know! I should just give up the faux-analysis and move on to the matter at hand.

So, here goes. I am looking at these upcoming races:

6/13 -- Run with the Trojans 4-mile
7/7 -- Colonie Mile (I've never run a mile race!)
7/12 -- Boilermaker 15k
8/22 -- Clove Run 5k
9/12 -- Maple Leaf Half Marathon (VT)

Um, no. I have not committed to any of them. Yet! But I'm thinking about it. I probably won't run both the mile and the 15k since they are the same week so one of them will be off the schedule. But the others I can do. I'm pretty sure about that. Almost confident. Almost.

In other news, the chilly weather seems to have blown out of town so I'll be hitting some outdoor play this week with my toddler. He's a golfing fanatic these days, although his game involves hitting the ball and having me retrieve it. (We're working on his retrieval skills.) I'll be one tired-out mama this week, I'm sure.

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hi, I'm a PC.

At least that's what I feel like, anyway. A PC that locks up and needs to be completely shut down in order to reset itself and function properly again.

Today, I'm fine. Feeling groovy and all that. Yesterday was another story: I awoke with a terrible headache that I just couldn't shake. It was accompanied by cold extremities and almost constant goose bumps. Weird, I know. I get these things. Certain headaches restrict the blood flow to my hands, feet, nose, ears, etc., and they become cold. The goose bumps, I assume, are related.

Yes, I've had this all checked out* and my MRI was fine and the repeated diagnosis was migraine. Well, no kidding.

So, yesterday was a rotten one. The highlight of my day was my 4.5 mile run. I felt great and fully expected that sweating it out would, indeed, sweat it out. It didn't. The headaches, cold extremities and goose bumps remained. Nothing was working so I had to shut it down.

Like any good PC, turning me off for the night, and back on again this morning, did the trick. I'm functioning today. Yippee!

Does anyone else get migraines? Weird coldness, etc.? Have any advice?

Oh! I've been meaning to post a follow-up to the whole email imbroglio from last week. A few of you asked if I responded to Mrs. Zero. Yes, I did. What I wrote back was, "I'm sorry you feel that way, Mrs. Zero." In that way, I didn't stoop to her level but I did let her know that I received her email. She did not respond. I didn't expect her to.

So that's that. Case closed.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

~ Felice

* It was back in 2006 so I'm contemplating getting checked out again. I'm also thinking of acupuncture. Ever tried it?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And then we rest.

Rest, rest, rest.

What a day for rest. It's sunny and warm and I have nothing pressing going on. So, my legs will rest. No running today.

After Thursday's speedwork, my legs felt terrific all day Friday. Until I took them out for a run. Then they felt like lead. The lead legs forced me to slow down my pace, which was actually a really good thing. My recovery runs have been too fast in the past. Yesterday, my recovery run was completed at an on-target 9:21/mi pace. Yes!

Now, rest. I hit the farmers market with Conal this morning, but only after lounging around in our jammies for a good hour after waking. We came home for lunch and a tickle fest.

This rest will do me good.

Are you resting? Racing? Just taking it all in? Whatever you're up to, I hope you're having fun!

~ Felice

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stop before you get sick.

That should be my new running mantra: Stop before you get sick.

I employed it last night. Speed on the schedule: 6 x 400 @ 1:45 (7min/mi), 6 x 200 @ :45 (6min/mi). I warmed up for a mile and a half then got through four of the 400s and decided I was done. Time to switch to the shorter 200s. Even though I have to go faster, I thought, it is for far less time. I can do it.

Yeah, not so much. I only got through four of those and then I thought for sure I would puke. Plus it was well after 9pm and if I kept on running there's pretty much no doubt that I wouldn't have been able to sleep. So, I stopped. I cooled down and then I was done. The workout:

1.5 mi warmup
4 x 400 @ 1:45
4 x 200 @ :45
.75 mi cooldown

What a quitter! But, really, who wants to run until you puke? Not me. No siree. So, I stopped before I got sick, which seemed the reasonable thing to do.

Today, my legs feel great, like I didn't push them at all. Silly legs . . .

And that's it. No review today but I'll be back with a great one next Friday. For now, have a great weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gearing up for summer running.

It's Take it and Run Thursday! Today's topic is: Gearing up for summer.

