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peterson_tailgater

My post-40-miler tailgater last weekend. Putting my feet up with those tacos was worth all the taper-crazy-hard-race-work!

BodyGlide Giveaway post! Comment below or on our Facebook page for a chance to win a sweet For Her BodyGlide Pack with the must-have glide and sweet running hat! Winner picked April 24th.

This post is dedicated to all my buddies running the Eugene Marathon races this weekend. I hold you in my hearts as I do those involved in the horrific events at Boston this week. Love. Peace. Run.

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What does taper mean? Supposedly, the taper is a period of decreased mileage before race day that’s accompanied by more rest, healthy food, time off your feet and race prep. And, no matter how zen you think you are, it’s also a time of insanity as any racer will tell you. Whether you’re running your first race or your 50th, the taper is a multi-stage period of time in which emotions tend to run wild and pieces of your personality that you may not want exposed, get exposed. Your friends and family might see sides to you that you’d rather not have them see.

Runners, however, are the most forgiving during this period of time. Like, you’re running buddy might say…

“Hey, that new running skirt looks great on you!”

“SHUT UP! IT TOTALLY MAKES ME LOOK LIKE A COW! I’M BLOATED AND HAVE GAINED LIKE 20 POUNDS OVERNIGHT AND  I’M GETTING A COLD!”

“Are you tapering?”

“Yeah, sorry.”

“I love you. Wanna grab a beer?”

“OK”

In an effort to help you feel normal. And, to give you something to do for 3 minutes other than FREAK OUT about your upcoming race, I’ve outlined some of the stages of the dreaded taper. These can happen in any order and I’m sure I’ve missed some. Feel free to comment below and tell us your experience!

1. Confusion: When does taper start? I just finished my longest run. Is it NOW? Is it now?  Is it next week? When can I eat more? Is it now? I’m so hungry.

2. Denial: I’m not tapering, I just have like 18 days until my race. That’s all. No biggy. I’m cool. It’s not time to freak out or anything. Why is my voice so high?

3. Over-Eater: Good thing I’ll be burning like 26.2 million calories on race day. I’m just gonna eat this entire cake and not worry about it. Maybe I should wait till after breakfast.

4. Under-Eater: I’m going to run this race light as a feather. It’s humus and rice crackers for me today, thanks.

5. Hypochondriac: I have a sore throat. I bumped my toe. My toe is broken. I have pneumonia and a broken leg now. Did you sneeze? Get away from me! Don’t you know I have a race in 2 weeks!

6. Cry Baby: Dang! I used my free coffee punch card LAST week. Cry.  I should feel fortunate to be able to buy good coffee in the first place. Cry. Feel guilty. Cry.

7. Wonder Woman: Run at a crack of dawn in the dark, make breakfast, pack school lunches, work all day, whip up dinner, clean the kitchen, fold laundry, read to kids, handle kid meltdown, put kids to bed, fold more laundry, pay bills, set out running clothes for the morning, answer emails, finally remember to feed pets, find spelling homework crumpled in bottom of kid’s backpack, throw chicken and potatoes in the crockpot, panic that you were going to try and get to bed by 10:00pm, but it’s now 11:00pm. Oh, wait, this isn’t wonder woman taper stage, this is just what I do EVERY. DAM. DAY.

8. Dummy: “Mommy, where is Nebraska?” “Um, I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW! Oh, god, where is Nebraska?” What is wrong with me? “Go get the globe and we’ll look for it together, Jo–Ja–Ji—, whatever your name is.”

9. Faux Fantastic: Pulling off the faux-fantastic is  hard. It’s that big, hands-on-hips-confident-smile, ya-sure-you-betcha-wink-thing you throw at non-runners who ask you the dumbest question ever, “Are you excited about your race coming up?”

10. Bitch: Get away from me.

11. Uber-Bitch: Get the fuck away from me.

12. Newbie Runner: AHHHH, I just did my last short run and I feel like I’ve never run before! The clock has turned back. I feel like a newbie runner. Help! I can’t even run 3 miles!

13. Queen Bee: “I don’t care if you need another snack. I’m going to sit here in this Lazy-Boy for 5 minutes, that’s all I ask, 5 MINUTES and watch this cooking show! (This stage is usually followed by some version of “Guilt-Fest” stage.)

14. Melt Down: I scheduled my meltdown for the Friday before my race at exactly 10:00am. Of course, I was too busy being in “Wonder Woman Stage” to have my meltdown, but the fact I scheduled it in made me feel better.

