Dear Newbies,

dear

I may not be the fastest runner, I may not be elite.  I may not have a six pack like Kara Goucher or the endurance of Dean Karnazes.   But, I’m a runner.   Hopefully, my 7 years of doing this have taught me something worth sharing.  For what its worth, here’s my advice to those of you who are a little newer to the sport:

  1. Hydrate and don’t drink alcohol before runs:  Try not to drink for about 3 days before a race.  I’ll admit to having had a beer or a couple of glasses of wine on a Friday before a long run but, I paid dearly for it and it wasn’t fun.  Also, hydrate like crazy and not just with water.  Get your electrolytes in there.  Gatorade has a lot of unnecessary salt so stick to coconut water or dilute your Gatorade with 50% water.  Nuun tablets aren’t bad either so check them out.
  2. Stretch after you run:  stretching is important for recover but is often skipped (especially by guys for some reason).  I feel a significant difference in my recovery if I don’t stretch after my run.  I’m stiff, crampy and sore.  It takes 10 minutes so just do it.  You’ll be happy you did.
  3. Nutrition before, during and after:  You have to start experimenting with what works best for you.
    1. Before: No need to eat a whole box of pasta before a race but definitely increase carbs a little and make sure you don’t eat anything with too much grease or dairy (unless you want to have an uncomfortable and possibly embarrassing run).
    2. During:  I recently had the epiphany that the serious irritable bowel I would get for a FULL DAY after doing my half marathons was actually the result of using Gu products during my runs.  I switched to Cliff brand gels and miraculously no longer have to the need to spend so much quality time with my toilet after I race.  Gross but true… If you’re going to do more than 6 miles you’ll probably want to take a gel (around mile 4) so see which brand your tummy likes.  If you’ve been running for longer, you may not need a gel until you run more than 9.
    3. After:  A recovery meal should have some serious nutrients to help your body recover.  i.e. salmon and quinoa, dark leafy greens… red wine… just saying.
  4. Sleep:  Just do as much of this as possible in the days leading up to the race.
  5. Clothing:  Please don’t make the mistake of wearing cotton, unless you have some sort of masochistic desire to chafe under your arm pits, nipples or inner thighs and/or pass out from heat stroke.  Wear dry wick clothing, including socks.  (Both my sister and I recently discovered that dry wick underwear is sometimes necessary.  We have an embarrassing chafing story to prove it but will spare you the details.)
  6. Pace yourself:  Nobody likes to feel that they’re being pushed beyond what they feel comfortable doing.  That being said, don’t under-estimate what you are capable of.  I underestimated myself for quite some time and regret not having just gotten those false limitations out of my head and tried harder earlier on.  i.e. do what your heart tells you.
  7. Cross train/ strengthen:  This is an important part of injury prevention.  I was recently told by a triathlon coach that, as a runner, my “frontward moving muscles are overdeveloped and compensate for the other muscles in my legs.”  This is what can lead to knee pains, piriformis syndrome (back of thigh/ lower butt), sciatic pain etc.  She suggested that I do what’s called a myrtle workout a couple times a week.  Check it out here!  Just increase the reps to 20, not 8 as the worksheet says. http://www.njsportsmed.com/files/myrtl_routine.pdf
  8. Shoes:  This is probably the best piece of advice I can give you because I have literally had a bad pair of shoes take me out of the season for a full month and I’ve had a bad pair of insoles hurt my knees so badly I needed a sports massage to recover.  Just like nutrition, you have to experiment with what works for you but all I can say is this… if you wear a pair of Nike’s I will personally steal them away from you and drop kick them into the Atlantic.  They are meant for gym rats, not those of us who hit the pavement.

I’ve probably missed some really important points here but this is a just a list to start.  Please comment on this post below with other things that newbies MUST know.

Go to your happy pace,

Cristy xoxo

 

 

 

J’aime Les Oeufs

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The French have an obsession with eggs.  It might not be as high up in the ranks as butter, wine and stinky cheese but, trust me, eggs are up there.  In quiches, omelets, deep yellow brioche breads or served sunny side up with asparagus for dipping, the French love it all.  And in recent years, I too have developed a liaison amoureuse with these suckers.

