Categories
Equipping

Tracksmith Running Apparel

This brand is fairly well known within the running community. It’s classic style is tailored to the amateur competitive athlete. Made in the U.S.A. their apparel is top quality, and great customer service is obviously high on their priority list.

Scanning through the catalog, the prices may shock you but I promise – WORTH! Every single piece I’ve bought from them I love. That includes a few pairs of shorts, briefs, long sleeves, a bra – with a pocket, crop top, gloves, and mittens.

If you have to choose, I would opt for the cold gear line (if you do outdoor winter training). Quality gear in the harsh winter really makes a difference and helps keep you consistent. The spring/summer clothes are great too, but most of us runners wear as little as possible in the heat. I will say the race briefs are the most comfortable I’ve found.

They also have some nice accessories. I like their waxed canvass bag. Your order ships pretty quickly with updates along the way. Coast to coast, you should have your order within a week.

Again, I highly recommend trying out a few of their items. You won’t regret spending the money. Their size charts are accurate (free returns if something doesn’t fit), but you do have to look at the chart and measurements for each individual product. Don’t just see that you’re a medium in the singlet and assume you’re a medium for every other top. They offer gift cards, so if you don’t see yourself going on a shopping spree then keep them in mind when birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas roll around.

Categories
Fueling

Vegetarian

“But where do you get your protein?” – my least favorite question. Ever. It’s a little frustrating that many people trust the media for nutrition advice. The media has their own agenda. It’s been over two years since I’ve gone meatless.  I feel great, I’m still progressing in my sport, and I don’t miss it. However, I’m not going to try and preach vegetarianism at you. Let me give you a little backstory.

I started caring about nutrition and what I ate fairly young – middle school to be exact. I am the youngest of three active children and both my older siblings had an influence on my diet choices. At that time, I decided to give up red meat and pig. I tried to eat low-fat, whole-grain, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and dairy were my main sources of protein. I ate little refined sugars, but I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. Sometimes the smell of grilling steak would get to me, but I really didn’t have much of a problem giving it up. Fast forward 13 (ish) years and my husband decides he wanted to start working towards a more plant-based diet. He discovered the triathlete Brenden Brazier and his story of going vegan. At that point, I was like, “I’m not ready to give up my chocolate milk, but eh, let’s start vegetarian. No meat or fish.” This changed my focus to getting in more beans, legumes, and lentils, but I did some reading and realized it really isn’t that hard to get enough protein without meat. The realization that brought me to this conclusion is that we really don’t need as much as “they” say we do. The second realization came from reading and researching the protein we get from plants already (it’s more than “they” lead us to believe).

The key to making the switch is to take it slooow. I still eat eggs, and some dairy. I’m very slowly cutting down on dairy, but I’m no where close to cutting it out completely and I may never will. Your body does not like rapid diet and/or activity changes. And if you’re a real meat lover and try to go cold turkey, it’s bad for your psyche, too. Make it a lifestyle change, not a fad diet.

There is another factor to consider when looking at healthy diet for YOU – genetics. What did yo momma eat? Grandparents, great-grandparents? I believe it matters. This might even mean going totally meatless isn’t the best decision for you. If your ancestors survived on eating a lot of meat, your genes probably picked up on that. My family on both sides grew up kinda poor. Even my mother says she remembers when she was young eating just corn on the cob (that they grew) for dinner and that was the meal. Throughout my parents’ childhood, their families progressed economically and in the United States meat became less and less expensive as the farming industry boomed. But I think my genetics play a role in how well I do without meat.

I told you it’s not hard, but it’s not super easy either. You do have to try, and think about your meals, and make sure you’re getting good nutrition from what you eat. You can’t just eat pasta. Start with reading a book. The Thrive Diet by Brenden Brazier is a good one. The Plant-Based Power Diet by Leslie Beck is also a good one.

