Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Recap


Happy Monday!!






Let's take a quick look back at the weekend - shall we?








Thursday

I was bending down to take just the right picture of this...



....And ended up like this!! You can read all the details HERE!





FRIDAY

All day spent in my cozy bed. Lots of time to rest, reflect and work on my blog! :)

Friday Favorites got published...

Later, I got lots of hugs and snuggles from my kiddos! They loved crawling into bed with me for story time that evening.


Saturday

This arrived in the mail!



I had to revel in the moment. I worked hard for this and I can't wait to actually race it :) 
You can read a bit about my journey to getting this sweet piece of mail HERE!




Image result for god doesn't give you more than you can handle


...I feel like I have been saying that a lot during this journey! 
110 days of zero running!!!!!

Saturday was more time on the couch or in bed, elevating my leg, icing and... just hanging out.


SUNDAY

Happy Palm Sunday! 
Happy Easter Week!



The kiddos were singing in church and there was no way I was missing that! So my crutches and I were off to church :)





There is my handsome boy just before they entered the church to sing their little hearts out! Megan sang too! Proud Mama for sure... 


And on top of that it was my Mom's birthday!!




I love, love this pic. I was an only child and now to see my Mom with three grand babies is just beyond beautiful...

I think she had a wonderful birthday!





Now I need to figure out how not to turn into a huge whale since I am now completely sedentary. Walking, running, biking, pool running or anything for that matter = not happening for the moment.
Yep, that will definitely be a future blog post...

I will see the doctor on Tuesday!!! 

I want to leave you with an awesome video - this is a perfect example of NEVER GIVE UP!!!


Could this be one of the best #triathlon sprint finishes ever? Tomorrow we return to New Plymouth where this happened in 2005.
Posted by World Triathlon on Friday, March 20, 2015





Did anyone race this weekend?

How many miles did you run?


Highlight of your weekend?

Please share so I can live vicariously through your super activeness!! :)


Happy Monday!


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie


Saturday, March 28, 2015

1 Sentence Saturday


Another Saturday where it is hard to write just one sentence...



You can read a short version of why I am on crutches on my Instagram page!

All of the important details are there.

I could ramble, but I won't. 

I will have more of an update after my doctor's appointment on Tuesday afternoon.

I got this in the mail today...






It made me happy!

Then I was sad.

Then I was happy again, because it will be even sweeter when I finally get there!

THIS article made me feel better today :)

In life (not just running) we are hit with so many unexpected twists and turns.

How we handle it is the true test.

Grace.

Patience.

Focus on the great things that are around the corner...


And...this is why you NEVER GIVE UP!


Could this be one of the best #triathlon sprint finishes ever? Tomorrow we return to New Plymouth where this happened in 2005.
Posted by World Triathlon on Friday, March 20, 2015



Have you ever had to deal with a major injury? What type of injury?


Happy weekend!!

Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie


Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites!

It's the last Friday in March!!
Let's get to it!


1. 18 years ago, my Mom's younger sister passed away from Breast Cancer and left our family devastated. This disease effects so many women and we have to keep striving for a cure.
80% of the proceeds of this wonderful song (by one of my favorite artists!) goes to the American Cancer Society.







2.  THIS shirt! I love this company - a portion of their sales goes to help provide clean drinking water to impoverished countries. If you purchase this running tee, you'll provide ONE YEAR of clean water to a person in Kenya!! This is amazing!

Women's Giraffe Kenya Long-Sleeve Running Shirt




3.  Everyone in the running world is talking about this doll!! What's not to love? Ella is such a positive doll for little girls around the world! 






4.  Let's hear it for good Samaritans!! A runner's life was saved because of this heroic woman.






5. I tried this popcorn last week and loved it. No artificial ingredients!

Image result for skinny pop popcorn



Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!!

Happiness Is Running Life!
xo,
Natalie

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blueberry Coffee Cake!

Thursday had a whole lot of goodness going on!