I feel like I don't even have to write a post today; I should just send you over to yesterday's great guest post by Dr. Susan Kleiner on hydration. Proper hydration, after all, is especially important as the weather gets warmer (did you miss the post? Check it out here! Or, just scroll down, since it's my previous post.)

I'm making improved hydration my focus right now. Last year, I struggled with post-run headaches (of the debilitating sort) when it was really hot out. I got better about hydration throughout the summer but I still have lots of room for improvement.

Like in the area of all this coffee consumption. At the end of my last post, Dr. Kleiner read that I've been drinking a lot of black coffee before my runs. I know, I know! She suggested I switch things up and maybe replace some of my coffee with the orange mate Solixir that she developed. It will be gentler on my system than coffee, plus it is hydrating where coffee really isn't. I'm going to try it out. I liked the orange mate a lot when I reviewed the beverages so I just ordered a 12-pack. I'll let you know how it works out!

So, other than hydration, what tips do I have? Well, the usual, I'm sure. You know, sunscreen, run in the morning and evening, layers, sunglasses, etc., etc.

My big tip, though, is to look out for little ticks. Huh?!?! Yep, ticks. Even if your area isn't a high risk for Lyme disease now, it may be soon. Check out this risk map to find out your area's status. Not long ago, my region wasn't even a moderate risk area and now we're fully in the black. Both of my parents have had Lyme disease (they recovered fully) and a friend has chronic Lyme disease from which he has never fully recovered. Here's some more Lyme disease information, if you are interested.

So, check yourself out when you get back from your runs. You never know when a tick could get you and finding and removing the tick early, before it has had a chance to embed itself and potentially spread its Lyme disease ickiness, will reduce your risk of contracting the disease.

And, oh yeah, enjoy the warm weather and all the sunny fun it brings!

~ Felice

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hydration for runners: A guest post by Dr. Susan Kleiner!

We're tackling some serious business here at The Happy Runner: Hydration. Since I'm no expert (hydration is actually something I really need help with), I consider myself very fortunate to have an actual expert who was willing and able to write on the subject. So, today, I bring you a guest post!

Our guest poster is Dr. Susan Kleiner, president of High Performance Nutrition, an authority on eating for strength, the author of several books (including Power Eating: 3rd. edition and The Good Mood Diet: Feel Great While You Lose Weight), and the nutritionist who worked on the development of the new Solixir beverages. You can learn more about Dr. Kleiner by visiting her web site.

There are so many things to think about when you want to run well: training, flexibility, diet, rest, mental focus and fortitude. Of all the questions that I’m asked about how to improve running performance, the most frequent is, “What is the single most important thing that I should focus on to enhance my running?” That answer is pretty easy: focus on hydration.

Of all the things that affect performance, both physical and mental, hydration has the most immediate and powerful effect. Everything else follows. Staying well-hydrated is more than just drinking enough during training and competition, it’s drinking and eating well all the time, with the goal of limiting your level of dehydration at all times, and especially during a race. Once you dehydrate out on the road or trail, you won’t fully rehydrate until 24 to 48 hours after the event is over. Going into an event well-hydrated is essential, and limiting the level of dehydration during your event is the goal.

Not only is drinking important, but so is eating. Fruits and vegetables are full of water and rich in electrolytes essential for maintaining water balance, nerve conduction and muscle contraction. Diets abundant in fruits and vegetables typically contribute about 4 cups of fluid to your diet every day.

If you run long distances, don’t be afraid of having some salt in your diet. On warm days when you sweat more than usual, it’s important to have enough sodium in your system. While you don’t want to go overboard, it’s a good idea to have a moderate amount of salt in your diet on those days. If you are already eating foods high in salt like fast foods, processed foods, and lots of snack foods, then you should probably think about replacing some of those with more natural, whole foods. If you are already eating a diet that is low in processed and packaged foods, then adding some pretzels and baked chips, salting your vegetables, and drinking a regular V-8 juice can add just the right amount of sodium to keep your fluids in balance out on the trail or track.

It is particularly important to be drinking, of course. Not just around exercise, but all day long. Have a fluid plan just like you have a food plan. When you wake in the morning drink at least 2 cups of water. Throughout the day take sips from the drinking fountain or carry a water bottle with you. Adding ice to the water and using a thermal sleeve can help it stay cold for several hours.