Whatever you do, my advice is to NOT believe everything the media tells you, read health and nutrition books, and just try things. See how you feel. Don’t get all “Type A” and try and get a 32-week diet plan that someone else made. The human body is so complicated and while there are groups, there aren’t identicals. So don’t get stuck on someone else’s diet plan. Learn objectively and apply subjectively.

Alright, so to answer the question (where do I get my protein), mostly from beans, legumes, lentils, peas, hemp, nuts, and seeds. I try to get variety, especially with beans, to get a good balance of the essential amino acids. I’m not vegan so I still have dairy and eggs. My body loves eggs. I use milk as a recovery food. I no longer use low-fat dairy unless I’m not eating it for nutritional benefit – like if I want to enjoy a latte or something. Although protein is not the bulk of what I eat, I’m certainly not on the “fat is fuel” train. Bring on the grains! I am not gluten sensitive individual, so sprouted whole wheat bread is on my grocery list (which, by the way has 5g of protein per slice). Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barely, corn, oats, I’m in love. Potatoes are a favorite, and of course I eat a lot of fruits and veggies. More than 60% of my daily calories come from carbohydrates.

Unfortunately, I have nutella and wine weaknesses. But I make sure I don’t consume these dangerous foods too often. And I’m a sucker for baked goods. Treats with refined sugar are terrible, but because sugar is a carbohydrate and I use a large amount of carbohydrates in training, I’m not as worried about “cheating” as much as you might think. For more on that, see www.struckbystride.com/sugar/. Alcohol is another issue, and I rarely drink while I’m in a training cycle for a marathon.

My diet is pretty picky as I’ve become sensitive to what my body needs when. Timing is just as important as the food itself. How I train and recover depends heavily on how and when I eat. Another book to consider is Nutritional Timing by John Ivy. Sport specific nutrition books will give you better ideas concerning training needs. If you are an athlete, you are not the same! Sports Nutrtion for Endurance Athletes by Monique Ryan, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald, and Racing Weight also by Matt Fitzgerald are good resources.

I enjoy reading nutrition books and learning new things as we continue to find out more and more how the food we eat affects us. However, I don’t take much at face value – I have to take into account experience and feel. Nobody has it all figured out. I try to be open to change as my body adapts (or doesn’t!) and to being flat out wrong and learn from my mistakes.

Categories
Breaking the 3-Hour Barrier My Story

Breaking the 3-Hour Barrier, Part 8

Part eight! I have to laugh to keep from crying. I’ve said I’ve been trying to hit this time goal for over two years now. While my first two attempts may have been slightly unrealistic, I still stand firm on believing that 3-5 were achievable. Six, I was just happy to run injury-free and seven I felt like everything went well, I just didn’t have the fitness back. But if there’s one thing I know how to do, and do it well, it’s how to hop on the gain train. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I’m pretty good at recovery. At the Salt Lake City Marathon, I pushed hard and knew that Ogden could give me a pretty big PR if I played my cards right.

There were four weeks in-between, so I kept up my speed work and tempos and just did one long run in the middle. My foot/achilles gave me a nag, but I worked it out and felt really good heading into this race. The course looked smooth, fast, and beautiful. The weather was looking like it would stay clear, but not get crazy hot. I slept hard throughout the week and felt well-rested. There was just one thing I was worried about.

It was about that time for me to start my cycle and I’ve always had issues, but to keep it short, 75% of the time I have a 4-6 hour episode where I’m in intense pain, I can’t even sit in an upright position let alone carry out the day’s tasks, I get lightheaded/dizzy, my face turns gray, I start shaking, and then eventually the pain goes away and the rest of the cycle is fine. However, after all that takes place I’m exhausted and not good for much until the next day.

Unfortunately, the afternoon before the race I found out timing wasn’t on my side for this one. I went to sleep that night for two hours and then awoke with the pain and was up most of the night. Around 3 a.m. it subsided in enough time for me to doze off for 45 minutes and dream that I missed the buses. I woke up and realized that it was just a dream, but I didn’t have time to fall back asleep.

