Monday, July 30, 2012


I used to do a lot of product reviews, recommendations, and giveaways on this blog, but for the last almost year or so I have not. My blog is where I write about my feelings, emotions, dreams, successes, failures, experiences, and thoughts, I did not want it to turn in to an ongoing infomercial.

That said, I do enjoy getting product recommendations from other runners and some of my favorite products I discovered thanks to posts on other blogs. So I have (and will continue to) post about my most favorite products - products that I use and companies I believe in  (like my beloved Brooks Pure Flows!) I am working on a blog post with all of my favorite running "stuff" to share with you, but this was too good not to share now.

Have you heard of Fluid Sports Nutrition?

I recently starting using Fluid Performance and Fluid Recovery drink and have been super happy/impressed with the quality of these products, how great I feel when using them, and how settled they leave my ridiculously easily-irritated stomach. I ran my long run (16 miles with 12 tempo miles) on Friday with no fuel other than Fluid Performance drink. My energy was great the entire time during this tough run, and the Blueberry Pomegranate flavor was light, smooth, and yummy! It was easy to drink because it tasted so good and went down easily even when I was hot and working hard. I stayed well-fueled and well-hydrated.

Since I am running high volume and high intensity with my training, I have been drinking Fluid Recovery Drink after every run. I always try to get something in me within 30 minutes of finishing a workout and the chocolate Fluid tastes great and gets my body what it needs quickly and easily.

I was so happy with Fluid's products that I started reading about the company and doing some research, and decided to apply for their sponsorship program. I was SO SO excited when I heard back almost right away that they were accepting me at the "gold level" to sponsor! I am happy and proud to be sponsored by Fluid, but I would be using these products even if they had not sponsored me.

Fluid is a natural sports drink and all of their products are low in sugar, lactose free, gluten free, and made 100% in the USA. Fluid athletes are runners, cyclists, triathletes, swimmers, and others.

Fluid Performance is an energizing blend of electrolytes and carbohydrates for sustained energy and optimal hydration during exercise. It contains a dual source carbohydrate system, bioavailable electrolytes, and Vitamin C, creating an all natural and easy to digest sports drink.

Fluid Recovery Drink is a protein and glutamine fortified drink for after exercise muscle recovery.  It contains carbohydrates, proteins, L-glutamine, electrolytes, and Vitamin C, creating a comprehensive and natural formula for muscle repair, regeneration, and recovery.

I have tried A LOT of brands and products for fueling on the run and for recovery (including "normal food" options). My stomach is SO sensitive and easily upset and many products I have tried have resulted in extra GI distress. I have had some success with Hammer products but I have still struggled and have continued to try other products in hopes of finding something that worked better for me. I found it with Fluid!

You can check out Fluid's website here. It's good stuff!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tri-ing, Cheering, and Running

This weekend Josh and I got just over 24 hours alone together when we went on a road trip to Burley, Idaho so Josh could compete in the Spudman Triathlon. This is an Olympic Distance triathlon, and the swim is in the Snake River which is pretty cool. Josh did it last year but traveled by himself, so I was excited to get to go cheer for him!

Josh's mom and sister were awesome and volunteered to come spend the night with the kids. We took off on Friday afternoon, and as soon as we got there we went to packet pick up and then Josh set up his bike and other stuff in "T1" and his shoes and other stuff in "T2".
Lots of bikes!!!
 We had some friends that were down there for the race too that we hung out with, and we had a nice night (especially once it cooled off a bit!)

To save money we decided to just sleep in the van, which they let you do parked on the golf course where the race starts and finishes. Josh's mom brought us a tent, so we ended up sleeping in the tent next to the van. I can NOT remember the last time I slept in a tent. It was fun! I had run 16 miles that morning so I was ready to sleep.
I was really sleeping. Josh took the pic. :)

Since we were literally a couple hundred feet away from the starting line in our tent, Josh was able to take his time in the morning. I snuck out at about 5:45am so I could get a run in before the race started. I did eight recovery miles and it was really nice to run somewhere new and to be around the excitement of everything getting ready for the triathlon. I saw the sun rise over the Snake River and it was beautiful!

I got back in time to see our friends take off for their swim start, and then Josh finished getting ready and we headed back to the river front (he was in the last wave).
Josh, ready to swim!
I watched Josh's swim wave take off, and then worked my way to wait just past T1 so I could see him at the beginning of the bike.

Swim start in the beautiful Snake River
I cheered for Josh (and gave him the sunglasses he forgot to set out in the transition area) and then I worked my way to where I could see him at the end of the bike section. I saw our friends go by who started in earlier waves and cheered for them, and then saw Josh come by. He was making good time but he said that his tire had been flat for the last three miles!

I cheered for him as he took off on the run, and then worked my way to the finish line area. I cheered for our friends and lots of other people. This finish line was GREAT. The last stretch into the finish line was a big downhill on grass. EVERY finish line should have a big downhill on grass. Everyone looked like a rockstar coming down that hill into the finish. :)
Josh finishing strong!
Josh finished in about 2:37 and looked strong the whole way. He really enjoyed it! I had lots of fun being there to support him and I was super proud. :)

After collecting his bike and wet bag, and then packing up the van, we headed to a nice lunch with our friends and then we were on our way home.

It was lots of fun and and very inspiring to watch the triathlon. Despite Josh's hopes and plans, I have to say that as fun and impressive as it was, it did NOT at all make we want to ride a bike or try a tri. In fact, standing at the bottom of the hill/corner I was at, watching the bikes come flying down and then turning just reinforced that I am a total chicken and a one-trick pony, so I will be sticking to my running, thankyouverymuch.