Sports drinks are fabulous for around exercise, but they should not be the beverages that you drink all day long. You want to get your calories and electrolytes from foods that also contain all the other important nutrients you need to perform at peak levels. Sports drinks are lacking in everything except the 3 nutrients that your body directly uses during exercise: water, sugar and electrolytes. They are empty of everything else so that these nutrients can be absorbed and utilized quickly during activity. Throughout the day choose water, lowfat and nonfat milk and 100% fruit juices to round out your fluid intake and nutrition.

Fluid Replacement for Athletes—A Summary of Practical Applications from the National Athletic Trainers Association Position Statement

Before Exercise

2-3 hours before, drink 17-20 oz of water or sport drink

10-20 minutes before, drink 7-10 oz of water or sport drink.

During Exercise

Athletes benefit from drinking fluid with carbohydrate in many situations.

If exercise lasts more than 45 minutes or is intense, fluid with carbohydrate (sport drink) should be provided during the session.

A 6%-8% carbohydrate solution maintains optimal carbohydrate metabolism.

During events when a high rate of fluid intake is necessary to sustain hydration, carbohydrate composition should be kept low (less than 7%) to optimize fluid delivery.

Fluids with salt (sodium chloride) are beneficial to increasing thirst and voluntary fluid intake, as well as offsetting losses.

Cool beverages at temperatures of 10 degrees to 15 degrees C (50 degrees to 59 degrees F) are recommended.

Every 10-20 minutes, drink 7-10 oz. of water or a sport drink. Athletes should be encouraged to drink beyond their thirst.

After exercise

Within 2 hours, drink enough to replace any weight loss from exercise; approximately 20 oz. of water or sport drink per pound of weight loss.

Within 6 hours, drink an additional 25%-50% more than weight loss from exercise.

-- Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN

Thank you, Dr. Kleiner! I think my big problem is that I don't hydrate well enough before I exercise. I need to get better about drinking all day long. I don't think just drinking black coffee all morning is really cutting it!

If you have any questions about hydration, leave a comment and I will pass them along to Dr. Kleiner. And be sure to check out her web site (here)!

Drink up, everyone!

~ Felice

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Miles before smiles.

The short version is that I was involved in some decidedly non-running pettiness yesterday: Mrs. Zero meant to send an email to a friend but instead sent it to me. In the email, Mrs. Zero said some mean things about me. I was upset. The end.

OK, not the end end. End of the short story. But here's where running comes in:

Yesterday was a planned day off because Owen doesn't get home until 8 on Mondays. I needed to run. I was still seething several hours after I read the email and I just wanted to get the feeling out. So, as soon as Owen walked in the door, I was out.

Running, my panacea.

I thought all sorts of mean things about Mrs. Zero during my first mile. All sorts. It was good to get those thoughts out of my system because then I could move on to the buck-you-up expressions. And, let me tell you, I needed to get the buck-you-up expressions (sticks and stones . . . etc., etc.) out of my system because no one wants to run while repeating annoying childhood rhymes to themselves. Believe me!

I ran out the anger, ran out the stress, ran out the hurt. What Mrs. Zero said doesn't matter. In fact, I've been criticized in worse ways and I'm sure there will be even worse yet to come. And that's OK. You can't please all of the people all of the time. I can take it. I really can. I can practically bound up hills, for Pete's sake! I can run (relatively) fast! And I can keep running even when I want, more than anything, to quit.

Big deal? Well, yeah. It is a big deal. Because it isn't just running. Those hills aren't just on the roads and when write of quitting I don't just mean when running 800s. I think you get my drift.

I needed that run to remind me of what I am. And it did. I ended no longer seething, but smiling.

Running, my panacea.

~ Felice

Monday, May 11, 2009


Happy Monday! It was a super weekend here in Happy Runnerville: Unplanned fast run on Friday, successful trip to the farmers' market on Saturday, dinner and the theater with Owen Saturday night (while my parents watched our toddler overnight for the first time ever!), pancakes for breakfast on Sunday, a solid 5-mile run in the afternoon, a spot-on Mother's Day gift (gift cert. for a massage! woo hoo!), and a delicious dinner with my family in the evening.

I wasn't the only one who enjoyed the weekend. Conal did, too:

He was particularly fond of the blue frosted cake that my sister-in-law brought over for dessert. We were a bunch of blue-mouthers, I'll tell you.

