Friday, December 2, 2011

Another great Turkey Trot

I have a Turkey Trot streak going.  Since the year I first started running (2008), I have run a Turkey Trot every Thanksgiving.  My first was rainy. My second helped a friend reach a 10K goal. I saw a PR in my third. And this year was all about my kids.

I have been suffering from a lack of motivation lately. Since St. George, I haven’t done a lot of running (or blogging for that matter).  I did run a half marathon with my friends (race report will be posted soon), but I haven’t done much running beyond my weekend long runs.

So when plans for the local Turkey Trot were being made, I wasn’t super excited to race. I am not in racing shape. It is funny, I am happy to run a half marathon not in “racing shape” but not a 10K. So when my eight-year-old asked about running, I was happy to commit to run with him.During my normal motivation mode, I would have run to the race, raced it, and then run home. This was a bit different for me. I ran with him on 4th of July when I was injured and enjoyed myself immensely. I knew we would have fun again. The difference this year is that his younger sister begged to run as well. Luckily, they were hosting a kids’ run right after the 5K.

IMAG0051We got to the park around 6:45 to register for the event. I saw my friends who were running the 10K. Oddly enough, I didn’t feel the slightest twinge of jealousy at them running it. I was really looking forward to running the 5K with my son.* He was pretty excited!IMAG0053

We lined up at the starting line and were ready to go! 

I forgot to bring my Garmin. It was a good thing. I think if I would have slowed him down. He was running pretty strong and fast.

He was getting very tired in the last mile. I tried to give him encouragement the entire time. I told him how proud I was of him and encouraged him to keep it up. I also let him know that it was ok to take walk breaks. I was pretty sure he was running at a faster pace than he ran in July. I saw something in him I hadn’t seen. Around the second mile he started looking at his watch. He wanted to beat his previous time!  In the last mile, I actually told him to stop looking at his watch.  LOL. Like mother like son.DSCN4026

We merged with the 10K race and ran on the river trail path, one I know very well. He was great.  Whenever he wanted a walk break, he would move over to the dirt so he didn’t get in anyone’s way.  He is learning race etiquette early!

When we saw the finish banner, I encouraged him to finish strong.  And he did! He turned it on and kept it going until the end. I was so, so, so proud of him.


And, yes…he did get a PR. In July, he ran a 36:51. On Thanksgiving, he ran 5K in 33:05!!!!! What an awesome PR! It is hard to describe how proud I feel.

Early in the race, he told me that he wanted to run the 1K Kids’ Run with his little sister. After pushing himself that hard, he asked if it was ok if he didn’t run with his sister. I think he deserved to take a break.

My husband showed up with my five-year-old  She was so excited to run her “very first race.” She wanted to run it with her brother, but when we explained that he was pretty tired, she quickly became excited to run with Mommy.DSCN4034

All the kids lined up.  They yelled “go” and we were off. She looked at me and said “this is so fun!”  Man, how many times can a mom’s heart melt in one day?

DSCN4039In one kilometer, she went through all the emotions runners experience during a race. I wish I would have videotaped the entire thing for her to watch someday. In the beginning, everything was fun and easy and she was carried by adrenaline. DSCN4036The route went up a slight hill and she said “I can’t do it!” “Of course you can,” was my reply. And she pushed her way up that hill. She laughed as we ran down that small incline. There was a water station near the halfway point. She stopped briefly, sipped some water and had a look of renewed determination as she started running again, her body language saying “I can do it!” On the 1k finishhome stretch she was having fun again (second wind?). As we sprinted toward the finish line, she said, “this is easy!” Isn’t that the feeling we all get at the end of a race? LOL.


It was a great morning! We went home and hosted a fabulous dinner** My daughter was overheard saying several times, “this is the best Thanksgiving EVER.” I would have to agree, my love…I definitely agree.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed your own tradition, whether it be a Turkey Trot or something else.

Happy Running…

*In July, he asked me if he could run the 10K on Thanksgiving.  I told him if he trained for it, he could. Since he hadn’t done any real training, he could only run the 5K.

**I had eleven people for dinner and cooked the BEST Thanksgiving turkey I have ever done. I used a fantastic brine from Alton Brown. I did most of my cooking on Wednesday and had a schedule for Thursday that kept my time in the kitchen to a minimum.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My latest workout: Pure Barre

Recently, I went to my very first Pure Barre class (and then again last Tuesday). I was pretty nervous. This was a class different from what I usually do. I expected it to be a little like Power Yoga, but then I heard the Britney Spears music coming from inside the studio. I had heard that it was inspired by ballet. I am not a dancer and am actually a bit of a spaz. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I am a running and fitness coach, for crying out loud…how bad would it be if I couldn’t hang?
*photo courtesy of

Pure Barre doesn’t use cardio or any impact whatsoever. It uses isometric holds and very small movements.  It turned out to be awesome. It was definitely a challenge, but I was able to keep up and do all the exercises. At one point my leg was shaking quite a bit. Apparently, this is a good thing.  A woman next to me was shaking so much, the bar was shaking.  She must have been doing really well.