The lack of sleep alone, I wasn’t worried about because one usually doesn’t sleep well the night before a race. It’s the week(s) before that you really should care about. But I did feel that deep exhaustion that I always get after one of those episodes. I stumbled around the hotel room trying to get ready and psyche myself up. I managed to still be hopeful and excited by the time the buses arrived at the starting area – I didn’t feel like there was any other option, but to hope that I could borrow the energy. I found the other track club members that were racing and waited around for an hour and a half.

6:50 rolled around and we all headed to the start line. I made my way to the front because I was vying for another podium finish which meant gun time mattered. I looked around at the competition and picked a few I wanted to beat. Okay, well obviously I wanted to beat them all, but sometimes at the beginning of a race I pick one or two for extra fun and added motivation.

The clock started and a string of guys tore off. In the first mile, I was in second, but wasn’t concerned about the place. I was tired, not sleepy tired, but really really tired. I stayed steady for three miles, and caught up to the first female. “No!” I thought to myself, “I can’t race right now, I can’t spend the energy, and I can’t handle the lead so early.” I tried to relax and keep my own pace. Finally, she overcame me a few miles later and pushed the pace by herself as I gratefully watched her fade in front of me. Focusing on my own effort, I tried to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the mountains, rivers, and canyons. My legs felt great, despite how the rest of me felt. I managed to hold goal pace through mile 7. By the time I made it through the halfway point, I was still in second, but I had no energy. My shoulders felt heavy and I was struggling with thoughts of stopping.

Pressing on through 16, I told myself just three more miles until you get to the hard stuff, and then you’ll grit it out. My legs were still holding up great, and soon mile 20 came. I was surprisingly still in second, and I began thinking that maybe I could hold onto it after all. But tired…so tired. At mile 23 the course turned onto a bike path and some rolling hills. Third female came up behind me and I surged without really thinking about it. I pulled her along for maybe 30 seconds, but she passed me and I couldn’t hold on.

Just a few miles left, and my pace slowed even more, to an 8-minute mile. All of my time goals were gone, but at least I was in third and I was almost done. The finish line was in sight. The crowd was cheering and as I entered the final stretch, I thought I felt a competitor behind me. I turned to look at the crowd to try and read their faces, and looked at my shadow to see if there was one behind, but I didn’t see anyone. I ignored the feeling. The finish was just ten yards away. Then suddenly, when I couldn’t have been farther than three yards from the line, 4th female came up beside me. Instantly I surged, angry that I had let that happen. We crossed the finish line and I hit the pavement. I thought I beat her, I felt I beat her, but I couldn’t know for sure. I also couldn’t breathe. Or move.

That whole race was a mind vs. body battle. In the end, my mind won – I didn’t quit. But when it was over, there was nothing left to peel me off the road.

After laying down in the medic tent for just a few minutes, my heart rate was 58 and body temperature 93, confirming my exhaustion. My heart rate should not be that low that soon after a race, and the lower body temperature is a way to conserve energy. Those things aren’t really a concern from the medic side, but for my own personal performance log I found it helpful. Once I convinced them I was fine, one of them helped me walk to the results tent (because priorities) but they hadn’t come through yet, so she walked me all the way to my hotel lobby. We were both surprised at how good my legs felt. I finished my recovery drink and rushed to check out of the hotel so they wouldn’t charge me extra for a late checkout and headed back down to the finish festival to find my friends and wait around for results.

Chip time, I knew she beat me by a few seconds. But for the podium, gun time is all that matters, and when the results came through I had won by one second. I found it ironic because just the day before I had answered some questions for a feature in the track club newsletter about my most memorable races. I said one of them was the 2017 La Jolla Half Marathon because I missed 2nd place by 33-hundredths of a second, and I learned that every second counts. I guess I needed a reminder of what that felt like.

The next day, I was able to walk down the stairs normally at work, and was only a little sore in my calves and feet. It was clear my legs didn’t get the workout they had expected. The last time my legs felt this good after a marathon was last June, when I raced hyponatremic. Even though I didn’t come close to my original time goal, I’m happy I didn’t quit, still made the podium, and got some mental strength gains from this race.

