Rain rain, go away!

If you live in Ohio, you’ve likely noticed something crazy is happening with the weather. Many parts of the country have experienced the strangest “winter” this year. And yes, those quotation marks are intentional.

Can you call 67F winter?

Apparently you can in Ohio. Especially when it’s likely to snow again by the end of the week.
I’m all for the elimination of winter all together.

Yes. I know: Global warming is bad. Melting of the polar ice caps will cause devastating global changes. Blah, blah, blah.
The truth is I don’t like the cold one bit. It never was a problem for me when I was younger. I grew up in CT….we had four even seasons, and our fair share of snow. I haven’t lived there in over 12 years now, and my body has grown accustomed to the new places I lived: South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and now Ohio. But I’ve also developed some other issues, like Reynaud’s Syndrome, which make my hands and feet extra sensitive to the cold. I can’t even think about wearing flip flops to the grocery store without having an attack in the freezer section! It’s ridiculous.
Even more than the cold, my body is affected by the rain. Two days prior, I can tell you, without fail, if it’s going to rain. As much as I like being a human barometer, sensing the change in pressure only means one thing…the pain is on the way. So for the last few days, even though I’m glad it’s not the white stuff, this pain has been tortuous. It’s not just my joints or old injuries flaring up. It’s everything…from the hair follicles on my head to the tips of my toes. Everything.

The only thing that makes the pain unnoticeable is the introduction of a different kind of pain…enter the hill workout from this afternoon.

More on that tomorrow….
And so I ask you…is it summer yet?

Tomorrow’s news: There are no hills in Ohio!

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Back on Track…literally

It’s been two weeks since Goofy.

It’s time to make some decisions, and focus on what’s next. I’m feeling 100% after taking two “easier” weeks…so much so, that I thought a half marathon on a treadmill was a good idea yesterday.

What was I thinking?

I was thinking I had signed up for a virtual half organized on by Moms Run This Town: the Winter Runnerland 5K/10K/Half.
This was a great idea before I looked at my schedule. I already had one of each of those planned in January, plus a marathon. What’s one more race? I had others tell me to just use my time from the WDW Half Marathon to cover this race, but I don’t work that way. So yesterday was my only choice.
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A handful of ENERGYbits, a banana, and 2 bottles of water later…done.

The nice thing about the TM is that your banana is still intact at mile 8!
So now I’m back on track to hit my 125mi this month…and to start training for the Xenia Half Marathon on April 7th. I’m shooting for an ambitious PR at this event. I haven’t “raced” a half since 2009, as I use most of them for training runs or pacing opportunities.
I still have a potential 50k on February 17th, but I’m debating on attempting that distance. I know I can do as little as 10K at that event, and I’ll have to see how the old body is holding up around that time.
And now…the track. It’s time to start adding speed work. And for me that means Yasso 800s. Although I’ve heard people use that phrase with disdain, I actually like them. Maybe it has something to do with the namesake.

Anyway…this week I have 4×800. Woot! Can’t wait.

How’s your training going? Any track workouts planned?

Tomorrow’s news: Rain, rain, go AWAY!

A Bit more about Bits

What a surprise I found when I opened the mailbox today and found a bag of ENERGYbits!

I ordered them 4 days ago! Nice.They even threw in a runner’s pouch…so no more rattling to provoke my friends’ anger jealousy.

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My last post told you about my personal experiences with bits, and now I’d like to give you a few more details. Please ask questions. If I don’t have the answers, I will get them for you!

The folks at Bits of Health can supply you with tons of information about their products (there are 4 types of bits), including nutritional information, health benefits, and information about algae in general.

So let’s start there.

Algae.

I know what you’re thinking…yuck yum! No worries, I don’t think it tastes bad at all. It does have a very “green” taste (think the seaweed wraps used in sushi) and many people swallow the tabs rather than chew them. Remember because bits are 100% algae, there’s no enteric coating, meaning you’ll start absorbing the nutrients immediately, and you’ll probably taste the algae. A big swig of water or a piece of gum takes care of that.

Algae is a food, not a supplement. It is grown hydroponically, dried and pressed into tabs vs. supplements which are made in a lab. ENERGYbits only contain one ingredient: 100% non-GMO organic raw Spirulina Algae. No sugar, chemicals, caffeine, gluten, soy, or additives. They are vegan and Kosher.