So, super weekend, yes, yes. Now, we're ready for a super week. Bring it on, week! Be super!

OK, it may be super, who knows at this point? What I do know is that it will be busy. We starting speech therapy for Conal this week. The little guy just isn't saying much so we're bringing in a professional. She'll work wonders, this Magic Speech Lady. I just know it. Hope it?

And then I have meetings and there's a trip to a baby animal farm and more speech therapy and, I do hope, some running. I've penciled in the running. It's all about scheduling flexibility this week. Super!

Question (not said in a Dwight K. Schrute voice). Are you on Twitter? If you are, I'd love to follow you if I'm not already. Let me know!

OK, off we go. Have a super week, everyone!

~ Felice

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday review, a day late (this is becoming a habit . . . )

A while ago, and I've lost track of when because that's what happens when you get to be my age, I received two pairs of WrightSock socks to try and review. Since I love all things running gearish, I was very happy to try out the running-specific socks named, appropriately, Running II, as well as the pair of Coolmesh socks.

I will admit upfront that I am a Drymax-loving girl so there was a bit of comparison going on when I tried the new socks. For me, Drymax won out. I liked the Running II socks because they had a snug fit around the arch. But, I don't know, they just weren't right for me. The WrightSock socks are double-layer, to prevent blisters (you can read about it here), and I guess the double-layer thing doesn't work so well for me. They seemed slippery. To me, it felt as if the two layers just moved in different directions and I felt like my feet were slipping. It was weird. Maybe they were a little too big? I'm not sure -- there's a possibility that they would have slipped less if they were tighter but I just don't know.

Wearing these socks for cross-training, however, was fine. I didn't have the same slipping issues and the socks felt comfortable and kept my feet dry. But, for running, I plan to stick to my Drymax.

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hello, Mama.

Back before I became a mom, I would show up at races and see all of these moms there, all fit and happy, their kids hanging around with their dad or older sibling. Many of the moms were older than me, but some were younger. Many of them were faster than me, but a few were slower.

I used to wonder about them. Wonder about the moms who not only ran, but ran races, and ran them well. "Who does that?" I would think, imagining that if what everyone said was true about having kids -- that, you know, you never sleep again after they are born* -- then it didn't make sense for these women to run in their spare time. Why wouldn't they just nap?

The joke's on me, right?

I guess so. Because here I am now: A running mom. A mother runner. Or, muthah runnah, if you prefer.

Now I get it. I understand why those women ran and ran races and ran well. Because now I am one of them. I want to run more than ever now that I have a child. And not because I want to get away from my son or because I need time alone or any of that (although some days . . . ). No, running is my thing and I think that once you have a kid, your thing (whatever it is -- and it might be many things) sorta crystallizes and tends to become more important to you. It becomes something that you have to be either completely into or it becomes not worth doing. For me, running is very worth doing. Some other things? Not so much. They've been dropped but running remains.

The point of this post, though, was to be a salute to running moms. It's Take it and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge and that's their theme this week: Salute to running moms. I do that. I salute you, running moms. We rock.

But we're not much different than other non-running moms. Sure, we run. But the non-running moms have their own things and that's cool. So, I salute them, too. And -- since I'm on a saluting roll -- I salute all the non-mom runners, too! C'mon, Internet, how 'bout a big group hug?

Gosh, I'm corny.

Luckily, I hear my toddler calling, which means nap time and today's blog time is over. No more corniness from me! Enjoy the rest of the day!

~ Felice

*Which isn't, by the way, true.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Cold? Allergies?

The jury's still out but one or the other has knocked my head into a fog. Today feels a whole lot better than yesterday evening, when I was walking around in my own personal Cruddyville. Shame, too, because I had a big board meeting last night (my last one) and I felt like I could barely form a coherent thought, let alone speak a coherent sentence. Or even a coherent phrase.

But, as I said, today is better. And that means I will get out for a run. Yesterday's run was shelved in favor of a rest. I had grand plans for a nap-time run but when I found myself out of breath after just standing up I decided that I'd do well to conserve my energy. So that's what I did.

And not that it matters, really, but I wish I knew if this foggy fogginess in the head is from pollen or germs. I tried medicine for both: The cold medicine did nothing and the allergy medicine kicked my foggy fogginess into high gear. In other words, neither worked.

