Tag Archives: sports

Waiting For The Marathon

trotonbye_138Waiting for a marathon is kind of like waiting to have a baby.  I am less than 48 hours away from the finish line and it feels likes a lot of “hurray up and wait” at this point. Brings back memories of being 9 months pregnant waiting for the big day to arrive with excitement, nervousness and dread. And having to navigate through my days with pre-marathon brain is a challenge in itself. Having pre-marathon brain is much like having baby brain…hard to focus on anything except the task at hand, forgetfulness  with emotions swinging from “I am strong! I can do this” to “oh no, I can’t do this, it’s gonna be way too hard.”  And yet, when having a baby you have no choice in the matter…it’s happening whether you want it to or not. But at least there are some good meds:)  In running a marathon, I do have a choice and there are no meds that I have found which make this any easier each time I step up to the start line. Being well-trained, rested and well-fueled makes all of the difference but it still really comes down to….wait for it…wait for it…..poop. Also just like approaching labor, it’s all about the poop.

Anyone that has ever waited for a race to begin (or labor for that matter) knows all too well that the very first thing you think about that day is when & where nature will take it’s course. (Of course, in labor…you are hoping it’s not on the delivery table for all to witness. I’ve had 4 kids, no comment.)  We know by now that running and exercise is good for maintaining regular habits. ( you know which habits I’m speaking of.)  There is even a theory that regular running may decrease the incidence of colon cancer. All good but when you gotta go and it’s wrecking your game….it’s horrible. I have been caught many times with my game wrecked…making deals with the devil, god, my deceased ancestors and anybody that will listen…to let me find a bathroom of any kind asap! And you know that good feeling when you see there in the distance, shimmering like a pot of gold…an outhouse! Never are you so excited to see that blue paneled loo or pot-o-let, words that sound much fancier especially when said with an english accent.  I pray, “just please don’t be locked. I promise to floss 7 nights a week instead of only 4.”  Relief at last!


An estimated 60-100% of runners have “runner’s trots” that can occur during or after their exercise.  As a Sports Nutritionist, my family…especially the teenagers, loathe the fact that I get to lecture to large groups of people about peeing and pooping! I explain that is an important part of being an active person and as you age things change. This is when they tell me they have heard enough and leave the room. The reasons for runner’s trots are not known for sure but may be due to the up and down motion of running along with the flow of blood being diverted to your legs and away from your intestines. Add in some dehydration and too many sugary sport drinks/foods and you too will be looking for the next port-o-let. 

A few tips on prevention: 

* Try to avoid eating for at least one hour before you exercise – the presence of food in the stomach will make things worse or contribute to the problem. Get to know your own digestion, see what works best for you & how much time you need pre-run to digest.
* Try to avoid the intake of caffeine and warm fluids as it is possible for this to speed up the movement of waste through the intestines.
* Make sure to limit your intake of dairy products, particularly if susceptible to diarrhea.
* Limit high-fiber foods in the days before a long race/run.
* Avoid the foods that you know cause problems.
* Drink plenty of fluids. It is best to drink a full 16 oz. of water an hour before your workout, giving the excess fluid time to pass through, and start off well-hydrated.

Design your training routes to include a restroom. And of course, consider a medical check-up and be open in discussing your problem with your medical practitioner. Remember, poop happens. At some point, EVERY runner experiences these problems. They are usually easily solved with a few adjustments in your habits.

And just like waiting to give birth, I am looking forward to being on the other side of this race. I can’t wait to eat & drink what I want again, run a quick hour with friends and have my brain back in one piece. Unlike giving birth, once you have that baby…the job just begins. At least I know, the night after the race I will sleep like a baby. I will see you on the other side.



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Tutus and Running Shoes

Image    I love this picture. I took it of my youngest daughter, Lola, as she watched her older sister compete in a school track meet.

