Lessons in Running: I am invincible! Until I’m not.

You know that thing, where you’re totally 100% motivated, crushing your workouts and ticking off the days until your next marathon with your Coach because GOALS when all of the sudden out of nowhere – POW! – you’re sidelined by your cardiologist for 5-7 days??? Benched. Grounded. Stop. Drop. And roll over and scream because WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO YOU?!?!? And not for nothing, why do I even have a cardiologist? cry babyAbout a month ago when I started blogging again, I posted about what I had been up to and alluded to a health issue that I had experienced. I was planning on posting about it because it was a terrifying experience that I wanted to share as a cautionary tale for athletes everywhere. The moral to the story I never told was: Don’t dismiss chest pain. Or chalk it up to a million other things. If chest pain wakes you up in the middle of the night – Go get checked out immediately. Don’t screw around.  Note: I would like to state for the record that I am NOT a doctor nor am I a health care professional. But this much I know: if chest pain wakes you up out of a sound sleep, GO GET CHECKED OUT BY ONE. 

Some months ago that’s exactly what happened to me. I woke up with a horrible chest pain in the middle of the night. I froze for a minute, pondered the thought of a heart attack and calmly took my pulse. I breathed through it and came up with exactly 42 reasons why my chest could be hurting me. I ran 10 miles yesterday. I raked a yard full of leaves. I did push ups. The list went on and on until I had convinced myself that I was fine. Until it happened again. Then I got nervous. I woke up my other half in a panic. The chest pain resolved. I hemmed and hawed about going to the hospital. I stayed in bed.

This is ridiculous. I can’t go to the hospital?!?! I’m fine. It’s gone. They’re not gonna believe me. What am I gonna do? Be the vegetarian, non-smoking, marathon runner who has a few minutes of chest pain and stroll on in?

Well guess what? That’s exactly who I was – a seemingly “healthy” athlete with a cardiovascular problem. The next day I called my doctor and made an appointment to be seen. I told them I had had chest pain. Oddly, an appointment materialized out of no where. Because that’s what happens when you have chest pain – they take you seriously, Colby. Myth busted.

What followed was a series of very scary events. I saw my doctor and was immediately sent to the emergency room. I was in a hypertensive crisis. Crazy high blood pressure and a very unhappy heart. After a host of tests in the Emergency Department, they determined that I was hypertensive and possibly had pericarditis- an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac surrounding your heart. I was referred to a cardiologist.  I followed up immediately and within days had a monitor on, a stress test scheduled,  a follow up appointment and a plethora of tests down the pike.

As for my stress test? I was unable to do it because of hypertensive crisis number two in one week. Mission aborted. Me, the runner, could not do it. I was beside myself and straight up scared. I’m gonna have a heart attack. I was immediately put on blood pressure medication. Why? Why is this happening to me? Shit. If I knew that I was going to wind up on anti-hypertensives I would have sat my ass on the couch, ate bloomin’ onions all day and smoked Camels. Either way, I’m here. Sometimes you swim in a crummy gene pool and sometimes you don’t. And if you’re wading in the deep end of that pool,  all the kale in the world isn’t going to help you. Neither are the marathons. 

What a scary, stressful mess. I was confirmed to have viral pericarditis. And I had high blood pressure- which was probably waiting in the wings to make it’s formal debut. It chose right then. I had to stop running entirely for weeks and take copious amounts of NSAIDs. And right now, as in TODAY? I have it again – recurrent viral pericarditis. My blood pressure is perfect. Thanks, meds! Why this decided to reemerge I am not exactly sure. But fortunately I am incredibly blessed to have excellent doctors and access to great healthcare which is something that I will never take for granted. I have no doubt they will figure it all out. For now, I have to stop running for a little bit to get this under control. Then we get to the bottom of it. *cracks knuckles*

My real reason for writing all of this was not to scoff in the face of HIPPA laws or to host a pity party,  it was to tell you: If a health issue pops up, don’t ignore it. There’s such an emphasis on PRs, PBs, BQs – that sometimes its easy to forget that running – any kind of running at all – is a gift. The same goes for your health. Just because you’re a healthy endurance athlete, doesn’t mean you’re immune to cardiovascular issues, or health issues in general. While running and exercise has be proven to be beneficial to your health, it’s also not a “Get Out of the Hospital Free” card. Shit happens. And sometimes it can happen to YOU. Don’t ever take chest pain lightly. Or, try and talk yourself out of seeking care immediately because you’re a marathoner – they won’t doubt you because you look “too healthy to be here”.  Issues can pop up out of no where. Listen to your body. Don’t doubt it. Respond quickly. It’s counting on you.

XOXO,

Colby

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Doing hard things. And chasing waterfalls.

whitagram-image-6A little over a month and a half ago, The Gang headed west for the third installment of ‘Dirtbag Adventures’.  Before I go on, and considering I haven’t written a single solitary word about either The Gang or editions 1 and 2, I probably should define a few terms. See? This is what happens when you don’t blog for shit. It’s time to play catch up.

The-Gang
proper noun. The Gang.

  1.  Two couples, 4 friends, who find each other completely hilarious and laugh and hike and run and ride and eat pounds of tacos and drink gallons of delicious IPAs TOGETHER whilst adventuring and exploring uncharted territory. “Hey, this ridiculously hot and long hike would be way more fun if we were with The Gang!”
  2. synonym:  BFFs. chums, buds, pals, Poodles, homies, amigos, pisans, brahs, posse, squad, crew, #squadgoals

Dirt-bag-Ad-ven-ture
noun. Dirtbag Adventure.