15. Exercise-Free Exercising:  “Ooops,” I told my coach, a week out from my race. “I did a short run and now I’m biking to work which includes 8-10 miles of riding to a meeting.” “No problem,” she says, “just don’t use your legs.”

16. Guilt-Fest: I’m a horrible mother! I just spent half of every Saturday doing my long runs and I’ve missed out on hours of my kids’ growing up that I will never get back. (This stage is sometimes followed by “Cry Baby” stage or the sharing of cake from “Over-Eater” stage.)

17. Zen: I’m cool. I got this. I’m breathing deeply. I’m listening more. I’m blinking sloooowly. I’m stretching. I’m so tight I can’t touch my toes, but whatever. I got this.

18. Panic: I won’t make it. I’m not ready. I haven’t trained enough. I’ve over trained. I’ll be too slow. I’ll go out too fast. I’ll shit my pants.  I’ll panic.

19. 30-Second-Butterfly-Barf: This is final stage of the taper. You’re standing in the crowd at the starting line on race day. Everyone around you is putting on their best “Faux-Fantastic” smile. You should have peed one more time. The race starts in 30 seconds. The butterflies in your stomach have multiplied 26.2 times and you’re so nervous you want to barf. Then the gun goes off and you start to run. Yay! Taper’s over. Let’s run!

body_glide_herSince runners are such a unique bunch, I’m sure there are more stages of the taper. Comment below with your experience or how you feel before a tough run for a chance to win some sweet goodies from BodyGlide! We’ll pick a random winner on Wednesday, April 24th  from all of our blog and Facebook comments. Oh, and be sure to like BodyGlide on Facebook to keep up with tips and tricks for successful racing!

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Doin' the empty tent dance! Don't ask me how much it cost per square foot.

Mizunos are also good for dancing. Here’s Michelle and I getting ready to rock our tent at the Olympic Trials Track & Field 2012

Michelle, my biz partner here at RMR, and I are blessed in many ways. Not only do we get to be best friends (going on 17 years!) but we get to work and play together. And I want to share something very special about her too. If you didn’t know, she was the financial beginnings to Run Momma Run and, while I did the “running” of the business for the last three years, she’s been backin’ my butt the whole way. She’s also been the quiet, but very savvy voice of many decisions and the amazing woman who swoops in at our events and makes sure I manage to make a few sales in between all my yapping with people about running. I love her. We’re a great team. And, when we put all our eggs in a basket and decided to have a booth at the Olympic Trials Track & Field in 2012, someone else noticed we made a great team – Ron Wayne, Director of Sports Marketing for Mizuno.

pre_ron

Here is Ron on the right with, you guessed it, Pre.

Mezamashii!

Big name, big heart this Ron guy! If you didn’t catch it, be sure to listen to our Mizuno podcast with him about his amazing running career back in the Pre days as well as some of the incredible Mizuno racing team athletes. Ron introduced us to Mizuno’s Mezamashii Run Project:  an effort to help create a more euphoric running experience — a more “brilliant” run — for more runners everywhere. The word “mezamashii” means “eye-opening” or “brilliant” in Japanese — it’s a word that captures the euphoric feeling of a brilliant run. Check out this great video about the Mezamashii Project! (If you’re on Twitter, check out the #brilliantrun hash search!)

Mizuno is our exclusive footwear partner!

Mizuno is our exclusive footwear partner!

After spending time with Ron we were excited to receive an invitation to be exclusive footwear partners with Mizuno! We had a blast hanging out at Coorperative Performance and Rehabilitation here in Eugene who hosted some Mizuno Mezamashii Runs during the Olympic Trials weeks. We got to demo Mizuno shoes, and I hung out with RMR folks, met local, elite Craig Leon of Mizuno Racing Team and did some of my own brilliant running with my new Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s! They were euphoric runs for sure. I remember that, in the midst of working 10-15 hour days at the trails, those fun runs were a fantastic escape – pure joy and release! I can’t wait to try the Wave Inspire 9s this year!

Our partnership means that we get to try Mizuno shoes and goodies and share them with you. We’ve had a blast in the last 6 months doing giveaways at our events and on Facebook and through our blog. Our gals our LOVING the goodies and so are we. So, let’s get down to it!

Shoes!

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These babies go everywhere. Yep, even on Halloween runs at 5:30am when you’re dressed like a cocktail waitress.

