My First Trail Race

Due to concerns about being able to pull off a hilly half and a full the week after the ultra and some upcoming travel for work, I decided to pull out of the PA Grand Canyon Rock the Canyon Challenge. The moment I saw pictures of the beautiful course I regretted it… well until they talked about how hilly it was. I am mostly recovered from the ultra, but in order to ramp up my mileage post injury, I haven’t run a hill in over a month. I am pretty sure it would have been a less than pleasant race and an even more unpleasant four hour drive home. Plus with everything going on with our travel schedules, some time close to home was pretty darn awesome.

Yesterday, I managed to crank out 14 miles and felt good. I am loving the new way I lace my shoes. Today, I decided to do a 5 mile trail race- my first- five miles from my house. I plan on running a 50 miler next year that covers trails so actually finding some trails close to me is a must!

I met up with several friends and running partners from the Galloway group. My original plan was to do intervals once the course thinned a bit but that doesn’t actually work for trails. I finally took a walk break and some folks got in front of me and I couldn’t surge forward. Fortunately, one was my friend Maggie who has experience running trails. I simply followed her footwork and felt confident.

I stopped at the one water stop to get some water and to turn off the damn intervals on my watch. I assumed I would catch up to her but there was a break in bodies and no feet to watch. I thought I would avoid some stones on one stretch and moved my foot to the grassy…. CRAP! Hole. Trail Lesson #1: If you cannot see the ground (even if it is covered by grass) try not to put your foot there.

I fell hard on my right knee, the one who woke up cranky due to a tight IT band. It was covered in dirt/manure/don’t-want-to-think-about-it and some blood. trailrunBoth knees and my right glute hurt from the fall so I did quite a bit of walking, especially uphill. I’d run, then walk, then run again… Running uphill was not pleasant and so I didn’t bother.

I took a wrong turn. Or to be specific, I didn’t take the turn when I should have. I was running in a field and saw folks running perpendicular to me so kept going. I vaguely noticed the orange ribbon on the ground and jumped over it, but it didn’t register that the orange ribbon was acting as a wall. A few minutes later, I realized folks were joining the next lane not from my lane and that the runners that were once behind me were gone. Bah! I quickly turned around and found the orange wall and the correct, almost completely uphill course.

I finally finished the five miles. It wasn’t my greatest race ever, but it also wasn’t horrible. The course is challenging, well marked and close enough to my house that I plan on running it a couple times a month and will even start hosting Trail+Breakfast monthly.

I am not particularly graceful. I am not a great trail runner. But I am stubborn enough to keep doing it until I can enjoy it. I like a challenge… Plus, dirty girl makes gaiters that match my sparkle skirts… Fashion Win!!

The Day After

Yesterday, I tried to capture as many thoughts as possible about the race itself to help me plan better for future races. I keep telling myself that this weekend’s race was a training exercise and in many ways it was; however, despite having no expectations there have been some nagging thoughts that have gone through my mind post-race.

The biggest negative thought I’ve had is wondering if I sat down at the medical tent for 5-10 minutes and had chicken broth (may have to be flexitarian on race days if body gets funky) if I would have been able to continue for at least that lap and possibly the final to get to the 75. It’s silly but it is a thought that nags me none the less, especially because my muscles were not the first to give out… I guess I am a little mad that my undertrained, post injury muscles lasted longer than my internal systems. Well, can’t do anything about it now but I will remember this for next year.

So how do I feel?

I came home and showered. I crawled into bed. Did I stretch? No. Did I foam roll? No. Did I ice? No. Should I have done any or all of those things? Probably. My joints and the bottoms of my feet hurt really bad yesterday- along with the top of my quads from all the walking I did. The benefit of run/walk is you give your running muscles a break. The downside of all walk? Those muscles aren’t built up. I don’t think I have ever walked so many straight miles in my life- stupid stomach.

Next year, I will stay for a massage because I am too stupid to adequately stretch and after a nap I will drag myself to the pool and float for a while.

In the evening, I forced myself out of bed and tried to do some calf exercises. The first one I tried were toe taps and they were hilarious. I could not raise my poor battered toes. I did heel raises and walked on my toes and some ankle rotations. These were all great and I was finally able to do some toe taps. I didn’t stretch beyond that but I did notice walking made everything feel so much better.

I ate healthy throughout the day and made sure I rehydrated. The swelling slowly started to subside and I think will be completely back to normal in a couple of days- just in time to go run a half and a full.. Yes, I am an idiot!!

I went to bed at 9 and woke up 90 minutes later absolutely starving! I think I was actually awakened by the sound of my grumbling stomach. I hobbled downstairs and had a small second dinner and then slept relatively soundly.

My feet were angry when I woke up. The orthotics I wear helped my arches but they are stiff and all the pounding made for some unhappy tootsies! Other than some mild stiffness, I am not bad physically. I saw my chiropractor and there was work to be done but much better than anticipated. I get a massage today and will probably add a separate foot massage in a couple of days.

