Thursday, April 6, 2017

Joel's Angels

Coach Joel and I have been together now for 7 years! 
I believe I'm the runner he has coached for the longest period of time. I fondly refer to him as (whether he knows it or not) my "Track Daddy".

In the early years, Coach was, how can I put this ... ROUGH!
He always seemed to come to the track with a specific agenda. He'd yell out, "Too fast, Too fast!" Or "C'mon, Let's Go!" When I would try to steel some extra time between repeats he'd bark out, "C'mon get to the line! Now - get to the line!" You'd seldom hear a, "Great job, today," and might hear a "Good effort, Good effort" every so often. I never really minded because I had my own agenda: To build running speed and strength.

Well, I guess that's not altogether true, I minded a little. Over the years, I'd come home and tell my better half, "Joel barked out this or that, today." I mimicked his voice and his gruffness, I had Joel's voice and mannerisms down pat. It became funny, and when I'd come home, Ron would ask, "How was Coach Joel today?"
I mean, I was already in my 40's when I started training with Joel, 
and it wasn't as if I was trying to make it to the Olympics 
- or even to the Boston Marathon for that matter! 

And I actually appreciated Joel's intensity about my workouts and level of seriousness he showed to each of my strides and repeats. And whether it was 19*F or 99*F - he was always there. At the end of the workout, I'd get my homework for the week. Always on recycled scrap paper, from whatever paper he had laying around in his house at the time. And, yes, over the years, I began to treasure these homework assignments.

Then something happened to Joel ....about 4 years ago, Joel's daughter and son-in-law started a family. Joel would come to the track with these incredible pictures of him and his grandchildren - holding his grandbabies, on the floor playing with his grandbabies - even in silly poses with his grandbabies ... Yes, Joel! My Track Coach Daddy - aka Drill Sergeant - was becoming a "SOFTY!"

I mean - he was never a mean person - always Coached kid's running events, always extended himself to the community to inspire people to run, and always looked for ways to promote his beloved sport: Running.

Over the years, not many, but a few women dared to join me and Coach in these track workouts - and to date, only a few have hung in there with me, and Coach Joel.
Coach Joel, Half-Crazed Runner, Rebecca, Sephanie
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Coach tells us we should run in a local relay race.
Okay! Everyone is in - but I'm skeptical.
My track partners in crime are so much faster than me - Steph's goal is to run a sub 6-minute mile, and Rebecca has this incredible ability to hang back - and power through the last 1/4 mile like everyone else is standing still - all while holding a conversation (no joke!). And Jodi - I'm recently getting to know. For some reason, because I tend to be socially unaware, I thought she was in her late twenty's early thirty's - until we were recently at a local half marathon, and Coach said, "That's Jodi's Daughter" What? She's married and has kids? She's always been such a strong runner - I never thought she was even older than 40!
Okay. So we have a team of four women!
And we call ourselves Joel's Angels.
Turns out Jodi even has a job! She's an artist and is an Art Teacher!
She buys the shirts, designs a logo, and makes iron-on presses:
Joel's Angels
Race day: I just don't want to screw up and slow our time down. Of course, me and my tummy start to act up!
Steph picks us up. 
Rebecca's in charge of the directions.  She gets us to "A" park - I immediately head toward the port-o-john. When I get out of the port-o-john, I see 3 women running toward me screaming, "Get in the car, Get back in the car, We are at the wrong race!"
Okay back in the car. Jodi's turn at directions. 
I start to panic (literally freaking out on the inside). I start my 4-7-8 breathing. Steph rubs my arm, and whispers," It'll be okay, Beth".
Thanks, Jodi, but how did we end up on that dead end street?
I literally grab the race sign up papers out of Jodi's hands, read some cross streets, and talk to my droid for directions. Twenty minutes to the start of the race - and I haven't done my dynamic stretches, warm-up, strides;  4-7-8, 4-7-8, 4-7-8. Breathe Beth, just breathe.
Coach calls: "Where are you guys?" 
Me:"We got a little lost, we will be there in 3-minutes."
Steph's still rubbing my arm.
Rebecca and Jodi are singing the Immigrant Song from Led Zeppelin - Don't ask.
We get there, warm up a little.
Steph's first. She kicks unbelievable ass! Coach says we gotta worry about the green team - the women in the tutus.
Okay, Rebecca is next.
Stephanie and Rebecca
We are all screaming. Steph gives us pointers about the course. I start my strides. Coach starts screamin' at me (so used to it), "What are you doing? What are you doing? Get back here! Not 100 meter strides. Get back here. Just do 50 meter strides. Rebecca will be here any second."
OMG! OMG! OMG! 
Don't drop the baton, don't drop the baton - OMG! 
What a Teammate!

Look at Rebecca's face - she looks totally exhausted ...Yeay, that'll me in a ..."Gooooo, Beth, Run!"
Focus, girl, move your legs
until they feel like they're gonna fall off your body!
Next up, Jodi. I pass the baton off. And we wait. Through some trees, on the other side of the park - you can see the runners as they clear 1.25 miles. I see Jodi, I start screaming, "Go Jodi, Gooo. Ruuuuun!"
Jodi, runs through the home stretch ... 
We did it, we did it! 
Our 1st Relay!
Jodi Runs It Home!
We placed 3rd Overall - beating out even some men's groups - and took First Place Female Master's Group in the De Novo Harrier's 4X2-mile Relay.

