Monday, October 5, 2015

Anticipating the 2015 Chicago Marathon

Well, I haven't blogged much. I've been so busy getting my business, B3yond Nutrition, LLC, off the ground, working per diem as a clinical dietitian at Kessler Rehabilitation Center, and training for the Chicago Marathon.

Training for a marathon is like having a part time job. All of you who are reading this, and have trained for a marathon know what exactly I'm talking about. It's not just about the running - there are lots of moving parts. And, I'm not a spring chicken - which makes focussing in on those moving parts really important.

From the moment I get up in the morning, I'm planning my food, strength training and/or going for a run. Next, I gotta plan for what I've gotta do after my run. This includes stretching, foam rolling - and maybe an extra core workout. Planning continues throughout the day to even when I'm cleaning up after dinner. You gotta plan bedtime - and get in at least 7 hours - just so you can recover, and do it all over again the next day - but with even more miles!

It's been intense lately, and sorry Ron, I haven't been much fun to be around. I definitely feel like this guy (don't look like him, but just wait a few days!):

And I know I'm not just annoying to Ron. I gotta give a shout out to Ryan and Fedelma - they helped me push through that last 20+ miles two weeks ago. I was grunting, moaning, praying, counting - I had to be getting on their nerves 'cause I was definitely getting on my own nerves!
How many of you count when your miles get high 
or when track work out gets intense? 
What's up with that? 
Like how many times can you count to ten, or count five sets of four? 
Or whatever?
Well, the training is behind me. I'm just going to freak out on the inside for the next couple of days. Coach wanted me to run six miles yesterday. What the heck is six miles on a long run day?
I'm sorry Coach, I had to run more ....

 ... Shhh! Don't tell him, but I did 8.5 miles at tempo pace.
You just don't wanna see how crazy I can get!

And sad, but true ...

Yesterday, I cleaned the garage, weeded the garden beds in front of the house, cleaned and filled all the bird feeders, cleaned out three kitchen cabinets, a linen closet, and a storage room in my basement. 

Oddly, I was a tad surprised when my little heart jumped (for what I think was joy) when Coach said,

"Congratulations on getting into Boston! 
Training starts January One!"

Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

State #25: Marquette, Michigan

I didn't know what to expect flying into Marquette. My first impression was:
OMG ... Is the ground crew really waving to us
as we taxi our way to the airport???
And, there was one car on the highway! Here, let's do a little comparison. I left from Newark International Airport in the AM. From the air you see, NYC, Port Newark, and the cranes for export shipping, and the New Jersey Turnpike, which is almost always packed with tractor trailers, straight trucks, SUVs, minivans, and cars, cars and more cars.
Buildings everywhere.
NYC in the distance.
Port Newark, with giant cranes for all the imports/exports
I landed in Marquette in the afternoon, where I saw this:
Marquette International Airport
Before I left New Jersey, I spoke with a few people, and they told me that I would love it in the Upper Peninsula - it's beautiful, it's quiet, and it's peaceful. I even met another runner on the plane, Theresa. Theresa told me that her friends were staying the week and vacationing here. (Theresa - I hope you did well in the marathon!). But after the stewardess traumatized us with stories of how they couldn't de-ice the plane last winter, and it was 40*F below zero with winds at 80 miles per hour ... I must admit, I was a little nervous when we went to pick up the rental car.

