Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fun News, Great News and Big News

So this has been an interesting week of stuff!

First the fun news.

We landed an interview with David Willey, Editor-in-Chief of Runner's World Magazine for the From Fat To Finish Line documentary film. Going to Runner's World HQ was so awesome and I was so excited to meet him. I have been a dedicated reader of the magazine since the beginning and I look forward to reading it cover to cover.

He was so awesome and nice. I am so excited we get to have his thoughtful words of wisdom in our film!

The great news:

Last week I wrote this blog post about my new found love for New Balance sneakers. The only issue was they seemed to bother me on long runs (as my big toe nail has begun to turn purple after long runs.) I ordered them on-line at Foot Locker.

Well, New Balance saw my tweet about the issue and told me that I should swing by a local store to get fit. I figured maybe I could beg them for a small discount since I blogged about how much I loved them and since I just bought these. It would've been hard to dole out more cash right now and just eat this pair.  Don't you know that they took back the damn Foot Locker sneakers that I didn't even buy with them and that I had already run a few times in! They told me that their store is #1 in customer service in NJ and I see why. The staff was friendly and awesome. They let me try on a bunch of different styles. (I wound up with a new pair 1260 V3 - I paid the difference on them). They said they would even hold on to my old sneakers for a few days in case I changed my mind! Plus, I was told to go run in the new sneakers for a few days and if I had any issue with these they'd be happy to exchange these as well!  I will be a fan and customer for life. Good service goes a long way in my book. Plus it's a mom and pop shop - love to support those!

My new loves

Plus… one of the sales people is Olympic gold medalist (1988 games) Peter Rono. How cool is that?

Rono, Me and Larry the owner of New Balance in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
And now the big news!

I signed up for my first Olympic Distance Triathlon! REV3 Pocono 2014! My parents live up in the Pocono Mountains so I know how challenging and hilly this should be. The distance is .9 of a mile swim, 26 mile bike and 10K run. I have a whole year to train so I'm not freaking out yet. :-) 



Monday, October 14, 2013

Perfect 10 Miler Cramp Free Race Report

This was the first Perfect 10 Miler to take place in Mercer, NJ. It was an all female race that covers the odd distance of ten miles. Not a 10k, not a half marathon - 10 miles. A bunch of my Moms In Motion friends decided they were doing this race so I decided to join them since I never put a half on my fall race schedule.

Moms getting ready to run! 

I got up at 5 AM and got lost getting down there but I made it. I had to shuttle from my car to the starting line and it was very easy. Plenty of buses and a very quick ride.

Once at the starting line the Moms all met up and we got ready to start. It was a chilly-ish morning and I was ready to go.  I had no real "race" time in mind. My aim was to try to run an 11 minute mile average and hopefully keep those freakin' cramps away!

I didn't wear my garmin. I haven't been training with one and have gotten pretty comfortable with running based on feel.

Moms in Motion coach Dana
She finish in 1:17 / 7'47 pace!! 
We start running. Now what was slightly annoying about this race is it was really, really congested at the start. No corrals or waves. If I had wanted to run faster I was kind of out of luck. But the first mile felt good otherwise.

Lots of congestion trying to run
Nike does update me in my ear every mile of where I'm at. After the first mile I was at 10'44. That's a good first mile for me. I typically 'warm' up at around 11'10 or so. I was feeling good.

My second and third mile felt good too - 10'41 and 10'18. Great! Now in half marathons I'd be panicking that this was too fast and I could cramp by the end but with only ten miles (and some cramping prevention measures taken) I decided that my new goal would be to run the entire race some where between 10'30 - 10'45 pace.  I mean, why not? I had trained for this. I have been running shorter distances quicker. Why limit myself to 11 min mile? If I had to walk at the end because of some cramping well, it wouldn't be the first time, so I decided to give it a shot. The pace felt good the whole way through - challenging but not ridiculous.

I slowed a little bit on a couple of hills and there were a few places in the run where the congestion was so tight that I was forced to slow down because I couldn't get around people in front of me.

The miles went quickly. I felt great.  After 7 miles my calves and hamstrings were getting tight but that's to be expected - tight is fine! I continued to believe this would be my race and the cramps wouldn't come.