City/Town,State Age Sx U Code Time Pace Place Place PLP 

1.Team Dad Bodz , 91 M M 56:14.04 7:01 1/13 M91-91:1/3 0.00 

2.Team Touch Of Grey , 91 M M 56:20.03 7:02 2/13 M91-91:2/3 0.00 

3.Team Joel's Angels , 94 F B 58:58.51 7:22 1/12 F94-94:1/4 0.00
4.Team Va Rove Lightni , 95 M X 1:00:59.57 7:37 3/13 M95-95:1/7 0.00 
I turn toward my teammates and say jokingly, "And we were worried about the tutus?" They actually did an awesome job! They took 2nd Master's Female. Congratulations Ladies!
First Place Female Master's
DeNovo Harriers 4X 2mile Relay
And Coach Joel - my Drill Sergeant Coach - who when I started to cry a few weeks ago because he told me was taking his Granddughters to Disney World in the middle of my training for Boston (yes, he got me to Boston!) kissed and wiped my tears away, hugged me, and told me not worry b/c everything would be okay -  couldn't have been more proud. He, my transformed Coach, now a Grandpa and a real softy, was hugging and kissing my teammates, telling them all what a great job we did, and shaking his head like we just landed on Mars!
And people say running is boring!
Hah!
Train Smart Today!
#Women #Runtoinspire
#RunFearless
#261Fearless

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mississippi River Half Marathon: State #31

I thought I was going to knock my time out of the park in the Mississippi River Half - the race is flat. Flat as a pancake! I've been training really hard: running hills, pick-ups, strides, and lots more leg and glute strength exercises. I found a video online that's been helping me strengthen my hip, relieve the pain I've had since training for (and dropping out of) Boston last year. Sounds like a plan - until you count in some other factors.

Ever since I got the required flu shot in early September 2016 (re: I work per diem as a Registered Dietitian in a hospital), I have struggled with my Crohn's. My arm blew up after the shot, and it must have triggered my very sensitive immune system. I've struggled with anemia, low albumin levels, ech, blah, blah, blah. It's taken up until the end of January with a strict SCD diet, supplements, Ginger/Tumeric tea to finally start feeling better. When I asked my doctor WTF? why are my energy levels still low, he says that I'm still healing. Okay no excuses, but the Mississippi Half Marathon goes down as one of my slowest halves.

So considering all the training, my Crohnny issues, and being on a low CHO diet, I have diagnosed myself with overtraining syndrome. Since the Mississippi River Half, I've made a conscious effort to reduce my pace except for a weekly tempo run and my speed work on the track. For the first time in a long time, I am excited to run - and come home from running and say to myself, "Now that was a great run, a really great run!" We will see how this unfolds in Boston next month ...

Back to my half ..We flew into Jackson, Mississippi and drove about 2 hours Northwest to Greenville, Ms. We were told by locals that all the land we passed was farmland - full of corn, cotton, and wheat when it's growing season.
We're not in Jersey, Toto! They got lots and lots of land here!
Ron even tried his hand at making a video of our trip using his Osmo (see below). 

After driving awhile, I finally found a place that seemed to serve good, local food. OMG! If you are vegetarian - you're S-O-L, not only is there a church on every corner, but there's a smoker on every corner, too! And if your vegan and a Hillary fan, you're double S-O-L:
In the window of The Pig and Pint
I usually don't eat pork or BBQ, but at the Pig and Pint - what else do you eat? I'll admit - this BBQ was the best I've ever had, and it went down real easy! 

More driving to packet pick up at the Greenville Mall, next stop Walmart for some groceries, and check in at the Hampton Inn. The young ladies at the front desk suggested some restaurants in the area. This was good because when I went on Open Table, this is what I saw:

On race day, we had to meet in downtown Greenville, where buses lined the streets to cart us all across the Mississippi River into Arkansas. I met a lot of Fifty Staters. They all reassured me that even though the race started in Arkansas, it would qualify as my Mississippi Half (Thanks, guys!). 
Driving over the Mississippi to the start
We actually started on the bridge - yeah it was a highway, and tractor trailers were driving by beeping ...no I wasn't a little freaked out (yeah, riiiight!). At the top of the bridge, I jumped/leaped, held my breath, and screamed - there was a huge expansion joint. I calmed myself down by focussing on how great it was running over the Mississippi, again. The first time I ran over was on the Rainbow Bridge in Minneapolis, Mn. 

I didn't take off quickly, my goal was to run a 7:50min mile pace. Since I'm training for Boston, I didn't want to push it. I really haven't been myself lately - and I've really been struggling with my track work outs. I've been reading Dr Phil Maffetone's book, Endurance Training and Racing - and suspected overtraining syndrome. 

I don't know why I couldn't maintain that pace - not feeling great, overtraining, not used to running in 65 degree Fahrenheit weather, eating too low carb diet with consistent training with lower and lower liver and muscle glycogen stores, plus lots of recent stress from juggling my private nutrition practice, working per diem at a rehab hospital, and teaching two courses at a local university (Advanced Nutrition, and Sports Nutrition). Final time: 1:47:28; Ech -an 8:12min mile pace. I ran the Chicago Marathon faster than that!

Okay, enough whining. 
Looking on the brighter side, 
there are some great memories I'll take away:
Like the teens yelling to me around mile 10/11: 
"Look at that little lady! Go little lady, gooooo.
Keep running! Follow your dreams, never give up on your goals, never give up! 
You can reach your dreams!" 
I cried. They have no idea how much they impacted me. They were so unbelievable. This part of the country was likely the poorest part of the country that I've ever visited. The economy is suffering. How do you maintain the drive, and the courage, to follow your dreams? On our way back to the airport, we stopped in Yazoo, Mississippi to catch a bite to eat before flying home  - there was nothing open in Greenville when we left - everything, but fast food restaurants, are close for church on Sunday morning. I took this picture as a way to show how the economy is suffering - and as someone who works in a hospital, I ask, how do can people afford health care?
Downtown Yazoo, Mississippi
But here, these teens were inspiring me to follow my dreams, and reach my goals! Thank you, guys!

It was also beautiful to see how the whole town came out to cheer on the runners. Families on their front lawn. I remember running past a group of females and I made a face, as if to say, "I'm exhausted, and it's only mile 8! Why am I doing this?" And they yelled back,"You keep going girl! You're lookin' strong!" Thank you, ladies!

I didn't feel strong at all. I was suffering to finish as best as possible. Still, towards the end, I gained on a few people. There was a young couple who stopped, and started walking. I grunted at them as I ran by, "Don't stop - shuffle if you've gotta. Keep moving. You got this." After the race, they came up to me, "Hey, you're the lady who yelled at us to shuffle, and keep moving!" They thanked me profusely - "That helped us so much, thank you, thank you so much." ...more tears!

