Weight, What?

I am conscious about my weight, like most people are. I know how much I weigh and have a fairly good idea about what I should weigh to be healthy. But what should I weigh to be a successful runner?

While I’ve never “cared” about the numbers on the scale, I’ve often monitored them – I just never did anything about it. I’ve never been on a diet. I’ve never made any attempts to lose or gain weight. I always figured that if my jeans fit and I felt good then I was fine. Numbers are meaningless.

But are they?

I’ve been thinking about how to make myself a faster runner, how to shave off a few more minutes from my PRs. My training has been fantastic the last few cycles. I’m (relatively) injury free. But I also know that the faster I get, the less time I can take off of each race. I took large chunks of time off in my past three races (3:41 to 3:22 to 3:18), but a mere 47 seconds faster in Boston. I was 110 pounds for those first three races, but 117 when I raced Boston. So where is there room for improvement? Well, my weight obviously.

I found it a little difficult at first to find information or to even start the discussion about weight because it is a touchy subject, especially among women, and it seems almost taboo these days to even question body weight. But I was recommended a fantastic book that was clear, concise, and an easy program to get started.

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I purchased Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald through Amazon. I get no perks for this review and these thoughts are my own.

This book is great and I highly recommend it to every endurance athlete. The thing about Racing Weight is is that it isn’t about how much you weigh, but rather your body composition. It is about reducing body fat for a leaner (lighter) body, making your body weight relative. It does not tell you how much you should weigh as there is no exact target. And Matt Fitzgerald does not subscribe to the notion of “lighter is faster”, but rather leaner is faster.

This of course makes a lot of sense. I have always noticed that I do not have a lot of muscle definition in my racing photos. While I see some fantastic action shots with quads bulging, I always tend to look a bit more rounded. I’m very light weight, but I’m not as lean. I don’t necessarily need to lose weight, but rather work on my body composition.

So, what am I doing about it?
1. I read the book. It’s insightful and encouraging. I feel less pressure about how much I weigh and confident about moving forward.
2. I purchased a new scale! I bought this lovely digital scale from Greater Goods through Amazon. It measures weight, body fat percentage, BMI, and more. It comes in eco friendly packaging as well as donating a portion of their proceeds to end child trafficking & counseling services for survivors.
3. I started a food log. I am keeping track of my food alongside my running journal and recording my Diet Quality Scores with it. There is an app that goes along with Racing Weight but I have no tried it yet. I’ll stick with pen & paper for a few weeks first. You can also use the web version of the scoring system here.
4. I started a weight log. This part I am less comfortable with, but I know it is necessary, at least for a few months or through the next training cycle until I actually know what I am doing. While I may weigh myself a few times a week, I only plan on recording all the info once a week, and then once a month once marathon training starts again.

So, here I am, Day One on this new journey towards my own racing weight. My numbers are not good or bad – they just are what they are, that is going to be my attitude through this whole process. These are my numbers for Week One, Day One:

Body Weight: 118.4 pounds – this is a normal weight, but certainly not a racing weight
Body Fat: 17.3% – below average, but can be improved for racing performance
BMI: 20.2 – again, within normal range
Bone Density: 5% – slightly higher than average for women
Water: 59.5% – on the low end of normal
Muscle: 35.9% – slightly higher than average

It may take me a few training cycles to know what my optimum racing weight will be, but my guess is in the 110-112 pound range. I’ll update as I progress through this journey and include my findings with my next few races. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on racing weight and body composition. Have you found your racing weight? Would you be willing to try? Leave some comments below!

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Planning a Recovery and Another Race

It’s half past ten in the morning and I’ve only just now combed my hair. My bed is still unmade, chores are still undone, and I haven’t done a lick of work. I’ve been in recovery mode and it is making me complacent and lazy. Those who have been following my blog know that I run with anxiety and depression, and nothing triggers depression faster than a week off of running.