As we drove closer to the town, we started to see what everyone was talking about. The town was adorable. There were some very beautiful buildings, and it sat on the edge of Lake Superior.
Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan 
In fact, this was our view at dinner, in a restaurant across from Lake Superior. It was beautiful, but it was also very hot! After the Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon, I was hoping for a cool race day - especially since the half started at 9am! Later I found out from the locals that race day was the hottest day of the year so far . . . . .yeay!
Race Day, September 5, 2015!
We had to meet at Northern Michigan University, and take a bus to the race. Ron drove to the start of the 5K - he's keeping true to his promise to run a 5K whenever it's paired with my half marathons!
Next, I drove over to the buses. 
On the bus, I met a young lady, Tiffany! She was adorable. She came to Marquette to visit with her grandparents, and she decided to run the half. This would be her second half marathon. She was a little nervous, and I told her that even though this was my 27th half, I was nervous too. I told her why I wanted to run, and how I really like to place 1, 2 , or 3 in my age group, to honor my late husband. I can't believe the attack on the WTC was 14 years ago this coming Friday. Tiffany then shared that she served in the United States Armed Forces as an LPN. We found out that we both work in hospitals, too! We were meant to sit together! Tiffany, I am positive that you will get that RN certification ... you can do all things! :D
The race started with two young girls singing the National Anthem. 
They sounded beautiful!
At the start, I found out that it was a pretty fast course, about 6 miles of a steady downhill. Once we got closer to town, about mile 10, with a few small rolling hills, and ended with a steady incline. I fantasized about having a PR, but when we started, the sun felt really warm and I was worried. The first three miles flew by, and then we were on that steady downhill in a shaded park, which was much cooler. I thought for sure I would PR. I was booking: 7:23, 7:30, I even had a 7:14 in there! 
Woo Hoo!
PR, here I come!
Then, I remembered what that person said at the start: Once you hit mile 10 it levels out, with some rolling, small hills. I was good, still holding 7:25 pace at mile 10 - but the heat started to get to me. At mile 10, there was no more shade, and seemed as if the sun was beating down on the road, and right back at the runner's faces. The sun started to take it's toll on me. I wished I'd worn my sunglasses. I started to get a nasty headache. In mile 11, I began to fall apart. It just got worse through mile 12. I was barely clearing a sub 8:00 mile pace. I wondered: 
How could I ever run a sub 8 minute marathon pace in the 
Chicago Marathon, if I couldn't even finish 
this half at a sub 8 minute pace?
Then someone shouted, "You're almost there,
It's just straight up the hill."
Something you never want to hear at the end of a race ...the finish is straight up that hill!
This hill wasn't very steep, but it was a slow steady torture. I wanted to cry. There went my dreams of getting a PR. All I though was there had to be someone else in my age group killing it right now - and I worked so hard for this run. Every week strength training, speed work, tempo runs, long runs, negative splits, stretching, foam rolling - you name it, I do it! Forget the nutrition - I'm studying Kreb's cycle intermediates and trying to figure out how to get my muscles to produce lots of energy, while working less. The finish line and tented area seemed like one big mirage in the desert. I kept counting to 10, and yes, I must have said my mantra, "I can do all things through Christ who makes me strong", about 1 zillion times. 
Finally ...
I crossed the finish line!
After two waters and some shade, I stood in line to get my results. I was not disappointed.  I clenched my fist tightly and quietly shouted, "YES!" For a moment, I was Serena Williams - hey, I can dream!
First Place Age Group Win!
Let the celebrations begin! 
Thank you Blackrocks Brewery - you smell like pine and serve great wine beer!

 And the Jazz Fest was awesome!

Congratulations to everyone who finished!
You are all winners!
Train Smart Today!

 Sharing a little Marquette:


Black Flies too! Got my leg in this pic! LOL!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Hills of St John

I took vacation to one of the beautiful 
United States Virgin Islands:
St John. 

Before I left, I trained on the track with my my Coach . After my work out, he gave me my homework for the week. The week's runs were based on my travel, and the point I'm at in my training for the Chicago Marathon Training. There were two 5 mile runs and a 10 mile run over the course of four days. I questioned Coach, "Really, only 10 miles for my long run?" Coach said that it was vacation, and promised it would all work out for the marathon. Between you and me, I thought I was getting away with one.