Speaking of running, my awesome husband was my "support crew" for the last half of my long run on Friday morning, and he got some video. Here is a clip. This is about mile 11 and I was running at a 6:40 pace.

 Hope everyone had a great weekend. Today we went to church, are celebrating my Nathan's 16th birthday, and are watching lots of the Olympics (yay!).

More soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Numbers, Needles, and Nay-sayers

Yesterday as I was finishing up my run, Josh drove by to check on me. He only does this on the very rare occasion that I give him the head's up that something may be hurting me and I might not finish the workout/run (which I had not), or if I am way later getting home than I predicted (which I was not).  I was only half a mile from home when he drove by. He gave me a questioning thumbs up and I responded with my own questioning thumbs up, and then he flipped the minivan around and went back home.

I wondered what the deal was, hoped nothing was wrong with the kids (although assumed if it was something serious he would have stopped) and pulled myself up the last half mile of hill to my house. It was just before 8:00am, it was my second consecutive day of speedwork, and I had just finished 10 miles, with 6x1 mile repeats on the road (6:25, 6:22, 6:31, 6:35, 6:20, 6:22). I was hot, sweaty, and tired.

I walked into the driveway and Josh was there, still sitting in the minivan, and told me that I needed to get in because we had to go in to his office so I could get a mandatory healthy screening for our health insurance. He had already gone and had his done, and the nurses (or techs?) who were part of this traveling health screening service were in a rush to get on the road to their next job. I was the one holding things up.

So without time to stretch, or to even mop the sweat off of my forehead, I got into the minivan and we drove the three miles in to Josh's office.

I filled out a bubble sheet and then had my blood pressure, pulse, weight, height, BMI, and body fat percentage all taken and recorded. I am not one to obsess over numbers, but I was really happy to see that although my weight has stayed about the same since we did this last year (131) that my body fat percentage was down by a percent to 18.4%. I have worked hard on my core/strength training to be as lean as possible (and am still working on it!) so this was encouraging. The nurse (? tech?) pointed out that this was 2.6% below the normal range for a woman my age, but for a runner it is not low at all.

After all the bubbling-filling and testing, I headed over to the other nurse (? tech?) and had my blood drawn. Now, I have had my blood drawn several times in the last few months and it is not big deal to me. I am the easiest person to draw blood from ever. Well this nurse (? tech?) went at me like she was trying to stab a ballpoint pen through a rubber fire hose. YEEEEEEOUCH.  Evidence -
This was just a couple of hours later. It should be really impressive in a day or two.
THEN, to add insult to injury, after having perfect results on every test (blood pressure was 102/65, pulse was 50, even shortly after a run and being rushed around) and after being attacked with a needle, the nurse (? tech?) then told me that "running marathons is bad for you".


She did not have an article or random study to quote. She wasn't professing the dreaded "it will ruin your knees". She said it was just a "gut instinct she had". Ok. Then there was a comment or two about our number of kids and I was done playing nice and ready to go home for breakfast.

I probably should have said that being 80lbs overweight, eating mostly junk and being completely inactive was bad for my body (and spirit!). I have had no serious injuries since I started running, I have never been healthier or happier, and there is tons of evidence that running keeps the body (knees included!) and mind healthy. 

I am about as un-judgmental as it gets in regards to most things, but I can't help but notice that the people who like to point out how "bad" running is for you often seem to be people living unhealthy lifestyles (and are often overweight). 

I don't care too much about what most people think anymore, but it just seemed ridiculous to have such a good health screening only to be told that running marathons was bad for me.

In regards to "the numbers" - I take my resting heart rate every morning for Coach Rick and have found that to be a useful tool in seeing how my body is handling my training. When I was losing weight and first working at keeping it off, I was afraid I would regain the lost weight and I got a little obsessed with the scale. If my weight was "down" I was happy and felt good about myself, if my weight was "up" I was bummed and felt bad about myself. I also used to let the very low weights of some runners make me feel "less good" (why do we compare ourselves to others when we know it is not good to do?)  Now I am used to the little fluctuations in my weight and don't stress them. And while I know that to be as fast as possible a low weight is desirable for runners, being healthy, strong, lean, confident, and fast is what matters the most to me.

 Have you ever had a medical professional tell you running was bad for you? Ever been attacked with a needle? :) How much attention do you pay to "the numbers" (scale, pulse, blood pressure, BMI, body fat, etc.)?  More soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tangents

Things are SO BUSY here. Every time I think I will have a few minutes to sit down and write, either someone needs something, the phone rings, someone is at the door, something needs to be done, or the kids are finally settled for the night and then I fall asleep. :)

I have a couple of "real posts" in the works, and thanks so much for all of the wonderful feedback on my "In My Head" post. For now, here are some random tangents from what has been going on here.

- We got a kitten a couple of weeks ago. Amanda (11, came home from South Korea when she was almost two) has wanted a kitten for her entire life. We finally gave in, and there has never been a happier girl in the history of the universe. The kitten's name is Figaro Waffles. Figaro from Pinnochio, and Waffles from Catscratch. We call him Figgy. He is super sweet and very little work. His paws almost never touch the ground since he is always being carried around or is in a lap.

- Summer goes by way too quickly. My big kids go back to school in less than a month now. Crazy!

