Category Archives: Becoming Badass

Victory – First OCR Races AAR 5-19-19

The ice cold water was refreshing – you can’t think about it, just plunge in and go under the barrier or keep swimming – someone said 44F was the temp yesterday at the Bonefrog event.  After Activity Report from Spartan Spring (4 miles) and Bonefrog Challenge (6 miles):

Went well

  • Did all obstacles but monkey bars, spear and rings at Spartan Race
  • Felt good at the end of both and no lower back crippling – this is huge/need to keep up one legged exercises and fixing my posture
  • Sandbags super easy at both events
  • Was afraid of walls but went over all the spartan ones (even the terrifying one you had to go over before the beginning of the race!!) – Bonefrog ones were taller and I didn’t try with my hurt shoulder
  • Did well on 3200′ hills at Bonefrog using new hill technique – like this race a ton better as there was more true racing in the woods, smaller crowd, parking near event
  • Bonefrog results:  64/311 everyone, 3/10 age group (50+), 11/94 females.  And I was only a few minutes off the the other age group women.  Being that I am not in that great of shape yet, where do you find the tough competitors?

Could be better next time

  • Brought plastic bag for gross clothes for Bonefrog!
  • Washed mud out of shoes at event vs. leaving shoes on porch for a week
  • Need shoes with better shoe grip – slipped going downhill at Bonefrog
  • Need shoes with better lacing – had to retie during race
  • Had foot cramps at end of Bonefrog – need to fuel properly during race
  • Lead front shin on left leg got sore using it as a lead leg uphill – need to practice going sideways up in both directions
  • Need help with high walls
  • Hurt right shoulder pretty bad hanging on one arm – may avoid those forever.  Saw both my PT guys and it isn’t torn but will take a little time to heal up.  This was a bummer – I want to wake up sore and not hurt for one day between my shoulder and lower back!!!  Working it….
  • Bonefrog was 3200′ elevation and Killington is 14000′.  Need to work hill endurance!  Compared to the other folks, I passed a ton of folks going up but got creamed coming down.  Need to work hill technique going down 🙂
  • Lonely to do by myself – better with friends!  I think I’ll like the Ragnar races and want to do more team events

Pics from Spartan Sprint (4 miles) below from May 11, 2019:

 

Spartan bruises:

 

Bonefrog pics (6 mile Challenge race) May 18, 2019:

 

 

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gratitude

I am looking out my office window at a blooming magnolia with my cat getting ready to do a few ROMWODs and then go out for a long run.  I am grateful for:

  • Being healthy and able to work and play
  • Having learned so much this last year
    • Finding a coach who has helped me learn value of Heart rate training
    • Leadership of my team at work – paying attention to people, recognizing more when they are out in the field, helping more
    • How to climb a rope
    • How to run uphill – conquered Nashoba after a crushing week of not making it and then learning some skills.  Revisiting again how mentally tough (or not) I am – at least the second time I went and was determined to try to make it.
    • Running skills
    • Recovering my shoulder
    • Being OK with postponing some strength while I fix some core issues and finding someone to help me with lower back pain/posture/root cause
    • Being able to change habits and acknowledge weaknesses to strategize around them
    • How to ride a bicycle
    • Wading my way thru apps and gadgets to find out the best way to track training
  • My husband, who listens to me saying the same things over and over and always telling me I can do anything I set my mind to, supporting me when I’m in time out, and who takes care of me
  • Looking forward to applying what I’ve learned athletically to my music – adding variability (and per W. Marsalis, mimicking color and people and feelings)
  • My job and manager – there is trust there that I appreciate and I hope integrity
  • New Orleans – went to French Quarter Fest although was a little lonely by myself in a huge crowd.  Found some dancers, listened to music, ate some wonderful breakfasts at Envie, did yoga at the Cabildo, found an awesome gym and continued all my training and PT while on the road

Am trying to not take everything so seriously yet be disciplined and humble.  To be OK with what I can do and to be OK if I mess up once in a while whether it be diet, missing a workout, making a mistake at home or work…

Keep the faith,

Laura

p.s.

Ben Bergeron had a great podcast on getting along with others and a section of empathy with sympathy … Chasing Excellence episode #63.

