The Other Four Letter Word

Running injuries don’t usually come on like a mack truck.  They usually start out small.  Quiet, like a whisper.  You may feel a twinge, a tingle, a dull ache or stiffness.  Sometimes they work themselves out or are resolved with some extra stretching or by implementing a solid warm up and cool down.  A pack of ice on the affected area or some Ibuprofen can also help.  Maybe one day off.  Or two.  But after that it’s back to the run.

If the problem returns or intensifies, the next step is a trip to the Google search box.  Typing “calf tightness”, “Plantar Fasciitis cures”, “my knee hurts when I run” will yield a variety of resources for an injured runner.  Foam rollers are purchased, yoga mats pulled out of the closet and the rehab gets cracking.

Here’s where runners get skewed.  Now trust me, I’m a big fan of remedies.  Having my fair share of pulls, strains, aches and pains I get it.  But sometimes one needs to just a break.  An unapologetic, unabashed, body-restoring running break.  For at minimum one week, better yet, 2 or 3.

Sure you may lose some running fitness.  There, I’ve said it.

But what happens when you “run through” an injury is that not only can you do more damage to the affected area, but your super-smart body, will compensate for the hitch in your giddyap.  Yay, right?  Wrong.

Muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints work together.  If one area is compromised it will affect the entire mechanism.  Which will lead to further problems.

So I propose that if you are hurting, you take a break.   Stretch.  Roll.  Hydrate.  Swim.  Spin.  Get massages.  Elevate.  Do yoga.  Address Mobility.  Work on strength.  And most importantly do something other than running.

After 2 weeks start back up.  Slowly.   Walk first to warm up then add some running segments.  Move to softer surfaces such as a trail or track.  Start slow.  Increase time gradually.

Let’s take care of our bodies so we can do what we love.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

PS –  You all know that if you have heard a pop, felt a snap or are in continuous or chronic pain you should get to a doctor ASAP, right?  Ok, just checking.


What To Do When Shit Hurts

“It’s just a flesh wound”.

As a runner you are going to have things hurt.  It’s a repetitive, high impact sport.  So shit might hurt from time to time.

I, like many other runners have “run through” aches and pains and even injuries.  But as I get, ahem, older and wiser, I’ve come to appreciate a few running truths.

  1.  The foam roller is your friend.
  2. Stretching and/or yoga and/or mobility work is vital.
  3. Erring on the side of caution and taking a rest day, two or three NEVER hurts.

If you catch a twinge or recurring twinge at the earlier phase you are more likely to

  • prevent an injury from getting worse, and
  • prevent other injuries from occuring

Your body has a remarkable way of working around things.  If your calves are tight and sore from hill repeats and you go for a long run or a track workout other muscles will need to be recruited for the running action to occur.  This could cause problems in the plantar fascia, Achilles and shin area.  The muscles you’re recruiting, while able to step in briefly, aren’t designed to take the load that the calf muscle usually carries.

So if you use your foam roller, stretch and do your mobility exercises and shit still hurts, take a few days off.  And if it’s not getting better, get it checked out.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂


The CIM – A Recap

Do you want to know what was running through my head at Mile 19 on the marathon?  “Wow!  19 already?”

And here’s what was running through my head at Mile 23. “Thank God I don’t ever have to do this again”.

It’s funny how your thought process can shift in 4 short miles.  But that, my friends, is the nature of a marathon.

fullsizerenderI came to the marathon feeling pretty good.  I was well-trained due to the McMillan Running Training Plan, was well rested, well hydrated and well fueled.

On race day I got up early (3:30 am) so I could stretch and foam roll, have coffee, get dressed, pack what I needed in my bag and make it downstairs to the lobby for a quick breakfast before catching the bus at 5:00am sharp.  The ride was 40 minutes to the starting line which gave us time to rest in the bus, use the port a potties and drop off the gear bag before the 7:00 am start.

I had a plan (hit 2:07 to 2:10 at the half marathon mark) then 3:15 by Mile 20 so I could come in at 4:15 to the finish.  The pacing groups were in between my goal time so I figured if I stayed in between them I’d be ok.  Other than that I was going to run easy and at a comfortable pace and turn it on at the end.  And then there’s the gun and off I go.