When I went on Tuesday, I had the bright idea to run to class. The studio is a little less than two miles from my house. I had blown off running with my friends in the morning and wanted to get a few miles in before last weekend’s race. It wasn’t a particularly difficult run (it is mostly downhill), but I ran it pretty quickly in order to get to the class early enough to cool down, change my socks etc. So I started that class with warmed up, but somewhat tired, muscles. My leg shook a lot more. Let's just say that the run back home, uphill, wasn't nearly as easy.

The website said that they limit the class size so that they are small enough for individual attention.
“we keep our classes small to ensure each clients receives personal attention and hands-on corrections.”
The first class didn’t seem very limited to me. As soon as the preceding class let out, women streamed into the studio. I got into the room and it was nearly full. I am sure there were at least 20 women. By the time everyone was in, I doubt there was much room left at all.  However, we all seemed to have enough room—we weren’t kicking each other. Tuesday’s class was much smaller, which I preferred. The instructor was able to come around and correct form, posture etc. At first, I was self-conscious. The first instructor came over to me once to gently position my body to the proper place.  However, during the second class, it seemed like Kelsey adjusted my form nearly every exercise. I thought maybe I was doing it completely wrong.  However, I looked around and noticed that she went to just about everyone and tweaked and adjusted their positions. To get the most out of Pure Barre, your hips need to be tucked in just right to engage the muscles properly.

The class starts with a warm up, but it didn’t take long for the exercises to feel pretty difficult.  For example, we did a plank. As I started to fatigue, we were instructed to go from forearms to our hands in pushup position and begin pushups.  Thank goodness she told us to do them on our knees; full pushups would have probably wiped me out right there. After regular pushups, we also did pushups targeting different parts of the arm (such as triceps and shoulders). That was all in the first few minutes.

The class was well organized. We went from upper body to thighs to seat to abs and back. The class kept moving and the music was upbeat. This is a consistent format, no matter where you take the class. When I went to my second class, it was nice knowing what to expect.

Pure Barre is a nice contrast to the heavy impact exercising that I do on a regular basis. I truly believe that the strength I will build with this class will enhance my running.  I have been struggling for a couple of years with recurring IT Band issues. I have been told that these issues stem from my hips. Specifically, I have been overusing my TFL (tensor fasciae latae). Pure Barre strengthens the muscles of the hip and seat. I can feel my glute muscles getting stronger, which will help balance the TFL, putting less pressure on my IT Band.

Pure Barre costs a bit more than I like to pay. I tried it out due to a Living Social deal which made it more affordable for me.  At our local studio, a single class is $25. An unlimited one month membership is $225 and a ten-class pass is $210. It is on the high end of fitness classes for this area. I will take advantage of various specials that they offer from time to time. In fact, they have a great special going on now for $165 for one month unlimited or ten classes.

Thinking about trying out Pure Barre? The only thing you need is a pair of socks. pure barre socksThey recommend the yoga/Pilates socks with traction on the bottom. I really like the ones that leave my toes open. All the other equipment (weights, bands, balls and mats) is provided. I bring water or Nuun because I like to stay hydrated, but not everyone brings a drink. You should also wear pants or capris. It is important to keep your legs and muscles warm.  In addition, you often hold a rubber ball between your legs, which might not be so comfy on your skin.

Overall, I give Pure Barre a thumbs up.  I will continue to take the classes as long as I can afford it. I probably won’t take it four or five times a week, like they recommend. I still need room in my schedule for teaching my own classes, running and taking care of my kids. I am hoping I can get results by going once or twice a week.

I hope you out there moving your body and loving it.

Coming soon… Santa Barbara Half Marathon race report.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Inspiring Woman Inspiring Women #1

Amanda, from Runninghood, did a post about some inspiring women that she has discovered in the blogosphere. I am stealing her idea and taking her lead. So here is my first list of women who inspire me.  Of course, this is not an all inclusive list.  I decided to start with some of the first women that I met on the internet through this blog.


Terri was the first person to comment on my blog (other than my family and friends). I remember how excited I was to receive support from a total stranger. Terri and I connected through our blogs and I discovered what a great social network blogging really is. I had no idea. Terri doesn’t blog much any more. She has had a lot going on in her life lately.  But the great thing about Terri is that she tries all the time to focus on the positive—even when things are crumbling around her. She has always been so supportive of me—3000 miles away.

Oh and Terri is my idol when it comes to ab strength. She is a machine when it comes to planks!


Jill’s blog is interesting and informative.  She is a fellow RRCA coach and leads a Team Challenge group in Las Vegas. She is a go-to gal for product reviews and all the latest trends in running. Jill was a finalist in Shape Magazine’s Best Bloggers.  Her story was also featured in Shape and can be read HERE.

