All posts by Laura K

Spirit, heart and rhythm....

A week of Enlisting my Two Little Proteges to Run a Spartan With me

I’ve been trying to make running a more social sport – haven’t figured it out yet as I am trying to follow my own routine, at my own pace and am not networked well.  In addition to just wanting company, I also feel strongly about helping out young women with their careers.  Back in 1989, there were ~4% women in my engineering class and less than that working in engineering at my current company – not much progress there unfortunately.  There are two wonderful young ladies (and a third much younger) that I try to pay some special attention to in my life.  I decided to enlist them in a Spartan Sprint 5K this summer.  They are both little badasses in their own right now – much older than the pics I have here. They are some awesome karate kicking, soccer playing, horn section playing, hard-working little ladies.

This week, I made it a REQUIREMENT for my niece Katie, who I’m flying out here to visit with me, and a REQUEST to my close friend Robbie’s daughter Sonia, who lives nearby.  Here they are – although both much bigger now – Katie will be 18 and Sonia 15 this summer.

Katie – my niece:









Sonia – my BLF (best little friend)…these are quite old!:








And a few times, they have been together:


So, in addition to calling them and promising them help, etc, I sent them the video below – which, granted might be intimidating as it has “Will you die?” in the title….





Then, I thought they need something a little more motivational so I sent them this:



then this….


I am very excited about them doing the August 10 Spartan Sprint Race and hoping we can pull this off!

Heading out into a blizzard now for a 105″ run 🙂


Magic Beans – Fuel and Nutrition Plan

There is a great book called “The Year of Running Dangerously” (which is reviewed separately in these blogs) where the main character helps his daughter during a marathon by giving her magic beans to help with cramping. Fact is, you need to manage your fluid and carbohydrate intake during long runs.  I called an old friend last week, who is 82, an ironman and going strong mountain biking in Arizona – his main advice was to manage this stuff and not bonk during a race.

year running dangerously

I’m running a half marathon next weekend which, at my snails’ pace of 11:45/mi, will take me ~2.5 hrs to complete.  After 90 min, you should consider taking come kind of supplement every hour or so.  I have never done this.  This is the beginning of weeks of experimentation to find out which product works best for me.  Coach says to find two gels, two chewables and two powders that I like.

Current items I’m checking out after 90 min to note if it tastes good and if it improves how I feel:

  • Salt Stick – 215 mg sodium vs. Hammer nutrition – Endurolytes
    • “pills” like endurolytes or pill form of salt sticks get stuck in your throat and hurt.  I’m going with the chewable salt sticks (Update:  the non chewables have higher concentration of electrolytes and chewables require way more per hour so I now use the normal sat sticks to take 2/hour).
  • Tailwind powder mix
    • Love this 1 scoop mixed with 22 oz water each hour.  Have tried orange and lemon.
  • Gummies
    • Skratch labs
    • Sport Beans – 100 cal/package, 80 mg sodium, 40 mg potassium, 25g carb (17g sugars).  made of cane sugar, tapioca syrup, apple juice, etc.  These are made by jelly belly
      • Tried this at 1:18 with another 30 min to go.  Too sugary and pain to keep popping the little ones/whole pack of 100 cal.  Did not have noticeable affect – was cold.  No cramping.
  • Gels…. All sweet.  Better chocolate/coffee flavors as less sweet
    • Cliff:  LIKE because little tab at top connected to pack so won’t litter/get lost
    • Vfuel Gels
    • Gu gel – 100 cal packet, 25 g carb made from maltodextrin, water, fructose, leucine, sea salt, 125 mg sodium
    • Hydragel sports fuel gel 100 made from total crap, glucose, fructose, 25g sugars
  • Hammer nutrition – chocolate recoverite and for during training
    • This can be too sweet at end of run

I was happy that I also found some sport beans today a the Heartbreak Hill Running Store in Boston!

I’ll be updating this post with results.

This is my pre, during and post race nutrition plan:


Chew on,



I am in love with an irrigation box

I’ve been living in fear of squats for two reasons:  My achey lower back and the fact I’ve always felt a little unstable because of my flexibility and tendency to have issues with an upright upper body while in a squat (remember I cannot do an overhead squat – yet).  My coach recommended that I use a box at a height that I’m comfortable squatting to.