If I sit for too long, I ache when I move so I am trying to not sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. I am planning an easy run tomorrow, 8 miles on Wednesday and then 5 on Thursday.  I will also try to catch 1-2 spin classes and maybe take a Bikram class and hit the pool. We shall see what work and the body allows. I am actually pleased with how quickly my body is recovering.. at least my joints and muscles.

My nutrition is still out of whack though. Or the cookies I had for morning snack are making me queasy. I have moments where I become really shaky but I keep eating healthy food with a mixture of carbs, fat and protein. I am also tired and could use a fantastic nap but otherwise this isn’t horrible. I can definitely train for another ultra or 6.

I am an Ultra Marathoner

Last year, a few members of our local Galloway group participated in the “Lone Ranger”- a 24 hour endurance run. Many others participated in a relay team. Watching their energy and excitement, I decided I too wanted to do this. And so when registration opened for Back on My Feet’s Urban Ultra, I signed up. Based on my bib number, I was the 21st person to register. Next year, I may be an even lower number. I decided before I got on the course yesterday there would be a 50 mile trail run, this race again and maybe a 50k next year. Keep moving forward.

Training for the race did not go as planned. Back in January I injured my calf. I have lazy butt syndrome, a week core and wretched feet. I spent months in rehab with horribly low mileage (from an ultra perspective). I finally got my calf in a good enough place- thanks to Doctor Zappy- to ramp up my mileage. I had two 32 mile training runs. Nutrition, a typical problem for me in the later stages of a marathon, went very well for these training runs. They were slow but they felt good.

As is usual for me, I over thought the race and brought enough stuff for 50 races. I didn’t know what to expect and we had a ton of room. There were 3 lone rangers, two midnight madness runners and several folks who were pacing or supporting us in various ways. I did not need to skimp on what I brought. So…

I brought a regular chair for folks, an anti-gravity chair that could be used by me, 4 beach towels, two hand towels, 4 changes of clothes, an extra pair of shoes, a lantern, various types of sunscreen, glide and bug spray. I brought electronic chargers, three watches (there really needs to be a garmin with a 24 hour charge) and other odds and ends. For food, I brought animal crackers, raw nuts, licorice, peppermint candy, candied ginger, starbursts, an entire watermelon, 10 oranges quartered, a bunch of bananas, grapes, perpetuum, heed, dates, homemade vegan cherry pie bars, apricot ambrosia bars, protein bars (that I thought were disgusting), oatmeal chia squares, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, almond butter rice squares, seaweed miso wraps and possibly other food. I wanted to ensure folks visiting us had food options. Jack and Tom also brought a decent amount food and when Kathy came to visit she brought a ton of food as well.

The issue for me is I didn’t really stop at the tent much. But this will go into the lessons learned.

I also had too much energy from nerves and simply didn’t sleep well the several days before- always a plus before attempting to stay up for 24+ hours. Maybe if I was in my 20s, but as a 41 year old woman… I need my sleep! More lessons learned for next year.

I woke up at 4am, we finished packing the car, woke up my son and were in Philadelphia by 6:30. My wonderful husband helped set up camp and then I went to pick up my bib and clear medical. BP was 138 over 60, which is high for me. Darn those nerves.

We bounced around until 10am. This is when a good number of the races I run are finished. The goal was to run 1:1 with a pace of greater than 13 minutes. We wanted to feel good as long as possible. Jack, Tom and I started out together but by around mile 5 I ran ahead. I have noticed that if there are more than two people, especially if it is an odd number, I tend to start to do my own thing. Most courses really can’t support more than 2 across so I just start to groove. Many of my miles were sub 13, to the point where I added a rule that I got an extra walk break if it was. It was just a comfortable pace. My body wasn’t tired. I wasn’t winded. I think 12:30-13:15 was a good pace for me. If I don’t recover my speed over the next few months, this is what I would run next year.

The first loop (8.4 miles) went well. My plan was to give myself 2 hours for each loop. In theory, this would allow me to run 100 miles- if everything held. My first lap was maybe 1:40. My left IT band was a little achy but nothing to grow alarmed about. As we are correcting some of the form and musculature issues that led to this year’s injury, new issues crop up. We’re addressing them but this one cropped up a week or two ago. I am getting knee pain from inflexion of my left food and my left IT band. Bleah. These shouldn’t be an issue for next year though because I see a fantastic chiropractor now, am strengthening my core and doing cross training to increase strength and mobility without adding to the wear and tear. I am finally starting to do things right because no running makes me a very stressed out person.

Second loop was good as well and faster than the first. I did do a bathroom stop. Third loop was also great. I stopped at the med tent looking for ibuprofen and biofreeze. This tent had the first and not the latter. IT band and some left ankle twinges were still present but they weren’t increasing so I didn’t worry about it. I was doing great on nutrition as well. Raisins, Miso Wrap, Almond Butter Squares or Dates about every 1.5 miles (just wasn’t able to do exactly on the mile mentally) and S-Caps every 4-5 miles.

