Friday, December 9, 2016

State #30: North Carolina

This past weekend I ran the 33rd Annual Mistle Toe Run!
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!
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?
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! 
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!

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!

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!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Runner Down!

Runner Down! Runner Down!
I think I've been binging on too much "Blacklist"
Seriously, I haven't run since my half in Arkansas last month. Well - if you call the hobbling I did March 10th "running" then I guess it's been almost 1 month. 

I thought the pain I had in my hip would heal on its own - sort of like with my knee and hammy injuries over the years. You know the deal, you back it off, forego a couple of races, stretch, strengthen, roll - and you get back at it.
Not this time. 
No relief - no matter what I did. Physical Therapy, Active Release Therapy, Quitting all Grains and Dairy. Yeah - as for the nutrition - I scaled down the grains, cheese, and milk, big time because in the middle of all of this, my Crohn's decided to rear its ugly head, like a bat outta hell! At least I found some tasty recipes to try out in the meanwhile!
Almond and Coconut Flour Banana Nut Bread!
c/o B3yond Nutrition, LLC
Ok. So - that was Part 1. 
Part 2 is that I went to see my favorite Orthopedist, Dr Metzl at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC.
Always fun driving cross town to HSS!
Dr Metzl ordered an MRI to rule out Stress Fracture and Sports Hernia. I thought for sure it was a stress fracture. I mean, why wasn't I healing? And some days felt worse than others. I was miserable - and sort of still am. 
Well, it was neither!
No damage seen to my Psoas, Pectineus, or Adductors (All the parts that I read about in other runners' sad stories of things that could cause hip pain). So, Dr Metzl asked me to hop up on the table, again.
He manipulated my leg -
 Nope, no pain when you push like that, no pain when you push like this, Ouch! But YES! TO PAIN When you take my leg, bend it and move it side to side.
I must have looked like a deer in headlights,
What do you think, Doc?
Dr Metzl's got a real cool factor about him, and an aura that says, "Don't worry. We can fix this, and you will be able to run again." Of course, I'm like a moth to a flame! And in that manner - he said nonchalantly, "It's your hip joint. We are going to get you a shot of cortisone in your hip."
Me: And then I'll be able to run again?
Dr. Metzl: Yup! But you gotta strength train. 
It was like music to my ears - two of my favorite things in the whole world - strength training and running. Sorry Coach Joel, Speed Workouts are not my fave! So off I went for an ultrasound guided 
shot of cortisone into my hip joint.
I couldn't work out for three days!
Finally, yesterday I did a strength work out in the morning which was followed up with some residual soreness. And today I did some flexibility exercises, along with 11 miles on my Eliptigo. - 
The verdict ...
I'm still walking! No pain, yet. A small twinge twice today, but nothing like what I've been going through. I'm also experimenting with a cell rejuvenation supplement. More on this in the future....
Until then, 
I'm taking it slow, and looking to run maybe towards the end of the week. Keep your fingers crossed!
Train Smart Today!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Game On in Arkansas!

State #27: Little Rock, Arkansas
Game On!
This was a tough race. I chose this hilly course as a way to train for Boston. I've been avoiding hills for the last year because my hamstring issues. Since I've been training a little differently, my hamstring issues are gone, but now I have new aches and pains!

