Thursday, October 29, 2009


Also, check out Gluten Free Fitness. Wow. Just wow. I feel very honored.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Portland Run Like Hell Half Marathon & Gluten Freeda's Oatmeal

We’re back. We survived!! Portland was gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. The fall color was spectacular (as you can see). It reminded me very much of my old life back on the east coast.

The weather was not as bad as expected. It rained but not for the race (thank you!) and it seemed to clear up whenever we stopped to get out of the car (again, thank you!).

We arrived on Thursday evening. The Peanut LOVED the plane ride and promptly started saying “again again” after we landed. She really liked Southwest's landing!

We wine tasted, shopped, walked, saw a Warren Miller film (the Peanut’s first ever movie) and went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Sunday was the Portland Run Like Hell Half Marathon (for me) and 5K (for Vans and the Peanut). After the NIKE's San Francisco Half the weekend before, I was very cautious about my stomach situation and quite nervous for this race. Also, since NIKE was slow in terms of pace, race and over all time, I really wanted to run this race well.

I know “they” say never try anything “new” on race day or race morning. Well I broke that rule completely. On race morning (about 90 minutes before race start) I had Gluten Freeda’s Banana Maple with Flax Oatmeal. Delicious!!! It actually fueled me quite nicely for the race without ANY troubles! (YEA!) The flavor was perfect, not too banana-y and also quite filling. It is going to be my new pre-race fuel! Also for first time I had some Coconut Water. I have heard so many positive things about it. It has about 60 calories in a serving but I figured those were race calories and necessary. The flavor was SWEET. Almost too sweet but I got used to it and well, it says it has six times the electrolytes than regular electrolyte enhanced beverages and although the weather was quite cool (about 43 degrees) for the race, I find I really am not drinking as much water as I should be especially before races (not to mention when traveling). Both the oatmeal and the coconut water sat well in my belly and I started the race confident.

First mile I took off fast caught up in the crowd. My pace was 7:30. I was a little concerned I was starting out too fast but EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE was flying by me like I was crawling!! I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t these people realize they had to run about 12 more miles? I never really saw the people who passed me so they can either run a half marathon pretty damn fast OR most of them were doing the 10K but I pretty sure most of them were not. I tried not to let it get to me and to just continue on with my own race. I was racing myself and no one else.

This course really made NIKE’s San Francisco race look easy. The gradual hill that went from mile 5 to about mile 10 was tough and unrelenting. But then came the downhill and I booked it hard from mile 11 to the finish. I finished less than 1 minute after Vans and the Peanut finished their 5K! I have to say with the exception of the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon, this was one of the most beautiful courses I have had the pleasure to run! The fall color was just gorgeous.

My time was about 10 minutes FASTER than NIKE which goes to show you that a less crowded race, A BETTER BREAKFAST (thank you Gluten Freeda) and zero tummy troubles can really help. I finished in about 1:46 (Garmin time, official results are not in yet) which is not quite a PR but definitely a PR for me on a hilly course.

This weekend is the Helen Klein 30K and I am looking forward to doing the same routine of Gluten Freeda’s Banana Maple with Flax Oatmeal with a coconut water pre-race. Here are some pictures from the weekend!

   My cheering section!

                                    Post Race Craziness                                  

5K Runners! Yea!!

My Peanut

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Portland bound

Today Vans, the Peanut and myself leave for Portland. I am very excited. I have never been and Oregon is the home of Prefontaine!! Okay, there other reasons I am excited to go to Portland but that, I admit, is one of the major ones.

While we're in Portland I am going to run the Portland Run Like Hell Half Marathon Yes, another half marathon. Just like the NIKE Womens half however, I am going to start this race and just see how I feel to determine if I even want to try and "race" or if I will just run with the crowd and use it as a chance to see parts of the city. I am very excited despite the predicted weather forcast for Portland this weekend.
Which is
with a chance of

Ah well. It IS the Pacific North West right? What did I expect traveling to Portland at the end of October.

I am ALSO very excited to visit New Cascadia Traditional Gluten Free Bakery in downtown Portland. Rumor has it they sell Gluten Free HOT PRETZELS!!! Of all the gluteny items that I have given up in life, the hot pretzel is the one I miss the most. Yankee Stadium has the worlds best hot pretzels cooked on coals on a grill outside the stadium. Nothing can compare. However, I will do my due diligence and check this place out and do a taste comparision. I mean, it is the least I can do right?