Jill has overcome an eating disorder and is a strong advocate for healthy body image. In addition, she is a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. Her mother fought cancer and she was chosen to run the Global Race For the Cure event in Washington DC with her mother. You can read about it HERE.


Alissa doesn’t blog much anymore either, but she does run a pretty cool t-shirt company called Balancing Act Clothing*. She has some beautiful designs and inspirational messages. Alissa struggles to fight her own personal demons. Yet she still finds a way to be supportive and encouraging to those around her.

Alissa is a talented designer.  In fact, she designed the logo for my business that I LOVE.


Alice lives very near where I lived in the San Diego area.  In fact, my son went to the elementary school (for a couple months) that he kids went to. I think I found her blog due to the fact that she was “local.” I became a fan of the blog because it was so much fun to read.

She and her best friends, the Heffers, run together (and sometimes bike) and often celebrate a good run with some mimosas afterwards.  My kind of gals! They travel all over to run races together and then Alice writes about their adventures. I was able to be part of one adventure at a race a couple of years ago.  Fun times!

Alice inspires me not to take myself too seriously. Running is an opportunity to be outside, be active and be with friends.

Thus far, I have focused on bloggers I met while my blog was still very young.  I will do another post featuring some of the wonderful women I have discovered recently.  However, I had to mention one truly inspiring woman today. I am incredibly inspired by Dorothy at Mile Posts.  I have followed her blog for a while, but I was able to meet her at Hood to Coast this summer. I developed a bit of a girl crush on her.  She is beautiful inside and out and is an unbelievable runner. She has three children and her youngest isn’t even a year old yet. 
But she still runs faster than just about anyone I know;  Dorothy recently ran a 3:13 marathon!!  Eleven months after the birth of a baby, she ran faster than I could ever dream of running.  But she is a regular person, just like me.  She has found the strength to unleash her God-given talent.  She balances her running with motherhood, something so many of us struggle to do.  Yesterday, she ran another marathon (two weeks after her fabulous 3:13) and finished in 3:21!  I was so inspired by her feat that I decided to start this post.

I will do other posts with this theme because I am inspired every day by various women I have discovered out here in the blogosphere.  Grab the picture above and join Amanda and me in recognizing women who touch our souls.

Who inspires you?  Who do you inspire?

Add your own "Inspiring Woman Inspiring Women" post here so we can all see some of those great women out there:

*Balancing Act Clothing is currently offline while Alissa deals with some personal issues. Check out her store in late November to find some great shirts just in time for Christmas!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Final Thoughts and Lessons Learned from the St. George Marathon

after the race
My full race recap is HERE. I just have to repeat that it was an AWESOME day. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and was excited beyond belief to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

The St. George Marathon is long over and I am still thrilled with the result.  My friends had mixed results, but overall everyone had a great time.  Kim hit a wall due to becoming dehydrated and missed her goal.  She still finished her first marathon, blowing me out of the water with an impressive time of 3:41. Heidi and Whitney finished their first marathons with smiles on their faces. Heidi met her goal of a sub five-hour marathon (4:50) and Whitney was grinning ear to ear at 5:29. 

But the story of the day was Kelly.  Kelly finished in 3:39!!!!! Not only did she qualify for Boston (by 21 seconds), she got 5th in her division, earning herself a very cool plaque!* I was filled with so much emotion at this news. I was SO proud. I was SO excited and happy for Kelly. I was a little surprised (she never talked about such an aggressive goal). Unfortunately, I also felt a little jealous**. I felt a little frustrated (that I had not had more faith in her and been more supportive of her “balls out” race plan).*** I was mad at myself for feeling anything but pure joy for Kelly. Now all I feel is happy for her. Unfortunately, Kelly couldn’t truly enjoy her accomplishment. Kelly is so sweet and such a supportive friend that she didn’t feel comfortable celebrating when she beat her “coach” by over ten minutes and her friend Kim by two.  Kim was pretty disappointed in her race and no one wanted to make her feel any worse.

All of us are talking about our next marathon together, but that is a post for another day.
Kelly told me after the race that she thought I left too much out there on the course. I have pondered this over and over. I know now that I probably could have run that race faster had I run the first miles faster. I know that I couldn’t have run the last half of the race any faster than I did.  But the first seven? Maybe.

In looking back, however, I have NO regrets. I ran my race plan and did what I wanted to do. I felt fantastic afterward and recovered quickly. I have a reasonable shot at getting a PR next time I run a marathon. I think that is a great place to be. I know the pain and disappointment of going out too fast and struggling at the end.  Feeling strong and having enough energy to push through that wall at the end feels WAY better than shuffling those last few miles, completely spent.

Kelly admitted that she went with her “balls out” plan because she had nothing to lose. I did have something to lose. The last thing I wanted to do was to go through that disappointment that I went through in Long Beach. Running smart was a better plan for me. Who knows…maybe next year I’ll try the “balls out” race plan.