They didn't. :)

I am just about to cross the finish line- All smiles!

I finished the race in 1:46:57 a 10'42 pace.  I think I would've been in the 10'30s if I didn't get stuck behind congestion in certain places but that's OK. I couldn't have been happier.

And nice bling!! 

It was a fun race and a great race. The best I've run in a race in a long time.  I really liked the distance too. It felt good. Also kudos to the race for a well-run event. More than enough port-o potties (never had to really wait for one - even right before the race) and the shuttles were right there at the end and quickly took us back to our car. For the amount of people at the race I was on the road in seconds with no delays.

If you follow my blog you are pretty well aware of the cramping issues I've faced.  It all started with the Hollywood Half I did in 2012 and went downhill from there. I haven't really raced as hard as I wanted since because I've been trying to keep that cramping at bay.

Even my Irongirl Triathlon I faced cramping.

I've tried switching up nutrition, adding magnesium capsules, salt sticks, and figured if I just ran more that would help but it hadn't really helped that much.

Then I saw this video at Runner's World and it clicked. It suggested to be really hydrated (I was always half-assed on this) add strength training and some stretching/flexibility.

I took it seriously.

The last few weeks I've been drinking about 12 glasses of water a day on average and on a bad day maybe 8. That's a lot for me since I used to average maybe 2 - 4 glasses a day.

I also have added strength training, consistent foam rolling and dynamic stretches before every run - plus a proper cool down.

Well wouldn't you know it, it seems to be working! During the race I did make sure to take in a salt tab or two as well as a gel - I do sweat a lot and get a very salt-caked face so I figure that making sure I keep my electrolytes up couldn't hurt either.

I got tight during the race but the cramps pretty much stayed away.

It's a great feeling to be looking forward to racing and being able to hope for the best rather than fearing the worst.



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Can this relationship be saved?

First of all - thank you for all the kind comments and notes you sent in regards to my last blog post about my son. We continue to have good and bad days but I know that we'll get to brighter days soon. I  also want to stress that he's an amazing kid and we are so blessed to have him in our lives. If you look sideways you will always find someone who has it easier or has it tougher and that's how it is for everyone.  It was a hard post to write but also healing. So your kindness does really help.

But on to another topic. One that is also hard for me to write about. One that I dread having to even explore.

Recently, I fell in love with a new pair of sneakers. I went out of my comfort zone of Saucony's and Brooks and used a Foot Locker gift card to order a pair of New Balance Sneakers off line.

I didn't know what to expect because I couldn't try them on first. I tried to find them in store but I couldn't find them - I did some research and hoped for the best.

It was love at first sight.

And the fit. OMG the best. They felt light and springy. They hugged my foot snuggly but not too tightly, while still giving me the support my over-pronating feet need. I know it's my own crazy but I even felt faster. 3 miles - great! 4 miles - great! - 5 miles - woohoo! Even 7 miles felt good. And no blisters!! I was ready to buy several pairs of these babies just to have them in reserve.

7 happy miles

I've never fallen so hard for a pair of sneakers.

And then I did a nine mile run and my big toes felt a little achey - I thought not much of it. My son accidentally stepped on the left one (which didn't help) and it continued to ache. So I peeled off my toe nail polish and my toe nail is purple. Uh oh. If I'm being honest (and not trying to ignore the only little problem with these heaven-sent kicks) they are probably the teeniest, nearly unnoticeably, a tad tight in the toe box - but nothing that immediately struck me. In fact, so blinded by love am I that I don't even care that my toes ached a little after the runs - the only reason for the rational thoughts of breaking up is I'd rather not lose a toe nail if I can help it.

Though, it might be too late?

sorry. I know it's gross
Do I need to break up with my sneakers? Can I ignore the fact that they are maybe a wee bit tight in the toe box? I know Food Locker won't take back worn sneakers (I only went through FL because I had a gift card) I think going up a size will make them be way too big for me. Can't I just pretend that my son stepping on it is probably the reason it got so bruised? (The other toe did stop aching eventually and is normal color.) 

I have a ten mile race on Sunday and I soooooo want to run with these - my other sneakers are either too old or give me blisters after 4 miles. And I love my NB's. I really do. 

Have you ever had a pair of sneakers that you just love though might not be best for you?

