Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eating Update

I realized this morning after stepping on the scale that I hadn't posted a progress report on the nutrition aspect of my marathon training for a while.

Here are the high--and low--lights:

1) My weight has remained steady to a teensy bit lower. This morning it was 129.4 pounds, putting my BMI at a "normal" 20.3 (see chart here; I am 5' 7"). I'm glad I haven't gained any weight as I've been training (I know this can happen), but I'm also not much closer to my "racing weight" projected at 120 pounds than I was two months ago. Oh well. I'll focus more on that (and on whether or not it's realistic or healthy for me to try to get that low) for my Houston training cycle. I haven't weighed that little since high school.

2) I have a body fat feature on my scale. This morning it put me at 22.0%. According to one chart, this lands me in the "fitness" category. That sounds good, until you look one set up and see that there's also an "athlete" category for women with a range of 14-20%. "Athlete" sounds much more like "Boston Marathon qualifier" than "fitness" does (fitness makes me think of aerobics VHS tapes from the 80s). But losing 2 percentage points of fat may be as tough for me as getting down to 120 pounds.

I think there are two reasons I'm still sort of marshmallow-like despite my increasing miles: a) I stopped my weight training class three weeks ago (and before that missed a bunch due to my kidney infection and some kid-related issues) and b) I've fallen off the no-sugar bandwagon--not in a huge way--I've definitely been worse--but wine, pastries and chocolate have crept back into my diet.

Taking care of business on those two fronts, starting now for the sugar and starting after the Top of Utah Marathon for the strength training, may help with that body fat percentage.

3) I got the lab tests back for the blood draw my doctor ordered up in an effort to help me get to the root of my poop issues on some runs. These tests were all normal: no celiac disease, thyroid issues or anything else out of the ordinary. So now I'm waiting to hear back on some stool tests (sorry to be graphic!). I really don't expect those to be out of the ordinary either. I think I just have to be careful with dairy and nuts, and just generally eat really bland food, for about two days ahead of long runs.

Any other diet thoughts out there? Anyone else find the nutrition side of running so much less interesting (and therefore so much more difficult to get a handle on) than things like tempo runs, intervals and pace charts?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Race Report: The Colorado Relay

So there I am, finished with my first leg (a 3-miler up Boreas Pass), using my friend Patty's foam roller in the gravel next to the trail on top of the pass as we wait for Patty's hand-off to our next guy, Ron. The view is stunning. I'm feeling good. Our team is running well ahead of schedule.

Here's the view of a section of my first leg, though this picture was taken later in the day.

Our van was parked across from the old boxcar. How that thing got up that pass I'll never know!
It was in that idyllic moment that I looked down and realized I'd put my hand in something's poop. What did I do about it? I got out the paper towels and the hand sanitizer and wiped that stuff off. Then, when Patty arrived, I assured her the stuff had not in fact gotten on her roller. And then we moved on. That's how you roll in a big 200-mile relay.

Relays are full of moments like this. Here are some other funny moments:

--The Leg 1 runner who finished wearing nothing but his shoes, race number and a white jock strap. Let's just say I'm glad I didn't have to put that number on.
--Watching Ron try to hoist his leg up onto onto our van's bumper for a hamstring stretch after he finished his last run.
--The male team at Copper Mountain who were all wearing slightly pornographic superhero costumes. It reminded me the Chippendales in American flag undies.
--Me getting passed as I cruised down to Vail from Vail Pass by a male ultrarunner who looked like the old children's Bible renditions of Jesus: no body fat, flowing brown hair, no shirt (or body fat). I thought I was going fast before he passed me. After he passed me, I wondered if the altitude was starting to get to me. Was I hallucinating? (It was too early for hallucinations!) Would it next be a Greek god or a book character who glided by me?
--Tim's characterization of his walk from the van to the restaurant in Carbondale after we were ALL finished as "leg 31" of the race. Tim made many such remarks over the course of our group's 30 or so hours together.
--Four of the five of us ordering alcoholic beverages (three Bloody Marys and a screwdriver) at that same breakfast at 7 a.m. I stuck with chai--I was worried about falling asleep at the wheel on my drive back later that day.
--All five of us sleeping in the van at the finish line in Snowmass as we waited for our compadres in the second van to arrive. It probably looked like a van filled with dormant zombies.
--Me using the decidedly leaning port-a-john under the Snowmass ski lift. I seriously thought it was going to tumble down the mountain with me in it.

And there were some really beautiful moments too. I saw three shooting stars, Orion (my favorite constellation) and the rising crescent moon. The fixed stars were beautiful too. I hadn't seen the Milky Way since going camping last summer with my family. It's especially amazing when you're running in a canyon by the Colorado River and the only light other than those stars is coming from your headlamp.

My team was amazing and welcoming, especially considering I was trying to fill some big shoes. Elizabeth, my friend who couldn't make it, is the paragon of optimism and unflagging enthusiasm. She's someone you want in your van in the middle of the night when everyone's tired and starting to get punchy. But the other folks made me feel right at home.

What about the running? That was great too. I did the short but intense 3-mile run I already mentioned, up Boreas Pass. Then I did the 9-mile Vail Pass descent where I saw Jesus. Here's a picture of the bike trail I ran on. It's actually on the I-70 shoulder for a  brief while:

Interstate on the left; bike path on the right. But there was another section where I was literally on the shoulder.
In addition to the divine sighting, the adventure of this run was increased because my crampy stomach forced a stop under the I-70 overpass. Luckily I had TP and had been-there, done-that.

My third leg was the magical starlight one, too short at 2.88 miles, in Glenwood Canyon. Here's a picture of what that looks like in the daytime:

Those were my three official legs. But they totaled only just under 15 miles, and my training plan for the Top of Utah Marathon called for a slow steady 22 miler. So (after asking his permission) I jumped in with my teammate Ron (who used to be Dan's boss) for his third leg, a seven-miler between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. It was just the ticket (though I ended up behind Ron for most of it--he was speedy, and I figured the team wasn't depending on me for this one, so I just tried to stick to my prescribed training pace). And it was on this run that I saw Orion and the crescent moon coming up just ahead of the sun. I'm so glad I did it.

I'm so glad I did the whole thing. If you've never done a relay like this one (or Hood to Coast, which a lot of my blogging buddies did this past weekend), I heartily recommend it. You'll come away with new friends if you're jumping in with people you don't know, and your old friendships will be stronger. You'll have more confidence in your abilities as a runner (10,000 feet isn't a trivial altitude to run at!). You'll see beautiful things and find your perspective softening (I was reminded that there are many many fun things to do in running that have nothing to do with the Boston Marathon).

How am I feeling? Sore quads (Vail Pass), a little tired (but the sleep wasn't too bad considering, and when I got home last night I slept like a rock) and very inspired. I'm hoping my fabulous husband can join this team next year. I certainly owe him. THANK YOU, Dan, for taking care of the kids all weekend so I could do this. (I'll hopefully post some more pictures as my teammates send them out.)