- I have been reading some great books! I just finished reading Kara Goucher's Running For Women. I have not been a big fan of this type of book lately since I read a lot of them when I first started running, and now I usually read books like this and feel like I am reading the same advice over and over. But I SO enjoyed Kara's book. She gives a ton of awesome advice that is relevant to new runners and advanced runners alike, and she shares lots of her own personal stories and experiences. You feel like you are sitting down and chatting with a good friend (who happens to be an Olympic marathoner!) I love reading about her life, her training, her races, her thoughts... I have always been a Kara fan, and this just made me an even bigger Kara fan. I can't wait to watch her race in London!

One of my favorite quotes from this book "Although I had run like a rookie, I felt amazingly at home in the race, as though I had finally discovered what I'd really been born for. Discovering the marathon was like falling in love with running all over again. I had found my best and favorite place in the sport." - Kara Goucher, after her first marathon, NYC 2008

Yay for the marathon!

If you want some more of Kara, here is a great interview with her on Youtube and here is a great article about her and her Olympic medal quest.

I am listening to Chrissie Wellington's "A Life Without Limits" on my IPOD during some of my runs. Chrissie in an absolutely incredible athlete, and her story is just inspiring and motivating on so many levels. I am really enjoying this one. My favorite quote so far is -
"Hard work and an open mind– it’s the only way to realize the potential that is inside every one of us." Chrissie Wellington

And I am reading Alberto Salazar's "14 Minutes". I am not very far into it yet (because I read a couple of pages and have no control over falling fast asleep), but it definitely has me hooked. Alberto is a legendary runner and coach, and his story is incredible.

- The Pocatello Marathon is in 5 1/2 weeks. How did that happen? I am working hard!  One of the quotes from Kara's book is about the different coaches she has had and how different they have been but how the most important thing in a coach-athlete relationship is trust. She says, "Trust is a gut feeling. You cannot predict who you will and won't have faith in. Personal recommendations, track records of success, credentials, and sensible training systems are good things to consider when choosing a coach. But the feeling of trust should be the deciding factor. Trust that feeling!"

Next week will be a big week of training. I have a great feeling about Pocatello!

- Since more often than not I am running alone in the early morning and rarely see another person, I don't usually care too much about my running outfits. I have a pile of my favorite Brooks shorts and a bunch of favorite Brooks tops (and a couple of Champion ones) that I choose from, and then I have my calf sleeves, socks, and I am always rotating through several pairs of PureFlows. I have never really had a favorite pair of PureFlows before but I am loving this purple pair (even though I am usually more a green/aqua girl than a purple/pink girl). Since I won the half marathon in them they feel really lucky. :)

Today I was quite coordinated for my track work out (8 miles total with 5x800m repeats in 2:53, 2:57, 2:57, 2:55, 2:56) so Josh snapped a pic of me when I got home. It had been pouring rain and windy for the first half of the run, but then the weather improved. :)

- Josh and I are getting a quick getaway this weekend! Ok, so it will only be for 24 hours, but I will take it! Josh is competing in the Spudman Olympic distance triathlon, and since his awesome sister offered to stay overnight with the kids, I will get to go and cheer him on! I stayed home with the kids last year (the race is over three hours from our house) so I am really excited to go spectate and be there for Josh. We have several friends competing as well. This will be the first time I get to see a triathlon in person and I am way excited to support Josh and have a little time alone together. It's going to be great! (And no, even though people ask me all the time, I will not be doing any triathlons. I am a one-trick pony). :)

 - I will leave you today with one more awesome quote that one of the wonderful runners I am coaching sent me. More soon, including a post on my favorite running "things". :)

"Running affords the perfect integration of body and spirit. It makes for a fullness of life." - Sister Marion Irvine, the oldest woman to qualify for U.S. Olympic Marathon trials (she was 54 when she ran the 1984 Trials)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In my head

It's 4:14am and I am awake. I silenced the alarm on my wrist watch within a couple of beeps, so Josh is still sound asleep next to me, and Noah is still sleeping peacefully in his crib a few feet away.

I stretch my legs and then relax in the warm bed, enjoying the quiet of a house full of people sleeping, and letting my body calm back down from the rude awakening of the alarm so I can take an accurate resting heart rate. I take my heart rate and then slowly and silently pull myself out of the bed, without disturbing anyone.

The little voice in my head tries to talk me into getting back in the bed. It tells me how warm and comfortable the bed is, how early it is, how tired I am, and how crazy it is for a mom of 12 to be up when the rest of the house is asleep. The voice is convincing, but I know why I am up. I am up so that I can train. So that I can work hard. So that I can run. So that I can have time to myself to do what I love before my family needs me. So that I can continue on the journey toward my goals. I know that the sleepiness will melt away and that I will soon feel awake and ready to go, and that I will be grateful I got up. I don't listen to the voice trying to get me back into the bed. I never do.

I look out the window out of habit. I know I will run no matter what the weather, and I checked the forecast last night so I knew what clothes to lay out as usual, but I always look out the window when I wake up. The days are getting shorter already which makes me frown for a moment, and the sky is still mostly dark. Some mornings it is raining. Some mornings the wind is whipping out of the canyon. Many days of the year it is very cold and snowing. But this morning there are clear skies and it is a perfect 47 degrees (a typical July early morning in Star Valley). I know these days are numbered, and I make a mental note to enjoy them while they last.

The bathroom light hurts my eyes, but I wake up enough to get my contacts in and running clothes on. I sneak out into the front room and start my core routine. No matter how quiet I am, Figaro (the kitten), realizes that someone is awake, and I have company. He will not leave me alone until I pet him and snuggle him for a little bit.