What worked in St. George?
  1. Downhill course.  While the hills were nothing to scoff at, the net downhill of the race helped me keep my speed up in the tough miles toward the end.
  2. Solid pacing plan. I had plenty of energy to get through those tough, painful miles in the middle of the race. At the end, I was able to keep my pace right where it was supposed to be.
  3. Good hydration plan. I decided to carry my own hydration. The weather was hot; the hottest start in race history. The start was at 5200 feet and altitude can contribute to dehydration. While there were water stations every two miles, I wanted to be able to drink more often than that. I get side stitches when I drink too much water at once.  In addition, the sports drink (available every four miles) was Gatorade.  I had been training with Nuun and wanted to stick with that. The great thing was that when I ran out of Nuun, I refilled my bottles with water and added a Nuun tablet that I was carrying. I felt no signs of dehydration despite the excessive heat combined with the altitude.
  4. Great pre-race carb loading. I used an old school approach to carb loading. I ate a relatively low carb diet on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Then I switched mid-week to a high carb diet. I ate things like waffles and popcorn in addition to meals of pasta etc. and drank plenty of juice and water. We snacked constantly on the day before the race on the long car ride to St. George. Then I had a sensibly sized pasta dinner at a reasonable hour.
  5. Imodium. One of the things that derailed me in Long Beach was bad tummy issues resulting in a porta potty stop. I never got my rhythm back after that. The same thing has happened in several other races. I experimented with taking Imodium before a couple half marathons this year and it worked well.
  6. A positive attitude. While I was focused on my goal, I was also determined to enjoy myself. I enjoyed the fantastic view and fabulous company. It was the most friends I had ever run a marathon with****. 

Happy Running…

*She ran in the “under 40 heavyweight division.” It is great that they have this division. I do believe, however, that the guidelines for the division are WAY off. To qualify for “heavyweight” as a woman you only have to be over 145 pounds. Since when is 145 pounds heavyweight?? 145 pounds is average. In fact, it is below average for women. I would venture to guess that it is well below average. Kelly is a strong, fit athlete and I would never think of her as a “heavyweight.”
**I ran all the speedwork faster than she did. Our training was the same. Could I have run that fast??
***I never thought she would run that quickly. All the charts (RRCA, McMillan, Attackpoint etc.) predicted a slightly lower than four hour pace. Kelly is one of the best downhill runners I have ever met. I can’t keep up with her on a downhill slope. Most of the guys can’t keep up with her on a downhill. She goes for it and it does not wear her out at all. This course was tailor made for her. While there are plenty of uphill sections, they are outweighed by downhill (a net 2600 foot drop). But she pushed through and didn’t lose speed up the hills or at the end. She is awesome!
****There were seven of us that travelled from California to Utah

Friday, October 14, 2011

Motherhood IS a workout!

Yesterday was a marathon. There was a little bit of running involved, but that was the easy part. Here is a synopsis of my not-so-typical day.

5:30 a.m.—meet Stacey for two mile warm up and three 800 meter repeats at the track.* We ran about six miles total.

7:00 a.m.—wake up kids, get them breakfast, get clothes (didn’t lay them out the night before –fail), bag up 60 bags of edamame for kindergarten “E” snack for both classes.

7:45 a.m.—leash up dog, make sure kindergarten share item is in backpack, put lunches in backpacks, help put shoes on.

7:48 a.m.—leave for school. It is a beautiful day and instead of enjoying the walk, we rushed to the school.

8:15 a.m.—walk home after touching base with some of the moms regarding PTA business.

8:30 a.m.—prepare for Body Back. Bring equipment, including spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of peppermint oil as well as a cooler full of washcloths in ice water and lavender oil for end of class.

8:55 a.m.—teach plyometric workout to my Body Back clients in 80+ degree heat.

10:15 a.m.—back home to do laundry, help pack for husband’s work trip, empty the dishwasher, put away clothes/jammies that are scattered all over the kids’ room etc.etc.

1:25 p.m.—head to the school to pick up kindergartner.

1:35 p.m.—pick up kindergartner. Let her play on the grass by the school while we wait for big brother.

2:15 p.m.—big brother gets out of school. He earned “super star” status so he gets to play on the grass with his friends and then go to a friend’s house for a play date.

3:15 p.m.—take daughter to dance class. Drop her off there so I can run a couple errands before end of class and having to pick up son at friend’s house.

3:55 p.m.—get into car after running errand for husband for his trip and it DOES. NOT. START.

4:00 p.m.—sit in HOT** car making phone calls trying to make sure daughter is not stranded at dance class. I call for a ride, call the mechanic, call the dealership…

4:20 p.m.—picked up by friend, Kelly, and drive to dance class to pick up daughter.

4:40 p.m.—pick up Kelly’s car*** from the shop so I can borrow it until I get my car fixed.

5:10 p.m.—pick up son at friend’s house.

5:15 p.m.—get kids in Kelly’s car and turn key to find out that IT. WON’T. START.  Wth? Am I CURSED??

