First off - CONGRATS to everyone who raced this weekend! The Walt Disney World races were this weekend, as was the Houston Marathon and others. I have several friends who had amazing weekends, including my BFF Jennifer, the amazing Robin (yay PR!!!), one of the women I just started coaching who set a PR in Houston, Laura who set a PR in Houston, and my Brooks sister R, who won a half marathon. My awesome coach, Sage Canaday, had a big win and set a new course record at the USATF 100 km National Trail Championships in Bandera, Texas on Saturday. Congrats Sage! It was a great racing weekend for many! :)
I had a solid 20 miler this morning - nothing fast or exciting, just a steady run at a 7:44 average pace. There are three weeks now until race day. I am getting excited!! This is the longest I have ever gone in between races, and I am ready to see what I can do.
I am feeling really good - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We had a lot of challenges in 2011 and 2012 that I have not written much about. 2013 has started off really well on many levels. One recent blessing is that Josh was offered (and accepted) an additional job last week. It will make our schedule busier, but will help a great deal with the financial stress we have been living with. As I look back over the 17 years that Josh and I have been together and ALL that we have been through and experienced, our blessings have always far, far exceeded our challenges, and we have always come through everything together, stronger as a couple and even more in love. I am so grateful to have him by my side for always. Having Josh makes it easy to keep the faith when things are hard. It makes it easy to see all the joy in life and all of the GOOD all around us. :)
Ok, I wanted to answer some of the questions you have left on my Q&A post. Today I will answer the ones about my GI issues, eating gluten-free, and fueling for my runs.
I'm hoping you can elaborate and talk at length about what you eat. I
know you have had GI distress with running, and recently said you are
now eating gluten-free. Can you talk about your symptoms, the process of
figuring out the gluten sensitivity, and what you eat? Also, how can
you run 22 miles (or even 12+) on an empty stomach? and -
I'd love to hear how you fuel on your long runs and how you plan to fuel in the marathon.
I don't write about my stomach problems a whole bunch
because it is embarrassing and frustrating, and because I am not one who
likes to complain. Since you asked -I have struggled with GI issues (urgent, un-ignorable need to use the bathroom mid-run, even though I have no problem "going" before a run) since I started running more than 3-5 miles at time. I have tried many, many, many things. I have seen several doctors. I have had lots of tests. I have tried medications (none that helped). I have gotten frustrated.
Things HAVE improved, although this is still something I deal with regularly, and the doctors seem to think that it may just be something I have to deal with as a distance runner. I am not sold on that idea, and I continue to search for answers. That said, where there was a time that I would have to make pit-stops multiple times during runs of just 8-12 miles, I now often only have to stop once, and sometimes not at all. Progress.
I found out almost right away that cutting out dairy helped a lot. I was reluctant to try cutting out gluten, but once I did, it was hard to argue with the fact that I clearly have a gluten intolerance or allergy. (I cut gluten out to try it, and then saw the specialist a few weeks later. He wanted me to go back on gluten for two weeks and then have the tests done, but after just one day back on gluten I was in a lot of pain and decided it was not worth it!) The only way to really know about a food allergy or intolerance is to cut it out of your diet completely (no cheating!) for a period of time, generally 2-3 weeks at least is recommended, and then try adding it back in. You can only "challenge" one food at a time, so you know which, if any, gives you problems.
I have been told that it can take months and even years for damage from a gluten sensitivity/allergy to completely heal and for symptoms to completely resolved. I have been gluten free since May (and have only "cheated" the one time the doctor told me to go back on gluten and once on accident - both times I was miserable for about 18 hours), and my symptoms have slowly but steadily improved since then.
So what do I eat? Lots of stuff! I had a doctor tell me that a gluten-free diet was "hell on Earth", and honestly, it is not at all hard for me. I eat lots of fruit, veggies, nuts, beans, chicken, fish, potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, eggs, etc. I LOVE Almond Milk. I do not buy a lot of gluten-free packaged products, but I love Udi's gluten-free bread for peanut butter sandwiches and I love rice pasta. My favorite snacks/treats are plain popcorn, Cinnamon Chex, and dark chocolate. I eat hot cereal for breakfast every morning with fruit, nuts and dark chocolate chips. I like the hot creamy rice cereal from Bob's Red Mill. It's whole grain brown rice.
Now for fueling. Fueling for marathons is very much individual and very much trial and error. What works for one person does not work for another. I am still perfecting my fueling strategy on race day (will update after Tallahassee!) but no, I do not eat before races or long runs. I have tried it and it just doesn't work for me. Here is a GREAT article about fueling for long-distance events. I love the info in here and it definitely is a school of that that works for me. I hope you read it.
I seem to do the best with Hammer Nutrition Products or Generation UCAN. I run with my own drink (in a handheld bottle) for races so that I can fuel as needed with my product of choice, and rely almost completely on liquid calories (and supplement with water). I do carry a Hammer gel or two just in case I feel the need. I have done multiple 20 and 22 mile runs (several with tempo portions in them) with this strategy this training cycle and it has worked well for me. I have avoided multiple bathroom breaks and miles of stomach cramps that have plagued me in the past. I think it's a combination of the gluten-free diet and finding the right balance of fueling.
I am definitely a work in progress in this area, and am open to any and all advice/feed back/suggestions. :)
And now a couple of follow up questions on my PureFlow 2 review -
Hey Lady!! I was wondering if you have tried the pure connects and if
so, how they compare to the flows? I have always raced in the pure
connects but feel like a need just a LITTLE bit more shoe for some of my
training runs. If you could let me know I'd appreciate it :)
I have not personally tried the PureConnects, but if you have used them and want a little bit more shoe, then the PureFlows should be just right! Compared to the PureConnects, the PureFlows are a little bit heavier (although still light-weight), have the same heel-toe drop (4mm), and have more cushioning. I believe that the PureFlows may have a wider toebox as well, but I am not 100% on that. I love them. :)
I have been curious about two things for a while. First, how many miles
do you get out of a pair? And second, do you donate them when you are
done? There are only a certain number of running shoes that one needs to
keep on hand for "kick arounds."
I usually get about 300 miles out of pair of PureFlow's. Brooks says they are good for 250-300, and I have been replacing them at 300 miles or just over. Since I have been running mostly 300+ mile months, that means I am going through a pair of shoes a month (yay for sponsorship!!!). I do always have 2-3 pairs that I am rotating through, and I keep track on my daily running log of which pair I wear each day and how many miles each pair has on them.
I have a pile of extra pairs! With all of my teens and preteens, lots of pairs get snagged by them as they are always growing-out-of/losing/covering-in-mud/wearing-through their shoes. And then I like to drop off a sack of the rest at one of the running stores or races in Idaho or Utah when they are collecting them. What do all of you do with your used running shoes?
That's all for tonight! More soon. Hope you all had a happy weekend. If you raced, leave a comment and let me know. :)