No, I will not run with you

I haven’t written a post in a while, this came to me on my run this past Sunday.

I am one of the most socially interactive people you will ever meet.  I smile and say hello to anyone as I pass them.  I am very engaging in conversation.  I was painfully shy as a child and growing up.   Anyone who knows me is probably shaking their head right now and saying “I don’t believe that for a minute”.  

I came out of my shell when I was promoted from hostess to waitress at a restaurant in North Carolina.  I’ll never forget that exact moment when my shell cracked.  I walked up to my first table.  My trainer, Lori, was right behind me.   I spoke so quietly the people could not hear me.  They were regulars, knew me as the hostess so they knew they were my “first” and actually volunteered for this awkward opportunity.   Lori promptly elbowed me in my back and said to me “You are not going to get anywhere in this position or in your life unless you speak up”.

For those of you who know me now and want to say “Good Lord woman do you EVER shut up?”  Blame Lori!

What on earth does me yammering away in the grocery store line and having the ability to find out a stranger’s third grade teacher’s gold fish’s name have to do with running?

Everything.

It takes a lot of energy to be “social” and engaging in conversation.  Bubbly.   I rarely have “alone time”.  Ever.  My time for me and only time for me is when I run.  I am not “Mom”.   I am not “Wife”.  I am not “Friend”.  I am not “Coach”.  I am “Me”.  

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I get invited to run with groups and individuals, a lot.  It’s really nice actually.  There are so many awesome people where I live.  Amazing people visit where I live. My schedule and family schedule make it extremely difficult for me to run when others do, however there are times when I can run with others.  I have run with other people.  I have run with a group. I’ve had a lot of fun running with others.   However, I prefer to run alone.  I want to run alone.

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I am a lone wolf when I run.  I want to be left alone, just me and my thoughts.  I want my run to be on my terms.  No expectations to live up to other than my own.  I guess this is another reason why I love running on the treadmill, just me and the run. I don’t want to talk; I don’t want to be social.  I want to be alone. This is my time to reboot.  Refresh.  De-stress. 

Does this mean I am like this 100% of the time.  No.  As I said before I have run with others and groups and enjoyed it.  But these are rare special occasions. I cherish my alone time with the run.

When I am asked to run with someone, usually schedule truly prohibits this from happening.  Most often times I will be cordial and say, “that would be nice”.  In theory I enjoy people’s company and want to see the person who is asking.  Do I want to run with them?  Maybe, but the chance of it happening, slim to none.   Would I want to meet up with them after a run for coffee, breakfast, or lunch? SURE!

I love my friends, family, and running community.  I am truly very lucky to be surrounded by great wonderful people.

But for the record…

No.  I will not run with you.

Product Review and Giveaway: Words to Sweat By

You have to love the power of social media to make a big world, not so big. It was a great day when I “bumped” into Words to Sweat By on Twitter, please, give them a follow: @wordstosweatby

I have never been so instantly attracted and interested in a product before. Words to Sweat By has unique, one of a kind fitness accessories. There are a lot of options out there with fitness and endurance accessories but what set them apart is they are truly unique, hand crafted designs that don’t look like all the others out there.

Seriously, how cool is this scarf?

1379967715_infinity_scarf_running_close_store_300_2They were very generous and sent me one of their necklaces.

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First and foremost it arrived so quickly my head spun. As an athlete we love our “stuff”. Gear, supplies, all our “stuff”. When we order things we want it, well, yesterday. This came so fast! It was well packaged with a professional presentation and a lovely personal note from Dana Lardner the CEO/Designer of Words to Sweat By.

I have worn the necklace 3 ways, as shown in the photo above, with just the dumbbell, and with just the square:

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When I first put the necklace on with just the square, I forgot I was wearing it. I went to the gym, went swimming with my son, ran errands, took a shower, and oops went to bed wearing it.   It is so light it was very comfortable. Keep in mind I live in Vegas, it is HOT. I cannot stand anything heavy or cumbersome. Also, I had spine surgery recently and my neck is VERY sensitive because of that. The necklace did not bother me at all.   I couldn’t tell I was wearing it.

