Six Things That Happen When You’re Training

“I like you because you join in on my weirdness.”

Last week, I was chatting with a friend and coworker who was preparing for her first 5k – shoutout to Holly who has now run her first 5k! As we were talking, she recalled something I told her awhile back about running a lot and training for a race – reaching the point where you’re hungry all the time. She laughed and told me I was right, she had reached that point.

First, I thought it was a good reminder that, in the running world, there’s always someone who understands what you’re going through. No matter how gross, borderline embarrassing or weird you think it is, you’re not the only one.

Second, it got me thinking about all those other things that happen to you when you run a lot, especially when you’re in the midst of training for a race, or just work out and lift a ton. From the increased appetite to feeling like an old fogey, these six things, to a normal person, probably seem weird. But to those of us who know, they’re totally normal.

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I see you left food on your plate…you gonna finish it?

All the Food and Good Food
On the one hand, you’ll become an eating machine.

A bottomless pit. An appetite rivaled only by NFL linemen and teenage boys entering their first growth spurt. You will subconsciously find yourself eyeing up the food of everyone who has the unfortunate circumstance of eating near you. Whether you say it to yourself or out loud, “You gonna finish that?” will cross your mind.

On the upside, you’ll get more conscious about what you’re eating.

You’ll plan ahead with good snacks and likely make better choices overall, knowing everything that goes into your body is fuel for your next workout.

 
Exhaustion and Energy
On the one hand, you’ll find yourself getting tired early.

I used to love getting ready at 9:30 to go out for a Saturday night on the town. Now, I secretly look forward to wearing sweats all weekend and crawling into bed at 9:30.

On the upside, you’ll have more energy throughout the day.

You may find yourself becoming more of a morning person, wanting to be productive on weekends, having better focus at work, enjoying a daily walk with your dogs, and especially, looking forward to a workout vs. sluggishly dreading it.

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He sounds like an old man getting out of bed but he’s pretty tough.

Sore and Strong
On the one hand, you’ll feel sore a lot.

More often than not, you’ll feel soreness somewhere in your body. When you get really entrenched in a fitness routine, whether hard lifting or training for a long race, you’ll notice simple tasks don’t come easily.

My husband, for example, lifts heavy and hard. There are days he struggles to put on socks and groans getting up off the couch. Then there’s me. When training for a big run or during race season, I have moments where bending down to put on shoes is taxing and the idea of going down stairs is horrifying.

On the upside, you’ll feel stronger.

And you’ll be stronger. From the simplest tasks like carrying a full load of groceries to your car, to helping a friend move and having no problem squatting down to pick up heavy boxes or lifting the couch.

 
Planning and Prioritizing
On the one hand, you’ll find yourself making decisions and plans based around a workout schedule.

I’ve passed up lunch dates, happy hours and nights out on the town because my training schedule was a priority. But I’ve never felt like I missed out on something, because those moments crossing the finish line make it all worth it.

On the upside, you’ll become a pro at prioritizing time and fitting more into your schedule than you ever thought possible.

Just as I’ve passed on fun things from time to time, I’ve also gotten really good at planning ahead and switching my long run or leg day. Sometimes that means getting up at 4:30 on Friday morning to knock out 10 miles before work. It’s all about making time to fit it all in.

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Training Fridays aren’t Training Fridays without Jimmy John’s.

Scheduled and Synched
On the one hand, you’ll become focused on, maybe obsessed with routine.

You’ll have a specific day you’ll do your long run, certain days earmarked for strength training and a planned rest day, all scheduled out to make sure everything’s covered.

On the upside, your body will start to recognize this routine and get really in-synch with your schedule. Find yourself hungrier and craving carbs on Fridays? Your body knows you do a long run every Saturday morning. When things really start firing on all cylinders, you’ll even notice your bowel movements are on point.

BTW, runners talk about and celebrate poop. We know there’s nothing better than a good one before a long run.

 
Hate and Love
On the one hand, you’ll have days where you hate running and working out, and do not want to do it.