I’m a planner. I need to know ahead of time all the small details. It’s an issue with control and one of my mental health triggers. But, after running a few marathons I’ve learned that it doesn’t just end at the finish line &  I need to prepare myself for the recovery. Knowing ahead of time how I’d handle the post-marathon days, I wrote up a mini plan to accommodate the two recovery weeks that were necessary, plus two more build back weeks. I had already wanted to run a half marathon 6 weeks after Boston (legs permitting) and built that into my recovery plan.

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I know that racing again so soon isn’t recommended, but I don’t think my family can handle too much more of my moodiness. (I’ve been unpleasant to say the least.) I was on an incredible high the week after Boston – but once the soreness in my legs passed, depression took over. I went manic. I decided to forgo the May half marathon and instead seek out another full marathon. I wanted a summer marathon, and then another late fall race. I wanted to squeeze in at least three. I was confident I could do it. I needed to do it.

But I took a deep breath & had to get honest with myself. I hadn’t even run a step yet and was looking to jump into another training cycle! Not a good idea. I’ve decided that I do need a serious break from long training cycles, and instead am going to go for A Summer of 10ks. I want to do a couple of half marathons, since I’ve never specifically trained for one, and really want to work on getting my 10k time down to under 40 minutes. I am looking at a lot less weekly mileage over the summer, which I think will be good for me, and (hopefully) will make up for my short recovery period.

I am feeling very good as I close up the second week of recovery. I have no aches or pains, and the few runs I went on this week were very enjoyable. But I am looking forward to getting back to work, back to routine. How has your post-marathon recovery gone? What is next for your racing shoes?

The Most Epic Run

Okay, I think I’m ready to talk about the Boston Marathon now. I’ve been recovering since Monday, and I’m still not 100% – I won’t be for awhile yet. But it’s also taken me a few days to stew in the aftermath of the run, to let the awesomeness come to me. Unlike a lot of people, I was not overtaken by the greatness of running Boston. I was simply in survival mode, trying to get the course behind me. I did not relish in the moment, or cry at the finish line. In fact, I was hardly aware of what was happening around me. But, as the moments pass since Monday afternoon, it’s coming to me in little waves, like an amnesia stricken patient getting her memories back. I’m looking back on the run with complete awe.

I can’t believe I did that.

I had a really tough time sleeping the night before. I had horrible dreams of getting lost and going the wrong way. I wanted to sleep in as long as possible, but couldn’t even make it to 6 am. I lounged in bed, drinking some horrible hotel coffee and watching the news. As expected the local station was all about the marathon, the insane weather, and the stories of various athletes that would be running in a few hours. There was a story about a group of runners driving all night from Toronto because their flight had been canceled. There was another group from Minnesota in the same boat. Suddenly my drive in the day before didn’t seem so bad.

I got dressed and applied my Vaseline. Ate my oatmeal, drank my sports’ drink (“a bottle in the belly!”) I sort of felt like I was preparing myself for a battle, like I was headed off into some unknown. I wrote my final Facebook post – a farewell to my former non-Boston Marathoner self I suppose – and packed up the room.Screenshot (48)

Being in the second wave (corral three), I didn’t start until 10:25. This meant I could take the 9am shuttle bus from the hotel to the South Street bussing area where I could take the official shuttle bus to the Athlete’s Village. I was assured the whole trip would take less than 30 minutes, giving me ample time in the village to get to the starting line. However, with the extreme weather and long lines of cars trying to get off the highway, my shuttle from the hotel was delayed. The official bus filled quickly and we were on our way within a few minutes. But most of us on the bus were Wave 2 runners and we nervously checked our watches. The bus creeped along in nearly stalled traffic and we inched our way to the Athletes’ Village. We weren’t going to make it!