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Besides the olfactory hallucinations I have of brewed coffee while on my weekend morning long runs, the second thing I begin to crave several miles in are my over-easy eggs and rye toast. I questioned whether this was even a healthy thing for me to indulge myself in every weekend as I’ve heard that eggs can raise your cholesterol.  The good news is that there’s TONS of research that shows that eggs are actually an extremely healthy, whole food and its not an “indulgence” at all.

Here is an article and brief video about the importance of eggs in the diet of athletes and how they actually DON’T raise your cholesterol.  So crack a few and enjoy!

How to Eat Like a US Olympian

Advantages of Eating Eggs- Competitor.com Video

 

Bike Ride with the Boys

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I was invited to join what I THOUGHT would be a long bike ride along A1A on a Monday evening.  I’ve ridden my bike along this road plenty of times and felt that it would be relatively safe.  A1A is the highway that parallels the ocean here in South Florida and there is no cross traffic because all vehicles must move either north or south not east and west (unless a millionaire is trying to back out of his ocean-side mansion’s driveway, of course.)

Once it was explained to me that I was mistaken and that I would, in fact, be riding my bike through the traffic of down-town Fort Lauderdale at 8pm at night, I was less than amused.  I didn’t back out of it, however, because I was committed to following through with this crazy idea.  Oh, and did I mention that to top it all off, I was the only woman on this bike ride?  ‘Cause I was…

Well, I got through it and was treated to a beer and some pizza with the guys at the end of those perilous 16 miles.  I went up I don’t know how many bridges and across I don’t know how many traffic stops and I almost didn’t clip out of my bike pedals in time while on Las Olas Blvd. I would have fallen on my ass in front of a strange group of male cyclists had it not been for the grace of God.  And had I fallen, they would have decidedly concluded that “this chic can’t hang.”

But, I most definitely CAN hang…  LOL ;-)

 

Going… Going… Gone!

I LOVE Vietnamese food.  I always leave feeling satisfied and know that what I ate was relatively low in fat and healthy.  Proteins are cooked in savory broth, with fresh mint, crunchy veggies, and spicy peppers.  What could be yummier than that?! Plus, pho noodles = carbs.  And you know I LOVE my carbs.  ;-)

Delish!

These Kids…

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As a high school teacher, you don’t get many gifts for the holidays as compared to elementary school.  One very special gift I received, however, was a tin of home-made cookies with this hilarious note written on an index card taped right to the top.

This kid makes me laugh on a daily basis!  What is there to “put up with”?  This is the stuff that makes my job so much fun. <3 :-)

Getting Centered

Today it was difficult to get out there and run. I’m both exhausted and lazy… but these are the rewards I must remember when I find myself wanting to take a day off.

Firstly, I feel so much more energized.  True, I was exhausted when I came home from work and almost passed out on the couch.  True, the LAST thing in the universe I wanted to do was anything physical.  But it is ALSO true that once you force your body into motion, you begin to realize that most of our day to day exhaustion is emotional or mental and not physical.  I have more energy after having run 4 miles than if I had slept an hour.  Go figure!

Secondly, I got some outdoor time.  Most office jobs (or teaching jobs, for that matter) don’t allot for time outdoors.  We spend most of our time breathing in the same stale air under artificial lighting.  I’ve even had two jobs in which I worked in offices without windows!  Can you imagine not getting a glimpse of sunlight for 8 hours of every day?!?!

After my run, I walked across the street to the beach and enjoyed this view.  I saw a little girl chasing small water birds whose species I don’t know, a flock of prehistoric looking pelicans flying across the darkening sky and a sailboat with some very lucky passengers pass by close to shore.  What could be better than that?

#RunnerProblems

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As far as feet go, I have to say that mine look pretty good for a runner’s.  I have a few healing blisters and rough spots here and there but, other than that, I make sure that they stay in pretty decent shape.

Despite all of my precautionary measures to trim my toe nails extremely short, however, it appears as though my second toe nail will be falling off…  It has stopped growing and has formed a delightful little bubble that is now hollow when tapped.  Yuck!  I’ve lost this toe nail before so I know all the signs.  (sigh)

So long, my friend.  The personal record I got that caused this to happen was totally worth it.  All I ask is that you stay attached long enough for your replacement to grow a decent amount behind you.  I don’t want to look too gross in flip flops.  ;-)