Monday, July 21, 2014

Marathon Training Week 10 | The Simple Things I Have Learned

I am entering my 11th week of Full Marathon training. 

I am very curious to see how my legs respond on race day after a full marathon training session.  The previous week (Sunday-Saturday) I have lovingly named it "Hell Week".  I knew I would be going into the week with a bump in miles and more importantly a bump in intensity.  Almost every run was at race pace or at least tempo.  Not one easy run.  

I decided to eat my traditional post-race meals, the evening before my scheduled Saturday & Sunday long run. That consists of Risotto & Mushrooms, a cheese stick and an avocado.  I have a Dark Chocolate Kind bar, added peanut butter & a banana the morning of or post run.  

It must be long run or race meal time!


This is a common training practice to increase your oxygen usage and build endurance.  Caution!  It should only be done 6-8 weeks and with plans for a good recovery week, following Hell Week.

My Hell Week started at the Costume Party Run in San Diego on 7/13/2014.  I finished in 1:51:59 - seconds away from my Hollywood Half Marathon time and 23 seconds away from my PR.  I was cranking it until an unexpected pitstop at Mile 8 & 10.  

(some of) Team Super Hero Elite Team - Andy, Alma, me, Garrison & Kirk


At the finish, my legs felt great and I was running on tired legs (the key focus of training with the Hanson Marathon Method).  

I finished the week at 49 miles.   I would of completed a 14 mile run and finished with 63, but I woke up Sunday AM with a very cranky top left foot.  I decided it was best to be safe and not push it, as I had no need to.  I took an unscheduled day off.  I soon discovered my ache could be from my shoes.  I think they were too tight. 

Icing the the left foot and ankle

This week will be a slight taper down in mileage but I will resume my speed sessions and shoot for a 14-16 miler next Sunday.  

What did I learn this week?  I have always said I dislike running in the morning. I am not a morning person, but the more I must wake up before sunrise (to beat the Vegas heat) the easier this has become.  Yet, my favorite time to run is still after sunset in the evening.  

Another interesting tidbit, I learned about my body:  I train best with minimal food in my body.  Before a training run (which is about 30 mins before I leave my house) I don't drink anything and I eat a banana.  In the Vegas heat, I take my fueling belt with me for all distances, during the Summer.  Any fluids I drink right before my run, I will be forced to take a pit stop 15 mins later.  When it is race day, I always eat 3-4 hours before gun time.  I can drink, at that time.   
 

I also learned and accepted that my body are getting stronger.  Yet, in so many ways, I feel like the same athlete who began running (again) post injury. 

I could BQ at my next marathon and I will have my eyes on that glorious time -  yet, my A Plan is to push as hard as I can to see how fast my legs take me for the 26.2.  If my legs are ready to BQ, they will take me there.  If they are not - I am perfectly fine with that.  I have other BQ options in 2015. 

The race will give me and my speed coach the tools we need to know what has and has not been working.   

Have you ever had a planned Hell Week?  How did it go? 

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer - Click Here

Thursday, July 17, 2014

By Request: My Medal & Awards Wall | #FitnessHacks too

A few days ago, my incredible husband (Billy) posted a picture of my medal wall on Facebook. Forever the cheerleader,  he was bragging about my medals and awards from the last 4 years *blush*.

Since that time, I have received several messages requesting more pictures and how I organize my medal wall.

To begin - here is the picture he posted (complete with a ladybug bag on the floor, of course)


Being a decorator at heart, I want everything to tell a story & organized.  Displaying on a wall without any thought is like looking through a photo album with no dates or organization, whatsoever.

I refuse to skimp on my medal hanger.  Yes, I am all about thrifty and budget, but by cutting corners in other areas, I am able to have a custom medal hanger that I truly love.  I have only used Allied Medal Hangers since 2011.  That will not change.  In my opinion, they are classy and go with any decor.

I have one created every year.  Some do group by distances, I categorize by year.

The black shelf below is a great find! It's a jewelry shelf I found on Amazon.com  That's when things become fun!  Looking at ordinary pieces to become something else. I knew I needed a shelf and a way to display medals.