The bus let us off at 10:20. We jogged, panic mounting, into the Village, while an intercom was directing Wave 2 runners to the start line. It’s nearly three-quarters of a mile from the Village to the start line – I had to move! I started running through the crowd, avoiding mud when possible, tearing through it when inevitable. Runners were packed in like sardines and the dense throng of people plus the need to get to the starting line ended up being just the right seeds for a panic attack. I needed to get to a space  away from the crowd and the noise where I could sit for a moment and calm myself down, but there wasn’t time for that. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t see straight. Fear was beginning to take over. I was stripping warm up gear as I went, trying to focus on the yellow poncho in front of me. The guy was big and tall and making a path through the crowd to the start line, so I stayed tucked in behind him. Suddenly a gust of wind knocked his ball cap off and he stopped to turn and grab it. It was like plowing into a brick wall. I didn’t have anything to focus on now. I tried to stay calm, but it was disorienting in the rain, the crowd. I pulled off to the edge of the crowd and changed my shoes. Changing shoes in the rain while trying to keep your socks dry is an interesting exercise in futility. I kissed the old New Balance Vazee Paces goodbye and looped the laces together. These shoes carried me through Toronto, the race that qualified me for Boston. I was going to miss them, but I hoped that they would be donated to someone who could use them for a few more miles. The New Balance 1400v5s felt like gloves; warm, dry, snug.

I frantically crossed the start at 10:31 – 6 minutes late.

Now, of course it doesn’t matter when you cross the start line because it’s all CHIP timing, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was flustered. I was starting in the back of corral 8. Gary from Halifax was at my elbow, calmly talking to me. I don’t know if he could tell I was having an anxiety attack or if he was just friendly, but focusing on the conversation with him was incredibly helpful. That distraction was exactly what I needed to calm myself down and get my brain in order to tackle the mission ahead. Unfortunately I lost him by the 5k mark, but by then I was okay and able to trudge on alone.

My first 3 miles were very, very slow since I started with a slower group and muscled with an anxiety attack. I tried to make my way through the crowd, but didn’t want to spend too much energy weaving in and out, so I made peace with the conservative start. There were plenty of miles ahead of me to make up for it. I clicked into the pace around mile 4 and actually held on fairly consistently. The aid stations were slow, but I had no choice but to use them. I could not open my fuel pouches due to frozen, numb fingers and had to rely on the Gatorade being handed out as both fuel and hydration.

I knew that my husband would be at the Ashland station near mile 6, so I stayed to the left hand side. Sure enough, he was there, looking in the wrong direction! I shouted several times to get his attention & he caught a glimpse as I sped by. Sadly, because I started late, I was “behind schedule” (even though I was on pace) and this meant that he missed the train to the next stopping point. It was two hours for the next train, and I’d be done by then, so he and a fellow spectator shared a Lyft to the finish. Running, I had a feeling I probably wouldn’t see him again until Boylston Street, but couldn’t help by scan the sides the rest of the way into Boston.

I kept feeling the sensation that my shoes were coming untied, but every time I checked, they were fine. Thankfully my shoes did not hold on to water too much and my feet felt light the whole way. Unfortunately, racing shoes were not the best option in the rain or the down hills as my feet slammed to the front of my shoe repeatedly. By the end of mile 16 I was in agonizing pain. I could feel the blood squishing between my toes and tried to convince myself not to think about it.

The rain pelted down hard and fast. There were moments where it let up a bit, but it never fully stopped. I struggled with a headwind almost the entire way and gusts that nearly knocked me over. There were moments where the rain came so hard that it felt like stinging needles and there was no option but to put your head down and push on.

Large white medical tents with warming blankets and EMTs tempted me from the sidelines. “Come in, stop, and it can all be over” they beckoned. It was becoming harder and harder to pass by them. I began talking to myself and counting down the miles out loud to distract myself. I whooped with glee when the rain fell in sheets – not because I enjoyed the rain, but because I wanted to trick myself that I was.

The spectators were loud and dense. They lined the streets nearly the entire course, despite the freezing, awful wet. High fives, ponchos, food, dry socks and gloves were being handed out the whole way. I saw people opening Gu packets for runners and tying their shoes. Medical staff and police officers dotted the crowd as well. It was all a controlled chaos. It was all so intense.

Word spread to us in the pack that Desi Linden had won the women’s race. Elation erupted from us as we all celebrated her victory from our places on the course. I think the joy of her win helped give us all a little second wind and motivate us to keep trying for a little bit longer.

