Head for the Hills

To build power, strength and endurance you should incorporate hill training or hill repeats into your training.   Here’s how to do a very simple  hill repeat.

1.  Do a warm up run for 10 minutes.

2.  Locate a street or trail with an incline that is moderately difficult to run, or set the treadmill to a 4 -6% grade.

3.  Run up the hill (or run for 2-5 minutes if on the treadmill).

4.  Turn around and run easily down the hill.

5.  Repeat 4 more times.

6.  Run 10 minutes easy.

If you are training for an event that has a hilly terrain or you just want to be a stronger runner, plan a hill workout once a week!

Now go run.



Safety First

Do you know what ICE stands for?  I mean other than what you add to the blender when making a margarita?  It stands for In Case of Emergency and these three little letters can help save your life!

The International Assn of EMT’s and Paramedics recommends that you use these three letters in front of your medical emergency contact’s name saved in your cell phone.  In the event that something happens to you,  medical personnel will locate your phone and try to identify someone who may be able to discuss and make medical decisions for you in case you are unable to do so.

Back in the olden days, people were advised to carry a medical card with that information.  Now with cell phones so prevalent, this is an easier way to provide that information.    If you don’t carry your cell phone with you when you run, swim or go for a hike, be sure to spend a few bucks and get a Road ID tag or carry some sort of ID with you.

To make a contact your ICE,  add ICE before their name.   In my phone for example, it’s ICE Brad and then his cell phone and our home number.   If you have a space for notes in your contact list then add any medical information such as allergies.  A Road ID tag will provide space for this information as well.

I often run without id or my phone but I used a Sharpie to write Brad’s cell phone number on each shoe.  When I travel and go for a run, I use a ball point pen to write my hotel and room number on my arm or near my ankle.  Very low tech, I know!

No matter what method you choose, do something and be sure to tell your friends and family members to do the same!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

2:10 Pacing Report

When I was asked to be a pace leader for the 2:10 half marathon leg of the San Francisco Marathon I was flattered but very nervous.  Those nerves amplified significantly as I was waiting for the race to begin, holding my 2:10 Pace Sign and waiting for people to join me.  It was foggy and a bit cold in Golden Gate Park and I was shivering from the chill as much as my nerves.

Thankfully my nerves went away and I got into my role.  It was fun to be an “ambassador” of the event.  People asked me questions about the course (which truthfully I knew little about) and where they could find the 2:20 pacer.   I was adept at pointing people in the proper direction of the bathrooms, sweats drop of and wave starting gate.

My pace group started gathering at around 5 til 8.  I tried to be lively and funny and chatted a lot to make everyone feel comfortable.  Some people would glance at my sign and move on in search of speedier pastures.  I berated them jokingly, assuring them that they wouldn’t have as much fun as they would with 2:10.

As the race started I had a little cocoon surrounding me.  Like I was a precious package that they were charged with delivering safely to the finish line.  People glanced around to make sure I was still there and I’d chat with whoever was next to me and joke with people in front.  Every now and then I’d shout out “How we doing 2:10?” and I’d get some kind of response.

Our first 2 miles we were on a 10 minute per mile pace.  I told the group that we were at a 10 minute pace but not to worry, we would make our time so just relax and run.  Miles 3 and 4 were hilly which is where the problems began.  (You knew it wouldn’t be smooth sailing, didn’t you?)

Now for a lot of people, running hills equals a root canal.  They dread them, hate them and are afraid of them.  I, on the other hand do not mind hills and in fact, covet them.   It doesn’t mean I don’t get out of breath and have to work to get to the top,  but I’m able to get up and recover quickly.

I gave a few tips to anyone who cared to listen to me natter on.  Use your arms hard, shorten your stride and pitter patter up the hill.

So at the hillier part of the run when I SHOULD slow down for my group, I pick up the pace.  At the end of mile 3 I was 1:30 seconds ahead of my time and at the end of mile 4 we were almost 2 minutes ahead.  Uh-oh.  I probably lost about half of my group at that point.