And thanks to the young girl who, around mile 12, yelled, "Kick butt girl, keep going - your sixth female!" There was a woman older than me, Fran O'Neal (Congrats, girl, you rock!) ahead of me. I hung on with her up until that 8th mile, when the wheels started to fall off. She finished #1 Grand Masters. I managed to finish #1 Female Masters.
What a beautiful award!
We hung out and listened to some great blues by a local band! I love the blues - BB King, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Etta James ...
Every day I got the blues!
Enjoyed some more local food
No, I did not try the Alligator!
Kept singing the same lines of River Boat Queen, until I Ron got annoyed
River Road Queen
And planned how I was going to recover from this Overtraining Syndrome
As my pace dropped, my heart rate surged - dangerously high!
I can tell you all the metabolic issues that led to the Overtraining Syndrome based on my labs, and training - but can I figure out how to reverse it? Well, for one, I don't leave the house without wearing my heart rate monitor. I'm trying to go slow, and rebuild my fat burning metabolism - what I'll need at the end of Boston. Mind you, this is different form a low CHO diet - your body can figure out how to burn fat, without starving your body of carbohydrate, it's just a matter of training within a certain Heart Rate Max (or VO2 max if you've gotten this tested).

Okay, enough of the science. Enjoy Ron's State #31:Mississippi River Half Marathon Video
Train Smart Today!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Joe Klinerman 10K

Yes, I froze my you know what off! 
Yes I pressed my HotHands on my 
little frozen eyeballs after the race.
We all froze.
At 8AM, Saturday, January 7th, it was only 28*F, in Central Park. 
And about 30 minutes after the start, it started to flurry.
Brrrr!

I love running in NYC. This was the 3rd race I have run through Central Park. I guess three's a charm -  I took 3rd place in my age group! Hey Coach Joel, I think my race head is getting better.

Although, I did hold myself back a little in mile 6 - I have this big fear that I will get hurt before Boston 2017. I keep telling everyone - if I gotta crawl, I'm crossing that Boston finish!

So far, I have trained for four marathons, and have only made it to the start of two. The last two, Boston and Berlin, are scheduled at times in the year when my Crohn's Disease is most likely to flare. This s#cks because I am not absorbing anything that I eat, and am always running in a dehydrated state. After this last flare - which I suspect was really bad due to my having to get a mandatory flu shot at the hospital I work in - I wound up anemic. I have actually run my last three races before the Joek10K pretty much really run down.

I am happy to say that even though I was freezing, I felt strong this time. Did I do anything different nutrition-wise? Why yes, I did, and I thought you'd never ask. Here's what I did:

  1. I tried the Beet Boost the week before the race. I'm sorry, I wasn't a fan. It actually made me a little nauseous.
  2. On race day, I committed the number #1 sin of Sports Nutrition: I tried a new drink. Beet It Sport. I have had beet juice before races - so this wasn't that much of a stretch. Beet It Sport is a concentrated juice claiming to give you 400mg of dietary nitrate per 70 ml shot. It went down faster and better than I expected - it was very tolerable. I think it helped!
  3. I also ate a Honey Stinger Energy Gel 30 minutes pre-race. I like these better than the Gu's b/c they are less thick. Still packs 27 grams of carbs - just enough energy for me and for my goal time which was 45 minutes.

Well, I felt strong, even coming up the hills in miles 5 and 6, but I did not meet my 45 minute goal time. I ran the 10k in 47:22, pacing 7:38. Not bad for such cold conditions!

How cold was it? It was so cold that the top of the water was frozen in the cups offered at the water stations!
There was like 1/4 inch of ice on top of the water at the water stations!
Running in the cold makes your mouth feel really dry. It's weird, your eyes can't stop tearing, but your mouth is like screaming for water. I didn't stop for water along the course - heck it was ONLY a 10k (saying that in my best half marathon snobbery voice). But at the end, I needed water. I picked up a frozen cup - and a volunteer warned me, "Just bang the cup on the side of the table a few times." I tried, but - it was quite frozen - so I slammed it on the ground - and, WALAH! It was like striking gold! Gulp, gulp gulp!

I would definitely run this race again. There were tons of volunteers, who were super helpful. We got in and out of Manhattan in record time, and the course was great - it's Central Park, of course it's great! Mostly all downhill for the first 2 miles, then you start to circle around, and climb back up some hills to get back to the start. I'll tell you - those hills are way more easy in the 10K then when you run them in the NYC Marathon!

And yes, knowing that I placed does inspire me to connect to the Alecia Keys song in some weird way!

And when I went to the Port-O-Johns before the race, my eyes weren't tearing up only b/c it was so cold, or b/c I knew I had to undress in 28*F weather to pee - but b/c I was listening to people all around me, who all spoke different languages, theye were from all over the world - all getting together in a peaceful way, to simply ...run!
Train Smart, 
Eat Right
#B3yond Nutrition, LLC!

Friday, December 9, 2016

State #30: North Carolina

This past weekend I ran the 33rd Annual Mistle Toe Run!
State#30!
Woot, woot!
I had to run this race. First off because 33 is a great number, which for those of you who know me, reminds me of my late husband, John. And second because all proceeds go to childhood obesity - and I'm a Registered Dietitian who is all in for healthy kids! 
...And, since I got hurt training for Boston, 
and got the most God-awful complication from my Crohn's and couldn't run Berlin, 
I felt justified squeezing in one more half before the New Year. 
Smack in the middle of holiday season, 
and at the end of Ron's Sales Quarter! 
(Sorry, Ron)
Hectic - Oh yeah
But, I'm so glad I did!

I didn't feel this way before the race. I secretly thought I was crazy signing up for this race. Just look at the elevation profile:

Ever since that hip injury last March, I really struggle going up hills. Looking at this profile terrified me - but yeah, I'm Half-Crazed so of course I was compelled to register for this race! I would just have to make peace that my time would be slower than usual.