In fact, at the track Wednesday, I had to go home. The first time ever that I didn't complete a work out. I couldn't - my iliospsoas was too tight - it felt like a sharp stabbing pain. I actually started to cry. And really, I have been doing so well.
I've been finishing sub 8-minute miles on my
 long training runs for the upcoming Boston Marathon. 
I've been feeling so strong!
Even my long standing hamstring issues have cleared - I started to be able to stick with the other runners running up hills on Sunday mornings. My biggest problem has been my Crohn's disease. I've had to run circles in the local park to stay close to the Port o Johns. To help my tummy issues, I tweaked my diet. I had some cramping yesterday, around mile 10 - that's the usual mile of late where my stomach has been falling apart. But no sense of urgency - and I pushed through. My stomach was even okay after the race - which is super unusual for me. I tried to pick it up after the cramps in mile 10, but those sharp psoas pains veered their ugly head. I looked at my watch, and saw I was running 7:20., so I backed it down a bit.
Not wanting to push it, 
I made it a point to hang with the 3:25 marathon pacers.
At about mile 11/12, the marathon and the half marathon split. So I was on my own for about 1.5 miles. I pushed, a little, and came in feeling pretty strong (all things considered) at 1:42:35. I was happy that I ran that strong for such a hilly race. If I were in the age group above me (45-49) I would have taken first! But you know, you're only as good as your competition. I came in 5th for my age group. First place ran 7:02! And second wasn't far behind her! Great job ladies!
Overall, it was a great race that took you through downtown 
Little Rock. A couple of highlights stood out to me ...
It was great hearing the live bands playing along the course. 
They were mostly church groups praising Jesus! It was so very Southern Americana! The streets were dotted with little churches, and their congregants stood outside playing music and singing praises! It was very cool passing through the streets, hearing their voices on a Sunday morning.
Another highlight was the guy in Coral B standing next to me. 
He had a bib on both his front and his back. The woman next to me asked him why he was wearing 2 bibs. He told us that he was running for a friend - they were training for the half, but she recently got hit by a truck and lost her leg. I told him that I just ran with someone who ran on two blades. He was amazing! I also run with someone who also was in a motor vehicle accident - she didn't think she would ever walk again, let alone run again. She saw me hobble off the track on Wednesday and texted me: "You get to the start, and God will take you to the finish". I told this to the man that was running for his friend. I pray one day she can get a blade, train, and make it to the start. For sure God will carry her to the finish. 
I can only think that's how I made it through yesterday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Training Smarter!

I've been keeping up with my training despite the snow. Yes, I cried when I saw that the snow on the track finally melted! And I cried again, when it snowed again and covered the track before my next speed session.
I simply loathe doing speed work on the street. 
But you gotta do what you gotta do to prepare for race day and I have two on the horizon:

My training was off, and I knew it. 
I had to change it up.
True confession: I was upset that I took second Overall Female Masters in Alabama - I missed out on first by 28 seconds - or something annoying like that. It's not that I thought I deserved it, it's just that I trained really hard - and to no avail. My hamstring was still sore, my left achilles wasn't improving, and I had no force production in the second half of that Alabama Half. I couldn't understand why - especially after all my training.

So, I decided to go to the local training experts: Parabolic Performance and Rehab. I mean, if their coaches helped Peyton Manning, who just won the Superbowl, maybe they could help me?

The first thing, and probably the most important thing they told me was that I have an overuse injury. But Duh, right? Heck, Dr Mike has been telling me that for years! 
You run, you run, you run - of course you're gonna have an overuse injury.
But this time it was told to me differently.

They told me that I have an overuse injury not only because of logging the miles, but because I have been training the same way for several weeks months in a row. Even though I would mix up some exercises, on certain days. I was still doing the same type of exercises - and this kept stressing the muscles in the same way. 

So they gave me a plan that rotates every three weeks. So far, I've been taught exercises - using bands or just my body weight - that I never knew existed! My ankles burn from balancing exercises - to the point I want to grit my teeth! 
So-long plantar fasciitis and achilles tendinitis!
And my hamstring - at the top, where it connects to the ischial tuberosity - where all my hammy pain lies - is getting hit by this one exercise better than any hip thrust or hip heists.
I'm Killing the Hills!
Well, okay, I'm a little over zealous on that one, but I haven't had to say to the other Sunday runners, "Go ahead up this hill. I'll catch you at the top." I've been able to hang!
Heartbreak Hill ...Here I Come!
The bottom line is, I feel stronger, so it must be working. The best so far - my daughter came home from college this past weekend and told me that my butt looks bigger ... but 'in a good way'! 
This has to be by far, 
one of the best compliments I've ever received!
Train Smart: Avoid Despair and The Infamous Wall
Train Smart Today! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

First Light Half Marathon: State #26

I'm officially more than half-way to completing a half marathon in all 50 states + DC!
Woot! Woot!

