A Grateful Runner

In the spirit of giving thanks I’d like to share a few of the reasons that I am a grateful runner.

  1. My family gets my running.  My kids greet me in the morning, not with “good morning” but with a  “How was your run?”.   If I’m in my pj’s when one of my kids wander out of their room I get a “what is this?” and a hand wave indicating my attire is not normal.
  2.  Without running I would not have an outlet for the crazy that lives inside my head.   It allows me precious quiet time to process what’s going on in my life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big issue or small, running saves me every time.  It may not change my circumstance but it provides clarity.
  3. Body image is a tricky thing and only through running have I been able to completely accept and appreciate what this 49 year old body can do.  Sure, a little tighter in places would be nice but when I’m at mile 25 I don’t think about buns of steel, I think about those buns pushing me to the end.
  4. I live in a place that is heaven for trail runners.  Steep climbs, woods, rocks, ravines, cliffs.  Getting off the road and onto the dirt makes me very, very happy.  (We just won’t talk about the critters).
  5. Distance running forces you to learn mind over matter.  It’s that point when your brain says “you’re done” but you still have 8 miles to go until you get back to your car.   Sure there are times when you can’t get out of your head but at least you know you can push through.
  6. Running has opened up a new community to me and I’ve met some of my best friends along the way.  When you train together, share triumphs and struggles (and a sweaty van) you drop the walls that you normally would keep up in casual contact.

Now it’s your turn.  What are you grateful for?  What has running (hiking, Zumba, Spin or swimming) done for you?  Drop me a note, I’d love to hear from you!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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Ten Years in the Making

My first post today is a shameless Birthday plug to my son Jack.

He also answers to “buddy”, “J. Hons”, “boo-boo”, evenIMG_4001 “AlexaBradCharleywhoever”.   As the youngest in our family he’s learned to roll with most anything 🙂

He possesses a wicked sense of humor, enough sass and sarcasm so he can keep up with the teen and he is the only one in the entire family that has any sense of rhythm.   Plus he’s cute as a bug and sweet as pie.

So Happy 10th Birthday Jack.  We love you.  xoxo

All Trot, No Turkey

Our 14th Annual Turkey Trot was a huge success!  Thank you to everyone who braved the chilly temps and dragged their family members to our event!

It’s a fantastic, low key and stress free way to begin a holiday and I’m grateful for everyone who keeps coming out, year after year.

I look forward to seeing you all next year!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

turkey trot  2015
2015 Annual Turkey Trot (photo credit to J. Marks)

 

Fat Facts

fatsI’ll admit it, I’m a fat phobic.  I read food labels and zero in on the fat grams.  Often putting things back on the shelves if the fat grams inch above 8.  I do the same with recipes.  I use spray instead of oil to saute and “canola oil” spread instead of butter.  Deep frying gives me the chills and skin on chicken is a delicacy that I feel guilty about eating.  It’s taken me a while but I am back to whole eggs and eating avocado – but only sparingly.

Listen, it’s hard to unlearn certain behaviors that were formed when Bill Clinton was in office and the Snackwell devil’s food cookie was going to save us all in it’s fat free, highly sugared cookie-form.

It seems I’m not alone.  A recent article in Cooking Light magazine “outs” the fat phobes and provides a clear and comprehensive fat-facts article.  The fact is, fat tastes good.  It adds complexity and body to recipes and has a mouth-feel to foods that can’t be replicated with fat free greek yogurt or applesauce.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t know the ‘whys’ or ‘what fors’ when it comes to cooking with fat.  Apparently there are certain fats that do better jobs than others in various cooking methods.  Some oils or fats are better for finishing a dish, sauteing veggies or for use in (gasp) deep frying!

But the line must be very fine when adding fats to your diet.  Fat is more calorie-dense than other foods.  Carbohydrates and Proteins have 4 calories per gram and Fats tip the scales at 9 calories per gram. The type of fat matters as well.  Look for foods that have a higher ration of heart-healthy unsaturated fats to saturated fats.

So learning to use fats properly will add depth to your meals and turn them into something worth eating.  Not just something to eat.  Check out the article here. The recipes they showcase look pretty good to me!  Again, all in moderation.