5:20 p.m.—call Kelly and tell her about her car. She calls her family to help pick up her kids (she has four of them, so every day is a marathon for her). She calls me back and tells me she is on her way to me to call AAA and deal with her car.  As she is talking to me (on speaker phone) I hear a crunch as she says, “OMG…a woman just ran into me!! I’ll call you back!!” Ack!!

5:25 p.m.—Kelly calls me back. No damage from fender bender.  Crazy lady backed into her at a stop light.  Wth??

5:35 p.m.—Kelly comes to friend’s house, we all push the car out of friend’s driveway so he can get out and take his kids to soccer. Her car sat in the middle of the cul de sac, waiting for the tow truck.

6:10 p.m.—Auto Club shows up. He tries to start car and then hooks it up to the truck to tow it.

7:00 p.m.—Tow truck drops Kelly’s car at mechanic (which is closed). He is not allowed to go get my car. I call Auto Club to get a tow truck for my car. We drive back to where my car is parked.

7:30 p.m.—second tow truck comes to my car. He hooks it up and we go back to mechanic. By this time, Kelly and I were laughing about it all. We were calling it our adventure. The kids were troupers. Seriously, the whining was really kept to a minimum. There was a McDonald’s next to the store where my car was parked so they got a very rare Happy Meal, which made them very happy.****

8:05 p.m.—second tow truck leaves garage. Kelly and I are starving. We fed the kids, but not us. I had actually not had lunch, just a snack after Body Back.

8:15 p.m.—as a fortunate twist of fate, we had noticed that there were six or seven food trucks in a parking lot near the spot where my car had broken down. Kelly and I grabbed some yummy food. These are the actual food trucks from the Food Network show The Great Food Truck Race. I found out after the fact that the winner was there. Apparently, they go to this parking lot every Thursday night so I might go try them next week!

8:55 p.m--. Kelly drops me off at home.  FINALLY. I get kids in jammies and tuck them into bed.

9:15 p.m.—help husband finish up packing for his trip. He is camping in Moab, Utah as a company retreat (did I mention that I am jealous?)

10:00 p.m.—I can’t stay awake any longer and I fall into bed. I am so exhausted that I actually fell asleep in my clothes.

I had planned on running early this morning, but like any marathon, I needed some recovery time. I slept in until 6:45 only to start another marathon all over again today. I have four days of being a single mom. So right now, instead of getting chores done or running errands, I am sitting on the computer, catching up with DVR episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Project Runway.

I hope you are doing well with your marathons of your lives.  Have a fantastic weekend!!

*Stacey did GREAT. This was her first speed work in her training for a sub-two half marathon. She did her 800 repeats in 3:43, 3:49 and 3:52.  We originally planned on doing four, but cut it short to run home in time to start our busy days.
**It was in the 90’s yesterday! I didn’t want to make phone calls in the air conditioned store, but maybe I should have since I had a headache for the rest of the afternoon.
***Kelly was driving her sister’s car since her car had been in the shop to fix her radiator. She was called that afternoon telling her that her car was ready.
****Did you know that McDonald’s now provides french fries and apples with Happy Meals? Now kids don’t have to choose one or the other.  The fries are a tiny portion…just enough.  SO much better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

St. George Marathon Race Report—Marathon Redemption v2

My marathon journey has not been an easy one. My first sub-four attempt (marathon #2) was a crash and burn in San Diego. The marathon after that (marathon #3) was my “marathon redemption” in Huntington Beach. My first Boston attempt (marathon #4) was a crash and burn in Long Beach. On Saturday I had my second “marathon redemption” in St. George (marathon #6).
We drove to the race, which is about six hours away. While traveling like that right before a race isn’t ideal, it worked out well for me. I think my carbo loading was much better than it has been in the past. Normally, I am running around like a crazy woman the day before a race. That is my normal routine, which sometimes doesn’t give me time for lunch, let alone constant snacking.  Sitting in a car allowed me to snack and drink the entire time. We drank so much that we had to stop three times during the drive!

We hit the expo and then headed to our friends’ family’s home for a fun pasta dinner. DSCN3781 Since I had been eating all day, I didn’t feel tempted to eat a huge plate full of DSCN3782pasta.  I had a normal portion of pasta, piece of garlic bread and dessert. It was Heidi’s birthday and Rod’s in a few weeks, so we had several types of birthday cake.  The coolest thing was that Heidi was turning 26 and then running 26.2 the next day.  It was her first marathon.DSCN3786
We went back to Whitney’s family condo to sleep.  Did I mention how great it is running with people who seem to know everyone in Utah? No restaurant or hotel the night before a marathon?  Such a relaxing way to prepare for a race!!