  1.  an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity shared with The Gang.  “The Gang just got back from their third Dirtbag Adventure to Havasu Falls and lived to tell about it!”
  2. synonym:  exploit, feat, escapade, episode, really fucking good time. 

It all started back in February of 2019 when The Gang decided to try their luck at getting a permit to Havasu Falls in Supai, Arizona. Supai, and all of the falls – there are five – are within Havasupai tribal lands that are located in the Grand Canyon. The only way to access the Falls is through a permit which become available on-line in February. After a series of unfortunate computer crashes and a string of expletives involving 2 laptops, 2 iPads, Facetime and an iPhone, WE GOT THROUGH! And got our permit! But then reality set in. Pro-Tip: Be at the READY on the day the permits become available. We had two of us working the website. Stay the course. You’ll get there. But don’t dawdle. Game face- ON!

Wait. What’s the date? When are we going? Oh. Hang on. Shit. THAT’S TWO DAYS AFTER OUR MARATHON!!!!

After a moment of dancing around signing WE GOT THE PERRRR-MIT like giddy fools, we realized we had a slight problem. We had booked our Dirtbag Adventure complete with Escape Campervan Rental and Havasu Falls Backpacking Bonanza of a Life Time TWO DAYS after running a marathon we’d been training for. How are we doing this?  Havasu Falls was to be followed by limping hiking adventures in Sedona, Flaggstaff and in Zion National Park. We had places to go and trails to hike! This was going to be interesting. Yikes!

But back to the start of our adventure and our pulverized quads….

We ran Sugarloaf Marathon in Maine in a torrential down pour in May. It was also 40 degrees that chilly, wet morning. Sugarloaf is a great net downhill course.  It’s super off-camber towards the end and peppered with several decent hills throughout. It’s a quad buster. It’s a good race. I probably would have loved it more had I not breast stroked to the finish line. It POURED and damn, I got super cold.

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The medals are made of wood!

My Other Half ran a sub-3 (2:50 to be exact. WOWZAH!) and I ran a respectable sub-4 (3:57). Cheers all around! When we were done shivering and battling hypothermia, we hopped in the car and drove 6 hours back home to pack and get stoked for our Dirtbag Adventure THE NEXT DAY.  No rest for the weary! Sweet Jesus. No really. How are we doing this again? To say we were both beat up was a gross understatement. And it only got worse come Monday morning. We were rough. We looked at each other, shrugged and stuffed desiccated camping meals and headlamps into our bags. After all, we did this shit to ourselves. We had no one to blame. Nary a complaint or grunt was made. Just head shaking. And laughing. Lots of nervous, hysterical laughing.

Off we go!

We land in Vegas. I am using every muscle I have in my upper body to hoist myself up out of my seat on the plane. Other Half is laughing whilst wearing NEON compression knee socks. I am neither laughing nor wearing knee socks on a plane. I had to pull myself up 10 times to hit the loo. I have a bad belly.  NOOOO! At this point Dear Reader, had we both been starring in a telenovela, this would be the scene where the camera zooms in on a close-up of my panicked face and the music swells to a crescendo {Pause….End scene!}. Yup. I’m a mess. Fantastic. Because I’m not already having enough trouble functioning on a basic level,  let alone squatting and hovering over an airplane commode ten times. This is 5th Layer of Hell stuff right here. How am I hiking with a 35lb pack on my back, equipped with all supplies conducive to life for 4 days WITH POST-MARATHON DYSENTERY????  It’s not like we’re staying in a major metropolis with a CVS and Chipolte on every corner. No, no. There is fresh water, compost toilets and a first come, first serve campground but that’s about it. The village of Supai has a very small market and members of the tribe also sell Fry Bread which is a DELIGHT but otherwise, you are on your own for food. Have Jetboil, will cook. The village is several miles from the campground. There’s no Wifi, no service, no nothin’ – to us, that was even part of the allure – to unplug.  However, this is well beyond my comfort zone. Even my legs and belly know it. Pro-Tip: You will need a Jetboil or some type of camping stove to “cook” your meals with and make coffee. #priorities We purchased prepared camping meals of the “just add water” variety to eat. Remember, you can not fly with camping fuel. You’ll need to purchase it before you get to your final destination. We bought ours in a Walmart outside of Vegas after we landed. 

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And so it begins: Havasu Falls or BUST!

The Head of the Trail, The Belly of the BEAST…

We pick up our van in Vegas and drive right to the trail head. From Vegas it’s roughly a 4 hour drive, give or take. We are out there! We are so excited we are giddy. The trail head is 60 miles off of the “main” road on tribal lands. Our plan is to regroup in our Escape (shameless plug) Campervan and sleep at the trail head so we can wake up fresh as daisies and hike on in, skipping and laughing and holding hands and shit, our backpacks weightless, buoyed by our hopes and dreams of waterfalls. Yeah. Not so much for me. Reality: A 13 mile trek on some super sore legs with a back pack half my size AND ISSUES. (Yes. I woke up with issues.) I’m not even going to get into the belly saga just to say that if on the day you hike into Havasu Falls you are popping Imodium and Pepto like they’re Tic Tacs YOU’D BETTER LOVE THE PEOPLE YOU’RE WITH because they’re gonna get to know you way up close and personal. At some point during the trek I just gave up. I no longer gave a shit. Gang, just leave me. I live here now…. I was powerless to the Belly. Gah. Pro-Tip:  The only way into the canyon is to hike on in from the trail head with enough supplies for 4 days and 3 nights. That’s how long your permit is good for. I’m not even going to mention renting mules because I would never pay anyone or any animal to carry my shit 13 miles into a canyon when I can damn well do it myself. And if I couldn’t, I shouldn’t go. So there. I think you can also take a helicopter in but *see mule tirade. Hike in People. It’s gorgeous and all part of an amazing experience. Don’t rent mules. Don’t hire a helicopter. Just hike. You can do it. I did it. Even with a rotten stomach and dead legs. 