Final Stats

Time – 3:06:26

35th of 1167 overall

3rd of 541 female

1st of 50 in age group

 

Categories
Equipping

RockTape

Kinesio tape has gotten a fair amount of attention since the 2008 Olympics, though it’s been around for over 35 years. I first learned about it back in massage school, and it seemed pretty neat, but I didn’t really understand the “science” and reasoning my professors gave me as to why it was so beneficial. The one thing I understood was that kinesio tape is different from traditional athletic tape because it still allows and even encourages movement, while athletic tape is used to decrease range of motion. Regardless of my confusion, I tried it (the Kinesio Tex Gold brand) and actually noticed some benefits, so I kept a roll around from then on. I used it periodically when I felt like tendonitis was threatening.

A few years later I decided to go to a taping seminar, but this particular class was by the brand RockTape, and they were/are calling it “Fascial Movement Taping (FMT).” I enjoyed the class and felt like I learned more of the research behind kinesio taping, but the instructor informed us all in the class that the old theories of how to tape were obsolete – whether from the origin of the muscle to the insertion or vice versa, how much stretch to put on the tape when applying, and trying to tape for inhibit or facilitate a particular muscle.

RockTape gave me three main positive outcomes from kinesio tape: swelling reduction, rehabilitation aid, and improvement in performance and recovery. Here’s why:

  1. It decompresses the skin for improved circulation and pressure relief. Because of this, it can immediately reduce the perception of pain.
  2. Sensory nerve stimulation and the brain response. In simpler terms, think about your first reaction when you stand up into a cupboard and hit your head hard. Your first reaction is to rub it. That’s because by doing that, you’re stimulating more sensory receptors which bombards the brain with signals to down grade the amount of pain you feel. It’s called the “pain-gate effect.”
  3. Posture/form taping. This is a pretty easy concept. The back and shoulders are a common spot. When you tape your back while sitting pretty, whenever you slouch back into poor posture you will feel the stretch on the tape and instinctively correct yourself.

Are you ready to try it? It’s relatively cheap, quick, and easy to use. You don’t have much to lose, especially if you’re willing to try ANYTHING to overcome an injury. You can buy most brands of kinesio tape on amazon, or at a pharmacy. Some sporting goods stores may sell them as well. The most popular are KT Tape, Kinesio Tex Gold, and RockTape. I’m partial to RockTape because not only am I certified through them, but their tape stays on longer, they have the largest selection of styles, sizes, and colors (oh yes…it matters), and I liked that the company takes the approach of “here’s what we know, we’re still learning, let’s do this together” approach.

After you’ve gotten the tape, and have an area to try it on, YouTube some videos of taping patterns, just to get you started. You can make up your own patterns based on your personal need, but if you’re new to kinesio taping, YouTube has a lot of ideas. Make sure you skin is clean and dry. If you’re hairy, I highly recommend shaving. After I’ve cut a piece from the roll, I round the edges to help keep the tape from fraying as easily. Before you remove the paper backing, rip both ends of the tape.

     You can either apply from the middle out, or have one end as an anchor and peel off the paper as you go. Be in the position of desired movement or stance when you’re being taped or taping yourself. How much stretch? I would say definitely no more than 50%, but usually I do anywhere from 15-25%. Rub the tape after it’s on the skin for a minute to help in bond faster. They say it takes about an hour for it to bond completely. Viola! You can shower with it, just pat dry when you’re done. Typically you can keep one application on for 3-5 days. If need be, trim any edges that start to peel.

When it comes time to remove it, take it slow, but the older the application, the easier it is to take off. The RockTape H20 is obviously a little harder because it’s meant for water sports, but baby oil does the trick.

If you have sensitive skin, test an area first with a small piece of tape. RockTape is latex free, but sometimes the adhesive bothers a small amount of people. Other contraindications for taping would be open wounds, skin infections, active cancer, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Kidney Disease, or Congestive Heart Failure. The latter few are due to fluid movement in the body.

