Monday, July 29, 2013

The Runner Kid

My kid likes to run.

This has me spinning in excited circles!

Back in the spring, Ellie asked if she could be a runner.  Melted my heart.

Columbus Running Company (CRC) has a summertime running club for kids called Grasshoppers.  It sounded perfect for Ellie.

The Grasshoppers run together twice a week from June to August.

Ready for her first Grasshopper run.
The Grasshopper participants range in age from 6 years to middle school age.  They do a lot of running through the woods on trails, they play relay and other running games and they also do some running on the track.


Muddy trails.


Look at her go!
 The grasshoppers have had one race so far this summer: The Mile Dash a few weeks ago.
 
It was around 90 degrees out and the whole mile course was in the sun.  Here is how some of our conversation went:
 
I can't run.  It's hot.  I hate the sun.  I hate the word sun.
Hey, do you see that blue arch up there?
Yea.
That's the finish line.
 
And she took off.
 
Sprinting to the finish!

Happy racers.
Thursday will be Ellie's first 5K.  She's super excited and we've already discussed our race plan: we'll run when we can, walk when we have to and finish smiling.
 
Please keep your fingers crossed for cool weather Thursday evening.
 
Do you race with your kids?  I love, love, love that Ellie wants to run with me.  Aleena shows no interest, but she likes to cheer at races.  I'll take it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wonderful Weekend Workouts

It wasn't exactly intentional, but this past weekend was one filled with lots of exercise.  I want to share the highlights with you... 

I ran first thing on Saturday morning.  I met Laurie and Sarah at a park at 5:30am and we logged 9.5 sticky miles.  Great start to the day!

Photo taken and owned by Laurie
Immediately after running, I changed my clothes in the bathroom at the park and headed to a yoga class.  (No need to "ew" here.  The bathrooms are well cared for and really clean.)

I haven't been to yoga since March when I tore my calf.  At my first physical therapy appointment, I asked Brent when I would be able to go back to yoga.  His response almost had me on the floor in a fit of giggles.
"Yoga?  What could possibly hurt your calf in yoga?"
Clearly, he's never taken a Vinyasa yoga class.

As soon as I walked into the room I felt the calm coming on.  We breathed, we moved, we stretched...then the real work started.

One of the things I love about yoga classes is that it's never the same workout.  This particular class gave me a serious workout.  It was hard.  My arms and legs were shaking and I was sweating but with the strategic inhaling and exhaling, it was tranquilizing.

I love yoga.

On Sunday, Randy, the girls and I headed downtown to the Columbus Jazz and Ribs Festival.  I don't care for smokey barbeque.  We went because there was stand up paddleboard (SUP) rentals on the Scioto River all weekend.

I've been wanting to try SUP for some time.  A bunch of my friends went back in June, but I was out of town and couldn't join them.

When we got downtown, I started to lose my nerve.  Maybe I should get in the canoe with Randy and the Little Ladies?

I'd rather not fall in the river.
I'm not a stellar swimmer.
Really.  What if I fall off?

Be fearless, Jamie.

I got on the paddleboard.

I paddled for a few minutes on my knees getting a feel for the board, the water and my balance.

Then I stood up.  I was a little shaky for a minute or two, but the panic subsided and before I knew it, I was paddling down the river.


This was so much fun.  I'm thrilled to say that I didn't fall in the river.

Randy and the Little Ladies enjoyed their canoe ride.  Both girls got a chance to row, row, row the boat.

 
I can't wait to SUP again! 
 
Project 908 is the company renting out the paddleboards this weekend at the Jazz and Ribs Festival.  Lucky for me, they also rent to private groups.  They will bring boards, paddles and life jackets to the Columbus area body of water of your choice, drop them off and pick them up when you're done.  SWEET!  My plans for another SUP rental day are already in the works.
 
Project 908 is not just a rental company.  They're a paddleboard manufacturer.  Yep, they make the boards.  How cool is that?
 
If you're in the Columbus area, you should check them out.  SUP is such a fun workout. 
 
Yes, it's a workout. 
 
My shoulders, arms and abs totally felt this one.
 
Find Project 908
How have your workouts been lately?
How often do you practice yoga?
Ever try SUP?


Monday, July 22, 2013

Island Boost Review

Many of you, my readers, are well aware that running long distances requires fuel.  Some of my readers don't run long and some don't run at all, so here is a little background info...

Our bodies need fuel to move.  Our food fuels us much like gasoline fuels a car.  We can only go so far in one fill-up and we need more fuel.

In our case, fuel is carbohydrates.  Sugar.

When we run, we use the sugar that we already have in our bodies as fuel.  After about an hour, it's time for more.  There are all kinds of fueling options on the market.  Gels are very popular because they're so easy to eat while running: open the package, suck out the contents and swallow.  No chewing (and choking) necessary. 