I am embarrassed to post a current photo of my Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s because, truth be told, I’ve been taking them out on the trails and they are FILTHY! In the best way, of course. The ground has been more frozen than wet lately and they handle the dirt, gravel, rocks, logs, twists and turns just fine! I was surprised at how extremely light these shoes felt when I first put them on and, if they weren’t caked with dirt, they would still feel that way! Seriously a light shoe. I’m a long distance runner and this lack of lead on the bottom of my feet really makes a difference after mile 10, 15, 20…. I was also pleasantly surprised at the fit. I’m a AA and it’s very hard to find a shoe that works for my flat, skinny, straight feet. Despite being light, they are very sturdy and, though I’ve been giving them quite a beating on the trail and on the roads training for a 50K last summer and now training with them for a 40 miler in April, they don’t feel like they’ve gone more than 100 miles. I can’t wait to try the 9s this year! This moderate support shoe has gone from an 8.9 oz to 8.3 oz – wow! And, if you’re  a minimalist type, check out Mizuno’s new Evo Running video! Check out all of the Mizuno Running Shoes and stay glued to our Facebook page or sign up for our Winery Run & Brunch Event coming up for a chance to win some.

Tights!

I LOVE my Mizuno Wildwood tights! They are tightish – which I love. I feel so supported and enveloped in goodness. Sounds silly, but really, they are so comfy. Another big plus, especially for this distance momma – two pockets! Key pocket in front, room for 2-3 Gu in the back. NICE! Oh, and my girlfriends who have won some at our events LOVE them too.

They are perfect for running....and especially good for running in to get coffee after a 10 miler on a cold day!

They are perfect for running….and especially good for running in to get coffee after a 10 miler on a cold day!

Skirt!

After my mega-chaffing experience on my last big training run, I decided to run in a bra and my fantastic Mizuno skirt. Less to wear, less to rub. Worked like a charm.

This is my favorite piece of running gear. NO, not the post-race beer, the skirt! (Ok, it’s a tie)

I am a HUGE skirt fan. A total convert from shorts. (Which is lucky and just in time as my 10 year old pair that I love are just. too. gross.) I ordered this skirt just before I ran the McKenzie River Trail 50K last summer. Then I pulled a classic race day no-no: I wore something NEW on race day. Yep, the queen of chaffing just KNEW that this skirt was going to be perfect for 31 miles and it was. Wide, comfort fit waistband, draw string for perfect adjustment, just the right length, long shorts underneath, slightly extra fabric for that extra girly-feeling-swish (c’mon, you know what I mean). AND, two fabulous pockets. Seriously, I used to rip pockets out of old running pants and shorts and sew them into new ones that didn’t have pockets. I can put my iPhone in the side boy-shorts pocket. How perfecto is that for wild life photo ops on the trail?

Socks!

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And they hold a little ice pack in whatever place you need that extra zing.

I have really sensitive feet. I was injured for a good portion of 2010 and 2011 and when my tootsies start to even think about hurting, I hit them with all I’ve got; ice, vitamin I and my Mizuno Compression Socks. I’ve tried other brands in the past and these are the shiznit! Super snug in all the right places on my feet and nice and tight on my calves, I keep them on for hours. I’ve also started running in them under my tights since it’s dropped below freezing. Soooo warm and snug. Plus, they wear really well with my work boots and skirt. I can hang at the office after an early morning long run and feel the healing power!

Jackets!

blog_jacketsJackets seem almost pointless in Eugene. Either it’s not raining hard enough to wear one or it’s raining so hard and long you’ll be soaked to the core so what’s the point? Somehow, however, this one is perfect  – the Mizuno Cabrakan. It’s super thin and ultra light (80 g!) so I’m not too hot (I’m always boiling), but it really keeps me dry. I took it off the other day after a gusher and I was dry underneath. Whoa, that’s never happened. I took it on a 22 miler yesterday and it rocked through the rain, sun, wind and I never took it off. And, Michelle is lovin’ her Mizuno Elixir Jacket. Here we are with our gear on the rainingest day of the year so far with our inspiring speaker Janet Oberholtzer at Eugene Running Company. She graced us with her comeback-to-running story after a horrendous accident. We gave her some Mizuno shoes to try and she’s loving them!

Mizuno in 2013!

What’s next? Lots…we’ll have some fantastic Mizuno giveaways at our Winery Run & Brunch this year. Seats fill up quickly, so register today! We’ll also continue to have giveaways at our 2nd Thursday of the Month RMR Club Weekly runs now and then and keep up with us on Facebook so you won’t miss the chance to try some Mizuno goodies yourself.

Cheers and here’s to more brilliant runs!

~Laura

Our Mizuno Giveaway Extravaganza Continues (But first, Soup!)

I asked our lovely Michelle to share her amazing recipe for Pumpkin Carrot Coconut Curry Soup and her thoughts on being in Oregon this time of year.  Soup is a lovely way to bring in the season and so is winning a pair of new running shoes!!! We continue with our awesome Mizuno giveaways and feel so fortunate to share their excellent products with you.