I did have the group in front of me so I announced that I was deliberately slowing down as I needed to drop the pace a bit.  I was able to do that and for the next few miles we were anywhere from 1 to 1:30 ahead of pace.   I kept checking in with the group to let them know that we were still a bit fast but they were ok with it.

At one point, maybe mile 8 or so we had a course split where they diverted part of the group one way and my group the other.   I lost another part of my group at that point.  Another mile or so in, there was another course split and I lost more of my group.

I was down to just a few people I recognized and figured I was SO not being invited back next year to pace!  I kept my sign high in the air and waved it so people behind could see me and hopefully be on track.  And by the way, yes, I carried my sign the whole way.

At mile 11 I checked my watch and figured at the rate I was going, I was going to come in around 2:06.  Uh-oh again.  Too fast.  So I hit the brakes and really made an effort to slow down.

We came around the industrial area and towards Pac Bell Park.  I chatted with a few runners and one gal came up behind me and thanked me for holding the sign.  She’d been watching the sign for the last 30 minutes and her goal was to keep me in her sight.

One downside to my slowdown was that I slowed down too much!  I realized I had to kick in gear or else I might be over my 2:10 pace!  So I hustled a bit and crossed at 2:09:39.

At the beginning of the race I told the group that if you stayed in my area you’d hit your goal.  Even though I was really inconsistent in my pacing that still held true.  And even if the group didn’t hit their goal, I hope they enjoyed their time spent in 2:10.  However silly and dorky their pace leader was!

Now go run.


Finish Line with the kids
Finish Line with the kids

SF Half Marathon Pre-Race Update

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I signed up for the SF Half Marathon which is taking place this Sunday.  I also mentioned that I hadn’t really done much race preparation prior to registering for the event and didn’t really have a lot of time to cram in any long runs beforehand.  I know, sounds like a recipe for disaster!

I was able to get in a 10 mile run one Saturday morning that went well.  I also have a few 8 milers under my belt so my plan was to just gut it out and push hard through the race.  Get it over quickly and suffer at the pool later that day.

My plans have changed slightly in the past few days.  I received a phone call asking me to fill in as a Pace Group Leader for the 2:10 group.    To explain, most marathons and half marathons these days offer runners a chance to run with a pace group based on their desired finish time.   Each group has a leader that carries a sign or runs with a balloon attached to their body or some other item to make them easily identifiable to the pace group.  A leader’s job is to guarantee that if you stick with the group you will cross the finish line in the time promised (in this case 2:10).

When I was asked to be a Pace Group leader I thought about it for a few minutes.  Truthfully I couldn’t think of a reason NOT to take advantage of this offer.  I was going to run the race anyway, the pace is slower than I had planned to run and I would have some people to run with.   Plus I got to wear a cool shirt and carry a sign.  What other motivation do I need?

So if you are on the sidelines or running the race on Sunday, look for me carrying my “blinged out”  2:10 sign and chatting with my new BFFs.

I’ll update you all on Monday with my experience.  I’m sure it will be fun and I’ll have some good stories to tell.

Now go run!


Beach Bodies

Our family spent the weekend at New Hogan Reservoir in Calaveras County camping at the lake, floating in the water, dragging the kids around on the tube, etc.   This meant that I was in a bathing suit for the majority of the weekend.  And no, my body is not perfect,  but I refuse to let that  stop me from having fun in the water with the kids.

I, like many women I know are not entirely comfortable wearing a bathing suit in public.  Some women probably aren’t even comfortable in their bathing suit in the privacy of their own backyard!  Which is sad, if you think about it; there is such shame in not having a “perfect” body.

Just because you don’t have buns or abs of steel doesn’t mean you have to hide behind shorts and a tee and sitting on the grass while your kids are at the pool!  You may have too much junk in the trunk, wide hips, a flabby midsection, are flat chested or sport some cellulite but so do most women out there.  You are not alone!