I figured I was getting away with something because I thought,  'Heck, I'm by the ocean. I'm at sea level. These runs are going to be so relaxing! On flat land, next to the ocean.' Yeah, I was just a tad off ...
Looking up the first hill I faced every morning
.... this was from the midpoint
This is looking down the other half that I just ran up.
After that first five miles, I thought that I would never survive the long run. Some of these hills were not only exhausting to climb, but they were scary to run down - if you can call what I was doing "running". 
Thank goodness no cars were coming!
I tried to psyche myself up after that first 5 miles. I wondered how could I ever do 10 miles, let alone another 5?
I guess this is where it's good to be half-crazed. 
No normal person would go on vacation and run these hills. Heck, the cars and taxis had a rough enough time getting up and down these hills!
Views and more views
My only source of inspiration: beautiful views. Oh yeah, and I kept telling myself that if I could make it to the top of the next hill, there would be a nice breeze. LOL!
This was so hard to run down!
My phone really didn't do a good job at capturing
all the beauty I enjoyed on these torturous runs
Ran right into the water running down one of the streets in
Chocolate Hole
I didn't quite finish my 10 mile run. I ran about 9.75 miles. I was completely exhausted. When I got back to my hotel room, it looked as if I took my sneakers and dipped them into the pool - that's how much I was sweating during the run! My socks were completely drenched. I felt fortunate that I didn't get blisters! So yeah, besides it being beyond hilly, it was like 85-90*F.
The Sunset Cruise was a welcome and relaxing event that I enjoyed later that day:

How's your summer training going?
Train Smart Today!

Monday, August 3, 2015

All 'Bout that Bass!

If you've read my blog, run with me, or hang with me you know at couple of things:
  • I have a proximal hamstring tear
  • I have Crohn's Disease that I regularly deny, until I can't stop crapping, and have a mouth full of canker sores.
  • I train hard, so I can heal my hammy and prevent future injuries
  • I love talking about food, nutrition, training, and running
Me at our local Fleet Feet Marathon Training Kick-off Meeting
giving a talk on General Nutrition
Lately, I've been doing everything - from eating and drinking certain foods, to training, foam rolling and stretching - to gain strength and heal my hamstring.
Did you know that strength training can help you recover 80% faster?
For my aching hammy, the first thing I did was to get a diagnosis. I live outside of Manhattan, so of course I went to the best - Dr Metzl at HSS in NYC. He told me I gotta build my bass - and now, yup, you guessed it ...
I'm all about that bass,
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble

Sorry Meghan Trainor, I love your song, but I got Crohn's, I'm a runner, and train like crazy so
Yeah it's pretty clear, I am less than a size two
But I can shake it, shake it 
like I'm supposed to!

'Cause now that I do Dr Metzl's Iron Strength Workout for Runners ...
I got that boom boom that runners love to race,
You know - 
All the right junk,
in all the right place!

And while we're on the subject - take a look at some of my friends, co- runners, and co-bloggers pictures - these ain't no Photoshop, these guys are real. Some come bigger, some come smaller, but
Every inch of 'em is perfect
From the bottom to the top!

Yeah my momma she told me don't worry about your size. 
She says, exercise for a l'il more booty to just run right
And sorry thin still ain't no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll!
but I'll tell you what I'm into 
So I can go 'head and run along:

How 'bout some Squats, Jump Squats, and Goblet Squats? Hip Heists, Lunges, and Jump Lunges? Try some Single Leg Deadlifts, and Good Mornings? And don't think for a minute that this is no "trouble", but
I'm bringing booty back!
Bringing the Elvis Face back apparently too!
Because you know I'm all about that bass,
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass

Train Smart Today!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rock'nRoll Chicago Half Marathon: Recap of State #24

I was so nervous all last week. 
Last Sunday's long run wiped me out. I kept worrying, "What if I get like that during the race?" There were heat advisories on the Rock'nRoll website. There were heat advisories on my phone. Ech!

I was off to a good start: Pre-race highlights included Michelle at the Expo. I always order a large and give it to Ron, but since he's running in the 5K's now, he gets his own shirt. So, even though I ordered a large for Ron, I exchanged it to a small for me. I went to five different areas before I met Michelle, who knew how to make the exhange. It was lovely meeting you!
Thank you for helping me with my shirt!
It also didn't help that Ron ran (as promised) the 5K the day before the half, and looked like he was going to pass out at the finish. His face was cherry red. At the finish, he grabbed a water bottle, didn't speak - he just kept walking. I just followed thinking that he was gonna pass out! He finally stopped and sat down under a shade tree. Then he turned to me and said, "You're going to have trouble tomorrow!"
Well if I weren't nervous before - I sure as heck was nervous now!
That's Ron in the red shirt.
Sort of "Run/Walking"
To add insult to injury, I kept showing Ron pictures of Meb at the start of the 5k! Okay, so I love Meb. I look at all his Runner's World secrets to a better stride, faster pace, etc, etc. You can imagine how star struck I was when he was just two feet away!
More Meb!
I have more - but there just about all the same ... he-hee! I even tweeted @RunMeb, and he favorited my tweet! If you follow Meb on Twitter, you'll notice his tag line, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

Ron was getting tired of me talking about Meb, so I tried to be quiet and let him continue telling me how miserably hot the race was. I kept thinking of Meb's tag line, to keep my panicky feelings at bay. Somehow, we moved to the celebratory beer garden - and Ron started to feel much better. LOL!