A little planking....




I got up to 3 minutes! Working on getting ready for the plank off with my husband this Saturday :)

Some special time building Legos with Megan...





And I made the most insanely delicious Blueberry Coffee Cake! I would love to share it with you!!


I gathered the ingredients...




First, I whisked whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.



Next, with my electric mixer, I creamed the butter and honey for 2 minutes...









Then I added the eggs, one at a time...







Next, I turned down the speed of the mixer and added a portion of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk, then another portion of the flour mixture. Finally, add the remainder of the buttermilk and the last of the flour mixture.








Lastly, toss the blueberries with a teaspoon of flour and add to the mixture.







Pour mixture into a 13x9 inch pan. I prepared the pan with coconut oil. Sprinkle the top with a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar and bake!




Bake for 45-55 minutes and serve with fresh blueberries + a sprinkle of powdered sugar!





SO GOOD. 
I had to cut the kiddos off from eating it. NO MORE. ALL DONE :)

This is awesome for brunch or dessert. Even for a snack, as it is not too sweet (you don't have to add the powdered sugar).
I took out the white sugar (except for the teaspoon with the cinnamon sugar for the topping) and added honey. Instead of white flour, I used whole wheat.

Enjoy!


Blueberry Coffee Cake

By: Natrunsfar (adapted from Cooks Country)

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks) softened
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
3/4 packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon powdered sugar


For topping

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar


Cake:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with coconut oil and lightly flour the pan.
Whisk two cups flour, baking powder and salt together in medium bowl.
With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy - about two minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down the bowl.
Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half  of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Gently fold blueberries into mixture.
Spread batter into prepared pan.

Topping:
Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Sprinkle powdered sugar to finish.
Serve warm or at room temperature.


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie





Wednesday, March 25, 2015

6 Essential Marathon Principles


Incredible day today...



More beautiful roses were blooming on my bush!



Peach today and a stunning pink yesterday!


I posted the pink ones on Instagram :)

So, with spring marathon season upon us, a lot of runners are getting ready for big races in the coming weeks.
During the LA Marathon expo, I attended a great talk that covered what you should be thinking about during the race (Your mental focus).

I jotted some notes and these tips are right on point!


6 Essential Marathon Principles

1. Run the mile you are in.
Don't worry about what is coming up in mile 13, when you have just started mile 12. Try to relax and run mile 12 as confidently and focused as you can.
When I am running a marathon, I can't think about future miles - it really is unsettling for me. I say to myself ----> I know eventually I will get to mile 24, but let's tackle this 17th mile right now and stay relaxed.

2. Be Patient
26.2 miles is a long way to run. Trust your training and your race plan. Don't get too excited because you feel good in the beginning and start running faster than goal pace. In fact your pace should be 5-10 seconds slower in the first few miles.
The patience will pay off when you are blowing by everyone at 24 and 25 and feeling good (as good as you can at the end of a marathon!)

3. Banking time doesn't work.
Truth! It won't work to think you can run faster in the beginning to put time in the bank for later. You will regret it. Big time.

4. In heat, run 30-60 seconds per mile slower.
Case in point: The LA Marathon.

5. Be Persistent.
When I was running the Ventura Marathon last September, I was running with a small group of runners and we all had similar time goals. Right at mile 13 I had taken a GU and grabbed some water. I felt in the those moments that group was pulling away from me. I knew I felt good and I couldn't tell if they were speeding up or I was slowing down... Anyway, I was determined that I was going to stay with them and caught right back up within a 1/4-1/2 mile. Persistence got me through.

6. Be Purposeful
Train hard, have a goal and don't let anything deter you.
No race is perfect and sometimes things fall apart, but keep your purpose! My purpose was to finish strong and qualify for Boston.
Done and done (even though the last 7 miles were brutal).


Do you struggle with any of these points during a marathon?



Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marathon Experiences X 2

Long post alert! 
Do you have your cup of coffee or tea? Awesome! Sit back and relax...here we go!