The tabs from Bits of Health meet all FDA, NCAA, WNBA, NBA, and Olympic requirements and regulations. They contain no banned substances and have no drug interactions…because it’s food! People in Asia, Olympic athletes and NASA astronauts have been eating algae for years! Backed by 50 years of science, algae is the most nutrient dense food in the world.

So why is it good for you?

ENERGYbits contain 64% protein. That’s 3 times that in a steak! And because the protein is already in amino acid form, it can be immediately absorbed into the body. They also have a high concentration of B vitamins, Omega 3s, fatty and amino acids, antioxidants and electrolytes. They release nitric oxide into the body, which opens blood vessels and speeds nutrients to the brain and muscles. Do you know that adrenaline rush you get from doing something daring? Imagine if you could channel that into your workouts! And at 1 calorie per tab (20-30 tabs per day is the recommended dosage), it’s far superior to foods with that much protein, or to those gels and bars you see people eating for an energy boost.

As a vegetarian distance runner, this is music to my ears. More protein than a steak in a plant? Take that carnivores. But seriously, it’s great for you meat-eaters too. When was the last time you saw a runner carrying a steak in their hydration belt? Have a hard time eating enough “green” foods? One bag of ENERGYbits has the nutrition of 20-30 CARTS of fruits and vegetables.

Don’t just take my word for it. Try it! I’d be happy to get a sample to you. And use the code 1MILE2GO to receive 15% off your order.

When you place an order using my code, you save 15% and I do receive a percentage of the rest…so help a girl out!

Tomorrow’s news: Back on Track…literally

Powered By Bits

As I said the other day…and as that badge in the sidebar indicates, I’ve recently become a Brand ambassador for ENERGYbits.

What’s that? You haven’t heard of it?

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ENERGYbits are 100% Non-GMO raw Spirulina Algae…they contain no sugar, no chemicals, no caffeine, no gluten, no soy, and no additives of any kind. They are a whole food, not a supplement or a vitamin!

I trust if you’re reading this, you can read all about them here. I’ll go into more detail about the nutritional content and some health benefits in my next post, but today I’m going to tell you what you really want to know: does it work?

I received a sample of this amazing product and couldn’t wait to try it. The first time I decided to eat 10tabs and see if I noticed a difference. The recommended amount is 20-30/day, but I’m smaller than the average person, and I wasn’t planning to exercise that day. I ate the tabs and waited about 10 minutes. Then I got stated on my daily tasks.
There wasn’t a huge surge of energy, and I didn’t know if it was working. An hour later I had finished the laundry, cleaned the kitchen and 2 bathrooms. And I didn’t need a second cup of coffee. I remember thinking “There might be something to this algae business.”

Time to try it on the run.

The next day I had a 12mi run scheduled with a friend. I didn’t have any coffee beforehand, even though I normally would, mostly because I want to get the full effect. I also ate half of a Luna bar an hour before we took off…normally I’d likely eat the whole thing with my coffee. The bits are more easily absorbed on an empty stomach, and they only provide 1cal per tab, so I knew I’d need to eat on the run.

We decided at the start we might as well just run the 13.1…for fun.Yes…we’re crazy adventurous.

I took a handful of bits at the start. Again I took less than the suggested dose, not knowing what would happen to my stomach. The trail was more than a little icy that morning and all the porto-potties have been removed for the winter. I know…taking chances.

Zero issues. I ate the second handful of bits at mile 6, and ate a Honey Stinger Gel around mile 8 (normally I would need one between 5.5-6mi). The pace was conservative due to conditions, so we were out there a little longer than expected. Despite my best attempts, “runner math” failed me again. I consider myself a math-nut, but don’t ask me to do any calculations on the run. I could write a whole post about that alone…another day.

We got back to our cars, and by then, the park was full of families sledding on the fresh snow. Time to get out of there and hit the showers.

I was prepared for the post-run crash. It didn’t happen. I was hungry, but not the “rungry” my friends and I usually joke about. No nap necessary either, which is great because I have 3 kids under the age of 9! I spent the rest of the day enjoying some soccer on TV and playing with the kids.

I was sold. But I had one more test in mind…Goofy.