~Laura

This has autumn written all over it!

There is nothing that speaks fall like chilly nights and the brilliant colors that come with the changing of the leaves. It has been many years since I was a part of this spectacular time of year. Getting to experience fall was one of the many reasons I wanted to move to Eugene. I have missed that special smell in the air that is indicative to the coming of the season along with the wet leaves and the changes that happen in my refrigerator.

Here’s what I came up with recently with the last of my garden’s carrots and a sugar pumpkins.

Pumpkin Carrot Coconut Curry Soup Recipe

1 med. Sugar Pumpkin cut in half, seeds scooped out and placed face down on a cookie sheet.

2 cups carrots-washed and cut into 2 inch pieces

2 Leeks (or 1 med onion)chopped and rinsed thoroughly

1 T Coconut or Olive oil

1 can Trader Joe’s 14 oz. light coconut milk

1 cup veggie or chicken broth

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp curry

1 tsp turmeric

1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp cinnamon

Chicken or Veggie stock as needed.

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Place carrots alongside prepared pumpkin and bake in oven till soft approx. 45 minutes. Chop the leeks and cook for 3-4 minutes in oil. Add cumin, curry and turmeric and let simmer for a couple of more minutes. When leeks are soft add coconut milk and cinnamon stick. Let simmer on the stove for 30 more minutes being careful not to let the coconut milk boil.

When the pumpkin and carrots are cool to the touch scoop the pumpkin out of the shell and  puree in your food processor or blender along with your coconut milk mixture (take out cinnamon stick). Keep processing until all the coconut milk is incorporated. Use stock as needed to thin soup to desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper and place the cinnamon stick back in the soup. Serve the next day. Curry is usually better when it sits for a bit.

~ Bon Appetit’

The winner will pick a model and color from our list of available shoes!

Ok, Ok, Let’s Do the Shoe Giveaway!

Mizuno is our exclusive footwear partner!

Here’s how to win! Soup is a great vegetable delivery system for moms with little picky eaters. Give us either a soup idea or another one of your favorite, healthy, go-to winter family pleasers. We’ll create a list of awesome dinner ideas and pick a random winner from our Facebook and blog entries on Friday, November 30th by 5:00pm PST!

Epic. That’s my word for race day.

Cathie is an amazing coach. She is my running rock!

I keep telling people I had an epic day at the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K and they squint at me cautiously and ask,

“Seriously?”

“YES!” I say. I knew it would be though. I could feel it. Like my last race, the Ridgeline Ramble 20K, I knew it would be an “on” day. A day that I felt strong. A day that I came to the starting line with nothing naggling, nothing injured, no questions, no uncertainty, no doubts. I credit my coach for that feeling.

This race was for Cathie.

Getting to the starting line healthy, strong and well-trained is all her fault. I don’t lack motivation. I’m weird that way. I await her training spreadsheets each week like I’m waiting for Santa. When she pushes me, I’m stoked! When she makes me take it easy, well, I’m a bit less stoked, but I know she’s always right.

That “epic” feeling also includes being surrounded by glorious pre-race gifts from my runner besties!

The latest in early-morning-run-fasion – the AmyPottery Coffee Mug. Fits in coffee cup spot in your car, easy to carry, keeps it hot and it’s a piece of art. Thank you T-buns!

My beloved Michelle set me up with my favorite FOOD – Rice Crispy Treats – Trader Joe RMR style! Cathie & I celebrated with more of same post-race.

With great support from my buddies, how could I NOT have a great day? Plus, I was about to hook up with an amazing person and swap food, share life stories, pee in the woods together and encourage each other over lava, roots and rocks for 31 miles. That’s her in yellow, below.

(From left to right) Ilisa, my “security blanket” as we called each other during the race, Shelley, a random guy, Todd and Julia – hanging out before the race. I love how Julia is holding the Glide (or is it deodorant?) like it’s a can of beer.

Glide applied, snacks packed, shirts piled on the drop bag tarps and last minute pees taken BEHIND the porta potty (because the line was too long in FRONT of the porta potty), and we were headed to the start.

But wait, I forgot to tell you the Garmin story.

Ah, tin foil. Kinda like gray tape for technology.