I made it to the Newton hills and that’s where it all nearly came undone. The going up was fine, it was the going down that wasn’t. My feet screamed at me at the slightest down hill and I felt relief when the elevation increased. I started to wonder if my foot was broken. I got through Heart Break Hill okay, but actually cried in agony when I slowly came back down the other side. There was plenty of more down hill through mile 24 and I wasn’t sure if I could make it. I passed a man running barefoot and it struck me as a great idea. I wanted nothing more than to rip my shoes off. But I knew the ground would be icy and if I had broken my foot, I would need all the cushioning I could get. Not much mattered now except getting to the finish line.

I always thought I’d be emotional once I’d see the Citgo sign. It’s the iconic moment when you know you are nearly there. But I was cold, I was in pain, I was dizzy. I didn’t even have the energy to cry anymore. The only thing that kept my body running was knowing that walking would take longer. I was also afraid that if I stopped, I might never start again and not finishing Boston was not an option. Time didn’t matter – finishing did. But with a mile and a half to go I glanced at my watch. I was behind pace. This was slightly crushing, but I kind of knew I was behind for awhile due to those hills. I had trained for a 3:15, but readjusted my goal to a 3:20 once I knew the weather would be awful. Now I wasn’t even on track for that. I did some quick math. If I really pushed it I just might make it in with enough to beat my qualifying time. I didn’t have much left in the tank, but I figured I might as well empty it and see just how close to the finish I could get.

It wasn’t pretty. I pushed. It wasn’t good enough. I pushed harder. I needed to get to the finish line faster, but I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t. I turned right on Hereford and gritted my teeth. I wanted to scream. I wanted to never run a marathon again. I turned left on Boylston and smacked into a wall of sound. The crowds were screaming frantically. I was running frantically. I wasn’t going to make it, no matter how I tried. My soul was collapsing in on itself. I pushed more. The finish line loomed ahead, big and blue in the grey. I was never going to make it.

I dug down into the last little bit and found a wee kernel left in the bottom of myself. Strava data tells me I peaked at a 4:46 per mile pace. I don’t recall it, but the race photos reveal me crossing the finish with my arms wide and a smile on my face. My official CHIP time came through at 3:17:30. That’s a personal record by 47 seconds. I did that.

I ripped my shoes off and the release of pressure gave immediate relief. I staggered along, sock footed, as volunteers draped a cape around me, slung a finisher’s medal around my neck, and handed me water bottles and food. I began shaking violently and had to stop every three steps to muster the strength to go three more. The nearly quarter of a mile walk to the family meeting area seemed to stretch out in front of me for impossible miles. Medical staff kept asking if I needed a wheelchair, but I knew a trip to the med-tent could take awhile and my husband was waiting in the cold with my warm clothes. I had come this far already, what was a short walk to the end of the block?

Sure enough, he was standing there on the corner, waiting for me. He was wet, but solid and warm. He helped me into the John Hancock Building where a warming center had been set up for the hypothermic athletes. Using my cape as a personal privacy tent, I stripped off my wet clothes and pulled on the dry ones. My feet were a rainbow of colors and blood seeped from under the toe nails. My right foot was quite swollen and tender to the touch. But there were so many runners in much worse shape and I felt that I was taking up valuable space on the carpet, so after I was changed I cleared out. Walking was difficult due to the pain in my foot (and quads!), but mostly because I was shivering so violently. The rain continued to pour as we made our way to the train station.

I shivered on the train for an hour. I shivered as we waited for a taxi to take us back to the hotel. I shivered on the two and half hour drive back home. I shivered in my sleep. It took a very long time to warm up again. But after lots of hot beverage and good food, the numbness is lifting and memories of the race are coming back to me. There aren’t any pictures because we were afraid the camera might get ruined in the rain, but I am able to replay it all in my mind like a movie, and it’s fantastic. Looking at some of the info the BAA has posted, I’m amazed at what we all did on Marathon Monday.
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Boston Marathon 2018 was indeed the Most Epic Run. I don’t even know if anything else will ever compare. It was a battle and a half, it was both exhilarating and humbling. It showed me just what kind of grit I’m made of and man, oh man am I okay with that. While I swore off running at mile 24, now, a few days later, I really cannot wait for the next gun to go off.