After lap 3, I stopped by our tent to slap some biofreeze on my knee, refuel and head back out. One of our runners, who happens to be a massage therapist, was also there and she offered to tape my knee. I took the extra time to get this done and headed back out. I was ahead of schedule- to the point where I asked my first pacer to come in 40 minutes early. I went back out on the road (about 10-15 minutes after I arrived) and continued to plug away my miles. I cannot remember if I missed a food or water stop but when I took my 7th s-cap for the day, things started to go a bit haywire. My stomach became a boiling pit of acid. I don’t have an acidic stomach and it was a most horrible sensation. I took extra walk breaks and I hit my 50k mark slightly below 7 hours… This includes by stop at our tent.

I finally finished lap 4 and saw Melanie. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see someone in my life. Mel is a regular running partner of mine and I was thrilled and honored that she offered to pace me three laps to get me over the 50 mile mark. And with the exception of the acid belly, my body still felt good. It was sore but it wasn’t breaking down. I grabbed some tums from medical, some coconut water, several pretzel bites and a cookie. Another lesson learned for next year. I gobbled everything up to try to pad the stomach and headed out. Me, the woman with the sluggishly slow digestive track just did what I had meant to avoid for the ultra: I ate too much in one sitting. Needless to say, lap 5 was pretty slow. I went to the second med tent for more tums but all they had was myltanta. I took it and then was a gassy, bloated, thought I was going to puke mess for several miles. Mel and I kept walking as my tummy settled and were surprised to turn in slightly over 15 minute miles. I am usually a stroller but I was trying to still keep on pace.

Towards the end of lap 5, I decided to get a quick massage to cool down and to help the body recover. I wasn’t horribly sore but walking uses different muscles than running, ones that I don’t generally use for 6 miles in a row. I was also feeling a little discouraged because while I wanted to go slow, I didn’t want to walk multiple miles in a row.

My total break before lap 6 was probably close to 30 minutes. I felt great after the massage and we left for the next loop. And it was a strong one for the first 6 miles. My ultimate direction pack was empty so we grabbed bottles of water at the last water stop. It was like ice and we both took huge, refreshing gulps until our stomachs told us that was dumb. There was a little bit more walking on the last two miles. My nutrition wasn’t great either. I just wasn’t recovering well from the issues that started at mile 33. I was taking salt packets and an occasional s-cap but food and water simply weren’t mixing well in my stomach. While I was still taking both, I wasn’t taking enough.

I decided to take a break from 11 until 12 and go from 84 miles instead of 100. I was hoping to restart my stomach. I didn’t sleep, but I did shower, change my clothes and loosen my shoes. My body was so swollen that everything was incredibly tight on me.

Julius and I went out at 12 and probably only ran 2 miles of the loop. I just couldn’t keep my temperature down. I felt like it was 90 degrees with 100% humidity- it wasn’t. I also was eating poorly. We got the lap done and I knew I only needed two more loops to reach 75. My toes had blisters- evidently what works for a marathon doesn’t necessarily work for more than a 50 miler.

Mike, myself and his co-worker went out at 3am. We were just going to walk it and then I would see Sandra at 6am. I started out feeling well and then… about two miles in knew I needed to stop. My feet hurt pretty bad but it was the stomach, body temperature and mental state that was just wearing down. I was concerned that forcing myself to continue would actually hurt other races. Halfway through the lap I went to medical and got a ride back to the start. I then stopped at that medical tent to check my vitals to figure out if there was a culprit. My temperature, despite feeling like I was in a sauna, was 97 degrees. My blood pressure was 110/78 and then dropped later to 104/68. The lower number was high for me. My pupils were also pretty dilated and I had a slight headache but I hadn’t pushed myself to the point of no return. I know when to back off, even if it means being a little disappointed later.

I sat down at our tent and rested. I still couldn’t really eat and it took a bit to drink water. Many hours later, I am stiff with lots of blisters and only mild chaffing but I am hydrated and alert. I know I did the right thing. I will get 75 or 100 next year.

And I will remember the following:
1. Do not bring enough food for an army.
2. Pack a drop bag with extra food, biofreeze and tums.
3. Do a 50 mile training run and figure out nutrition for post 32 miles, when I started to break down. This is still an improvement over last year’s nutrition issues at 20.
4. Figure out how to prevent massive toe blisters.
5. Figure out how to handle more sodium and in what forms.
6. Do not eat more than 2 bites worth of food in any 15 minute period. I knew this but need to be reminded. Maybe add a 15 minute timer to remind me to eat. The more I eat the more I drink.
7. Book a hotel room for the night before. Come with my gear for the first 2 laps and have Jeff bring and set up stuff later. Waking up at 4am when I am planning to run until 10am the following day is dumb!

And I want to thank everyone who helped me yesterday- my pacers: Melanie, Julius, Mike, Antoinette and Sandra. Jack and Tom for providing so much insight. Kathy for all her support and food. Bobbi for taping me. The entire Galloway group (especially Tim, Jan, Arthur, Kathy again who all came to provide us with support) and my coach Mark who keeps me honest with my running. I couldn’t have done this race (63 miles in total) without their support and encouragement or without the daily love and support from my husband.