There’s this misconception non-fitness folks have about fitness enthusiasts. They assume we love working out and running, and want to do it all the time. Like we’re lucky to have this magical desire to work out, and it requires no motivation or discipline whatsoever. While I will admit, this is sometimes true to a small degree, it’s not the whole story. You think I wouldn’t love to go home every night, put on sweats and park it in front of the couch for a Netflix binge? But…

On the upside, you’ll fall in love with the grind.

The days you hate running and working out are the exception, not the rule. Most of the time, you’ll enjoy it, look forward to it and know that it’s going to make you feel great.

 
What other totally normal things happen to you when you get deep into a training program? Things the outside world might think are weird? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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Dick Beardsley Marathon – Race Highlights

“Take the lake”

I don’t write reviews or recaps of every race I run. First, that would get obnoxious for readers. Second, while every race is meaningful to me, I don’t always have noteworthy experiences to share for the good of the group.

But yesterday I ran the Dick Beardsley Marathon for the fourth year in a row, and had some experiences I wanted to share. Some funny, some gross, others sad yet heartwarming.

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Contrary to popular belief, holding this sign isn’t exhausting.

The Sign
Yet again another great experience pacing a half marathon. I led the 2:10 group with a steady pace and lots of encouragement, hopefully helping out a runner or two in their quest to finish.

I also had four instances of people commenting on me holding my pace sign. This isn’t super unusual; there’s always at least one person at every race who asks if it’s hard holding the sign for the whole race. But I found it kind of funny that it came up so many times at this race. Maybe I look weak and I should take a hint to work on my form or upper body strength…?
Two Races
For the second year in a row, I chose to run the Beardsley Duo – two races for the day. First, pacing the half marathon, which was fun and great. Second, later that morning, after a partial change of clothes and re-lacing of my sneaks, I lined up at the start line again, this time to run the 5k.

Right off the bat, my legs felt heavy and my glutes really tight from the hilly half marathon course I’d run a few hours earlier. I knew I wouldn’t be getting a PR but I still wanted to run my best. I did and finished in 23:20ish (my official results weren’t available, as there was a problem with my registration and I didn’t get an official bib attached to my name) so if nothing else, good speed work for my next pacing venture – the 1:20 group, 8 min/mile pace, at the upcoming Twin Cities 10-miler on Oct 9.
Running for Jacob, A Race for Andy
While it has made national news, no one is the country is as close to the Jacob Wetterling story as people in Minnesota. For those who don’t know, Jacob was a boy, kidnapped in 1989 near his home in St. Joseph MN. I grew up seeing his face, hearing his story, and never knowing what really happened to Jacob. Recently, his killer was finally found, as were Jacob’s remains.

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Sporting #11 for Jacob, lined up to run the 5k for Andy.

Jacob wore #11 in sports and his family encouraged all athletes to wear #11 in honor of Jacob. Naturally, I participated by marking #11 on both of my arms. What was really great was the Dick Beardsley race organization participated, too. All runners received #11 stickers in their packets to wear. And Mile #11 was dedicated to Jacob.

As for the 5k, it was a special one this year. Last October, Dick Beardsley lost his son, Andy, a veteran who served our country. This year’s 5k was officially named the Andy Beardsley Memorial 5k, and we all wore special bibs to honor his memory. Not only did I think of Jacob out there on the course, I thought of Andy too.
There were plenty more great moments from Saturday.
A beautiful course and sunny, yet cool fall weather.
My friend, Dakota, ran one of her best half marathons to date.
The loudest burp I’ve ever heard by a guy at mile 25 who responded to my laughter and thumbs up by saying, “I had to let that happen so I wouldn’t vomit at the finish line.”
Seeing my old/new friend, GP Pearlberg, race announcer and running coach
My parents came out to cheerlead and take photos.
A little girl ran onto the 5k course at mile 2 to hug and high-five her runner mom.
And I soaked up a great day of running around the lake, one of my favorite events of the year.
Did you run the Dick Beardsley Marathon or any other local race this weekend? Tell me your highlights in the comments. Or, tweet me your humble brag or race day photo and I’ll retweet! Find me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter & Instagram.