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Hiking into the canyon is glorious.

Needless to say, I soldiered on stoically, willing myself to get there without IV fluids. Dysentery and tired legs aside, the trek was gorgeous. And I will tell you this: the hike, a giant pack, super sore legs and my ‘issue’  made me realize that I am made of goddamn titanium. I have no idea how I made it. You guys, I felt awful. And backpacking? Dude, this was so far out of my comfort zone it was on another planet. I will run marathons in the pouring rain and hike for days, but backpack in, not shower daily, eat out of a bag and sleep in a tent? Not so much. I’m a Dirtbag, but Girlfriend does enjoy amenities and clean sheets. However, I’m always willing to try something. And where there is a will, there is a way- even if it doesn’t involve a super cute boutique hotel. The waterfalls were calling and I fucking went. Pro- Tip:  If you go, leave super early. Or you will bake and a difficult hike will become super hard face-melting one. The hike is long and on the way in, it is downhill.  It’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible. Bring plenty of water (and Immodium, Pepto and wipes if you’re me). Be prepared! And remember – LEAVE NO TRACE. That means….well. You get the point. Pack your biohazardous wipes and snack wrappers right on out with you. Everything you bring in, you take out. Hard stop.

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Our site: Two tents, two hammocks and a gorgeous spot.

Chasing waterfalls and not sticking to the rivers and the streams that we’re used to…

Some hard things are just worth it. No matter what. See exhibit A, below. No filter necessary. Yes, that is the actual color of the water. Havasu Falls is absolutely breathtaking. It greets you as you make the final descent into the camping area.  You hear it before you see it. It seemingly pops up out of no where. There are no words. When I got to this point, I’m not gonna lie, I teared right on up. I had a DAY. And I turned to my other half, kissed him and said WOW!  You gotta be kidding me?!?!? What a place! And I would like to state for the record, that we were here BEFORE BEYONCÉ! True story. Word on the street is that she scouted her video location based on my IG posts. #jk

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Exhibit A, Havasu Falls

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My all time favorite picture of us. ❤

This place is otherworldly. Once you secure your campsite- ours was along the Havasu Creek, a tributary to the Colorado River, you can roam, hike and explore to your hearts content. After a rocky start- my gut, a DELUGE after we set up camp and a super cold night requiring wool hats and puffer jackets, we emerged from our wet tents swaddled in gear and ready to explore! We made the “Descend at your own risk” hike down to Mooney Falls which was just as magnificent as Havasu Falls and far more terrifying to get to. Gotta admit, we felt a little bad ass. Speaking of bad asses, I woke up on the second day CURED! Phew. Thank you, Baby Jesus.  Pro-Tip: Bring Chacos or hiking sandals. There are plenty of water crossings. It’s just easier to manage in sandals than trail sneaks or hiking boots. Also, bring a rain jacket and one warm jacket just in case. It saved us.

The Gang survives the trek to Mooney Falls.

Mooney Falls.

They’re not kidding.

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Sheer terror but totally worth every harrowing, slippery step.

After making our way down into Mooney Falls we continued hiking on to Beaver Falls. The hike was stunning. So lush!

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Mega Lush!

So many river crossings! It was incredible. Round trip was roughly 13 miles. We might have taken a few wrong turns here and there. We regret nothing! Our last day was spent enjoying every damn waterfall we came across. It was truly a trip to remember. We hiked out super early – before the mid-day heat. The switchbacks on the way up out of the canyon WERE NO JOKE!  You climb quite a bit on the way out.  By a bit I mean roughly ~1000ft of elevation gain over a mile of switch backs.  But alas, every damn step was worth it. Pro-Tip: I can’t stress it enough- leave EARLY. Even though you’re not going to want to. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks to hike out with. The hike out is harder than the hike in. On your way out you can chit chat about the 5 falls you frolicked in – Fifty Foot, Little Navajo, Havasu, Mooney and Beaver Falls. And, for the record, yield to hikers coming up the trail. Walking several people abreast on a narrow steep trail is never appreciated. Know that if and when you knock a gal and her mighty pack on her ass, she may turn into Carmella Soprano for a hot minute and howl at you. Awareness people. Awareness.

There are so many places to see, trails to hike and mountains to climb here in the States. Get out and GO! We live in too beautiful a place to not try and get out and explore what you can, where you can, whenever you can.

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Beaver Falls.

It is even possible to do it on a budget. Especially if you’re not averse to camping. I’m proud to report I am no longer backpacking averse! And if I can do it, so can you.  My list of new places to visit gets longer and longer as the years tick on. If you happen to get the chance, add this to your bucket list. It’s incredible. But if you go, remember, you are a guest here- a guest of the Havasupai Tribe. Respect them and their gorgeous, sacred land. It’s truly one of the most magnificent places I have ever been to in the United States. And go quick! Beyoncé was here for cripes sake. I’m guessing the secret is out once and for all. She’s got way more of a following than me. 😉 

Have you ever backpacked in to a remote location and camped? Camping, glamping or hotel? What’s your idea of a perfect vacation? 

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Today’s Lesson: You gotta run fast, to get fast.

If this were a year ago and I called and told you I was done with a lactate threshold track workout totaling 9 miles on a HUMID AF summer day by 8AM you would have thought I was clearly pullin’ your leg. Like, hard. Up and out the door by Ass Crack O’Clock with coffee no less? To THE TRACK?  No way. No how. No never.