Ron celebrating!
His hottest 5K now a distant memory!
The heat really was exhausting. To make matters worse, my stomach decided to misbehave. The last thing I wanted was to be dehydrated on a race day with a heat advisory in effect! Wiped out from the heat, Ron and I went back to the hotel and passed out. Isn't napping one of life's underappreciated luxuries?

When we finally were able to get ourselves moving again, we decided to explore Chicago. Chicago is a really pretty city. A little smaller than NYC, but a bit bigger than Boston. Lots of great brewpubs with craft beers (shout out to Goose Island) and tons of restaurants. There's great shopping along the Magnificent Mile, and lots of new, shiny buildings - like the Trump International Hotel & Tower. 

Trump International Hotel & Tower
Everywhere you turn, there's another statue or sculpture. The last time we were here, we ate along the waterfront and enjoyed some of the beauty of Lake Michigan. Based on these past two visits, Ron and I have a good idea of what we would like to do when we come back in October - when I run the marathon! Hopefully, it will be much cooler.

Before we headed back to our hotel, we went to Whole Foods, and picked up breakfast foods for my pre-race meal: Yogurt, granola, chia, flax, beet juice, and Kevita (a probiotic drink). While we were in Whole Foods, it poured rain,  which brought the temperature down a bit - not a lot, but a bit! I kept praying!
Race Day:
Coffee made, Yogurt and granola mixed with seeds, Kevita sipped, Road ID - check, Garmin - DEAD! What? 
Yup - my Garmin was dead! 
No charge, no response. I know me - I'll go out too fast if I don't keep looking at my pace - yes I'm obsessed with my Garmin - especially during the first 6 miles of my halves. Ron saw panic written all over my face, and said, "Don't worry I will have your watch charged before you start your race." I wan't sure he was telling me the truth or just trying to stop my hands from shaking! I had to believe what he said.
Next freak out: tummy problems! 
I was off to a great start!
Next freak out: Long shuttle lines, with the possibility of more tummy melt downs.
Ron had my Garmin charging on a battery in one hand, while his other hand was hailing a taxi. I felt like a cheater not taking the shuttle over, but as Ron put it, "What if your stomach decides to blow up, again?" He was right. 
We hopped in the cab and started for the "Start"
Somewhere between the taxi and Corral #4, Ron figured out how to reboot the Garmin, and get the charge up to 42%, which I thought was plenty for the race. My hands started to shake a little less, and I kept repeating Meb's Twitter Tagline. It would be my mantra for the race.
Last freak out: 
My Garmin still had no satellite connection! 
I really do love/hate my Garmin!
Anyone else in with me on this one?
Next, Our National Anthem, and some announcements. I remember the announcer said something about having fun, not to expect a PR in this heat, and told us to smile. 
I forced a smile. 
The announcer called Corral #1, then #2. OMG! The announcer said that Meb's running in this race, too! Super WOW!  Corral #3 was called. I finally got a satellite connection. Mantra still being mantra'd, and there I was, at the start of Corral #4 ...
Boom - We were off. 
Mile #1: 7:37, Mile #2: 7:24 - Ech too fast. You'd think I'd listen? Mile #3: 6:50. Then, more watch trouble - it was telling me I was in mile 4, and running a 9'mile pace. No wonder the next two miles were also in the 7's. The heat was starting to get worse. I saw Ron on one of the streets. Nice iced coffee, dude, I'm dying here!
Mile 5: What? 43 minutes? I blew it, I'll never place in my age group. Oh the yelling in my head:
Why don't you just walk?
You're awful!
Look, another over 50 y.o. woman is passing you!
You just S*@CK
All that training: squats, jump squats, lunges - and for what?
 You run like a turtle!
I wasn't running fast - it's was just the Garmin - it's all screwed up.
