Fear and Fall Training Mode

The past six weeks have been a bit of roller coaster ride .  I won’t go into too much detail about the personal stuff but it has been a challenging time. Despite everything going on, I have a goal race that I am training for.  In my mind, it’s always go big or go home.  So I am aiming to do 13.1 miles at The Santa Clara Half Marathon on Sunday, December 14th. This race will be my third half marathon in 2014.  My first half post-health scare last June. Honestly, I am scared to attempt this again.

Getting back into training mode has been up and down.  As excited I am to be back, I felt like I have failed because I am back to taking medications. I feel like I have let myself down. The meds make me feel tired and slow.  It’s hard to look over my training calendars on Strava from the past two years and see my training decline in terms of pace and mileage. Not that I am fast by any means. I know in my heart that I can get back to where I was. It’s just going to take time. The what ifs and doubts will always be there.  I try not to give into it.  I tell myself to keep looking forward not backwards. Use my setback to come back stronger. To keep going. Call me stubborn or crazy for getting up over and over again. Running is where I feel free. No distractions. Just the road and me . It’s where I feel at home and heals my spirit.

With the downside, there is always an upside to training.  I am back to my pacing gig on Saturdays and it’s good to back with my runner peeps. I may even take on the role of long run water stop coordinator for the fall. All part of continuing to give back and be a part of the running community. It’s about giving back and returning the favor.  Seeing people train and achieve their goals. That’s what continues to inspire and fuel my desire to get up.

Even though I am scared, I remember that I have been given another chance. A gift to run. So, I accept the gift graciously and will not let the fear stop me from doing what I love to do.

Happy Running,



Starting Over Again ..

Last week I started training. It felt good to get back into the routine after five weeks of recovery. I have missed the torture, er I mean the exercise. Most importantly, I missed the trainers who have become my friends. We’ve been slowly building and easing into things. Core, arms and legs. I can tell I’ve lost a little of my endurance but I think that’s because of the meds I am on. Hopefully in the coming weeks, I’ll be back to doing the crazy stuff..

As for the running, I am easing into it too. Last Saturday’s long run was a four miler around Lake Merced. It was kind of a test to see if my body was up to it. Note that four miles has been the longest I have run in five weeks too. Perfect weather around the lake. Cool with a touch of foggy mist! Welcome to SF summer..

My first two miles around the lake were fucking hard. My legs felt heavy and I started to question if I could handle it. I kept telling myself to just keep going .. One foot in front of the other. In the middle of the second mile, I tried to hold on to the pace but alas, I took a 30 second walk break and felt discouraged.. I told myself that the long run was not a race. Relax and enjoy the moment. No pressure.. After the pep talk, the feeling of heavy legs somewhat disappeared and my breathing improved. I kept pushing and by mile three and four I felt like my old self. Running hard with sweat dripping down my forehead and the pounding of my heart. I have to say it’s the best feeling in the world! I completed four miles. Every run is an accomplishment in itself. And to me, it’s a sign that I am capable of going as far as my heart can take me.

Seen on the run:

San Andreas

Happy Running,

Hydrating and Fueling

Disclaimer:  Please note that these are my opinions and views alone. I am not sponsored nor compensated by any of these products mentioned in this article. I am not a medical professional.  If you have specific questions or issues regarding nutrition, please contact a medical professional.

I have been asked how do I fuel and hydrate during a training cycle. I am not really an expert.  All of us are different. What may work for me, may not work for others. Most of the time it’s a game of trial and error for me. I test out some things a couple of weeks into training and usually stick with what works.

The key thing I know is to stay hydrated throughout the week.  I drink an average of ten glasses of water a day. For some, that may seem like a lot and boring.  I have learned that it does help to keep hydrated during the week to prepare me for long runs . On Fridays, I a try to slip in a tablet of Nuun (pronounced “Noon”) in my water to kick start the electrolyte intake. What is Nuun? According to the website,” it’s a self-dissolving, sugar-free electrolyte tablet that dissolves in your water.” I discovered Nuun, while training last year for the first half of The SF Marathon.  Unfortunately, Gatorade , Gu-Brew and Power-Aid doesn’t sit too well with my stomach. So during a shopping trip to Sports Basement, I bought a tube of the Lemon Tea flavor. From that purchase on it has been my constant hydration companion.  It hardly gives me any trouble and it’s breaks up the monotony of water. What I love about it: portable, sugar-free, a variety of flavors and most important happy stomach! My favorite flavors are: Tropical, Fruit Punch and Citrus Fruit.  Do you see the tropical theme here? Nuun will be the electrolyte on course for The SF Marathon this year!  Awesome!

Photo courtesy of Nuun website/

Photo courtesy of Nuun website

Besides hydration, fuel is important while running.  There are all sorts of products out there. Gels, chews, bars and whole food. So many to choose from so little time. It takes time to figure out what works and doesn’t. My magic combo this year has been Chocolate Outrage Gu Energy Gels, Chocolate Haze Pocket Fuel Nut Butter and Pomegranate Passion Fruit Honey Stinger Energy Gels.

Photo courtesy of PocketFuel.

Photo courtesy of PocketFuel.

Photo Courtesy of Honey Stinger

Photo Courtesy of Honey Stinger

Photo courtesy of Gu Energy L

Photo courtesy of Gu Energy Labs

Now, I don’t use everything at the same time but I do like to have variety. For runs longer than 5 miles, I take four Gu’s and either a package of chews or Pocket Fuel just in case I get tired of gels. I start my fuel thirty minutes before a run and then every 40 minutes while running. I find this timing works best for me. It saves me from getting delirious and hangry (hungry and angry) while out on the road.  What I love about all these fueling options are that it gives me the energy and nutrition that I need. Gu is not sugar-free but has just enough to not send me into sugar shock.  PocketFuel is pretty gentle on my stomach and is a good whole food option. Honey Stinger has fun flavors also organic and gluten free.

The most important thing is it to try all sorts of things. Practice fueling and hydrating while on your long runs. Logging the miles during training is important . Practicing your fueling and hydrating is also key. It is during this time you will figure out what works, so come race day, no surprises.

Hope this helps!

How do you fuel and hydrate while training?
Do you prefer gels or chews?

Happy Running,