Oh, but wait….

omg

I JUST FREAKING DID!

I swear to you. I don’t even know who I am anymore. All of this shape shifting started about a month ago when I hired a Coach and got back to blogging. Since then, I have been diligently logging my prescribed miles, interacting with my Coach and sweating my face off. Humid summer runner I am not. But I need to be. STAT. Today was Track Tuesday. It’s been mega humid here in New England. Saturday’s long run was the worst 15 miles I have run in a decade. I’m not even exaggerating. Slowest run in 10 years. I can’t even believe how bad it was. “Long and Hilly, Colby!” did not bode well for me with 90% humidity and 83 degrees. That was at 6:30am. So much for early. I died a thousand deaths. And promptly sweated out every ounce of confidence I had in me. I hate when that happens. As I was reminded today, confidence and positivity training is just as important as physical training.

Track Tuesday

My Local Track, aka The Surface of the Sun.

After Saturday’s cluster fuck unfortunate run, I began self-sabotaging. You know, looking ahead to my workouts and straight up panicking at the paces and distances whilst weather stalking? THAT’S NOT PRODUCTIVE, COLBY. Not even a bit. So today rolled around and I told myself that I was not going to let a little humidity thwart me. So what I’m suffocating? I CAN run fast. And I WILL run fast. Dammit.

Today was a lactate threshold run which simplistically speaking means you hold a faster pace for a longer time, multiple times with a short recovery, then repeat it. I mean, that’s why we train for a marathon in the first place – run faster, longer. Once you’ve built your running base, lactate threshold training is the key to getting faster – at least according to Running Yoda’s Everywhere. Pushing yourself and maintaining a semi-uncomfortable pace with a short recovery then doing it all again. In my case, I ran 8 x 1k’s with a 90 second recovery. When your body produces more lactate then it can utilize and you’ve created more waste products than you are able to clear –  BINGO! – you’ve hit your lactate threshold. It’s a tipping point. Going beyond your lactate threshold makes your legs super tired, super fast. The goal here is to train them not to, to put it off as long as possible. Toe that line. Improve your lactate threshold and improve your tipping point.  So off I went, totally effen intimidated.

Stay in the Fight!

Here’s what I learned this hot, humid Track Tuesday. And, Dear Reader, I feel compelled to share these pearls of wisdom with YOU! #LuckyDuck

  • You can convince yourself that you are NOT imploding from the heat by visualizing yourself making snow angels in the buff instead of running circles on the surface of the sun. Just stop obsessing about it. It’s hot. Get over it. You can do this without melting. I promise.
  • Running fast is hard. It’s supposed to hurt. You’re supposed to want to give up. BUT DON’T. Stay in the fight! I yelled that out loud multiple times. Like a maniac.
  • Don’t be intimidated. It’s circles on a track. Figure out how to program a workout on your Garmin, and GO. Make it mindless. Stop thinking so much. Don’t be scared. Just run. For f*ck’s sake Colby, JUST RUN.

And the most important thing I learned today?

  • I am faster than I think. I need to tell myself that every day. And I’d better start goddamn believing it.

Xoxo,

Colby

Do you self-sabotage? Are you a hazy hot running rock star? Do you yell at yourself out loud while running?  Do you get intimidated by track workouts? 

 

 

When is it time to hire a coach? Answer: NOW!

So I did a thing a few weeks ago. I hired a coach. WHHHAAATTT??? I know.  I don’t even know who I am anymore. What prompted this very Adult-Runner decision was running yet another marathon –  and missing my mark. I ran Sugarloaf Marathon in Maine several weeks ago and while I didn’t have a horrible race, I did fall short of my goal. As per recent years, I trained using my beloved Hanson’s Marathon Method which kicks your ass, then hands it to you in a fatigued, sweaty heap.  You’re exhausted, but you are ready. Hanson’s is tough. As I know from experience, it’s quasi-unorthodox method works for me. At least it had until it didn’t. My training block went well this time around with Hanson’s.  I believe I only missed 2 runs due to minor injury,  but after reflecting on Sugarloaf, I felt like my training was missing something.  I ran the miles. I hit the paces. I checked off the boxes as I had in the past. I even had some really excellent tempo runs. But, it seemed like something was off. Did I have Hanson’s Fatigue? Was my body getting too used to this type of training?  Did I need something different to mix it up? My running needed SOMETHING more. *cue hiring Coach*

There are a million reasons why you fall short of reaching your goal. Physical, psychological, mother nature, the course, your stomach, your ankle, the stars not aligning properly, not wearing you’re lucky ponytail holder…..the list goes on, real or perceived. No matter how many marathons you’ve run, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. For me, after many cycles with Hanson’s, religiously following their sadistic program,  I felt like it was time for a change. Don’t get me wrong, Hanson’s got me all the way to Boston. It works, but now I feel like I’ve plateaued. It’s not you Hanson’s, it’s me.

its not you its me

Here’s the short list of why I hired a coach. Again, in the interest of full disclosure. I’m not some super-certified running guru. I’m just a girl with a blog who loves lobster rolls, IPAs and running. (A lot.) I’m also a girl who has goals. It’s been almost 2 weeks with my new coach and here’s why I’m loving my decision already.

