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Posts Tagged ‘women’s running’

dog_break

Less is more. I find myself saying this often. About many things. It’s one of those pieces of very “zen” advice that you wish you could follow all the time. It can be applied to many things. Like:

– Stressing about housework: it never ends anyway, right?

– Over-scheduling your kids: this backfires, right?

– American Idol: three seasons was enough, right?

– Running: less is more. What?

I know.  It’s hard to think that you get MORE with LESS running. But sometimes, this is true. Just like over-thinking leads to over-thinking, running too much leads to Running. Too. Much. Don’t get me wrong. There is no distance that sounds crazy to me. Everything is relative. One woman’s 5K is another’s 100 miler. It’s all good.

But.

A very exhausted, overworked, overstressed friend who just ran a 50K asked me yesterday if she should go ahead and run that other 50K she was signed up for next weekend. “You know me”, I said. “I error on the side of over-conservatism. (With running, not politics) I can’t help it. I fantasize about being the person who can run a 50K then go run another in a week, or hop in a marathon after a marathon. I’ve tried. I get injured every time. I have finally learned that my body needs more recovery time. I can do those races! Just not too close together. This is me. You have to listen to YOUR body. And sometimes less is more. Most importantly, if you decide it’s less. THAT’S OK.”

Fresh legs work. And listening to your body works. After 15 years of running, which isn’t long by some, I am finally getting the hang of that. The challenge becomes NOT in the long slogging distance (I know I can do that and I have). The challenge is in the waiting. Waiting till you’re healed. Waiting till you’re healthy. Waiting till you’re rested.

If you love running. I mean really love it. And I really love it. Then the waiting is the hardest part. Waiting for the energy. Waiting for the strength. Waiting for the body’s green light. It might mean waiting a day, waiting a week. Or longer.

When it comes,  it’s all systems go. And so worth the wait.

I used to look up to people who could run and run and run and never stop. Now I look up to people who know when to rest. AND, who aren’t afraid to say so. It’s hard to cut a run short and not beat yourself up about it all day. It’s hard to DNS. It’s hard to DNF. And sometimes that’s the right answer.

Another friend of mine said to me this week. “I wonder what it would be like if, you know,  we actually acknowledged our injuries. How long would it take to get back to running then?”

Our bodies get stronger when we rest. Our torn and tired muscles heal when we sleep, eat, sit on the couch. This is a runner’s major thinking error; that recovery is separate from training. It’s not repeated cycles. It’s all one journey. Our current recovery is essential to the success of our next event.

As much as you seek to find the limits of speed, distance, endurance or altitude, seek the balance of rest. It’s the key to your success just as much as the next PR, or that extra mile.

Don’t worry. Your body will know what to do when it’s time to run. Your legs won’t forget. Your heart will not forget what it loves to do.

Sometimes less is more.

 

 

 

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You don't really need matching shirts to run in the rain at 6:00am, but it helps.

Red and I don’t really need matching shirts to run in the rain at 6:00am, but it helps.

Or is it all you need is what you got? Either way. I got it!

Training for a half marathon or any race or even pulling yourself out of bed for a run comes from something deep inside of you. That’s what I love about running. “It gives you exactly what you put into it”, Red said to me yesterday. The best thing about it is that YOU get to take credit for it.  YOU got out of bed. YOU laced up. YOU put one foot in front of the other. YOU did it.

Well….

I would be lying if I said I didn’t work hard at having optimal conditions for training and running. (Well, as optimal as a full-time-working-mother-of-two-momma is gonna get) As you know, Red and I are training for the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon which is pretty darn optimal as far as races go. Hundreds of women runners, cool swag and goodies at the end. Uh, yeah, that’s part of the optimal plan for sure!

Here’s some other things you might need…

Who doesn't LOVE a beautiful place to run. I'm lucky to be in Eugene and enjoy Pre's trail.

A beautiful place to run! I’m lucky to be in Eugene and enjoy Pre’s trail.

 

trail_running_gear

Shoes! Uh, and some other stuff. Retain therapy goes along with the uplifting mental effects of running.

cheese

This is a little known fact about taking up running. You’re gonna need cheese. And lots of it. The good stuff.

peanut_butter

And peanut butter, of course. This one is not a secret.

cat_beer

You also have to rest when your body says rest. Training is hard work. Resting is part of training. (And I’m not just saying that because I think this picture of a cat is hysterical)

baldy

You will also need the support of good friends. Like those who will sing operettas at the top of mountains you’ve just ran up.

fall_creek_camera

And those who will take a picture of you taking a picture of them as you get ready for a race because we all know the real reason we run is for killer status updates on Facebook.