Crunches, bridges, pushaway's, metronomes, v-sits, Superman's, staff pushup's, planks... I go through the routine twice, feeling the burn. I don't enjoy the core and strength workouts, but I like how they make me look and feel, and I want to be strong and lean and do what I can to avoid injury. So I get up early and get it done.

I get up off the floor and do some dynamic warmup's, and then put on my calf sleeves, socks, and Pure Flows. Another quick trip to the bathroom, a kiss goodbye to Josh, and I grab my Garmin, IPOD, sunglasses, phone and car key. Usually I go without the phone and key, but today I am driving to the track for my run.

A few minutes later I am pulling into the parking lot at the high school. The sun is not yet up over the mountains but the sky is just light enough. I think about the work out ahead of me and start getting pumped up. I know it will not be easy mentally or physically, but I feel strong and ready. I usually do mile repeats on the road, so this will be a new challenge. The track is empty, quiet, still, waiting.

The air is breezy and chilly and I have goosebumps on my bare arms, but I know the chill won't last for long.

Time to get to work.

I start slowly and keep the effort and pace easy for the warm up. I focus on my form and enjoy my body warming up, getting ready to roll. Three guys arrive and I watch them. They pass over the track and head to the turf field where they start some walking lunges and burpees. Round and round and round I go.

Two miles later I am warmed up and ready to run fast. I crank up the IPOD and mentally prepare to get to work. I remind myself to focus on one mile repeat at a time. My Garmin starts beeping, signaling the start of my first mile repeat, and off I go. My legs want to fly, but I pull back a little, and legs and lungs fight for a bit while I feel for a pace that is fast, but that I can maintain for four laps, six times. I find my groove and enjoy the feel of my feet on the track. Round and round and round I go.

More beeps - this time signaling a short reprieve - the start of two minutes of "rest". I suck in oxygen, feel my heart rate settle down, and mentally get ready to go again. Five more to go. I got this.

The men leave and I am alone again. Four fast laps, two minutes to recover. Repeat. I am halfway through the workout now - good and tired, but plenty left to do. The sun is suddenly peaking over the mountain tops and I slip on my sunglasses. I think briefly how grand it would be to have a running group or someone else out here on the track running hard with me. But it's just me and the track. Beep...beep...beep....time to go again.

I focus on pumping my arms, keeping my feet light and quick, having a slight forward lean, and enjoying the feeling of running fast around the track. I feel myself start to slow down and push the pedal back down to the medal. My goal is to be consistent - fast and steady. Focused. I try not to think about how many laps are left and to just be present in the lap - in the moment - and run the best I can right then.

Two repeats left. Holy cow the two minutes of rest go by FAST. I am definitely not cold anymore. I use my new mantra - "fast feet. strong spirit. happy heart." Mile repeats are long. Four laps feels longer than a mile on the road. I love the track though. I got this. "fast feet. strong spirit. happy heart." Round and round and round I go.

One fast mile left. I got this. I haven't checked my splits but I have felt consistent and strong. I am tired, but I know I have more in me. We always have more than we think. Beep...beep...beep... here I go!

I am almost done with the first lap and I notice a group of girls coming on to the track. At first I think it is a soccer team as they set up cones on the turf, then I notice a lack of soccer balls and recognize the coach - it is volleyball girls.  A couple of stragglers dart out of my way as I come around the corner - move it girls, I am not slowing down. The sun is warm now, my legs are tired, lungs are burning - "fast feet. strong spirit. happy heart. fast feet. strong spirit. happy heart." I do not slow down.

My IPOD blares my new favorite running song into my ears, "Awake and Alive" and I keep pushing. Volleyball girls run half-hearted drills as I zoom around on my last lap. I focus on the track in front of me and run strong until I finally hear the beep...beep....beep... telling me I am done.

I down-shift gears to a slow and easy jog, smiling with the satisfaction of a tough but successful workout. As I float through two miles of cool down, the volleyball girls pack up and head back into the school, and I am once again alone on the track, just as I started. My Garmin hits 11 miles total, and I slow to a walk. My body feels tired but great. No aches or pains, and the soreness from the half marathon has disappeared. I feel like I have worked hard, used my muscles, put my work in for the day. I love training.

It feels like I have been out here a long time - it was dark and chilly when I started and now it is sunny and warm. The burpee guys came and went and the volleyball girls came and went.  I start my stretching routine, and let myself look at my splits. My target pace for the mile repeats was 6:45 - my goal was to run consistent splits without frequent Garmin checking. Flash tells me that my splits were 6:33, 6:27, 6:36, 6:28, 6:30, 6:28 and I am smiling - satisfied.

Finishing a tough track workout feels amazing and I relish it for a moment, and then gather up my small pile of stuff and walk back to the van for the short ride home.

I walk in the front door to happy little kids and Josh, just starting to wake up and move around (the older ones will sleep for awhile still) and we chit chat as I drink a recovery drink and use my foam roller and stick. Breakfast, shower, and the day goes on.

Tomorrow (and all the days to follow for the foreseeable future) my alarm will go off again at 4:14am.  I will get up and ignore the voice that wants to go back to the warm bed. No excuses, I will run. If it is a recovery day, I will run easy. If it is a key work out day, I will run hard. I will do all that I can to continue on the path to my goals, and to be the best runner I can be. I do it because it is part of who I am. I do it because I am committed. I do it because I am driven. I do it for the challenge. I do it because it is fun. I do it because I love it. I do it because it is rewarding. I do it because my feet, my spirit, and my heart are happiest when I run.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday thoughts

Here is one more pic from the race on Saturday. The course photographer snapped it around mile 5ish. This picture just makes me smile. It was such an awesome thing to run shoulder to shoulder with Shane and share such a fun experience with him.