  • Accountability. I never really had a tough time being held accountable. I documented my running exploits often on this little blog.  I put it out there. But something about having a Running Table for Two makes the accountability even more real. It’s keeping me honest and completely on-task. My Garmin uploads directly to the training app we use the moment I hit save. I can count on feedback within the hour. It’s magical.
  • Interaction. This is key. Having someone to really talk to about your runs, how you’re feeling and where you’re at is something I am finding invaluable. For instance, I had a horrible cold last week. Previously I would have just plowed on through. It’s on the schedule, therefore I must run in spite of this hacking cough! Let’s be honest, we runners are terrible patients. With my coach, he adjusted my workout based on my need. As a result, I had a much better speed workout because I was rested. Who knew? (I’m laughing. We all know. We just don’t do it. Until someone we respect tells us to. Directly.)
  • Fit. If you are going to choose a coach, make sure it’s the right coach for you. I spoke with several of of my coach’s clients – super fast, fast and downright normal runners – and got feedback from each one. Pluses, minuses, likes, dislikes, whether or not they improved- anything I could think of.  Usually coaches have options available.  Whether they put together an individual plan for you or have one on one coaching with feedback – there are usually multiple plans to choose from ranging in  the amount of interaction and cost to fit your budget.
  • Variability. I am digging the variability in the workouts! I mean, it’s running. You run. How fun can it be? OH BUT WAIT, POODLE! It really can be fun!  Mixing up speeds, times, distances, surges, intervals- it’s not just the same old same old. In order to get fast, you need to run fast. And I ‘m learning that there are MANY ways to do so. It’s like a breath of fresh air.
  • Permission. Here’s a surprising one. Like I mentioned before, I was sick all week. I had a full running week as well as a 50 mile bike ride on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. My coach messaged me and wished me luck for Saturday’s ride then added – let’s see how you feel for Sunday. I’d rather have you get some extra rest. I don’t want this cough to linger. So instead of running long, I ran easy and short, just enough to shake out the legs. It may sound silly, but if I’m going to follow a plan, I FOLLOW THE PLAN. I spent 13 years in Catholic school. Discipline and guilt run strong up in here. I wasn’t slacking. I was sick and resting. I’m sure we can do a full on psychoanalysis of this another time,  but being given permission to sit on the couch and catch up on Real Housewives instead of slogging through a run just to get the miles in, meant an awful lot to me. It was a stress lifted. Permission granted and accepted.
  • Motivation. I have been more inspired to run in the past several weeks than I have in a very long time. I attribute that to the decision to hire a coach. It’s new. It’s fresh. And I am excited! Running was starting to feel like a chore for me. It was sapping the fun out of it. Even though you have big goals and are serious about what you’re doing, doesn’t mean that you have to be miserable doing it. Just keep that in mind. 🙂

Have you thought about hiring a coach? Do you have one? Are you one?! What would you look for in hiring a coach? Do you love lobster rolls as much as I do? 

Five Reasons 5Ks are Proof that Hell on Earth Exists

 

hell

I am in hell. 

I ran a 5K this weekend. I ran it as a training run sandwiched between 2 easy mile bookends for a total of 7.1 miles for the day. My new Coach thought it would be a “fun” thing for me to do as we kick off marathon training.  At the time, I was totally on board. I even suggested it. “Sure, Coach! FUN!” Let me preface this by saying that I really believed this would be a fantastic idea- it was for an incredible local cause. And being a shop-local-community-type gal, I signed right on up. I also thought I was fairly fit, having run a marathon and hiked a million miles on vacation the past two weeks.  In that brief moment, I forgot the fact that I hated 5Ks. I hate them more than any distance. Gimme a marathon any day over this hell fest. At least with a marathon, there’s time to settle in. With a 5K, it is ON.  I’m nervous. I have to pee incessantly.  And my stomach feels like it’s been taken over by a swarm of bumble bees. I’m a wreck for a 5K. An ill prepared- SHIT I NEED TO RUN FAST!- wreck. It’s crazy. Because for many of us, this is the race that starts it all! This is our first date with running. We swiped right. From here our love affair with running blossoms! From here it becomes a 10k, a half-marathon, a marathon….and maybe even an ultra. The sky is the limit! I ran a 5K! I love it! I love running! Oh, how quickly we forget. Maybe we black it out. Box it up and banish it to that far away place in our minds.  Because as I damn nearly forgot, 5Ks STINK. Here’s why….

Five Reasons 5Ks are Proof that Hell on Earth Exists

5. You need to run really, really fast. Sure, you can saunter along and chit chat with your squad but if you’re planning on racing one, in the words of the almighty Ru Paul – “You better werk!”  And by that I mean, you shouldn’t even be able to talk. There is no ‘Easy Pace’ in the 5K. You should be able to grunt. And maybe make a few simple hand gestures involving a middle finger. If you can carry on a conversation during a 5K, Gurl, you ain’t running hard enough. And who wants that? We’re social creatures for Pete’s sake. Let’s chit chat and be merry!

4. There is no time – I REPEAT – no time to screw around. That gun goes off and it’s time to make the donuts, eat them, then forget you even had them – GO! No dicking around people. There is little room for error with a 5K. Whatever the pace you’re huffing and puffing for, you better dial it in right off the line. If you don’t you’ll inevitably go out too fast, blow up and blow donut chunks at the finish. Graphic? Yes. But totally true.

3. Your heart may very well explode. Or minimally, bounce out of your chest, stop, restart, then hop back in it’s comfy cavity, exhausted. Feeling like you’re dying is never, ever a good thing. I’m all for ’embracing the suck’ and ‘getting uncomfortable’ and all that cliched happy horseshit- but for the love of coronary arteries, it’s all a bit much. I’m sure the 5K is the ideal HIIT workout (high intensity interval training).  HIIT workouts usually feature a short period of intense work with an easier recovery period only THERE IS NO RECOVERY PERIOD IN A 5K. Unless you count laying face down on the finish line in a heap of broken dreams. That’s why your heart wants to burst.  It hates you and your 5K.