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And, if  those friends aren’t enough, you might have to start your own running group full of friends who will lure you out of bed so you can pretend to surf in front of them at 6:00am. It was 6:00am. Who knows why I was doing that.

tennis_ball

Ok, pause the silliness for a REAL training tip. You might need a good tennis ball to sit on when the speedwork gets the best of your bum. Ahhh, hurts so good.

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Or, a nice col bag of frozen corn for your tootsies when you’re at work. (Yes, your boss will look at you strangely. Just go with it. You’re an athlete.)

runner_momma_signs

Most of all, it’s great to have the support of people who love you.

I’m sure Red and I will be calling on all of these pieces of our training plan as we get closer to the Eugene Women’s Half. Like today might be peanut butter day! Tell us, what keeps you moving?

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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!

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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!

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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.”

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My curlers didn’t fall out. Yep, that was one of my main concerns as I crawled on my hands and knees through cold, wet mud last Saturday. But I almost didn’t run the Eugene 2012 Dirty Dash.

Once upon a time, (like 6 months ago) Tanya, one of my bestest running buddies, announced that the Dirty Dash was coming to town in honor of her birthday and we should all register. In a moment of runner snobbish seriousness or mommy-brain-fart or whatever, I didn’t sign up. Then, as it happened, there appeared an extra ticket and the next thing I knew, I was showing up to carpool to a filthy, obstacle course 5K with a beer sipping aid station dressed in curlers, an apron and wielding a mean Scotch-Brite sponge. 4 sponges, actually, one for each of us on the June Cleavers Team.

We will clean you, we will. But oh, is that a cake with a Barbie in it?

Looks like we’ll have to back up again. About that cake…. Even though I wasn’t planning on running the dash, I WAS planning something dirty…a dirt cake for the dasher-birthday-girl. What started as a chocolate cake with cute little candy rocks for, uh, rocks,  peanut clusters for mud and crushed Oreos for dirt became a slightly-freakish-double-decker-girl-jumping-out-of-a-cake dessert that only a dirty dasher could love. Alas…the process.

Babs and her junk. Uh, candy.

Curlers? Check. Short pointless dress? Check. Botox perma-grin? Check.

In this situation, I’m sure Barb is glad she doesn’t have “realistic” anatomy or, well, you get the idea.

Ta-da! It’s Cake Barbie. (Which is way better than Rockstar Barbie or even Malibu Ken)

Meanwhile, the shiny clean Junes get ready to head out. (I have a running skirt on, just in case you’re thinking I went with JUST the apron.)

Obviously the “after” picture. We had mud in places we didn’t think there could be mud. Ever. But had a completely riotous time. My favorite part was singing happy birthday to Tanya as we crawled under large irrigation pipes through a 30-foot mud puddle on our bellies.

Later that night, Barbie got the ax. With her red gummy worm boa in tact, she smiled through it all.

Hey, chocolate is chocolate, right?

I have to say, the Dash was a blast. I climbed over hay bales, slippery walls, up and down rope ladders, through pipes, over pipes and under pipes. I hopped through tires, had a few sips of beer at the “aid” staion and crawled through more mud. I took a freezing cold shower with my clothes on with 50 other people and can’t remember when I’ve laughed so hard. And yes….there was running. The running was awesome! There were many many people who showed up for the fun, the mud, the beer and the adventure. But many of them were not runners. “Hey!” We said to ourselves, “We kick ass at this part!” as we passed group after group of mud zombies.

And, while we lost a few along the way, for the most part, our curlers stayed in.

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Two quick things before I launch into my latest soap box…Sorry in advance for subjecting you to photos, once again, of me in that striped headband and my Lithia Loop Marathon shirt. I DO have lots of other running clothes, but these are just my absolute favorites.  And, for the full meal deal on the Ridgeline Ramble, see my race report post from today as well! 