I saved enough bits from my sample to eat on both days. I carried the small tin in my hydration belt…to the displeasure of my running buddy’s ears (sorry Laurie), and ate a handful in the corrals just before the start. Wake up was at 2am both days, and I easily stayed up until 9:30pm after the races. I had one cup of coffee prior to leaving for Epcot, and a second one when we got home. Pasta the night before both races, 1 gel during the half (same as the training half above), and 1 gel (mile 7), 2 halves of a banana (miles 11.5 and 18.3), and two pieces of chocolate (mile 22) during the marathon. That’s it! The recovery boxes prepared for us meant a mini-Clif protein bar, cheese and crackers, and…naturally…more chocolate. It is Disney World.

I was never starving, and certainly never exhausted. I ran the last three miles of the marathon on day 2 a full 2min/mi faster than I did the rest of the race. I have never had that much energy after mile 23 during the previous 3 marathons.

So, does it work? For me it certainly does. For you? Why not try it. Use the code 1MILE2GO to get 15% off your order!

You can follow @ENERGYbits on Twitter, and like their page on Facebook, and they even have samples you can buy right from their Facebook page.

If you’re local to Columbus, or really nice to me, I can hook you up with some bits to try as well.

Note: I was sent the mentioned sample at no cost. I have received no compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Tomorrow’s news: A Bit more about Bits

It’s what you do to me…

I’ve been thinking about this post since last night. I was nervous terrified to even start it. Writing about it makes it real for me. And, although I pride myself on transparency, I’m usually not all that forthcoming.

I’ve been posting for a straight week about races. And I love doing it. But that’s not everything about me….although I’d be OK with that too. I think about running every day…and for most of it. That is when I’m not thinking about kids, or kindergarten lessons, or knitting.

But there’s something else…

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Pine Island

My life has changed immensely in the last month. Now it’s possible you heard about the new Galloway Training Program that I’m starting in Columbus. I hope you at least know I finished the Goofy Challenge just over a week ago, and you’re welcome to read my recaps and thumb through my pictures in previous posts. Today I was announced as a new Brand Ambassador for ENERGYbits…more on this tomorrow.

All exciting stuff.

But the most thrilling thing…for me anyway…is something you know nothing about. And most of you wouldn’t even notice, or care. If you know me personally, and have seen me in the last month, you may have picked up on this change.

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It all happened here…

…when the sun went down on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

After that night, I knew my life would never be the same.

That smile I can’t wipe away…that’s not typically there.

My excited speech…trust me…I’m not usually that talkative.

And I know I’m in way over my head here.

But I don’t care. Because I’m so deliriously happy. And I’m not going to let anything or anyone take that away from me. Go ahead and try.

Tomorrow’s news: Powered by Bits

Rock and Roots Trail Series Race #1

I added a few new tricks to my repertoire last year. One of the most effective, and definitely the most fun, was trail running. And I’m not talking about that asphalt path with the water fountains along the side. I’m referring to the mud-up-to-your-ankles, tripped-over-a-root-and-got-this-sweet-bruise, lost-in-the-woods-for-hours kind of trail running. Fun stuff. At least once every other week, I’d head out to one of three multipurpose trails. I’m pretty lucky to have a few mountain bike trails and a bridle trail fairly close to my house.

The first race in a 2-part series put on by Rock and Roots Trail Runners, a group established by Fleet Feet Columbus, took place yesterday despite the cold temps. At least the race wrapped before the freezing cold wind moved in!

If you signed up for the series, you got an additional package:

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A hooded sweatshirt, Swiftwick socks, Nathan handheld bottle, and some Clif fuel products. This was in addition to the event shirt for each race.

I’ll admit, I thought the sweatshirt was a little lame, that was until I finished the 10K I registered for, and was waiting on a friend to finish her 20K.

Did I mention it was freezing cold?

It was at that moment I remembered the sweatshirt was in my car. Perfect!

The unique part about this race series is the ability to choose from several distances, in this case 10k up to 50k, and the course had an 8hr open time, allowing a 15:27 pace for the 50k. Even more tempting was the “Double 50” belt buckle for doing both 50Ks, set a month apart. Completing the Goofy just a week prior, and some wise words from a few caring friends, brought me back to reality. If I want to run the rest of this year, I need to take some recovery time. 10K on trails would be enough. Besides, I have nothing to prove.

The race took place at the Alum Creek Phase I Mountain Bike trail, commonly called P1. It’s the easiest of the 3 available trails, but still includes a few challenges. The switchbacks are not as steep as P2 or the bridle trail, and the bridges are much wider. There is also a longer “boardwalk” section, and usually a river crossing, although a brand new bridge over the stream took that danger away (my least favorite part of P1 is getting my feet wet). A great course for beginners that allows for faster running for those more experienced.