Oh I blew it
Wait, girl, just shut up for a minute!
Mantra, Mantra: I can do all things ....
Think, you were in Corral #4. 
That time is from the VERY start -when Corral #1 went out.
Mantra - mantra: Through Christ ...
The heat really started to add up its effects on me and everyone around me. At one point, we were all running in dead silence. Everyone focussed on just finishing. No one was talking, there wasn't even anyone around cheering- just hot, heat, and the sound of sneakers hitting blacktop. It was very eerie. 
Then, I noticed a tall man. 
He was lumbering along. He had to be at least 6 feet tall. I thought, 'He looks like he's running so slowly - how come I can't catch him?' So, I did - and I decided to hang with him. I asked him what pace he was going for - he said he was going for 7:30, but he guessed we were only running 8'/mile. My screwed up Garmin said the same. "C'mon, dude," I yelled, "I'm gonna try to hang with you." For the next four miles, we ran side by side - he'd fall back, I'd fall back - we would yell, "C'mon." I needed all the help I could get running this one home. At mile ten, there were some DJ's along the roadside. The Rock'nRoll music helped. I tried to pick up my pace. I lost my friend, turned a corner, and saw a bridge - or rather a small hill to climb. 
Mantra, Mantra: Who strengthens me!
Then a woman passed me. The bridge seemed impossible to climb. The woman who passed me stopped. Inspired by Cliff Young, I yelled, "Don't stop. C'mon. Even if you gotta shuffle - keep running!" She started running, again. I looked at her and said, "Only stop if you're over 50!" We laughed, and pressed on! 
Mantra, Mantra, Mantra!
Finish strong, girl.
Finish strong!
Mile #12: The 7:45 minute pacer started to pass me. No way! No way! The thoughts through my head started:
Hang Half Crazed. 
Kick it out! 
You trained for this. 
It's okay if you throw up at the finish. 
Just don't let this chic pass you!
Mile #13: Stride, baby stride. You only got about 200 meters. So, you puke - big deal. I dug deep. Tried to shave off as much time as possible - and crossed the finish line!
State #24 completed!
No Puke!
The water bottles were so amazingly cold. I poured 1/2 of the water all over my body. I saw Ron walking outside the gated area, he looked so cool and dry! Aagh, the shoe was on the other foot!
Just then, I thought of the friend I made on the course. 
I turned around and looked for the big guy I was trying to hang with. I spotted him, ran up to him and gave him a huge hug. He was screaming, "You're like a little mighty mouse, a little mighty mouse!" He took out his cell phone and snapped a selfie of us. It was great hanging with you, Michael - I'm glad we met! I hope you look up Half-Crazed Runner and send me that photo! I'd love to get a copy!
Next stop ...
The Beer Garden!
 ... an awful celebratory beer!
I did have a lot to celebrate!
Overall time 1:44.
Not my best, but better than my other two really hot halves in
Maine and Texas.
Best of all:
First place age group!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
Train Smart Today! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon

I'm in, and I'm off to run my 26th Half-Marathon, 
My 24th state:
Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon: July 19th. 
Yeah, I was a little bummed because I thought this was state #25, but then I realized I ran in DC (For those of you not familiar with the US - DC stands for District of Columbia. it's where the US Capital is located.)
Next half, I will be halfway finished with all 50 states! 
Let's hear it for Half-Crazed!
And so far, I've only suffered two proximal hamstring strains! Speaking of which, my arse is killing me today. And you gotta see how many squats and lunges, jump squats and jump lunges, split squats and burpees I'm doing each week! It all probably contributed to my exhaustion yesterday on my long run. I finished with an average 8:45' mile pace - but that was my "pushing it".