 

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My Stats:
Official Time: 3:17:30
Pace: 7:32
Overall Place: 4749…………..top 18%
Gender Place: 624……………..top 5%
Age Division (18-39): 564……top 10%

Race day statistics from the BAA 

My Strava Data

Boston Marathon Training: Final Taper

Wow, what a week. Tapering is tough and tapering before Boston is really tough. I spent the whole week being nervous-excited…and thinking about weather. The forcast for Marathon Monday is bad and getting worse every time I refresh the weather app. I went to Goodwill and picked up some sweats to toss at the starting line and have gone back and forth on my wardrobe choices a dozen or so times. But we’re here now and there’s no more prepation or training to do. In 12 hours I RUN!

Monday: An easy 3 mile trail run with the dog.

Tuesday: Track Day! It was more of the same miserable April weather: cold, wet, heavy snow. But, the track is fun even in the yuck. 2 miles slow warm up (drills included), 3×1200 meters (5:00 target each) with 200m walking recoveries, followed by 4x400m (1:25 target each), with another two miles cool down.

Wednesday: Slow, easy recovery miles on the soft trail. 4.6 total for the day.

Thursday: Full rest day. Starting to feel very slow & sluggish. This is the worst part of tapering – so tired!

Friday: Again I stayed to the soft trails for a short tempo run. 1.5 mile warm up, 3 miles at marathon pace, another 1.5 mile cool down. This felt amazing!

Saturday: Another full rest day. I was restless, so I deep cleaned the whole house. May have overdone it because I was in bed and passed out by 9pm.

Sunday: This is the last of it! 3 easy miles in the morning, then traveling to Boston. Picked up my bib at the expo and went to the Athletes’ Pasta Dinner. I am pumped and ready to go!

Boston Marathon Training Week 15, The Taper Begins

I began the taper phase of my training cycle this week. This means that my overall mileage decreased, while I still maintained the same intensity. Instead of pushing a 50+ mile week, I wrapped it all up with just shy of 40. It felt odd taking a two week taper, but I wanted to closely follow the plan, so I did as it said. I had some ups and downs this week, but I know that a lot of that is just part of the taper. You start to notice all the little aches and pains as you take another rest day and your body heals itself from the months long preparation. We also had a lot of foul weather in New England this past week, which was less than inspiring to get out there and do the work that needed to be done. Nonetheless, I faired through and pulled it off.

Sunday & Monday: Both days were rest days. Sunday was easy to take off, Monday was a bit harder. While I did itch to run on Monday morning, a random snow storm dumped another 4 inches of the horrible white stuff, so I didn’t feel too bad about staying inside.

Tuesday: Track Day! It was cold and rainy, but I had another awesome workout. I did everything, including the warm up and cool down on the track because I felt that the softer surfaces would probably be more beneficial for my legs. I ran 5 x 1000 meters with a target of 4 minutes per. The wind on the back stretch made pacing a bit difficult, but I hit each one spot on. This was followed by 6 x 200 meter strides. The target for this was 45 seconds, but I got a bit ahead of  myself and ran them between 38 and 40 seconds. I felt great! 2 miles warm up & cool down made for a total of 9 miles.

Wednesday: I traded in Thursday’s rest day for today due to severe back pain. I wasn’t sure what I had done to cause the spasming, but could hardly move. I spent the day on the couch munching Aleve – which did nothing.

Thursday: I was sore, but able to move, so I braved it and went out for a super easy 5 mile run in the woods. I felt good and I felt a lot better after the run. I was also lucky enough to be able to book an emergency massage in the afternoon at Green Blessings Center. It was amazing. 90 minutes later my headache and back pain were gone!

Friday: The workout of the day was the ever favorite, Two by Twos. 2 miles at warm up pace (8:30 pace), two by 2 miles at half marathon pace (7:00) with a mile off (8:00), followed by 2 miles cool down (8:30).  It was snowing hard, making the trail slippery and visibility difficult. It was during this workout that doubts began creeping into my head about my marathon goals. But, I squashed them with each mile that I hit on target.