Running-wise, the last 6 weeks have just been awful! I've had a bad bout with my Crohn's. I blame it on a work-required flu shot where my arm blew up, and my elbow joint became painful - likely an overactive immune response which stirred my Crohn's.

I had to really knuckle down on my diet. And I tried a new probiotic - which I am now totally in love with: GIHealthPro. Why? Because I found out that there's cornstarch in VSL #3? Corn HATES me, literally, anything from a niblet to HFCS is trouble with a capital "T".

Anyway, in my two past two local races - I suffered my worst cramps and they all came when I either ran up or downhill 
- now I had to face three major sections of hills! 

We flew in on Friday, and drove directly to packet pick-up. Here we got our VIP wristbands (they never made it to us pre-race), and our packets. I met the race director, Erin, and asked her if the course was really hilly - I guess I just didn't want to believe my eyes looking at that elevation map. 
Erin said, with her very sweet southern accent, 
"I ain't gonna lie to ya' honey, the course is real challengin'!"

I must have looked scared because Ron looked at me, and said, "You better pull it together. You better have a plan, and stick to it."

I thought - okay, so there are hills - and they're going to be challenging - you just gotta push through them, and keep a pace - but what pace? I looked through how other women who were my age did in years past. I thought - if I could maintain a 7:55-8:00 minute pace, and finish in 1hour and 45 minutes, I would be happy, and maybe, just maybe, I will place in my age group.

As I mentioned, Ron and I signed up for the VIP package. Really, the only reason I signed up was to have access to a "Private" bathroom! Let me tell you, for the extra $30, it was well worth it. Besides the bathroom, I got to warm up in the YMCA gym pre-race, and stretch on a yoga matt post-race!
Gotta keep that hip happy!
Plus the post-race party had great food and beer - none of which I could have, but Ron was happy! He justified trying the two types of beer on tap because as he explained, "He ran the 5k, which was really hilly!"
Hey, baby doll, did you see that 13.1 map? 
You ran 3 miles of hills!
P-L-EEZE!
Anyway, I met three cool men at the start of the race: Matt and Adam were the pacers, and Jeff, another runner, who was also not from North Carolina. Neither one of us knew what to expect. Adam was holding the 1:45 pace sign, and promised to pace us the entire distance. I told him that I was nervous - and hoped that I could hang with him for the entire race. He gave me some pointers - and I just kept repeating,
"I can do this!" 
.. like about 100 times or so times!
Everyone around me must have been so happy when I finally shut up to listen to the three women who sang our National Anthem acapella - it really was beautiful!
Then, BANG!
It literally sounded as if a real gun went off!
All lined up and ready for us to finish!
I hung with Adam through the first two uphill miles, and almost through the second big hill at mile 7. Then, I started to slip a little. I figured he was about 20 seconds ahead of me, but I could still see his red shirt. But then came miles 9, and 10...
And oh my lord!
Yes, I was praying out loud!
Going up the last crest in mile 10 there was an older couple standing on their front lawn. They kept yelling, "This is the last big hill ... This is the last big hill."  
With slobber all over my face, from panting and breathing hard out of my mouth, 
I yelled back, "You promise?" 
They were so adorable, "Oh yes, dear we promise!" 
God love 'em!
Well, they were honest - it was the last "big" hill, up until about the last 1/4 mile. Then uphill, we went again. As we neared the finish line, I heard Jeff, the runner whom I had met at the start. C'mon Beth let's push it out over the finish line. My legs were tired, and I was just going to try to maintain pace, but when he crept ahead of me a bit, I decided to kick it in for that last 100 meters!
Thanks Jeff! 
I needed that last big push! 
And that's why running is just like life. There's always someone there to lead the way, and hold your hand through the rough spots, but when you fall back a bit, and the going gets rough, someone comes from behind to encourage you to push through!
So how'd I do?
1:45:10!
First Place Age Group Winner!
I podiumed!
I wish I had these hills to train for Boston! I know that's a crazy thought, but they went up for a mile or so, leveled out, and went up again. And look, it was such a pretty area! I was so grateful for all the great community support  - it was unbelievable.

I will cherish my medal, and cool key chain that doubles as a light and bottle opener. I'm telling you, Ron could have used that opener for the beer he bought from the local Foothills Brewing Company - I must admit I was impressed with his hotel bathroom hinge skills! And I love my first place award, a Holiday Ornament - which I received from Erin! She truly was so awesome - the race was unbelievably well run!
If you look closely at this picture, next to the ornament, you will see a safety pin with two little bells. Lots of people wore these bells during the race. Yeah, so after about 1 mile, when I stopped freaking out about the hills, and wether or not the loud bag was from a real gun, I heard this sound. I wondered, 'what the heck is that noise?' Then it dawned on me, it was the jiggling of hundreds of these tiny bells!
Happy Running and Happy Holidays!
Keep squeezing in those runs through this busy time of year
 - even if they're half of the mileage - just keep moving!
Here's to a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year!
Train Smart Today! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Power of Running To Inspire

This post is a big thank you to John and Dawn Fabbro of the Montclair Fleet Feet store for nominating me as one of three runners who inspire others through the Power of Running

At first when John explained what the Power of Running was, and that he wanted to nominate me, I felt sick to my stomach. I really didn't, and still don't, feel that I have done anything great - especially not something that was to be honored publicly. I wanted to accept this great honor, but at the same time, I wanted to say, "Oh, that's very nice, but I don't think I'm the person you are looking for." Then, I thought, "Wait. Isn't this why you joined the 261Fearless organization? Isn't this why you love what Kathrine Switzer stands for?"

Then, I was off in la-la land thinking how great it would be to inspire, people of all ages, genders, races, colors, religions ...." 
I think that's when the Dreamweaver song 
started playing in the background.