I used gels when training for my first half marathon and had to deal with nausea during every long run and diarrhea afterward.  (TMI?  Sorry.)

I tried chews next.  Think: fruit snacks with a (much) higher price tag.  My belly seemed to like eating solid food, rather than gel, but I still have the occasional belly issue.  My biggest issue with the chews is trying to eat them in the winter.  They freeze and threaten to pull my teeth out when I chew.

Enter Island Boost.
Picture taken from the Island Boost Website.
Laura, from Island Boost, sent me three packets to try, for free, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Island Boost is not a chew or a gel, it's a liquid.  It's made with coconut water, glucose and natural island-y flavors.  The fine folks at Island Boost use no artificial sweeteners or flavors.  Laura warned me that it would taste really sweet because of the glucose.

Side note: Laura is the runner who created Island Boost.  She had digestive troubles with traditional fuels, so she made her own belly-gentle fuel so she could continue to run long.

Island Boost also has a larger package than gel fuels; this is to help the runner not spill the contents of the pouch when they tear the tab to open it.  When I fold the top of the package down, the pouch is about the same size as other gels.


I decided to put Island Boost to the test during a 14 mile run, the first run in a long time when I would need to fuel twice.  I tend to get hungry when I run and I had concerns that the liquid fuel wouldn't curb my hunger like solid fuel does.  I packed a serving of chews in my hydration belt pouch, just in case.

I ate my usual breakfast of Greek yogurt and granola before my run and met my friends at 6:30am to start.  The hungries hit me around mile 5, as usual, and I took the first Island Boost at mile 6.  Holy cow, it was really sweet...and almost salty.  I had to drink a little water after, but that might be because I was thirsty to begin with.

An amazing thing happened.  I wasn't hungry anymore.

So I kept running.  After mile 9, I was on my own.  My friends aren't quite as crazy as I and "only" wanted to run 10 miles.  I feel the need to tell you all this because in the picture, you might notice that I'm wearing ear buds.  I don't want you to think I'm anti-social and listen to music while I run with friends.  I don't.  I'd much rather talk.  And talk.  And talk.

I took the second Island Boost at mile 12.  This one didn't seem salty, so maybe I was dreaming the saltiness of the first one.


Another amazing thing happened: I had no belly troubles.  No cramping, no nausea and no threats of pooping in my pants.

I used my third pouch of Island Boost on an eight mile run during the week.  My run was at 4am and it was very dark, so there are no pictures of that one.

Again, I ate my usual breakfast and headed out the door.  I started to get hungry around mile 5, drank the Island Boost at mile 6 and never thought of hunger again for the rest of my run.

Awesome!

I'm a fan of Island Boost.
  • It tastes good.  Yes, it's really sweet, but I didn't find that to be a problem.
  • It's easy on the digestive system.  This is a really big deal while distance running.  Bathrooms are not always available and dropping trou on the side of the road is frowned upon.  (So is dropping trou in someone's front yard.  Did you hear about this?)
  • Packaging is easy to use.  Making the pouch larger to prevent spills is brilliant.  Way to go, Laura! 
Island Boost is currently sold in REI and a few other stores.  See the full list here.  Island Boost can also be purchased from their website where buying in bulk is more cost effective.  Given my recent dog woes, I'm all about cost effective!

I'm sure as more and more runners start using Island Boost, more stores will start carrying it, but for now, the availability is limited and there isn't a single store that sells it in Ohio.

If you're lucky enough to live near an REI, go pick up a pouch or two to try!  You won't regret it.

Have you ever tried Island Boost? 
What did you think?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

So here's something crazy....10 years ago, I married my best friend.

TEN YEARS.

I'm so not old enough to be married for ten years.  (And I'm sure my mom is thinking, "I'm so not old enough to have a daughter who has been married for ten years...")

In honor of this special day, I give you Throwback Thursday:

Hitched!

We had a Hummer limo complete with a fireplace, disco ball, laser lights and fog machine.

Right before this picture, a grumpy guy in a golf cart threatened to run over my "pretty white" dress.  He must have been having a bad golf game.  Poor guy.  (And by "poor guy", I, of course, mean "ass.")

One of my faves.

My dad was kind enough to share his birthday with us so we had a chocolate birthday cake just for him at the reception.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!

The night ended way too quickly.

I can't believe it's been 10 years already.

One money-pit house, three dogs and two kids later, I'm still into you, Babe.

(you must be viewing this post online to see the video)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rehab and Recovery

I still have to share my Drenched 5K experience with you all, and I have a few other posts on tap, but first let me tell you about what's taking over my life.

