Favorite Fall Foods – But Not Necessarily Healthy

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!  Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello!

 

FridayFiveFavoriteFallFoods
 

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and quite appropriately, this week’s Friday Five theme is Favorite Fall Foods… 

Thanksgiving is without a doubt my favorite holiday, and I love roasting the perfect turkey, and making all of the traditional side dishes.  But I don’t love the food…  During dinner, I eat a token piece of turkey, a tiny bit of sweet potato casserole, dressing, a dinner roll, gravy, and a huge salad…  Of course, I go into dinner a bit stuffed from nibbling on our antipasto platter!

AntipastoPlatter
Since today’s prompt is Favorite Fall Foods, not Thanksgiving, the following five foods aren’t necessarily on my Thanksgiving table.  And as a healthy living blogger, I feel that I need to add the following disclaimer:  After the first two entries, I’m throwing healthy out the window, and it all goes down hill from here!

1.  One of my clients told me about Honey Crisp Apples years ago when they first made an appearance in the US.  At the time, I could only find them in the grocery stores in the fall, but fortunately I can now find them year-round at Wegman’s and Safeway!

HoneyCrispApples
2.  A couple of years ago I found a recipe for Smoky Black Bean Stew in Runner’s World.  I tried it, and we loved it!  It’s a definite cold-weather comfort food, but with a healthy twist!

3.  My Mom found a recipe for Apple Betty Crisp when I was little, and it quickly became a fall treat.  Bill absolutely loves it, and I just realized that I haven’t made one for him this fall…

  • Apple Betty Crisp
  • 4 cups peeled and sliced tart apples
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Mound apples in buttered 9-inch pie plate, and sprinkle with orange juice.
  • For topping, combine sugar, flour, spices, and a dash of salt.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly, and scatter over apples.
  • Bake at 375° for 45-minutes, or until apples are done and topping is crisp.
  • Serves 6

4.  Last Thanksgiving, my son Daniel suggested we try a new side dish for dinner.  I asked what he had in mind, and he said macaroni and cheese.  We decided that it couldn’t be just any mac ‘n’ cheese, so we turned to Google, and it didn’t take us long to settle on Smoked Gouda and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese.  I mean seriously, anything with smoked Gouda and bacon?  How could it not be fabulous!  Let’s just say that this year I’m doubling the recipe!

5.  Ummm, this isn’t a food, but it’s something that I’d never even think of drinking in the summer, but enjoy occasionally once fall hits.  Any guesses?  It’s a Toasted Almond!  This has become our traditional post-Christmas Eve Mass cocktail.  We come home from 8 PM mass, enjoy a few Toasted Almonds, a slice of Sausage Roll, and bask in the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.

  • Toasted Almond
  • 1-1/2 ounces Khaula
  • 1-1/2 ounces Amaretta
  • 4 ounces half-and-half (I usually use milk)
  • Pour over ice, enjoy

ToastedAlmondCocktail
 

  • Questions:
  • What are your favorite fall recipes?
  • Do you like traditional Thanksgiving foods?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

Happy Hug A Runner Day!

 

Long before the blog, and possibly even before I was on Facebook (yes I’m talking about the olden days), I somehow heard about Hug A Runner Day.  On that cold November 20th morning, I hugged my favorite runner goodbye before he left for work, and left my house for a solo run around our neighborhood in hopes of running into at least one other runner to hug.

First I saw Lorraine out walking her dog.  I’d gotten to know Lorraine through my BRF, and we’d even run together a few times, so even though she wasn’t running, she counted!   After a quick explanation and hug to Lorraine, and a pat on the head of her little white dog, I was off to find another person to hug.

Just a couple of streets away, I saw my Cruiser friend Shawn waiting at the bus stop with her daughter.  I gave her a quick sweaty hug and continued on my run.  Soon I noticed a car slow down beside me, and saw my Cruiser friend Alan (Shawn’s husband) smiling out of his open car window.  After leaning inside his car and giving him a big hug, I finished my run, satisfied that I’d accomplished my fun little goal!

Today, I met friends at 5:30 AM on the trail, and didn’t have to run all over my neighborhood to find runners to hug!  It was especially sweet to get to run with Amanda, my fellow Cruiser and MRTT running buddy!

HugARunnerAmandaDebbie

And before I leave you today, I just have to share this again.  I saw my all-time favorite picture of a runner getting hugged, last fall on Sue’s recap of the Marine Corps Marathon…  Ooh Rah!

 

 

  • Questions:
  • Have you hugged a runner today?
  • Who’s your favorite runner to hug?

Yes, I’m A Running Gadget Geek (November 10 -16)

Yes, I will admit that I am quite the gadget geek, and I do love my running toys.  Just this past weekend I got two more, but more on that later.  First, here’s my week in review…

Monday
I started Monday back on track with lifting weights.  I don’t mean to whine, but I just haven’t been able to get back into my three-times-a-week-pre-arm-surgery-disciplined-self with my weight lifting routine.  Perhaps I need to hire a trainer.  ;-)

Tuesday
I met my MRTT friends for 5 miles around a neighboring community’s trails.  We parked at a popular restaurant, and hit the well-lit trails.  We finished in 47.32 (9:24 pace), and Kelley and I decided to tack on another mile on the hill where we did repeats during the summer.  Can I just say that the hill must have gotten much steeper because I was sucking wind trying to get up that thing!  Kelley was loping along beside me like a graceful gazelle, and I was stomping like a mad elephant!  We finished the round-trip mile in 9:55 which was faster than it felt.

MRTTClydesSelfie

Wednesday
I met my BRF for the first run together in several weeks on Wednesday.  Our focus is always on conversation rather than speed.  It’s girlfriend time, and we don’t care how fast or slow we’re going This week it happened to be 5.5 miles at a 10:47 pace.  I needed a couple of short walk breaks, and girlfriend obliged.

Later on Wednesday I got in another really good weight training session, but unfortunately it would be my last of the week…

Thursday
Erin met me at my house for 3 miles on the trails in the woods behind my house on Thursday, right after I finished 3 miles by myself (9:25 pace).  She was tapering for her half marathon on Sunday, so I gladly split up my 6-mile run for her company in the second half.  We ran at an easy shake-out pace (10:28).  It worked beautifully!

FallRunPicStitch

Friday
Friday was my birthday, and despite my plans to lift, I got side-tracked when I accidentally deleted both last year’s and this year’s birthday letters to myself.  I was able to retrieve them eventually, but what should have taken 15 minutes to write that day’s post, took two hours to fix.

I did spend quite a bit of time near my basement gym later that evening when we had friends over to help celebrate my birthday.  During happy hour, and I could see my gym while standing behind the bar!  Does that count?

BirthdayMartiniGlass
DebbieTerriBirthdayCakeLit

Saturday
I started off Saturday bright and early with a great run with friends.  It’s easy to get up early when you have friends to meet!  We had six in my pace group and we finished 7 miles in 1:04:48 (9:15 pace).

HugARunnerMRTTGroupHug

Saturday evening our family went out for dinner together, and I got to open my presents!  Yay for geeky-gadgety running gifts!  Joseph, Julie, and Daniel gave me a Garmin, and Bill gave me a GoPro!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

GoProGarmin

Sunday
Around mid-day on Sunday, I went out for a run by myself.  I couldn’t wait any longer for my first Garmin run!  Even though I had it recharging all night, I saw that the battery was low around 2.75 miles (I must have done something wrong).  I stopped my watch at 3.1 miles because I desperately wanted to take my first Garmin/feet picture, and didn’t want to miss getting it because my watch died before I got home.  I didn’t take the picture when I hit stop, and didn’t realize that you can’t recall it later in the same format.  Anyway, I finished in 25:08 (8:06 pace).  On my way home, my watch died at 3.07 miles when I was at 26:10 (8:31 pace).  I learned that if your Garmin battery dies while on a run, your run is saved!