Saturday: More snow & sleet for a 5 mile recovery run. Will we ever have a Spring?!

Sunday: The last double digit run of the training block! 10 miles at a consistent easy pace. Again, I ran on the trail for softer footing. All the niggles have started and this 10 miler at an 8:30 pace felt harder to maintain than my 18 miler at pace! Looking forward to getting this race over & done with.

I have another six days of tapering, a few race day preparations to make, and lots of hydrating to do. I’m nervous-excited and looking forward to testing out my legs in Boston. I don’t think the reality of the race has quite set in yet since I’ve been trying to keep my mind occupied with other things at the moment. I’m mostly trying to appreciate the down time, the resting, before I have to get going.

What to do During Taper Week

Taper Time is a rough time for many runners. We’ve just spent three months or more ramping up the volume to suddenly cut back, rest, recover, and sit & wait for go time.

It can really suck. It leaves many a runner antsy, fidgety, bored and not sure what to do with themselves.  Morning runs that took up the better part of an hour are now over in half the time. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out just what to do with all this rest and recovery.

But don’t worry! Here is a handy list of things to do instead of running during your taper period.

  1. Obsessively check the weather. That extended weather tab is there for a reason, people! Even though we all know that any forecast more than 24 hours out is meaningless, just keep refreshing it and slowly lose your sanity.
  2. Pack your running gear. Because the weather forecast isn’t going to be accurate until 5 minutes before you toe the line, you are going to have to pack for every possible climate. Pack aaaaaallllll of the things!
  3. Unpack your bags. Of course packing up all your stuff isn’t a good idea. You’ll still need a pair of shorts for those irritatingly easy runs this week!
  4. Notice the niggles. Your body is suddenly going through all sorts of aches and pains. You’d better open up a new tab in Google (don’t want to lose that weather page!) and check out your symptoms. Be confident in your self-diagnosis of Something-or-other-itis and cancer.
  5. Check out a different weather app because Weather Channel is clearly lying to you.
  6. Draw up a Pros & Cons list regarding racing in underwear.
  7. Commit the course map to memory just in case you actually do outrun the pace car.
  8. Study the elevation profile, begin doubting your mountains worth of hill repeats.
  9. Print off pace bands for your goal time. Then print off ones for your B, C, & D goals. Wear all of them proudly. #runnerfashion
  10. Eat carbs guilt free for the first time since high school. Suck down that pasta like it’s going out of style. Cover your bed in bread slices and roll in it. Bask in the carbohydrate-y goodness.

This should keep you busy until Race Day and maybe distract you from any nerves. Don’t stress; this period seems to crawl by, but you’ll be on your way to 26.2 in no time. YOU GOT THIS!

How I Hydrate & Why

Stay hydrated! Drink 8 glasses of water a day! If you feel thirsty then it’s already too late!

These are the things we are always told by our doctors, moms, well meaning Internet articles. But how does one hydrate when water is so, well umm, boring? As a runner, of course it is important to stay properly hydrated, but is filling my tumbler 8 times a day at the tap really necessary?

The answer is; It depends.

Annoying, I know, but it really does depend on the individual: how big someone is, how much someone runs, how hot the day is. There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to hydration. But, since I get asked a lot about how & what I drink, I figured I’d hash it all out here. And, being Taper Time, it seems especially poignant to discuss hydration as the marathon approaches.

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This is my basic beverage line-up. I did forget to toss in a can of seltzer water (I usually drink La Croix). I don’t drink soda, so seltzer water is my go-to for bubbles when I’m feeling festive or fun.

I should also note that I don’t consume very much liquid while running or working out. I bring a water bottle to the track, but rarely stop for it, and only bother with my hydration pack on runs longer than 15 miles and only sip at it at the mile marks, consuming a half a liter or less in the course of 20 miles. My hydration (and rehydration) comes before & after running. I do weigh myself before & after long training runs and on hot days to ensure adequate water replacement.