I recently used/am using RockTape to aid recovery for a foot injury and felt pain relief and had a quicker recovery.

To buy, click here: https://shop.rocktape.com?rfsn=1017568.8dec5

Categories
dont look

La Jolla Half Marathon 2017

Going into this race, I felt pretty good. I had three solid weeks of hard training and THIS time I was prepared for those hard hills. The race has a later start time (7:30 a.m.) so I knew it could get hot. Getting a new personal best was a nice thought, but knowing the course, I didn’t have my heart set on it. I just wanted to race well, and finish strong – and I did.

Starting near the front of wave one, I saw the competition and recognized a few, but not many I knew. It didn’t matter. This time I was going to pace myself. I WASN’T going to get excited and burn out early. “Relax, breathe” was on repeat in my head. As my garmin buzzed at each mile, I glanced down with intrigue, but not much care of my time. This race was all about feel and knowing my body. I slowly picked off females and settled into 3rd just before the 8.8% grade hill over half a mile long, just after mile 5. Nearing the top, I passed 2nd. In an honest competitive spirit, it always feels good to pass someone on a hill like that. After overcoming the climb, I was passed by another female and knocked back down to 3rd. I told myself it was okay, and I needed to run my own race – afterall, it was only half over. The motorcyclist stayed with me and I could tell the gap between 3rd and 4th was widening. We rounded the final corner and I opened up my stride to go for it, just one second too late. I sprinted to the finish and missed beating her by 0.34 of a second. If I hadn’t hesitated, I could have had her. But, that’s all part of racing and why I love it. At least it made for an exciting finish. I was happy with how I raced overall, and surprised by a podium finish. I had negative split times of 7:15 average pace at 6 miles, 6:56 average at 10 miles, and finished with 6:50 average pace.

The Stats

Finish Time: 1:29:29.

27th of 4192 overall.

3rd of 2236 in women.

2nd of 350 in age group but the top 3 aren’t eligible for age group awards.

Categories
Recipes

Banana Bread

Banana bread doesn’t have to be on your “do not eat” list when you’re training hard for a race. If you make it with the right ingredients, it can actually be a runner’s superfood! Bananas, of course, have many health benefits, but some key nutrients are potassium, vitamin B6, managanese, magnesium, and yes, even a little vitamin C. Coconut oil is an immune booster, having antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and capryilc acid which have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Yogurt (cow’s milk) is a complete protein, with calcium and probiotics. Cinnamon works as an anti-inflammatory and is high in antioxidants. Below is a recipe that I use:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup agave nector, honey, OR pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour (I use, 1 cup wheat flour, 1 cup coconut flour, and 1/4 cup sprouted rye flour, or some other random grain flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • If you want, you can add chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, sliced almonds, dried blueberries, etc. Use your own judgement on how much you want in there.

Directions

  1. Grease/spray baking dish(es) and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except whatever additive you decide to use (if any).
  3. Make sure all ingredients are mixed thoroughly, then stir in additive.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Helpful tips

This recipe makes two loaves, but you can also use an 8×8 baking pan. If you do, try baking it at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes instead.

I use frozen bananas (thawed) because they are much easier to mush. But because they are cold, they tend to harden the coconut oil, making it impossible to mix. So what I do, is heat up the oil on low in a sauce pan with the bananas and get that mixture warm before stirring it into the rest of the batter.

The batter is kind of thick, so you’ll probably need to smooth out the top with a spatula before you put it in the oven.

This is a great post-run, second breakfast meal. It has the carbs to replenish your body and fuel to move on to the rest of your day. It’s calorie dense, but filled with very useful calories. You can also use it as an alternative to common baked goods, if you’re slowly trying to step away from the sweets. If you add chocolate chips, it definitely could pass as a dessert, and then all you have to feel guilty about is the chocolate. Ha! Enjoy.