Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Park City Trail Series 5K

Date: June 10, 2017

Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)

Time: 34:50GarminConnect

My daughter asked me awhile back about doing this race series and of course I agreed. She thought it would be fun because it’s dog friendly; I thought it would be fun because it means I get to hang out with her.

Today was a beautiful day for a race. The race announcer said there were over 500 participants, and we also saw lots of dogs. As far as I’m concerned, this was a perfect way to start a day: sunshine, mountains, running, and getting to hang out with one of my kids and one of my dogs. Loved it.

I also wore my “Stop the Clot” gear for the first time. Recently, I ordered a shirt and a hat from a fellow runner and blood clot survivor. He is doing such good work to spread awareness of clots and I’m gaining a whole new network of supporters. There are lots of us who have survived DVTs or PEs and it’s pretty inspiring. Not everyone is so lucky.

Next month: the 10K!!

5Finish

#StopTheClot

 

My experience with Whole30

Today is the final day of my Whole30 experiment. My review? It’s definitely worth doing and I’ll probably repeat it again at some point. More importantly, it’s going to positively affect how I eat on a regular basis from here on out.

nutrition

Google images. (Pretend this photo doesn’t include bread or dairy!)

Here’s what I learned.

  1. The American diet is filled with sugar, preservatives, and So. Much. Corn. Being on Whole30 forces to you to pay very close attention to food labels and you’ll be surprised at how much unnecessary crap is in our food.
  2. Eating clean is not hard. There’s no need to eat any of the crap because most of us are fortunate enough to have easy access to healthy food choices. Note: most.
  3. I tend to think a lot about my food planning and choices on a regular basis, but this took food obsession to an entirely new level. (One thing I didn’t like).
  4. Not drinking alcohol for a month was easy. Normally, I’m within the medically suggested “moderate” guidelines of one drink a day or less, so it wasn’t a big deal for me to quit drinking altogether. I did, however, think about how a glass of wine would be nice with dinner on several occasions, though. That thought crept into my head less and less as the month progressed.
  5. Black coffee is still good. Rather, GOOD black coffee is still good. For the first two weeks, I really missed having milk and sugar in my coffee. Today, I’m enjoying it black, particularly if it’s cold brewed.
  6. There are so many resources available online. Whether you use search engines or almost any type of social media, you will find whole communities of people following the plan and offering advice. The accessibility of information made it so much easier.

What I liked about Whole30.

  1. I dropped a few pounds. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become more difficult to keep my weight in check. I half-jokingly observe that I gain five pounds on one weekend splurge and then it takes me a month of serious dieting to lose it. In this case, I didn’t feel like I was dieting at all, yet I’ve lost 8 pounds even while eating the same number of calories. Note: Here’s where I broke Whole30 rules. While on Whole30 you are instructed to not weigh yourself or count calories. I did both.
  2. I slept so much better! A lot of people on Whole30 experience this. Improved sleep could be due to not drinking alcohol, but others surmise that the non-inflammatory qualities of this diet is the reason. In any case, it was great. I slept through the night every night I was on this eating plan when normally, one or two nights a week, I wake up around 3:00 or 4:00 AM and can’t get back to sleep.
  3. I didn’t get sick, despite being exposed to colds and flu. I had several opportunities to pick up various bugs that were going around and I didn’t get sick once. I credit the diet and exercise.
  4. Food tastes better. Fruit is sweeter and overall, I’m enjoying my food more. I’m more aware of how it tastes and I’ve become one of those people who consider a nice piece of fruit a perfectly satisfying dessert.
  5. I learned about some new food options that I will continue to eat in “normal life.” Riced cauliflower, coconut aminos, ghee, Epic bars, and many Luna bars are all great food choices whether or not you are on a restricted diet. A couple of compliant dinner recipes will remain longer-term favorites.
  6. I have a better appreciation and understanding for people who medically have to be on a restricted diet. I now know what diabetics or those with gluten sensitivities must go through on a daily basis.
  7. My digestion improved. 
  8. My skin became clearer.

What I didn’t like.