Shane and Ryan (12 and 14) had both begged us to sign them up for this half marathon back in January when Josh and I were signing up. I tried to talk them out of it but they both really wanted to and were confident they could. We agreed, under the conditions that they prepared well for it, and that they would not argue with me if I decided they weren't ready when it was race time. I really wanted it to be a good experience for them if they did it, and I am very much not a pushy parent. I like my kids to be active and involved, but I want them all to find their own passions and talents. Out of our 12 kids, these are the two that are interested in running. (Sadies, my oldest, is a natural runner, but she likes the shorter track events, like the 300m hurdles. She's awesome!)

Shane and Ryan both ran on a Ragnar relay team in June and they both ran 2-3 times a week, with one longer run each weekend (finishing with a 12 miler). They did great! After each run we evaluated how they were feeling and both of them were always happy and confident and excited for the race. I was so impressed at how well they did. (They made it look too easy actually!) I could not be more proud of them.

I knew that Ryan would pace himself well and walk when he needed to, but I was a little worried that Shane (who is way more competitive) would push himself too hard and burn out. He did a really good job pacing himself though and both boys felt great at the end and really enjoyed the experience.

The only bummer was that despite running a 1:33:00 at age 12, Shane did not win a thing! His age group was 10-24, and the top three finishers were all in his age group (college and high school runners). I told him he won some major bragging rights though! :)

I know that we live in a pretty remote area, but if you are looking for a summer half marathon next year with cool running temps, gorgeous scenery, a fabulous course, perfect organization, nice swag, incredible support, an awesome home-town/family feel, and a worthy cause, the Star Valley Half Marathon is a wonderful race. And all of the pics I have posted they provided for free.  The Kunz family do an amazing job, and have found a beautiful way to honor and carry on the memory of Jeremy.

Plus if you come, you can hang out with me. :)

Things have been great since the race. I had an easy recovery run on Sunday and have had two speedwork days since then. Today I did 11 miles total on the track with 6x1 mile repeats. I usually do this workout on the roads but decided to mix it up today. It was a mental challenge and a tough workout, but it was also really fun. My mileage is building back up, I am at "full strength" with my core and strength training, I have started doing visualization, I am focused on my nutrition, and I am working hard. I love, love, love the feeling of being in full training mode. (If you are looking for a great ab workout for runners, check out this one from Kara and Shalane. Thanks Nancy for sending it to me! I have added this to the end of my regular core workout and can definitely feel it!!)

There are six and a half weeks until the Pocatello Marathon. My BFF Jennifer is coming from Florida to run it as her first marathon and the weekend is just going to be amazing and fun. Josh and the kids will be able to be at the finish line (yay!) Pocatello was my first half marathon and was my first BQ race, and I love it. I am doing everything I can to get my body and mind ready to run a great race in Pokey. Winning the half marathon on Saturday definitely gave me a confidence boost.

How is your running going? What are you training for?  More soon!

"The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare."— Thane Yost 

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." — Stephen King

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Finish line photos

The race had a photographer taking pics at the finish line and they have already posted them on their Facebook page, so here are our finish pics. :) (If you missed my previous post, these are pics from the half marathon that I won today!)

This is me coming in. The guy next to me was 54 and ran a 1:29 and he came out to give me a high five because we had talked before the race. Nice guy!!
Getting closer



I won!!

I won the Star Valley Half Marathon today!! I was first female and 9th overall with an official time of 1:32:13. I lost a minute and five seconds in the portapotty which is frustrating, but I felt great otherwise and it was a FUN race and wonderful day.

I got to break the tape at the finish line, and I lead almost the entire race. It was an amazing experience!

I can not tell you my splits because I ran without my Garmin, however I am confident that my first three miles (downhill) and the last three miles (I was feeling awesome!) were the fastest.

I knew that it was possible for me to win, but the race had more people this year (still a small race though) and you never know who will show up on race day. Before the race I told Josh and our friends that if I was in a position to win, I would prefer to have people to "catch" and pass over the last few miles instead of leading and wondering who was coming up behind me. Then I ended up leading (out of the girls) almost the entire way.

A few women ahead of me took off very fast at the beginning and I ignored what they did and made sure I ran my own race. Without my Garmin to check my pace I had to go by feel, and I just continually tried to maintain a pace that felt like I was running fast and pushing myself, but doing so at a pace I could maintain for 13.1 miles.

By the end of the first 2-3 miles I was the lead female. I stayed that way until I had to jump into a portapotty at the 8.5 mile aid station. When I came out (and had lost just over a minute), one girl was up ahead of me and another was hot on my heels. I did not panic, but found my groove and pace again and knew that I would catch the girl ahead of me pretty quickly. I did, and I built a good lead back up. I never did look behind me, but the second and third place girls were just under two minutes behind me.

When I turned into the final stretch and saw them raise the tape up for me to run through it was pretty amazing. I was all smiles then, but I get teary-eyed thinking about it now. I know my time wasn't super impressive and it was just a small half-marathon, but it was still an incredible experience.

Just as wonderful as winning was, was how good I felt the whole time. I felt strong and fast and confident. I really, really enjoyed it. I think I smiled most of the last three miles, especially every time someone yelled at me that I was the first female.