I have known John longer than some running/sport clothing company's have been in business! These clothes (yes, I still own and wear them) will probably outlast me! He, his wife Dawn, and the Fleet Feet staff have created this family-like feel to their store. You walk in, and there is always someone willing to go over and above to help you. Before you know it, there are 10-15 different pairs of sneakers lying all around you, you are still considering trying on more - and they look at you, still smiling, and say, "Go outside and jog in them. See if you like them." Or my favorite, "If they don't work out for you, you can bring them back." Say whaaaaat? What retail store says anything like that? Maybe back in the 1950's ... But nowadays, no way.

For these reasons, anytime I am counseling someone in their nutrition, they've taken those first steps to fast walking - and next session tell me, "I'm thinking of incorporating some jogging." I tell them, 
"Go to Fleet Feet, they'll fit you for sneakers"
Well, of course after my heart does like a little leap, and flutter, a new runner? Really? Pinch me, please! Did I spawn this ....
Seriously, though - Just starting out? 
Have you heard of the No Boundaries Class?
Really sore from working out? 
Fleet feet carries TP Therapy Foam Rollers. 
Sore feet? Plantar Fasciitis? 
Fleet Feet has the Foot Rubz - you absolutely neeeed these!
Experimenting with different Gu's, Gels, or Nutrition for your half or full marathon? Or Triathlon? Go to Fleet Feet.
They have quite a selection. You gotta try it before you run that race!
And I always say, "Please tell them Beth sent you."
It's nice to know that I am putting my clients in loving, and caring hands.

Fleet Feet celebrated the three nominees last Thursday evening by hosting a dinner at Fitzgerald's 1928 Restaurant. I share the nomination with my partner in track crimes, Rebecca Harris, and someone whom I had not yet met, Jacqueline Murphy-Suarez.

Rebecca has "running class". She would never tell a young child in a race to get out of her way, or grunt at people on the track if they are walking in Lane #1 .... like yours truly has done. She has the patience to see past the moment. She has taught me that it's not about the PR, BQ, or whatever you want - it's about how well you ran your race. You know, as runners, we are so time oriented - it literally can ruin my whole weekend, if I didn't run the time I had set out to run - these crappy time feelings can last a few days, but I always try to remind myself to focus on 'What would Rebecca think?'
Yeah she's a Mom of three, loving wife, was hit by a car, 
had her hips crushed, her arm broken, 
is a professional violinist (who needs her arms!), 
couldn't walk, and now she runs marathons - 
But to me, and at least as I have her in my cell phone, she is Rebecca Runner - a beautiful woman who has taught me (and is still teaching me - yes I confess to grunting at that little boy at Sunday's 10k) the subtleties of running your race.

The other nominee,  Jacqueline, was absolutely amazing. 
First of all, she used her iPhone, with some bullet points to give a wonderful speech - whereas I had everything typed out on pages and pages in like 16 font so I could read it and not lose my freakin' place! 
What stood out the most was her honesty, and wisdom - how someone at that young age could push past social stigmas, and become the Coordinator of a Homeless Shelter for 18-21 year olds. She told her story of how she inspires these young teens and adults to run, as a way to build their self-esteem, confidence, and empower them with something I'm sure they have a hard time doing - dreaming.
By finishing a race, they can dream,
'If I can do this, what else can I do?' 
She explained that some of them ran in jeans, and work boots - there are no fancy, matching running outfits here. There is just someone, Jacqueline, who has faith in their ability to reach their goals, and uses their ability to run a 5k as the foundation for them to have hope for a future - one which they realize they have some sort of power over.
Dawn Fabbro, Mizuno Rep (Sorry Dude, I forgot your name!), Rebecca,
John Fabbro, Me, and Jacqueline,

It was truly an honor to be spoken of in the same light as Jacqueline, and of course, Rebecca!

Some other cool points about the night, Mizuno gave $750 to Fleet Feet for the charity of their choice, which was the Doug Williams Scholarship. Doug was killed in a hit and run in 2001. He was a member of the Essex Running Club and his memory is honored with the scholarship.

Mizuno and Fleet Feet Montclair also gave each nominee a pair of sneakers. I could not wait until I got home to open the box and hold my new Mizuno sneakers. I ran my first marathon in a pair of Mizuno Sneakers! They are my favorite brand because they give me 'just enough' support.
Oh, boy! Here's the box!
Got that feeling, like I'm a kid and I'm about to open that one present I was hoping for ....

Dream Weaver is starting to play again in the background ...
Loving the Certificate:
The Power of Running to Inspire! 
WOW!
A little teary eyed!





Aaaaagh! The fresh smell of new sneakers!
Ain't these beautiful?
Thank you again, Fleet Feet Montclair and Mizuno!
I am so thankful to be recognized as someone who 
inspires others to keep moving forward, 
one step or moment at a time, 
in spite of what tragedies, struggles, disappointments, or set-backs one faces in life.
As my late husband would say, "You gotta keep lookin' up, man
 - you gotta keep lookin' up!"
Train Smart Today!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Life is What Happens While You Are Busy Making Plans

As my running goals unfold through the 50 United States of America, the 6 World Major Marathons, and all 7 Continents, I have often been faced with the difficult decision to run, or not run.

Unfortunately, I had to pull out of running the Berlin Marathon 
the day before Ron and I were supposed to fly to Germany. 

About 1 week before the Berlin Marathon, I found myself in the emergency room, arguing with a doctor whom I have known for 40 years. See, when I was 13, I hemorrhaged, and thus the first diagnosis came: Ulcerative Colitis. One year later, again - same thing. Then, I was good, just some IBS-like symptoms until about 8 years ago, same situation - but this time, the diagnosis was Crohn's Disease. Same doctor, same butt, different diagnosis.

Two weeks ago, complications from Crohn's landed me in the emergency room with me telling my doctor that 'No Matter What, I am going to run the Berlin Marathon!' He looked at me, with his very dry demeanor and said, "We will try some antibiotics over the weekend, but I believe you are facing X, Y, and Z - and with that, I forbid you to fly."
To which I yelled, 
"No, see, I have plans!" 
Then, he showed his age, and smugly stated a line from an 
old John Lennon Song:
"Life is what happens while you are busy making plans."
Grrr! I so did not want him to be right!