2. Wait. That’s it? I’m done?!? After you’ve died a thousand deaths, sucked wind and hurled – it’s over. 5Ks are quick. So if you’re trying to avoid mowing the lawn, re-staining your deck or spending time with your in -laws on a gorgeous summer weekend THIS AIN’T THE RACE FOR YOU. You will be home and ready to throw yourself into your annoying house hold chores zippity quick. You can’t bail on a gorgeous summer mid-day baby shower and forgo ohhh-ing and ahhhh-ing over diaper genies and onsies if  you’re running a 5K because you will have time to go home, shower and fluff up in no time. Who wants to run a race that doesn’t involve a “Get Out Of Annoying Obligations Because You’re Racing -Free” card?  Gimme a nice long marathon as an excuse to get out of doing pesky things on a weekend any damn day.

And the Number 1 reason why 5Ks are proof that hell on earth exists…..

1. 5Ks HURT. In my humble opinion, those wretched things may last less than 30 minutes (god willing) BUT it will be the worst 30 minutes of your life. Your heart, your lungs, your legs, your ego…..EVERYTHING HURTS AND YOU’RE DYING. Improving your time on the damn thing? That hurts even more. And is it even worth it? I’m not quite sure.

Although….

Maybe if I focused on shorter distances and did more speed work and maybe prepared to race 5Ks or even ran more than one a year or maybe spent more time on the track or didn’t have a few beers the night before…maybe then it wouldn’t be so bad?…

Don’t kid yourself. We runners are masochists. Pain is temporary. Just like our memory.

XO,

Colby

 

Are you there Blog? It’s me, Colby.

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It’s been a while. And by while I mean a WHOPPING year and a half since I sat down, cracked my knuckles and busted out the ol’ blog.  That’s crazy!  I think my last post was about a 3 day juice cleanse. Why? Not sure. Not sure why I didn’t blog, not sure why I embarked on a cleanse either. Although in hind sight, no clue why the hell I drank kale and celery for three days and passed on the tacos and IPAs of my own volition. Kidding. I actually felt great afterwards. It was a ‘reset’. And a good one at that.  I needed it.

It’s not like I ran out of shit to say. Christ. I’m a talking machine. Or races to train for and run. I actually ran two marathons – Vermont City and super recently Sugarloaf in Maine. One was a shit show (pun not intended) and the other a really strong “comeback” race. I’ll get to the “comeback” story later. It’s a goddamn doozy.  Scary stuff.  Or places to visit. I’ve been on several AMAZING adventures! We took a van out west and it was GLORIOUS! There’s enough material in those trips to power this little blog for 3 years.

So why haven’t I blogged?

Simply put, I just wasn’t feelin’ it.  I think for the past year and a half I’ve just felt pretty damn unmotivated all around. It’s like a Death Eater got a hold of me for a minute or two and sucked a little bit of my soul out. Which is sad, because I really enjoy writing little bits every now and then. About running, about life, about Drunk Otis…about anything.  I don’t even care how many people read it. I really don’t. It’s a creative little outlet that happens to be in a very tiny corner of the internet.  It keeps me thinking – of things other than work and the current state of affairs in the world which I equate to Living in the Upside Down.  Actually, in the backwards Upside Down. Good gravy.  What the hell has gone on! It’s funny because I think I blame social media for not blogging on social media.  Oh, the tangled webs we weave!  It’s so easy to get caught up in an IG rabbit hole or reading political commentary that seriously makes you want to stab yourself in the eye with one of those weird wooden spoons you ate Hoodsie Cups with as a kid.  Those things were like Smurf-sized tongue depressors. So odd.  I got sucked into all of it and then I got sick of ALL OF IT. Of opinions and commentary and people talking AT YOU. Buy this. Wear this. Like this. Follow this. Run like this. Train like this. Eat this. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.  Gah. It’s exhausting. It’s like Information Fatigue. Fucking TILT.  I needed to step back. And take a breathe. And shutdown.

So what changed?

Not sure. Maybe it’s finishing up a marathon that really meant an awful lot to me. Maybe it’s having just spent 10 days milling around Arizona and Utah in a van with dear friends hiking and exploring beautiful places. Maybe it’s hiring a running coach.  I’m not sure. All know is that I just went to Google “Best Lobster Rolls in Connecticut,” and here I am, blogging. I’m glad I did. I needed it.

It’s good to be back after a cleanse.

xoxo,

Colby

3 Day Juice Cleanse: Success!

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72 hours of not chewing a damn thing. No food. No tacos. No nothing. Just juice. And dark green juice at that. Done-zo. I neither fainted nor died. Which were both pluses. I managed one run, two walks and a Bikram Yoga class. Otherwise, I laid low. It’s not really the time to run Yasso 800s when you’re consuming just juice and are damn near glycogen depleted. I mean I’m nuts and all, but there was just no way my legs would do it. Nor did I want to. This was a reset for me. A nice calm, green reset.

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Cheers!

I am pleased to report that I did not cheat. Not. Once. Even though I did make dinner for My Beloved which was both torturous, cruel and unnecessary. (I wanted to stick my face in it for Pete’s sake.) Even though He stocked our fridge with my favorite Bordeaux and IPAs. Even though there were homemade dark chocolate covered pretzels on my counter. And Christmas cookies at every turn. I held steady. Here’s why…

Doing this was quite the undertaking. I shopped, juiced, prepped and cleared my schedule of Holiday Shenanigans for 3 days. Note: Buying lots of organic produce ain’t cheap. I also planned it around my training schedule. Because continuing training at my “normal” pace during this would not be conducive to life. I’d be belly up on the floor.  Finding 3 consecutive quiet days in December was harder than I thought. I know. All of this is total selfish nonsense, #firstworld to the max. But investing in your health during the season of over indulgence is important. It sets the tone for the year ahead. So I’ll take being a lil’ selfish.