I knew people (friends and neighbors) all along the course, had someone recognize me from the Runner's World article, re-met someone I had met in the airport on the way home from the Boston Marathon, and had someone drive by and yell out her car window that she reads my blog (hi!). 

I crossed the finish line, got my medal and some congrats, and then turned to look at the finish chute, and who was coming in? MY SHANE! The kid is 12 years old, and ran a 1:33:00 half marathon. Unbelievable! We ran together for the first almost six miles and then he fell behind. We met back up after my pit stop and then he fell behind again, but still finished less than a minute behind me. I am amazed and insanely proud!

Josh ran a strong race and finished in 1:45, and our Ryan (14) ran a 2:00 for his first half marathon. It definitely was a good racing day for the Henderson's.

I got a sweet handmade, wooden plaque and $100!
Back at home with my prizes, Before a shower! :)

With my Shane
With two friends, and my Ryan photo bombing us! :)
Josh hurried home after he finished because Noah wasn't feeling well and I had to stay for the awards, but it was our anniversary yesterday (16 years!) and I will post some new pics of us asap.

The newspaper is going to email me the pics of me crossing the finish line and I will post them when I get them, but here is a link to an article they posted today and there is a fun slideshow of pics from today (I am near the end).

More soon! I am off to use my "winnings" to take the kids to see Ice Age. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ongoing saga...

Back at the end of May I wrote about my relentless stomach/GI issues when I run, and my decision to try a gluten free diet.

After that post I continued on the gluten free diet. I educated myself about it and read labels like it was my job. If I wasn't sure about something, I erred on the side of caution and did not eat it. I was crazy careful.  My GI symptoms while running did not disappear. They improved somewhat, but were definitely not gone. I was/am still dealing with this on a daily basis and on most of my runs.

My doctor had me see one of his colleagues that is also a family practitioner but has more experience with GI issues, and he did some further testing, including a panel of blood tests that he was confident would tell us "yes Celiac's" or "no Celiac's". The blood tests came back "perfect". The doc said that with the results as good as they were, he was confident I did not have Celiac's and there was no reason for me to be on a gluten free diet. I asked if it was possible the blood tests looked good because I had been off of gluten for six weeks at that time, and he said that he would not expect my results to be as good as they were even after being off of gluten for six weeks if I had Celiac's. He also felt (because of the blood test results) that there was no reason for the endoscopy/biopsy. He thinks I just have a very severe case of exercise/running induced diarrhea.

So off I went on my merry way, relieved to not have Celiac's, to eat peanut butter and jelly on real whole wheat bread and to have a bowl of non-gluten free cereal (with almond milk - I am still avoiding dairy as I know that bugs me), and within a short period of time, I HURT. I felt sick. I felt awful. I didn't care what the tests said or did not say - I knew that eating gluten made me feel really bad. So I went right back to the gluten-free diet.

I did some reading about how inaccurate the testing is for Celiac's, and how gluten sensitivity has similar symptoms and would not produce the test results that Celiac's should. Honestly, I don't know if I have Celiac's or gluten sensitivity, but I am done with testing since it is inaccurate, expensive and not fun. I do know that I feel tons better not eating gluten, so I am not going to.

The new doc prescribed me an IBS medication to try called Bentyl. I do not even like to take Tylenol or Ibuprofen when I have a headache, so I am not a big fan of medication, but I told the doc I would try just about anything if it helped me run without the emergency pit stops.

And then I got the medication and started reading about the possible side effects. Drowsiness. Dizziness. Blurred vision. Inability to sweat and heightened risk of heat stroke. The directions said, "Avoid activities that might cause you to overheat (such as doing strenuous work/exercise in hot weather."

Seriously? Does this sound like something I should even try?

I get six hours of sleep most nights, I am the mom of 12, and I am training hours a day. I don't need any help being drowsy, I need to see straight, and I am not going to avoid strenuous exercise.

So yeah - the medication sits thus far untaken, and I am frustrated.

To recap, (despite hating to be high maintenance with my eating) I am eating gluten and dairy free. I eat small meals throughout the day instead of three bigger meals. I am well-hydrated. I do not eat anything before a run or during a run except for liquid fuel during long runs. I have tried peppermint oil, over the counter meds, and a prescription medication (and was referred another one I do not think I will even try). I know some foods that are likely to make things worse (broccoli, onions, etc.) and I avoid them before key/long workouts. I very rarely eat fatty foods.  SHEESH. What else is a runner to do?

I am hoping maybe more time on the gluten-free diet will just lead to continued improvement, even if it is slowly.

For the moment it seems I just have to deal with this as reality at this time and handle it the best I can. I am so used to it during training that even though it is frustrating, I just know all the possible pitstops on all my routes. I do not let this challenge affect my love of running, my goals, or my training. During races though it REALLY frustrates me. Chances are high I won't make it through the half on Saturday without having to dive into a portapotty, but I am trying not to stress about it (since that doesn't help!), and if I have to stop quickly I won't let it get me all stressed out. (Last year I lost a minute and a few seconds for this reason in this race and still won my age group).

Any advice out there? Am I missing anything? Would you try the Bentyl and just hope to not end up drowsy, blurry-eyed and dizzy, collapsing into a pile mid-run because of of heat-stroke?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Time Part 2

My last post was titled "Time", and even though my subject today matter is different, the title works for this post too.

So here are two quick items that fall under the "time" category.