I have spent a long time not necessarily showing my emotions, but yesterday was probably one of the most emotional days ever. I never imagined I could run an ultra… But I did it.

It’s been a while…

On the first of this year, I injured my calf and all my running plans and desire to write about running went to hell.

To give some perspective, I went from running 40+ miles a week to running under 30 for the month of February. I spent nearly five months in rehab with only slight improvements. Then I met Dr. Joseph Zappy, a local sports chiropractor and started making huge improvements.

I will probably document what went wrong with my body in another post.

Needless to say, I am running again. I also jumped back into training in a way I don’t recommend but has worked. I went from 25 miles per week in May (much of it was pre-Zappy) to a solid 55-60. I also completely changed my diet to support this new insanity. I am a vegetarian again and am moving towards no processed (am there most days) food veganism. I need to break free of eggs and cheese… As I become more comfortable with this cooking, it will be easy to do. Another post will be coming on that as well.

I have been so focused on training that I haven’t written… But this weekend, I will complete my first ultra marathon. I have managed two 31+ mile runs and they felt good. I’ll be going slow. The hiatus from running dropped my speed significantly and since my goal is to keep moving I don’t want to burn out.

I have no expectations. Well, I have to get 50 miles so I can get the damn bling.. but otherwise this is just a training run for me. I can’t just do one ultra and decide I hate it so I will do three more. I am going to do Dirty German 50m, the 24 hour run next year and Blues Cruise 50k.. These are all next year so I have time to build a solid base. I plan to use this race to determine nutrition and strategies for next year.

With luck, I will have an exciting, delirium fueled post early next week.

Disney, Etiquette and Being Respectful…

royalmickeyThis past weekend, I participated in the Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World. For those who have not become completely indoctrinated by runDisney (One of Us! One of Us!), the Glass Slipper Challenge is a 10k on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday as part of Princess Weekend. Only a small subset of Princesses participate in both races, but for those of us who do- we get an extra, pretty medal!

Today’s entry though isn’t about the race itself. It’s about racing etiquette- specifically at Disney races, though some points may apply to any race.

Every year, there are numerous posts about running etiquette. These are geared for those who either walk, run slower or participate in the Galloway method (run-walk-run). For those who think the Galloway method is only for beginner runners, you can run-walk-run your way to a sub 9 and sub 8 minute mile. I am sure even faster can be managed, but not by me.

If you have managed to never read these etiquette posts, they typically contain the following information: walk to the far left, Walk to the far right, walk as far away from the race tangent as possible, don’t walk more than two abreast, signal before walking and other pieces of advice.

While I agree that you shouldn’t walk in large groups of people on narrow areas, I know not all those walking side by side know each other. I have often run next to someone without knowing their name or favorite color, though I often know how well they can blow a snot rocket. I also believe that you should look behind you before you transition, but that is because being run over HURTS!

This post isn’t about etiquette for these runners though. Disney races are magical. They afford the opportunity to run through the parks, backstage areas and if you are a marathoner: the oh so fragrant water treatment area. The race is lined with opportunities for character interaction. The course is relatively flat so it is possible to run it fast. This past weekend, Kim Smith ran the Princess Half in 1 hour and 11 minutes. And while a much less impressive time, my PR for the marathon is currently at WDW. tiggerbounceIt is also possible to spend an hour or more taking pictures and playing with characters. Disney does have a course limit so it is typically the faster runners that get to play with the characters.

The problem with turning the race into a giant character meet and greet is that the runners in corrals C, D, E, F and G corrals will suddenly find themselves behind the runners in M, N, O and P corrals. This especially happens around Magic Kingdom. Most of the longest waits are en route to the Kingdom (Heroes, Villains) or near the castle (Royal Mickey). Immediately after the Prince and Princess of the 15 minute, the course narrows severely for over a mile. I heard some grumbling and frustrated grunting as faster runners found themselves unable to make up ground. After the race, I heard horror tales of runners telling their new companions that they shouldn’t be running, to move over, runner coming through, etc. Many new runners choose Disney Princess as their first race experience. I cannot imagine spending all the time to train, travelling to Disney and having some mean princess tell me that I didn’t belong there and push me aside. Running is a beautiful sport. I would hate to think someone came to Disney full of running dreams and left the sport with a broken heart.

We all paid the registration fees because….it is DISNEY, the most magical place on earth. Every runner I passed (or passed me) deserved to be there. They trained, they traveled, they had visions of their perfect race day. If you don’t want to run near slower runners, there is a simple solution: DON’T TAKE PICTURES!!!no-camera-allowed

But I want to take pictures… It’s part of my race experience. I am doing this for fun… That’s why the characters are there… I only stopped for Cruella or Hercules or Mickey or….