Allow me to explain.  In my quest to create my story - I have a separate shelf to display my Overall, Age Division, Virtual Runs and special race momentos. I do not want them on my Finisher Medal rack, I want them separate.  I chose this rack because of the size and the black metal went so well with the silver medal rack.  Other ideas is coffee cup or mug racks or other shelves.

  • My certificates are framed in simple dollar tree frames and lined up under the respective year.  This is where I really save money.   We have all seen frames in larger department stores for $5.  I purchased these for $1, each.  Huge $$$ savings.  

  • I don't use nails to put the lighter frames on the wall. I use inexpensive push pins.  Much less expensive than buying nails.  

Here is a closer look to the display

2011 and 2012

2013 and 2014
 
USATF Wall w/ first Finisher Medal

You may ask why did I display my first Finisher Medal separate on my USATF wall.  That's part of my story.  Of all my awards, my USATF All-American team awards are the ones that means the most to me.  I display my first Finisher Medal on that wall, to always remind me - where my racing career began.  

My medals & awards are in my home work office, it's deeply personal to me and I don't have display in any common area of my house.  Everyone has to decide their story and this is how I choose to display mine.  

During the 14+ weeks of my injury in 2013 (no running) my medal & award wall was a constant source of comfort.  The display became more than a display, it was my inspiration.   Some may wonder, why bother keeping the medals - isn't it too much?  Not at all!   When the time comes and I no longer race, these will be momentos for my children to remember something about their mother.  Who knows, maybe someday I will be able to share them with my grandchildren.  Every medal has a story. 

How do you display your medals?  Or do you keep them in a box?  Hidden?  Not sure what to do? 


(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer - Click Here

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#FitnessHacks - How to Keep Your iPod Wires Tangle Free In Your Gear Bag

As promised, here is another iPod hack.  In 2012, I was running a marathon and knew I would be passing by the Start/Finish several times and close enough to grab something from my gear bag, if needed.

I wanted to be able to grab and go with my iPod, just in case.  Well, knowing how iPod cords are like paper clips and no matter how neatly you keep them, they find a way to tangle up. 

A light bulb came on!  I needed something to wrap them but not something that would take time to wrap or unwrap in a race.  No twisty ties or ropes.  What I needed was a bread bag closure.

Yep, those little things you wrap your bread bag with.

I wrapped it around my wires and guess what?  No tangles!  When I needed to grab my iPod, I was able to grab, remove the bread bag closure without missing wasting time to untangle wires.  

You might ask, why bother?  This is perfect for anytime you are traveling with your iPod in your gear bag, not just on race day.  You can use this tip in your purse, your fueling belt, your suitcase or where you store your iPod or any other electronics with wires.  

Cost?  Free!  Start keeping your bread bad closures for future use.  You will be glad you did.


Do you have a great #FitnessHack?  Please email to me and if I print in my blog, I will mention you & your website (if applicable)

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer - Click Here

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chia Seed Bar (Health Warrior) Giveaway | 2 Winners

When I have the opportunity to find a new healthy food product as a race expo, I am intrigued.  When I find a product that I know I will love, it makes me leap for joy!  (okay, not really - but, you get the picture).

When I was one of the official bloggers at the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Festival in Boston in June, one of the event sponsors was Health Warrior.  They gave us Chia Bars.  The night we received our swag bag, I was sorting through the goodies and found a few chia bars.  

As I have received countless food samples over the years, I didn't think much of it.  Until...

I took a bite.  It was soft and chewy.  I went into a panic, because I felt there was no way something THIS yummy was GF. Sure enough, the packaging says, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and vegan.

The mother-load! 




As luck would have it, I tried the coconut.  That is my weakness.  Give me coconut and I will follow you around, forever.  

I had found my new favorite food product.  I had more to try, but I held onto them to last me the weekend and possibly for the trip home.  


At the expo, I had to meet the people behind this product.  Not only did I find they have great products, they are great people!  That's win-win.  I offered to do a giveaway on my blog and they agreed to give away a box + Health Warrior T-shirt for TWO winners! 