I prayed, I held off with the training, and the running - I tried to sleep - lots of pain - I knew the antibiotics weren't working. Long story short, I succumbed to a certain procedure, had to call Marathon Tours to cancel my trip to Berlin, and postpone my running in the Berlin Marathon until next year ... God willing.

I am thankful to everyone who expressed their concerns, 
and sympathy. 
Most people showed that they were frustrated for me: 
"All that training - ugh! I'm so sorry."

Yeah - it's frustrating to let go of plans to run a marathon  - especially a few days before you are supposed to run, but you know, I chose these goals (read my About Me Page) as a means to stay active throughout my life, deal with life's stress, and the loss of my late husband, John.  So, I don't feel bad that I trained hard - I don't feel that any of it was wasted time - I like to train. I don't mind having to run all those miles again to prepare for next year's Berlin Marathon - I like to run!

It's also important to me to feel that in my tiny part of the world - I can make a difference, and inspire others to run. Over the years, so many people have come up to me and said that I was the reason they started to run, and why they ran a 5K, 8K, 10K, half marathon - and yes - maybe one day I will hear that I inspired someone to run a whole marathon! See, I want to be like that 70 year old lady that inspires someone to develop their own personal fitness goals that lasts them a lifetime.

That's why when my track running partner, Rebecca, showed up at my door after my solemn acceptance of not being able to run Berlin, with this amazing story of how I inspired her to run, after she was in a car accident, facing two big external fixators that held her hips together, and the potential of maybe not being able to walk again - let alone run, I did what anyone hearing that would do ... I cried!

Rebecca told me that after months in rehab (the exact facility that I now work in as an RD!), she would, week after week, make her way down to the track, and watch me train with Coach Joel. She told me she'd think, "I want to run like her, one day". Wow! How do you process that? It's bigger than me. Thank you, Rebecca. Thank you for your friendship, and your inspiring card that was filled with so many beautiful words of friendship, caring, and love. I am truly humbled.

Rebecca's a runner - so, of course she didn't just leave it there. 
Oh no, no, no, my friends! 
A huge challenge came with all those beautiful sentiments!
That day, Rebecca also gave me a gift - for safekeeping.
Her 2014 Boston Marathon Medal.

This is the medal she is most proud of because of all the obstacles that she faced, and overcame, to get to that starting line and run the 2014 Boston Marathon.
After I opened the box with the medal, I had to promise:
One: That I would not lose the medal and that it would be returned! 
Very Important! 
Actually, that was the most serious I had ever seen Rebecca and I'll confess - I was a little frightened by the stern look she gave me!
Two: That I would return the medal when I got one of my own
- a very hard earned Boston Marathon Medal.

Remember, before Berlin, I had trained for Boston and was forced to pull out due to a hip injury. So, yes, I qualified for the 2017 Boston Marathon, and in spite of all the obstacles that I face  -  God willing - I will make it to the 2017 Boston Marathon and run!
Rebecca, I promise, I won't give up on my dream to run Boston,
no matter what I have faced - or will face! 
Who knows - someone may be watching!
Coach Joel, Rebecca, Me!
Train Smart Today!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Go Far Women's Half Marathon Recap: Fargo, North Dakota

I can run, but I cannot count.
Fargo, North Dakota is State #29 (Sorry, Minnesota).
Welcome to Fargo, North Dakota
State #29!
I guess I was getting ahead of myself.
Anyway, Fargo - as I was told on Facebook by one of my fellow 1/2 Fanatics Club members - is flat as a pancake. In fact, my new friend John, whom I met on my post run celebration, told me that Fargo is so flat you can see your dog run away for three miles!
Nice meeting you, John!
We call those shots Picklebacks,  not Brooklyn Hookers!
Maybe due to the proximity of where we live ...
And no, I wasn't doing shots! C'mon, I'm still training for Berlin!
Okay, where was I? The race - it was beautifully organized. The race was developed to honor Dr Renee Schwandt, an OBGYN, who passed away unexpectedly in July 2003. The event is an all-female race to celebrate the strength, determination, and beauty of women and young ladies.
There is however a Go Far Man Lottery
One man is allowed to run each year! I think this is hysterical! He who runs amongst us females is a brave soul for sure!

Dr Renee's sister spoke at the beginning of the race - and I lost it. I have two sisters who are persevering with their own health issues, and for one of these two sisters, I found out on my way to Fargo.
So, yeah - You bet your sweet you know what
that I was going to run as hard as I could 
to get that first place age group win!

My mantras:

  • Trust your training
  • I want my sisters to fight - so I will too
  • I don't want my sisters to ever give up - so neither will I
  • I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me

I started out strong - a lot better than Minneapolis. Since Minneapolis, I found out that I'm lactose intolerant. I have avoided all dairy - with the exception of some Sheep Yogurt - which I eat with a digestive enzyme from Pure Encapsulations. For some reason, even if I take the digestive enzymes with Goat Yogurt, I still get cramping, bloating, and the big "D". Sorry - I'm a dietitian, I talk about GI issues and poop all day long! So yeah, since Minneapolis, it's been Sheep Yogurt for me!
Anyway, I felt great! I was keeping about a 7:45 minute pace for the first 9 miles, then my legs started to get very tired. Especially my quads. In the last two miles I started to get upset with my pace, but I still persevered! It was the wind - it seemed to pick up, and it felt as if I were running uphill.

Out of nowhere, a pacer named Vicki ran up to me, "C'mon girl, you got this! I'm taking you in the last two miles! All you have to do is look at my feet, and breathe!"

I yelled back, "This wind! It's horrible."

Vicki told me to get behind her, "I will protect you from the wind. All you have to do is look at my feet and breathe!" She was like a little Angel that literally appeared out of nowhere.

I let out some grunts and moans along the way - and she would just yell back these amazing and uplifting responses, like, "You got fresh legs - just like when you started the race. Your legs are fresh!" and "You got this, the finish is just ahead," and "Use this downhill, use this downhill, Use the downhill - Kick!"