If you choose to detour from your 9 minute pace and end up with folks running a 15 minute pace…. That is YOUR fault. If this means you have to spend 30 seconds or even 2 miles at a slower pace then do it- with a fabulous smile on your face. Remember, you chose to “drop” out of the race and have no right to ruin someone else’s race with your selfishness. Someone’s 14 minute pace may seem slow to you (it was once my pace), but your 12, 10 or 8 minute pace is slow to others. Remember, Kim Smith, whose feet don’t ever seem to touch the ground in the course photos, ran the race in 1:11. Of course, she didn’t get to banter with the villains or play with Woody. 12783424123_64eea184ab_z

Everyone is entitled to enjoy the race and if you fall out of your corral placement due to choices, then accept and respect those now beside you. Then accept you will end up running, walking, spending time with slower runners. There will be breaks in the course that will provide you opportunities to move faster, but you may soon hit another wall of a folks still running slower than you were when the photo safari started. Learn to accept it. Every runner you pass is right where they should be. You are the one out of place.

And while you’re there, put the poisoned apple aside, smile and have fun. Some of your new running partners are amazing people with tremendous stories. Chat with the first time racers, ask questions and have a great time. It IS Disney after all. Magic truly is every where, all you have to do is believe.




Down with the Sickness

As someone who rarely gets sick, it always amazes me when I do. I felt off after eating lunch yesterday but truly believed it was due having a late breakfast. I figured I had simply overdone it. I felt a little warm and a coworker mentioned I didn’t look great. Still, I have the immune system of a super being so nothing to worry about- really…

On my drive to pick up my son, I felt so warm that I rolled the windows down to let in fresh air. The 2992721179_61d5024c30_z“fresh” air right now is a balmy 25 degrees. It didn’t even dawn on me that this could be a sign… I kept driving. In the parking lot of his school, I suddenly realized I needed to pull over, open the door and repeatedly vomit all over their nice, clean road. I don’t throw up often so it really was a surprise when I suddenly needed to stop-the-car this second.

Still, just something I ate… Drank some water, picked up my son and we headed to our respective piano lessons. I got to play When the Saints Go Marching In and decline on performing at the school’s recital. No one needs to see a 40 year old club her way through simple songs. The feeling of warmth came back over me and I ran out of the room and thankfully was able to push my way into the bathroom. It would not have been pretty if it had been in use. From first bout of “I feel off” to full stomach clenching was less than a minute. Folks who get sick often- how do you do this?!?!?

Still, am good… Went home and had some dinner. Eating food after two gut wrenching bouts of cooking tossing is the best plan of action, right? Nope. Bananas and oatmeal come up very quickly… Even water was upsetting my completely empty (or so I thought for another hour) stomach.My husband told me to cancel my run even though I said I would be fine.

jeffshirtHe is the best man ever. In addition to catering to me last night (ice chips, wet wash clothes, water) he let me watch bad television and then slept on the floor so he didn’t disturb me but could hear me if I needed anything. What sort of person is so selfless that they do that sort of thing?

There was another visit to the trash can after I dared sip a teaspoon of water… And then a very fitful night. Needless to say, it has been a less than stellar twenty four hours…

And I blame this and the wretched head cold from last week on running.. or the lack of running.

In the past fourteen months of nearly continuous running, I have built up an amazing immune system. Though I am certain there have been days where I have felt under the weather, I have been amazingly healthy. When my family gets sick, I typically do not worry about avoiding them. The same with co-workers or random folks. I don’t intentionally seek out sick people or lick bathroom doorknobs, but I also am not overly concerned about showering in hand sanitizer every time I see a person.

The immunity running appears to give me only seems to work if I am actually running. On January 1, I injured my calf. At first, I didn’t think much of it. Though I scaled back slightly after my injury, I managed to put in 77 miles between the 1st and 12th and also some time on the miserable elliptical. After the 12th, it became clear my calf was more injured than thought so my mileage decreased again… From the 13th to the 26th, I only managed 25 miles and some more time on the elliptical.

During this time, I also caught an enormous head cold that had me whimpering like a baby and then last night I either caught a stomach bug or food poisoning. Since my stomach is still angry twenty four hours later (it is keeping food down but under great protest and only in the smallest of quantities), I am leaning towards a stomach. I don’t get stomach bugs!

Tomorrow, I hope to hit a spin class or return to the elliptical. These aren’t the same as running. I burn more, push my body further and am more acclimated to running; however, the two recent bouts of normal people sickness has made me want to push myself all that much more. I miss my super immunity and while the literature isn’t conclusive, it does tend to support my current belief that running is good for your health.



How to keep a skirt from riding up…

Quick and Dirty Answer:

    1. Put on Running Skirt with Shorts
    2. Lift up Skirt and rub Mission Anti-Chafe, Body Glide or similar stick around where the short stops. Sparkle Skirts actually has an inch edge along the bottom to make it easy. Apply extra along the inner thigh portion.
    3. Pull the shorts all the way up- (Yes- pretend you are Jessica Simpson in Dukes of Hazzard) and then run the stick along the short seam from the edge of where the short was to the top of your thigh.