I also learned that my RunKeeper (I had it running to compare), clocked my first mile on the twisty trail through the woods 30 seconds slower than my Garmin.  When I ran on the straight W&OD Trail, the two kept perfect time with each other.  I have always questioned the accuracy of my RunKeeper app, and now I know…

On my run, I left the GoPro at home because I hadn’t figured out how to use it yet…  Too bad, because I saw a solid white squirrel on the trail!  Seriously, about one minute after watching a beautiful red fox run across the trail in front of me, I saw a white squirrel!

 

Total weekly workouts:
Running – 30.5 miles
Lifting – 2 hours

 

  • Questions:
  • Do you like running gadgets?
  • What’s on your running wish list?
  • Who raced this weekend?

Revisiting My Birthday Letter To Myself

Last year I wrote my first birthday letter to myself, and have decided to update it each year.  Here’s last year’s entry with my 57th year highlight…

Today is my birthday, and I absolutely love birthdays!  At my age I celebrate the whole month of November because I’ve earned it.  To celebrate my 56 years of living on this magnificent earth, I thought I’d write a letter to my many different ages…

Dear 1-year old self…  Keep running, but for heaven’s sake work on your form.  You’re wasting a lot of energy flailing your arms like that!

BabyDebbieRunning
Dear 3-year old self…  That stuffed monkey that you just shoved back into the birthday gift wrap and said that you didn’t like, will soon become your favorite toy and will even go off to college with you!

StuffedMonkey
Dear 4-year old self…  When strangers comment to your mom that since you have red hair, you must have a horrible temper and must be a very difficult child, kick them in the shins instead of hiding timidly behind your mom.

Dear 5-year old self…  Embrace every second of “daycare” that you spend with your dad and granddad on the farm.  You’ll someday be very happy that you can use a hammer, screwdriver, and pretty much any other tool to fix almost anything, and don’t need to ask your husband to fix things for you.

Dear 11-year old self…  Rock that pixie haircut and those gold tights on your eleventh birthday!  You are too cool for school!

EleventhBirthday
Dear 12-year old self…  Take in every second of watching your mom walk across that stage to receive her BS degree after making so many sacrifices to earn it.  You have no idea the positive impact she is having on you.

Dear 13-year old self… Don’t hate your two different colored eyes.  Even though kids ask you if you can see out of your half brown/half blue eye, gently tell them that it’s only a genetic variation of your iris and move on.  One day you’ll think it’s cool!

Dear 14-year old self…  Thank you for begging and pleading with your mom and dad to let you go out for the track team.  You are about to fall in love with a sport that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Dear 16-year old self…  Don’t be insulted when the ticket taker asks your uncle and aunt how old the little boy in the back seat is when you’re going to see “The World’s Greatest Athlete” at the drive-in.  Someday you’ll be thankful for your young looking skin!  To him calling you a boy?  I have no thoughts on that; just don’t let it eat at you for the next 40 years.

Dear 17-year old self…  Embrace cleaning house, cutting the grass, and making dinners every weekend so your mom can go back to school and get her master’s degree.  Her drive to make herself the best that she can be, will make you the woman you’re about to become.

Dear 18-year old self…  Thank you for deciding to accept Virginia Tech’s admission to their great university.  Even though you were being sarcastic at the time, you had no idea how prophetic your comment to your parents would be when you said, “I’m going to hang out in front of the engineering hall in hopes of meeting a nice young man to marry.”

Acceptance
Dear 19-year old self…  Go ahead and throw that snowball at that dorm window.  In just a few minutes you’ll be walking into that dorm room and meeting your future husband for the first time!

Dear 20-year old self…  Don’t waste so much time lying out in the sun.  You may think your tan makes you look good now, but it’s doing irreparable damage to your skin and setting you up for years of dermatologist visits.

Dear 21-year old self…  Thank your parents for the gift of an education.  Not many kids in your generation have the luxury of graduating from college debt-free.

DebBill21stBDay
Dear 22-year old self…  Get a life!  When a 40-something year old co-teacher asks you how old you are when your parents send flowers on your birthday, don’t act exasperated and say, “Ugh, 22 years old!” as if you’re over the hill.

Dear 23-year old self…  I know you love that guy you’re marrying, but he is going to be far more than you think.  He’s going to be your best friend, your partner for life, and a fabulous dad to your future children.  And he’s going to push you to be the best that you can be!

WeddingPartyBrideGroomx
Dear 24-year old self…  Embrace moving out of your comfort zone and moving to Utah.  There’s a whole new world of hiking and cross country skiing waiting for you!

BillDebSkiingUtah
Dear 27-year old self…  As beautiful as Utah and Colorado were, moving back to Virginia from out west to be near family was the best move you and Bill could have made.

Dear 28-year old self…  Embrace your popped collar and big hair.  You’re rockin’ the 80’s look!

BillDebPoppedCollars
Dear 29-year old self…  That 5-pound, 12-ounce little bundle of joy will show you a love that you never knew existed, and will grow up to make you so incredibly proud.

JosephDebSleeping
Dear 31-year old self…  Enjoy the easy and relaxed life of being the mom to only one baby.  Your life is about to get very busy!

Dear 32-year old self…  That 8-pound, 3-ounce little cutie pie will steal your heart.  Just when you thought your life was complete, another little man will be vying for your attention, endlessly.

NewbornDaniel
Dear 34-year old self…  Moving into a cramped two bedroom apartment for three months while you’re waiting for your new house to be built will be worth it.  Your new neighborhood will bring you neighbors that will be your friends forever.

Dear 36-year old self…  Thank your in-laws profusely for watching your little boys while you and your husband take your first vacation without children, and spend ten days in Hawaii.

HawaiiView
Dear 39-year old self…  You have no idea how your decision to train for and run your first marathon will impact the rest of your life.  Good job!

Dear 40-year old self…  Good call on letting your friend Miles talk you into running your first 50-mile ultra less than a month after your first marathon.  You don’t realize it at the time, but you’ll never have a chance to run it again.

Dear 44-year old self…  Don’t be so surprised to find that first basal cell carcinoma.  You brought it on yourself by getting that “perfect” tan when you were young and stupid.

Dear 45-year old self…  You’re purchasing your third and hopefully final house, and have no idea how much you and your family will enjoy your little piece of country in suburbia!

BackYardPatio
Dear 50-year old self…  Embrace your “I don’t give a crap what people think” attitude.  You’ve earned it!

Dear 52-year old self…  You’re a badass!  You just qualified for Boston again after two years of less than stellar marathon performances.  Go run it and have fun!

Deb2010BostonFinish
Dear 53-year old self…  Don’t be embarrassed that you just became an opportunist and hogged in on your son’s dermatologist appointment so your doctor could take a look at that odd place on your leg, rather than waiting three months until your next check-up.  Catching that melanoma early was a very good thing.

Dear 54-year old self…  Be nice to that cute young lady that your son has invited to dinner for you and Bill to meet.  You’re going to fall in love with her too, and one day she’ll be joining your family.

Dear 55-year old self…  Enjoy your care-free summer visit with your parents.  You never know when you’re going to lose someone you love dearly, and this will be your last extended visit with your dad before he goes to heaven.

DebMomDad2009
Dear 56-year old self…  Enjoy your Sunday afternoon phone conversations with your dad, and ask questions about your family history.  Be grateful for that last week you got to spend with him, even though he was in the hospital.  After he’s gone, be strong for your mom, and remember that she just lost the love of her life, and husband of 60 years.

Dear 57-year old self…  You’ve always wanted a daughter, and now you have the most amazingly sweet, beautiful, and smart daughter-in-law imagnable.  Welcome her to your family with open arms, cherish her, and be the best mother-in-law you can possibly be.