Meanwhile, all of you out there say a prayer for my friend Elizabeth's mom. Elizabeth, thanks to you too! It'll be you next year, flying down Vail Pass behind Jesus.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Training...

So it looks like I'm doing a relay this weekend!

Yeah, I know. Outta the blue for me too.

Here's how it came about: my friend Elizabeth, who is a former co-worker of my husband, Dan, and like us the parent of boy/girl twins, runs this relay every year. (In 2005, I was actually on her team and had a wonderful, magical horizon-expanding time.) She was all set to do it again this year. But her mom has become ill and is in the hospital, and Elizabeth doesn't want to leave her. Another example of how my awesome friends put the really important things first....

Last night she put a plea up on Facebook asking for someone to fill in. I posted how I wish I could. Well, after talking with Dan and my kids' school, it turns out I can. So tonight I'm heading to Breckenridge, where the nearly 200-mile course begins tomorrow at 6 a.m.

I'm in Van A and am Runner 2, which Elizabeth tells me is the third-easiest assignment of the ten. The three legs I'm running look like this:

Leg 2: 3.04 miles, starts at 10,350 feet, gains 444 feet; despite the short length, I think this one will be the hardest; it's on something called Boreas Pass Rd.; says it all!

Leg 12: 8.97 miles, starts at 10,500 feet, but DROPS almost 2,000 feet, to 8700; could be hard on the quads

Leg 22: 2.88 miles, starts at 5840 feet (oxygen!), shows a tiny elevation loss of 56 feet

I can definitely handle the distance (totals a little less than 15 miles), and I know from my last time doing this that it will be an amazingly fun 24 hours. But what I'd like advice on is how to make this so it approximates as closely as possible the 22 miles I have scheduled for my Top of Utah Marathon training this weekend.

Right now I'm leaning toward adding another three to five miles to make it twenty total. This would entail tacking 1.5-2 miles at the end of each leg. Or I could just go for a five-mile run on Saturday after the team finishes. Does anyone out there have an opinion on this?

And while I have no regrets about this, there are some things I know I need to avoid to make this work FOR my training:

1. Sleep deprivation--I can't avoid this completely; it's a 24-hour relay! But I do plan to take naps. Elizabeth has said one of the other team members has lined up a condo, so there should be a place to grab a quality nap at one point. I'll also bring my sleeping bag in case other chances arise. I'm actually more concerned about getting back on track next week. I don't handle sleep loss well and I do have kids, a job etc., plus a church volunteer obligation that I have to get up super early for on Sunday.

2. Injury--that downhill leg....I just need to be careful. And I owned a headlamp at one point, but I'm not sure where it is. Best be looking for that this afternoon! Or expecting to borrow someone's.....

3. Illness--with sleep deprivation comes cold susceptibility. Do me a favor and remind me to wash my hands lots over the next week!

Wow! What an adventure is ahead! ANY advice you can share with me, either in comment form or email (terzahbecker@gmail.com) will be appreciated. I'm psyched to fill in for my friend (and so sorry she's missing such a fun weekend), but I'm also keeping my eyes on the Boston prize and on my marathon in just three weeks.

Back to our regular program for a tempo run update: I ran 10 miles this morning, with 6 at tempo pace. I nailed it! Here's how it broke down:

Mile 1 & 2 (warm-up miles): 12:18 and 9:45 (I start slooooow on these kinds of runs)
Mile 3: 8:23
Mile 4: 8:18
Mile 5: 8:13
Mile 6: 8:13
Mile 7: 8:03
Mile 8: 7:55
Miles 9 & 10 (cool-down miles): 10:02 and 9:22 (I sped up a bit when I should have been slowing down because I was having a bathroom emergency)

Happy about that run. :^)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Long Run Lessons

This morning's run was a "medium long run" of 90 minutes. I got it done with little trouble, running 9.2 miles. The mornings are getting later and cooler here (though the days are still friggin' hot--all over 90 lately). I had streetlights with me until just after 6 a.m., where a month ago they were out by 5:45. I also saw lots of other runners, whereas I've been all alone out there for most of the summer. I guess everyone's gearing up for a fall race! It's exciting!

I left the iPod at home. I am getting more comfortable running without it for longer distances, and I like to save it for when it's really needed. This got me thinking about my gear plan for the race in a month. Here are some things I've learned on my long runs the last few weeks:

1. My sunglasses (cheapie plastic ones from Walgreens) start to irritate my ears and pinch my head after about 10 miles. I figure I won't need them for the first part of Top of Utah, though, since it's 18 miles mostly in a canyon and starts early enough that the canyon should be shaded. So I will put them on top of my head (I don't even notice them when they're on my hat) and put them on when we emerge into the sunlight later.

2. A few weeks back I won some Yurbud earphones from Erin at See Mom Run Far (thanks, Erin!). During Sunday's fast finish long run, I wore them for the first time. I have a slight phobia of having things stuck in my ears. It's irrational, left over from childhood when I had lots of ear infections and had painful things done to my ears in an effort to figure out why they kept clogging up, had tubes inserted at age nine and then spent the next four years up to age 13 putting silly putty in my ears to keep water out of them. This is why I've been wearing old-school over-the-ear phones for the last two years (and it's also why I'll never do a triathlon; water in my ears wigs me out, and I'm a weak swimmer because of this).

But like the sunglasses, my old headphones start to bug my ears on long distance runs. Erin swears by her Yurbuds, as do other runners, so I gave them a shot. And they worked great on Sunday. It felt a bit uncomfortable to me to stuff them into my ear canal, but I gritted my teeth and did it. Once they were in I was fine. I don't turn my iPod on until the part of the run or race where I need a little juice, but I inserted the Yurbuds prior to the starting gun and just kept the music off until I was ready to start speeding up. The sound quality was awesome (maybe a little too good for solo runs near busy streets--it was hard to hear the cars), and the buds stayed put. Thumbs up on those for the race!

3. I noticed a lot of runners in the half-marathon I ran on Sunday wearing their Camelbaks and water belts in the race. To me, the beauty of a race is that you don't have to do that. That's what aid stations are for. That said, I've been doing my long runs with a Camelbak that I bought from a co-worker, and it's by far the best hydration solution for me. I hate belts (I feel like a cow with a belt sloshing water on my already wide hips), I'm not organized enough to stash water bottles on a 20-mile route and I don't like hand-held bottles much either, so the Camelbak was my last resort solution. Fortunately it's been perfect.

My unit holds 70 ounces of water and also has pockets for my phone, some fuel (more on that below), money and keys. I fill it with ice and then water ahead of a long one and generally finish most of it before I get home. The hose doesn't bounce too much on my shoulder but is right there when I need it. I won't wear my Camelbak in the marathon, but I'm sure glad I've had it this summer for long runs.