As always, if you like this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.

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Coach, Author and OCR Enthusiast – Logan Harpool

“Mediocre efforts achieve mediocre feats. Extraordinary efforts achieve extraordinary feats.”

A bold quote from a bold guy. Yes, it’s time again for a feature of an awesome fit friend in my series of interviews on the blog.

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OCR – where we voluntarily crawl thru mud & water for fun.

A couple years ago I worked for an obstacle race event company called HARD CHARGE. Hands down the best part of that job was all the cool people I met – not just co-workers and local partners, the people who participated in our events. For some it was the first time they’d ever done anything athletic, for others, they were semi-serious athletes looking to compete. No matter what, each had a story.

One story that stuck out to me and everyone on the HARD CHARGE team was a young guy; a formerly out-of-shape guy who found a new love for fitness in obstacle racing. That was cool but that wasn’t the best part of his story. I’ll share that later.

Blog pals, I’m pleased to introduce you to: Logan Harpool!

LP: Tell me about your fitness background – did you compete in a lot of sports growing up?

LH: I played nearly every sport but baseball was what I enjoyed the most. I played baseball all through high school and even traveled to the Dominican Republic to represent the United States in a series against local teams in the summer of 2010.

LP: That’s pretty unique! Sounds like you were really talented; did you go on then to play in college?

LH: I signed a letter of intent to play in college before my senior season in high school. After a change of priorities, I gave up my scholarship to come home and go to school full time.

LP: Was this around the time you got into obstacle course racing (OCR)?

LH: Yes, and when I found obstacle racing was also when I fell in love with the grind. Training for week and sometimes months for an hour of racing i something I really enjoy. Nothing can compare to the feeling and the rush I get when standing at the starting line of a race.

LP: Oh I totally get it! Tell me about that first time you stepped up to the start line at an OCR.

LH: I ran HARD CHARGE in Park City, KS. I was in terrible shape and had never run more than a mile at one time. I did terrible in the event, but I loved it.

LP: Yes, you were at our first HC event ever! So if you weren’t a runner, how did you find your way to us?

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Shortly after his first OCR, Logan won Warrior Dash in Kansas City.

LH: After the death of my best friend, I ran the race to carry out a plan that we had made. I needed something to feed my inner competitor, and OCR seemed to fit the role perfectly.

That was in April of 2013, and then in June I ran a local OCR and took 12th out of 1200+ racers. That’s when it hit me that I could actually win. I started training for real and eventually picked up my first win in a small even in Northern Kansas!

LP: Awesome, congrats! There’s no better feeling than the first win. Except maybe the second, third…!

People know OCR takes some strength but they don’t realize it takes a lot of coordination and poise. I’ve been out there on the courses and seen top athletes take major falls. Did you ever have any biffs?

LH: I fell off of the top of an A frame cargo net once. I was in the lead and feeling tough when I slipped and rolled down the net uncontrollably on the other side!

Another time I was trying to be smooth and get over a wall quickly. My toe caught which launched me face first into the mud. All I heard was the ch-ch-ch sound of cameras going nuts. Thanks, guys.

LP: It is kinda funny when someone falls – once you know they’re okay!

LH: The worst was at Warrior Dash in Kansas City, when I won. I crossed the finished line and walked around a bit before kneeling down. Everyone around said, “Leave him alone, he’s praying.” Though I do pray often when competing, I wasn’t that time. I was recovering from the rack job of the century from the massive waterslide just moments before the finish line. Men: when you go down the slide, cross your legs.

LP: Guys, did you hear that? Ha, good advice!

Not to take the spotlight away from you, but we have to talk about your mom – she’s pretty tough and has gone through a lot right?