In my experience, this not only kept the shirt from riding up but if it had ridden up, I wouldn’t chafe anyway!


Long Winded Explanation…

castle1I love running in skirts, far more than skirts love my legs. In recent years, the threads for capris and running tights have become more and more threadbare. While I know the former CEO of Lululemon would like to blame the see-through fabric on my touching thighs… I have seen the pattern on the skinny women’s behinds who are running in front of me- so much so that whenever I buy new running pants, I stick my ass out in front of the dressing room mirror to see how see through it is. Lululemon and Nike have both failed in recent years….

So I started trying out different skirts. The differential between waist, hips and thighs (each one is disproportionately larger than the last one) removes many skirts as an option. On top of having large thighs, I have long legs… Basically, my worst feature is also my biggest. Of course these legs also managed to power me through 1200 miles last year so I can’t complain too much. It is simply is what it is.

Of all the skirts I’ve tried, Sparkle Skirts fit the best. They fit well in my waist and the 747955-1026-0024sfabric stretches over my hips and thighs. By their size chart, I am between a small and a medium. By my thigh chart, I am between a medium and a large. I buy the medium to fit my waist.

In the past, I have experienced the skirt riding up and chaffing me on longer runs that had any sort of an incline. It’s always my left thigh too. During the Minnie 10k, it rode up slightly and I started to panic that I didn’t bring enough non-sparkle skirts to handle the half and the full marathon.

For the half, I decided to try new. I used Mission Anti-Chaffe stick (Body Glide also works) on the part of my leg that is normally covered by the 1 inch edge of the short. I made sure there was a little bit of stick residue on either side of the edge. I then pull my shorts up to my inner thigh and basically rubbed the stick from where the skirt edge would hit to the top of my thigh. I did this along my inner thigh. It only took a minute or two and I didn’t use a ton of product but it definitely made a difference. I ran the Goofy Challenge (Half on Saturday followed by a Full on Sunday) without any slippage or chafing. I did the same thing the following week for Tinkerbell (10k followed by a half).

Even when I was swollen from dehydration the shorts didn’t slip, a first for me. It’s definitely something I will continue to do so I can have my pretty, girly skirt and wear it too!


Game Theory Test

scaleWithin every person, there are at least two people crammed into a single body. The first person- your current self- lives in the moment, can be weak on will power and often believes that the “tomorrow” self will make up for all their mistakes.

Tonight, I will watch Blacklist instead of strength training. Tomorrow self will exercise for me.

Tonight, I  will eat an extra cookie because tomorrow self will go without.

Tonight, I will stay up until 3am reading this awesome book. Tomorrow self won’t mind having to run 10 miles and have a grueling presentation on two hours of sleep.

Basically, the person I am today is self-centered and greedy and she falsely believes a miracle will happen by tomorrow. In reality, the self-centered, greedy individual I am today becomes tomorrow’s person and goals never get met. Today’s person is so concerned about immediate happiness that she forgets about yesterday’s promises.

Though my today self understands that she needs to run, she still struggles with cross training and with diet. And much of the “must run today” mentality stems from the fact that I like to run 5-6 days per week. If I took my schedule down to three days of running, as many of my friends successfully do, my lazy today person would know she could put it off….

The first year I ran, I wrote everything down and managed to lose a significant amount of weight. While not fat,  I could stand to lose between 20-30 pounds to run more efficiently. Unfortunately, I am one of the runners who doesn’t lose weight even with increasing mileage. I also am not someone who successfully diets. I have friends who have successfully dieted and lost weight. For them, the challenge is keeping it off. If I lose weight, it usually stays off. My problem is I can diet until it is A) inconvenient or B) I get hungry… basically for about 6 hours.

Now this doesn’t mean running has had no impact. My body has definitely changed over the past couple of years. My waist is smaller. During the summer, people often ask what I did to sculpt my arms and shoulders. I have shrunk from a medium to a small in most shirts. And while I know there is more strength and definition in my legs, my pant size has not changed. Evidently, running doesn’t actually cause your legs to shrink in size. It’s really not fair since this is my problem area. And with the my waist shrinking, it exasperates the issue of buying pants that fit both waist and thighs.

I have started working with a nutritionist to ensure I am fueling properly and I also joined the Pacebook Runner’s Club Biggest Loser Challenge. The contest starts Friday and goes through April 22, 2014. I do not expect to win the challenge, but I do expect to lose 18 pounds in the process.

The challenge with weight loss is getting your “today” self invested in your “tomorrow” self. Some challenges using Game Theory Principles have been successful. For instance, ABC Primetime did a special several years ago where people were photographed in bathing suits. They had a certain amount of time to lose 15 pounds OR the bikini shot would be aired on national television. A similar competition involved pictures and a jumbotron at a baseball stadium. These were more successful than programs where people pay money or get rewards. And rewards won’t work for me… The thought of gaining or losing 20 dollars is not enough to deter me from the extra cookie (notice, I am not depriving myself of the first cookie….).