So hopefully I'll have a great race report to post when we return to California next week. We don't get back until late Monday and most likely I'll be spending all day Tuesday trying to catch up at work. But until then, Portland here we come!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Holy moly this is a first! Two posts in ONE day but I had to share my all time new favorite thing!!!

This was handed to me as I crossed the finish line yesterday and OH.MY.GOD I love it! Because of my Celiac I cannot really eat Luna Bars anymore but when I did I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE the Chocolate Peppermint Stick bar the most. It seriously is so delicious.
When I put this awesome chapstick on I swear to you it smells EXACTLY like the bar. It is wonderful! It's also no guilt! HA HA
Oh Luna people please please sell these little tubes of heaven so I can have a crate full!

NIKE Women's Half Marathon

This past weekend was the NIKE Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon. I finally got picked in the lottery and was able to run this highly popular event. Why is this event SO popular that it requires a random lottery you ask? Because every person that crosses the finish line is handed a nice blue box which contains a Tiffany necklace inside. Oh yeah, and you are handed that box by a big hunking firefighter wearing a tuxedo!

I tried last year to get in and was unsuccessful. This year I was picked and jumped at the chance to stay in San Francisco solo for one whole night sans Peanut and sans Vans! Granted the entry fee for this race was an arm and leg but at least it wasn’t my first born child!

So I left Saturday morning with a big hug and a “good luck” from Vans. He was a bit concerned about my ankle status for the race but more so on how he and the Peanut would survive without Momma. For the record, he did a fantastic job and I have never been so proud of my family. Momma is now “chopped liver” in the eyes of the Peanut and Vans is “almighty.” I know by tomorrow that may change so I am letting Vans bask in it for a bit. 

I arrived in San Francisco and found my hotel pretty easily. Parked, checked in and then realized “mmm, what on Earth shall I do?” I immediately headed to the race expo to get my race packet and check things out. As it turns out a girlfriend of mine, who I will call Scrapbook, ended up getting a last minute FREE entry into the race and would be arriving in the city later and spending the night in my room. Ladies night!! Woot woot!

The race expo was insane. I am all for women and women power but good god 30,000 women in one tent is a bit much for me. I picked up all that I needed and then headed out to do some shopping around Union Square. The weather was hot. It is never hot in the city but I was boiling and my hotel room was without air conditioning. My solo shopping excursion was boring so I went back to my hotel and decided to do something I rarely get a chance to do and that was relax and read a book. It was heaven. By 3 pm Scrapbook arrived and we went back to the expo to get her race stuff and then more shopping. This time wandering much further than I had wandered before. We picked up some take out – Cheesecake Factory for Scrapbook and some Sushi like food for moi. Back in our hotel room we ate and shared a beer and a glass of wine and just talked and watched the Yankees play the Angels on television (I am the Yankee fan, not Scrapbook. Thank you Scrapbook for letting me be the tv hog). So what do two moms who are away from the kids for an entire night talk about? Their kids of course. Proud Mommas.

We woke up bright and early on Sunday, about 5:45 am. The race started at 7 am and we were only 2 blocks from the starting area. Perfect. When I first woke up I realized I felt fantastic. No tummy troubles. Then, I ate a banana and some almond butter and almost immediately my stomach started gurgling. It was not happy. I am notorious for my tummy troubles and the past few weeks have been no exception. I’ve been battling tummy troubles on all of my training runs leading up to the NIKE race. I took care of “business” before leaving the hotel but I could tell things were not settling down.

The starting area of the race was mayhem. It was cold but not unbearable. The crowds were so huddled together it was almost warming. Scrapbook said goodbye and got into her corral. The corral I was supposed to be in filled up so I had to start in a slower corral which was probably better.

Joan Benoit Samuelson and Kara Goucher were there as she was running the half. I wish I could have seen them. The gun went off and we all stood there for about 7 minutes before we were able to even start walking towards the official starting line. I started my Garmin when I crossed the start mat and was off. I had to bob and weave my way through the crowd for quite some time. I warmed up quickly too and took off my long sleeve and just tied it around my waist as I knew I would want it at the finish line.

Mile 2 I saw porta potties but refused to stop. My stomach was quite unhappy but I am too stubborn. I’ve never stopped at a porta potty in a race before and the lines were long! I figured if I had to stop, I’d do so later on when the lines would be smaller. Well, the pressure in my tummy was so much that combined with the crowded streets my pace was reduced quite a bit. But since I wasn’t planning on “racing” I went with it. Miles 6 through 9.5 were up hill. And not just a little hill, we’re talking MAJOR hills but I like hills and it woke up my legs a little bit and I didn’t mind. My stomach on the other hand, was not so happy.