- I ran my fastest mile ever yesterday, and it happened to come at the end of a tough 10 mile work out. I ran a 6:07 in my last of six one-mile repeats. If I had known how close I was to getting under 6:00 I would have really gone for it as I did not give it an all-out effort, but that was not the point of the workout, and now I know that a sub-6 minute mile is doable. :) The whole work-out was a two-mile warm up, 6x1 mile repeats (with much needed two-minute rest intervals) and then a two-mile cool down. All six of the mile repeats ended up being at a 6:21 pace or better (6:21, 6:17, 6:13, 6:17, 6:15, 6:07) and I ran it out on the road, not on the track. It was a hard effort but great at the same time.

- I am running a half marathon on Saturday. And Coach Rick has asked me to run it WITHOUT MY GARMIN. For real. Something about running by feel, not obsessing over splits, enjoying racing, etc. etc. etc. Being honest here -  I did sort of panic at first (although I did agree to it right away because I truly trust and respect my coach and we have a great relationship) but now I am even sort of looking forward to it. When I told Josh that Rick wanted me to race without a watch or Garmin he mentioned the amount of pressure I put on myself, and how it will be good for me to go out and have fun and just run.

This is the Garmin I have. I named him Flash. I love him. :)
 So for the first time I will be racing without target splits, or any knowledge of my pace or splits. Last year I was quite a bit slower than I am now and won my age group. The race will likely be a lot bigger this year, but I am hoping to have an age group or overall placing. We shall see! I have many friends running, Josh is running, and two of our sons (12 and 14 years old) are both running it as their first half, so it will be lots of fun no matter what. The boys have done a great job training and I am so proud of them already!

That's all I have TIME to write for now. More soon. :)

Have you ever raced without a watch or Garmin??

Monday, July 9, 2012


I have had two great workouts in the last few days. On Friday I did my 16 miler and decided to test out my knee/ITB with some faster miles. I started off easy and felt good, and then I just went with it. My splits were 7:28, 7:13, 7:11, 7:08, 7:18, 7:35, (uphill) 7:13, 7:09, 7:07, 8:19 (big big uphill), 7:11, 6:59, 7:31 (uphill), half of a mile at 7:12 average pace, then a 2.5 mile cool down.

Saturday was an 8-mile recovery run then yesterday morning was 10 miles and Coach said to try 4-6 miles in the middle of the run in the 6:45-7:00 pace range if all was feeling good. Yesterday's splits were 8:10, 7:43, 6:49, 6:40, 6:42, 6:57, 6:45, 6:38, 7:57, 8:22. Today was an easy paced 8 miler with some strides at the end. The knee is feeling better every day, even with the tougher workouts (I am still rolling extra and icing). I would say it is probably 98% better. :)

I have been thinking about time lately. If you are a competitive runner, you think about time a lot. There is
- the time you get up to get your runs in (setting your alarm clock!)
- the amount of time you spend running
- time splits (paces) for each mile
- goal pace times for workouts and races
- PR times
- time to fuel/eat well
- the amount of time you spend sleeping (getting enough rest!)
- the amount of time in days/weeks until a race
- recovery time
- MAKING time to get your running/exercising done
- the time on the clock when you are racing

All of these are a part of running. I often think when I am racing how I am "on the clock" and that every second counts, and how that clock relentlessly keeps ticking no matter what, until you cross that finish line.

But I have been thinking about a different aspect of time the past few weeks. I have been reminding myself that I HAVE TIME.  Back in January of this year I set the goal to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016. When I set that goal I was well aware that I had a long way to go. I was well aware that achieving that goal would not be easy. I was well aware that it would take years of consistent hard work and effort, a deep-seated commitment, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of heart (and sweat!)

Since then it has not been an easy year in regards to my racing. I have had really great training - I have had high mileage, seen consistent increases in my speed, and have been healthy and strong for the most part. But then Boston had a freak heat wave, and even though I ran a BQ time (3:37) in brutal conditions and finished in the top 8% of women in Boston, it was nowhere near the sub 3:20 time I was hoping for and was trained for.  And then despite being in awesome shape and feeling 100% ready, physically and mentally, for a big breakthrough race, I had a DNF in Utah Valley in June.

For a few weeks after Utah Valley I was not in the best place mentally. I was frustrated, as I know I am in shape to run a 3:05-3:14 marathon and my current PR is far off of that. I was frustrated because I had put in so much work and was not getting the results on race day that I wanted. I was mad at mother nature for a heat wave and then high winds. I was doubting myself, as it is easy to get bummed out and start to wonder if maybe you just can't be as good as you thought you could.

But after a little bit of time to recover and refocus, I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and was ready to get back to work. I have reminded myself that it isn't supposed to be easy, and that it is smart to expect setbacks (and I will learn from them). I know that if I continue to put in the work and the training, that the race results will follow. I have rekindled my belief in myself. I am trusting in Coach Rick and in my training. I am smiling and enjoying the journey. I am doing what I love.

And I am reminding myself that I HAVE TIME. I have more than three years until I have to run a qualifying marathon time to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Three years ago it had been less than three months since I went on my first run ever. I had never run more than four miles. I had not "raced" anything more than a 5k and I had not even considered that a half marathon or a marathon would ever be a possibility for me. My "fast pace" was anything under 12 minutes per mile.

Two years ago I had just started training for my first half marathon. My only goal was to finish. Any run in the double digits (TEN MILES or more) seemed crazy, and very very hard. My "fast pace" was anything under 10 minutes a mile.