There was a small downhill, before you ran through a little tunnel, 
but you know the downhill story - 
where there's a downhill, there's always an uphill! 
Ech - I'm telling you - with the wind - that little uphill was a battle.

Finally, the end was in site and I sprinted to the finish. Vicki grabbed me and hugged me! She was literally like a little Angel! Thank you, Vicki! You were great!

I started to cry, again! Everyone asked me if I were okay - "Do you want a water bottle, a banana? Can we get you anything?" Everyone was so nice.

I took a water, and I just kept thanking God that I am able to run, able to run through the fifty states, and that my body is holding up through my training for the Berlin Marathon.

Running is my therapy. It is my happy place. It's where I go to make peace with myself, and my God. It's what I use as a means to feel as if I am empowered, and in control of my destiny. I wanted to run my best because I cannot change or prevent what my sisters are going through - all I can do is run my best.
With each half marathon, 
I also know that I cannot bring my husband back, 
or change the events of 9-11.
All I can do is run my best - 
and I can do that throughout all Fifty US States. 
This to me, is empowering. 

So, I cry at the end of each one of these races because they mean so much to me. This is what I told Kim, another runner, who also asked if I were okay as I sobbed my little eyes out in front of Scheel's Arena. Thanks Kim, for taking the time to ask me if I were okay, and for listening to my story.

And yes, you bet your sweet ass
I took 1st in my age group!

I was shooting for 1:42, but I'll take 1:44.
22 out of 29, I have placed 1, 2, or 3 in my age group!
- And no Edgar, that is not the 20-25 year old age group! LOL!

Train Smart Today!
Or as they say at the Go Far Women's Half Marathon in Fargo, North Dakota:
Nothing is impossible,
the word itself says, "I'm Possible!" ~ Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Listen when I tell you - My Track Workout Today Was Really Tough!

I just have to post how tough my track workout today was. I've told every possible person in my life thus far - so, sorry. It's as bad as a post-race recap.

You know you're a runner when: Everyone around you kindly smiles with that glossed over look in their eyes when you recap your race details. It's like they give each other that look that says:
"Hold on guys, this is gonna take awhile - 
This one was a marathon."

Seriously, I was so wrecked today - so hot and thirsty - even if my new baby grandnephew were here - the new absolute love of my life - I'd steal his baby bottle and drink it down STAT!

That's right Hunter John,
Aunt Beth is truly Half-Crazed!
Talk about Half-Crazed - I so fell in love with this little blob that I was 'running' through scenarios in my head of how to leave my brother-in-law's surprise birthday party with the baby - without having anyone notice. No Joke!
Every time I hugged him tight - he just snuggled in deeper. Aaaah, true love! And for those who know me - we even saw a hummingbird, together! (Thanks, John - I listened when you told me to go over and look. See ... I listen!)

Back to the torture, I mean my track workout. It doesn't seem so bad when I say the workout out loud: I had to run 200 meters at 7-minute mile pace, then 2-minutes at 8:30-minute mile pace, and I had to do this for 30-minutes. It wasn't all on the track - there was one part with a little incline, where I actually wanted to yell to my coach,
"I Really, Really Hate You!"

Seriously, you know what it's like on a hot day to run up an incline, keeping a 7-minute mile pace?

My biggest problem mistake was my inability to correctly pace myself. I was running the 200's at 6:40-minute pace, and the recovery tempo at 8-minute pace.
No wonder the last repeat was awful.
I completely fell apart. I don't know how fast I ran the 200's, but I think the last recovery was like 8:50-minute pace.  And no - I didn't run for 30-minutes. I ran a little more than 26-minutes. A little over 3-miles.

Then like a bigger baby than my new baby grandnephew ( I just love saying that), I started to cry. Mind you, I finished in the parking lot, where everyone was dropping their children off to summer soccer camp. Kids were getting out of mini-vans like, " Ugh, I don't think today is a good day to play soccer Mom/Dad. Don't you think we should go home?"

You know your a runner when: You make ugly faces - either when running or when finished with your runs - and those faces scare little children.

Needless to say, my track workout was really tough, today.
Train Smart Today!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Red, White, and Boom Half Marathon Recap

State #29: Minnesota
The Red White and Boom Half Marathon was quite a bit more challenging than expected for several reasons. First, the elevation map on the website is inaccurate. The hill climb is not between mile 6-8, it is from about mile 4-6. In addition, there were several other steep hills that I didn't expect, and even some unexpected gentle rolling hills throughout.

The race was well organized, and it was a very pretty run through some local parks, over the historic Stone Arch Bridge, and along the Mississippi River. It was an honor to run through yet another American city which I've only read about in texts, and seen pictures online. It was an added blessing to be able to run this on our nation's birthday, The Fourth of July!
July 3rd: Twins vs Rangers! What a great game! Go Twins!
One of the great plusses running these races is that I always meet someone who I connect with. This time it was Karen. At the start,  when everyone is trying to push through last minute doubts, race/run anxieties, and race excitement, I noticed a young lady standing next to me. I was impressed by the fact that she polished her nails red and blue for the Fourth of July! She was also wearing a cute red, white, and blue bra top! I admired how coordinated she was! I'm so fashion dumb! I should have put more thought into running on the Fourth of July! Karen and I got to talking - her race goal 1:44. I told her that my race goal was 1:40.

Unfortunately, after the first mile, I knew that I was never going to keep up a 7:40 pace. My legs felt heavy, and I was exhausted. Three weeks suffering with a Crohn's flare up (and still counting) took its toll. I started the race already dehydrated, and felt it in the heavy legs. I was happy to get through the race without having an accident. I stopped at every water station and drank a full cup of water. At around mile 7.5, I actually drank two full glasses of water! I've never done that before! And believe me, as an RD, I had better known to hydrate pre-race - and I did - I probably drank close to 40 ounces of water pre-race!

I can't even say that it was very hot, either. The race started at 6:30am, and there was an easy cool breeze for the entire race. The weather was lovely!