I love it when you find someone at the end of a race that you can pace with – you push each other to the end, finish together and feel like you’ve known them for years. Saturday, that person was Liz. I knew I could keep up with her because I trusted my training. (See number 9 below)

So, I haven’t raced in over a year. And, while I have signed up for the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K on September 8th, I plan on running a few trail halves, and maybe a trail marathon, before hand. The Ridgeline Ramble 20K Trail Race was first on the list. Wow. It was an amazing day. It was amazing because  I felt trained. I felt qualified. I felt like I belonged there. It’s strange, even though I’ve done many races (most longer than 20K), I can honestly say that I felt the most ready for this one. Having had to start from square one after several months off last summer due to my myriad of foot injuries, made me a new and better runner. I got an awesome do-over.

Here is a list of reasons why I’m a better runner than a year ago:

1. I got humbled by injury and time off. You don’t miss it till it’s gone. Since I’ve been back to running, I have had NO complaints. I’m thankful each day I get to run. What a gift.

2. I cross train. Something was bound to break down with just running. I am surprised I went so long. Swimming is my cross training sport of choice. I go at least 3 times a week. It stretches everything out and I love using the pull buoy and paddles to work my core and upper body.

3. I got a coach. Well, not just ANY coach. The most incredible coach: Cathie Twomey Bellamy, owner of Eugene Running Club. I’m tearing up just typing her name. Simply put – she GETS me. All of me…my running, my weaknesses, my strengths, my quirkiness, my humor, my inner dialogue, my insecurities, my dreams. I have never had anyone who was in total understanding of my love of running while at the same time such an expert at helping me achieve my goals. And what a friend.

4. I LISTEN to my coach and followed the rules. (Because it’s not enough to just have a coach.) Especially when I was in the beginning of my back-to-running program, Cathie would tell me to report in on my runs and be uber honest – “Like I’m-staring-into-the-whites-of-your-eyes honest!” It was hard to admit when something hurt after running 5 minutes then to be told to back off or not run the next day. That was harder than hard. Like impossible. But I had trust. And it worked.

5. I lost 10 pounds. I didn’t try to really, I just quit eating most things with gluten and kept up two sports with biking thrown in on the side.  I don’t do a lot of substituting with gluten-free products. I just stay away from a lot more processed foods. Miracle is, I don’t really crave them now. It doesn’t feel like a struggle. I’ve always said bagels beget bagels. You have one on Monday, you want one on Tuesday kinda thing. I’ll have a burger and a beer on Saturday now and then and then I’m good to go for a while.

6. I have built a better aerobic running base. I used to go out and run 3, 4 or 5 mile runs during the week with a sort of lame speed workout consisting of 4 miles total (either a tempo, some intervals or mile repeats) and a long one on the weekend. Now, a speed workout is no shorter than 6 miles and my mid-week runs are easier, but longer. I’m running 40 mile plus weeks and feel great. Previous times I’ve tried that things fell apart and everything hurt.

7. I’m really enjoying running with lots of different people. How does this help your running, you ask? I’m not exactly sure, but it keeps things a-changin’. Some folks I run with are a bit faster, some are a bit slower, some go early, some go late, some go long, some go short, some are long-time runners, some are newbies. While I still cherish my solo runs, all of these friends share themselves liberally with me, so I really ENJOY their company and all the gifts they give me in my life.

8. I’m not so freaking anal about my training. Even though I have a coach and a big fat training plan for the 50K, I don’t feel tied to it like some sort of life-line that, if pulled, would send me flying and sputtering like a balloon loosing air darting across a room. I hook up with friends and work in my plan. Even with my full-time mommy, house boss job and trying to build RMR, I’m more flexible. Night swimming, post-drop-off running, running with kids on bikes, half a run with one friend, the other half with another, getting up at 4:30am to get in more mileage…all of these work ok if I just stay calm and keep running. I even take an extra rest day here and there when plans fall apart. The difference though is that it doesn’t leave ME falling apart mentally; worried that I’ll get behind.What I get is rested.

9. I’m learning to trust my training. I’ve often said that, but rarely actually felt like I could trust it. Building a base has made me stronger.

10. I’m looking inward, not outward for my rewards. I am happy with my accomplishments and like to share them, but, in general, I feel less of a need to plaster details about every single workout on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to see people comment, laugh, offer support, lend a listening ear or be there to commiserate –and I am doing that on occasion–but right now it just feels nice to sit and treasure it.

I would love to hear what makes you a happy runner or a strong runner?

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