  1. The need to meal plan so meticulously forced me to constantly think about food to the point where it became obsessive. I didn’t like having to constantly think about upcoming meals and the need for grocery trips.
  2. I missed social gatherings. I’m not a regular party goer by any stretch of the imagination, but I found myself skipping out on a few events because I knew I would have a hard time with the food choices. I missed a couple of work celebrations as well as a Friday afternoon happy hour invitation when normally I would have gone.
  3. I cooked less for my family. I have two college-aged kids still living at home and I have to admit–they were pretty much on their own this month because they didn’t particularly care for most of my compliant meals. It worked out fine because they are so self-reliant, but this would likely be difficult with young children or a spouse who wasn’t also on board.
  4. So. Much. Meat. The first thing I will do is bring back legumes into my diet. While I enjoy beef, chicken, fish, and pork, I definitely ate more on Whole30 than I normally do because protein shakes, dairy, quinoa, and black beans are non-compliant. I look forward to incorporating more meatless meals into my diet again.

In summary, this was a great experience for me and my husband and the positives outweighed the negatives. We both feel healthier, we both dropped a few pounds, and we have both said that we will continue to “mostly” eat like this in going forward. I would say it was a win.

13 days in. My Whole30 experience

Almost halfway in to this. How am I doing? Great!

larabarlemon

Yummy.

First off, I know this isn’t a “diet” and I know I’m breaking the rules by weighing myself during this ride, but I was just too curious to avoid the scale completely. After ten days, I had dropped five pounds without ever feeling hungry or deprived. Really.

I also think this experience is going to adjust the way I will eat long term. It’s become pretty clear to me that, even with a generally healthy diet before, I was eating too much sugar.

This eating plan appeals to me because it makes sense to avoid additives and sugars. I won’t completely avoid dairy and whole grains beyond this month, and I will look forward to having an occasional beer or glass of wine again. I also miss oatmeal, quinoa, and bread. But not in a way that makes me crave any of it.

I honestly have not had any cravings on this plan at all.

If you are considering a Whole30 experience, I would say:

  1. Recruit your spouse or a friend to join you. My husband and I are doing this together and it’s made meal planning and shopping so much easier. Plus I like that we are sharing the experience.
  2. If you are used to drinking anything in your coffee–cream, milk, sugar–the first 3-4 days are going to make you sad. I’ve been drinking black coffee, whereas my husband has quit drinking coffee altogether. Yes, he had a caffeine-withdrawal headache for a few days. I, however, did not.
  3. You will probably find yourself eating the same few meals over and over. My favorite breakfast has become a baked potato (microwaved, actually) with one or two fried eggs and salsa on top. My favorite dinner is a burrito bowl. I take shredded greens and top them with cooked, seasoned meat, and add salsa and guacamole. Mmmm.
  4. Snack bars are a lifesaver in case you do get hungry between meals (yes, I know
    bison

    Also yummy.

    snacking is discouraged), or if you find yourself somewhere at mealtime and what is being offered is non-compliant (Whole30 vocabulary). So far, my favorites are Epic Bison Cranberry bars and Turkey bars. When something sweet sounds good, I am opting for Larabars–several are compliant and my favorites are lemon and key lime pie. (I’ve also ordered coconut cream pie and can’t wait for them to arrive).

  5. Traveling can be a bitch. That seems pretty obvious. My husband, who travels every week for work has had more challenges than I, but with prior planning, and some backup snacks, he seems to be doing fine. Plus, he reports that he is feeling so good, the effort is worth it.
  6. There are a TON of resources online. If I’m at the grocery store and wonder if something is compliant, all I do is Google it. There are also several bloggers sharing some great looking recipes and great cookbooks out there. There are also Facebook and Reddit groups focusing on Whole30.
  7. Stock up on ghee and olive oil. You’ll be able to cook almost anything with these two oils and they are permitted.
  8. Focus on what you CAN eat and not on what you can’t. This is stated in so many ways when you start to browse Whole30 resources, and it’s true. What CAN I eat? Steak, salmon, shrimp, chicken, ground beef (really almost any meat), eggs, avocados, guacamole, salsa, any fruit, almond butter, most nuts, almost any vegetable–including potatoes and sweet potatoes. As far as drinks go, I’m drinking mostly water but can also have club soda, LaCroix, tea, and kombucha. Sure, this will get boring pretty fast, but doing this for a month certainly won’t be hard.

I’m entering into the promised “feel good stage” of the plan and I am really looking forward to that. I feel good now so hearing the best is yet to come sounds amazing.