4. For fueling....Cliff Shot Bloks....they are working for me on the run! And a simple breakfast on race morning is a big help. Specifically, plain eggs with salt in some form, plus a bland cereal like Special K, do the trick (no dairy until after the race). After the race, I drink chocolate milk as soon as possible and eat what I can stomach (yogurt, cereal and fruit usually go down well but not much else). I'm not usually hungry for a big meal until several hours later (and then I'm really hungry, usually for fish tacos with extra salsa!).

I'm still having mild poop issues (this morning I had to stop once, and after Sunday's run I had to go straight from the finish line to the Port-a-Jon), but they've eased off a lot when I'm super careful about what I eat the day before a long run (which I wasn't this weekend thanks to a bridge date with my husband Saturday night where spicy Chex mix and chocolate were consumed and my book club meeting last night, where the wine and cheese were available in generous amounts). I did see my doctor about the poop issues and am still waiting for the results of some lab and blood tests. I really doubt they will find anything wrong with me, but it's worth a shot.

I also experimented with salt packets during my 20 miler a week ago. I'm definitely a salty sweater, though I don't know that it's ever been a problem. Eating a salt packet during the 20 miler didn't hurt, though I'm not sure it helped either. I'll bring salt along for this Saturday's 22 miler too. Hmm, maybe the salt thing is why I crave salsa so much when I finally do get hungry post-long-run....

5. Clothing: I've been lucky and have had very little chafing during long runs. For Top of Utah, I'll probably go sleeveless in a navy blue Go Lite top (much as I fear the sight of my un-toned arms in the tortured race photos that are sure to be taken that day), either my Asics capris or my Nike shorts and thin socks. I plan to head to Goodwill to pick up some cheap sweatpants for the chilly pre-dawn wait for the race to start.

I'm still suffering from that nasty blister I got on Sunday, but the neuroma pad seems to be intact in my shoe. I'm not really sure why I got the blister now. The shoes are the same ones I've had for two months, and it wasn't like I was trying out new socks. Should I take the pad out? My neuroma hasn't bothered me in the least since March, but I do fear removing the pad could make it flare up again....

In my mind, I'm already packing my gear for Top of Utah. This is good. Things are starting to gel, in both my body and mind. Part of me wishes I could feel this way forever: healthy, strong, fit, like I could run and run and never stop. I know staying in this happy state is not possible indefinitely (I'm already hearing about colds and infections starting to ping around, and I'm worried they will soon arrive at my library or my kids' school). But the things I can control I'm doing a better job with. Fingers crossed!

Now...off for a pre-work nap... :^)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Successful Fast Finish Long Run!

I love the starfish finisher's medal, and the personalized bib! Too bad I wasn't really racing this one....

After last weekend's 20 miler, my McMillan training plan this weekend featured its second Fast Finish Long Run. My first attempt at one of these types of long runs--which are 14 to 18 miles with the last six to eight at my goal marathon pace--was a big FAIL.

I didn't want that to happen again.

So I took one of the suggestions for tackling these runs that McMillan makes in an article on his Web site....and signed up for a half-marathon to push me along toward the goal.

The race was at my old stomping grounds, the backroads around the Boulder Reservoir. It's called the Heart & Sole Half-Marathon. Roughly the first half of the course was very familiar to me, as it's the same as the Boulder Spring Half that I ran in March, but unlike that out-and-back race, this one was a loop, and a fun one too. I liked this course much better, as it featured some interesting stretches next to a canal and a long push near the end along the Reservoir itself instead of a disheartening slog back along the way you just came.

The plan was to run the first several miles of the race (plus a 1.5 mile warm-up before the gun went off) at my slow long steady run pace (between 9:30 and 10:30 a mile) and then, starting just after mile 6, begin to increase my speed until I was running at goal marathon pace (8:35/mile or better). It was this latter part that proved impossible for me two weeks ago--I just couldn't muster the speed, or sustain what little speed I could muster.

Today, I'm happy to say, it wasn't a problem! Here are my splits for fast finish part:

Mile 7=8:48
Mile 8=8:40
Mile 9=8:35
Mile 10=8:33
Mile 11=8:31
Mile 12=8:39
Mile 13=8:27

The average for  those miles was 8:36--not fast enough, but so much better than two weeks ago that I'm not complaining. (The "point one" part of the half marathon came out to "point four" on my Garmin (guess I still need work on running tangents!), and I forgot to turn the Garmin off after I finished, so that split said 8:40, but I know I was running faster through the finish line.) Total miles including the warm-up came to 14.5. I was supposed to do 16, but I skipped the "cool-down" 1.5 miles because I developed a nasty blister on my in-step, I think because my neuroma pad is getting loose in my shoe.

I have another one of these Fast Finish long runs in two weeks. Unfortunately there's no race to enter this time, so I'll be on my own for it. But for next week's (gack) 22 miler I'm hoping to head down south of Denver to join my friend Kathy's long distance group. Long ones of any kind are so much easier with company!

The Top of Utah Marathon is now less than four weeks away. That's close enough now that there are starting to be baby butterflies in my stomach when I think about it. But there are still lots of hard workouts between now and then. There's still time for improvement...which is good because there's still room for improvement too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bad Running Poetry

I love poetry.

I also love bad-writing contests. Here's the winner of the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton bad fiction contest:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil.
--Molly Ringle of Seattle, Washington

How can you not love that?

Tomorrow (Aug. 18) is Bad Poetry Day, so a blogger for Runner's World invited his readers to make contributions with (of course) a running theme. You can read them all here. But here are some of my favorites.

Feetsies I wuv you,
tootsies I do.
But get your ugly digits,
back in my running shoe!

by kittenkat

Then out spoke brave Horatius, he of the steady gait:
"To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
Bravely chasing his BQ, his feet just barely shod."

by ben.miramontes

Long distance running
It's much like a dance
But if you go for too long
You might poop your pants

by Keith McGahey

Here's my contribution:

Thank you for the Port-a-John
That sits upon the golf course lawn.
Thank you for the 7-Eleven
Sent like a pre-dawn slice of heaven
When I need some gummy bears.
Thank you for my Camelbak
With its little zipper pack
That nicely neatly holds a phone
To help me feel much less alone,
To call my husband when I'm done
And when no further I must run,
When in a Starbucks chair I sit
And wonder vaguely, dimly, if
I'll ever rise again.
Thank you for this chocolate milk
Flowing down my throat like silk.
Its proteins will my muscles build,
Its sugars my glycogen stores fill,
So that at dawn on Tuesday next
I'll rise just like a person hexed
And jog in zombie warm-up mode
To the track whose line I've often toed
For lots more trips around.
Thank you for this cold ice bath.
Thank you for this two-hour nap.
And if you've read to this stage late
Thank you for you--you're nuts but great.