I think I was so tired because I hardly ate anything on Friday, and Saturday, and I worked my but off getting my son's party together to finally celebrate his graduation from high school. I prepared a ton of food, Ron made BBQ chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, and we had tons of watermelon and homemade desserts from Grandma and Auntie! So being tired from the party and running later in the morning heat left me absolutely spent. It was the first time that I stopped before my last mile to yell at myself, and try to psyche myself up to finish. I had to count to ten, over and over, just to get through the last mile. Then after the last mile, I threw my hands up in the air, and screamed, "I'm done (some expletives), I'm finally done!" It was a relief to know I was done with my long run.

I hate running in the heat.
Yesterday, my head was pounding, I was hungry, thirsty, cranky! Usually running through the local park, I stop to sip water from the fountain - it just didn't seem to be enough yesterday! Even my one Gu ration wasn't enough. It was the first time ever that I ran a training run and wished for another Gu! Gu to me is a gross, but necessary evil.
The celebration party was well worth it though.
My son, his friends, and all the family had such a great time. I know Johnny had fun because at one point during the party, he was lifting me in the air and threatening to do power cleans with me:
Pre-Press Threat!
How was your weekend?
Are you struggling through any long runs this summer?
Anyone going to Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon next weekend?
Ever have someone use you as a human barbell?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

When I'm not running ...

I usually run about 28-30 miles per week. Sometimes I run at 6 AM, and sometimes at 6PM - it's whenever I get some free time. In between, I'm just running around like crazy either
Developing my Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness business: B3yond Nutrition
Providing lots of talks on Sports Nutrition, 
Managing SCAN's Linked In website (Sport Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition), 
Blogging for SCAN, 
Volunteering as an Ambassador for NJ EatRight, and 
Working per diem as a clinical nutritionist for Kessler Rehabilitation Hospital.

In between all of this, I'm enjoying my family! Lot's of joy this past month since my son recently graduated high school. Here are some of my favorite moments: 
Pre-Prom Party 2015
Pre-Prom Family Pic
Bond, James Bond!
LOL! Blue suit and all!

Such a cute couple!
My Own Little Clark Kent!
2015 Graduation
Aww! Love this pic! 
My Niece won best attendee award!
Look how cute she is!
The head is hysterical!
Family at Graduation 2015!
Proud Momma!
What have you been up to besides running and training?
Train Smart Today!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Easy like Sunday Morning!

For the last few months I've been running with my local 
Fleet Feet Runners on Sunday morning.
It's been great - I've met a great bunch of runners and really enjoy our conversations. The only problem is my hamstring. The group goes a bit faster than my hamstring wants me to run. Plus, except for a few others, I'm always running 2-4 miles more, since I'm constantly training for another half marathon. So after doing 8:10-20 minute mile pace for my long slow runs for the last three months of Sundays, I decided to run by myself today and take it really slow.
I was like the Commodores back in 1978!
(Really dating myself here, LOL)

Gotta love Lionel Richie's fro'!

My legs felt so free! 
And I felt like I was burning fat - not muscle! 
In fact, purposefully, I only had a banana with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter, 1 cup of coffee with a splash of 2% milk, 2 shots of beet juice, and 16 oz of water before I left. I didn't bring any nutrition with me and only stopped at mile 5 and 10 to rehydrate at a water fountain in the local park. I thought if I kept it slow and moving, I'd spare muscle and burn fat. I must have some fat to spare because I didn't feel dizzy, or like I had brain fog, or like I was glucose deprived. It was really just a great, easy, slow run.
Even now, I don't feel wiped out.
I'm not tired, I don't feel dehydrated, and best of all, I don't feel like I need 800 calories of protein to build back muscles. And my hamstring, yeah its a little tight, a little sore, but I'm getting up and down from this desk chair just fine - not like I'm crippled.
This is good because I signed up for 
the Chicago Half Marathon on July 19th, 
and I want to kick some butt!

How are your long runs going?
Are you making them slow enough?
Ever tried a fat burning training run?
Train Smart Today! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Georgia Pre-Memorial Day Half Marathon Run

My 24th state! 
The Pre Memorial Day Half Marathon in 
Snellville, Georgia.