Timeline of the plan is found HERE. Evidently, I’m going to start wanting familiar comfort foods about now then I’m supposed to feel especially energetic and strong starting at day 16.

I guess we’ll see. I’ll let you know.

________________________________________________________________

whole30

From the Whole30 website

 

Whole 30 Diet-Day 1

whole

whole30.com

Let’s try this.

As a rule, I eat a healthy diet. I generally steer away from processed foods, I loathe most fast food choices, and I usually pay attention to my protein intake and I incorporate juicing into my regular diet. You could say I’m on the kale, Greek yogurt, and quinoa bandwagon–mostly.

I’ve been vaguely aware of the Whole 30 diet for the past couple of years but wrote it off as being far too restrictive because there are so many foods that are “not allowed.” Most nutritionists would argue that foods like whole grains, yogurts, and even an occasional glass of wine, are healthy and should be part of a normal diet for most people. I like the idea of a re-set of sorts, though, and that’s what this diet promises to be.

Here’s how the Whole 30 website describes the diet: “The Whole30 is, at its heart, an elimination diet. Just a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods could break the healing cycle; promoting cravings, messing with blood sugar, disrupting the integrity of your digestive tract, and (most important) firing up the immune system.”

I’m intrigued. If this gives me more energy and helps me drop those stubborn five pounds I can’t seem to get ride of, why not try it?

I also think I’ve got my husband talked into joining me so that will provide me with a lot of motivation.

So, for a month, we will give up dairy, carbs, and alcohol. It’s going to be difficult for me because a typical breakfast is oatmeal and yogurt, and it’s not unusual for me to consider cheese, crackers, and wine a perfectly satisfying dinner.

I’ll check in later and let you know how it is going.

Back on the horse. SLC Half Marathon

Date: April 22, 2017

Behind Utah Capitol Building as we neared Memory Grove.

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Time: 2:22:04

Distance: 13.1 (13.35)

I think this was the fifth time I’ve run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon, but this year, the course was completely different–for the better! The race has always started at the University of Utah and ended up downtown but taking the beginning of the course towards the capitol and down Memory Grove was a great change. The change resulted in a more scenic, more downhill course overall.

The best part? My daughter, Kaitie, ran with me and she did amazing. I was so happy to have her company at the start and at the finish.

#resist

After days of rain, we were lucky that we had a beautiful, clear day for the race. It was cold, however, and we were glad we wore long running tights, long-sleeved shirts, and covered our ears. As a nod to Science March Day, I added my #resist button to my headband. Other racers were in solidarity and I saw a race shirt that said, “Racing for science.”

I wasn’t sure how I would do since this was the first race I have done since I was forced to walk the January race in Hawaii. My training runs have been slow and I’ve really taken it easy following my blood clot diagnosis in December. Also, while I had gotten in my longer-mileage runs, I hadn’t been so diligent in getting all of my shorter runs in. I was happily surprised, then, to have finished as fast as I did. And, I felt good! At about mile 5, I could feel the spot in my right lung that signaled the location of my blood clot in December, but it was more of a dull ache and nothing else. After a few minutes, the nagging sensation went away and at no point did I feel short of breath or concerned. I now have renewed hope that I’m back on track as far as my ability to keep running goes, and I’m even more motivated to continue my workouts.

Guess I’ll keep signing up for races, keep going to Bikram Yoga, and keep taking my dogs to the dog park.

____________

Best sign? “Run as if United wants your seat.”

Cold start!

shirt & medal–luggage tag!

Finish at old courthouse downtown.

Great day for a race!

Aloha Series (50th state)

Date: January 19, 2017

Location: Kapa’a, Hawaii (Kaua’i) (Aloha Series)

Time: 3:31:05

Distance: 13.1

We did it. Our bucket list goal of completing a half marathon in all fifty states has been accomplished.

both

Celebrating the completion of  a half marathon in all 50 states the year we both turn 50!

I should be happy, but in all honesty, my feeling of accomplishment is tinged with some sadness–kind of like a kid the day after Christmas when they’ve opened all of their presents after weeks of anticipation.

I’ve put off writing this post because I don’t really know where to begin. Do I start with the story about how ten years ago, my best friend from college suggested we run a half marathon in every state? Do I describe our wonderful, week-long Hawaiian vacation? Or, perhaps I start with the story about how I was in the emergency room at the hospital only three weeks before the race?

I’ll start with the emergency room story.