LH: My mom is a little beast. In 2011, she was diagnosed with melanoma. After multiple surgeries and a year of chemotherapy, she was deemed cancer free. With a new perspective on life, she started a fitness journey, running 5-7 miles per day and doing various body weight workouts, even some CrossFit stuff with me!

LP: Love it. Is she your biggest cheerleader or does she love to get out and compete too?

LH: She loves to watch me race, but would never pay money for herself to run a race. She’s selfless like that so I signed her up for HARD CHARGE in 2014, and she completed the course!

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Logan’s mom, killin it at Tough Mudder.

In 2015, she mentioned Tough Mudder being on her bucket list. Though she was not dying, she’s happy to be alive and wants to live life to the fullest. I emailed Tough Mudder and they cut us a deal on registrations. My mom and I conquered the 12-mile course. My 5’2″ 125lbs momma was climbing 20-foot walls and crawling through mud like it was nothing. She had never felt more alive!

LP: How cool! Speaking of competing, your wrote a book with that same name – talk about the book!

LH: “Compete!” consists of 20 traits and tactics that are essential for maximizing potential for success. While the book is applicable to athletes, coaches, and fitness fanatics, I wrote it for anyone wanting to achieve a goal or make a dream come true. They must know how to compete. Do more, be more, achieve more!

LP: Why did you want to write a book? 

LH: Most people would never guess I love to write because of how hyper and high-strung I am but I have always wanted to write a book, I just never got around to it. During my fall 2015 semester, I finally made it happen. Just like my book says, if you want it, go after it and make it happen!

LP: Now time for my most important question: What is your favorite food? Or foods!

LH: I really don’t eat a lot…

LP: Oh, oh no. No. Say it ain’t so! I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.

LH: I’m just a really picky eater! Okay, if I had to pick it would be something that my mom makes, some kind of chicken.

LP: Since your mom is the coolest, I’ll accept that.

Do you have a personal “slogan” or quote that you really believe in?

LH: 1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

LP: Lastly, the part of the interview called, “Anything but the Obvious” – what’s something totally unrelated to fitness and all the obvious stuff, that you’d want people to know about you?

LH: I’m actually a germaphobe in public places. If I’m outside, I’ completely fine, but in a public bathroom or even a restaurant, I’m continually watching what I touch. If I have to choose between swimming in a public pool or in a pond, I’m going for the pond. I know that’s weird, but that’s me!
Love it. We’re all a little weird. And weirdness is one of the best things in the world.

In between OCR training, coaching baseball and finishing up his senior year at Wichita State, Logan is a motivational speaker and working on his next book. Those interested in his speaking engagements, or with questions or ideas for his next book can email him at Competeharpool@outlook.com. He’s also on Twitter @LoganHarpool and Instagram @loganharpool.

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Basic Foods to Always Have in the House

“People who love to eat are my favorite people”

Last week, I had another opportunity to guest blog on Seek Health. I shared a post that included 25 essential foods you should always have in your house. Check out Kitchen Must-Haves here; you may recognize this post, as I shared it on the blog earlier this summer.

Especially as summer is ending, back-to-school is in full swing and we’re all starting to get back into a routine, I felt this was a good one to share again.

Below is a list of 25 kitchen basics, allowing for some wiggle room to adjust for your own personal choices, including vegetarians (like me!) and vegans.

Proteins
1. Chicken, fish/tuna, or hamburger (always have one staple)
-Lean, plain versions (not breaded, packed in oil, etc.)

Note: one serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards

2. Eggs or Egg Beaters

Note: if you like hardboiled eggs, they last awhile, are easy to make and can be used in sandwiches, salads or as a snack

3. Greek Yogurt
-Low-calorie/high-protein like Chobani 100 or Light & Fit

Note: if you like sour cream, plain Greek yogurt tastes exactly the same and is a much better choice

4. Cheese
-Shredded and/or thin sliced

Note: lighter-colored cheese is generally the better choice but full-fat cheeses are fine too, just use less

5. Beans
-Black, kidney, chickpeas, etc.

Note: use for Mexican dishes, sandwiches, wraps, or mixed with some veggies for a simple salad

Starches
6. Potatoes
-Sweet or regular (reds, whites, mixes)

7. Brown rice
-White is okay to use too

8. Oats/Oatmeal

9. Wraps, tortillas or light wheat bread (or all, depending on what you like)

10. Wheat pasta

Veggies

A few veggies add some nutrition & spice up plain mac & cheese.