I needed to get a flat run in and I hadn't run in Georgia yet.
So, with no time between my growing Nutrition and Wellness Business (Beyond Nutrition-RDN), and working part-time as a Registered Dietitian at Kessler Rehabilitation Center, I searched the races listed on the 2015 Half Marathon Race Calendar
Ech, I waited too long to register.
I procrastinated because I've been running with a right leg proximal hamstring strain, super tight calves, and swollen achilles/ankle. I waited too long and so when I tried to register, the Pre-Memorial Day Half Marathon in Georgia was closed. I have no races planned until September and October - this was my only free weekend and the only weekend before my daughter's summer classes start. I was hoping it could be a short Mother/Daughter get away.
I reached out to the race director, Deborah Montgomery!
Asked if I could run in the race.
She was awesome - and extended registration!
I was in!
Juliette and I flew in on Saturday, tooled around Atlanta, and ate lunch at Cypress Street Pint and Plate.  It was either really great or we were starving, or both! Next, we took off toward the Stone Mountain Inn at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. The hotel was beautiful, and Stone Mountain Park was really nice - lots to do - especially for families! I immediately regretted not planning on staying longer! Check out this quartz and granite outcropping, it's part of the Appalachian Mountains:
There's even a carving of the confederates on horseback.
Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis
are blasted into the other side of the mountain!
Jules and I planned to take the Summit SkyRide up to the top after the race. Yeah - there's no way I was going hiking up this mountain after a half marathon.
Speaking of which ...
The race was adorable. It was a local race. You ran around Lenora Park, which was very pretty and nicely paved. But I'm not kidding - you literally run around and around - five loops and then there's an out and back. Each time you completed a loop, you stop at this one water station, which was also supplied with Gatorade. When you stop in and grab your drink of choice, the volunteers check your bib, and let you know when you need to run your out and back.
It was a great, little, no frills, local community half marathon.
There were no bells or whistles. No screaming fans - actually other than the other runners in the race cheer you on. You run this if you're Half-Crazed and trying to complete a half-marathon in every state, for the raw love of running, or you have been motivated as a community member to get up and move! And for this, I applaud Deborah Montgomery and her volunteers for organizing this race - because they are helping to motivate the people in their community to get up and move!
And as I posted on my Beyond Nutrition Facebook Page:
I wish you all a Happy Memorial Day!
Let's remember and honor those who fought 
and died for for our freedom, 
but let's also not forget the top things killing Americans:
Poor Nutrition,
Way to go Deborah Montgomery for providing the "get up and move" motivation to the people in your community and surrounding areas! keep moving people!
And even though I tried to move as fast as possible,
this was not one of my fastest half marathons.
I pushed as hard as I could but after about mile 9,  my right hammy was on fire, and the pain started to shoot up to my periformis. Even so ...
I took 3rd overall!
Pre-Memorial Half Marathon
Georgia, State #24
Almost 1/2 way done!
I haven't planned any races for June. For weeks, this hammy pain was really bad. In fact, I saw Dr Metzl this past Tuesday. He basically told me I have no "arse" - great hammies, great quads, and calves, but no butt!
Baby Ain't Got No Back!
So, this is my new theme song: 

Gotta concentrate on my butt strength, like the ones Dr Metzl lays out in his book, Running Strong
Have you heard of this book?
Have any of these exercise helped you?
Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon

The Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon was very emotional.
This is the only other memorial run that I've participated in other than that which remembers the victims of September 11. What I didn't expect was to feel and see so many similarities in sharing such a horrible tragedy.
Like this,
The Wall of Names

Side-kick and I arrived Saturday, and went to the Expo. You could feel the energy and excitement building. I love the pre-race Expos, where else could you find a Magic Pain Relieving Cream, called "Real Time". You bet your sweet arse we bought that stuff! I bathed in it too - right before the race!

Next, we picked up our packets - 
did you notice how I said "WE"? 
In spite of the steel plate in his leg, Ron (aka "Side-kick" - now that he's running I think he deserves to be called by his first name! LOL!) committed to run in any 5K race offered alongside the half marathons I run! Maybe I should have bought two bottles of the "Real Time"? I'm really proud of Ron - not only does he claim to "hate" running, but running is painful to him ever since he crushed his femur riding his dirt bike about 10 years ago. Nonetheless - he made this commitment last year - and he's actually seeing it to fruition!