Don't think I'll send that to my English teacher.

If you've got a bad running jingle in you, leave it in a comment!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yasso 800s

Today the 30th follower joined my blog!

I love round numbers and feel this is a great opportunity to thank all of you who read this regularly, whether it's through Google or Facebook. Some days, I know, this is deadly dull material, I'm a lousy photographer, the journey is long, and I don't have sponsors or cool giveaways. But you're nonetheless sticking it out with me. It's made and is making a big difference in my commitment to the goal and my belief in my ability to achieve it. THANK YOU!

The other great thing about my day was my morning track workout. My McMillan plan calls for two Yasso 800s workouts (for more on how to do these and the philosophy behind them click here). The first such workout was the week after my kidney infection. I kept it to the low end of the range (he said do six to eight 800s; I did six) and ran them slower than I would have liked. But at the time it was all I had in me.

This workout, which called for eight to ten (ten being the classic pre-marathon Yasso test), was different. And it was awesome! I knocked all ten out and though I was definitely D-O-N-E after the 10th one, I never had any desire or need to quit. My average pace for them was 3 minutes 38 seconds, nicely under the 3:45 that indicates readiness to run my BQ marathon pace. At one point in the last one, I looked down at the Garmin and saw that my pace was below 6 minutes/mile. Is this me? I asked myself as Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" pushed me along. Running a pace with a 5 in front of it? It's a good sign, especially coming off of the weekend's 20 miler.

That said, I'm trying not to read too much into it. Greg McMillan, who wrote my plan, says on his Web site that in his experience, the Yasso pace is about 7 minutes fast. That would indicate I can run a 3:45 marathon, not a 3:38. And it stands to reason that a long tempo run or a half-marathon would be a better predictor of marathon performance than a speed workout of any kind.

This weekend I have my second Fast Finish long run scheduled. Hopefully I can do better in this one than I did the last time I had one of these suckers. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

20 Miles!

If this $5 note were in miles, I'd have four of them!

Running 20 miles is sort of like dying and it's also sort of like rising from the dead.

5 Ways Running 20 Miles is Like Dying (As I Understand Dying):

1. You start out the run (like you start out life) feeling great. You end it feeling stiff, sore, a touch nauseous and old.

2. You smell really bad when you're done (or at least I do!).

3. Strange associations come into your mind. Like how when Frodo and his friends were fleeing the evil wraiths in The Fellowship of the Ring and, after they barely made a river ferry that saved them, discussed how the next crossing down was the "Brandywine Bridge! 20 MILES."

Don't know if I could outrun him, especially if he had a horse (thanks OneRing.net for the image).

And you wonder how fast the Ringwraiths could do the distance...faster than you, that's for sure. If you were a hobbit with an all-powerful Ring, you'd be dead.

4. You become less and less aware of your surroundings as you go along. Yeah, that truck backing out of his driveway....lucky thing that happened in mile 2.

5. The only foods that sit well (well being a relative term) are liquid.

5 Ways Running 20 Miles is Like Rising From the Dead (As I Understand Rising from the Dead):

1. When you start out you're alone, it's dark and somewhat chilly and the only lights come from the streetlamps. As you go, the light grows and grows, the traffic increases and birds and bugs and dogs out for walks keep you company.

2. Your body at the beginning is no different than it usually is. By the end of the 20 miler, it's a different organism altogether. Walking feels so good, it's like you just emerged from the tomb. Taking your shoes off? Amazing!

3. Your Camelbak gets lighter and lighter, until it's barely there, floating behind you like wings.

4. Those kids selling lemonade at the garage sale where you hit magic mile 20? They look like angels from heaven, especially because you thought ahead and brought the $2 they're asking for a Large size.

5. When you get home, your husband and kids are waiting for you. And they have chocolate milk and a shower with them in there. Later your husband takes you to Wahoo Fish Tacos. You feel alive. You feel like your training plan is working. You haven't run 20 miles at one stretch in six years. You still have it in you, old girl that you are.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tim and Adam Answer

Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano are not only efficient runners and authors, they're efficient interviewees too. They sent me answers to your questions yesterday, only two days after I sent them on to them! And because they actually visited your blogs and got to know you a bit before answering, I figured you'd want to see those answers as soon as possible.

Tim (left) and Adam also like stick figures, which makes them even cooler.
BUT before I get into their answers, I want to put in a plug for their new book, Running the Edge: Discover the Secrets to Better Running and a Better Life.

I've already bought the book (I did so before contacting them about an interview), and so in addition to the pre-interview peek at one chapter that Tim allowed me, I was sent a link to the table of contents and the introduction that I can forward to any of you who are interested. I am NOT big on most motivational books, but I am excited about this one because I feel it addresses my greatest weakness: belief in myself as a runner. If I had this belief, it would be powerful tool to help me achieve my tough goal.

If you'd like to order the book too, please click here.

Now, without further ado, here are your (and my) questions answered! The questions in bold are yours, the words in the answers are theirs, broken out individually where applicable.

From Chris at Heavy Steps:

1. What advice do they have for someone who is starting?

Chris - First of all congratulations on Heavy Steps and for losing so much weight running!  Stories like yours are always inspiring!  One of the main keys to getting started is to take it slowly.  Even a five minute run is better than a day with a zero minute run.  A very common mistake new runners make is doing too much too fast. All the enthusiasm and passion for getting started means they do more than their body is ready for and they end up getting hurt or losing their enthusiasm because running feels painful every single day. You need to have days where you allow running to feel good.  If this means running a minute and walking two for fifteen minutes, that is fine and still great exercise. Increase slowly and soon you will be running fifteen minutes straight and feel good about your progress.

2. What do you have to say when new runners become discouraged and want to quit?

This is a natural feeling to have for runners at all levels. Even the pros go through periods where they are frustrated and question why they bother running. The best remedy is to set a series of small and attainable goals. Maybe enter a race or join a running group. As long as you feel you are making progress motivation will come.

Check out a blog post we did about a runner named Ben Davis. He has lost over 120 pounds on his journey. We tell a more detailed version of Ben’s story in Chapter 15 of our book titled “Happily Ever After.” Perhaps his most important lesson is that he felt better about himself and his life the very first day he ran. He did not have to wait to lose a specific amount of weight or achieve a certain time in a race to be happy with what he was doing. As soon as he took control of his life and decided to move in healthy and positive directions, he felt better. Stories like his and yours inspire runners at all levels! Keep it up and know you are giving yourself a gift every single day you run!

From Marcia at The Studly Runner

3. Where did running all start for the authors? Did they always aspire to a career in running/coaching or was there something else?

Marcia - Congratulations on Boston and becoming “studly!” So if one of us qualifies we become “manly?” Also congrats on your most recent 5K. Your running skirt looked comfortable but we don’t think you looked like a “watermelon!” We will certainly come to you when we need running fashion advice!