After running my head into the end of the 45 lb bar in the rack while reaching for my training routine papers on the ground (rookie mistake), I set it up on a few 10 lb plates so that the top was set if I was in a full squat parallel to ground.

LOVE IT – I don’t know if it just makes me feel safer and not lost in space as I’m awkwardly going down but it is like a magic confidence builder.  I went up to 125 lb squat for a pretty easy 3 reps!

Squat on my friends!


Again, a Life Lesson – How Many Times Do I Need to Be Told?

Sometimes when you expend less energy and slow down you accomplish more.  After a week in Bonaire, on the last dive I realized that if I totally exhale, I sink like a rock and totally managed my buoyancy on my own floating and going up and down at will easily.  This also applies to initially getting in the water as you descend – instead of flailing around, just relax and lean forward.  It reminds of a day many years ago at GE when I was in some type of battle with the Italians and Vincenzo Di Leva told me that I didn’t realize I had already won….

Pausing and being in the moment is also something I am working on.  Doesn’t mean I don’t work hard but it means that you need to make the work count by being focused.

I did run six miles roundtrip to Crossfit Flamingo and do the 19.1 workout – heat kicked my a&& and my calves were cramping during wallballs.  I did this while the rest of the group was out diving and before I had my initial, assisted dive en route to certification the next day.  I was told you weren’t supposed to exercise too much before diving – this was a test 🙂  Here’s a pic of me and the awesome guys who judged/supported me:

So on this note, let me get back into it and meditate daily.  OHm, one more thing, 5 pounds up – I am hoping it is airplane weight and we’ll see in a day or so.  I am also determined to get back to the weights – my 7.7 miles yesterday crippled me with the lower back again so I need to continue to work through that and fix it as well.

A few more pics from the trip:

An awesome time and in my new swimsuit!!

Honest reporting and en route to being better,




First day of STFU training – after my hour run in the snow, I found the salt bucket in the garage and carried it around the neighborhood.  I love that kind of stuff. I hadn’t really done it last month as planned I think because it was too easy – make it harder and I’m all in 🙂

First week of phase 4 training this week with the intensity increasing – see bike workout below from yesterday where I did a bunch of intervals thruout the workout ending with a 20 sec max effort, 10 s rest for 4 minutes:


Already had a back spasm so better get on the floor to do a few stretches/mobility wod today…  Am tired just thinking of the next two days getting ready to go to Bonaire at 3am Sat morning!!  Tomorrow I have a workout + am trying out gear at the scuba pool + organizing cat sitters, etc for our trip.

Keeping the Light On

I’ve mentioned before about how if I’m out late at night running around my neighborhood that I’ve asked my sweet husband to never turn off the light downstairs so that I think he is awake with me.  I’ve been searching for someone my age, trying to do something similar, so I am not alone in this journey.  I’ve said to myself “I’m all alone” dredging up this old, untrue, verbal punishment I thought I had gotten rid of.  I know it’s not true.  I know there are plenty of athletes I can talk to at the box or my coach and that I have a wonderful family and friends.  I do know this – it is something we all worry about and just like I ask my husband to keep a light on in our home, I was thinking today that we should all keep a “light on” for others so they don’t forget they aren’t either.  It could be just asking someone how they are doing or inviting someone to dinner or sending a little note to a friend living far away.

I had first written in jest don’t use a headlamp but this post edit is about how you MUST use a bright headlamp as one of my very best friends suffered from depression and hung himself in his garage.  You can’t keep the lights on bright enough to make others realize they are not alone.

Here’s a shoutout to one of the best humans ever – Gunter you are missed.


Something Unexpected and Heartwarming

I became a stepmom in my 40s.  I survived and all of us are doing great. I remember that it took me into my 30s until I truly appreciated my own mother and still wonder what, if any, impact I have made on my boyfriends’ son, my stepson, my son – labels get all confused in these types of relationships just like the boundary lines of what we can say or not say, or care about or not care about, or ask or not ask….

A month ago we were driving in the car together while he was home at Christmas and I was working on posture with the lacrosse ball behind my shoulder in the car when he told me he was worried about me doing that because if we got into an accident, I could get extra hurt by having that ball there.  I thought it was the sweetest concern ever. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’ve made a difference at all or, if I’ve damaged him in some way with the conflicts we did have (probably no different than any teen and their parents).  Anyway, it was a moment that mattered a lot to me.


p.s.  Main pic is probably at least six years old 🙂