There were definitely some low, hangry moments. Day 2 was a bear for me. There were also some verrry tempting moments on Day 1 that tested my commitment. I’m looking at YOU, gallon of peanut butter pretzels 3 feet from my desk. Another unnecessary bullshit hurdle. If all of the tempting hurdles taught me anything, it was that I could clear them. Easily.  Will power is really like a super power sometimes.

Somewhere late into day Day 2, it actually became easy.  In a bizarre twist, I had tons of energy and felt sharper. No joke-more clear headed  and with an awful lot of focus. Maybe it’s no sugar? No caffeine? Maybe I imagined it? I really have no definite proof other than to say that come Day 3, I really felt great. I slept soundly. I felt leaner. Slightly meaner 😉 and definitely more clear headed.

So now what? Welp. I am far more motivated to eat cleaner and mind the sugar and caffeine. Maybe limit myself to one coffee, instead of a pot. Or two. Limit the carbs a bit. Clean up the edges. It also eliminated comfort eating. You know when you pad around the kitchen, opening the fridge 100 times then settle for a box of half stale Reduced Fat Wheat Thins? Yeah. That kind of comfort eating. When I felt hungry, I had a glass of water *lightbulb* which curbed the craving. Simple. Basic. And no damn surprise. I haven’t felt this hydrated in months. In fact, I haven’t felt this AWARE in months. Let’s hope it sticks. 😊

What’s your go to comfort food? Do you hang up your water bottle come fall? Would you ever do this?

3 Day Juice Cleanse: Homestretch!

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I’m so close to the end I can taste it. And it doesn’t take like Green Juice. It tastes like pure joy. I’m not gonna lie. Day 2 of this 3 Day Juice Cleanse  was rough. Talk about peaks and valleys. I was a mid-day mess. I may have even gotten a little snappy or, hangry as the kids say. Late afternoon yesterday was the low point. Hungry and just plain pooped. But then things shifted inexplicably and I started to feel much, much better as the day went on. Energized even.

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Me. 3:17pm yesterday.

I am moving on along though, the end CLEARLY in sight. Which brings me to my next point, clarity.  I don’t know if it’s the caloric reduction, the lack of caffeine or what, but I seem to have crazy focus. I also feel a little bit like a fog has lifted. Maybe not fog. Maybe film. I had felt like everything lately- mind included- had been dulled. Like covered in a film. I felt sharper last night and super focused. It was odd. Of course maybe it was just the Herculean willpower I displayed last night, cooking My Other Half dinner. WHICH I DIDN’T EAT. What kind of complete and utter shit is that? I must realllllly love him. I feel like I can hang this over his head a bit. I feel a “Remember that time I was doing a cleanse and was starving and STILL made you dinner like it was 1954 and I was in the kitchen in kitten heels and a cute apron COOKING FOR MY MAN?!?!?!” in my immediate future. I survived though. And he enjoyed supper.

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Seriously.

Last day, Poodles. I’m curious to see if the increased energy/clarity or whatever I’m experiencing hangs through today now that the hump of Day 2 is over. I’m also curious to look around the interwebs and see if people report feeling this way. And of course if there is any scientific proof of it- because I’m a science dork at my very core. Whether it is real or simply perceived doesn’t matter. I feel it. So I’m goin’ with it! 🙂

Have you ever done a fast? Have you ever done a cleanse? Who makes dinner at your house? 

 

3 Day Juice Cleanse: 1 Down, 2 To Go. And yes. I’m starving.

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And by FEED ME, I don’t mean gallons of green shit. I mean trays of pizza. Sweet Clumps of Kale, Day 1 is DONE! Hooray! Actually. I’m being far too dramatic. It really wasn’t that bad. Like at all. In fact, I even managed a short run to break in my new Altra’s and then went to Bikram Yoga.

Hold up, hold up…
Let’s let that sink in.

I am in the throes of a juice cleanse and I went to Bikram Yoga.

WHO AM I?!?!?

Maybe I am shape shifting into Deepak Chopra! I’m a goddamn Paragon of Health! That is of course until Day 4 rolls around and I’m stuffing my gob with scoops of guac and IPAs.  I suppose it could be worse. I could be in the throes of a Stranger Things Netflix binge covered in Dorito dust. At least I’m trying. Tiny victories, Poodles.

As you know, I kicked off my 3 Day Juice cleanse yesterday. No time like a Monday in December when you have a Christmas Cookie Swap at Tina’s the end of the week to start a cleanse. Never fear. It will be wrapped up by then. Yesterday wasn’t so bad! I was juiced, packed and prepped early. Here’s how the 3 Days will go:

8am- 10oz of Grapefruit/Orange Juice Combo. Freshly squeezed. Freshly fresh.

10am- 10oz of Green Juice. This is the main staple of this particular cleanse. It consists of kale, spinach, romaine, green apples, parsley, celery, lemon and cucumbers. I might be forgetting shit. It’s all green. With a splash of yellow. Freshly juiced. Freshly fresh.

12am- You guessed it. 10oz of Green Juice. Again. Uh. huh. Green. Glug, glug.