PICTURE WITH BARS & SHIRT

 




If you love the benefits of chia seeds.  You will love these bars.  If you love fruity flavors, chocolate and more.  You will love these bars.  It's no joke that I have them hidden in my office, under lock and key so my family won't steal them.  

They are offered in most Whole Foods, so if you have not tried them.  Do it!  If you don't have a WF near you, check out their website.  www.healthwarrior.com

The giveaway starts today and ends Monday, July 21, 2014 at 11:59amPST

Enter today at Rafflecopter!  Be sure to share this post with your foodie friends. Who doesn't love free food?

*Although I have received complimentary products, the opinion and review is my own.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer - Click Here

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#FitnessHacks - Cut Down Your Packing Time & Stress | Excel to the Rescue

We have all heard the stories of runners forgetting a shirt, Garmin or even their shoes for an out-of-town race event.  I think that is my worst nightmare. 
I have traveled a lot due to personal and work responsibilities.  Traveling is no longer my thing, but when I do, I use the same methodology I used when I was traveling non-stop for months at a time.

Here are a few tips that will help you ensure you have a successful packing & travel plan
1.  TRAVELING BY AIR:  Always put your race day gear and essentials in a carry-on bag.  Shoes, Body Glide, KT Tape, Gels, shorts, shirts, Garmin, etc.  Never chance that your luggage will be delayed or lost.  Have it on your person, at all times.

2.  TRAVELING BY CAR:  Do not depend on your GPS working.  Technology does go out.  I had that happen to me on one trip. It was out for over a day.  Trying to find a local map, anywhere was impossible.  Create a travel folder. I use those cheapy folders with pockets (10 for $1 at the Dollar Stopre). I print off from Google Maps several directions  *How to get to from home city to the Expo  *How to get to Expo to the Hotel  *How to get to Race start from Hotel *How to get to carb load dinner from Hotel *How to get home from Race Finish.   If your GPS goes out, these will be life-savers.  Once, my GPS wouldn't work for 2 days.  The written directions were the only way I could figure out how to get to my destinations. 





  • To also include in the folder:  Your race day registration & hotel registration.  In 2012 the hotel lost my registration (twice!).  I was able to present them with hard copies and get a room. Had I not, I would of not had my room at my discounted rate.  



3.  LEAVE AN EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET AT HOME:  If someone should happen to you, don't count on anyone knowing how to get in touch of your loved ones.  Emergencies can happen anywhere, not just on the race course.  Leave your race and hotel information.  Leave a detailed plan of where you will be each day.   Leave at least 2 other phone numbers of friends you will be with.  That way, your loved ones can call others, if they cannot locate you. You should also give the person(s) you are traveling with your medical history and loved ones contact information, in case they need to get in touch with them. 


PACKING - this is the make it or break it moment for traveling racers. Forget something and your entire race experience could be in jeopardy.

Next time you are prepping for a local race, make a list of ALL the things you need to get ready.  Don't leave any detail out, including your fueling source.  Pack your fueling source!  Do not believe you can find it at the expo.  They may run out or won't have your preferred brand or flavor.  Fueling takes up MINIMAL space. I have seen many, many runners in a panic, because they could not find their fueling at an expo. 

I create a packing list on an Excel Spreadsheet.  It helps me organize each day and then decided what I am needing/wearing for each day. The Excel template is saved on my laptop and also in Google Docs.  I print it on packing day, and I am ready to pack. No more wondering "what do I need to take?"  I have it already written down.

Below is an example (blank) of what I do.  It's an older list, as I have added some things (like a fueling belt, supplements, etc)

In each space - I write a description of what I will be wearing that day.

The list stays the same for every trip (left hand column), but what I wear changes based on what race I am running.  Below is an example of how I begin to fill out my packing list. This way, I am not thinking about what I need to bring on each trip - the master list is created.  My only choice is what to wear for each category (what top, what shoes, etc)

 


  • You will also see off to the right is my meal planner. I bring my own food for the races, so I can control what I am eating and no risk of food poisoning.  This helps me plan and pack for the meals.