Tim says: I am an accidental runner. I have always loved sports but never considered running as something I would do without chasing or carrying a ball. When I found out that I was good at running I didn’t automatically love it. I developed my love affair with the sport slowly. By the time I was a senior in high school, I knew I would be doing this for life! Coaching came later and was a way to share my passion with others. I get a similar sense of fulfillment now writing about running. There is actually a funny story in the introduction of the book about me trying to play football at 120 lbs. A single hit convinced me I needed a change in sport!

Adam says: I always did a bunch of different sports but I tried track and field for the first time in the 7th grade. I did hurdles and high jump as well as ran and won a city championship. I loved all of it immediately! By my 9th or 10th grade year I knew it running was my calling but I still did other sports like basketball and football but I knew deep down that I was made for running and track. Did I always want to be a professional runner? No. In 8th grade I learned how to fly sail planes and decided I wanted to be an astronaut. Imagine how fast I could have ran on the moon!

From Margot at The Faster Bunny for Adam:

4. I want to know what Adam's most effective favorite workouts are (so that I can copy them at slower pace)! 

Adam says: Margot, first of all, congratulations on hopping your way to your first sub-21 minute 5K!! The great thing about those types of achievements is that once you do it, nobody can ever take it away! The rest of your life you can say you ran a 5K in under 21.

Adam putting his fast workouts to work. Now Margot can too.
I have lots of favorite workouts but one of my favorite track sessions 1600, 1200, 800, 400 X 2 with a 400 meter recovery jog between each distance and the two sets.  What I like about this workout is that I get to run a few seconds faster per 400 each set.  So whatever my 400 splits were in the 1600 I run a couple seconds faster in the 1200 and a few seconds faster in the 800.  By the time I get to the 400 I feel like I am flying!

From Erin at See Mom Run Far for Tim:

5. What is the best part of being a coach? What is the hardest part about being a coach?

Tim says: Erin - You have five daughters and seven sons!  That is two full cross country teams so you must know what it is like to be a great coach!  For me the best part of coaching was getting to know my athletes on a very personal level.  Running reveals aspects of a person  you might never get to know otherwise.  Knowing your athletes on that level and knowing how hard they work to achieve their goals is what makes coaching so incredible.  I can’t keep dry eyes when I see an athlete achieve a new PR or breakthrough.  It is almost better than when I was the one running!  The hardest part?  Helping runners through injuries, and other running frustrations.  They are unavoidable but when you know how hard they have worked only to be derailed, it hurts and can be very difficult.  Good luck in Pocatello!

From me:

6. Do you eat well all the time? Differently when you're training? I have this perception that talented runners (elites especially) really have diet nailed, to the point where it's a non-issue for them. But trying to eat healthily all the time is a hard thing for a lot of us average types. Any advice on the food front would be appreciated.

Eating well is important, but even the elites do not have their diets “nailed.”  It is a constant issue and to be honest, eating healthy all of the time is not possible for most of us.  The key is balance.  You need to allow yourself some guilty dieting pleasures from time to time to keep your cravings at bay.

Tim says: My passion for running is only matched by my passion for cookies!  I must allow myself to have both.  By not denying myself something you don’t have to feel guilty when I eat it.  The key is to allow yourself to eat foods you enjoy but in moderation.  I might want to eat 15 cookies in a sitting but if I allow myself to savor two or three, I am just fine.

Adam says: I agree it is all about moderation.  I am lucky because Kara is good about planning and cooking healthy foods.  But we both enjoy evenings after hard workouts where we have earned our junk food!  I know the best tactic is to eat or graze every couple of hours all day long to keep the metabolism high but sometimes this is hard for me.  I also have a huge sweet tooth so I have my nights where I break out the candy, ice cream and M&Ms but obviously you can’t do that every night.  Eat your favorite foods every once in a while just don’t go crazy!

From Marcia:

7. Do they have any hip/glute strengthening moves?

Adam says: There are so many good programs and exercises available.  My advice is, if you are going to start a lifting regime, make sure you are using proper form.  Have someone who knows what to look for watch you. You want to make sure you are using the right muscles with the correct movements.  But I think the most important thing you can do is to have a good core strengthening routine.  There are lots of good plank exercises that will work your hips and glutes but you need to focus on other muscles as well to keep your body in balance.  Core stability and strength is the most important thing you can have as a runner because it leads to proper form and running technique.

From Cory at Fast Cory:

8. I'd love to get their thoughts on injury prevention while building miles.

Dear Fast Cory - After checking out your blog, we have figured out the key for you to stay healthy.  Stop jumping your way through marathons!  Your midair pictures are amazing but all that impact on landing can’t be good for the shins!  Seriously though our answer to injury prevention is going to sound terribly cliché but we will say it anyway.  Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to take a day off or add an extra day recovery when you need it.  Also follow the 10% rule and do not increase your milage or intensity too quickly.  This is the quickest route to injury.

There is a great story in our book called “The line between tough and stupid.”  Adam in particular has a very difficult time knowing where this line is, and has hurt himself numerous times by refusing to listen to his body and slow down or alter his workouts when he should have.  Some people have the opposite problem and use any ache or pain as an excuse for a day off.  The key is being tough enough to approach the line but not stupid enough to cross it!

From me:

9.  What has been the hardest thing for you to overcome? Feel free to answer this from a life perspective or a running perspective (or both).

Imagine a book or a movie with no conflict.  Imagine if there were no dragon to slay or villain to catch.  Nobody would want to read that book or see that movie.  We all have obstacles to overcome and personal dragons to slay which is what makes our life stories interesting.  Running shows us that through determination, tenacity, and hard work we are capable of achieving our goals, slaying our dragons, and overcoming those obstacles.  Sometimes we choose to do hard things just to see if we can!  There are so many stories in our book about this and we don’t want to steal our own thunder, so we will leave our answer to this question a little vague.

10. What's the main thing you'd like runners of all levels and abilities to take away from your book?

This book is different in that it focuses on making you a better runner by becoming aware of your attribute set or personal characteristics as a runner.  All the interval training, strength and flexibility, diet and nutrition, etc. in the world will have little effect if you don’t have the initiative to get out the door, or the ability to know when to bend (back to that line between tough and stupid) or if you don’t have determination and perseverance to get through the struggles and hard times.  The book offers six mirrors or attributes that will help runners of all levels improve once they become aware and are empowered to make small changes that add up to big improvements.

One of the main things we want people to take away is that life and running are not two separate things but the qualities or attributes that make you successful in one will certainly help you find success in the other.

From Erin:

11. What is the most important life lesson you have learned from running?

That I can!!! Hard work pays off and leads to a happier and healthier life!