Note: mix a ½ cup of pasta with a whole zucchini, sliced into ribbons/noodles, for a lower calorie, lower carb pasta dish

Veggies
11. Frozen
-Bagged or single-serve; plain or mixes

Note: Variety is good; try to have a few different kinds

12. Bagged spinach and/or head of lettuce

13. Zucchini
-See above, for use with pasta

14. Tomatoes, Cucumber, Peppers, etc.
-Whatever you like; what you’d use on sandwiches, in salads, pastas, etc.

Fruit
15. Berries
-Black, Blue, Rasp and Straw – all are great

16. Apples

17. Bananas
-If you like them on toast or in oatmeal, a half banana is great for breakfast

18. Cherries, oranges and pineapple
-Rotate in, when in season

Fats
19. Peanut Butter
-Go with the natural varieties or a full-fat vs. reduced fat version

Eggs

Hardboiled eggs – one yolk, mashed w/avocado & Greek yogurt. Yum!

20. Avocado

21. Olive Oil

22. Light butter/margarine

Extras and Snacks
23. Soup
-Cans of light and low-sodium versions of your favorite soups
-Mixes (you can make a batch in the crock pot and add extra veggies/protein to it)

24. Rice Cakes
-Flavored ones to snack on instead of chips
-Apple or chocolate flavored for sweet snack (add peanut butter)

25. Protein Bars
-Pure Protein or Quest, ideally

Note: be very cautious when choosing protein bars; many don’t have much protein and they’re closer to a candy bar

Finally, add and adjust so you get some of your own personal favorites. For example, Chris and I love cereal, both as a snack or sometimes for dinner, so we always have at least one box (simple options like Honey Nut Cheerios, Corn Flakes or Special K) and milk.

As always, please share on Facebook and Twitter if you like. And feel free to comment with questions or your own kitchen must-haves, or tweet them to me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Everyday Athletes, Olympics & the Power of a Bib

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself say’s ‘I’m Possible.’”

I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning, computer on my lap, coffee in hand, watching the men’s marathon. Pretty much a perfect morning with just one dark spot – it’s one of the final events in the Rio Olympics. Oh, how I love the Olympics! I’m sad to see it be over.

As I’ve been watching the Olympics and the most elite athletes in the world, I’ve been thinking about everything they do leading up to one competition. The hard work they put in, the sacrifices they make, the years they devote to be able to compete on this level. For the ones who compete in multiple events, the added mental work they must do to be able to prepare for each event; forgetting the success or failure of the event before, looking to the one ahead. For the ones who compete in one event, the overwhelming stress of putting it all on the table; all that work, for one moment.

Kind of gives me chills! Going after the biggest, most ultimate goal for most athletes. And I have to believe they’d all say it’s totally worth it.

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The powerful race bib

While I watched today’s marathon, I started thinking about everyday races. Not just a marathon, but a half marathon, a triathlon or 5k. The local events hundreds of average people take part in each week. Why do we do it?

There’s no gold medal up for grabs, no endorsement deals at stake and no visions of standing atop the podium, hearing your country’s national anthem playing. So why do we, average athletes, race? Why is it we train for weeks or months, get up early on the weekends for long runs, then pay money just to participate in races? What’s the power of that race bib?

On Saturday, I paced the 2:10 finish time in Fargo’s GoFar Woman half marathon. As I went through the miles and met several different women along the way, I had a thought. Maybe we race to capture the Olympic feeling for ourselves. Whether running for a top finisher’s spot or to show ourselves it’s possible – it’s that feeling of competition and achievement, knowing we put in the time and work to put it all out there on the course.