The CIM starts off near Folsom Lake and ends in downtown Sacramento in front of the Capitol Building.  There are rolling hills for the first 15 or so miles but nothing too high or too rolling and the last 6 ish miles are flat.  It’s what is known as a “net-downhill” race and this one ends over 300 feet below the start so it’s also prime for qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

My plan was to NOT pass anyone for the first 10 miles.  Often times you lose valuable energy weaving in and out of runners.  I resisted the urge to move and found a few people that I could sit behind and run with.  When they moved ahead I kept my pace and let others move around me.

I will say that the first 8 miles went by easily.  I looked for Brad at Mile 6 but didn’t see him, looked for him at Mile 7, didn’t see him so I figured he got stuck in traffic or couldn’t find me.  At that point I figured I’d stop looking, stop worrying about where he may be and if I saw him, I saw him.  And there he was at Mile 9.  I ran over gave him a big hug and a kiss, waved off his offer of a GU and continued along.

As we finished Mile 10 I had to pee. I found a port a potty and burned some Bullshit Minutes (I coined that phrase after the race) waiting for a free bathroom.  Tick tick.  In, out and there I go. If had a GU before I started off again to one of the hills that I’d been told about at Mile 11.  After coming to the top I was really thanking the McMillan plan for the hill repeat workouts I’d done.

Soon I was at the half marathon mark.  2:06:54.  Score!  But then I had to burn some more Bullshit Minutes untying and retying my shoes.

I came into the race having had shoe problems for a few weeks.   My old shoes were too old and I was afraid to buy new ones so I had to rig my right shoe and provide some padding on a hot spot.  I started my laces on loop down from the top (leaving those unused) and then using duct tape and Moleskin on the hot spot right below my right big toe joint.  It worked but when I laced up my shoes in the morning I’d gone too tight so I’d loosened them right before the start.  Running the hills had caused my feet to slip and slide in my shoe so I was banging my toes into the toe box.  Tick tock tick tock.

I grabbed a GU, had some water, blew my nose and off I went.  I was still feeling good.  I listened to my Hamilton soundtrack (I’d finally put it on at Mile 8 or so) and was hitting Mile 14, then 15 then 16, 17 and 18.

The crowds at this race were loud and very supportive.  There were bands along the course, people offering orange slices, cookies and high fives.  People were also very creative with their signs “I trained for months to make this sign” and “You paid for this” as well as my favorite “I’m sure it seemed like a good idea 4 months ago”.

At a little over Mile 19 it felt like I had something like a piece of paper stuck on my foot, I kept scuffing the ground.  So I was pulling over to the side to fix it when I saw my friend Stephanie on the curb.  I ran over to her and gave her a big hug.  She’s been an incredible support during the training so it was great to see her there.

Soon after I saw Brad.  I ran over and without thinking, paused my Garmin as I grabbed some chips he had for me.  Salty food.  Yum.

I gave him a hug and continued on my way.  A few minutes later I looked down at my watch and realized that I’d been at 19.4 for a while. So I ran and looked.  Nothing was moving.  Then it hit me.  I didn’t restart my Garmin.  Oh my Fucking God.  I didn’t restart my Garmin.

For non-runners, let me explain.  This is a big deal.  Correction, a BIG DEAL.

I am sure I uttered expletives but restarted my watch and continued on.   At Mile 20 I popped into the port a potty (all that GU, ugh) and tried to power to the end.

I came to Mile 21.  Then Mile 22.  At this point it was getting hard. Add in that my watch was about a half mile behind where I actually was continued to mess with my brain.   I took some walking breaks at the Mile markers and water stops.  Mile 23. Dear Lord, 3 more miles?   Mile 24 – yes, I’ll have a GU, thank you. Mile 25.  There’s Brad, High Five, no stopping now.  Down the street and the “You Have Half A Mile Left” sign.  Half a mile?  Really?

Then around the corner, a straightaway and another turn to the finish.   I raised my arms high above my head as I crossed.   And I was done.

fullsizerender_1I finished at 4:23.  A PR.  This beat my previous PR set in 2008 by almost 6 minutes and I just realized I beat my previous time from the 2015 BMO Vancouver marathon by 16 minutes.  So I have to give props to the training plan.