Plain and simple. I love it. I have already ordered a few other pieces.

Now. Here is the fun part. I have a necklace TO GIVE AWAY!!!

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Here’s what you do to win, and I will keep it simple:

  1. Go to my Coach Kristie PRS FIT Facebook page where the link to this review is posted.
  2. In the comment section below tell me why you want to win
  3. Tag Words To Sweat By in your comment.
  4. The comment with the most “likes” by Friday, August 1st 12:30pm Pacific Time will win this necklace

So tell me?  Why do YOU want to win this necklace?

 

The Comeback Coach

I have had a lot of sincere inquiries as to my progress on rebuilding myself. So here you go.

For those who know, and who don’t, 2013 was quite possibly one of the most challenging years I have ever had. I lost my Mom and best friend to Lung Cancer, I had a mass removed from my sinus cavity and unexpected emergency spine surgery. The whole year tried me emotionally and physically well beyond my limits. Physically my sacrifice was my most cherished gift, my gift of the run.

Let me translate. I can run again, finally. But it used to be easy, really easy. Now, most days it is a fight. It is hard.   Some days, my legs just don’t work and I just, well, can’t. I have had to start over as if I just started running.

At first it hurt. I cried. A lot. I threw things. I used to look at a 1 hour run and in my head and I would say “easy peasy 6 mile or more run in zone 2”. Now, I am thrilled for close to 4-5, or even being able to run the full hour without walking.

My favorite race is the Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Mile Run. I have a lot of family there, the Rocky soundtrack blares and the spectators are just second to none, and hello there is a soft, huge, ballpark Phillies special pretzel at the finish. I have run it twice. My best time was 1:24:00. I will be toeing the start line for the third time in a couple weeks. My run is not what it once was. It will get there again, but the healing process is slow.   I hope to finish before the cutoff of 2:30:00.   That is a far cry from 1:24:00. Shoot, my ½ Marathon PR is 2:03.

I am 10lbs from my “normal” weight, thank you surgery, 15lbs from “game face” weight. I keep getting snide remarks and have had a few people ask me “when are you due?”. The best one “You’re a Coach? Shouldn’t you be thinner?” People are mean. Some thrive on other’s setbacks. If I have been that for someone to keep them from bullying someone else, I am happy. But you know where I am right now? To be bluntly honest, I am happier than I have been in years. YEARS.

I am healthy. Pain free. I am in remission from cancer since Aug of 2009. My son is growing like a weed and thriving in school. He is my mini me and I love him more than is humanly possible. My husband is handsome, brave, and (TMI) flat sexy. I am a LUCKY woman.   I am a Coach of and a member of a badass team of coaches and athletes at Team PRS FIT.   How many people can incorporate their passion into their career? Only the lucky ones for sure, and I am one of them.

As a Coach, I trust the process. So as an athlete, I trust the process. Coach Rebecca is rebuilding me slowly and carefully. I have to listen to my body very carefully. Some times it whispers, some times it screams, but I listen.

People ask me when I am planning my “comeback”.   I don’t know, my body will tell me. But I will tell you this. There is one thing that has made a comeback, my love of running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training in the heat- tips to be smart and safe

IMG_7253-1Summer is fast approaching, days getting longer, and temperatures will begin to rise.  Training in the heat is inevitable and in some cases practically unavoidable (I live in Las Vegas where heat is “normal”).  If you are faced with training in the heat there are a few things to consider keeping yourself cool and safe while training.

The sun is at it highest point between the hours of 10am and 4pm. It is best to avoid these times. Always wear sunscreen and reapply. Wear white or light UV protective clothing (the Coolibar cooling fitness shirt is a perfect example) to reflect the sun’s rays.  Dark colors absorb the heat. Wear a hat and UV protective sunglasses.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Know your sweat loss rate.  Weigh yourself before and after a workout to know how much sweat you lose and replenish with this amount as well as taking in electrolyte sports drink during activity. Cramping is a sign of mineral loss so make sure you are taking in an electrolyte sports drink to keep you hydrated and replenish minerals lost in sweat.