So, this weekend… I am going to take a picture of me in my bathing suit. If I can’t manage to lose 18 lbs by April 22nd, then I will post it here… I am fortunate enough to be doing the initial weigh in after a mini vacation trip which will hopefully give me a little wiggle room….I don’t like pictures of myself fully clothed. I certainly don’t want one in any state of undress.

So this will be an interesting and potentially profanity laden few months. Wish me luck, my future self is going to need it.

Tinkerbell 10k

finish10kI never had the intention of running back to back Disney races on each coast, but it’s simply how it worked out… Last year at the Dumbo Double Dare challenge, my mom commented that she really liked the 10k medal. I offered to pace her for her first 10k. We considered the Wonderland 10k, but with my son now in school and with California being hot, humid and all together gross the past two labor days, I decided to secure spots through GET Travel. It was easier and less expensive than anticipated and I would recommend it if ever in a pinch again. The best bet though is to register the moment the race opens….

I recommend submitting your e-mail address at and also joining their Facebook page. Races often sell out within days and sometimes even hours!

Even though I had just run Goofy and the Minnie 10k, I couldn’t mentally come out here to just do the 10k so I registered for the 10k and the half. The lure of the pink medal that I thought was a dumb marketing stunt was suddenly quite appealing!

Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t able to run the 10k. She is wise enough to know her limits and not do something to jeopardize her health. Instead of pacing my mom- which I will still do one day- I paced my friend Kate for her first 10k! This was the first time I paced someone for their first race and I should have taken better care of her, but since she didn’t drop dead and doesn’t know any better (until she reads this) it’s all good. We simply didn’t talk enough before race about our plans.

startline10kKate gave selfie lessons to people at the bus stop and in the corral. Kate is the queen of selfies, even with a standard camera that doesn’t let you see yourself.

She was extremely calm before the race, though I now know she was nervous because she had never done more than a 5k. We were in the last corral and I know there is additional pressure to be swept, especially if you’re not comfortable with the distance. The last corral had no speakers and we have no idea what they said most of the time.


We didn’t talk too much about pace before the race. I told her I would go whatever speed she wanted. She hadn’t been running much lately so didn’t have a goal in mind. She decided to try 2×1 intervals- which was my first pacing mistake.

Sidebar: I typically run using the Galloway method and when I am doing it, I will follow it pretty strictly. I don’t use it for 5ks and sometimes will change up any distance up to and including a half. I have been known to walk on the mile, the two mile or simply run straight through. Those are race day decisions to try something new or to challenge myself…

Anyway, the run/walk method requires you to leave your ego at the door. Too often people want to run as far as they can or choose the largest run increment that they think their body can handle. I’ve played around with it for a couple of years and as a general rule (there are exceptions) it should be based on your speed. A 2/1 interval is typically for an 11 minute mile. The exact chart can be found easily on the internet. Many newer runners would fare better with a 1/1 or even a 30 second/1 minute interval. It’s not that they can only run for a minute, but by running for shorter periods, they will run more consistently and ultimately faster. Just my experience though….

And using the run/walk method doesn’t mean you’re slow. There are people who qualify for Boston using this method.

Anyway, we started at 2/1 and Kate was doing fantastic. The air was dry though and with the fires burning near her house, neither of us was breathing perfectly. She seemed to be enjoying herself, even if she wouldn’t stop for photos with the haunted  mansion corpses. The long was line and while I know I can force myself to catch back up to meet pacing requirements, new runners don’t have that luxury. I figured they’d be there for the half (they weren’t, but Rapunzel- whom Kate really wanted- was) so I’d catch up with them then.

The overall pace was good, but shortly after the half Kate started to slow. After a couple of rounds of needing extra breaks or slowing too much, I converted the timer to 1 and 1. Kate stopped cursing my watch and overall seemed much happier. Our time also improved slightly. Having a long interval makes no sense if walking would be faster. Again- listen to your body and check the ego at the door. Kate didn’t complain about the switch in interval and I think it made the race more enjoyable.

While races can be painful, they truly are meant to be an enjoyable experience.

After we switched the intervals and passed the 4 mile mark (a record for Kate) she started to show more of the excitement that happens when you push your body to new achievements. It’s an addicting but deeply satisfying feeling to know you can do something that at one time seemed impossible.

My husband and son were planning to cheer us on so I turned on my Garmin’s live track and also checked in via text. sign10kWhen we got to Katella, we looked for them and finally I saw them holding the BEST SIGN EVER! It wasn’t the most artistic sign, but the message was perfect… And one I have yet to see on a course. We laughed, Kate took pictures and I got to kiss my boy before we headed to the home stretch. Kate did amazing at the end, pushing through the final walk break to charge for the last 200 meters.

Once Kate received her medal, she was hooked. She started talking about how she wanted to do another race. There is such a high when you cross the finish line and receive a medal and I am so thrilled I got to share it with a friend!

And Disney really does good 10ks. I prefer the 10k at Disneyland and half/full at Disneyworld. The close proximity of Disneyland and California Adventure allows you to cover both parks for a 10k race, without having to spend a ton of time on neighborhood streets. At WDW, you can only cover one park and it’s never Magic Kingdom.