From me (one of my biggest questions):

12. I've set a really tough goal (for me it's tough: running a marathon in 3:45 or faster to qualify for Boston; running 3:40 or faster would actually be better, as due to the new staggered entry it's not enough just to barely beat your standard). When you two set tough goals for yourselves, how do you balance being realistic (and not setting yourself up for early disappointment) with being ambitious (because sometimes telling yourself "I've got this. I can do this" can make the difference--or at least that's what they tell me.....)?

Yes!  Positive thinking and self talk are extremely important but we must also have the integrity to be honest and realistic with ourselves and our abilities.  Chapter 10 in the book is called “Get Real” and deals with integrity and setting realistic goals that we have the ability to achieve.  Tough goals like a 3:40 marathon are wonderful and provide motivation to keep going.  Combine that with some attainable short term goals and lots of positive thinking and an unwavering belief in yourself and you should be able to get there!  We are fond of the Jim Collins notion of B.H.A.G.S. (pronounced “bee hags”) or Big Hairy Audacious Goals.  These are the stretch goals we set to hit on a perfect day in a perfect world.  Your marathon BHAG might be a sub 3:35 for example.  You know it is a stretch but believe and keep telling yourself you can get there!

And a bonus lucky number 13 from me:
So let's get real. Are either of you actually capable of running as slowly as I do? Do you have a 4.25-hour marathon in you? Just sayin'......:^)

There is no such thing as slow.  The last person to finish a race still beat everyone who didn’t enter.  When someone says they are slow, are they comparing themselves to the majority of Americans who don’t exercise or the 90% who can’t run a mile without stopping?  All runners are fast!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Last of Your Questions!

I ate too many homemade chocolate-chip cookies (brought in by an evil co-worker today) so I'm going to skip my dinner break and write up a blog post instead.

This morning I had one of those all-too-rare wonderful runs where you practically have to pry yourself out of bed with a shoehorn but when you get outside and the cool morning air hits you, you suddenly realize the wisdom of exiting those soft sheets in favor of something better. On tap I had 4-to-5 x 2000 meters, followed by 3 by 200 meters, at the track. I had promised myself the night before that, in the interest of preventing another overly-difficult long run like last weekend's, I would do this workout on the conservative side. Looking at its description glaring up at me off the spreadsheet that contains my McMillan marathon plan, I didn't think staying conservative would be difficult.

But it was difficult! My pace on the 2000s was about 10 seconds per interval faster than I was supposed to stick to, and even as I got into the fourth iteration I knew I could continue to nail them at that pace with ease. I really wanted to do the fifth one, but the too-fast pace I couldn't seem to stop running, and the fact that such a workout takes a long time when you factor in warm-up, cool-down and recovery intervals and I knew Dan and the kids were probably waking up at home, prompted me to keep it to just four 2000s. Even so, once the 200s were done and I started home, it was a 10-mile run.

This makes me really happy. We'll see how happy I am, though, after Saturday's 20 miler.

And now the last of your excellent questions (plus one of my own that I was surprised no one asked):

From Chris K. at The Manly Runner:

What does the future look like for Librarians these days?

This is where I work. Don't think it's going out of business any time soon.

If you read the popular press and some library press too, it sounds like we librarians are doomed. Everyone's on the Internet, a smart phone or a Kindle now, the reasoning goes, and thanks to these devices and Google they don't need libraries or research help from anyone. I don't think this is true.

Here are my reasons: 1) People do need research help. True, they don't need us for quick stuff like "What day and month did the Civil War end?" or "How do I get to the McDonald's on 28th St.?" (though you'd be surprised how often we still do get questions like that). But there's a lot of crap on the Internet, too, and lots of people welcome our help in learning how to wade through it to get to the really valid sources of solid information. 2) People like our opinion on what to read next (see Caroline's question answered in my last post!). 3) Our information and services are superior in many cases and they are also FREE. Starting later this year, you'll be able to check out library books FREE to a Kindle. You can already do this on Barnes & Noble Nooks and iPads and home computers. 4) There are still a lot of people without the means to have a computer at home or a smart phone in their pocket. We are here to help those people.

So you see, I'm feeling pretty good about my job security despite gloomy predictions of its demise.

One word to describe your partner in crime supermom Erin?

What race will you BQ in?
I will BQ in Houston. If it's one of those everything-comes-together days, I will also BQ at Top of Utah.

What does your hubby do for a living?
Big smiley face for this question--I love talking about my husband! Dan is a physicist. He is about nine months away from securing his PhD in physics from the University of Colorado. Right now he is working at the National Institute of Standards & Technology, a government lab, in Boulder. Physics is a second career for him. Before, he worked in the corporate world as a computer programmer/software developer for twelve years. His ideal post-doctorate job would be something that combines physics and computer programming. Needless to say, he is very smart. But he's also personable and social, which I think will give him an edge in job seeking. He likes to talk to people and is good at translating tough concepts into plain English.

From Jill at Run With Jill:

When will we meet up? :)
Whenever we can! Let's get Julie involved too. Maybe we can do a hike!

Were you surprised to learn you were having twins?
Yes, it was a very dramatic moment. I had an ultrasound at eight weeks of pregnancy because I was worried I was having a miscarriage. I remember the doctor was looking at the ultrasound screen, which Dan and I couldn't see. "Well," she said, "there's nothing wrong. But did you know..." and she swung the monitor towards us..."that you're having twins?"

And there they were, two little peanuts, clearly visible even to my ultrasound-illiterate eyes. I looked up at Dan. His mouth had fallen open like that of a fish. It was only our second month of trying to get pregnant. We had hit the jackpot.

Were your twins "hard" when they were newborn? Is it "easier" now?
They were hard, but I know it could have been worse. We didn't have to deal with any kind of prematurity complications, disabilities, colic, feeding issues (beyond a little reflux for Will) or anything beyond the normal infant difficulties. Once we got them on a sleep schedule, it felt much more do-able. I don't know what we would have done without the night nurse we hired two nights a week after the family help ended. We had to dip into our savings for that, but it was so worth it. Each year gets easier. Now, I'd say, it's no different from having two kids of any age.

Are your twins best buds?
Yes, for the time being. I'm so lucky they play so well together. I think they will always love each other and stick up for each other, but I do expect eventually that Ruthie will have her friends and Will his friends. They are very different little people. I can't wait to see how their relationship evolves and changes over the years.

From Max at Max Weller on Homelessness:

If YOU had unlimited authority and an unlimited budget at Boulder Public Library, what changes would you make to better serve the patrons? (Feel free to include complimentary coffee and donuts on the bridge, which might even lure me back to BPL.)
Each of the things I'm going to name here has political, structural and/or budgetary complications involved that make it difficult to get done in reality. But since you used the word "unlimited" here I go!
1. I would get the cafe back (not sure about the donuts and coffee on the bridge, but maybe sometimes!).
2. I'd get the computers out of the entry way and create a dedicated lab with a dedicated staff person to oversee/troubleshoot there.
3. I'd simplify our Web site (happy to say this is coming for real, though I'm not sure how soon).
4. And yes, I'd crack down on bad behavior by adults who should know better and I'd include a hygiene provision in our Standards of Conduct.