Rehab and Recovery

Last week, my sweet poochie-pie, Jackson, had knee surgery.  If you missed my freak-out post, read all of my pre-surgery hysteria here.

Last Tuesday was a rough day.  Randy dropped Jackson off at MedVet just after 7am.  By 8:30am, I had eaten a full sized Hershey Bar, made brownies and cried four times.  We were told that the surgeon, Dr. Barnhart, would call us when the surgery was done.  All morning, I checked the clock and tapped my foot impatiently.  I wasn't the only one.  Randy texted me several times asking if I'd heard anything.  As if I wouldn't tell him if I heard something.

I gave up being strong and patient and called MedVet at 1pm to check on Jack.  I was told that he was still waiting for surgery.  I called again at 5pm.  Still waiting.

I knew it was a possibility that he'd be waiting a while.  MedVet is an emergency center and all emergency surgeries are taken as needed and the scheduled surgeries are fit in around them.  As frustrating as it was to wait all day for news, the policy is exactly as it should be.  Should we ever have an emergency, I'll be very grateful that our dog is a priority.

I finally heard from Dr. B. at 8pm.  Jackson's surgery went exactly as expected and a technician would call me in the morning to schedule a pick up time.  Whew.

I picked him up at 10am on Wednesday. He was a little loopy.  He cried the whole way home and when we got home, he laid down in his crate and cried.  I thought maybe he was nauseous.  I called the vet and asked about it.  Dr. B. said it was probably anxiety.

Jackson was confused.  Confused about what had happened to him, and he was probably unsure whether or not he was going back.

I knew he was tired, his head was bobbing, and he'd fall asleep for minutes at a time, then he'd wake himself up whining again.

I couldn't take it anymore so I did what any mom would do: I climbed in the crate and laid down with him.  As it turns out, that would be the first of many hours I'd spend in the crate for the next few days.  I think Jackson needed to be reassured that I wasn't going to take him back to the people wielding saws.


As soon as I climbed in with him, he laid down next to me and fell fast asleep for a couple of hours.  When I finally came out to eat lunch, I had a stiff neck and back, but J-Man got some rest.  Halfway through my lunch, he started whining again, so back in the crate I went.

Now, almost a week later, he's better.  There is no more whining.  He lays happily in his crate and passes out in a pain-med-induced coma for most of the day.

His rehab is taking up a large chunk of my days.  I have to keep reminding myself: it's only 6 weeks and he's worth it.

Jackson's rehab for the first week is as follows:
  • Moist Heat for 10 minutes
  • Massage for 5-10 minutes
  • Range of Motion Exercises
  • Walk for 10 minutes
  • Cold Therapy for 15 minutes
This all happens 3 to 4 times a day.  More exercises are added and the walks get longer each week.  Forty minutes may not look like much, but with little kids around who are getting impatient with being patient, it's a huge chunk of time four times a day.

We 4 out for a 10 minute walk.  Yes, Jackson is bigger than Aleena.
Running, jumping and playing with other dogs is not allowed.  I'm very much looking forward to the day when I'm not paranoid that I'll accidentally let go of the leash and he'll get away from me, but for now, I'll enjoy the snuggles during cold therapy time.


Your turn!
Have you ever hung out in a dog crate?  I know I'm not the only one....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rain, Rain is here to stay?

The weather in central Ohio has been less than desirable for those who want to spend their days outside in the sunshine.  Lots of rain and lots of storms.

As much as I love taking my little ladies to the park, zoo and water park, on Friday, I was thrilled for the rain.

Thrilled.


Jackson, my biggest pooch, recently tore his ACL.  Because of his size (85 pounds) and activity level (athletic) our regular vet recommended that we take him to MedVet for surgery rather than having it done in her office.  Our vet's office replaces the ACL using a synthetic ACL, but this synthetic ACL won't hold up in an athletic dog over 50 pounds so we're taking him to MedVet for a different procedure: Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA).

Instead of trying to replace the ACL, TTA changes the angle in which the tibia and femur come together making the ACL unnecessary.

How do they change the angle, you ask?  By sawing the tibia, inserting a spacer and screwing a plate on to keep it together.  By bringing the tibia toward the front of the joint more, it eliminates the need for an ACL.  Or something like that.

Source

The bone will grow back together around the spacer and the joint will be stronger than ever.

It sounds very involved, you say.  How much does it cost?  You don't want to know.  Trust me on this.  I vomited in my mouth a little when I was given the news.  I'll spare you.

To be perfectly honest, it's not the cost that has my emotions in fits.  Yes, it's a lot and yes, there are millions of other things I'd rather spend my money on, but I've gotten past that part.

I have Mommy-Guilt...Dog Mommy-Guilt, that is.