I had one moment of panic while setting my stuff out for the next morning. I had my list at home that included my Garmin.  I brought my Garmin, BUT I failed to bring the wrist band that it snaps onto. I was contemplating keeping my Garmin in my hydration belt and lamenting at this unfortunate twist added to my race plan.  Whitney brought several spools of hair ribbon and had a great idea. We tied the Garmin to my wrist!Garmin ribbon It slid around my wrist a bit, but it was better than having to get it out of my belt to see my pace.  Crisis averted!  Thanks, Whitney!

We went to bed and I was super tired, convinced I would sleep like a rock. But, alas, I laid awake for a couple of hours. I wasn’t thinking about the race and I didn’t think I was that nervous, but my brain would not turn off!  I probably ended up getting a couple of hours, but when the alarm went off at 3:30 I was excited!

We caught the bus to the start line just before 5 a.m.. The only part of the course we could preview was the rise and fall of the road. It was pitch black. You could definitely tell there were a lot of hills in this race.

Runners who have run this race before had told us to bring gloves, throwaway sweatshirts, garbage sacks etc. because the start line, at 5200 feet in elevation, is very chilly. They even had many fires built at the start line to keep runners warm. They also gave everyone mylar blankets to wrap around ourselves. But we didn’t need any of that.  It was plenty warm. I think it was already in the 60’s when we started the race. Rumor has it that it was the warmest starting temperature in St. George’s 35 year history.  Yikes.IMAG0750
St. George start line
We were ready to go! (pictured are: Adam, Rod, Kelly, Kay, Kirsten, Heidi, Whitney, Me and Kim)

We used the porta potties several times.  My plan in a big race is to spend the entire time in potty lines. Once I get done, I get right back in line. This has been a key to my best races. Once I “emptied” everything, I took my Imodium. I took one and a half pills (after playing around with the dosage at various half marathons). This was a bit of a risk considering the fact that it can dehydrate you.  However, I was carrying water and planned on drinking throughout the race.  I had no dehydration issues. Phew!

Before we new it, it was time to start! 

stgeorge pace band
I had a plan. My plan involved pacing myself. We found a GREAT pacing tool online that weighted each mile based upon the elevation changes and terrain of that race. The author has recorded splits from many runners from many years. This pace band was the KEY to my successful race. I kept my splits at or under these times. It took all my anxiety over the Veyo hill away. I knew that I could slow down quite a bit up that hill without hurting my overall time. Throughout the race, I could check and see where I was and what kind of cushion I had. It was awesome.

Miles 1-7—8:38, 8:43, 8:29, 8:15, 8:32, 8:18, 8:20 My friend, Sharron, texted me a good luck wish on Friday that said, “Have a great race tomorrow! Don’t forget to enjoy the view.” That text stuck with me.  It was dark when the race started but dawn came on around mile two. The sky was a beautiful color and while the sun was hidden by the mountains for quite a while, its affects could be seen on the red rocks in the distance. It was beautiful.  I made sure that I ran with my head up rather than watching the pavement in front of me. I was enjoying myself so much. The only thing I was missing was company. I would make a comment about the scenery and not get much interaction. But that was ok. It was the prettiest race I have ever run. Had I not had a specific time goal, I would have taken a ton of gorgeous pictures.  Instead, I stole borrowed a couple from another runner who was kind enough to post them on his blog. The pictures don’t do the scenery justice.
photos courtesy of
I ran and clicked off the miles…one at a time.  It was amazing how fast they clicked by. Before I knew it, I was running through the little town of Veyo. The spectators were pretty sparse on the course, but when there were spectators, they were super supportive and enthusiastic. Veyo was the greatest. I high fived about twenty kids and read a bunch of great signs.  There were signs that made me laugh like “Mommy, did you pee your pants?”  and “Running a Marathon is all mental and you are all INSANE.”

I felt surprisingly relaxed. I felt good and I was really enjoying myself. At one point I looked down and saw my name. Someone had painted “Relax, Lisa, Relax! You can DO it” I knew it was for another Lisa, but I chose to believe that they were writing it for me. There was another message with the same sentiment later on in the race.  Thank you, random stranger!
st george proof courtesy of Marathonfoto
photo courtesy of MarathonFoto

Miles 7-13 —9:31, 9:13, 8:50, 9:06, 8:37, 8:33 Then we hit the infamous hill. But it was more than just the steep hill out of Veyo. Once you get to the top of the hill, you get a deceptive flat section and then it continues uphill for another three miles.  The good news was that the worst of the hills were over.

I was still clicking off the miles, one by one. I was shocked how fast things were going.  As I reached for my Gu at mile 12, I realized that one of them had fallen out of its elastic strap. Oh crap!  There goes my nutrition plan. I knew I should have stashed an extra one.  I was feeling good, so I decided not to take a Gu yet and to wait until mile 13.  I figured that I could find another gel somewhere to get me by later on, but I needed to be smart about it. At one point I was looking for full, unused gels on the ground. I saw a couple, but not until I passed them and it would have looked pretty silly to turn around to pick up a discarded gel. But I knew that I would need more nutrition. I took a chance and grabbed a banana at an aid station at mile 13. It tasted delicious and did great in my tummy!