And here's the question I thought someone would ask because I get it all the time:

Where did your name (Terzah) come from? How do you pronounce it?
My name rhymes with "Persia." (There are other Terzahs out there--I know some of them through the Internet--who may pronounce it differently, but that's how my family pronounces it.) It's a Hebrew name (you'll find it in the Old Testament in various places, usually spelled "Tirzah"), but in my case has nothing to do with my ethnicity (I was raised Catholic, am Irish/German/Dutch/French in ancestry and my family on all sides has been in this country for several generations). It was my great-grandmother's name and is also the name of my aunt.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Taking Care of the Husband and More of Your Questions Answered

Quote of the Day:
"All we ever have in anything is the mountain in front of us."
--Flea (bassist in The Red Hot Chili Peppers, quoted in the new Runners' World)

My husband, Dan, is a better runner than I am. When he's healthy, he can run sub-22 5Ks and sub-48 10Ks without much formal training at all.

Here's Dan in a muddy winter race we did together right before we got married.
But he's had a nagging Achilles tendon injury for almost three years now. His runs have been limited to short slow outings. His race experience during this time has involved...watching the kids while I run races. And his other great love--ultimate frisbee--has been a total no-go, because that's how he injured the tendon in the first place. In recent weeks, he's been seeing a physical therapist at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and adding his own runs back in. But he's still got a long way to go. The tendon just won't stop bugging him.

My mom, who reads my blog sometimes and thinks I'm somewhat nuts with all this running stuff, is worried that Dan isn't getting enough Dan time. I picked her up at the airport on Saturday night for her short visit, and as we drove home, she asked me if he's OK with watching the kids so much while I train and travel to races. Every now and then I do try to check in with him about that, but it's been a while. So later, as we were all drinking wine and eating a tasty dinner Dan had prepared for us after the kids went to bed (cold beet soup, Mediterranean chickpea salad and more--yum), I asked him again.

He said he doesn't mind, because most of my runs are done so early in the morning that he doesn't really have to do too much solo kid management. He did say he wished we had more time as a family on Saturday mornings, when the long runs do take up a lot of my time. Since I work Sundays, Saturday is really the only full day we have as a family. But hopefully I will qualify for Boston in the next year and then take a break from the really long runs.

I never say no when he wants to have some "out with the guys" time after work or on weekends, or when he needs to work late. I'm not sure how else to ensure he's getting enough, though. How do you balance things with your spouse/partner? Any advice? (And by the way, I think it's so cool that my mom worries about her son-in-law. If that doesn't prove what a good guy he is, I don't know what does!)

Here are answers to some more of your fun questions!

Caroline of Canadian Runner in Exile asks:

first concert you have been to?
Not counting classical stuff, I didn't go to a concert until I was a freshman in college (I was and am a big ol' nerd who stayed home a lot in high school and read books). That concert was Paul Simon, and I went with my friend Tex. It was at a venue in The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston with a big outdoor arena. There was a huge tropical thunderstorm, the kind only Houston can produce, and the grassy hill we were sitting on turned to mud. It was like Woodstock.

Hardest part of the motherhood journey so far?
Infant twins, definitely. I also didn't enjoy potty training much. I'm a lazy mom and don't enjoy the process, the two steps forward one back aspect of teaching really small kids. If my kids could have emerged from my womb four years old, I would have been kind of happy about it. Babies are cute, but I've never been very good at the baby thing.

you are a librarian..you have to love books..so 3 books I should read?
OK...this is a special librarian super power: identifying books that a particular person would like. It's called Reader Advisory (or RA--librarians also love acronyms). After seeing her question, I emailed Caroline to ask what the last few books she enjoyed were. Based on her answer--Sarah's Key, The Help, One Day and Water for Elephants--I think she should read:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Night Circus (note: Caroline, this is a new book; I got to read the galley; it will be published and available next month)

The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L'Elegance du Herisson)

Let me know what you think if you try these out!

Marcia of The Studly Runner asks:

What was your first job?
My first non-babysitting job (I started babysitting at age 12, if you want to count that, and had full-time sitting gigs most of the summers thereafter) was as the night records clerk at the Boone County Sheriff's Department in my hometown. It was the summer after I graduated from high school. I made $5 an hour (well over minimum wage at the time, which was a coup for a high school student), and my hours were 4 p.m. to midnight. My duties included entering records for new police "events" into the computer and filing records in the adult offender files. I wasn't supposed to look in the juvenile files, but I admit that during those later hours, when everyone else had gone home, I snuck a peek in there to see whom I might know (I did know a few of them). I wonder if I could still get arrested now for admitting I did that.

Your worst job? Why?
That's a tie. First candidate is the job I had the summer after my freshman year of college as a minimum-wage order-filler (poetically dubbed a "picker") in a textbook warehouse. It was definitely a step down from the sheriff's department the summer before. I remember my boss looking down at me from the Big Brother-esque catwalk that encircled the giant metal shelves and saying, "Terrrr--zahhhhh! We don't READ books, we PICK them." I knew then why I was going to college. The second candidate for the worst job was the assistant city editing post I took at a big metro daily newspaper (that shall remain unnamed) the year after I returned from the Peace Corps. Part of the problem was me--I didn't really want to be in journalism any more, but I hadn't figured out what I did want to do, so I had to take this job. But (aside from some truly awesome people whose friendship makes my tenure there worth it) it was miserable, with 80 hour weeks, long nights when I never knew when I could go home, weekend phone calls when news broke.....Drove me straight to library school.

Your best job? Why?
Public librarianship (which I'm doing now!) is the best job ever. I help people on a daily basis. I am around books and smart people on a daily basis. I get to flex my tech muscles. And I have regular hours and a humane, reasonably family-friendly schedule. It doesn't get any better than that.

How big will your cheering posse be WHEN you toe the line in Hopkinton? : D
Thanks for this nice question, Marcia. I hope it will be big!! Who wouldn't want to visit beautiful historic Boston and see the greatest marathon in the world?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back to the Backroads and July Recap

I just ran 18 miles! It's been a while. It wasn't what it was supposed to be according to my McMillan plan, but at least I got it done. And the scenery was absolutely beautiful!

The two big mountains are not-quite-14,000 foot Meeker Mountain and true 14-er Longs Peak. I've been atop Longs!
Before I go into detail about the run, let me just put in one final call for questions for Tim Catalano and Adam Goucher. I'll be sending them the interview on Monday. Please feel free to leave a question for them on this post or the prior one.