She was complaining of being too hot and went to the car to see what she could find. Forgetting, I had hidden these very special hand-me-down tutus for her from a dear friend in the trunk, I said, “sure go ahead and see what you can find.” As she dug through the trunk..her eyes darted straight to the bag of tutus the same time as mine. Before I could distract her…she said, “what are these?!” with her eyes as big as saucers. Darn, I thought, the surprise was now ruined. Or was it?  Without hesitiation, she ripped off her other clothes and jumped right into this pink tutu with sequins and all. I had to go with it.  I figured if she was confident enough to walk around a track meet in just her tutu and running shoes, then far be it for me to list my reasons why she may not want to wear that….“are you sure honey, might get kinda of itchy in the heat?” “do, you really want to wear that…now?”  Of course she did! So, off she went watching the rest of the meet in her new comforatble and cool clothes. As you can imagine, when my teenage daughter saw her sister in all of her glory watching from the fence…she rolled her eyes and ran the other way....teenagers, what do they know?

As I looked at the picture, I realized my planned surprise was not ruined at all. It became a gift. A gift to to see my confident and strong-minded daughter in action with not a care in the world, especially about what other people think. I also get to see myself..growing up as a dancer and now a runner and the huge impact they have had on who I am today. Other than my family, my tutus and running shoes have been the most important things in my life. Thank you Lola for showing me the way and reminding me about what’s really important. That is the best gift of all. 

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Defining Ourselves


Sharing this post from a LOLA member as her “tale from the track” make us all think about our defining moments. Thanks Sue!
img_2355Something amazing happened to me last night.  During a track workout, no less. The fact that I even wrote that sentence is so odd, because I don’t usually do track workouts.  Or really run that much.  But this year I’m attempting to do things outside my comfort zone.  Or just try new stuff.  I am attempting to not define myself by what has come previously in my 46 years. Thus why I am even on a track at 6 pm on a Wednesday eve.  The tape in my head says: “I am not a runner.”  But, could I be one?  Might I actually enjoy being one? Last night I worked hard to re-record that tape with a new message.  I pushed it.  When Kim, the coach of Team LOLA , explained that we were going to be running 4 sets of 2 laps around the track, I said to myself, “One at a time.”  When she suggested we try to do a negative split, which is either the second lap faster than the first or the second 2-lapper faster than the 1st 2-lapper, I said, “One at a time.” I watched the disappearing back of a woman who had told us she had just completed her first half Ironman, and another tall gazelle of a woman on that first 2 lapper.  I couldn’t even keep up with them, hitting the last turn as they crossed the finish at the other end of the field.  On the second one, I asked myself to just keep them a bit closer, and to really try on the last straightaway.  I finished right behind them.  On the third one, I encouraged myself to dig a bit deeper, and passed them right at the end. On the last one, the two girls that I had been happily following made me go first.  I didn’t want to do that, because I liked following them.  It felt more comfortable.  I mean, they were runners.  I was just hanging on as long as I could. But the one said (and I’m not sure who, because she was behind me) she didn’t want me to pass her again at the end, because she was giving it all she had and then I would pass her.  And the other one said, “Hell, own it girl.”  Or something to that effect. I ran faster than I thought I could those 2 laps, and it felt great.  And then Kim asked us to do one final lap.  What would it feel like, she asked, to give it all we had?  To turn the dial to 9 at some point, maybe just at the end.  How often do we get to ask ourselves to really dig deep.  She promised we would recover.  She promised no matter how much it would hurt, it would pass.  So on the last sprint lap, I bolted at the beginning, and around that second of three turns, when it started to HURT HURT HURT, the voice inside said, “You can pull up and slow now, Sue, because you’re not really a runner.  You don’t have it.” The voice said, “You can stop.  It’s ok.”


 But then I heard the hard breathing of someone coming up behind me, and damn if I didn’t want to give up.


If she could, whoever she was, I could.  So I kept going, even though it hurt so much.  And when I hit the straightaway and my breathing was all funky and raw, I gave it all I had left and turned it up to 9.  I crossed the line first. I’m telling you, we are so much stronger than we think.  In all realms.  And today, I can’t use the excuse that I’m not a runner.  Because now I am.  And I wonder where this new recording inside my head will take me.

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Day One


This is an updated re-post from last year. Soon after I started training last year, some family & heallth issues kept me from continuing.  All is good now and I am thrilled to be training alongside 12 fabulous LOLA women for the Nike Marathon in October.