To sum all of it up it was a good race, a great race.  I had fun.  The first 19-20 miles overall were better than I could have imagined. The last 6 were hard.  I had to dig deep, really deep at times.  But the most important thing is that I didn’t give up.

And I’ve run 10 marathons before I turned 50.  There’s something really satisfying about reaching goals.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂


Race Ready

logoBy the time I step to the starting line this Sunday morning I will have logged close to 500 miles in training. I’ve never actually tracked my training mileage before so it was kind of a surprise when I tallied it up.

In the beginning of my training I ran with friends who helped me along the way.  Stephanie let me crash her 5:30am runs and then came along for some (a lot) of hill repeats and up to the trails and long runs.   Lisa joined me on the track in the dark.   Kerri, Kim and Katie came along for some of the long runs and during a brutally challenging trail run I kept trying to catch my friend Bill.  He’s like a rabbit so I never actually saw him except at the start and finish.

As I got into the more technical miles; Yasso 800’s, tempo runs, fast finishing long runs and the very long runs I ended up going solo. I would be running the race without a buddy to chat up so I knew I had to find a way to motivate, push and dig myself out of some hard spots.

The McMillan Running program was very comprehensive and I feel that I will toe up to the starting line as prepared as I can be.  But I’ve done enough races to know that sometimes things happen that are out of my control but no matter what, I’m going in strong and will push to the end.

I mean, I have so many people rooting for me that I would hate to let anyone down.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Final Full Week of Training

My final, full week of training is done.

The Plan

I had to do some jiggering with my schedule  this week since I was not going to do a tempo run on Thanksgiving Day.  As everyone knows, that day is reserved for our Annual Turkey Trot.   I pushed that run to Friday morning and then did my long run on Sunday as planned.  It was a shorter break than usual but I don’t think it hampered my long run.

Sunday’s run I went back to San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge.  6 miles gets you to Pier 39 and then it’s a turnaround and back home.  The weather was lovely and I was in a great head space.  I think it was the perfect finish to my training plan.  And the clear weather felt like a good Omen for next week!

Here’s how the week ended up. week-15-1






The Food

The first part of the week started out balanced.  But I’ll be honest, I haven’t had anything green to eat since Wednesday.   Moving on…

Yoga/Stretching and Body Work

Stretch.  Digging the LAX ball into my tender spots.  Repeat.  It’s become as addicting as watching Bravo TV.

The Final Week of Training

My 16th week of training is light.  A few tune up runs then the race.

Mostly I’m going to focus on logistics; finalizing what I’ll wear, what time I need to get to Sacramento, what time the shuttle will pick me up and reviewing the course and what to bring to eat before the race.  I eat a lot prior to a marathon.

I also need to work on race day strategy.

I initially set my goal for 4:28 which would beat my previous PR (set in 2008) by a minute.    When I found the McMillan Training Plan I changed my goal to 4:15.   All of my training paces are based on that faster goal so I feel that if all goes well on race day I should hit it.

But as any runner knows, anything can happen on race day so I’ll plot out my 3 scenarios.

  • Best Case
  • Something’s Off, 4:28 is Great
  • Wheels Fell Off And I Just Want To Finish

Making this training public and sharing my goals, training, successes as well as struggles, has been very helpful for me.  In a nutshell, posting about it kept me accountable.  So thanks for your support and for cheering me on.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂



Over the Hump

My marathon is in less than 2 weeks away so I’m in what is considered a “taper” phase.  The training has peaked and now I start to scale back; both in mileage and intensity.  In theory it’s so I’m rested and prepared for the race.  In my reality it’s prime-time for freaking out.

Am I ready?  What’s that pain?  IT band, calf strain, tumor?  I’m tired.  I’m hungry, but I shouldn’t be hungry, I’m not running that much.  Do my running shorts still fit?  Am I drinking too much water?  Not enough?  Why didn’t I do more core work? Am I ready?  Why did I do this?  Am I ready????

At this point I have to let it go and trust in the training.

The Plan

I ran into a weather snag this week.  It rained cats and dogs on Saturday morning so I only did strength training instead of run my usual 30 minutes.  I tried to time my planned 16 mile run on Sunday around the weather report.   I saw a gap of dry weather between 7 and 9am.  The weather people lied.