Miles 14-18—8:55, 8:15, 8:53, 8:18, 8:48 It was starting to get pretty hot. It had been warm for most of the race, but the sun was behind the mountains or clouds for much of the first half of the race.  By mile 14 the sun was out in full force.

The heat didn’t affect me as badly as I thought it would.  One thing that helped a lot was a cute little trick that Whitney shared with me.  I took some knee socks and tied them around my neck.  At one of the early water stops (probably around mile 7) I soaked it in cold water. At every water stop I poured water on the socks. st george proof 3 courtesy of Marathonfoto They kept my neck nice and cool and I never felt overheated. It was a risk running with something I hadn’t tried before.  I figured that I could toss the $2 socks if they bugged me.

Unfortunately, it was during these long hot middle miles that my IT Band started bothering me. A LOT. I had a long way to go and I didn’t know how much worse it was going to get. I stopped at a medical tent (which were very plentiful—at nearly every water station, which were every two miles). They rubbed my knee with Icy Hot. I think I did this at mile 17.

Miles 19-22—9:46, 9:11, 8:30, 9:49  These were the toughest miles of the race. I was in serious pain. I had to stop to stretch or walk in order to get the pain on the side of my leg to ease up.

Going into mile 19, I had close to a two minute cushion on my A+ goal. I was averaging an 8:41 pace.  But mile 19 was one of my slowest miles. I hurt, it was hot. I knew my cushion was dwindling away every time I stopped. During mile 19 there was an overpass with a traffic barrier off to the side under it. It was something to lean on and it was in the shade. I didn’t check, but I may have used up a good chunk of a minute there.

My IT Band hurt as much that day as it did during the Long Beach Marathon a year earlier. Last year, it was the nail in my coffin that I couldn’t push through. This year, I was SO close to my goal. Somehow, I was able to push through. I learned, maybe for the first time, just how much of a mental challenge a marathon is. I have always wondered if I could have pushed through that pain last year, but since my goals were completely gone, I never really tried. This year, with my goal still within reach, I found the strength. This is the strongest I have ever felt in a race.

Miles 23-26.2--8:35, 8:18, 8:35, 8:37 (pace for .2 was 8:17)                           
Miraculously, somewhere around mile 23, my IT Band stopped hurting so acutely. In fact, my knee went numb. I felt nothing.  Well…I can’t say nothing. It was the last miles of a marathon in 80-degree weather. I felt all sorts of things. 

These miles had some great spectator support. The course wound through residential streets where crowds cheered me on. There were cold washcloths at mile 25 that felt fantastic. There was finally some shade and I was smiling. I knew I was going to finish within my goal. My Boston qualifying time of 3:55 was in the bag. I knew my A++ (3:48 or faster) goal was out of reach, but my A+ goal (sub 3:50) was still possible. I pushed as hard as I could.
st george finish proof courtesy of MarathonFoto
photo proof courtesy of

I ran through the chute with a grin on my face. After crossing the finish line, I looked down and saw that I didn’t quite make that A+ goal (3:50:17).  However, I was not disappointed. I was overcome with emotion and as I covered my face as the tears came, a volunteer asked if I was ok.  I was more than ok. Then he asked if it was my first marathon.  “No, but my first time qualifying for Boston.”  I got a few congratulations from those around me.  I have never felt so proud after a race.

Official Time--


overall- 1578/5735

gender- 439/2554

women 40-44- 71/367

Thanks everyone for the positive thoughts and well wishes.

Coming soon…after the race, thoughts, and lessons learned.

Monday, October 3, 2011

BQ, baby!!!!

I went to Utah and kicked some serious booty! I ran a smart race, battled the weather, pushed through some major pain and owned that marathon.

My goal was to clear my Boston qualifying time by five minutes. I missed doing that by 13 seconds. But four minutes and 47 seconds is pretty awesome. Oh, and it was a PR by over seven minutes!!!


The full race report will be coming soon.

Happy Running… (I won’t be running today, but I am walking around pretty darn happy)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Loosening my grip…

As most people do, I have been refreshing about a million times a day for the past week obsessing about St. George, Utah on Saturday. Unfortunately, the weather outlook has steadily become worse and worse. Five days ago, the forecast was for high temperatures around 89 degrees.  As of five minutes ago, the high is predicted to be 93.  YIKES.

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook and Twitter asking for advice for running a marathon in extreme heat.  I had some good advice.  Some of it even made me laugh. Alyssa and XLMIC both suggested I run naked! Interesting thought…

Two tweets came through that really made me think:

bart yasso twitter post

mason twitter post

When I talked to my husband about it, he encouraged me not to change my goal. I have been training toward this goal for six months. If you count my failed attempt last year, I have been running toward this goal for over a year.

But running in temperatures that high? In Googling “running in heat” I saw articles saying that running in temperatures over 85 can lower your pace as much as 20%.