Once upon a time, I had a Garmin 205. It lasted a blissful 4 years before its face fell off one day mid-run. So, for my long training run along the McKenzie river trail several weeks beforehand, I borrowed one. I clicked start, or so I thought, but the timer never started. I didn’t fuel on time and kind went coo coo. So coo coo that I accidentally left the borrowed watch at the water’s edge of Carmen Reservoir when I took a post-run ice bath. Ugh! I drove up the next day to look for it. Gone. I didn’t have enough time to buy a new one for various reasons, so I borrowed another watch from the same gal I borrowed the first one from [insert amazing story of trust and friendship here]. This time, on race day, it never turned on at all!

Seriously?

Did I really need one of those woo-woo life lessons about time being imaginary or relative to nothing or that it’s all in my head? Two minutes before the start, that Obie Wan Kenobi voice came on in my head….”Trust the force….” Wait, no, no, that was Ilisa’s voice saying, “It’s ok, you’ve got this. You don’t need the Garmin. Just trust. You know what to do. We’ll stick together.”

I let panic grip me for only a few seconds, then a few seconds more when she added, “I don’t have a watch either. In fact, I don’t want to know what time it is.”

Seriously?

Fortunately, the best thing about starting lines is….you just gotta start running! There’s no turning back. All the excruciating details of training fall away into the simplicity of one foot in front of the other. There is nothing you can do about anything. Hmmm, maybe I did need a lesson.

The gun went off. I ran. I smelled the forest. I tried to “feel” it.   I made it to race day. I made it back to running long distances from being injured for so long last year. Making it to the start felt like I had won. I was instantly transported to heaven and stayed there for 31 freaking awesome miles.

Seriously!

We started out slowly. Ilisa and I fell in toward the rearish of mid-pack. The single track line of runners seemed long and too slow as we climbed up toward Sahalie falls. But, I kept telling myself this was a good thing. No sense in screwing up a perfectly good race day with starting out too fast. Been there, run that.

After the climb, which was really the only climb on the course, it was all fun as we approached the first aid station at 5.7 miles, Santiam Wagon Road. High fives, a slice of watermelon, an imaginary “check” in the air, a  jog around the orange cone and we were headed to our next restaurant in the dirt, Carmen Reservoir at mile 11.2. It was delicious, of course. The volunteer support at this race is fantastic as was the spread; chips, cookies, quesadillas, boiled potatoes with salt, Bugles and loads of watermelon and cantaloupe – my favorites –  were plentiful! I learned from my first 50K, Siskiyou Outback, that fruit is a perfect blend of easy-to-digest water and sugar to supplement my Gu. Potatoes are also a hit. Gotta love a mid-race salt lick!

Kick your heals up, lift your knees up, heck, just stay up!

Treats in tow, the next 6 miles were challenging, technical and can be summed up in two words: Lava Rocks. How do you handle a trail full of sharp objects? A trail section where mountain bikers CARRY their bikes? Use the RiverDance technique. Still, it’s hard not to fall. Ilisa took a few epic tumbles. After the first one, which sent her careening into a giant log, she got up, looked herself over and said, “Well, nothing’s impaled. Let’s go.” She had me at impaled! I love this woman! [insert another story of  friendship, grown over 31 miles of single track]

After that section, it was all downhill from there.

Seriously!

The course has a net downhill and for the most part, you can really feel that groove on the last section of the course. But first, we had to fuel up at Trailbridge Aid Station at mile 16.7 and run up and over what I would call a “saddle” on the side of a pretty steep bank (the only section of the course I hadn’t run) until we hit Deer Creek Aid Station. More salt, more fruit, more random jokes, more friendly faces to help us fill our packs and get us down the road. From there to the next aid at Buck Bridge was a short 3.1 miles. Perfect! As the miles stretched longer, it was so encouraging to see more smiles and FOOD in that short time span. I was so high and excited at mile 25, I couldn’t help but scream, “Let’s go run a 10K!!!!”

Seriously? (I know, right? I’m a total nerd.)

The last section was woodsy, windy, pretty and with my security-blanket-perfect-pacer, Ilisa in front of me, I felt the best kind of tired and soreness creep in on the next 5 miles. You know the kind that says, “Hey, you’re working pretty hard, but nothing is going to kill you and because you’re on a caffeine/sugar/distance/race high right now, you’re quite the rockstar!” Love that voice.

But the last mile was reaaaallllly long. Remember the Garmin story? Sure, I had asked several runners as we cruised along that morning what mile we were on, and the last aid was only 5 miles behind us, but time does a brain fuck with, especially when you’re at the maximum distance your body has trained for and the trail offers you nothing but curvy, bumpy single track next to a rushing river you can’t drink from or cool off in. Back. Forth. Left. Right. Are we there YET?! Random cheering guy says, “A mile to go!” Back. Forth. Left. Right. Are we there YET?! Another random cheering guy says, “A mile to go!”