I have guilt that we (Randy and I) are making this decision and Jackson doesn't get a vote.  Let's be rational here, he's a dog and can't vote, but Mommy-Guilt isn't rational.

I have guilt that it's going to take at least 6 weeks for him to recover.

I have guilt that he's going to be in pain for the better part of those 6 weeks.

I have guilt that he's going to have to wear the E-Collar (cone on his head) for 2 weeks until the stitches come out.

I have guilt that all of his daytime resting will be done in his (gigantic) crate and that all of his non-resting time will be on a leash.

I have guilt that he won't be able to lay on his couch for 6 weeks.

I have guilt that he won't get breakfast tomorrow morning before he goes to MedVet.

I'm an emotional disaster.

Enter: rain on Friday morning.

I've mentioned before how much I love running in the rain.  The first few minutes take some getting used to, but once you're wet, you can't exactly get any wetter, right?

Randy had Friday off, so I went to a park for my miles in the daylight.  It rained on the way there, but when I parked, the rain had stopped.  Boo.

Not to worry, it started sprinkling as soon as I started running.  YES!

It drizzled on me for about 4 miles.  It was steady and calming and soothed my nerves and anxiety as I thought about Jackson, what he's facing and the guilt I'm feeling.  Yes, the long list of guilt sucks, but the bottom line is, he will get better.  He will. 

He'll have pain for the next 6 weeks.  If we do nothing, he'll be in pain every day for the rest of his life.  I don't want that for him and I'm positive that, if he had a choice, he wouldn't want that for himself, either.

After mile 4, the drizzle turned to downpour.  It was welcome and wonderful.  By this time, my (NEW!) shoes were already squishing with every soggy step and my clothes were soaking wet and stuck to me.

I ran with a silly grin on my face, no longer leaping over the puddles, I just stomped right through them.

I arrived back at my car after 7.6 soggy miles calm, centered, soaked and smiling.

I can't think of a more effective therapy.

 
Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving me exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.

We all know how I feel about the rain, how about you?
Do you like running in the rain?  Detest it?  Tolerate it?
Has your dog ever had TTA? Statistics show that 40% of dogs will tear their ACL in their lifetime so, chances are, at least one of my readers had gone through this.  If yes, do you have any tips for me?  My friend Angela went thought this with her dog just 5 weeks ago.  She has been a huge help with soothing my nerves.  (Thanks, Ang!)  I'm well-stocked in dog treats, peanut butter and booze.  I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Perfect Run

It seems like a lot of people have been talking about "good" runs and "bad" runs lately.  Maybe because it's about time to start training for fall races, or maybe because it's been hot as hell, humid and miserable running weather. 

A strange thing occurred to me.

I very rarely have a bad run.

Make no mistake: I have tough runs.  I have runs where my legs feel like lead or I can't catch my breath or I feel like I'm working much harder than I should be, but a bad run?  Not usually.

It's not something I do on purpose.  It just happens.

Running, being outside, checking out the scenery, it's all emotional for me.  My surroundings make me feel a certain way.  My "good" run doesn't necessarily depend on how well my legs perform.

This run was last month.  It was a rare occasion that I got to run in the middle of the week in the light.  Randy had the day off and I didn't set the alarm for 4:30am.


I got to see the sun rise and I saw actual human beings in my neighborhood.  I ran through a nearby neighborhood and stalked my favorite house.


I don't know who owns this house.  I don't even know what the inside of the house looks like, but I love it.  If this house ever goes on the market, I must find a way to buy it.  In my head, I've often considered knocking on the door and asking the owners to leave...I haven't done that in real life yet.

This run was on vacation at the beach.  Who cares that it was hot and humid?  That I drank a little too much the night before?  That I was running through 20mph winds?  I got to look at this.  The rest of that stuff?  Doesn't matter.


This run was after we got home from vacation.  Randy took the day off so I got to run in the light.  This tree was blooming.  I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but it smells heavenly when it blooms.  There is one street in my 'hood where these trees line the road. 


I think my run down the road went like this: snifffffff......"mmmmmmm"

The trees have small yellowish-green flowers.  Oh, they are divine.  Totally unlike the flowering pear trees that bloom with beautiful white flowers in early spring.  They look gorgeous but smell like dead fish.  Gag.

This mystery tree is wonderful.  I was afraid that I'd missed bloom week while I was at the beach.  I was thrilled that I got home just in time to smell the trees.

So, why am I sharing all of this? 

Well, if you are one who has a lot of "bad" runs, it might help you to focus on the awesome things around you instead of how much your run sucks.  Pay attention to the pretty sunrise, the sweet smelling trees and the other humans you pass by.  They just might help you.

What helps you have a good run?
Do you have any idea what kind of tree this is?