Finally mile 10.2 I saw a set or porta potties without a line. I said “screw it” and headed over. I had to wait a little bit but was able to get in and take care of “business” and probably lost about 9 minutes total. You know that bugged me. BUT! I felt FANTASTIC. I really should have stopped way earlier but I now felt so much better I started really racing the last 2 miles or so. I was running sub 8s for miles 11 and 12 and it was wonderful. I crossed the finish and was handed my little blue box by a nice looking fire fighter wearing a tuxedo.

My time was definitely not a half marathon PR. Actually it might be the same time as my very first half marathon. The official results are not up yet. Guess it is hard to tabulate 30,000+ people! Ha

Scrapbook finished not long after I did and it took us an hour to find each other in the mess that was the finish area. We jumped on a charter bus which took us back to Union Square near out hotel. Hot coffee and a hot shower (in that order) followed.

Overall it was a great day. I enjoyed the event but have learned that I need to rethink my fueling issues when I have an upset tummy. Vans and the Peanut want to come next year if I get in again. He wants to stay in a nice hotel and for two nights not one. I am okay with that. I did miss my Vans and Peanut and had a wonderful welcome when I finally did get home on Sunday afternoon. They are really my best fans and I missed their cheers at the finish. Hopefully next year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

UNcomfortably Numb . . . and tingly

That is how my ankle feels right now. Two days before the NIKE Womens Half Marathon. The title is take on a run that my friend and fellow mommy & runner & blogger Mommy on the Run wrote about last June. Comfortably Numb is an awesome trail run in Whistler Canada . . . UNcomfortably Numb is what my ankle is right now. I am so not happy. I am down right depressed.

I ran on Tuesday evening. On the road but it might have well been on trails considering how covered the roads were in fallen trees due to the day's storm. I did not twist my ankle in any way shape or form but I did experience a shooting pain that lingered most of the night and into Wednesday. Then. Enter Thursday and I now have a numb and tingling left foot. Lovely. I ran last night (6 miles) but it was a struggle.

Dusting off my Google MD license I went searching for what might be causing my pain and numbness. I discovered something called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Again, not good.

My plan is to run this weekend and do something I have learned you're not supposed to do and that is take Advil before my run. I need to get the swelling down in the ankle to hopefully loosen up that nerve that is most likely being pinched. That is what it feels like at least.

There go my plans for racing this race this weekend. I'll be doing all I can to just finish. Again, not happy. Adding insult to injury I think I may have been accidentally Glutened recently and perhaps that is the cause of my recent tummy distress. Man, October is turning in a month from hell.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boring boring boring

This weekend was pretty uneventful running wise. Due to my ankle twisting accident from a few weeks ago, I was forced to run road and not trails. I am pretty bummed as my old Summer 7 group met up this past weekend on the Quarry Road for a nice 11 miler. Ah well.
So instead I took off on Saturday morning, okay . . . LATE Saturday morning (damn you Sangiovese!) for a 12 mile run up and down the local bike trail (6 up and 6 down). I knew from the moment I stepped out my front door that this was going to be a tough run. My GI system has not been my friend lately in fact, I think it has been slowly trying to sabotoge my training.
One interesting thing to note is there was a helicopter flying over head my entire run. It was searching for the missing suspect from Friday's stabbing/robbery that occurred less than a .5 mile from my house. Nice huh? Apparently one of the perps escaped and has been on foot ever since hence the flying helicopter all weekend. Still no word if he was caught. Not sure what I would have done had he approached me while running but don't worry VANS . . . there were 100s of people out on the trail with  me while I was running so I never really was "alone" much. If that perp was "smart" he'd just get out and start running to blend in with all the other joggers!
Back to my run. I ran 12. Stopped at 5.5 to use some park facilities and then continued on for another .5 and then turned around and ran home.
This weekend is the San Francisco NIKE Women's Marathon and Half Marathon. I am running the half but this is not the kind of run you want tummy troubles on. You run from one end of the city to another and then you're stuck until you can find yourself a bus (or a cab) that can navigate all the closed streets to get you back to your hotel. Still. I am excited. I am leaving town on Saturday morning and will be spending the day in the city with a girlfriend visiting the race expo and the NIKE Running store. Yes. It is a WHOLE store devoted to running attire! I can hardly wait!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


This is a picture of the bruise left on my leg by Dr. Justin Lau of Elite Spinal & Sports Care. I love this man, I truly do. He is the reason I am able to keep running after so many running injuries have ocurred.