Seriously?

Leah and I – hot mess mommas!

Yes, SERIOUSLY! Ilisa and I finally spy the shoot up a short, steep embankment and give it all we got. We crossed the finish joined at the hip. Sweaty hugs, laughter, glassy eyes looking for familiar faces, stumbles toward the porta-poty, lots of OMGs follow.

Ilisa headed home with her son. I stood for a while cheering finishers and was so excited to spy Leah coming through looking strong! We decided lunch was in order and, after retrieving her van from the starting line up the road, had our fill of burrito-rice-chip yumminess and counted our remaining toenails.

I drove home alone, filled with the euphoric feelings of a day spent thrashing my body doing something I absolutely love. At home, my awesome husband was grilling up a steak for dinner (an upgrade from my usual post-race hamburger splurge) and chillin’ the beer.

After my mega-chaffing experience on my last big training run, I decided to run in a bra and my fantastic Mizuno skirt. Less to wear, less to rub. Worked like a charm.

It was such an epic day, it took me a while to get in the shower. I just didn’t want to wash off anything that represented my accomplishment, my journey. Plus there was the cold beer and that comes first.

Good as a 1st 50K?

People have asked me if this would be a good first 50K. Some folks have told me it was perfect for a first, some not. Having only done one other before that was classified as mountain running, starting at 6,500 feet elevation with thousands of feet in elevation change, the McKenzie River Trail required less hill training and seemed easier in that respect. However, it’s extremely technical. You really can’t take your eyes off the trail for even a second unless you’ve got endo-thrill-issues. If you’re lucky enough to live close to the trail and lucky enough to get into the lottery, I recommend doing some training runs there where you can take your time and see the gorgeous waterfalls and soak up what feels like a magical fairy forest.

SWAG?

They did it up right. Being a big fan of race medals (probably because I sell those snazzy marathon medal display racks), I was admittedly a little bummed that we wouldn’t be getting one. BUT, what we did get was saweet and totally useful.

Bottle of red wine with cool MRTR 50K design, sweet fleece hat that I wear all the time and a groovy travel blanket. Awesome for the family – waterproof on one side, snuggly on the other.

Thanks for letting me share my loooong race report with you. Congratulations to you if you made it this far. It truly was the Best. Race. Day. Ever.

Seriously.

Run Momma Run is about celebrating and connecting women who run. It’s about supporting each other on our common quest for healthy lifestyles, fitness and our sometimes crazy sport.  In the middle of celebrating, however, I was thrown a curve ball: breast cancer. For nearly all of this last year my quest for health became a quest for survival, physically, mentally  and emotionally. The experience throws you off, to say the least. I am 7 months post treatment and I am still adjusting to all that took place. It was 9 short weeks from diagnosis to surgery to radiation. As quickly as that storm blew in, it packed up and moved on. But it left me wondering “Did all that really just happen?” Although it shook my confidence, and as I try now to balance my new, healthier life, I find that I like the new me. I’m a little softer around the edges and more tuned into my senses. Life is full of surprises and many of them change you. Change is a good thing. And so is evaluating where you are with your health. Take a look at our health check-in giveaway as well as my breast cancer prevention check-in below:

Mizuno Holiday Giveaway Extravaganza!

To celebrate  health, fitness, running and the wonderful connections I’m making with Run Momma Run, we are kicking off a boat-load of giveaways from now until January 1st. First item to giveaway, is some amazing top-of-the-line Mizuno Running Shoes!

How To Win!

For a chance to WIN, comment below or on our Facebook page what area of your health you could improve on. It could be eating better, sleeping longer, having more down time, committing to a race goal, committing to slowing down a bit, drinking less soda, more water….whatever! Enter by midnight Sunday, October 21st and we’ll pick a random winner.

The winner will pick a model and color from our list of available shoes!

Breast Cancer Prevention Check In

As we all know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  We at Run Momma Run thought it might be a good time to remind you of the things we know most of you are doing right to cut your chances of getting breast cancer as well as something you might not know.

Breast cancer isn’t just one disease. There are many kinds of breast cancer and within those, many subcategories. Surprisingly, young women tend to get more aggressive breast cancer.  This is confusing to many because cancer is usually a disease associated with aging. The thought process is that young women are not frequently screened, therefore, once diagnosed, their cancer is more advanced. So, encourage your younger girlfriends and relatives to get familiar with their breasts so they can recognize any changes. The recommended age for mammograms is 40. Noticing a change in your breasts happens at any age.