Since the race started at 6:30AM, we planned a big dinner at a great little restaurant, Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse. Of course we ate at Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse
After all - I'm a Yankee's fan. 
Oddly, I had no idea he was from Oklahoma! Dinner was great - best steak ever - the heck with pasta, women can't carb load anyway. Besides, I ate enough carbs the last several days - which is when it really counts! Why not some alanine, carnitine, creatine, and glutamate from red meat for energy production? After dinner, we were exhausted, and called it a night. 

Sunday morning, Ron and I woke up at 5AM, had some coffee, water, peanut butter on white bread - and started the walk from the hotel to the start of the race: 620 N Harvey Ave. 
The race start was directly in front of 
When we got to the memorial, we were amazed. The City of Oklahoma did such a beautiful job of remembering each person killed in that senseless 1995 bombing. It was still a little dark that early in the morning, so all the chairs in the "Field of Empty Chairs", which represented each person lost in the bombing, were still lit. Besides the murder of 149 adults, there were 19 pre-school children killed in this bombing. I cried when I saw 19 small chairs representing these children. So like 9/11, this bombing was senseless. 
Field of Chairs
Walls of Time and
Reflecting Pool
Before the start of the race, there was 168 minutes of silence. During that time, I prayed for continued healing and peace for the victims' family and friends, as well as the survivors. The pain never goes away, it changes over time, but it never goes away - I guess you just learn how to live with it. 

After those moments of silence, I could feel my focus strengthen - I was determined to run a good race - I wanted to take first in my age group. There was a lot of meaning behind this race. First, it was my 23rd state on my journey to finish a half marathon in every state - and my late husband was born February 23rd. This meant something to me. And as with all my halves - 
I run to
Never Forget,
and to tell my children,
they will not get us,
nor will they stop us -
not in New York, not in New Jersey,
and not in the other 48 states!
Second, this race was important because I lost a dear friend, Anne Boggess Nightengale, to cancer on February 26, 2013. Anne was born and raised in Oklahoma. Anne and I went to Engineering Skill School when we worked as Safety Engineers for Aetna Insurance in the 80's. For six weeks we shared a dorm room - we simply hit it off and became lifelong friends separated only by a phone call and some miles. I had to run for Anne. I wanted to make her proud. 
I miss you, Anne.
You were beautiful inside and out.
Anne Boggess Nightengale
I was so obsessed with taking first that I actually panicked around mile five - a women, who looked like a really strong runner, started to pass me. "How old are you?" I yelled out. When I found out she was younger, I was like, "Okay. Whew! You're not in my age group! Okay - go ahead!"
Hell yeah I was focussed on that 1st place age win!

But then came "Gorilla Hill".
I thought Oklahoma was flat? Isn't it home of the twisters? People - mostly school children - lined the streets dressed like bananas - and they were handing out bananas. It warmed my little beatingpoundingsuffering nutritionist's heart to see those schoolchildren handing out bananas! The children were so adorable - I even overheard one little boy say, "Don't you want a banana? They're good for you!" 
.... but then, my focus kicked me back into gear and I thought:
'Sorry kid - I trained with and brought Gu!
Maybe next time!'
Firefighter responders climbing Gorilla Hill, 2015
Bananas in the background!
That hill wiped me out. I started calling on John and Anne. C'mon you guys - help me out! I wanna finish strong. Don't let me give it back. I was nailing it, running 7:30' mile pace for the last three miles - now I was falling off the charts! Ech ...7:55'. 
And of course the camera person is always there after a hill - 
to capture your best look!
Thumbs up, Dude!
I placed first in my age group, but actually took 3rd Overall Female Masters! I felt really strong - even my banged up hammy! It must have been my angels!
It was a great race.
I was so proud of Ron - it was great to see him finish his first 5K!
Post race photo's
Congratulations Ron
- even if your medal is "So Small!"
This race was very well organized. It was a beautiful, positive way to remember those who were lost in that senseless tragedy.
All those tiles in front of the building were created by small children
Here is one tile: Love Heals!
Ain't that the truth!
Thank you Oklahoma,
Thank you Oklahoma City,
Thank you Calvin and Virginia Moser for taking so much of your time to share
with Ron and me
your story of that awful day - and the making of the memorial.
God Bless America!
Train Smart Today!