I saw Dr. Lau yesterday for my ankle. It had still been bothering me especially when walking or running. I could tell it was not a sprain and he had indicated to me that I may be looking at some ligament issues. I made an appointment asap to see him. I cannot have ligament issues as I have signed up for AND PAID FOR way too many races. If you have not taken a look at my side bar of up coming races you will see I have sort of "over booked" myself with some back to back races. I do not plan on racing ALL of them. They will be training runs more or less but well, they are paid for and therefore I cannot afford any injuries at this point.

Which leads me to my next problem. Dr. Lau suggested no more trail running until I can stablize my ankle. It is apparently jell-o right now as I can barely stand on one foot. No ligament tears although he did say if I twisted it one more time I probably would have ruptured a ligament or tendon. Nice right? So I have the "OK" to run on the roads but this trailmomma must refrain from trails until the ankle can stablize. At this point, I am thinking my return to trails will be after CIM in December and when I start training for Way To Cool in January. We'll see though. I am generally not known for following doctor's orders. :-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gold Country Trail Run 25K and Black Clouds

All week long I was waiting for Saturday to arrive. I was looking forward to my big 25K Trail Race that was being held in Auburn Saturday morning. From the moment I had heard about it (um, on Wednesday) to the Friday before I was just totally excited that I’d be running on the Western States Trail in Auburn with my friend Big D. Big D and I have been friends since the Summer 7 Trail Running Series. She’s in her mid fifties and she kicks my butt running trails but she is awesome and I adore her AND she is up for anything. So when I emailed her about this run this is what she said “Sounds great! I’ve had the flu all week but I’ll be fine by Saturday.” Yes, the FLU but ready to run 15.5 miles on some really tough trails. Gotta love her.

So the race started at 7 am but I was meeting Big D at 6:15 to register which means I had to leave my home at 5:30 am which meant waking up at 5:00 am. Ouch. The waking up was not too bad as I had barely slept at all that night. I was packing my awesome Nathan Hydration Vest that I love so much with water and all the wonderful Cliff Shot Blocks and gels I had just recently purchased and was excited to try.

I arrived at the Auburn Dam Overlook ready and excited despite the cold dark weather. I went to the back of my car to find my Nathan pack only to realize I had left it at home. Black Cloud #1. After about 10 minutes of freaking out and spouting curse words I realized I cannot do anything about it and luckily I had my handheld in my car. This was a race and therefore there would be aid stations so I will have to make do with filling my bottle up at each aid station and using their gels and fuel. Not ideal but doable.

The race was small. It was the Gold County Trail run with a 50K, 20 miler, 25K and 8 mile option. Big D and I were doing the 25K which should be 15.5 miles. Notice I said should be. There were about 8 people doing the 25K including Big D and myself.

Within the first 2 miles Big D takes a header and slices up her elbow and knee. As she is laying in pile of dirt she yells at me “Don’t you DARE stop!” That’s Big D for ya! About a mile after that I take a half spill twisting my left ankle into a position that I don’t really think it should be in at all. Black Cloud #2. The pain was pretty excruciating but there was no way I as stopping. I could still function so that was good enough for me. We trudged on. The aid stations were about 4 miles apart so that worked out. I only needed to fill my bottle once and I used their gel which didn’t sit well in my stomach but when I ate a banana later it seemed to ease things a bit. Love trail race aid stations. Better than sliced gluten free bread.

The course was partially on some of the trails we’ve run with Summer 7 and quite a bit we have not. We climbed the infamous K2 hill. This is more than just a hill. It is a freaking mountain that is 1 mile completely uphill without a break and it eats you alive. Your legs (and butt) will feel the burn on this one. It was brutal and I believe Big D and I were cursing the entire time up this hill. We just kept telling ourselves that means the way back will be down hill . . . or should be. Again, there is that “should be” phrase again.

Apparently Big D and I were the first females and actually the second and third runners overall in the 25K. Wow. Really? That was a nice boost to our exhausted egos. Bring it! The course really was gorgeous. So gorgeous that I was wishing for my camera but it probably was a good thing I didn’t have it . . . read on for more Black Clouds.