The trip to Mobile, Alabama was a blast. Both kiddies came - and I have to say, both Ron and I were impressed that they wanted to go. Yes, of course they wanted to cheer me on the finish, of course - neither one wakes up any earlier than 8am to see Momma off! God forbid we lose some of our Winter Break sleep. But really, I was impressed that they were genuinely eager to see what it was like in Mobile. Running these half marathons is such a great way to see parts of the country that I would most likely never visit, or experience. Did I tell you I also joined the 7 Continents Club? (I'll save that for another post!)

And, wow, I'm glad they came! The Gulf Coast of Alabama is beautiful! I didn't expect it to be so beautiful! We saw dolphins, and pelicans, and this beautiful sunset!
Sunset on Ferry from Dauphin Island, Alabama
Gulf Coast, Alabama
This of course, was after my big race upset!
See, I wanted to run the race 1:40 or better. I planned on keeping a 7:40 minute mile pace. I was going strong until mile 8. Then, I couldn't hold the pace, and I sunk to 7:45-7:50. I should have been able to hold this pace - especially since the race was a pretty flat, and I trained pretty hard. In and of itself, the race was very sweet  - it ran through very quaint residential streets and neighborhood of Mobile.
Yes, I would recommend it!

About mile 12, out of nowhere, came these two young girls. It was as if I were standing still when they passed me. I joked and said, "As long as you're not 50 or so, you can pass me." What I didn't see, but heard, was another woman behind them who yelled, "I'm 52!". She blew by me with the young girls. Grrrr!

But every cloud has a silver lining and mine was Meredith O'Brien. Meredith ran the 2016 Back-To-Back Challenge. I thought I heard her say that she was a pacer the day before(?). I had my eyes glued to Meredith's back for the last 5 miles. Somewhere around mile 9/10, Meredith started to take little stretch breaks, to stretch out her calves or ankle (?) Personally, I can't even imagine running back-to-back half marathons at that pace! As I caught up to Meredith, I'd yell, "C'mon girl, Let's go!" Then she'd start up again - and once she did, she'd blow by me only to have to stop, and stretch again. I'd shout out to cheer her on, and off she went, like a little EverReady Bunny! 
This went on until Ms Stimpson (aka 52/F) passed me.
Then Meredith started coaching me, 
"C'mon, you can do this. That's it, that's it!"
Thank you, Meredith, during that last 1/4 mile - I really tried to push. I wanted so bad to come in under that "1:42 my hamstring still hurts" rut I've been stuck in for a year now. I truly appreciate your shouting out me as I sprinted into the finish!
Meredith is in the red shirt!
It's all good.
I took Second Overall Female Grand Masters!
Yes I am freezing,
and No, I didn't drink that beer - well, just two sips!
 And I got to spend a great weekend with both kids during their winter break!
Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Helping you Make It a Truly Happy (and Healthy) New Year!

Wow! This past week, I have been inundated with calls for nutrition consults. Looks as if everyone wants guidance for their 2016 New Year, Healthy Lifestyle Resolutions.

I'm all for helping! I love when clients reverse their pre-diabetic diagnosis, start to eat healthy, and begin an exercise regimen. I love it when clients tell me that they have more energy, don't binge eat anymore, and have tried the new recipes I forwarded them.

But you know, there's an "evil" lurking out there. Yup, and it's designed to ruin your healthy intentions, your best diet plans, as well as your midsection! It has a name (drumroll please) ....

The Food Industry!

Okay, okay, I know. Quit the drama Half-Crazed! But, I just had to say it. Here, see for yourself:

What's a Food Industry to Do? By Yoni Freedhoff

And now,
I have a new favorite expression: Real Food for Real People!

What's holding you back from reaching your goals?

So Stay Warm ... It's cold out there, literally - I couldn't feel my feet this morning running strides on the track! But I had to train - only four more days until my half in Alabama, my 26th state!

 ... And Stay Safe. 
By Eating Real Food!
C'mon, I know you're real!

Train Smart Today!