What would you do?

Have you ever lost a toe nail from running? I did the third toe nail in once during marathon training. Didn't hurt a bit. Not sure how the big one would feel though.


PS: I got an email from an author. She's giving her book away for free - I haven't read it yet so I can't necessarily recommend it but for free, it could be worth the read here are the details: This Friday, October 11th in celebration of “International Day of the Girl,” I will be offering Weight Loss, The Screenplay: Discover Your Inner Superstar and Manage Your Weight for Life for FREE on AMAZON! You’ll be able to download it for FREE until midnight, Pacific Standard Time on Friday.

Here’s the link to the book page on Amazon:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Running away from Autism

I don't talk about my son and his autism in this blog very often. In fact, aside from a few close friends I don't talk about it with others either. We don't think of Ben as our 'autistic' son, just our son who happens to be a handful. ;)

Ben pretending to fly with Daddy

For years we didn't really even say 'autism' around here. We preferred 'needs' it just seemed much less label-y. We've tried to downplay the issues to the outside world. It's not because we are embarrassed or anything but we try to keep things moving forward rather than get bogged down in diagnosis. 

And we work within our family to get Ben the best care and the best shot for a happy, healthy life. 

But it's been tough. I've had days where we just can't get through to him. Like any kid, he has good days and bad days. Ben is a non-stop kid. Even on his best days you can't take your eyes off of him because he likes to get into everything. 

We recently began seeing a top-notch specialist in the field and Ben has been put on a strict gluten-free and dairy free diet. He's also taking an anti-fungal to get rid of yeast build up and getting supplements to help heal. These approaches are pretty tried and true and I believe they will help him but the process has been HELL. Ben is going through withdrawal and die-off (Die-off happens when yeast dies and it's not pretty - but you go thru it to get to a better other side. Here's an article about it.) 

He's been aggressive in just the last two weeks he has hit me in a face with a paper weight (and it still throbs) has dumped glasses of water on the floor, peed on the carpet and has chucked every toy in his toy box at us (several times). He dropped my computer on my foot (my toe is still black and blue), and that's just for starters. Poor Ben is having a very hard time all around. Everyday we have been dealing with more than it seems we can take. But we figure it out.  They compare the food withdrawal in these kids to drug addicts. In fact the reason why they have to go GF and DF is because the food doesn't digest right and it turns into a toxin that becomes like an opiate in these kids. It's partially why they have such slurred reactions and seemingly don't feel pain - they have produced pain-killing opiates within!

But I have hope. There are moments of clarity now - I can see glimpses of him getting better. After a violent episode he is sweaty and flush and seems legitimately confused. He'll begin sobbing and then curl in my lap and say, "I'm very, very sorry. I don't know why I did that." And I believe him. In those moments I know that my son is in there and trying to escape a body and brain that is keeping him trapped. It is my and my husband's job to help him get out or at least reach whatever his "best" is. 

One of my fav. pics. Ben having the best time ever with Angela (who
braved lots of spinning rides and endured dizzy nausea for his joy)
And I thank God every single day that I get to run. That I have time when he is in school or some time on the weekend when my husband is home to lace up my sneakers and run. If I didn't have running, I'm sure I would be smoking, drinking or eating away those moments where I just don't know how to help him. Those moments where I feel like a shitty mommy because I just don't feel equipped to deal.

It makes me feel proud that my son knows me as a runner. He knows when my sneakers go on that  "Mommy is going to exercise." He likes to ask me about my medals. He says he wants to run someday. I can't wait for his first fun run race. 

Saturday was hard. He was in a destructive place and he was explosive. My husband said, "run." I cried in my car as I pulled out of the driveway. I know my boy is hurting and I want him to get better.  I ran a fast 3 miles. I sweated, my mind was cleaned. I came back with sweat instead of tears and we made it through the day. Sunday was better. Somedays it's overwhelming - but if I can find even ten minutes to run, it helps me keep it together and keep moving on this road of recovery for my son. 

Thanks for listening.


PS: If someone you know is dealing with Autism, ADHD or other childhood behavior issues, this book was easy to read and eye-opening: Healing The New Childhood Academics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies. By Dr. Kenneth Bock - the expert we are seeing is his colleague.