JoJuWeddingBelmont

Photo credit: Anne Lord Photography

 

  • Questions:
  • When is your birthday?
  • What big things would you tell yourself in a similar letter?
  • What’s your favorite birthday memory?

 

Cold Weather Running Tips

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!  Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello!

ColdWeatherRunningTips
 

With winter just around the corner, this week’s theme is Cold Weather Running Tips…  I’ve written about dressing for different types of weather (Flat Runner Guide To Dressing For Your Run), but I haven’t written specifically about tips for running in cold weather until now.

 

1. Dress For Once You’re Warmed Up – I see this more than any other mistake runners make.  You should always dress for a mile or two into your run, not how you feel when you walk out the door, or start the race.  The body is an amazing thing, and it warms up as it starts expending energy.  Clothing that’s comfortable before you start running, will most likely feel too hot once you’ve warmed up.

2.  Wear The Right Clothing – Winter running clothes need to be warm, but they also need to breath and allow the sweat to be wicked away from the body to prevent chilling.  Look for polyester blends, and expect a unique name from each different manufacturer (example: Nike = DriFIT).

FlatRunnerExtremeCold

3.  Layer, Layer, Layer – Layering goes along with the first two tips, but deserves a mention of it’s own.  The temperature can change drastically during a winter run, especially if the sun comes-and-goes between clouds, or a cold rain starts.  Most winter days, I wear either a short or long sleeved shirt covered by a light windbreaker jacket.  If I get too warm, I tie the jacket around my waist, and if I get cold again, I can easily put it back on.

4.  Don’t Forget Your Extremities – You can be dressed perfectly for the cold weather, but if you forget to cover your hands, feet, and ears properly, you’re setting yourself up for a miserable run.  I wear my merino wool Feetures socks in extremely cold weather, but otherwise my Ultra Lights are perfect.  My hands and ears are another story, though.  If the temperature drops below about 45-48°, I need gloves and ear warmers.  When it gets extremely cold I add mittens on top of my gloves and pull out my hand warmers.  I don’t own a running balaclava, but when the thermometer drops to the dangerous digits I’ve been known to pull out my ski neck warmer and pull it up over my mouth.

5.  Properly Hydrate – When you’re not hot and sweaty, it’s easy to forget to hydrate properly.  You won’t need to take in as much water when you’re not sweating profusely, but you still need to replace those lost liquids, so drink up.

Bonus:  Light Up And Be Seen – Most of my cold weather runs are in the dark, so I make sure I’m lit up and can be seen by other runners, bikers, and motorists.  I rarely run without my Petzl headlamp and  Nathan tail light, and if I’m going to be near traffic I wear my Nathan reflective vestKnuckle Lights complement my headlamp, and are great for showing pavement irregularities to help prevent falls!

 

  • Questions:
  • What’s your best cold weather running tip?
  • Do you do very much night running?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

A Veteran’s Day Salute

Today’s post is an encore production from last Veteran’s Day…

Today is Veteran’s Day, a day to honor those who have served our country in the armed forces.  If you have served in one of the branches of our military, thank you!  Today I want to talk about one of my army heroes…

PapawArmy
My papaw was born in 1895 and grew up on a small farm.  He was drafted into the army and was wounded in the World War I Battle at Chateau-Thierry and later received the Purple Heart.

PurpleHeart
I was lucky enough to grow up just down the road from this wonderful man, who just happened to be the apple of my eye! Papaw and my dad farmed together, and they were my day-care providers the year before I started school.  In addition to learning how to use tools and take care of the farm animals, I developed a love of baking from helping Papaw make cookies and cakes. He never used a recipe… just started mixing ingredients to make the most delicious desserts.  He was known in the community for being an excellent cook and baker, and was often asked to bring dessert to local shindigs (as he liked to call all gatherings).  His talent in the kitchen was fine tuned in the army after he was wounded and was sent to cook in the mess tent instead of being sent back into battle.  Apparently his cooking skills caught the attention of someone, because he was moved to the officers’ mess tent to cook for them.

When I was in the eighth grade, I had to interview someone I admired and write a report about their story. I chose Papaw. I referred to him as “Grandfather” in the report because my teacher said reports should be formal and I was afraid she would take points off for me referring to him as “Papaw.” I got an A, and more importantly to me, I got to read the report to my class and tell them what a great man my papaw was!

On April 29, 1895, my grandfather was born in a small community named Olympia.  At the age of 21 Grandfather was drafted by the United States Army.  About a year later he was sent to France.  On July 15, 1918, three months later, the Germans shelled them all night and most of the next day.  There were only 75 out of 150 men that weren’t wounded or killed.  My grandfather was sent to take some men to the hospital and on his way he was shot in the head.  An American man found Grandfather and took him to the hospital.  Grandfather had to share a bed* with a man who had gotten shot in the foot.  Grandfather said that when he would turn over or hit the man’s foot that the man would yell, “Foot!”  My grandfather would then say, “Hole in my head!”

After Grandfather got out of the hospital he had to cook for the fighting men because he wasn’t strong enough to fight.  After the war Grandfather was discharged from the Army with the other Americans that were sent to France to fight in World War I.

*The hospital was so crowded with wounded soldiers, that the injured had to share hospital cots. It’s humbling to think what our veterans have done for us.

I did not mention in my story that my papaw had to play dead so he wouldn’t get shot a second time as the enemy walked around kicking at the soldiers to make sure they had been killed.  Years later after Papaw’s hair had turned white, I always scrambled up on his lap right after he’d gotten a fresh crew cut to look for the bullet trench in the top of his head.  The scar ran from the front to the back and actually was a hollowed out trench the length of the top of his head. It was an amazing sight to a little kid!

PapawStory1

PapawStory2

As much as I loved my papaw, my favorite veteran was my dad

DadArmy

  • Questions:
  • Who is/was your favorite veteran?
  • Are you a veteran?

Feetures Socks Winner!

Congratulations to Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes for winning three pairs of Feetures socks from my most recent giveaway!  I suggest asking Sue for assistance when picking the numbers in your next lottery ticket purchase, because Sue also won a Road ID from my February giveaway! Sue’s on a roll!

Thank you Feetures for allowing me to be a Feetures Brand Ambassador, and for generously supplying the socks for my giveaways!

FeeturesSocks
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

  • Questions:
  • Do you ever play the lottery, go to casinos, or horse tracks?
  • Have you ever won anything?

Ellie’s Self-Made Ultramarathon

I first met Ellie at Miles’ Pancake Run in June, but had the opportunity to get to know her a little bit better at Julie’s bridal shower, bachelorette party, and then the wedding when Ellie was one of Julie’s bridesmaids.  Ellie and Julie ran track together in high school, have stayed close friends, and ran a half marathon together this spring.

Late in the summer, Ellie decided that she wanted to run the entire 44.82-mile length of the W&OD Trail.  She set her sights on October 11, but an aggravated IT-Band forced her to rescheduled to November 8.  She let friends know her plans and welcomed anyone to join her for a few miles, or to bring snacks!

If you remember, last year my son Joseph ran the length of the W&OD Trail in the Crusiers’ 45-Mile Ultramarathon that I organized for him.  When Julie wasn’t running with Joseph she helped crew, so she had a very good idea of what Ellie would need along the way.  Much like we had prepared for Joseph’s ultra, Julie had the back of her SUV packed with peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, Swedish fish, water, Gatorade, and other snacks to last the day for Ellie and her team.

A couple of days before her ultra, Ellie had her running buddies and crew download the app Glympse. She then added us to her event, so we could follow her along on the run. It was a great way for us to see where she was on the trail, and determine when to arrive at our meeting place to join her.

ElliesUltraGlympse

Joseph, Julie, and Ellie started at the western end of the W&OD Trail in Purcellville at 5:45 AM with Joseph running alongside Ellie, and Julie driving.  It was still dark when they started, but the moon was bright and nearly full, and illuminated their way.