A quick note.  Cooking Light magazine is my go-to for healthy eating and easily-understandable nutritional tidbits.  I’ve been a subscriber for at least 15 years, probably more.  They are in the business of providing healthy, flavorful recipes and can help one adopt a healthier cooking style.  As you know, I only promote things I use so if I’m sending you to the Cooking Light website it’s so you can check it out and get some great information.  Not because I get paid to send you there!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Serenity Now

Running takes me to a happy place almost immediately.  Not when I first wake up or even when I step outside into the dark and cold, I mean I’m human, just like you.

But when I start to run I get happy.  Even if I left the house mad at my husband, children, or sad about something, running turns that around.  It may not solve the problem but it makes me better able to deal with it.

Today, I had a rare opportunity to amp up my happy.  My son and husband are away at a Gold Country trip for school so it’s just me and the teen.  Luckily she can get herself to school on her own (well, with the help of her friends who drive her) so that left me a chance to sleep in til 5:45am, watch Survivor, get breakfast on the table for the teen, do some work and go out running at around 8:00am.

8:00am on a Thursday?!?!  It’s like a gift from the running Gods!  I took advantage of the daylight and headed to the open space about a mile and a half away.  Technically, it’s 1.3 miles away but whatever.

I’ve talked about this before; I don’t like to run trails on my own.  But this particular trail is populated with tons of walkers, some runners and a lot of people walking dogs.  So I’m safe.  Because I figure in case of a mad coyote attack, the dogs get it first, then the walkers and I can sprint to safety.

Yes.  This is really my thought process.

Anyway so I mosey down the street and up a pretty good hill to the path that leads up to the ridge dividing Terra Linda and Sleepy Hollow.  Plenty of people and dogs (score!) and it’s just GORGEOUS!

It’s a little chilly and sunny and I’m just so damned happy to be up there.  So I took this picture.

run

That’s Mount Tamalpais in the background.  Which reminded me I have to get back out there and do some more running on those trails.  But I digress.

So my little jaunt was only 4 miles but it was a very happy 4 miles.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Runs with Purpose

When training for a race or an event you have to have a purpose for every run.  One day speed, on day hills, one day long and easy, one day recovery and if you add in a 5th day it should be at a medium pace and distance.  Make no mistake, a training plan has to push you so you can get to the finish line, break a PR or qualify for another race.

The tendency, when the race is over and your training plan ends, is to wander.  Your running stops for a week or two after the event then you may drag yourself out for 2 or 3 days but at much shorter distances.  Long runs on Saturdays drops to 4 miles or so with sleeping in on Sunday crowding out the recovery run.  I’ve been there, I know.   Now if you are a runner that runs races often, you spend more time in that training phase so you’re good.

For the rest of us, it’s important to enjoy the after-glow of your event but to quickly get back into some sort of training, even if it’s just to maintain.  I’ve seen it happen to many runners.  Train hard. Run race.  Put the shoes away for 6 months.  Start over.

Each time you do this, it takes you longer and longer to recover your fitness and regain your mojo for training.  Training is long; 3 to 5 months long in some case.  And that’s for runners who are starting with a good base.  Sure, newbies (and I’ve been there) can go from zero to 26.2 miles in a 3 or 4 month period but you are more prone to injuries and it’s not that much fun to spend most of your time sore.

So if you have completed a race, taken a week or so off and are ready to get back on your feet, plan for it.

Get out your planner and mark off 3 or 4 days to run.  One day should be short and fast, one day go find a hill and run up and down it, one day pick a pretty place to run and go slow and longer and finally, a short recovery run.  This should be easy and loose.

After a month of doing this add extra miles to your runs.  Add 10 minutes to your warm up for speed and hills.  Add a mile or two on your longer runs but keep the recovery run short.

Allow fluctuations in your planning.  Skip day 4 if you need to or cut the long run if time is crunched.  This maintenance phase is to keep you primed and healthy for when training picks up again.  With shorter runs you can spend extra time stretching and maybe add in some yoga.

Don’t kid a kidder, I know you’re not stretching as much as you should when training.  🙂

And most importantly, if you came off a training season that caused you aches, pains and/or sidelined your running, get it looked at.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