I should probably just suck it up ahem! and get a neti pot. I've heard they work wonders.

Anyway, the sun has been shining on and off today. Conal and I have weeded some flower beds, played a few games of catch (although I don't know that there was any true catching going on), and used the sidewalk chalk to color boldly all over the driveway.

A good day. Foggy in the head, sure, but a good day never-the-less.

Hope you're having a good day, too!

~ Felice

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Get writing! And eating!

I know that this is a running blog but today I am going to encourage two other things: writing and eating. What pleasures, this writing and eating stuff. I think you should do more of it.

First, eating. Today is Cinco de Mayo so why not enjoy a little guacamole? Or a margarita? Salt, no salt, it doesn't really matter. Just enjoy. Please. Because I can't -- no avocados in the house (where was my brain when I went to the market?) and I have a meeting this evening (so the margarita is out). I did, however, have some hummus spread on a tortilla for lunch. That's gotta count for something, right?

Second, writing. Have you seen RunPedia at Runner's World? It's a running encyclopedia and anyone can submit an article. Check it out! Also, Saucony is holding a contest for $1000 worth of gear here. Put on your clever cap and give it a go!

And now running. Excellent run on Sunday: 5.2 miles at 8:57 pace. I'm getting much better at slowing my pace for the easy runs. Today's run? We'll see. Planning for a quick one during nap time, if I can get everything else done before that. Where did I put those balancing skills, anyway?

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

~ Felice

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday stuff.

Overcast day, temps in the mid 60s. Owen is putting together Conal's playset. I've been catching up after being away for just over 24 hours. Meaning: Laundry, buying food at the co-op, cleaning the car. Next up: An easy afternoon run.

I've decided to keep track of my monthly stats from now on. So, here's what April looked like:

April stats:

Running (miles): 81.6
Cross training (sessions): 12

  • Yoga: 4 (stopped toward the mid-month)
  • 30 Day Shred, level 2: 2
  • 30 Day Shred, level 3: 3
  • No More Trouble Zones: 3
Overall, I was pleased with how this month went. My speedwork is just where I want it to be and my regular ol' runs are feeling great. I'd be happier with a few longer runs but I am where I am so I'm not complaining!

And now, I'm turning off the computer and heading out to run. Yay for May!

~ Felice

Friday, May 1, 2009

Yum, yogurt. Some follow-up. Hooray, it's Friday!

It's like a 3-for-1 today. Life's grand, huh?

Let's get right to it.

Oikos Organic Yogurt Review

The folks at Stonyfield Farm sent me some coupons to try their Oikos Organic yogurt for free and let you know what I thought of it. As you may be able to tell from this post title, I liked it. I thought it was, in a word, yummy. So did my toddler. We started with the blueberry yogurt, which Conal scarfed down like there was no tomorrow. He really, really liked it. I fought hard for a spoonful to try for myself and I quickly understood why he liked it so much. It was as thick and creamy as full-fat yogurt, only it has no fat at all.

Next we tried the plain. Same thing. Thick. Creamy. I foresee effortless, no-more-straining-the-yogurt-for-hours tzatziki in my future!

My only issue is with the price: The stuff is a little on the expensive side. It's a quality product, though, so it's worth it. If you're interested, you should check out the Oikos site for coupons!


Remember the Solixir drinks? Well, I was emailing with the founder, Scott, and he suggested trying the pomegranate ginger flavor after a run. I'm weird about my post-run routine. I usually have a few dried cranberries, raw almonds and a little coffee. I follow that with some water. It's just my thing. I get paranoid about headaches and that routine just works for me.

Anyway, I ran on Tuesday and tried the pom ginger afterward (instead of coffee) and, you got it, Scott was right. Very refreshing. The not-too-sweetness of the drinks, which was deemed a problem for regular drinking when my mom friends and I sampled the drinks, was a benefit for post-run hydration. I don't want to drink something that is too sweet after a run. So, this worked. Yay!


Big plans? Date nights? Races? I hope you have fun stuff on your schedule. Me? I got in some speedwork this afternoon. I'm off to my MIL's house tonight and back home late, late Saturday night. I'll also be rooting for all the racers this weekend including Beachrunner, Jo, Aron, Melanie, Joy, Kavi, Abby and Kara. And anyone else I forgot!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

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