Twisted in Two Planes, AAR 3/31/19 end wk 15, 167 days Left

Dear Coach,
I did everything this week!
A few HUGE changes/learnings:
  1. I realized that I have gotten a ton better running the hills in my neighborhood this week with the new workouts – when I ran them last Nov, they were soul sucking but really not so bad now!!!
  2. You can’t “think” your way to a faster running cadence.  I used the metronome and successfully ran at 165-170 during the 10 miles today when last week during long run I tried to but still only ran 153 spm.  Need to slow down pace though and get back to Z2 under 118 BPM/was at 123 BPM today.
  3. Started trying to use my new Garmin F935 watch and found it matches my heart strap well on long runs but having issues with displays, etc – have to learn how to use it
  4. Finally found a PT, Mike Roberts, that I think is going to fix what is evidently a twist I have in two different planes.  See in the photo below how I am leaning and twisted to the left.    Switched to all unilaterial exercises Wed 3/27 onwards until it is fixed. Note that I am taking Aleve a few times a day now and often can’t put my socks on in the morning.  Feeling a little better already since eliminating dual foot weight exercises – he says I’ll end up stronger than before after we fix it.  I am not worried about getting strong and will continue to work strength enthusiastically with unilateral exercises until then – perhaps the best way to do them anyway 🙂

IMG_3493.JPG

Changes I am making
  • With the longer runs and workouts last few weeks, I changed food to moderate for T, R, F, Sa, Su and this is making me gain weight since I got back from Bonaire, where I had been at 135 (am now at 143).  I am going back to the previous macros (my RP base/Light day at 151c, 56f, 134p = 1644 total calories) and adding in only 100g for Gu on runs/bike Sat and Sun- else all LIGHT days.
  • A little cleanup – I am not wasting all this exercise by screwing up my nutrition.  I want a six pack!!
    • Switching from butter to nut butter with toast in morning
    • Realized whole wheat flour is different than wheat flour so only using whole wheat
    • Being purist on best sources of prot/carb/fat
    • Back to measuring half and half 🙂
  • Can’t follow std RP templates while working out in am and pm so am doing the following:
    • Eating fuel/fire in morning before workout
    • Having higher carb meals after morning and evening workouts, spreading out the rest during the day
    • Switching from butter to nut butter with toast in morning
  • Having some gear issues with new Garmin (still working on setting it up and comparing its HR wrist sensor to my chest strap and other running app) and lights.  This will pass – working on that today
  • Hair control:  Started using better headbands (way wider in front and wider in back) to keep hair away from me
 Train on!
Laura

Longest Run in 36 Years…New Bedford Half Marathon AAR

March 17, 2019 marks the first day I am starting to prove I am better than at 17 or 30. I ran the New Bedford half marathon today and felt great.  I ran slightly too fast (11:18 mile pace) but still pretty slow so no wind blocking behind the crowds during the middle of the race windy stretch!  Last time I ran a half, in high school, I think I ran a 10k the next day and somehow wiped myself out for the rest of the running season.  I think it might have been the absolute absence of knowledge on nutrition, or just mental – who knows.  But I’ve been afraid of this happening again and also what used to be the total unpredictability of how I felt running races.  My vote is nutrition and I am way better at that now.

Except for the Friday night before this Sunday race where we had a scuba reunion and I had chips/queso and 2 glasses of wine.  Somehow I’m now up 10 lbs over where I was pre-Bonaire – crazy and I hope water.

Results:

IMG_3439

Pre-race nutrition strategy:

  • Race at 11am.  6:30 breakfast of oatmeal, maple syrup, eggs, milk (normal) and one cup coffee.
  • 10am fuel for fire (typically eat this before running)
  • During race starting around first hour per hour, 1 endurolyte, 1 hammer gel
  • Post race:  Hammer recoverite

Followed except post race I had orange, banana, and chowder/fish sandwich provided by the race instead of recoverite.

Back/stretching Status:  Back was a little crickety going in.  Had done a few ROMWODS Saturday and stretched before the race.  Post race I give it a 6/10 – feeling way better than I have in the past after my last 11 mi run months ago (where I was so crippled I couldn’t move the rest of the day).  Working yoga today (Monday).

