Monday, December 30, 2013

Tips and Advice for 24-hour Challenges

I have been researching 24-hour challenges all day and here are some of the tips and advice I have picked up along the way. Thought I'd share here for others to use. Have not yet decided which one but it's between two in the state of Virginia. These are NOT my ideas. I have scoured all over online to find these tips....I have created hot links to give proper credit to some of the ideas. 

* 5/1 ratio is recommended over a 25/5 ratio. Much easier in the end. 
* The total running that you do is not much longer than your longest continuous training run or race
For the race, use caffeine to stay awake at night, and don't use any for a month before the race, in order to increase its effect.
 Timex Ironman Triathlon watch which has an alarm feature that can be set to go off repeatedly at five and then one minute intervals
* For 24 hours it appears that the best runners to 10-20% more miles in the first half than the 2nd half.
*  I would say start out with a plan to run for 30 mins. then walk for 10 mins. After 12 hours or so (assuming the race starts sometime in the late morning or noon), maybe switch to a shorter turnover between walking and running, doing 15 mins. run and 5 mins. walk.
* If you can get good sleep the 2 nights before the race you will be way ahead
* Make sure you have sufficient clothing to stay warm at night when you are moving slow and your body temperature drops because you are supposed to be asleep
many of the (what i thought to be) soloists were going with 2 water bottles and a small under-saddle mounted pack
be sure to size up a 1/2 size in the shoes and have an extra pair on hand for the 2nd half maybe in a drop bag along the way or with your crew. 
Back to back weekend long runs are huge however. 20,25,30 on sat. Followed by another 20-25 on sun 
 Bring along first aid medication and tools and treat your blisters and chafing before they start becoming a problem
 A timer with alarms set according to your planned pacing is going to help a lot.
It can be helpful to break down the day into more digestible morsels and set your run/walk strategy accordingly. You can for example take it 30 minutes at a time and set a 25-minute run to 5-minute walk ratio
Shoes should fit right which normally means, at least half an inch of room in front of your longest toe!  So, when you get fitted for a shoe, there should be no contact anywhere between your forefoot and the sides and front of the shoe  and there should be at least half an inch of room in front of your longest toe of your “longer” foot!  For people with wider feet, you could need slightly more than half an inch of room!
 “make an hourly food plan with enough calories, water, and electrolytes to meet your needs,”
No matter how good or how bad you feel, it won’t last,’” says Rusch. “Knowing this keeps me in check when I feel great and helps me push when I feel terrible. You will feel both. And you won’t be the only one.”
Learn to eat a lot while moving.
Take care of small problems before they become big problems. Fix little hotspots and blisters before they progress. Stay ahead of dehydration.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What I got for Christmas- Running-related gifts

I am so lucky....I got so many gadgets for running from my family 

* Road ID bracelet
* Running sunglasses
* Orange running cap
* Warm women's running hat
* Running socks
* Warm gloves
* Running gloves
* Running bra
* Tights

                I decided against getting a GPS watch. It would be a gadget overkill to have a cell phone AND a GPS watch when the cell phone can do all of it already. Also, most affordable GPS watches only go for 5 hours, so for marathons or any ultras, they would be useless. So what's the point? Interestingly, I am growing out of my need for more and more gadget stage of running, which is wonderful. This year I can focus on running and nothing more. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Running Tips

                  I started out the winter just absolutely hating running the cold, hating the time change, hating the loss of light. I still hate the time change and the loss of light, but at least now I love running in the cold. So I am here to share a few secrets to help you start running in the cold....with a smile. 

1. You must have the right gear. If you are cold when you first go out you will probably begin to dread going out, each time after. Buy the right gear for the cold. Look at magazines and get ideas, read online reviews of what type of clothes will work, join a running community and ask questions. Luckily, it's the holidays, so whatever you think you may be missing, slap it on a google wish list and share with family. I don't have a lot, but I have the right hat for me that keeps me toasty, I have the right tops, the right jacket, I even have 3 pair of shoes so if one gets wet in the snow, I could let it dry by rotating. If you go out and feel totally freezing, you don't have the right clothes. Because your body will feel 20 degrees hotter once you get going, you have to feel just a tad cold when you first go out, but not freezing. 

2. Change the way you think. Most cold days when I go out I see very few other runners. Think, the less runners you see out there, the more badass you are! 

3. Really....don't mind the elements. This past run I just had I was trying hard to avoid puddles. It had snowed and when the sun came out it all started melting into puddles. I was only doing an 8 mile run, so I decided, after unsuccessfully avoiding some puddles, to not care anymore if I stepped on puddles. That is when the fun began. My hot, swollen feet at mile 5-6 felt absolutely amazing every time I ran through a puddle and the cold water rushed into my shoes, giving my feet a much-needed ice bath. 