Help keep the body cool by pouring cold water over pulse points in the wrist and back of the neck.  Also pouring over the top of the head.  A majority of the body’s heat is released through the top of the head.  That being said if wearing a hat be sure to wear a ventilated one so heat can escape and is not trapped.  There are cooling neckbands you can wear.  In extreme heat situations I have frozen wristbands and worn them and continued to pour water over them. The absorbent nature keeping the cool water on my pulse points.  I have participated in extreme heat races and they have provided ice towels and cooling stations.

Be aware of warning signs of heat stress and have an emergency plan in place (carry a phone, wear an ID bracelet with emergency contact information).

Warning signs of heat stress and heat related illnesses (dehydration, hypernatremia, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps) include but are not limited to: muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, cold and/or clammy skin, fainting, fast or weak pulse, hot red dry or moist skin, and even unconsciousness.

Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with playing it 100% safe and taking your training indoors.  You won’t skip a beat in your training and you can train safely without worry sun damage and heat related stress and illnesses.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

 

*this post can also be found on the Coolibar Sun Protection blog, an original article written by me for Coolibar UV Protection clothing*

 

 

Why I prefer *gasp* the treadmill

Runner treadmill ILLUS.jpgI have a reputation for being the “Treadmill Queen”.  I wouldn’t call myself a Queen; Court Jester would be more accurate.  When it comes to the treadmill go ahead and prepare to call me freak, sick, strange, crazy, whatever name you should choose but in all honesty I prefer to run on the treadmill.

There.  I said it, the “anti” runner statement.  But it is true.  On a brisk 40-50 degree day (“perfect” running weather) you will find me on the treadmill.  Shoot, pretty much most of my runs, you will find me on the treadmill.

In an attempt to get 99% of the running community to take a glimpse into my alter universe I will provide you with the multitude of reasons as to why I personally prefer to run on the treadmill, in no particular order:

  1. No dogs off leashes.  Well, there is one.  But he snoozes on the yoga mat beside the treadmill and the worst thing he does is pass gas.  I have been chased over walls, had ankles and the back of my leg bitten by all shapes and sizes of dogs, cats and oh I live in the desert…. don’t get me started on Coyotes.
  2. No stoplights.
  3. No rattlesnakes.
  4. The nearest bathroom is 3 feet away, it is clean, not a bush or tree that I hope is wide enough to hide me, has toilet paper stocked (well, that can remain to be seen as I am the only female in my house, but at least I know where the spare rolls are kept), it also has really pretty smelling soap in there.  BONUS.
  5. I can wear a sports bra and shorts and not worry about looking like a busted can ‘o biscuits hanging out everywhere in the land of Cirque performers.
  6. No cars.
  7. No motorcycles.
  8. No creepers that seem to be lapping the block over, and over, and over, and over. Shudder
  9. No random poles, stop signs, light posts that jump in front of me and crash into me.  I mean really?  The nerve.
  10. No rocks or other objects to trip over.  Or the desert hare that ran in front of me with comedic timing and ended up getting punted.  Let me tell you something so cute can REALLY give a mean stink eye.
  11. I like to run light.  The treadmill holds my water bottles, cell phone, fuel, snot rocket towel, HR monitor watch, and sweat towel.
  12. Can’t step in poop.
  13. Temperature and climate control.
  14. I can watch TV or a movie if I want.  I never have, but I could if I wanted.
  15. If I take it to the puke zone the trashcan is next to the treadmill or refer to #4.
  16. I listen to my iPod and don’t have to worry about hearing my surroundings, I can get lost in my music.  I can also sing out loud without crazy looks, well, unless the family is home.
  17. I can control my pace, timed surges, etc. without OCD checking my wrist.  Just a quick glance at the dash and touch of a button.
  18. If my clothes are stained, don’t match, ugly, stinky, only person to bother is me, and or refer to #1 the dog with gas that sleeps on the yoga mat.
  19. I can control my elevation gain.
  20. Sun safe!  Sunscreen not needed.
  21. I can’t get lost.
  22. No chance of accidental bug ingestion.
  23. Can’t get pooped on by a bird or have one crash into my head (yes this has happened to me twice).
  24. I can completely zone out and not have to be aware of my surroundings.  I solve the world’s problems in my head.  And well, think of blog posts like this one….
  25. When my son was a newborn and my husband worked graveyard shift and slept during the day we did not have a fancy stroller, it was my only way to regain sanity.  Without it for MANY years no treadmill, no run.  For anyone who calls the treadmill the “dreadmill” I want them to be faced with the harsh reality that if they want to run THE ONLY way they CAN is on the treadmill. How quickly they will appreciate the treadmill.