EllieUltraStartGroupSelfie

Photo credit: Joseph

Bill and I arrived at Clark’s Gap 6 miles into the run just in time to cheer Ellie and Joseph in, and send Ellie off with Julie for about 3.5 miles.

ElliesUltraWithJulie

With Julie on the trail, Joseph took over crewing responsibilities, and we drove ahead to Loudoun County High School to wait for Ellie and Julie.  Bill and I were next up to keep Ellie company for about 11 miles.  We picked up when Ellie was 9.5 miles into her run, and feeling strong.

Joseph and Julie were waiting to cheer us on at couple of places before we got out of Leesburg, and I convinced everyone to gather for a shoe selfie at one of our stops.

ElliesUltraShoeSelfie

Running along we suddenly heard a crazy-loud chattering noise, and looked over just in time to see a squirrel holding a nut.  Perhaps he was warning us not to get any closer…  This prompted Ellie to tell us about her first two animal encounters of the day.  Her first encounter was with a deer standing on the trail while it was still dark, that refused to move off of the trail as she and Joseph ran by.  Her second animal encounter was with a dead snake that she saw when running with Julie.  Dead or not, she said the snake freaked her out!

ElliesUltraSquirrel

About half way into our run together, I noticed that Ellie was starting to limp when walking during one of our porta potty breaks.  She said her IT-Band was starting to bother her, and we talked about taking Advil. I texted Julie’s mom Janet who was going to be joining Ellie later, and asked her to bring along some Advil.

Julie continued crewing, and met us at a couple of places to give Ellie food and refill her water pack. We were about 17 miles into Ellie’s run at this stop in Ashburn.

ElliesUltraCarolinaBrothers

Even though it was a bit breezy and cold at times, overall, it was a gorgeous day for an ultramarathon!

ElliesUltraGroup

Bill and I ran with Ellie to her 20.5 mile point in Dulles where Janet joined in on the fun.  If you look closely, you can see Julie photo-bombing the picture.  Or perhaps she was contemplating how to get her Bulldogs sweatshirt back, and sneaking up behind them to make the steal.

ElliesUltraWithJanet

Our Cruiser friend Beth (who joined Joseph for 15 miles during his ultra), was waiting to join Ellie and Janet in Reston as Ellie finished 27 miles.  By now, the Advil was kicking in and Ellie was starting to feel a lot better.

After Janet left, Beth ran with Ellie to the 32 mile point, and snapped this picture of Ellie when she got to her 30-mile point.  The miles are marked on the W&OD Trail from east to west, and Ellie ran from west to east, so the mile markers were counting down.

ElliesUltraAt30Miles

Photo credit: Beth

Once Beth left, Ellie ran alone for a half mile, the only time she was alone during her entire run.

At the 32.5 mile point, Joseph took over crewing again, so Julie could run with Ellie from miles 32 to 37.  As they crossed over the Capital Beltway (I-495), Julie snapped this picture.  By the time they reached 37 miles, it was starting to get dark, and Joseph ran with Ellie to mile 39 so she would have a guy on the trail with her.

ElliesUltraWODTrailBeltway

Photo credit: Julie

Using the rule that there’s safety in numbers, Janet returned to the trail to run the final 5.5 miles with Ellie, Julie, and another high school friend, Melissa.  Julie’s dad Rich had now joined in to take over crewing, and was pretty close by with the car.

After a long day of chasing a dream, Ellie met her goal of running the length of the W&OD Trail when she reached the end of the trail in Shirlington.  Her current three running buddies, ran ahead to take pictures of her crossing the finish line.

ElliesUltraFinishing

Photo credit: Janet

Ellie may be giving two thumbs up because she’s happy to be finished, but all of her friends are giving her two thumbs up on a job well done!

ElliesUltraThumbsUp

Photo credit: Janet

Ellie was lucky enough to have someone running with her the entire time except for a half mile.  Here are the total miles run by each of her friends that joined in on the fun:

Ellie – 45 miles
Julie – 14 miles
Janet – 12 miles
Bill – 11 miles
Debbie – 11 miles
Joseph – 8 miles
Melissa – 5.5 mile
Beth – 5 miles

On Sunday morning, less than 18 hours after she finished her run, Ellie told Julie that she was sad her run was over, and looks forward to her next ultra.  What’s up next for this amazing young lady?  She wants to move on from an ultra run to an ultra race, and is shooting for a 50-miler.

 

  • Questions:
  • Would you attempt an ultra that wasn’t part of an organized race?
  • Have you ever crewed for anyone?
  • What is the longest distance you’ve run, or would like to run?

Voting On The Run And An Ultra (November 3 – 9)

This past week…

Monday
I was pretty surprised on Monday that my calves were still sore from our trail run on Friday.  I walked around a bit gingerly, lifted weights, and rolled out my legs.

Tuesday
I met my MRTT friends on Tuesday morning at 5:30 for a 5-mile run at a 9:30 pace.  Since the time had changed over the weekend, we brought up the sun, rather than finishing our run in the dark.

ClydesSunriseRun

I got home from my run just as Bill was heading out to run and vote, so I took off with him.  We took the long way to our voting polling place.  After we voted I ran home (2.3 miles round-trip), and Bill continued on with his run.

IVoted
Wednesday
Wednesday morning I lifted, and then had a crazy busy day spread out between client appointments and a dentist appointment.  That evening, my MRTT buddies started posting on our Facebook group about the next morning’s looming rain storm, and wondering if we should meet.  Once Amanda, posted this eCard, we all became a little more focused on getting out on the trail the next morning!

HardCoreRainECard
Thursday
Since it wasn’t too terribly cold, I met Erin and Kelley for 5 miles at a 9:16 pace in the pouring rain.  The old Debbie didn’t care how cold the rain was; as long as it wasn’t icy, I’d get my run in.  These days, I prefer to cross train on my bike when the temps drop on a rainy day.

RainyRunCollage

Friday
Bill and I woke up a little dejected on Friday because we weren’t planning to run to the top of a mountain like we had the previous two Fridays.

Saturday
It was quite the honor to run 11 miles with Ellie as part of her W&OD Trail 44.5-mile ultramarathon on Saturday when Bill and I joined her about 9 miles into her run.  She had friends spaced out along the course, and only had to run a half mile alone.  I’ll have a complete recap of her run tomorrow.

ElliesUltraWithBillDeb

Sunday
Rested

Total weekly workouts:
Running – 23.3 miles
Lifting – 2 hours

*************************************************************************

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win three free pairs of Feetures socks!  Contest ends at midnight tonight!

Rules to enter my Feetures giveaway:

  1. You are allowed to enter every day during this period.  The more times and ways you enter, the greater your chances of winning.
  2. Shipping is available only in the continental United States.
  3. Winners will be selected by Rafflecopter at midnight on Sunday, November 9, and announced by Tuesday, November 11.
  4. Once the winner is announced, that person will have until Friday, November 14 (my birthday) to claim the prize.  If the winner fails to claim their prize, another winner will be chosen.
  5. Relatives of Deb Runs are not eligible to win.

To enter for a chance to win a three pairs of Feetures socks,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.

GOOD LUCK!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

  • Questions:
  • I saw on social media this past week that a lot of people ran or walked to their polling place to vote.  Were you able to?
  • Would you attempt an ultra that wasn’t part of an organized race?
  • Who raced this weekend?

Staying Focused And On Track During The Holidays

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!  Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello!

FridayFiveThanksgiving
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this week’s theme is Five Ways To Stay On Track / Healthy During The Holidays…

Every year about now, I spend a lot of time with my weight loss clients going over a game plan for how they will handle their eating during the holidays.  There’s nothing more frustrating for those clients (and me), than for them to take three steps backward during the holidays.  I adjust their goals and ask them to try to maintain their weight from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  If they lose weight, great, but if they don’t, then they don’t feel like they have failed.