I got 15 minutes into my run before it started to rain. It was just a sprinkle, no big deal. Then it got harder and harder still.  At 8 miles I had to loop back home and change into dry clothes.  I got another 3 miles done before I had to turn back again.  I tried to wait out the rain and complete my remaining 5 miles but that 45 minute break was just enough time for my muscles to tighten up.  At a half a mile on my 3rd attempt of the day it started to rain again.  I said a very loud expletive and went home.  I was done, it was not going to happen!

Even with the shortened run on Sunday I felt good about the week.   Here’s the recap. week-14-1

The Food

With a hectic schedule it’s easier for me to prepare and even cook dinner in the morning.  It’s not uncommon for me to come home after boot-camp on Monday mornings and make a pot of soup, putting chicken breasts and salsa in the oven to bake and cooking a pot of pinto beans.  I wouldn’t say I’m a great cook but I enjoy cooking and having healthy food on hand.

Plus, when you make the components of a meal, say the chicken and beans, you can do a lot with it.  Make a salad or rice bowl for work lunch, tacos for dinner or even layer it in a dish with corn tortillas some cheese and salsa for a Mexican-inspired lasagne.  My daughter complains that I don’t buy food.  I tell her I buy ingredients to make the food.  She’s unimpressed.

Yoga/Stretching and Body Work

Here’s the go to stretches and mobility work that are part of my regimen.

  • The Couch Stretch
  • Half Pigeon
  • The “Four”
  • Foam roller – hamstrings, IT band, quads, lower back
  • LAX ball – Glutes (all over – focusing on tender and tight spots), hip area – insertion points, calf, feet and shins
  • Pelvic tilts and leg crossovers for the Psoas

Some of these like the pelvic tilts, leg crossovers and LAX ball I do prior to running or my workout and the others for after running so it’s splitting these 6 things in half.  Give or take.

This training week is light as is next week. Except for that marathon, that is.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Lucky 13

The Plan

So this was the 13th week of my training.  I had a long run and some speed work tossed in to the mix.  In full disclosure, the Thursday tempo runs cause me anxiety. Speed work is my mental kryptonite.

But there’s no ‘opt-out’ button in my training.  I mean I could skip things that I don’t like but I’m no quitter and if my plan says speed work or track workouts or whatever I do it.  I just embrace the discomfort and bust my, um sweet cheeks.  🙂

Now the long slow run I’m used to.  You put one foot in front of the other at a consistent pace.  Check.   This weekend was my 20.  What can you say about running a 20 mile run in your neighborhood?  I notice the houses that are for sale, the rentals that are looking for tenants, who’s doing landscaping, who needs to do landscaping and how many people let their dogs leave their um, droppings along the sidewalk. I also feel like my very own Neighborhood Watch – on the lookout for shenanigans.  You’re welcome.

Before I forget, I have to give a huge shout out to my friend Noel for driving up alongside me and saying Hi as I was at Mile 12 of my 20 miler on Sunday!  It was the highlight of my run.

Here’s my recap.  week-13-12

The Food

Two bright spots.  1)  It’s pomegranate season and 2) our avocado tree in Petaluma is yielding some fruit.  Happy dances commence.

I wanted to do some baking this week (remember the energy bars I mentioned recently?) but didn’t get around to it.    I made a big pot of soup, a pasta dish and cooked a huge package of chicken breasts.  Having things on hand make it much easier for me but according to my kids, my culinary skills were lacking.

Yoga/Stretching and Body Work

Here’s what I’m noticing.  I’m sore after a long run but I’m recovering very quickly.  And this is without icing, Ibuprofen or alcohol!  The only thing that’s a bit rough are Monday mornings.  I teach a 5:30am class and am stiff at the outset as we move along and around the neighborhood.  But about 10 minutes in I feel fine.  I’ll credit yoga and my stretching regime for the recovery.

So coming in to Week 14 I was expecting the taper.  And nothing. In fact, I have 2 long runs this week, both with fast finishes.  Today’s went well and I’m confident for Sunday’s run, I just have to figure out where to go.

I’m into the final weeks.  The homestretch.  Looking forward to the taper.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