Early in December, I suddenly noticed a sharp pain in my ribs along the lower, right side towards my back. I was sure it was a pulled muscle and didn’t pay too much attention to it. After about three or four days of aggravating pain, I got a massage. The pain went away–further confirming my initial thought that I had pulled a muscle.

For the next two or three weeks, I went about my daily routine–still running, going to yoga, and looking forward to visiting my parents in Arizona during Christmas.

While in Arizona, the pain returned–coincidentally, the next day after a rousing game of Pickle Ball. “There’s that muscle strain again,” I thought. “I really should have taken it easy yesterday.” I was sure that a few days of rest would make it go away again.

I enjoyed the time in Arizona with my family, continued running every other day, and noticed that the pain only hurt when I lay on my back or took a deep breath. At that point, I started considering other possible ailments. Pinched nerve? Kidney infection? Gall bladder attack? While I was up during the day and moving around, though, the pain really wasn’t all that apparent, so I certainly wasn’t worried that it was anything serious.

On December 30th, I drove the eleven hours home without any pain. I was just looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep in my own bed after being gone for a week. A good night’s sleep, though, would elude me. That evening, as I tossed and turned, trying to find a position that didn’t hurt, I finally realized that I probably should go to the hospital.

After getting to the emergency room at about 1:30 am, I learned that the symptom of “sharp, stabbing pain,” and saying, “it hurts to take a deep breath” gets immediate attention.

The hospital staff was great. In the midst of my fear and agony, they tried to keep the mood lighthearted and reassuring. I also appreciated how they explained everything they were doing and why. Those first couple of hours included an IV, blood tests, giving me Morphine, and following the other normal intake procedures. The blood test prompted a CT scan, which confirmed that I had a pulmonary embolism. A giant blood clot that, I found out later, was taking up a third of my right lung.The size of it also prompted the doctors to order an ultrasound of my heart to find out if my heart had been damaged as a result. Luckily, it wasn’t.

I was immediately admitted to the hospital in the early morning hours of New Year’s Eve, and enjoyed the holiday weekend pumped full of anti-coagulants and pain medication.

The three days I spent in the hospital flew by as I mostly slept, and I looked forward to going home–not really letting the gravity of what had happened sink in. In fact, during the first conversation I had with the doctor, I asked if I could still go to Hawaii and run the half marathon I had been planning for so long. He kind of chuckled, then realized I was serious. After some thought, he said it would probably be okay. There would be no restriction on airplane travel, because I was now on anti-coagulants, and he said as long as I had been training (I had), I could do the race as long as I didn’t over exert myself. He said a slow jog or walking would be most appropriate.

So there you have it. I was still able to go. And, I was still not really comprehending what had just happened to me.

My finish time was the slowest I’ve ever had, but I didn’t care one bit. After everything I had gone through, I finished it, dammit. And that’s really all I cared about.

Other things I cared about? Going to Hawaii with my husband, kids, and parents, and celebrating my friend Denise’s 50th birthday while we were there. That whole week was great.

Finishing the 50 half marathons in 50 states goal the year my very dear friend and I both turned 50 is certainly an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Again, I’m somewhat sad it’s over. It’s been an emotional journey as much as a physical journey, and it’s hard to let it go.

People have been asking me, “What now?” a lot. No, I don’t have the desire to now run a full marathon in all fifty states, do a race in all seven continents, start running ultra marathons, or start doing triathlons. Frequent walks with my dogs, a few running miles, yoga classes twice a week, and an occasional race sounds perfect.

What I most look forward to now is the ability to sign up for races purely based on whether or not they sound fun, and which friends and family they bring me together with. Races for me have always provided the motivation I need to exercise regularly, and now I don’t have to plan my races a year or two out and decide where to send my registration fees based solely on whether or not “I need the state.”

The 50 states are DONE. Now I can choose races based on so many other reasons.

group-shot

Our entire entourage celebrating with us at the finish. What great support!!

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Post scripts.

The race put on my Mainly Marathons was incredible. An entire blog post devoted just to the race would be needed to fully explain how beautiful the course was and how great the organizers are. Click here for a great article about the race from The Garden Island newspaper.

My parents. I am so grateful that my parents cheered us on and have provided unwavering support all of these years. The week vacationing with them in Hawaii was a blast.

My kids. One of my kids stayed home to house sit and take care of our pets because it couldn’t get the week off from work. (Thank you, Evan–we missed you). The other two, Kaitlin and Keil, completed the race as well. The two of them made the experience all that more special.

My husband. I also am incredibly grateful that Orlando was able to spend the week with us. His job as an airline pilot often prevents him from getting to every family function. Not only did he get to spend the whole vacation with us, but he walked with me for almost two miles of the race and also got some great film footage. He has been my biggest supporter over this past decade and never once questioned why I wanted to do this or suggest I should be spending my money on better things. Thank you, Orlando, from the bottom of my heart. You are an amazing, supportive husband and I love you.

Denise. We’ve been through three decades of experiences together and I thank you. Thank you for coming up with this crazy idea, for helping me stay young, and for keeping it real. I’ve learned so much by being your friend. (Hug).

My health. I expect to be on an anti-coagulant for at least a year and I’ll have doctor’s visits to make sure I’m on the right path towards healing. I still feel like the news is still too new for it to completely sink in. Also, despite the occasional soreness or run-down feeling, I generally feel really good and pretty energetic so it’s hard for me to remember to take it easy. I often need to remind myself that what happened to me was very serious and could have taken my life. I continue to read as much as I can about pulmonary embolisms and will forever be grateful that I was prompted to go to the hospital when I did. Sometimes pain is a blessing.

Future races. I’m already registered for three upcoming races and want to do more. In time, I will learn more about whether or not it’s possible for me to regain my full lung capacity and how much I’ll be able to exert myself–if at all. Only time will tell.

My yoga practice. I can’t close this post without giving a shout-out to Bikram Yoga. I am 100% convinced that yoga was a huge contributor to the positive outcome I had health-wise. I didn’t need supplemental oxygen while I was in the hospital and my heart and lungs remained strong through all of this. I attribute that, in part, to my running. I also think Bikram Yoga had an even bigger influence on how well my body coped through what essentially was a life threatening condition. Namaste.

Alaska Half

Date: August 20, 2016

Location: Anchorage, Alaska (Skinny Raven Half)

Time: 2:27:12

Distance: 13.1

The 49th state is my 49th state! What a great feeling to be this close to my 50-states goal. This was a whirlwind of a trip, but one made more meaningful because my daughter and one of my sons completed this race with me and my whole family came along for the trip. For Keil, this was his first race ever and even with minimal training, he finished in 2:33.21. I was really proud of him and hope this experience sparked an interest in racing and running for him.

KeilSkinnyRaven

Keil

Kait outraced us all and I was really proud of her 2:18:55 time. Both Kait and Keil plan to run Hawaii with me in January, so I’m really looking forward to that.

Denise was also able to run this race, and that made it even more meaningful. This was her 47th race, but her race calendar allows us to run Hawaii together as our 50th state. After working towards this goal for ten years, it’s so nice to see our plans come together.

I wish we would have had more time to spend in Alaska. On Friday, we barely had time to fly in, get over to the convention center and pick up our packets (then buy Kait a new pair of running shoes since she forgot to pack the ones she had been training in–oops), and grab dinner. The next morning was the race, we showered and grabbed food, then all flew out SUPER early on Sunday morning.

 

SkinnyRavenKaitcropped

Kait

On the plus side, Orlando and I can now able to say that we have been to all fifty states in the country. He was able to accomplish that thanks to his extensive traveling as an airline pilot, and I can thank my 50-states half marathon goal for being the reason I have visited so many states.

While staying in Anchorage, we used airbnb for the first time and couldn’t have been happier. Renting a house for the whole group of us was a lot cheaper that it would have been to get hotel rooms plus it allowed us to have more shared space and kitchen facilities–I would definitely consider that option again in the future.

The race itself was a mostly flat out-and-back course and, despite my irritation that it was raining the whole entire race, I actually ended up enjoying it. The 60-degree temperature with very light rain made for very enjoyable conditions–not too hot and not too cold. The water stations were plentiful, the crowd support was good, I loved the race medals, and the only complaint I would have has to do with the width of the running path in some portions of the course. Because it was an out-and-back, it got a bit crowded at some points. All-in-all, though, it was great and one I would definitely recommend.

Next up: Hawaii in January! Can’t wait.

 

SkinnyRavenStart

Race start. Kait, Keil, and I are at the far right.