Do not get me wrong.  I love to run outside, in nature.  The sights, the sounds, the smells.  But given a choice I will take the treadmill thank you.

*

The Explanation of Training

runpicI finally had an “ah ha” moment recently and was able to into words something that I have been trying to explain for years.

Why, do I train? Why do people like me, train? Why do athletes train?

Simple.

The “A” race to an athlete is like the final exam to a student. Training is the classroom. Workouts are homework. Pulse check races are quizzes. Athletes eat right, and get as much sleep as possible. All of this preparation is so they can show up for the final exam (A race) alert, healthy, ready and prepared.

When in school, students get up early, stay up late to study and do homework. They talk to other students who may have taken the same exam before. They ask for tips, pointers.

When training, athletes get up early, stay up late to get workouts in. They talk to others who have raced the same race, or distance for advice and tips. Sometimes they train with a group (like a study group). Others may be more focused training alone.

A student may prepare just to pass easily. An athlete may just want to finish happy and healthy. The student may have aspirations on getting into a program or school that a certain passing grade is required. The athlete may want to qualify for Boston or Kona. The student may want one of the top grades in the class, just like the athlete may want an Age Group award.

Some students prefer to be self taught. Some students seek a tutor to gain more of an edge and give them personal help, just as the athlete seeks a Coach.

As a Coach, like a tutor, I want my athletes/students to pass their exam. I assign their homework/workouts in order to best prepare them for their test/race.

So the next time someone asks you why you training I hope this will give you the words to help you explain, you just want to do well on your test.

Coach Kristie

Considering a Treadmill?

treadmillguyA treadmill is an investment. Prices range from $500 to over $3000. Before you buy one, ask yourself some questions first:

What is your budget? Set a budget. This will tell you how much treadmill you can purchase.

Where is it going to go? Measure the area where it will be placed for use. When not in use, do you need a folding version or will a flat deck fit? Do not find out it doesn’t fit, when you bring it home.

How often will you use it and what for? Will it be used few minutes for general exercise, or hours training for a marathon? The amount and type of use may depend on if a basic or higher end commercial model is best for you.

What features do you want? Incline? iPod doc? Built in fan? Some treadmills have programs where you can run simulated actual routes. Example: the Boston Marathon, complete with heartbreak hill.

How much maintenance are you willing to do yourself and/or pay for? Deck lube, belt maintenance, etc.

Other points worth considering:

Direct Current (DC) motors are quieter- if close to living spaces, noise may be a factor.

Buy the warranty. Ask anyone in treadmill sales, warranties do not generate income, they typically generate a loss. It is worth it.

The motor should be a minimum 1.5 horsepower. Typical range is 1.5-2.5hp. Look for a “continuous-duty” motor rating. This rates the horse power literally, for continuous duty over a 24 hour period. Be wary of other descriptions like “treadmill-duty”.

Try it out wearing the clothes and shoes you would wear while on a treadmill. Make sure the length fits your stride, handles are sturdy and far enough away not to interfere with your arms, and you can reach the display easily. Make sure motion is smooth, never jerky.

Write out a checklist with budget at the top followed by needs, then wants. Take the list with you shopping. You may have to cross off some wants to meet the needs, but in the end, you’ll have the best treadmill for you.

*this article can also be seen where originally published in Health Your Way Online Magazine:

http://www.healthyourwayonline.com/considering-a-treadmill-by-kristie-cranford/