Today I’m sharing five of my tips for staying on track:

1.  Try to continue working out at the same frequency and level that you do the rest of the year.  Sign your family up for a turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning, or go for a walk after you eat on Thanksgiving/Christmas afternoon.  Keep moving, but make sure you’re having fun.  Every minute you’re outside, you’re not inside nibbling on pie and ice cream.

2.  If you’re ask to bring something to a friend or relative’s house for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, ask them what’s on the menu.  Then offer to bring a lite appetizer or side dish that compliments the meal.  Cooking Lite has some great recipes to check out!

3.  Make good choices and pace yourself on the alcohol consumption at parties.  Keep in mind that there are far fewer calories in wine than most cocktails.  Also, try to drink a glass/bottle of water between each alcoholic beverage.

4.  Try to avoid having your holiday weaknesses in the house.  For me, it’s Southern Comfort eggnog…  I used to scoop it up when I’d first see it in the stores in early November, but it would never last until I really planned to serve it closer to Christmas.  These days, I buy it as I need it for entertaining.

5.  Enjoy yourself, and for goodness sake, don’t spend six weeks completely denying yourself of everything yummy and delicious.  Do the best that you can, have fun, try your hardest to be healthy, don’t beat yourself up for little slips, and most importantly, get back on track as soon as the holidays are over!

*************************************************************************

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win three free pairs of Feetures socks!  You can enter daily until the contest ends on Sunday night.

Rules to enter my Feetures giveaway:

  1. You are allowed to enter every day during this period.  The more times and ways you enter, the greater your chances of winning.
  2. Shipping is available only in the continental United States.
  3. Winners will be selected by Rafflecopter at midnight on Sunday, November 9, and announced by Tuesday, November 11.
  4. Once the winner is announced, that person will have until Friday, November 14 (my birthday) to claim the prize.  If the winner fails to claim their prize, another winner will be chosen.
  5. Relatives of Deb Runs are not eligible to win.

To enter for a chance to win a three pairs of Feetures socks,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.

GOOD LUCK!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

  • Questions:
  • What are your tricks for staying on track during the holidays?
  • Do you usually maintain your weight from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

McAfee Knob Trail Run – Hope You Like Pictures!

With the trail running bug luring Bill and me back to the mountains, we took advantage of being in Southwestern Virginia last Friday, and ran to the top of McAfee Knob.  Well, make that – we ran, with a few hiking breaks!

We were pleasantly surprised that the leaves weren’t too far from peak, and still had a lot of color.  Just the weekend before we ran to the top of Molly’s Knob, and the leaves on the trees farther southwest appeared to be a couple weeks ahead.

Bill easily found the parking lot near the entrance to the Appalachian Trail, off of Route 311 in Roanoke County.  It was cool out, with clouds socked in, as we debated on whether to add another layer to our running attire.

About 3/4-mile into our run, we came across our first sign telling us that we had 3.4 miles to go to the summit.  Based on our prior research, this seemed about right, and that’s always a good thing when out on the trails.

McAfeeKnobSign

We followed the white Appalachian Trial single blazes to assure that we were on the correct trail.  I should note that Bill watched for the white blazes, I was far too busy watching where my foot would land next, to look up and see the blazes.  For me, that’s the big difference between hiking and trail running.  When hiking, I looked all around and admire the scenery.  When trail running, I hardly take my eyes off the surface of the trail right in front of me!

McAfeeKnobSingleWhiteBlaze

Colorful leaves, huge rocks, and breathtaking views kept me stopping for quick pictures.

McAfeeKnobSteepRockTrailSide

We crossed a number of bridges…

McAfeeKnobTrailBridge

Ran through leaf covered dirt trails surrounded by deciduous trees…

McAfeeKnobBillRunningLeaves

Past mountain laurel…

McAfeeKnobBillLaurel

Past scenic overlooks…

McAfeeKnobTreesTrailSide

Across rocky fields…

McAfeeKnobTrailCuttingBetweenRocks

Up scree covered trails…

McAfeeKnobTrailScree

Past beautiful fallen maple leaves that stuck out vividly amongst brown leaves…

McAfeeKnobMapleLeaf

Up stone steps…

McAfeeKnobRockSteps

And more stone steps…

McAfeeKnobNearingTheSummit

And finally we got to the top of the mountain, and were treated to magnificent views from McAfee Knob…

 

We spent about an hour on top of McAfee Knob taking pictures, and talking to other hikers.  Bill ran with a backpack holding his tripod and camera equipment, and it was well worth it.  He took this picture from afar, using a cute little remote control to snap the shutter, and catch us on the iconic rock overlooking the Catawba Valley.

McAfeeKnobDebBillOnRockOverHang

Photo credit: Bill

While on the mountain top, the clouds started moving out and we had a beautiful blue sky for our backdrop.  Obsessed with getting a good jumping shot, I had Bill take a bunch of pictures that look very similar to this.

McAfeeKnobDebJump

Photo credit: Bill

As we moved to the other side of the knob, I chose to cut through thick mountain laurel instead of walking across this narrow rock ledge.

McAfeeKnobTreeGrowingOutOfRock

Once on the other side of the knob, Bill set up shop to take more pictures, this time of the Roanoke Valley.

McAfeeKnobBillTripod

We had dinner reservations for 6:00 PM in Blacksburg, so after about an hour we headed back down the mountain.  We still had an hour to drive to our hotel, before getting ready to go out.

McAfeeKnobHeadingBackDownTrail

We decided to save a little time by running back down the fire road.  It’s less treacherous, and we knew we’d be able to run faster, and see some other sights as well.

McAfeeKnobStoneWall

Our first, of just a couple stops, was at this huge rock formation.  If it were summer, I don’t think I would have gotten that close to the cracks and crevices, because it sure seemed like a wonderful place for rattlesnakes to hang out.

McAfeeKnobDebHugRock
Just a little farther down the fire road, Bill didn’t see this broken root, caught his toe on it…

McAfeeKnobRoots

And went flying into the ditch along the road head-first!  In my defense, I asked if he was okay and waited until he started moving and rolled over before I snapped this picture!  Fortunately, other than getting quite dirty and skinning up his right knee, we wasn’t hurt.

McAfeeKnobBillAfterFalling

Just before we headed off of the fire road, and back onto the Appalachian Trail, we ran past these huge and amazing picture worthy twin boulders.

McAfeeKnobHugeRocksAlongFireRoad

Back on the AT, we ran the final mile down to Route 311 and to the parking lot.  After an extremely hilly run we were starving and ready for some snacks!

McAfeeKnobElevationChart

At our car,we double checked Bill’s knee, pulled some snacks and drinks out of the back of the car, and took off for Blacksburg for a delicious dinner at The Black Hen.

*************************************************************************

For your hiking and trail running needs, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win three free pairs of Feetures socks!  You can enter daily until the contest ends on Sunday night.

Rules to enter my Feetures giveaway:

  1. You are allowed to enter every day during this period.  The more times and ways you enter, the greater your chances of winning.
  2. Shipping is available only in the continental United States.
  3. Winners will be selected by Rafflecopter at midnight on Sunday, November 9, and announced by Tuesday, November 11.
  4. Once the winner is announced, that person will have until Friday, November 14 (my birthday) to claim the prize.  If the winner fails to claim their prize, another winner will be chosen.
  5. Relatives of Deb Runs are not eligible to win.

To enter for a chance to win a three pairs of Feetures socks,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.

GOOD LUCK!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

  • Questions:
  • Have you hiked or run on the Appalachian Trail?
  • What similar trails do have near you?
  • What socks do you like to hike/run trails in?  ~ I’ve learned that the low cut socks that I love don’t work well for running up extremely steep hills and mountains!  I see a Feetures Light Quarter Sock in my future!

Sharing The Feetures Socks Love!