Some depressing highlights:
  • I got passed by a man pushing a baby stroller!
  • I had a back spasm for the last 1.5 miles  - probably from losing so many electrolytes starting at 4am that morning!
  • I had lots of tummy cramps throughout - residual Crohnnie pain.
  • I couldn't run fast enough to get to the next water station - I was so thirsty!

Some uplifting highlights:

  • I refused to quit, even when my tummy and back cramped up on me
  • I only stopped to drink water
  • I met an awesome female runner (Karen)
  • And, wait for it ....
I don't know how, 
but I managed to take 3rd in my age group!

Woo-Hoo!
21 out of 29 states I have placed 1, 2, or 3 in  my age group!

And as for Karen: Congratulations girl you rocked it! 1:40 - better than her ETA! And 2nd place age group win! Even better - her 11 year old son finished in 1:50! Eleven years old! Keep up the great job dude!

And ... Ron ran another 5K! He's keeping up his bargain to run the 5K's offered at every half!
Congrats, Ron!
Post race highlights:
Watching the fireworks on the Stone Arch Bridge above the Mississippi
Happy 2016 Fourth of July!
Yeah, I got a little tearful - not because the fireworks were beautiful, or the sound of every boom was felt in my chest - but because when I paused to look around, this is what I saw:

  • People of every color with various ethnic origins, from every continent - Africa, Asia, America, Europe (East and West), South America, possibly Australia but I couldn't tell for sure. 
  • Some people wore shorts and a tee-shirt, while others wore traditional ethnic or religious clothing, and others displaying their rainbow colors - proud to honor those lost in the recent terror in Florida. 
  • Some people spoke English, some Spanish, and others Russian, Korean, and Farsi - you name it, there was variety!
  • Some people were walking, while others were in wheel chairs. 
  • There were little children running around, and senior citizens, who planned each step carefully. 
Right there, on the Stone Arch Bridge in middle America!

Why? 
Because that's what America is all about - 
accepting and appreciating everyone's differences! 
God I hope we don't lose ourselves.
Praying for a peace in the USA.

Train Smart Today!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Back in the Saddle

Weeks of rehabilitation, easy runs, and not increasing more than 10% per week has allowed me to get back most of what I lost due to this weird hip injury.

guess the cortisone shot in my hip worked - I'm able to run without debilitating pain shooting up into my hip, but I still have groin issues. It's as if the bottom of my psoas and the inguinial ligament get inflamed and then rub against each other to cause trouble. Mind you PT, Athletic Trainers, Chiropractor, and Mom - it is NOT my mileage that causes the inflammation ... of course it isn't!

At the track, I've been taking it easy - 6:30 to 7:30 minute pace in shorter intervals, and nothing shorter than 200 meters - so no abrupt stops and starts. Today though, was a little more difficult, I did 300 meter repeats, mixed in hill repeats, and then back to the 300 meter repeats. I actually went to do another set of hills after the last set of 300's, and when jogging down from the first repeat, I saw my coach.
He yelled, "Beth, You're done. 
You don't need to do another set of hill repeats - only one set!"  
We laughed! I so grateful - I gave him a big hug!

I know I have more to give, but I'm holding back a bit. I don't want to re-injure myself. I focus on every little ache and pain. I'm really trying to control any inflammation. Before I got injured, my Crohn's flared up. It never ceases to amaze me how much good nutrition plays a part in sport performance. It's not that I didn't eat healthy - I'm a freakin' dietitian - I know what to eat, and what I should eat more of if I want to increase certain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats - blah, blah, blah. When you have IBD, though, you don't absorb your nutrients - you just crap 'em out. I can relate every injury to either a lack of sleep/poor recovery or a Crohn's flare up.

Trying to get Crohn's under control without medicine is not easy - it's all based on food. Now, I'm pretty much following a Pegan Diet - no grains, very little legumes, very little dairy (only yogurt, and some goat cheeses), lots of vegetables, and a little meat protein. Every once in awhile, I will have cravings - but making flour-less bread and my date protein balls really helps to squash my cravings.

The biggest problem is eating out - and not knowing how they prepare something. The last few times I had an upset stomach was directly due to eating out.

Probably one of the biggest helps to curb inflammation include some supplements I take:

  • VSL #3, a daily probiotic - this is a medical grade probiotic, but if you don't have IBD, I recommend Bio K+, Culturelle, or Align. Sometimes I'll take more than one kind in a day, if my stomach is acting up - like after those restaurant meals.
  • Metagenics Omegagenics SMP Active. I learned about this through (one of) my chiropractor(s). I had such great results in squashing my inflammation, I decided to sign up as a Professional Provider, to get the product for my clients
  • Ac-11: An herbal supplement that helps protect your DNA, like an antioxidant, but also helps support DNA replication to prevent errors leading to chronic inflammation, and disease. 
  • Healthy Cell Mutivitamin: I think the most amazing aspect of this vitamin is the incredible restful sleep I get when taking this vitamin. It has 90 supportive vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (including Ac-11),  and enzymes. As an athlete, what really caught my eye was the nutrition support to boost mitochondrial health . Remember from biology, our mitochondria is where we make our energy!

Like the Omegagenics, I decided to become a Professional Provider for the Ac-11, and Healthy Cell. First, I tried them. Over one month, I tried both - I introduced them to my system, and then I stopped them, individually. Without the support of these supplements, I went from some debilitating GI pains and upsets to increased pain and flare-ups - and this was even with following the Pegan diet. What was really noticeable was that with an occasional cheat - or when I'd eat out and not know what they're using - I had fewer problems. Instead of being sick for 3-4 days, I had just one day of irregularity. 
With the flare ups  - comes the groin pain, and the slower training. Taking the Metagenics SMP Active, Ac-11, and Healthy Cell Vitamins, prevents the IBD flare ups, squashes the groin inflammation, and allows me to run and train to reach my goals.
So everyone keeps asking: What's the next state? 
I'm thinking Ohio in June!
What are your healthy goals? 
What's holding you back?
Train Smart Today!