After the race, I gave my mom my medal as I really ran it for her. There will come a time when we are able to share a 10k together… and I will make sure we run slower, drink water and stretch…. Perhaps one day, I will get to run with both my mom and my son… together or separately. I’d love to run with my husband, but I think he’d run out on me if I made him do it. Still, his constant support helps make every race and every training run possible.

It was a fun race and it was a great excuse to see friends and family! Thank you Disney for once again adding a little bit of magic to my life.


With a little pixie dust…

tinkWith a little bit of pixie dust, a great deal of determination and some decent training, dreams of race bling really do come true. In the past 10 days, I have completed five Disney races at both parks. Basically, I have done every non 5k race they’ve offered…

Unlike yesterday’s race, where I ran with a friend, today I was pretty much alone. Normally, I chat with other runners but after overdoing it at the parks and my boy getting  sick last night, I wasn’t very awake when I headed to the park before 4am.

Since I didn’t update my times for placement, I started in corral B. This year, this was the BOY corral. Every man that had a predicted time of 2:30 or better (Lots and Lots and Lots of them) were with us. I am guessing that the corral was close to 50% boys, many of them chatting about their 1:30 half marathon times. As they talked, many of us slid farther and farther away. jack A few wanted a PR and I didn’t want to be trampled as they decided to chase down Corral A. My legs were tight and while I have wanted to get closer to 2:00- today was NOT that day. With my possible stress fracture (am going to request an MRI for my own peace of mind- even if it doesn’t change the treatment), I have been babying that leg and my other leg, hips and thighs have a few choice words for me that would make Jack Sparrow blush….

The race started painfully. We went straight for a decent hill on the road. My legs were tight and cold and I was definitely wondering how long it would take to loosen up. I knew that I just needed to reach the parks where I could stretch while posing. The first character stop was the Incredibles, followed by Monsters University. While waiting for my picture, I spoke to a woman who completed 52 half marathons last year. No,  I am not planning to embark on a similar challenge. This year she said she was going to have 52 bottles of wine…. I won’t be taking that challenge either.

As we left California Adventure, there were a group of cast members singing a pirate type song based on Rum. I wish I had the forethought to video tape the song but instead I pushed forward to Disneyland. Tink, Hook, Smee and all their pirate pals were there. Peter Pan and Wendy were just past the castle with the Lost Boys riding the carousel. Then, there was VADER with Storm Troopers. vaderThe line wrapped three times but I didn’t care. I had watched the 2:30 pacer pass me on previous stops (the 2:15 pacer was the front of my corral) and the 2:45 with Wendy and Pan. The 3:00 pacer passed me while I waited for Vader, but… Totally Worth It (though I hope they got a better picture than I did.. and I have to work on my running poses).

A sharp contrast to Vader were the Princesses! Cindrella, then Rapunzel and Flint and finally Merida. Merida took less than 5 minutes which certainly beats the hour we waited last year at the park- though I didn’t get to fire off any arrows during the race. My final stop was with Captain Jack Sparrow. Since he is the first character at WDW races, this is the first time I saw him in daylight. He’ll do…

Normally, I try to push my way back to my standard pace, but I didn’t try here. I chatted with folks. If everyone was walking, I would walk. If there was an opening, I’d slowly push forward but there was no urgency. I saw others of my pace try to push, but I didn’t have anyone to catch and I made the choice to take pictures. It also gave me an excuse to baby my leg a little bit more…

Shortly after my rendezvous with Jack, we left the parks and ventured into Anaheim. I’ve done previous Disneyland halves and always found Anaheim to be less than entertaining. It’s basically suburb streets for many, many miles. It just didn’t lead you through the historic or scenic areas that many races provide. This year’s race was much more…. gritty.

The Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Department definitely did not approve the course for Tinkerbell. We passed the Church of the Underdog, lots of offices or buildings with bars or large barred gates and it just…. didn’t feel like a fun place to live or work. Since it was mostly neighborhoods, there wasn’t entertainment on the streets. It was just a grind. After running Trenton (a city I always thought was a dump) and finding lots of beautiful areas that caught my attention, I was really surprised by our route.

Still, we pushed through the miles. I chatted with folks who seemed to be struggling and some who had amazing costumes. I slowly gave away much of my nutrition when I heard people discussing swollen hands or feeling off. Many people forget the need for nutrition. I still had some and was running slow enough to not need as much as I had. I overheard a group of women trying to decide if they needed to visit the port-a-potty for an extended stay… It was a much different vibe than normal, but it was great.

Finally, the hotels reappeared and I knew I was almost done. My legs felt really good as I completed. This race wasn’t about time. It was about taking it easy and just moving forward. It was about watching different runners, listening to some of their experiences. It was the opportunity to spend some time with friends and family, even if half of them got sick over the past few days. And it was about planning for the future (had to do something to make my mind off the city streets)…

It… like all races… was Incredible!incredibles