As my running friends and Instagram followers know, I love my Feetures socks!  From the very first time I tried on a pair, they have become my absolute favorite for running and everyday wear.  The woven arch support on my Elites makes my feet feel fabulous, and since I’m on my feet while working, my arches love the extra support.  The light compression hugs my feet in a way that makes me feel like I’m not wearing socks at all, and since there’s no slipping between my feet and socks, I don’t get blisters when running!

I’ve been a Feetures Brand Ambassador since February, and since then my Feetures socks have taken me on over 200 runs, walks, and bike rides.  They also seen me through nine races, three first place age group wins, one second place, and one third place.  They even survived a Ragnar Relay!

I’m giving away three pairs of Feetures socks to one lucky reader, and can’t wait to see where they take that lucky winner!

 

Feetures makes this promise to their customers:

We believe you deserve a sock specifically designed to maximize your performance. Feetures! makes the world’s best performance socks by combining cutting-edge innovation with a keen understanding of what makes a great performance sock. We know this because we rigorously test each product, and only produce products that we want to wear ourselves. Our promise is to deliver products that provide superior fit, feel and durability.

FeeturesDrawer
As you can see, my favorites are the Elite Ultra Lights, but the winner will be able to choose three pairs of socks (total) from the following selections (the winner can mix and match colors and sizes):

I even wear my Feetures in my boots.  Seriously, I live in my Feetures!

FeeturesBoots

Rules to enter my Feetures giveaway:

  1. You are allowed to enter every day during this period.  The more times and ways you enter, the greater your chances of winning.
  2. Shipping is available only in the continental United States.
  3. Winners will be selected by Rafflecopter at midnight on Sunday, November 9, and announced by Tuesday, November 11.
  4. Once the winner is announced, that person will have until Friday, November 14 (my birthday) to claim the prize.  If the winner fails to claim their prize, another winner will be chosen.
  5. Relatives of Deb Runs are not eligible to win.

To enter for a chance to win a three pairs of Feetures socks,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.

GOOD LUCK!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

  • Questions:
  • Have you tried Feetures socks?
  • If so, which are your favorites?
  • How often do you buy new socks?

Another Week, Another Great Trail Run (October 27 to November 2)

After hurting my foot running trails at Hungry Mother State Park, I took most of the first part of last week off to let it recover.  Bill and I were heading to Blacksburg on Friday morning for our last trip of this football season, and we really wanted to stop near Roanoke and run up to McAfee Knob on our way to Blacksburg.  And our adventure was dependent upon my foot healing!

Monday
Rest and recover

Tuesday
Rest and recover

Wednesday
Since my foot was feeling so much better, I decided to give it a trial run of 1 mile to see how it would do.  It felt great and I ran at a 9:30 pace with no discomfort.  At the end of my mile, I walked 3 more miles at a 14:27 average pace.

Thursday
After a successful Wednesday run and walk, I decided it was fine to join my MRTT friends for 5 miles on Thursday morning (9:27 pace).  Again, I had no pain and was thrilled!

Later in the day, I got word that our new MRTT shirts were in, so I drove to Erin’s house to pick mine up.  I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I was to see DebRuns.com on the back, alongside several other amazing sponsors!

MRTTShirts

Friday
Bill and I were looking forward to our trail run up to McAfee Knob as much as a little kid looks forward to Christmas.  After our run, my RunKeeper said that we ran 8.12 miles, but according to what we read online it’s more like 8.5 miles round trip.  I’m not sure which is correct, but my lack of confidence in my mobile phone app is just another reason I’m hoping to get a Garmin soon.  I’ll be doing a complete McAfee Knob recap on Wednesday, so stay tuned!

McAfeeKnobDebJump
Saturday
We woke up to 37° and a wintery mix in the early morning weather forecast for Saturday morning (at least we didn’t get 3 inches of snow like Mom did).  Fortunately, we have a friend that lives in Blacksburg, and she opened her home to us for our tailgate.  Unfortunately, we still had to brave the elements to watch the game.  Even more unfortunately, we lost the game.  And what’s worse than that?  I left just after halftime, because I was freezing cold and it had started to drizzle.  I walked back to our car and listened to the rest of the game on the radio in the comfort of 74°!

Lot8TailgateOnEscaladeGPS

Sunday
Rest (and drove home from Blacksburg)

Tomorrow I’ll be starting a Feetures socks giveaway!  Be sure to come back, and enter!

 

Total weekly workouts:
Running – 14.12 miles
Run/walk – 0 miles
Walking – 5 miles
Lifting – 1 hour
Planks – 8 (longest 2:30)

 

  • Questions:
  • Did anyone get snow this weekend?
  • How did your sports teams do? ~ All of my teams lost!
  • Who raced this past weekend?

Halloween Memories

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!  Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello!

CandyCornFridayFive
 

This week’s theme is Halloween, so I though I’d share a few of my Halloween memories…

1.  Growing up, we lived out in the country so far that my dad had to drive us when we went trick-or-treating. He convinced my brother and me that people wouldn’t give us as much candy if our bags were full, and that we should dump some of it out on the car seat beside him. It wasn’t until we were older that we realized that he snacked on our loot while we jumped out of the car to trick-or-treat for more!

2.  Most Halloweens, my brother and I decided what to wear about an hour before we headed out the door; however, there were two years that my mom made costumes for me.  One year I was a clown, and the other year I was a ghost.  I suspect that I wore both costumes for more than one year.

3.  I hated that I had to wear a coat on top of my costumes, because let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a ghost wearing a coat?

4.  The scary, and extremely old lady that lived alone by the creek (she was probably 70, but to us she was ancient), always begged my brother and me to come in and visit.  She was completely harmless, and just very lonely, but my brother and I were grateful that we could say that Dad was waiting for us in the car, and we couldn’t stay.

5.  We had so few trick-or-treaters come to our house, that as a teenager, I made elaborate gift bags of candy with individually decorated tiny pumpkins tied to each bag.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

  • Questions:
  • What are your favorite Halloween memories?
  • Did you make your own costumes or buy them at the store?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

Trail Running To Our Favorite Summit, Molly’s Knob

When Bill and I are in southwestern Virginia, we love to go to Hungry Mother State Park for a trail run.  There’s a beautiful trail around the lake that we enjoy running, but we really love the challenging  run up to Molly’s Knob.  I remember hiking to the top of Molly’s Knob once when I was in high school, and thought I was going to die.  Now I run to the top, and think I’m going to die!

Last Friday Bill and I were in SWVA for the Virginia Tech Thursday night game, and after the abysmal performance by our Hokies the night before, a trail run on Friday morning was exactly what we needed.

I hadn’t run the beautiful trails there since June when I met Meagan for a long run.  Obviously, the leaves had changed a lot and were beautiful, but we missed peak season by about two weeks (two weeks to late).   Bill and I chose a 7.3-mile round-trip loop that included a trip up to Molly’s Knob.

Bill carried his camera backpack with his camera, two lenses, and a tripod; and he still outran me!

MollysKnobRunBillWithBackPack

Parts of the trail are heavily covered on both sides with rhododendron…

MollysKnobRunTrail

And most of the trails were covered with leaves.

MollysKnobRunMollysVistaTrail

MollysKnobRunBillMollysVistaTrail
Along the way, I stopped often to snap a quick picture of the scenery and to rest my lungs.

MollysKnobRunFallLeaves

And speaking of lungs, my lungs were about to explode as I summited Molly’s Knob!  Sorry about the heavy breathing in my video!

 

Once at the top, Bill got out his camera and tripod and took lots of pictures of the beautiful views.

MollysKnobRunBillTripod

Bill recently got a remote control, so he can take the ultimate selfies!  He edited this photo with a painted effect that I’m not crazy about, but I still think it’s pretty cool!

MollysKnobBillDebPaint_6054_5_6_7_8_9_tm_fusedx

I rested on one of the benches while Bill took a few more pictures…

MollysKnobRunAtSummitDebsShoes
And after about 15 minutes on top of the mountain, we turned and headed back down.