On Sunday March 15th, I went to the LA Marathon to cheer for two of my girlfriends that were running the race. Both Sheralyn and Tara are amazing athletes. Sheralyn was thisclose to going to the Olympics in soccer and is a really great runner. When I met Tara, she was intensely training for Ironman Coeur d' Alene! They are both beautiful, smart, wonderful women and talented runners. I wanted to share their stories for two reasons:

1. Other runners can draw from their experiences and perhaps gain valuable information for future marathons.

2. Who doesn't want to read about kick butt women athletes?!

They both have wonderful stories to tell and I'd love to share them with you...




Tara in pink shirt on left - Sheralyn in green shorts


First is my friend Sheralyn. Through our love of running (and our sons were in the same preschool and kindergarten class!) we became friends. 
Many philosophical discussions, insanely funny stories, mothering musings and a half marathon in Malibu have happened over the years of running together. From planning dinner parties to the best sports bras - we've covered a lot of subjects in many, many miles of running.
Sheralyn always amazes me how she manages to make running, studying and raising three boys look so effortless...

Sheralyn ran the LA marathon in 3:31 and qualified for yet another Boston Marathon!!





Here is her running story...


Growing up as a soccer player, I learned to love running at a very young age. After playing 4 years of Division 1 soccer in college, at 22, I was eager to hang up my cleats and lace up my sneakers. I immediately fell in love with running. The sense of peace and freedom I felt when outside in the fresh air brought a dose of confidence to my young & impressionable heart. Aside from the spiritual boost and mental sharpness, running has brought me friendships. Unique, special, and completely unconditional "runner" friends. More than anything, as a runner, I cherish my "long run chats" - the women that I run with have become my life long friends.

At the age of 30, I ran my first marathon, and was blessed to qualify for the Boston marathon. I ran it for the first time in 2004. Soon after, I got married, and had my first son. 17 months later my second son was born, and 24 months after that, my third son arrived. I was so incredibly blessed to have flawless and easy pregnancies. With all 3 boys, i ran until the day I delivered. Each baby was over 8lbs and my doctors told me that runners often deliver large & lean babies because the maternal running causes the placenta to become ultra oxygenated and fueled! 

I ran my first post baby marathon in 2014 (LA marathon) and was lucky enough to again qualify for Boston! I ran Boston for the second time in 2014, exactly 10 years and 3 babies after running it for the first time. It was an overwhelming experience - I was flooded with gratitude: for my 40 year old stubborn legs, my beautiful family, the cities and streets I've toured in my sweat & sneakers, and for the courageous and beautiful women I've ran with throughout the years. 

With a lifetime of soccer, running, and now raising 3 boys, I become obsessed with fuel" aka: energy!  In 2012 I decided to take my curiosity and make it official by returning to grad school. I am currently a graduate student studying to become a licensed, registered dietitian with a Masters degree in Nutrition from the University of Alabama. Although my specific focus is in pediatrics and family wellness, my studies offer me the opportunity to better understand human physiology and performance biochemistry - which often comes in handy for my marathon extraordinaire friends like Natalie Mitchell. :)

Sheralyn's 3:31 was achieved during the heat of the marathon in a calm, cool and collected manner. She felt great afterwards and wasn't sore that day or the days following.





She also did not hit the "wall" during the critical mile 18-20 mark that many runners have experienced during a marathon.
A friend of hers is running the Boston Marathon next month and after much research, here is her advice for avoiding the dreaded wall...






So, I started thinking about the 18 mile wall. Although performance is not my area of expertise, I do have a healthy dose of biochemistry and physiology in my noggin, so thought I'd give the situation some thought. 

I'm sure you've heard about aerobic vs. anaerobic conditions.

