Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekly Milage Update and You Live and You Learn

I ran 31.8 miles this week, which brings my yearly total to 100.7 miles. Not too shabby.

One of the kickers about running gear is it is often fancy. Like you should fully explore your new water system before taking it out on a winter day for a run, otherwise you won't find the pocket where the water reservoir is supposed to sit. If you miss that, the reservoir will leak all over the pocket you've placed it in, and even though you won't get wet, your back pack will be soaked on the inside.

At least that is what my husband learned today :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Total miles for the year: 68.9

The requisite post about self care, otherwise known as Actually, rest days are important for recovery, but that doesn't stop me from thinking this way sometimes.
(Thank you Pinterest)

So now we are all inspired by Arnold and his commitment to being big, here are some thoughts on self care.

Rest days ARE important. This is one of my biggest struggles with running. I love physical activities of all sorts. Most of my hobbies are some sort of physical activity, and when I have to be on a training schedule, making time for the things I love doing and acknowledging that
my body needs rest gets a bit tricky. Yesterday I convinced myself that my favorite yoga work out totally counted as a rest day. I had forgotten about the very very very very challenging core sequence called "Abs with a rolled up mat". My abdominal muscles are very sore and inflamed today, thank you very much.

Part of my self care is acknowledging that there will still be a million different forms of physical activity that I can participate in after this fifty miler, so when I open an email and see "Best New Strength Moves for Sexy Beach Arms!!!" I don't immediately run to the gym to try out the newest (not new at all, typically) moves to develop my arms. I have also gotten better at realizing that I can focus more on upper body stuff on my non-running days to give my legs a well-deserved break.

I have committed to getting massage regularly. This is probably easier for me than most people, as I was a massage therapist in a former life, and have friends with whom I can trade, but I still pay for a massage once a month. I highly recommend massage, especially if you feel your ilio-tibial bands tightening down, which usually manifests as knee pain commonly known as runner's knee. In my experience, myofascial release techniques can help prevent some common running injuries, like runner's knee.

You can do some of your own self care massage using a foam roller. Foam rollers can be found at most gyms now, and at most major chain stores. Here is a good looking guide to foam rolling from

Being a former massage therapist, I have a few techniques up my sleeve that I can use on my, including massage cupping.

(This is my ilio-tibial band with massage cups on it. There are magnets with opposite polarities inside of them. There were also more cups on my glutes, but I figured I didn't really want my butt on the internet)

This is what I use when my fascia is really locked down, and foam rolling isn't hacking it. If you do find a massage therapist, I recommend finding someone who has training in massage cupping; it is far more tolerable than skin rolling for releasing superficial fascia.

Keeping myself functional is key right now. Massage, stretching, foam rolling, and rest days are just as important as the time I spend running.

But cross country skiing is finally a possibility...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Update on total miles for 2015

I've decided I'm going to keep track of the number of miles I run this year. I'm going to post a weekly update giving you that total so far.

Here it is
I've run 40.6 miles so far in 2015.

Keep it coming!

Food food food food food

Running makes me even hungrier than normal.

I'm a hungry person to start, so when I run regularly I have to eat a lot. The trick to eating as much as I do is to pay attention. I don't strictly count calories for two reasons: 1. I hate counting calories; the act makes me totally twitchily irritated. 2. I was diagnosed with a non-specific type eating disorder a few years ago. Part of the recovery is not counting  calories, not weighing yourself, and talking a lot about how much you have cut back on exercise. Real fun stuff. I can tell you that the last thing you want to do after working hard at recovery is to go back to counting calories. Every once in a while, when I notice my weight slipping to a range that means new pants are imminent unless I lose a few pounds, I will count calories for a week. That is all I have patience to attempt, and it sufficiently resets my concept of how much I need to eat. I typically don't have to do much more.

This paying attention thing, how does it work? I have to confess, my style of paying attention is fairly simple: eat when I am hungry (which is all the time), and I shoot for an 80/20 split over the course of the day.

What do I mean by 80/20 split? I mean 80% of the time the food I'm eating is providing essential nutrients and is made of things that are pretty healthy. I eat a lot of vegetables. I drink green juice (which is getting easier every day, if you haven't noticed. Even V-8 Juice brand is making a green version with no tomatoes for those of us with heart burn). I focus on whole grains, lots of colors, lean protein sources. 20% of the time, I'm eating something that maybe isn't so healthy. I love chocolate. I love wine. I love any type of food that comes in dip form.

Here are the most important things to remember about food in my world:
Normal eating isn't being perfect every day. Normal eating means some days you eat more, some days less. Some days you eat all the servings of vegetables you are supposed to, some days you eat donuts. Normal eating is less about striving for perfect food days every day (and we can talk about the pain and stress of trying to have perfect food days, if you like), and more about eating things that make you feel good with out guilt.

Fuel is essential for a good run. I NEVER have a good run when I realize I am really hungry before I start. A little hungry? Fine. I can make it. Hungry hungry never makes for a good start. I putter out after a few miles. This totally seems like a duh moment, but I swear I used to always run on an empty stomach. It was part of my eating disorder, and I've finally realized that it just doesn't work.

My renegade nutritionist who helped me through the first part of my recovery gave me the gift of knowing that perfect isn't what I need to achieve; she also gave me the gift of telling me she eats Poptarts. When you are as caught up in being perfect as I was, hearing a nutritionist say she eats Poptarts is a revelation.

Oh, there is one more piece: working at maintaining a grateful heart. When you are grateful for the food in front of you, it becomes less about trying to be perfect, and more about appreciating the moment. I'm not very good at this. I'm inclined to be critical of myself. It is a practice though, and I'm trying to make this practice a part of my training.

Stay warm out there (unless you are somewhere warm, then stay cool).

Friday, January 2, 2015

Treadmill Blues

I ran/walked 8 miles on a treadmill yesterday.

I hate treadmills. In order to stay on a treadmill for more than five minutes without completely losing my mind, one of three things must happen: I must either have a really good book playing on my headphones, or I must turn off my human brain and go into robot mode, or I have to mess with my speed every few minutes.

Yesterday I was all settled in with my book, listening happily to Amy Poehler's  Yes, Please!, running along while my husband watched the disaster that was the first three quarters of Michigan State University's Cotton Bowl Game (which some how, the last quarter stopped being a disaster for MSU, and they won. We did not watch that part, of course. I firmly believe if we had been watching, they would have continued to suck, because my presence at a television exerts that much influence) from his treadmill.

And then my headphones stopped working.

In order for me to stay put, this means one of two things must have happened in order for me to run 5 more miles on a treadmill. Robot mode was achieved for about 3 more miles, and then I messed with my speed for the last 2 miles. It was... fun?

I so prefer trail running. Treadmills are good for me because they force me to run at a consistent speed. I know exactly how long I've been on that treadmill though. The advantage to treadmills right now is that is friggin' cold outside, and I'm a little more of a cold sissy than I am a hardcore trail runner.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to getting home to Michigan, where I know of trails on which I can run and get some good training time outside.  Which leads me to the second point of my post. My husband is my main support structure in this race. My husband lives in Madison, Wisconsin. My husband and I don't live together.


More so than anything right now, I'm feeling a mix of sad and happy because I'm leaving in two days to head back to Michigan. I'm going to plan a bunch of trail runs for myself to help me keep my chin up, because this, dear readers, is too hard.

If any one in the Lansing area wants to trail run with me, let me know. They won't be terribly long, but they will be fun! I've heard we've had like zero snow.