MollysKnobRunHeadedBackDown

About half way down, we stopped to take pictures of Molly’s Knob, where we had just been standing.

MollysKnobRunMollysKnob

As we got back down near the lake, we paused for a selfie, and I realized that I had less than 20% battery left on my iPhone.  Since I was using RunKeeper, I was concerned that I would run out of battery and lose my whole run.  I was particularly interested in seeing the elevation chart of our run, so I decided to take off and complete my run before I lost it!

MollysKnobRunBillDebSelfie

I played around with my iPhone camera a little bit as I ran the last half-mile toward our car.  At one point I cringed at the thought of falling while watching my phone go flying through the air and landing in the lake.  With that thought, I quickly put my phone back in my pack, and continued on my way.

LeftFootRunningInLeaves

About a minute after putting my phone away, and a quarter mile from the parking lot, I stepped on a rock that I couldn’t see because it was covered in leaves.  I twisted my foot, and landed on the ground.  The pain was intense for a couple of seconds, but went away very quickly, so I stood up, shook it off, and ran the rest of the way to the car.  When Bill caught up to me in the parking lot, he didn’t realize I had fallen.  I was walking around normally, so he had no idea I’d fallen until I told him about it on the car ride home.

It was a gorgeous fall day for a run, and we had a beautiful, challenging trail to run on.  Falling just added to the excitement of trail running, and considering my foot is almost back to normal, I’d consider this run a huge success!

MollysKnobElevationChart

 

  • Questions:
  • Where is your favorite trail to run or hike?
  • What’s the status of the leaves where you live?
  • Random:  Do you plan to dress up for Halloween? ~ I’m not a huge fan of Halloween, and my lack of creativity shows if I try to come up with a costume.

Ah, The Dangers Of Trail Running (October 20 – 26)

While between training cycles my running isn’t quite as exciting as  it was during last summer and the fall.  Still, I’m going to keep posting my weekly, recaps more as a log for me than an entertaining story for my readers, but I’ll try to make it interesting.  Follow along if it interests you, if not, please be sure to pop back by on Wednesday for my Molly’s Knob trail run recap.

Monday
My car was in the shop last week, so feeling very European, I walked everywhere I needed to go.  It’s 5.82 miles round-trip to the wellness center so I walked to train my clients there, and while I was there, I lifted for about an hour.

Tuesday
I met my MRTT friends for a 5-mile run around the neighborhood on Tuesday morning (9:37 pace).  We still meet near the hills we used to run, but since we’ve all completed our targeted fall races, and are at a relaxed point in our training and between training cycles, we skip the hill repeats.  When we finished our run, we stacked our lights for a creative post-run picture.

MRTTLights

Wednesday
Bill and I had hoped to leave for Blacksburg on Wednesday afternoon, but my car wasn’t ready yet, and Bill had a late meeting in DC, so we opted to wait until Thursday morning to drive to Blacksburg.  That afternoon I walked 1 mile to pick up my car, rather than calling for their shuttle service.

Later in the day, I lifted, working on my new exercises that SMART Lab recommended I do to help prevent injuries.

Thursday
We had hoped to head down to Blacksburg extremely early, but didn’t get started from our house until almost 9 on Thursday morning.  We didn’t make it to Roanoke in time to go on trail run to McAfee Knob as we’d planned.  We arrived at our hotel with just enough time for me to shower before heading to our tailgate before our Hokies game.  Apparently, we think:  tailgate > trail run!

Friday
We got up bright and early on Friday morning and drove from Blacksburg to Hungry Mother State Park for a 7.3-mile trail run around part of the lake and up to Molly’s Knob.  We ran there for the first time last October, and I returned to run it with Meagan in June.

LeftFootRunningInLeaves

About a quarter mile from the parking lot at the end of our run, I stepped on a rock covered in leaves, twisted my foot, and landed on the ground.  The pain was intense when it happened, but I shook it off, stood up and ran the rest of the way to the car with little to no pain.  When Bill caught up to me in the parking lot, I was walking around normally, and stretching.  He had no idea I’d fallen until I told him about it on the car ride to my mom’s house.

After lunch, Mom and I went to the cemetery since it was the one year anniversary of Dad’s funeral, and we walked around the uneven ground visiting my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ graves.  By the time we got home, I couldn’t dorsiflex or put any weight on my foot.  I elevated and iced it, and even took two Advil.  It was hurting so badly (and I have a high pain tolerance), I let Bill take me to urgent care.  X-rays showed no broken bones, and the nurse-practitioner that saw me decided that I only had a bad sprain.

Saturday
I woke up Saturday morning shocked at how much better my foot felt!  I expected it to be swollen even more and completely black and blue, but it hadn’t bruised anymore, and the swelling had gone down almost completely.  Unfortunately, it was still bothering me just enough that I had to be careful walking, and couldn’t take Mom Christmas shopping as we’d planned.  I kept  my foot elevated and iced it several times throughout the day.

Sunday
My foot felt even better on Sunday morning, and I was hardly limping.  We made the six-hour drive home, and I continued to baby my foot.  It’s the craziest thing… My foot feels so good now that I feel rather ridiculous that I went to urgent care on Saturday afternoon; but at the time, I was convinced that it was broken.

Here’s to hoping for a run later this week to see how my left wheel is doing!

 

Total weekly workouts:
Running – 12.3 miles
Run/walk – 0 miles
Walking – 8.82 miles
Lifting – 2 hours
Planks – 10 (longest 2:30)

 

  • Questions:
  • Do you live where you can walk to get most things done if necessary?
  • What fun fall events have you done this year?
  • Who raced this past weekend?

SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis Winners

Congratulations to Deborah and Jeremy for being the lucky winners of my most recent giveaway, a 3-D Gait Analysis!  A huge thank you goes to George Mason University’s SMART Lab for providing the service to me at no charge, and generously donating two 3-D Gait Analyses to give to two lucky readers!

GMUSmartLab3DGaitAnalysisSystemDebRuns
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The staff at the SMART Lab was incredibly nice and easy to work with, and I hope you enjoy your experience as much as I did!

Five Reasons To Run An Ultra

It’s time for Friday Five linkup with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run!  Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello!

FridayFiveJFKMedal
This week’s theme is Five Reasons to Run ________ (a marathon, an ultra, a 5k, whatever you fancy)…

I’m am choosing to go with Five Reasons to Run an Ultra, and I’m taking a fun approach!  It’s been years since I ran the JFK 50-Miler, but looking back, here are my five silly reasons to run an ultra:

1.  You have three black toenails as a result of your last marathon, and you want all of your nails to match

2.  You want an excuse to eat snacks all day long without feeling guilty

3.  You miss tripping over roots, running through mud and streams, and having some of the most amazing views while running!

4.  You need a new belt buckle for your favorite jeans

5.  You need something to talk about at cocktail parties

 

**************************************************

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a chance to win one of two George Mason University SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analyses.  Complete rules can be found in Monday’s post.

To enter for a chance to win a GMU SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.

GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

  • Questions:
  • What is the longest distance you’ve run?
  • Have you run an ultra, or do you have an ultra on your bucket list??
  • Who’s racing this weekend?

Exercises To Keep Me In Top Running Form

On Monday, I wrote about participating in a 3-D Gait Analysis at George Mason University’s SMART Lab, and yesterday I talked about my results.  Today, I’m sharing the exercises they recommend I add to my routine to help prevent injury, and maximize my running potential.

I’ve included a few videos to some of the exercises that might not be as familiar to my readers.  If there are exercises that seem particularly interesting to you, Google them, and give them a try!