This doesn’t mean you have to keep the junk in your trunk or are destined for the flabby hereafter.  If you need to lose weight, reduce portion size, eat more fruits and veggies, drink your water, and move more.   If you need to tone up some flabby areas, add strength training to the mix.

If you still aren’t comfortable wearing a suit for all to see there are wonderful water short options out there as well as pretty sarongs to throw on after you get out of the pool.   You can be water ready and still feel comfortable.

But remember that self-confidence is the best accessory!

Now go run!


That Salad Has HOW Many Calories? Yikes!

I took the kids to lunch yesterday and decided on California Pizza Kitchen in Corte Madera.    It’s very kid friendly and loud so my kids and I would fit right in.

I was reading the kids’ menu to check out the offerings and was surprised that they have increased the variety and options.  This is a good thing.  I also noticed that they included the calorie count next to each item.   What a great idea for a kids’ menu – you can really make sure that you’re providing a healthy lunch for the kids.

While the kids were coloring I turned my attention to my menu.  I was deciding on the salads when I looked more closely.  Yep, those numbers next to each item were the calories per serving.  Gulp!

I normally order a salad.  Because I’ve become one of those “Salad People” that I used to scorn.  I was SHOCKED at the calorie count of some of their salads.  A half-order of the Thai salad was almost 900 calories (give or take because I forgot to stuff the menu in my purse and CPK doesn’t post their calories online).  As the “kids” say these days.  OMG!

Now don’t get me wrong, I think adding calorie counts on menus is a fabulous idea.  My surprise comes because I did not realize how many calories their salads have.  One normally chooses a salad as  a healthy option so what does one do?

1.  Skip the extras.  The wonton strips, crispy noodles, croutons, etc.  If you must have the crunch in your salad, ask for a small bit on the side.

2.  Dressing on the side.  I know, this screams “She’s Dieting” but restaurants tend to overdress the salads anyway.   I won’t ask you to dip your fork tines in the dressing before spearing the salad because I think that’s just dumb.  But be smart about the dressing!

3.  Order a broth-based veggie soup to start.  At around 150 calories for a cup this is a  great way to start the meal that won’t have you diving for the bread plate.  I sampled the cream-free Asparagus Soup that was yummy and kept me out of the bread.

4.  Be aware.  Calorie counts are based on a strict adherence to measurements.   If a kitchen does not follow these guidelines (i.e. 2 tablespoon dressing, 2 oz. chicken, etc.) then the calorie counts can be off.  WAAAAY  off.   This is an even better reason to ask for the fatty extras on the side.

After scanning the menu and trying to find something that would be filling but not break the calorie bank I selected the Chinese or Asian Chicken Salad (half order was about 525 calories).   It was tasty and I was satisfied.  Isn’t that what a good meal is supposed to do for you?

I hope other restaurants start adding calorie counts to their menus.  It’s sticker shock at first, don’t get me wrong.  But if you are trying to stay on a healthy diet, this is an extra tool that can help you stay on track!

Now go run!


3 Simple Tips to Achieve Your Goal

Shout out to my pal Katie!  She is on her 32nd day straight of going to Yoga.   Her goal, last I heard was to do 60 days straight.  I’m very happy that she’s been able to stick to her commitment.  As we all know, setting a goal is one thing, doing what it takes to achieve it is something else.

Here are three things I’ve noticed that Katie has been doing right to achieve her goal.

1.  She made it public.  Not on Twitter or Facebook, but by discussing her goal with friends and family and enlisting their support.

2.  She is flexible.  Not only in a yoga way, but flexible in that if she can’t do her normal 6:30am class, she arranges things so she can hit the 9am, noon or even 6:30pm class.

3.  She keeps her goal in front of her.   Sometimes our goals can get shuttled to the back as other things crowd in.  Katie keeps her goal like a post-it stuck to her forehead

So if you have a goal, whether to exercise every day,  cut out the Ben and Jerry’s or stop cursing, use these simple tips and let me know how it goes.

Great job Katie!  Keep up the good work.  Namaste.

Now go run!