I carpooled down with a few of the local runners from the Nashua Gate City Striders running club and as I introduced myself and talked with them before the race had the following comments:

  • “You’re wearing that?”  My typical mid weight fleece vs this singlet thing everyone has to advertise their club
  • “We all have garmin watches”  with a tone when I asked about gear and mentioned I am using my iphone
  • “Did you look at the course?”  That would be a no!  But I learned a lesson and about the huge hill evidently around mile 9 and had good advice about fueling up in advance of that and not just at it.  Now this hill turned out to be a bump – had no effect on me.

Lessons Learned:

  • I cannot take this hair in my face all the time, it is going up with however many bobby pins it takes next time
  • Love chocolate hammer gel, hated grape.  Still couldn’t tell any noticeable change after eating them.
  • Look at the course in advance to plan nutrition around hills and to set expectations for hills – don’t get caught off guard
  • Trust clothing/layers you wore before in similar conditions.  It seemed a little cold so I brought gloves when I might not have.  Am not sorry but mostly they were in my pocket.

 

 

I did also go into my cookie jar for mental support for pre-race jitters – thank you David Goggins for this advice.  Also read the book “Nowhere Near First” by Cory Reese (an ultra runner) and in one race he passed someone who had told their running mate “the race doesn’t start until mile 70”, which he later realized was true.  So I thought of this as I finally passed for good the women in the sparkly (awesome) skirts who kept racing past me and then walking.  This was no ultra, but good practice for staying to my plan, which was 11:45 avg miles.

Train on my friends!  I am looking forward to a glut of strength training this month.  I am also busy buying sandbags and finding hills to run up.  Next race is my first Spartan May 11!

Laura

Cold/Hot Weather Running Clothing Standards and Battery Life

Have had a few cold days up here in New Hampshire and wanted to keep track of how my clothing and battery life is going.  One day this week while I was running in 7F temps, my iphone was doing GPS for fitbit and Runfit app – died in just one mile…

57F  roasted in long sleeve light rashguard – wear skort and short sleeve shirt with high viz vest

  • Iphone started 84% ended 20% after 2 hours using runfit and metronome apps only

48-54F  No need for fleece, just wore long sleeve light rashguard and high viz vest

Above 32 deg F:

  • Lightweight smartwool longsleeve shirt and mid weight fleece, no gloves required (unless perhaps windy), standard midweight leggings (not the super thin yoga kind but the athletic compression leggings of athleta).   No hat but can use band around ears.
  • Iphone batteries run down within 90 min if using for GPS fitbit/runfit apps and using music or audible (not streaming)

High 20s:

  • Add gloves to above and if cold wind, windproof shell.
  • Using basic leggings, my legs were hard to feel after 8 miles so I want to add lightweight leg liner next time

7 deg F

  • Heavier weight smartwool long sleeve shirt, midweight fleece.  Should have added another lightweight layer as I did for Turkey trot which was a few degrees warmer…
  • Hat is a definite although you might end up with sweat ice chunks after the run!  Got a little hot – might try a heavier duty ear covering
  • gloves and a pair of lightweight glove liners – this was not enough as my hands froze!  Looking for solution here – tricky as you don’t want to be hot either but this was too cold
  • I also had on a pair of leggings with fleece but this was also not enough – need to add another thin liner.
  • Also could use something for face – was totally frozen.
  • Iphone used for fitbit/runfit with GPS, died within 1 mile – this has me looking into Garmin devices now – either Forerunner 935 or Felix 5

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:

katiesonia

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 🙂

Laura

Magic Beans – Fuel

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:

  • 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
    • RESULT:  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.
  • Salt Stick – 215 mg sodium
  • Tailwind powder mix
  • skatch labs – gummies
  • Vfuel Gels
  • Honey stinger gummies – packet, 160 cal, 39g carbs made from organic tapioca syrup, organic sugar, organic honey, grape juice
  • Shot Blocks
  • Gu gel – 100 cal packet, 25 g carb made from maltodextrin, water, fructose, leucine, sea salt, 125 mg sodium
  • Hammer nutrition – chocolate recoverite and for during training
  • Hammer nutrition – Endurolytes
  • Hydragel sports fuel gel 100 made from total crap, glucose, fructose, 25g sugars

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.

Chew on,

Laura