Recommendations for “Mobility Stability Improvement” of my ankle/foot included:

Stretches:

  • Achilles

Rolling:

  • Soleus (calf) – Foam roll soft tissue to release
  • Plantar Fascia – LAX ball or Foot Log against soft tissue to release

FootLogCollage
Recommendation for “Mobility Stability Improvement” of my knee included:

Strengthening Exercises:

  • Wall sits
  • BOSU squats
  • Bulgarian split squat
  • Seated calf raises

Stretches:

  • Hamstring

Foam Rolling:

  • Hamstring – soft tissue release

Recommendations for “Mobility Stability Improvement” of my hip included:

Strengthening Exercises:

  • Clamshells
  • Hip Hike
  • Single-leg deadlift
  • Side hip abduction
  • Rotisserie core
  • Standing hip flexor
  • X walks
  • Supine bridges
  • Side planks with leg raises
  • Squats with resistance band
  • Lateral step-ups

Stretches:

  • Kneeling hip flexor stretch

Rolling:

  • Hip – LAX ball in soft tissue

 

Recommendations for “Mobility Stability Improvement” of my core included:

Strengthening Exercises:

  • Clamshells
  • Hip hike
  • Russian twist
  • Donkey kick
  • Side planks with leg raises
  • Plank
  • Stir the pot
  • Swiss ball plank
  • Quadruped
  • Practicing good posture

Balance:

  • Rocker board
  • Medicine ball throw on single-leg
  • Swiss ball rock ‘n’ roll
  • Swiss ball torso rotation

 

And there you have it!  I was instructed to do specific exercises, I ran with little sensors attached to my body, I was analyzed, and then I was compared to other runners my age, gender, and approximate skill level.  From that, I was given a report with my strength, flexibility, and alignment issues; and given exercises to help me improve those areas of concern.

What I do with this information is now mine to decide.  I could finish writing my reports, and move on to doing exactly what I was doing before, or I can make the necessary changes by adding these exercises to my routine (some I’m already doing), and make myself the strongest runner possible.

You can bet I’ll do the latter, because I’m confident this newly gathered information will only help me toward reaching my number one goal of running forever!

*****************************************************

Just a reminder that SMART Lab is giving two gait analyses to two of my readers!  Two of my lucky readers will win an opportunity to visit the lab, perform the exercises, and receive a complete assessment, free of charge!

 

Rules to enter the SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis giveaway:

  1. You are allowed to enter every day between now and Friday, October 24 at midnight.  The more times and ways you enter, the greater your chances of winning.
  2. Please enter only if you live in the DC Metro area, or would be available to visit the GMU SMART Lab in Manassas, VA.
  3. Two winners will be selected by Rafflecopter at midnight on Friday, October 24, and announced by Sunday, October 26.
  4. Once the winners are announced, they will have until Tuesday, October 28 to verify that they will register for their analysis.  If either winner fails to claim their prize, another winner will be chosen.
  5. Relatives of Deb Runs are not eligible to win.

To enter for a chance to win a GMU SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.

GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure:  I was given the opportunity to participate in the 3-D Gait Analysis at no cost to me ($200 value).  All opinions expressed are my own.

 

  • Questions:
  • Which of the above exercises do you do on a regular basis?
  • What other cardiovascular exercises do you do besides running?
  • What would you hope to gain most from your SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis should you be one of the two lucky winners?

3-D Gait Analysis Findings

On Monday, I wrote about my amazing opportunity participating in a 3-D Gait Analysis at George Mason University’s SMART Lab.  To recap, I was invited to participate in exchange for a review on my blog, and received the $200 assessment, at no charge.

GMUSmartLabEddoDebResults
Eddo compared my functional test results to my gait analysis, and compiled a biomechanical report and assessment specific to me.  My report pinpoints areas of weakness and  inflexibility, and gives me suggestions on exercises that I can do to correct those problems, and hopefully, help protect me from injuries in the future.

GMUSmartLabBiomechanicalReport
My report explains that data has been collected in four different areas during my testing process.  Those areas are biomechanics, strength, alignment, and flexibility.  It’s how those four pieces interlink together that help determine my risk of injury.

GMUSmartLabInjuryIndex
If you remember from my post on Monday, my data was placed in a large and ever-growing database with information collected at 18 other biomedical research labs around the world.  This allowed for comparing my test results with those of other test subjects of the same ability level, gender, age, etc.

The goal would be to score as close to 100% as possible in each of the pieces of the Injury Index puzzle below.  My total Injury Index score was 36 with a breakdown as follows:

  • Ankle/Foot – 41% (excessive time to peak pronation in both feet)
  • Knee – 8% :-(  (excessive knee collapse velocity and excessive peak knee rotation in left knee; and reduced peak knee collapse in both knees)
  • Hip – 67% (excessive peak hip extension in both hips)
  • Functional – 63% (reduced toe-out position in both limbs)

The SMART Lab’s and my goals will be to increase those low scores now that we’ve identified my “atypical biomechanical gait patterns.”  I’ll do this by incorporating exercises and stretches to fix these problems into my daily routine.

GMUSmartLabInjuryIndex
The areas identified above (ankle/foot, knee, hip, and functional) were individually graphed out for me showing whether I fall into the excessive, ideal, or reduced range for a variety of tests.  The blue dots identify my left ankle/foot/knee/hip, and the red diamond identifies my right.  I’ve included these results above with my percentages in the four Injury Index pieces.

GMUSmartLabFunctionalOutcomes
After reading the very thorough description of the various terms used when discussing the foot/ankle complex, knee complex, hip complex, and functional outcomes, it helped me understand my findings better.  At a glance, it’s so much information, but once I sat down and reread my report, I had a much better understanding, and could appreciate the findings.

Next my report breaks down my results from the gait analysis and functional tests, and identifies symptoms, muscles/structures involved, and finally gives me recommended exercises to improve the area of concern.

GMUSmartLabMobilityStabilityImprovement
In addition to my Injury Index points of concern, the follow specific areas of concern were identified:

  • Ankle dorsiflexion – fail left (this has been a problem since my 2012 L4-L5 bulge)
  • Dorsiflexion of great toe – fail right (this has been a problem since my 2012 L4-L5 bulge)
  • Hamstring flexibility – slightly asymmetrical, right more excessive
  • Bilateral squat – fail bilaterally, forward torso, poor sagittal plane, core/posture
  • Single-leg squat – both sides knee dives inside second toe, trunk shifts both sides
  • Bridge test – right hamstring cramping (this has been a problem since my 2012 L4-L5 bulge)
  • Vertical compression posture test – slight lordosis

So what exercises were recommended for me to do to improve upon these strength, flexibility, and alignment deficiencies?  You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out!  ;-)

*****************************************************

Just a reminder that SMART Lab is giving two gait analyses to two of my readers!  Two of my lucky readers will win an opportunity to visit the lab, perform the exercises, and receive a complete assessment, free of charge!

 

Rules to enter the SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis giveaway:

  1. You are allowed to enter every day between now and Friday, October 24 at midnight.  The more times and ways you enter, the greater your chances of winning.
  2. Please enter only if you live in the DC Metro area, or would be available to visit the GMU SMART Lab in Manassas, VA.
  3. Two winners will be selected by Rafflecopter at midnight on Friday, October 24, and announced by Sunday, October 26.
  4. Once the winners are announced, they will have until Tuesday, October 28 to verify that they will register for their analysis.  If either winner fails to claim their prize, another winner will be chosen.
  5. Relatives of Deb Runs are not eligible to win.

To enter for a chance to win a GMU SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis,
please use the Rafflecopter app below.

GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure:  I was given the opportunity to participate in the 3-D Gait Analysis at no cost to me ($200 value).  All opinions expressed are my own.

 

  • Questions:
  • Do you have any minor running injuries that you’re ignoring, hoping they don’t get any worse?
  • What exercises do you do to enhance your running?
  • What would you hope to gain most from your SMART Lab 3-D Gait Analysis should you be one of the two lucky winners?