  • The bottom part of the this is toiletries and personal essentials.  

I no longer have to make a new list on every trip.  The amount of time I am packing is cut down considerably because I have this list on my desk and I make notes on it, as I think about it.  On the average, I can pack for any race road trip in less than 30 minutes.  I use this style of packing list when my family is coming with me.  2 adults + 2 kids + 2 dogs + 2 hamster = serious organizing.
 
  • Cost:  pennies for paper
  • Time saved:  for me, it saves a few hours each trip and stress-free packing

What tips do you have the road traveler? I would love to hear them!  



(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer - Click Here

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

3 Reasons Why Easy Runs Are Neglected | Time to Pay Attention

3 Reasons Why Easy Runs are Neglected

1. They are often often viewed as junk miles training and are the first to be dropped in a training schedule.

2. The shorter distance of easy runs prompts runners to run them harder than recommended to feel like they are doing a worthwhile training run.

3. Easy runs are more than recovery or shake out runs.

Why are easy runs so important to our weekly training run?





While there is a collection of reasons you should do and never forgo an easy run in your training schedule, the one benefit is this. Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers.  You cannot develop your fast twitch unless your slow twitch are strong.  You cannot run longer distances, unless your slow twitch are strong.  In a nutshell, it is the workhorse of a runner and the foundation of your success.

Slow twitch are extremely efficient at using oxygen to generate fuel for continuous muscle contractions over a long time frame. If you run distance events, they are key for your success.

Photo:  Vitacost.blog.com


Which leads to another benefit.  Mental & Focus.  Here you are, running along as an easy, slow pace.  Boring!  Yet, you use that time to build your mental muscle. Use easy runs to build your mental muscle to increase your ability to concentrate and stay focused when it's tough.

Picture this - how many times have you run a long distance race and somewhere in middle miles, you lose your focus for about 4-5 miles.  That can be prevented by using your easy runs to practice focus when you are bored or feeling less than stellar.
 
The next time you are tempted to skip an easy run or speed up to make it into a speed work out. Think again. Stop.  While you mentally may feel you are not training, you are doing more than you realize.  

Besides, the physical and mental benefit to your routine a short easy mile run can help calm your day.  Don't forget running is the best kind of therapy.
 
How many easy runs do you run a week? 


(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer - Click Here

Monday, July 7, 2014

#FitnessHacks - Keep Your Fitness Accessories Organized

I have begun a new chapter in my blog.  I have been writing and sharing for almost 4 years.  It's been an incredible experience and I will continue to share little peeks into my racing life.  

Today, I will begin a new focus of providing you tips to save money & time with your sport.   Obviously, some will be running specific, but many will be generic that can be used for any sport or activity.

My first "hack" is about organization and if you have a 99cent or Dollar Tree store near by, it will cost you no more than $1.  

As a runner, we have an ever changing need for accessories, depending on weather distance or anything in between.  If I could have one little box for all my accessories (headbands, hand held lights, gloves, ponchos, fitness bands and more) - that would be great, but we know that is not possible.

A shoe pocket organizer to the rescue!  

I hang this on the inside of my coat closet door.  Not only can I keep my accessories organized, I have other uses.  I use it for my dogs leashes, my families hats and gloves.  I label each pocket so everyone knows where everything goes (stapled a piece of paper to each pocket).  I have had this for years.  In fact, this is the shoe pocket rack I had to keep my youngest sons stuffed animal collection organized, years ago.  

I no longer wonder where are my gloves, my head bands or more.  They are in one place and neatly organized.  Saves time and money.  That's a double blessing!


The other reason I like this pocket organizer, it is hidden begin a shut door.  It's not out in the open for all eyes to see.  Nothing like shutting a door to clean up a space and look less cluttered.  

How do you keep your accessories organized?  

Do you have a great #FitnessHack?  Please email to me and if I print in my blog, I will mention you & your website (if applicable)

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-14
___________________
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and Island Boost
*Team Super Hero Master's Elite 2013-14
*Founder, Running Troops
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter
~Blog Disclaimer - Click Here