Most of the middle miles were uneventful. At mile 14 though a thought entered my head and caused me to stop dead in my tracks. Big D bumped right into me. “What?” She asks. “Um, I lost my car key. Somewhere between miles 4 and 5.” Yes. Black Cloud #3. I had taken my car key out of my shorts and put it into my water bottle pouch which I was going into often to take SCaps and gels. Yes. I was a complete moron apparently on Saturday.

One great thing about trail runners though is that they are the nicest people you will ever meet. They truly are. I was planning on leaving my name and address with the race director thinking that someone might find my key and they can mail it to me. Well, turns out someone DID and that key traveled the entire course and went to every aid station and made its way to the finish before I did! THANK YOU KEY GODS!! I had already figured out that I’d have to use Big D’s phone to call AAA and have them jimmy open the car because I was not about to tell Vans that I had also lost the key. That should subtract a cloud but for drama’s sake I am leaving it in.

As it turns out Big D and I finished and tied for second place in the race. We were ahead of the next runner by over 20 minutes. It was a tough run and we basically spent the last 5 miles in complete silence (except for that key losing talk). According to my Garmin we ran 17.3 miles and not the alleged 15.5. Also, that K2 hill took us from 29 feet to 739 feet in a mile. Sometimes knowing the details is not necessarily a good thing.

Black Cloud #4. My wonderful Nathan Hydration Vest that I love so dearly was not at home where I had left it. Apparently I had put it on the roof of my car while loading my running gear only to drive out of my garage and onto the freeway with it perched precariously on the roof of my car. When I realized this I wanted to cry. Luckily I found this out after I finished the race .

The rest of my weekend continued be shrouded in black clouds. I was excited to try Steve’s Pizza’s new Gluten Free pizza they have advertised only to discover that 1. It costs you an extra SIX BUCKS and 2. They apparently do not know how to take an order because they screwed up my entire pizza that I had been dying to have all day long. Vans was a sweet heart though and marched into Steve’s Pizza and demanded they “fix” the pizza while he ate the other one. Thank you Vans!! So that was my Black Cloud #5.

My Black Cloud #6 happened on Sunday when I sliced my finger tip pretty severely while cutting something in my kitchen.

I, for one, am so happy it is Monday. Black Clouds be gone!

PS: I did eventually find my Nathan Hydration Vest. Shredded and stuck to the side of the road about two miles from my house. I will pray that the Nathan Vest fairies are reading my blog (highly unlikely since no one reads my blog, not even Vans) and they will feel pity for me and a Nathan Hydration Vest aka my trail running buddy will appear at my door step! Hey. A girl can dream right?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gluten Free

It is not a secret but it probably is not something most people know unless you know me pretty well. I have Celiac Disease and was diagnosed with it in my mid-twenties. It is also not unknown to those who know me well how much I have struggled with the gluten free diet. I have been on and off the diet more times than I can count all the while hoping and praying I was "different" and secretly did not have Celiac despite my diagnosis via biopsy (sigh) and the resulting affects of consuming gluten while maintaining my intense fitness levels.

The birth of my daughter in 2008 and ultimately my pregnancy leading up to her birth made the diet hit home with me. I wanted my growing child to be 100% healthy both inside my belly and out. That is why I maintained a strict gluten free diet while being pregnant, again while breastfeeding and also her entire first year of life.

She has since had gluten and so far has tested "normal" but we are keeping a close eye on her. Often times, she prefers mom's gluten free foods over the "regular" stuff . . . much to my delight. 

I know most of my entries are race or running related but fuel is a big part of running. If you don't fuel properly you can't run well. Lessons I have learned the hard way unfortunately.

I am constantly on the hunt for new gluten free foods that will aid my running and I am always reading labels of various "athlete" foods yadda yadda. I can't run up to any aid station on a trail run and grab what I want with out having to view the selection and determine what is safe for me. Most times I have to do my due diligence which can include contacting a race director to see what will be provided and if I will need to carry my own nutrition (FYI I often carry it anyway just in case. You never know what may happen especially when trail running).

So today I discovered this site: Gluten Free Fitness
I am excited to read about more athletes who are handling their fitness (and ultimately their lives) while training and living on a gluten free diet.

Some day I hope my Peanut will run along side me and if running is not her "thing" that is okay too as long as she knows that fuel is important for a working active body. Lord knows she's active enough for me now! :-)

                                                                     Mmmm food!