Aerobic conditions are known as glycolysis. This is the process that your body goes through under conditions where you have enough oxygen to fuel your muscles during a race. In glycolysis, your body can convert (in order of preference) carbohydrates, fat, and protein into energy. To stay in this zone, you fuel regularly, drink water, and keep your heart rate within a certain range (more on HR below.) Obviously, during a marathon, you need to stay in the state of glycolysis. Most studies indicate that if you stay within 70-80% of your max heart rate you will remain in glycolysis.

Conversely, anaerobic conditions occur if you enter a space where your body can no longer deliver enough oxygen to your muscles. In this state, your body can no longer use glucose (created from glycolysis) for energy, so it attempts to obtain energy in a different type of way.  This alternative path is called the Corey cycle (or lactic acid cycle.) Here, your body attempts to convert lactase to energy because it no longer can perform glycolysis. This is a very short lived energy source and quickly produces lactic acid in the muscles - this is your "wall" feeling because lactase can't provide sustained energy. Only glucose can provide sustained energy. Studies indicate that once you hit 80% of your max HR, you begin to enter the Corey cycle. 

So, the question is: for you, at what heart rate do you stay in "glycolysis" and at what point does your body enter the "Corey cycle"? (Aka: mile 18)

This breaking point is obviously different for everyone. After doing some digging, it seems that trained marathon runners can stay in glycolysis at about 78-79% of their max heart rate. (Side crazy Kenya fun fact - they can stay in glycolysis at up to 80-85% of their max HR.) For most trained athletes, in a marathon, once you go beyond 78-79%, and stay there for too long, you will enter the Corey cycle. 

So, if you take a SUPER rough estimate of your max HR (220-age) and multiply by .78, you can calculate the range you should stay in to remain in glycolysis. E.g; 220-37= 183, 183 x .79 = approx 145. Case in point, my average yesterday was 143, and I didn't produce any lactic acid. Was not sore or tight at all.

Obviously there are training programs to help you tweak this, and surely if you based your percentage off your known vo2 max vs. the canned equation above,  you could get a much more accurate picture of your percentage and your exact line between glycolysys and Corey cycle. (I'm assuming your true max HR is much higher), but I wanted to give you an example of how it works.

The mystery of your "wall" is solved, no need to bump into that situation again. :) 

Interesting, right? I for one haven't ever really kept track of my heart rate, but this really makes me rethink it all...

You can read more about avoiding the wall HERE and HERE!


For Sheralyn's fuel plan...










It's actually a SUPER technical fuel plan. (Just kidding: my plan is not pre-planned, I usually show up with a cotton tshirt & soccer shorts with no pockets, I like to keep it light when I run, I always find enough food & support along the way.) 

The night before the race I had 2 glasses of wine, 3 pieces of pizza, 4 fried mozzarella sticks, and a bowl of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I was really hungry! The next morning I had a luna bar & coffee plus 2 cups of water. 


During the race, I stopped for water whenever I felt like I needed to. I'm guessing I stopped at about every other station. I always grab the cup, fold it in half, and sip from the folded spout for about 50 meters. This way I don't get air in my stomach or water up my nose & down my shirt! I grabbed a gu from the cliff station at mile 12 and slowly sipped it for about 1/4 mile. At mile 16 I grabbed a twizzler from a kid on the side of the road (don't worry, I didn't push him over or anything, he offered it up!) At mile 19 I grabbed another gu from the cliff station, but held onto it until mile 22. At mile 22, I ate a pile of gummy bears (again, poor unwilling Johnny loses his candy!) and I ate them along with a gulp of gu. From 22 on, I kicked it in, and my last mile was sub 7! I felt perfectly fueled. 


And here is her philosophy on marathon training...


I am no expert and I obviously run for fun. But you asked, so I'll tell. For me, it comes down to a few principles:

1. Train for fun and set some realistic goals
2. Cross train several times per week
3. Hydrate & eat enough calories! 
4. Think of yourself as a life long runner, not someone who is simply "training for the <add marathon name here>" 

5. stick to your guns and BE CONSISTENT


Bingo! Spot on advice :)

Tara is next! Not only is Tara a great athlete, she is also an amazing singer and wonderful friend.
Tara was the friend I talked about in my year end running recap HERE about helping me through one of my first runs post nursing SBG.