July 8, 2013….Today is Day One of Marathon training. In 15 weeks, I plan to cross the finish line of my fourth marathon. This is not an easy feat for me or anybody that has ever attempted a 26.2 mile race. 26.2 miles is a long ******* way on your feet!  Many people think that because I am a Nutritionist, Run Coach, Fitness trainer and have competed in triathlons, running races and everything else in between for so many years that a “simple little marathon” should be easy for me, right? No way. 20 years ago I transitioned to triathlons because running a marathon was just too hard! I figured if I was going to be out there for 4 hours, I may as well be doing 3 different sports. (“at least I will get to sit down for awhile on the bike portion,” I thought.)

I am human just like you… in a constant state of “juggle” in my attempt to balance family, home, work, life & athletics. I am married with 4 school age kids, own my own business working crazy hours, manage the household along with all of my mom duties and need to find time every day to exercise. I plan my exercise times for the week on Sunday evening and stick to that schedule as best I can. This way, when I have to get up at 5am on a Saturday morning to run before work….I am ready for it. Being a Nutritionist, you may also think I eat “perfectly” all of the time. No way. I do really have a fairly good diet but one of my favorite foods is frosting! I have been known to go out of my way for a nice frosting covered dessert….yum! Honestly, no one eats perfectly all of the time but if you can live by the 80-20 rule ( 80% healthy eating, 20% treats) you are doing okay.

I chose this challenge of the marathon as a gift to myself. A gift, you say? Some think it’s a more like a horrible form of torture. A gift, might be a day at the spa or a much needed vacation. But to me this is like a vacation. While I am training, long runs in the wee hours alone, it becomes an adventurous journey every time I step out that door. Where will it take me, what will I see, how will I feel, people I will meet all become part of this adventure. And for those hours I am out there, it is all about ME and everything else slips away. For you women out there, I know ME time is hard to find. No matter how you get it….make time to find it. It will save your life.

I promise to not bore you for the next 105 days with the details of my training. I really am hoping to inspire you to set a goal for yourself and have your own Day One. Maybe it’s a mile, a 5k, or half marathon…it all begins with a commitment to yourself.  Your Day ONE  will be the beginning of a change. Train along with me. I will support & cheer you on through your own adventure!

Now go find your ME time……and let me know where you found it.

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The Accidental Runner

I figured when writing my first post on a health blog, it was important to tell how I became a runner…accidentally.  I grew up as a dancer. We were never allowed to run for exercise because it “shortened our muscles” said our dancing teacher. ( We were also not allowed to get suntan lines, miss a class, complain, or eat….that’s a whole separate issue) So, being a good student, I never ran and frankly, it felt like torture when I had to run in PE class. I could dance forever, and often did, but run 4 laps around the track…forget it!!

Fast forward to my young adult life…I had transitioned from being a dancer to aerobic instructor. ( It was the 80’s after all) I loved teaching aerobics, it enabled me to be a “dancer” and get some exercise teaching others at the same time. Plus it helped me earn some spending money in college. My mom had just started “jogging” and asked if I would join her in a big race called Bay to Breakers. I said sure but I was NOT running. Could we walk the entire 7.5 miles? She said sure and promised I didn’t have to run. Off we went to San Francisco to walk this famous running event. There we stood at the starting line amongst real runners looking all too serious. I say one more time, ” we are just walking, right?”  “Yes,”  she assures me. The gun goes off and we are on our way for an enjoyable 7.5 mile walk through the city by the bay.

Ha! That “walk”  lasted less than a mile. The crowd was so thick, that we were getting pushed along by the running crowd. “This will thin and slow down any minute,” I tell myself. 3, 4, 5 miles go by and I am still running. I can’t believe it. And I was kind of liking it. Weird?! I pass the 7 mile mark, digging deep. I can see the finish line…luckily, it’s all down hill and the crowd is cheering loudly. My mom and I cross the finish line together. We had finished our first race and had RUN 7.5 miles! I couldn’t believe it but I loved it! That was the day, 25 years ago, that I became an “accidental runner.”

I don’t suggest every new runner start with a 7.5 mile run. No new runner, ever should begin with too much too soon. Consider your current fitness level and begin from there. Maybe it’s 30 seconds of running mixed into some walking or 30 minutes of running if you are more active. Start slow, don’t rush it and enjoy the process. You never know….you too may become an “accidental runner.”

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