After doing a lot of studying on the subject over the last year, I wanted to share what seems to be the top 4 key things we can do to keep breast cancer at bay. Luckily for us, most of us fitness freaks are already in line with these prevention tips. If you’re slacking in one area, however, this month is a perfect time to focus on it and make some changes.

1.   Lose Weight  Extra pounds increases your chances of getting breast cancer by 40%. One study showed women who gained 20-30 pounds after age 18 had a higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer than women who gained no more than five pounds. 78% of doctors polled recommend patients drop pounds to help fend off the disease.

2.   Exercise More  With as little as an hour and 15 minutes a week of brisk walking you can reduce your risk by 18%. Imagine what running does!

3.  Drink Less Alcohol. Having two drinks a day ups your risk by 21%.  Most doctors recommend limiting yourself to 3 drinks a week. There is a “dose response” to keep in mind, the more you drink, the higher your risk.

4.   Reduce Toxins Eat lots of fresh fruit and greens, preferably organic, avoid cigarette smoke, and exposure to gasoline by-products.  Breasts are like sponges: they absorb things quickly, including toxins. One mom had her breast milk tested and it came back positive for flame retardants, pesticides, and ingredients found in jet fuel.  Really?

One of the things I really enjoy about living in Eugene and surrounding myself with runner momma’s is that many of these things are already in place. I notice how people care about themselves, are active, who live with intention and care about others.

Thanks for letting me share with you today and don’t forget to comment to win!

I have to admit, I love this photo of me. It’s got all my favorite parts of my personality in it: adventurer, trail runner, nature lover, smart ass.

If you try and make me laugh while getting into an “icier than a witches tit” lake after 24 miles of serious trail running and rock hopping complete with non-functioning Garmin, mis-fire-fueling, took-a-wrong-turn-or-two moments and epic underarm chaffe, I will make this all-too-familiar universal sign for, well, you know. BUT, I will also be smiling because, after all, it’s TRAIL RUNNING! Wahooo!

I’m not sure what I’m doing with my right knee or what she’s doing with her right hand, but we look ready to rock nonetheless.

I haven’t written about my running in a while. I’ve been kinda staying under the radar with it except for the in-person blabling I do about it with friends when we run. Running is a solo sport when you boil it down to step after step. It’s just you and you, especially on long trail runs. Even if you share it with friends, the decisions you make while negotiating the trail, fueling, making water stops, picking routes and talking with that voice in your head that says you’re tired,  hurting or higher than a kite are all yours. I’ve been trying to get more centered with my running, trying to listen to my body. Sit still and ponder all the pieces of who I am when I run. Still, some of you have wondered what I’m up to, so here’s the scoop… I’m running the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K on September 8 and the Silver Falls Trail Marathon November 3rd. Last Saturday was my final long run for the 50K.

My awesome running bud Leah who blogs over at Trail Smitten Mom and I headed out at 5:00am to explore 20 plus miles of the McKenzie River Trail Race Course. Our plan was to park at Carmen Reservoir and run the first 11 miles of the course around Clear Lake, grab water and nosh back at the car, then continue down to mile 16.7 of the course, then back up to the car. We planned to take it easy and get in at least 5 hours on our feet while enjoying the gorgeous waterfalls and the naturific glory that is this magical fairy world forest along the raging McKenzie.  We did all that, had a great time catching up, laughed a lot and ran our butts off. Some notables a la photos follow…

We didn’t realize how cute we looked in our Dirty Girl Gaiters! Cool Hawaii means hot racer.

Hey, we know you! We were thrilled to run into 4 sets of running chicas along the way. No dudes, just us gals out there doing it up.

Waterfalls are cool, fast, pretty and offer a wonderful mist when you’re hot and bothered in the humid forest. When I see a waterfall I always think, wow, this is going on 24/7!

Lava rock is wild stuff. This portion of the course is actually a paved path next to Clear Lake. Later we were treated to lots of lava rock on the trail. Can you say River Dance Trail Running? Hop Hop Hop

Yep, blue pool is really blue!