...And yes, this is her personality all the time - happy and full of life! :)

This was Tara's overall experience from the marathon...

I've never had gi distress in a race before this Sunday. And "distress" is the understatement of the year. I saw the inside of 12 porta potties... It was so awful that I convinced myself Satan was an official sponsor of the race. Anywho, after some research online it appears I went into early dehydration and it became a vicious cycle for 4.5 LONG hours. I'm actually lucky I finished, considering. Obviously I'm disappointed...because had my tummy been fine, I probably could have knocked at least 30, maybe 40 minutes of my finish time. I also think I exacerbated the problem by eating way too early in the race, thinking I needed to start fueling for that "wall". Big mistake. 

Ugh. There is nothing like GI distress during a marathon.

HERE is an informative article about avoiding GI distress during a race!




Here is our chat about her race plan and fueling...










1. Tell me about when you started drinking during the race... which miles and what did you drink - water? Gatorade? 
I started sipping right out of the gate. Normal for me - I trained that way, as I get thirsty on runs longer than 5 miles. Nuun tablets (which now make me want to puke just thinking about them!) which I carried with me and put in my handheld. Which, for the record, was so annoying and time consuming and I will never do again. I'd rather train with the sponsored drink from now on so I can grab and go. 

2. What did you eat during the race?  
I had one pack of Stinger organic gummies at mile 4, thinking it would help the gi...bad idea, TBone.  Couldn't handle anything else for a while. Took a Second Surge gu (100mg caffeine) around mile 10 because I was starting to bonk. That felt ok.  Sucked an orange slice around mile 18 and another at mile 20. No problems with those. 

3. What did you eat the night before and the morning of the race? 
Roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes. Normal portion. The whole pre-race "carbo loading/giant meal" has never worked for me.  In the morning I made a pb and jam sandwich (white bread to avoid fiber) and half a banana. Ate at 4:30am to give enough digestion time. Also had some coffee. 

4. What training program did you use and how long was your training cycle? 
Um...I kind of made it up as I went but loosely followed a coach/friends plan. It's not my first time at the rodeo, so I knew what I needed to get done.  I ran about 3 times during the week plus a short run sat and long run sun. I squeezed in 1-2 sessions of hot yoga a week, as well.  It was a 3 week build cycle.

5. What was your finishing time?  
4:28. 

6. Will you run another marathon? 
Of course!!! I've been looking online for possibly one in a few months! I want to figure this out and see what I'm actually capable of.  

7. How will you recover from the race (how many days off, massage, etc)?  
I took Monday completely off - was so sore I had no choice! Did about 30 minutes of yoga today. I will do some light walking and yoga until Sunday or Monday and then start back with a 4 miler. No massage this time....my DOMS says no way. Lol





8. What was your time for Ironman Coeur d' Alene? 
13:36
My marathon time was 4:45. For Ironman I had a completely different set of strategies and nutrition rules...I was dialed in like a machine. I knew exactly how many calories/electrolytes/carb percentage/fluid I needed per hour and a watch set for every 15 minutes to consume it.  You have to do this in a race that long, because by the time you exit the water you have burned through your glycogen stores...but you still have 10-12 hours of racing in front of you! I ran/walked the marathon at a 5:1 (5 minutes running at an 8:30 pace, 1 minute walking. This was also timed on my watch). I never had a single cramp or GI issue. I smiled the whole time!!! Crazy...


And there you have it - two different race experiences with one commonality - they both finished strong and are true lifelong runners.


A huge THANK YOU to Sheralyn and Tara for taking the time to talk to me about their marathon experiences!!


Have you ever "hit the wall" in a marathon?


Do you plan a fueling strategy before your race?


Do you keep track of your heart rate?


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie