In the beginning​…

…Way back when I started running back in 1900’s in San Francisco, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I didn’t like to ask for help, which is kind of a disastrous combination. I went out, failed, felt bad and went out and did it again.  It went on for months. At some point, I found myself in the local shoe store in the Haight Ashbury noodling around for answers to my 5000 questions,  

‘Why am I so bad at this? When does it get easier? Is my body even built for this? Do you sell a pill to help this process along at all?’

  But the only thing that would come out of my mouth is “My knees always hurt, and I am not sure if my shoes are good.” Those nice people pointed me to some good shoes, and my running and part of my ego were saved. If only I got better shoes from the get-go, it would have made the whole process easier and less painful. But I guess if running came to be any easier, I would not be doing what I am doing now. So there. Here are my top 5 mistakes that I made, and hopefully, you will learn from. 

Bad shoes: Yes, see above. I also ran those shoes into the ground and they may have disintegrated when I was done with them. This also led to knee and hip pain that I sometimes blamed on the extra 10 pounds I was carrying around. Nope, just that my shoes were expired and I needed new ones. (I was also very cheap, so dumping 100 on shoes every 6 months hurt my soul a little.)


Bad bra: When I started running, I wore 3 sports bras on top of each other. I still bounced, but I couldn’t breathe. I finally found a “proper” bra for my DD’s and my life, girls and running were much happier. 

Didn’t run with people: My running buddy was a yellow walkman, a PIxies cassette tape, and maybe the radio from time to time. I didn’t know anyone who ran, so I went out solo. I even trained for my first marathon by myself. Yes yes, I know I can be funny and charming, but after 13 miles, I am no fun to hang around with and my mind was not very friendly. When I moved to Seattle I found a group to run with and it made all the difference. There is a time for me, myself and my music, but I’ll take running with people 90% if the time. 

Stopped running after I ran my goal race: My big goal was running a marathon. It took me 2 solid years to do that. Once I crossed that finish line, I found the couch and stayed there for about 8 months. I now tell people to sign up for a race as soon as your done with your BIG race. Something small and fun to remember why you liked running in the first place.  

Ate all the things: I consumed everything and anything with the idea that “I am a runner now” and that extra weight that I wanted to drop just kept adding up. This one I am still working on this, but now I am better about trusting my hunger levels before eating, and not out of fear that I “might” be hungry later. It’s only 100 calories a mile people, if that’s one of your goals, those are the numbers. So that’s 1 mile for 1/2 of an IPA. All about priorities! 

Thank you, running​.

Thank you. 

You have taught me that I am tougher then I am. 

You have always been there for me. 

I am still learning lessons from you, whether I am ready for it or not. 

You have shown me that I can honestly do anything. 

You were there when I was low. 

You kept be solid when my world was moving. 

You are my anchor, my clouds and my heart. 

Your Pace Or Mine?

Coaches Tip Tuesday! 
Your Pace Or Mine? (You’ll Be Fine.)
  So, I am among a lot of runners. Sometimes they are running, and sometimes there are milling about waiting for their running buddy to come. I am also a skilled eavesdropper and love listening to a couple of running buddies meeting up. The conversation usually goes down like this:  “UG! I haven’t run in a week. I need to go slow today.” “I am very tired,  I am not sure I’ll be able to keep up with you today. ” “My knee is kinda weirding out, so, I might not be able to go the regular pace.” I also hear this when I meet people on a daily basis. It’s like they have a list of go-to holdbacks to deal out to make sure I won’t break them. Just for the record, I have never actually broken a runner. I haven’t even tried. I use to take this conversation to heart and really slow down, or constantly check on them, “is this ok? are you ok?” but know I kind of listen, acknowledge, and then properly forget. I know that it will be fine, and if we are talking, laughing, and are next to me that they are fine. So, I thought it would be a good reminder of what pace looks like for a new runner, or even one who has been around the block. 
First: The first mile, just go extra slow. Your body is trying to wake and figure out what it’s doing. Keep your pace a little slower, or maybe walk for a bit before starting. 
Second: Here is the pace rule of thumb. If you can’t talk, you are going too fast for a “regular run”. If you are sprinting, then no, of course, you can’t talk. But if you are just going for a run with a buddy, then you should be able to talk. Not sing, then you are going TOO slow and are probably annoying people, but a definite 1 sentence at a time, in between breathing, is a good pace. 
Third: Make sure your head isn’t setting the pace. Your brain can sometimes hijack your body and your heart rate and will go into panic mode out of fear. (like the fear of not being able to keep up, feel like you’re being chased, or concern that you won’t be able to make it the whole way. ) A good way to to get your heart and lungs back in charge is to suck a big ‘ol breath in your nose, shake out your arms, and tell your head, that it ‘will be fine’. And you will also be fine. The joke is that it’s just running, one foot in front of the other over a period of time. That’s it. You can do this.  You will be fine!
Coach Beth

2018: Not All Bubbles & Blowjobs.

We were fighting again, this time it was in our teeny kitchen on Capitol Hill. I was next to the sink, and he was on the other side, next to the fridge with his arms crossed. This was our umpteenth fight in as many days as our new baby was around and things had changed. We were no longer on the same team. He was totally shut out, and I was doing my best to survive for team new baby vs. that dad guy. I also had completely forgotten what sleeping was like.

“You don’t get it. You can just go to work, and talk to people, eat whenever you want, and go to the bathroom when you feel like it.” I cried.

“It’s not all bubbles and blow jobs at work, you know!” he shouted. Then we both laughed.

This fight happened 12 years ago, but I always remember the laughter through the pain, through the tiredness, and back to crying again. It was a rough time and I always keep it in my head that I can get through rough times and come out shinier and wiser on the other side.

So, I am opening up my heart to you on a little secret, friend. 2018 was not all bubbles and blow jobs. It was a rough one, and I want to let you know that because I feel its important to show myself in all the lights, the flattering filtered soft glow at sunset along with the grocery store at 2:00 am fluorescent harshness too.

It just started off bad. I made the mistake of making a trip to see my family on Christmas day, leaving my husband alone for over a week and on his birthday too. I didn’t run it by him first, I just made the call. It was back to team new baby vs. that guy. When I got home, I can home to a deeply depressed man, who had lost his light. He hated his job and was just completely burned out.

Oh, also, when I was gone, half of my customers left at the same time. I knew it was something I did, but couldn’t figure out which mistake I made that caused it. So, I made the heart-breaking decision to look for a job. (This was the first time that this had crossed my mind. Apparently, it happens to those who are self-employed all the time, but this one was the first time for me.) Then I can’t find a job, and then a constant play catch-up to pay bills and so on…

I catch some breaks, and get back on my feet, and learn to love my business again.

Somewhere in all of this, I find a heart tearing feeling that I don’t really have a lot of friends, and ones I thought I had are no longer there, and I miss the one who passed away last year, which is hurts me and makes me go inward to figure out some stuff. Hard and ugly stuff…I am still working on this.

I am only writing this for my own document of the truth of this last trip around the sun. I have a superpower of optimism when it comes to everything, and my glass is usually half full. But when I talk to people on a real level, I know all of us are in a hard spot. I don’t want to come off like I am complaining, but I want you, friend, to know that it’s not all bubbles and blowjobs over here all the time. I have been incredibly lucky with many things, but hard is hard and these are the times I grow and learn, and this will make me a better person. Sometimes, hard is good.

That’s what she said.

Pre-Run Check List.

Ready to run? O.K. GO!!
Yikes, not yet. Hold the phone! (do people still say that?) Let’s back this show up a little. Before you get out the door….wait. Back up even more.  Even be before you do the dance of the awkward sports bra. Even before that, there is something that will help in your running career. Pre-run rituals! It’s a great way for your head and your body to match up and get into the habit of getting out the door. Because, as we all discussed before with us new runners, running is mostly mental. So let’s get this brain screwed on right, and your body on board, and do the “Pre-Runs”, so your run will go better, and happier. Mmkay?

Pre-Run Equipment Checks. (Possibly done the night before)

Equipment line up. Have it ready and waiting for you, and imagine it be all excited to go out running like a black labrador.

Ear happiness check. Playlist ready to go? Podcast downloaded?

Garmin or sports mile keeper charged up?

Eat something small 30 minutes before. Like half a banana, or half a piece of toast.

 

Pre-Run Go-to Goals For The Run:

“I will get out the door for at least ____ minutes”

“I will appreciate my surroundings.”

“I will listen to my body, not my head.”

“I will not judge myself on my run.”
Pre-Run Warm-Ups. Pick 2!

Walk for 5 minutes, at a brisk pace.

10 toe-touches.

2 sets of 10 squats.

20 leg swings. Across your body, from side to side, like a pendulum.

If you can start to get a ritual around your running, and your exercise in general, your body will be better prepped, and your head won’t give such a fight. It is like waking up and going to work, you do all these little steps in between and then bam, you are out the door.

Check Check Check!!

Find Your Mojo

So, here’s a question for you. Why do you want to run? Yes, I know it seems great and all your friends are doing it, but why do you want to do it?

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There is that punch drunk love of endorphins or the training for that race you may or may not have signed up for in the near future. But why running? It’s a good thing to ask yourself in case you lose your mojo. It seems like a total no-brainer, the why. But if you think about it, and even write it down, you’ll be much more motivated to keep doing it when the weather turns, or you’re too busy…or when you just have lost that running feeling. AKA: Running Mojo.

First a quick lesson on what mojo is: Running Mojo is a magical feeling that comes with running. It’s that bliss that you get on your run when all is right in the world and all your problems go right out of your pores and slide onto the ground. It is fantastic.

But what if you lose your mojo? I lost mine back in 2011 and I found it under the couch, hiding. Silly mojo! When I did lose it, I went down my go-to list of mojo makers. Here is what I found, and hopefully you will find it helpful if you lose yours, if it’s not under the couch.

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1. Find Your Rest
We put our bodies through some big expectations, and then we are surprised when this feeling of “meh” washes over us when we think about running. If you have been training for something, or stressed out, maybe you’re just tired. Giving your body a week off won’t hurt you. If you place that time on the schedule, and don’t beat yourself up about it, you’ll come back to it refreshed and ready to go go go.

2. Find Different Places
This is my go-to when my love of running lacks luster. Look for new places to go, trails to travel, and new mountains to climb. Even if it’s a different neighborhood near you that you have never been to before, your brain will light up like a Christmas tree with good mojo feelings.

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3. Find Your People
Here is a fun fact: Runners are rad, and when you get a group or partner up, you have accountability plus a person to chat with and solve all the world’s problems over a 3 miler. Running is one of the few sports where you can chat and exercise at the same time. As long as you like short answers. Phew.

4. Find New Goals
Some people do a mile a day or a half marathon a month. For new runners I suggest the 5K a month until they find their love of their new sport. Another one is to jot down a list of “bucket list” races and maybe put it up somewhere you can see everyday. When you visualize your goals, and put action to them, they happen every time!

What the Eff To Eat?

What to Eat? 

NEWS FLASH!!!! Did you hear about the newest thing that can improve your metabolism, boost your speed and make you fly for all runs?

Dirt! Fresh DIRT! It is the answer to all your running needs.

The only drawback is it tastes like… Guess what? Dirt.

Totally kidding!! But, did I have some of you? For like 2 milliseconds? And if it was true, what kind of dirt? I mean if it made all runs amazing…

So now we have come to, “what the heck to eat.” Good news, it’s not dirt. Although, some of those bars out there, claiming all those things above… They come a close second, amiright?

When speaking to new runners, there are some simple guidelines to follow. NOTE: This is for us recreational runners who just want to know what to eat so we don’t feel like dirt or need to find an emergency port-o-potty in the middle of a trail…here are the rules of thumb.

  • Carbohydrates before. Around 45-60 minutes beforehand. Just one serving too, and stick to something easy to digest (toast, banana, cereal). No beer, not a deep dish pizza… I have done meticulous personal trials with these, and have had very bad outcomes. You are welcome.
  • Protein after. Your body has this magical 30-minute window where it becomes a sponge for all things to help replenish your body. I like string cheese or an egg. Even if you aren’t hungry, try to get something down. It will make you feel better for the rest of the day.
  • Gotta GO? Stay away from high fiber items of food before your runs. I had a friend who plowed through a huge bowl of cherries before her first 10k, but it became a race to the next honey bucket. You get the picture.
  • Hydrate! Water helps everything! Skin, muscles, and your overall machine of a body. Tip! Drink all through the day, and not all at once. Chugging water will lead to cramps and side stitches.
  • 1 mile = 100 calories. That’s it. Granted your overall metabolism is boosted, but as far as the actual running, that’s all it is. It’s a good thing to keep in mind when fueling your runs. You might need to rethink that cheeseburger, fries, and margaritas after your next 5k fun run.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and everyone is different. I like the 3T’s: Test. Train then Take Notes: Find out what works and stick to that.

Light Em Up!

This Little Light Of Mine. 

 

BOOM! It happens just like that. The sun is no longer there. Thank YOU winter, daylight savings, and a very northern latitude.

Jerks.

But, when the heck are you supposed to get your run in, especially if you feel uneasy running at night, or in Seattle, 4:00 in the afternoon. Here are a few tips to make it happen, and feel safe doing it.

1. Light yourself up like a mother trucking Christmas tree! I recommend headlamp, butt lamp, and something near your ankles (just to verify to other people that you are indeed a runner, and not a slow, low moving drone).

2. Buddy UP! And make sure they are lit up as well or take out a nice big insurance policy on them.

3. Take off your earbuds. Yes. I know, this isn’t fun. But being aware of your surroundings is essential and you can talk to your buddy, who is also lit up!

4. Stay on well lit and populated streets or parks. AND make sure you are seen by bikes, car drivers and other runners. Don’t assume others can see you. Give a little wave or nod to make sure no one is going to get hit.

5. Weather! It is extra hard to see runners in a downpour or fog. You can still run, but please be extra cautious out there.

And, when in doubt, add another light on there. It may look a little dorky, but dorky is better than dead.

SMACKDOWN!

Cookies, Eggnog, Christmas Cheer! Meet 4 weeks of runs to help keep your sanity and in stay in running shape.
4 weeks. All the Runs!
  • Come to as many as you want.
  • Runs are at an easy peasy pace, with good people, plus, safety in numbers!
  • Prizes are given out to whoever gets the most runs.
  • (Tokens are given out for each run.)
Starts Nov 26th.
Details: All runs meet at Super Jock n Jill except the * classes
Runs:
MTTH 8:30
M-Th 10:30 a.m. & Noon
T&Th 6:30 p.m.
*Wednesdays 11 am & 6:30 p.m. RockIt Class, think track work out to get you stronger/faster and sweaty class at 11 am and 6:30 (meets at the lower Woodlawn track)
*Saturday morning at 9:00. 3-5 miles. Meet at Gasworks
Tokens are given out on every run.
Pre-Sale Price $99 on 11/16
$120 After 11/16
FIRST 10 PEOPLE TO SIGN UP GET A SAFETY LIGHT KIT! Sign Up HERE

Leave Your Work at Work.

Some people say they don’t run because they are afraid they will get laughed at by doing it wrong, or they are too slow and won’t be taken seriously. Especially around Greenlake on a sunny day.

I get that.

But, being a coach, sometimes I do see some people who get around the lake in a running fashion, and want to take them aside and give them unsolicited advice about how to run a little more efficiently. I would do it very nicely and give them a little pat on the fanny to let them know that I care. Some of the things I see may resemble positions from a colorful persons resume, but they are also names to describe people with bad running form.  

   Pirate- Take your arms, and swing them to and fro, across your body, like you are going to sing a shanty or pillage some booty. Strong and across your body. Arrree! You can even sing out “Yo-ho-ho” when doing this. Hey, that’s great! This move should only be used by pirates or pretending to be a pirate, and not for runners. Arms should move in the direction you are moving, and not in front of your body.

 Bouncer Your name is now Scud, or Snake. You’re wearing leather, with studs and checking and winking at underage girls trying to get into a club with their fake id’s. You jump high in the sky to check how big the line is that it trying to get into your hip new club. Please do not run this way. Calves, in jumping or bouncing manner, should not be used much, and this is where shin splints come from the bouncy runner. This is also very painful watching a women runner who bounces too much while wearing a bad sports bra. (Ouch) Think about engaging your quads more, to move smoothly. Smooooth, not bouncy. Bouncy=Bad.

 Office Worker 12 hour says, hunched over a keyboard. If you remove desk and keyboard, throw on some wicking clothes and run. The same posture, you just sat at for your work day, hunched over, with a c-shaped spine, then you are an office worker who hasn’t left their work completely. This is not good as well. Pulling back your shoulders and getting your spine in a more I-shape. This will help you breathe easier and get your body and mind away from the office.

If you run like a runner, and you are a runner