My biggest tips for hydration and beverages would be:
1. Don’t worry calories, but make sure those calories count. I stay away from sugary drinks (no soda, no added sugar in juices, only unsweetened almond milk). It’s okay to drink milk or juice, just make sure it is quality.
2. Read the ingredients. Again, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, fake colorings, & additives are not healthy and not worth the “flavor”. Stick to real ingredients.
3. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum.

Every morning I start with a cup of coffee, and if I’m lucky and not distracted too much with animals, chores, or kids, I get to drink it all while it’s still hot. I save it for after a morning run, or make sure to get an hour between the last sip & hitting the pavement to avoid the need to make a pit-stop. I have found that the caffeine doesn’t help with my performance or the wake-up process, but that could be because I am just desensitized to it. I don’t get headaches if I skip it, but I really look forward to the warmth of it after a long run in the cold.

After workouts, and after the coffee, I make sure my big 22oz Ninja Tumbler gets filled up with fresh water and cucumbers. Sometimes I do lemon slices or berries, but usually just a few rounds of cucumber. I have found that I drink far more water if there is stuff in it. I’ll refill this bad boy two or three more times (fruit can be reused throughout the day without the flavor being altered) before the day is through. If it is a particularly hot day, a long run, or an intense workout, I’ll refill my very well-loved sports bottle with Emergen-C Electro-Mix powder and a liter of water. I love this stuff! Unlike Gatorade or PowerAde, it doesn’t have weird coloring or flavors. It has a slight lemon taste – that’s it! It contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium, but not the sugars and garbage of other sports drinks. This is my go-to for electrolyte replacement and I drink it every other day during taper week, the night before a marathon and half of the bottle before the start of a race. Because it doesn’t have sugars (i.e. fuel), I wouldn’t recommend using it in place of typical sports drinks during a marathon. I have used it successfully on very long runs, but always use the drink available on race courses because they contain carbohydrates.

With my lunch I go with a green juice. I like the VitaLife brand because I can get it at Aldi. It has all the veggies and then some and makes me feel like I’m doing something good for myself. I am aware that it is probably just a placebo effect, but I do think that since beginning my regimen of 8oz a day of green juice that I’ve done fairly well in not catching colds. Plus, I really like the taste. And, kind of like a multivitamin, I think it helps to fill in any gaps I may have missed nutritionally that day.

In the late afternoons, around the time the bus drops the kids off, I sometimes feel the need for a warm pick-me-up. I like to take about 15-20 minutes to just sit in the last few moments of quiet and meditate with a warm beverage. Sometimes I’ll make a latte, but if I’m not feeling the espresso I’ll go for my favorite; Teavana’s Matcha Green Tea. I like to make mine as a latte with steamed almond milk and a tiny pinch of sugar. The ritual of stirring the tea along with the comfort of holding on to a warm mug is a wonderful way to ground oneself. Plus it’s loaded with antioxidants, boosts my immune system, and gives me a little energy push.

In the evening, after the kids are in bed and everything has been cleaned up and I finally get to sit down and veg out in front of the TV, I make cup (or two) of peppermint tea. I started drinking peppermint tea to combat my acne (switching to almond milk from cow’s milk wasn’t quite cutting it). The tea made a huge difference within a week as well as helping me calm down at night and sleep better. But I also noticed that the persistent calf cramping went away once I began the tea regimen and soon discovered that peppermint is highly recommended for athletes. It improves heart rate, respiratory function, and blood pressure. It enhances mood and concentration. It works as an anti-inflammatory. It also helps tame irritable bowel syndrome. I will be adding this green gem to my morning routine as well in place of coffee. I also look forward to drinking it iced in the summer.

I consume roughly 82-100 oz of liquid a day (more in the warmer months), but as you can see it is not all just plain, boring water. And it has all become a bit of a ritual for me with certain beverages at certain times throughout the day. All liquid counts! I attempted the 8 8oz glasses of water a day as an experiment last fall and simply felt bloated and constantly ran to the toilet. Plus it was mentally hard to push through and drink that much water. But when I sat back and looked at what I actually did drink, I decided not to worry so much. I am definitely hitting the hydration benchmarks, and you probably are too. Don’t stress about what you are drinking and just keep a beverage at hand.