I am not going to give up my goal. However, I am going to loosen my grip on it a bit. Last year, I was holding on to my goal so tightly that when it finally slipped away, I was crushed. It still stings. I actually have a bad taste in my mouth for the Long Beach Marathon because of it. I have looked forward for so long to running St. George, I don’t want it ruined. I am determined to enjoy this!

I will do exactly as Mason suggests: accept what the day gives me, adjust my goal as needed and, most importantly, HAVE FUN.

I don’t think there is live tracking for the race, however they are broadcasting the finish line. I will be wearing a day-glo tank top, pink visor, pink compression socks and black shorts. My bib number is 5974. Look for me!

I’m off to finish packing.  We leave in the morning.

Happy Running…

Hood to Coast Race Report Part 6—party on the beach AND a thanks to our sponsors

Ah yes… you thought you were done with Hood to Coast recaps.  Well, almost.  I would be remiss if I didn’t finish the story.

Once I was done running, we hopped into the van and headed toward the beach. We all had thought we would shower, nap etc., but we were too excited. This was the “biggest beach party on the West Coast.”

The beach was slightly cool and breezy. It was nice.

We stalked famous people.  The above picture is the Heart –n- Sole team from the Hood to Coast Movie.  Below is Bob Foote, the founder of Hood to Coast. I really enjoyed talking with him! He is a runner’s runner.

Then it was time for a little revelry!  I think we earned those beers!
After a few beers, it was time to head to the finish line to cheer on our teams.  Unfortunately, the rest of Nuun Platuun hadn’t made it to the beach due to crazy traffic. It was up to us to give XLMIC a huge welcome.

As usual, she was giving it all she had.  You can read her own version HERE. She ran that last leg as fast as she possibly could.  She anchored our team beautifully.

Nuun Platuun did better than anyone expected.  While we did great on the first two legs, each one of us dug deeper for that last leg.  Our team finished 200 grueling miles in 27:59:17!!!   We finished 7th in the Women’s Open Division!  That was an hour faster than our 10K PRs predicted.  We were all more than thrilled at our stellar finish.

Thirteen minutes later, Megan finished.  She was injured and hurting, but she finished strong with a huge smile on her face (pictured above).  You can read about her runs HERE.

There were a lot of emotions.  Hood to Coast was over and both teams had highs and lows and did GREAT.

Van 2 finally made it to the beach.  We received our medals, took some pictures, then there was more partying. The entire hood to coast medalteam had a fun time. It was everything I had hoped it would be. It was more than a race, more than a blogger meetup. It was something hard to put into words (yet I used thousands of words to try). I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Here is a video that briefly portrays the Hood to Coast experience:

And now a word about our incredibly generous sponsors…

Of course, the number one sponsor to thank goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway). Nuun was FANTASTIC in putting this entire thing together.  I still pinch myself when I think about how lucky I was to have been involved.

Running Skirts generously donated some awesome camo running skirts to the team. How great do we look?
Road ID gave us some killer dog tags. I love mine and wore it the entire time during HTC. 
hood to coast road idhood to coast road id 2

Moving Comfort was kind enough to give us some bras. I LOVE my Juno bra.
Looking back, I should have run in just my bra during HTC.  Jess did that and looked awesome.

Tommie Copper sent us a bunch of compression gear. I have worn the ankle sleeves several times (to help with some tendonitis I get on the top of my foot), the knee sleeve (after my first leg when my IT band got a bit angry) and the calf sleeves.  They are all super comfortable! provided signs for our vans. They did a great job! Not only did the magnets look good, but they stayed on the vans.  Four vans, multiple signs and no sign loss.

2Toms provided some great Sport Shield to keep us from chafing.  I am taking this stuff with me to St. George! It goes on like roll-on deodorant and dries so you don’t even know it is there.
Jack Black cosmetics supplied us with a great sample pack of lotions, sunscreens and lip balms. This is another product I will be taking with me to St. George. They have an SPF 45 sunscreen that I really like and the lip balm saved me!
Jack Black cosmetics
We spent a day and a half in a van and snack foods were important. Jamba Juice provided the team with some coconut water juice.  They were a hit!
jamba coconut water
Jenny Craig also sent us some Oatmeal Breakfast Squares. They really hit the spot at odd times during the day.  They were perfect as a breakfast snack even when breakfast was at 2 in the morning.

And we also were given some Gu, a key ingredient of any race. While the flavors weren’t my personal favorite, Gu is my gel of choice. It will be fueling me on Saturday during the marathon.

It was wonderful for all these companies to support our adventure in such a big way. It just shows how admired all the women are and how they conduct themselves out in the blogosphere. Everyone represented these sponsors well and appreciated all the products more than the sponsors will know. It was just the added touch that made the entire experience a bit surreal.

Thanks again to everyone for all your support.

Happy Running…

Don’t forget to enter my giveaways for free Gymboss Interval Timers.  Today is the last day.  You can find the blog giveaway HERE. And my Facebook giveaway HERE.


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