OK, now back to my long run. McMillan has two types of long runs in my plan: the traditional long steady slow-ish run (pace should be 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per mile slower than my projected marathon pace) and the Fast Finish long run. Today's was supposed to be one of the Fast Finish variety, the first one for me. It called for 14-18 miles total, with the last 6-8 at marathon pace. It was this last part that was the fail for today.

Honestly, I didn't feel great from the beginning. My alarm went off at five and I was in a dead sleep, having been awakened once by my son (wet bed, which Dan dealt with, but I was already awake) and later by my daughter (bathroom trip, which I dealt with--it was after this one that I reset the alarm from 4:30 to 5). I was worried about having to go to the bathroom for the first four miles, too, which kept me on a loop near downtown rather than letting me head straight out on my planned route in the backroads of Boulder County.

Eventually, I made it out of town, though, doing a decent job of keeping my pace in the slow range that the early miles called for (in my case between 9:30 and 10:30 miles). My legs felt dead until the ninth mile, when I finally got to turn off the pavement and hit some dirt roads. As the Garmin chimed 10 miles and I turned the music on, I shifted gears to the 9-minute pace I was hoping to run for the rest of the trip. And I did run it for  two or three miles, enjoying the rolling hills and lake views....When I turned back onto paved roads, though, I ran out of gas. My pace slowed back down to the 10-10:30 range, depressing because about all I could do was watch it decline.

I thought about stopping and calling Dan for a pick-up at 14 miles, but decided that just because I had blown the fast finish, I shouldn't quit altogether. Instead, I hung on to salvage the 18 miles and did manage to add some speed back the last two. The lactic acid nausea was pretty bad when I stopped. Better luck next time! The next Fast Finish long run is two weeks from now. I hope I can do better.

Part of the problem with my long runs lately (I think) is that I'm doing my mid-week speed and tempo runs at paces faster than my McMillan calculator paces dictate. I just can't help myself! But I think I better start "helping myself" because I know getting these long runs done, and done as dictated by my plan, will be key to setting a PR at the Top of Utah Marathon in six short weeks (not to mention qualifying for Boston either there or in Houston in January).

Quick recap of July:

-I ran 127 miles. Not too bad considering there was the third week, when I had the kidney infection (the month's low point) and managed only 20 miles. My highest mileage week in July was 34 miles.

-I set a half-marathon PR at the ZOOMA Women's Half in Colorado Springs despite high heat and some big hills at the end. This was the high point of the month.

-For cross-training, I attended three 45-minute spin classes (so excited that Tammy's class starts again next month!) and hiked Sanitas several times with Christine.

-I survived and maintained while on a business trip to Cleveland at the end of the month. My McMillan plan says any running while traveling is good running. I won't be taking another trip until the big drive to Utah the day before my race!

I'm off now to enjoy the weekend with my family. My mom is visiting from Missouri, just briefly, so we're trying to spruce up the house for her arrival. I hope all of you had/will have great runs/workouts this weekend. And for those of you doing the Boulder Half-Ironman, best of luck!! You are rock stars and will prove it tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Q&A With Tim and Adam (Yes, THAT Adam)

I get to interview Tim Catalano and Adam Goucher!

Now, I, Terzah, sort of pride myself on not being a celebrity worshiper (though I'm not above a sneak peek at People every once in a while). But when I saw that Adam and Tim--both former University of Colorado runners, with Tim now a teacher and coach and Adam a pro married to the equally awesome Kara Goucher--have a book coming out, I emailed them right away to ask if I could interview them for my blog.

I was bowled over when Tim wrote me back right away, and not only said yes to the interview but let me have a glimpse at a chapter of the book. It's called Running the Edge: Discover the Secrets to Better Running and a Better Life and will be available in September. To find out more about it and pre-order, visit their blog, Run the Edge.

On their site, they state that the book "will recharge your running batteries as you become aware of the connection between successful running and successful living." Based on the bit of it I read and the reading I do in your blogs, it's something that all of you will find compelling: how to take the principles that will make you a better runner and let them make you a better person. "None of us is perfect, and we never will be," they write, "but we can dedicate our efforts both in running and in life to become closer and closer to our ideal. This is the definition of running the edge." It's a book for all of us, not just those of us who run as fast as they do (or fast at all).

SO! I need your help. What would you like to ask Adam and Tim? I plan to send them ten to twelve questions and will post the interview here. Questions about running, humorous ones, serious training questions, questions about running and its parallels with our life journeys....just send me a bunch.

And now that I've laid out my exciting news, here are answers to a few more questions...yours for me. These are numbers 12 through 16, all from Julie at You Just Have to Tri.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Columbia, MO, a beautiful Midwestern college town. I went to Hickman High School, home of the Kewpies (yes, that's a real mascot). My formative runs were done on the MKT trail, a rails-to-trails project where you can knock out some really long but flat runs. Watch out for horseflies there in the summer, though. The only time I ran fast back then was when one of those was chasing me.

Are you running Denver R n' R?
I don't think so, but maybe. If I run it, I will do the half-marathon as part of my ramp up for the Houston Marathon. I did the relay for this race two years ago with some friends from work and had a great time. Are you doing it, Julie? I'd love to meet you.

How do you managed twins? I'm so glad my boys are older...wait maybe I'm not, it has it's perks but I can't believe they will be leaving me soon.

Will and Ruthie at age two; they are easier now!
I think everyone with kids manages what they have simply because they don't know any different! That said, I had a tough time the first four months of their lives. I am not good with sporadic or non-existent sleep. Anyone who's had a newborn will tell you that's just part of the deal, and anyone who's had two or more newborns at the same time, well, you can imagine....

But once we got them sleeping all night most nights, and once I got used to hauling two carseats and a giant diaper bag and the fact that it took me forever to get out of the house, it was do-able. Now that they are 4.5, it's downright fun, and it's been that way for a while. They are very different little people in personality (and appearance; people don't even realize they are twins any more because Will is so much bigger--he's four inches taller and nine pounds heavier). There's some fighting, but they mostly really love each other. I'm very proud of them!

What is your favorite bed time story?
The Velveteen Rabbit is my current favorite. I have to abbreviate it a little for their attention spans (and so I'm not reading all night), and it sometimes makes me choke up, but they love the idea of the nursery fairy and "stuffies" becoming real because a child loves them.

What kind of books do you like to read?

My taste is all over the map, but beautifully written (Toni Morrison, Colm Toibin, Marilynne Robinson), fantastic and romantic (The Time Traveler's Wife), epic/heroic (The Lord of the Rings), and/or outdoors (Jon Krakauer) describe a lot of what I like. I do NOT like navel-gazing memoirs (Eat Pray Love...not my cup of chai) or over-intellectualized stuff. I have a book-review account with GoodReads. I'd love to be friended there and share book reviews!

More of these to come! In the meanwhile, please let me know what you'd like to know from Tim and Adam.