3pm- 10oz of Lemonade. But not Country Time. Fresh lemons, lime, Grade B Maple Syrup (which, BTW no longer is called that. Now it’s GRADE A, DARK AND ROBUST! I added the exclamation point because it seems necessary. And I love syrup.) and cayenne pepper. I don’t know why, but drinking this makes me feel like Beyonce. If only…

5pm- 10oz of Green Shit Juice. I kid. I love you Green Juice. You make me feel whole.

1hr before bed- Cashew “Milk”.  Raw Cashews, that delicious syrup Vitamixed to a creamy elixir. It is a delight.

That’s all, Folks. See what’s notably missing? Besides beer and garlic knots and chewable food? COFFEE. I’m off caffeine. GAHHHH. That’s worse than anything. I had a very dull headache that did seem to subside as the day went on. I missed coffee yesterday. In fact, I miss it more today but that’s for tomorrow’s post. In addition to all that GREEN, I’ve been drinking quite a bit of water. Which is making me freezing cold. Not kidding. I’m swaddled in fleece and peeing LIKE A BOSS! I am also drinking green tea simply because I am freezing.

I’m not sure if going for a short 30 minute run on the treadmill then doing Bikram was smart, but I felt good. So I went. And sweated PROFUSELY. Of course I re-hydrated. Shit. That’s all I’m doing. Again, don’t follow this nonsense! Check with your doctor before you drink Organic Sludge and do steaming hot yoga! You do YOU. This is simply my opinion and crazy experience.  In an evil nod from the universe, this is what greeted me as I left the gym.  Temptation, much? Whore basket.

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You’re killing me Planet Fitness.

Today admittedly, I’m a little tuckered. But I am not ravenous. I think today I’ll probably just take Drunk Otis for a walk. That may be smarter. The point of this cleanse is to go easy on myself, rest the gut, detox, blah, blah- not beat the snot out of me.  I’ll dial it down. I’m going to have to. I’m dragging at the moment. Time for GREEEEEEEEN.

Until tomorrow, Friends!

xoxo

Have you recently switched running shoes? What do you run in? Have you had to switch because of changes made to the newest edition that didn’t work for you? Why do companies do that? 😦

3 Day Juice Cleanse: Day 1. Oh, this is gonna be good.

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Sorry, Ellen. I love ya, but I’m talking about it. I have to. It’s either that or I grab that bag of peanut butter pretzels sitting 3 feet away from me, snatch them like a fiend and inhale every last one, salty peanut buttery pieces flying around my head like a hysterical snow globe. Accountability is key for me. And putting it out there on this little blog is my way of doing so. I’ve embarked on the 3 Day Juice Cleanse before. It’s usually at the onset of training. When I want to get my head set, detox and de-bloat. You know how I love a delicious IPA. Welp. It’s time to PUT THE BEER DOWN COLBY and pick up the GREEN JUICE. You’ve read about my existential crisis and about kicking off base building complete with Bikram Yoga, clearly I’m searching for something. I think it’s just something called health.

Let’s face it. I ain’t getting any younger. While I audibly gasped it pained me to have to check the 45-50 year old box- WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK! – whilst registering for the Vermont City Marathon, I need remind myself that yes, while age ain’t nothin ‘ but a number, my slow post-Boston Marathon recovery, tight ass hips and overall creakiness is more than just a state of mind. It’s real. So, in order to help myself be my best self, I need to invest in my health a bit. Up my health game, if you will. To be kind to my body. Listen to it. Honor it. And to stop being so unnecessarily hard on it. I’m looking at you, Craft Beer. cleanse mindy

Now whether a 3 Day Juice Cleanse is going to transform me into a glowing paragon of perfect health or morph me into Deepak Chopra remains to be seen. My guess is No. It certainly will not. It’s not going to cure me of all of my ills. It’s also not going to make me drop tons and tons of weight either. It’s not a magical elixir.  It’s also not a diet. It’s a reset for me.  It will set the tone for how I want this training cycle to go- healthy, focused and disciplined. It will de-puff and de-bloat me. It will rest my gut a bit. I’m not even sure that a gut needs to be rested. But without bulk in it,  I feel like it will allow for more vitamins and nutrients to be absorbed unhindered. What do I know? I just know what I think. This is strictly my opinion, my crazy ass experience. It’s not a recommendation. So, please, don’t listen to me. You do YOU. – Just read and laugh and share and say Oh, Colby, You cray! Then leave YOU CAN DO IT! in the comments. I’m a biologist not a nutritionist or gastroenterology guru. Just a girl who’s set on drinking green shit in the hopes of feeling better about herself.  That’s all.

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I’m hoping my 3 Day Juice Cleanse will be a break from my dependence on caffeine which is GETTING OUT OF CONTROL. I’m wired for sound lately. It’s a bit much. I’m several hours and two juices into my day and already I can feel an ache of a headache sans caffeine. That’s just dumb.  I need to throttle back.  I’m also hoping that it will inspire me to up my water consumption from thimble to actual glass. I’m awful lately.  Dehydration alone can be contributing my my issues-  dry flaky skin included.

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So here goes nothing. I just swilled my first of many Green Juices and I didn’t die. All total today I will have 1 Orange/Grapefruit Juice, 3 Green Juices, 1 “Lemonade”, and 1 Cashew “Milk” and of course water and non-caffeine herbal teas if I want.  I’ll explain more later provided you don’t find me rocking in the corner bingeing on peanut butter pretzels. Imma look and feel fabulous! At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Who am I kidding? I’m going to be a salty swearing starving Pirate. But hopefully I’ll have good skin and de-puffed belly. Stay tuned!

Have you ever tried a juice cleanse? Would you ever try a juice cleanse?