It wasn’t all groovy photos and pit stops, however. The run was a bit harder than I wanted it to be. For starters, we missed the trail that would have taken us back to our car at mile 11. Dammit, I had chips waiting for us! (From trail 3507, it said “waterfalls” not Carmen Reservoir, so we plugged along 2 miles passed our “exit.”)  Not wanting to back track, we kept going, figuring we had enough water to make it to Trail Bridge, our official turnaround spot. With both of our bladders sucked dry, we trotted into the outskirts of Trail Bridge Campground and filled up with water at the first spout, next to a couple making breakfast under their pop-up canopy. Feeling a bit shaken from missing our self-made aid station and slightly giddy, it was then that I realized I had really blown it with fueling. Last week my Garmin fell apart mid-run, so I was running Saturday with a borrowed, slightly fancier model. I had not clicked it on correctly at the start, so my usual plan of fueling at 4-5 miles, then 45 minutes there after didn’t happen. I had run about 17 miles on 2 Gu and that ain’t enough for this ol’ lady trail runner. It was also at the water spigot that I realized the chaffing under my left arm was getting pretty painful. I’m a sweater – big time! As I filled my Nathan pack with water I commented on how drenched and smelly I was. “Geesh, I’m sweating out the morning’s coffee even! Can you smell that?” Leah laughed and pointed to the couple cooking breakfast. “No, THEY’RE making coffee!”

Food. Must have more food. Brain cells are dying.

Epic chaffe!

After the laugh and the pit stop, we continued on with our relentless forward progress, back up the lava rock area, over bridges and through the woods to our beloved car with CHIPS and our icy-witch-tit-cold-lake bath. On the way back I hallucinated seeing 4 or 5 orange water bottles on the side of the trail and tried cussing out loud to keep myself moving.  Leah took a fall and banged up her leg, head and shoulder, but she’s a tough cookie and rocked on.   We made it. 24 miles and we’re ready to kick some ass on September 8th!

Obviously early in the run when I had energy and sass to pull this stunt and enough brain cells left to be thinking, “Gee, I need a cool Facebook profile photo.”

Yep – happy spirit, running spirit!

When I first thought about doing running podcasts for RMR so we could connect and support an even broader audience of running women, the ideas for shows seemed endless. However, the choice about what and who to feature as the first show was easy. My dear friend and ultra runner, Carolyn. The topic; her journey to Western States 100 Endurance Race. In case you’re not familiar with the famous 100 mile run, here is their website’s intro:

The Run is conducted along the Western States Trail starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, a total of 100 miles. The trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn. Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters.

Yeah. THAT race!

The journey and the post-race podcasts are amazing to listen to. Sure, there’s a lot of information about what to eat, how to train for hills, how to handle crazy weather,  about selecting a pacer and crew, but it also includes thoughts on how to get your brain around even wanting to run that far. The mental shift from running a 50 miler to doubling the distance is no small decision.  Carolyn, who blogs over at Happy Spirit Running Spirit was gracious enough to play along and let us pick her brain about training for a 100 mile race, physically and mentally. I would have to add spiritually too because I think it takes a special kind of spirit to commune that closely with yourself and nature at that level of pain, challenge and endurance.

Carolyn & Deb make an awesome team!

In our awesome final program,  Carolyn and her crew chief and pacer, Deb talk about the unique and  trusting relationship between runner and crew chief and how that strengthens their lives and friendship. Many thanks to both of you for the honor of sharing such a personal journey with us.

Each podcast is 15-30 minutes and can be found on the running podcast page on our website. You can also find them and subscribe to our women’s running podcasts through iTunes.

Carolyn , in red, with her amazing crew on the final stretch at Auburn High School track!

Podcast #1 How did you know you wanted to run 100 miles?

Carolyn Hennessey is an ultra runner. We’ll chat with her over the next 6 months as she trains for the famous Western States 100 Endurance Race. We’ll learn how she trains both mentally and physically for running 100 miles while also working full time, creating another business and being step mom to three boys.

Podcast #2 100 Miler Play-by-Play at Pine to Palm 100

In our second ultrarunning podcast with Carolyn Hennessey, we’ll talk about her current training progress as well as review one of her 100 milers. How does she conguer challenges with pain, fueling, night running, adapting to condition changes along with the highs that come from such an ultrarunning accomplishment.

Podcast #3 Training Update & Western States Race Prep

In our third ultrarunning podcast with Carolyn Hennessey, we’ll talk about how her training is going and some specific things she is doing to prepare for the 100 mile distance, the heat, water crossings and other environmental factors of the Western States 100 race.

Podcast #4 Post-race report!

Our rockstar at the finish line!

In our last podcast of this series, we’ll talk with both Carolyn Hennessey and her crew chief, Deb Landau, as they give us their versions of the Western States 100 Endurance Run race report that Carolyn has been training for. We’ve been following Carolyn on her journey to one of the most famouse 100 mile races and we’re excited to hear the play-by-play. Did her fueling system stand the test, how did her heat training prepare her, how did she deal with rough patches and how did Deb and the crew help support her and keep her going.

We’d love to hear your feedback on our series, ideas for another one or your thoughts on ultra running!