One year ago I had recently finished my third marathon (four months after my first) and had successfully trained and ran it in under 4 hours. I remember saying afterwards that there was "no way" I could every qualify for Boston and shave another 20 minutes off of my marathon time. (Four months later I did.)

Sometimes it is really encouraging to look back and see how far you have come. Sometimes looking back helps you look forward with renewed confidence and strength.

With all of the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. it can be easy to read about other runners' workouts and other runners' race results and PR's and compare and be frustrated that I am not at the level I want to be at (YET). But I know that that is not a healthy way to think and I usually don't get caught up in it. On the rare occasion that I do catch myself thinking that way, I just remind myself that I have TIME. And I will get there. I have time to improve, I have time to make progress, and I have time to achieve the goals I have set.  I never could have imagined three years ago where I would be now and I am excited to see what the next three years (and beyond) brings.

I have the love, encouragement, help, and support of some awesome people. I have the desire. I have the commitment. I have the work ethic and dedication. I have the faith. I have the confidence. I have the fire and desire. I have the heart. And I have the time. :)

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." - Abraham Lincoln

"This one step - choosing a goal and sticking to it - changes everything." Scott Reed

"Goals.There's not telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them.'
Jim Rohn

"Goal: an aim or objective, the end toward which effort is directed.
Resolution: The quality of not allowing difficulties or opposition to affect one's purpose."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Do what you love

I hope everybody had a Happy Fourth of July. We packed up and took everyone to Lava Hot Springs for the day and had tons of fun. Fire conditions are terrible in Wyoming right now so there is a ban on fireworks. Since we could not light off our own fireworks, we planned to be somewhere with a good show, and Lava had a big fireworks display that was set off right next to where we spent the day.

Family, water, tons of food, and fireworks - it doesn't get much more fun than that. :)

Here is a pic of Noah and I in the pool (Noah LOVED it).

 I got up early yesterday and did an easy paced 12 miler, and this morning I ran eight miles with a friend. The ITB/knee is not 100% yet but is still improving. Coach Rick is having me be conservative though and keep the paces on the easy side until it is completely resolved. I have 16 miles planned for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it!

Here is a thought I have been having - DO WHAT YOU LOVE. Life is too short not to.  Be with people you love (and that love you in return). Find ways to make a difference in the lives of others. Take time to count and be grateful for your blessings, even when (especially when) life is busy or stressful. And find something that you love to do for yourself, and do it.

As we were watching the Olympic Trials, it was so inspiring to watch the athletes - the runners, jumpers, throwers, divers, swimmers, gymnasts, etc. - do what they love. The passion, commitment, desire, drive, and love that the Olympic hopeful athletes have for their sports shone brightly in their moments of success and of disappointment. It was exciting, inspiring, and contagious.

Running brings a part of me alive that sat dormant for a long, long time. I love how I feel before a run, during a run and after a run. Even when a run is hard (and running is often hard!), even when a run or race isn't going how I want, even when I am dragging my butt out of bed at 4am, even when life is stressful, even when I doubt myself, even when it is crazy hot or freezing cold or pouring rain, I still love it.  I am putting the work in, I am chasing my dreams, I am doing something that I love. Running is "my thing". It's part of who I am.  It's something I know I was born to do. More specifically, I love the marathon. I love the challenge, the unpredictability, the lore, the training - all of it!

I want all of my kids to find their "thing". With 12 kids, we have a big mix of talents and interests. We have kids who are athletic, kids who are musical, kids who are artistic, etc. Whether they grow up to be soccer players or singers, I just want each of my kids to pursue their talents, and find what makes them come alive in that special way. I want them to find something that they love... something that challenges them, drives them, excites them, and lights a fire in them. I want them to find something that makes them feel the way that running makes me feel - something that makes them the best version of themselves.

Find what you love to do, and do it. Challenge yourself. Stretch yourself. Better yourself. Bless yourself. It does not matter what you do or do not achieve - the true success and happiness come with the doing.

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." - Harriet Tubman

"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." - Oprah Winfrey

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." - Nelson Mandela

Monday, July 2, 2012

What day is it?


Let's see - last I posted, Beast Mode was switched on. At the end of last week I tweaked my knee/ITB (which has never bugged me from running) during some cross training. I took the weekend off instead of pushing it into an injury, and enjoyed eight miles feeling great this morning. I am still icing/rolling it lots but it definitely seems to be resolving. Sort of ironic that you do cross training to avoid injury and then I hurt myself doing cross training.

No worries though - Beast Mode is definitely still on. :) I am loving every minute of running right now, and the fire, desire, commitment, and drive are brighter and stronger than ever.

Last week I had two kids start new jobs, one kid finish up summer school, one kid start a travel soccer league, five kids go on a three-day church youth trek, one little kid super sick, and a bunch of other things going on. Busy, busy, busy, busy.

On Saturday morning we all drove down to Salt Lake and picked up my parents! They are here for a week from New York and we have already had lots of fun. I love them so much and it is so wonderful to have them here in my home and spending so much time with the kids and Josh and I. Yay! We have lots of fun planned for the rest of their time here, and Josh has some time off with the holiday, so it is going to be an awesome week.

We have been watching the Olympic trials and enjoying all of it, especially the Track and Field. I get caught up in every single race. I am way disappointed that Jeneba Tarmoh declined the third place position in the 100m and won't be doing the raceoff with Allyson Felix today. That would have been SO cool to watch!!

I leave you with a picture of some of my little kids enjoying their summer in the fun pool that their Auntie Shanon got for Amanda's birthday. More soon!