Temps were in the low 20s, and the wind brought it into the teens. The ground was pretty frozen on the first 10K lap, and I was thankful that was all I was doing. I’m sure the course got pretty sloppy for the 50K-ers.

The race field was capped at 200, a necessity when most of the course is single track. It was quickly obvious many people had never run on these trails or any real trail before. And although I don’t claim to be an expert at trail running anything, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Single track means it’s tough to pass. The best thing to do is call out “on your left” or “passing”, and find a safe place to go around. Try to avoid that section were the cliff drops off on the right…you can spook a newbie trail runner pretty easily, and the last thing you want to do is send them tumbling down the hill.
  • No elbows, and no pushing. This isn’t a track meet.
  • A trail race environment is nothing like a road race. Pace is irrelevant. People wear GPS watches to capture elevation data…not their fastest mile on record.
  • Relax. The race is more about a finish than a finish time. Look around. Enjoy the scenery.
  • Candy, cookies, soda and potato chips are not junk food. We call that fuel. Eat up!
  • A trail run is like a road run and a core workout together. Expect to be tired, body and mind. Constant scanning for obstacles can be exhausting, and your stride will be altered.
  • You will fall eventually. And it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Walking up a big hill is smart, not a sign of weakness. The longer the run, the more you will walk.

537363_10151351267217500_1921972919_nI thought the race was great! I hadn’t been to this trail in month or so because I was nervous about falling so close to Goofy and injuring myself. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll be back out there more. I didn’t fall either…which means my days are numbered! I did hear a few complaints that the trail was too crowded…mostly by people that aren’t familiar with this type of event. They will either learn and get over it, or not come back. Trail running isn’t for everyone.

The morning finished with fresh pizza from Mikey’s Late Night Slice PizzAssault Truck and a Tulip Poplar to take home and plant! I can’t wait for Race #2. Maybe I’ll do a few more loops…

Tomorrow’s news: “It’s what you do to me…”

The Disney Race Experience

I’ve been asked one question dozens of times in the last week since finishing the Goofy Challenge. And it’s a question I had the answer to at Mile 20 of 39.3…just 7 miles into the marathon.

“Would you do it again?”

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I wish I could say there was even a question in my mind, so I’ve been trying to weigh the pros and cons all week. Here it goes.

Pros:

  • Disney knows how to handle the crowds, and that starts with parking. We didn’t stay on property, so that meant driving to Epcot both mornings…something you might dread with this many people. No issues! We planned ahead, we arrived early, and we parked within minutes of entering the park.
  • Volunteers make dreams come true. Never have I seen a volunteer race crew be so thoughtful and gracious. I typically thank people along any course for helping at aid stations, directing runners, or even cheering. And so many times I heard the response “No. Thank you for running!” It’s giving me chills just writing that.
  • Bananas, sponges, and chocolate? Oh my. Every race should have chocolate at mile 21. Take note race directors!
  • Perfect weather. OK…it was warm steamy ridiculously hot compared to Ohio in January. And thank God for that! I’ll take sweating in the corral before sunrise any day over the 17 degree-winchill we had this morning.
  • The best atmosphere ever. Have you seen my pictures? Check out my Day 1 and Day 2 posts for more on this. The parks are beautiful, clean, and full of characters, flashing lights and music. I especially liked seeing Cinderella’s castle covered in thousands of lights during the half, and then at sunrise during the marathon.  And the a cappella choir near the finish on both days? Perfect. Coming around the corner at Epcot and hearing those voices really pushed me to the finish.
  • There is no pressure to race. You have to start knowing there’s going to be a lot of weaving. If you’re not in Corral A or maybe B, your BQ finish is probably in jeopardy. So just enjoy it. And get used to beeping timers. At least half the field is using run/walk intervals…music to my ears!
  • Smiling. Lots and lots of smiling. Honestly, if you don’t like smiling, go run Death Valley. This won’t be the place for you.
  • Three shirts, three medals, a lifetime of pride. Need I say more?

Cons:

  • Do I have to come up with cons? OK…just one. The cost. It’s DisneyWorld people. It’s pricey.

So, do you still need my answer? Haven’t you figured it out by now?

YES! YES! YES!

2015 is the anniversary of the Goofy Challenge. That means a special Goofy medal.

Sounds like all the motivation I need!

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Tomorrow’s news: Rock and Roots Trail Series Race #1 Recap