4. Take pictures. Things look different when it's cold. Use your camera phone and snap a few pictures each time you experience anything beautiful. Think, people at a crowded gym in the winter do not get to see what you see. 

So go out there and have a blast.....badass!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Do You Really Need Support in Order to Run?

                      I am a member of an online community called Women's Running Network and lately I have seen a lot of posts of women complaining about not getting the approval or support from a loved one of their new running habit. Most have begun running recently and their new-found love of running has stirred up their personal relationships. I think as a whole, women have created a huge problem for themselves in constantly seeking approval first and foremost in order to pursue the things they love to do. Relationships will tense up whenever things change, maybe harsh words will be shared, maybe loved ones will, at first, or even for many, many years, not take you and your habit seriously and yes, say stupid, mean, ridiculous things. It's ultimately up to you to either abandon ship at the first sign of trouble OR follow your passion undisrupted by others' opinions, stupid hurtful comments and non-support.
                       Why do we need so much approval anyway? The few times in my life in which I did not care an iota what others thought about my choices, and went ahead as planned, are the times I felt so incredibly strong about my choices. Those decisions were more often some of the best decisions I have ever made. Like in any new love, whether they are people or new habits, we personally must decide just how much it will become a part of us. The benefits I derive from running are so beneficial that I know no one is shaking me off this boat, approval or not. Needing approval places the power in the hands of another and that is a dangerous way to live life. To better explain my point, think of a dog, or any animal for that matter. Do dogs have to get approval for barking? Do fish have to get approval for swimming? Do birds need approval for flying. My point? If running is truly part of your life, than don't sit around waiting for approval or support, just do it. Make you a part of running and running a part of you. Once people see that running is so inextricably a part of your very nature, they will ease up the ruffled feathers and soften with time, or maybe not. But we must disconnect from this intense need to constantly get support and approval in order to grow into who we truly are.
                           One side clause here. Of course, if we have families and children we must be mindful of the time we spend away from them pursuing our ultimately selfish habit. Most runners with families run before their children wake, while they are at school or when they go to bed so as to not sacrifice any "family time". We also must still genuinely be mindful of our loved ones complaints and gauge if their gripes are genuine. In my case, my husband is also a runner, so when I started running he grumbled quite a bit about having to negotiate when we ran on weekends so as to not use up the whole day up. Took a few months to adjust to new schedules and new priorities, but soon things settled and now I check with him the night before and we decide on who will  go first the next day, etc.
                         So don't give up on running just because your loved ones are not so gracefully adjusting to your new life. Forgive, move on, continue running and soon they will see that you ARE indeed serious and that running is a part of who you are. Once they get this fact, based solely on your dedication and non-wavering partaking of your habit, the work will be done for you. Remember, you are a runner and you don't need support or approval for what you do because it's just who you are. The approval and support may come eventually as it did for me a year later, but your goal is to not be driven by them.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just Signed Up for Marathon Number 3: North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon-June 7, 2014

Here are some facts about the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon race from various online sources....take with a grain of salt. 
* The North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon returns to Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, VA.
* The course keeps runners on their toes with ever-changing terrain. Overall, the course consists of 50% singletrack, 30% dirt or gravel double-track, 10% gravel carriage road and 10% paved road.
* 7 hour cut-off for marathon (another website source claims 8 hrs)
* Course guide can be found at:
* Considered among the region’s best trail races
* One year it was very muddy, another it was very hot (90 degrees)
* Come early, they had 10 portapotties for 800 people
* advice: walk up the steep hills, you'll be faster
* The half marathon is more like 14.6 miles.
* It was very well organized,
* started on time.
* Aid stations where well stocked
* Volunteers were attentive and knowledgeable.
* The post race party had plenty of food for all finishers.
* They even had a water truck for cleaning the mud off our shoes.
* Water stops are only spaced out every 6-7 mile
* The surprise of the course is that only about a foot wide for most of it and extremely uneven with muddy sections and horseshoe prints that you could roll your ankles in. (train in trails to train your ankles properly)
* At around mile 4, there is a stream too wide to jump. So be ready to run the remainder 22 miles with wet feet. (ready!)
* It's an out and back race course shared with a 50k and 50mile
* Marathon starts at 9am in June. A bit hot (wear appropriate cool clothing, sunscreen, carry water)
* Not recommend to anyone wanting to get a PR, it's a trail race after all .

This is me doing the Half-Marathon Challenge June 2013