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Pacing. My new obsession.

I saw the determination of the women who passed my group, the gut-it-out looks of the ones who were digging deep to push through the last miles and the joy on their faces when they came across the finish line. We may not be Olympic athletes but there’s glory out there, all our own, that we have the ability to capture. I think that’s the power the bib holds.

Next weekend, I get to do it again as a pacer for the Women Rock half marathon in St. Paul. Even though the games will be nearly a week over by then, I’ll still have that Olympic spirit! And of course my longtime love of running and newfound love for pacing.

Why do you race? Do you love the feeling of competition? Is it more about having a goal to keep you motivated through workouts? Comment or tweet me @runlikegirl311 on Twitter.

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R&R – The Importance of Rest Day and Relaxation

“The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen”

That quote above – you’ve heard it, right? One of those uplifting, motivational quotes that gets passed around Facebook or you workout-enthusiast friend shares a few times a year on Instagram.

There’s a similar quote in the running world that goes, “I really regret that run…said no one ever.”

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Not every run ends with a smile on my face…Burton’s pretty much always this happy tho.

If either of those quotes ring true to you, you’re either a liar or a freak of nature. Sometimes workouts suck. Whether my legs are heavy, my body feels fatigued or I feel weak in general, I’ve had plenty of runs, lifts and other workouts that are terrible. And let’s not forget my at least once-annual long run that’s so awful it makes me cry.

Rather than brush it off and tell myself it’s okay because at least I did something, I’ve used it as opportunities to reflect on why. And what I’ve come to realize is these are all typically results of overtraining and my body telling me a rest day is badly needed.

Like many workout enthusiasts, I often push myself too hard. I’m my own personal drill sergeant with speed intervals. I frequently tell myself, “one more rep,” when squatting. I’m incredibly strict with weekly mileage goals. And not much gets me more excited than reaching for dumbbells five pounds heavier than I’ve repped before.

If I could bottle and sell my motivation and drive, I’d be a millionaire by the end of next week. I love my discipline and the tenacity I have to achieve. But, and I know this sounds strange, it can have a downside. Lack of rest inevitably leads to injury, plateaus, burnout feelings and overall fatigue.

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Summer rest days are a little easier.

Especially in recent years, I’ve had to proactively start scheduling rest days into my week. This has a dual benefit. First, my body gets the day off it needs. Second, if I have a day that I feel like slacking, it’s a good reminder that I need to put in the work now and I’ll get rewarded with a day off soon.

As much as we all want to make time for workouts and push ourselves, the value of a rest day can’t be overstated. Monday, August 15 is National Relaxation Day. I can’t think of a better time to remind myself – and all you, my fellow fitness freaks – about the importance of rest.

Do you notice when your body is screaming for a rest day? Do you schedule a weekly rest day, or how do you stay in tune with your body and balance hard workouts with rest? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

As always, if you like this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.

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Achieving Goals – Not A Solo Sport

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals”

Last month I shared an interview with a guy named Jake. A guy with a wife, two little boys, a job, friends, hobbies and a gym habit. A seemingly ordinary guy but one doing something extraordinary.

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Months of training, a moment of glory – and so much more

This evening, after just under 12 hours of swimming, biking and running – not to mention countless hours of training – Jake became an Ironman. Congratulations, Jake! For those of you who missed his interview, here it is.

Not only did I find Jake’s achievement to be a great example of setting goals and setting them high, I thought it was a perfect time to remind that sometimes, it’s not only the athlete who achieves his or her goal. Whether a goal to make it to the gym three times a week, commit to CrossFit for six months or complete an Ironman, achieving a goal is rarely done alone. It often takes the love and support of those close to us.

In that spirit, two more fitting entries below.

Health, Fitness & Family – Have It All

The Other Half of a Runner – Marathon Support from Spouses

What’s your biggest accomplishment and did support from others help you get there? Comment or tweet me @runlikegirl311 on Twitter.

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