Watchung 50k Race Report

January 24, 2015 by holisticguru

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Wow! What an experience, all around. I want to start by saying THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart. One of the things that was so awe-inspiring about this entire experience was the fundraising. So many people came forward and donated. Some simply helped us to spread the word and that was equally as appreciated. Thanks to everyone who got involved, John and I raised OVER $7,000 for children in inpatient pediatric oncology units for the holidays here. The funds were donated to 17 hospitals by Team Continuum. A special thanks to Gallery 57 Dental and Dr Andy Koenigsberg for their super generous matching donation days. That really helped put us over the top. As a thank you to Andy, I plan to beat him up every climb on the bike at SLB this year so that he will be challenged to get even stronger. He is my favorite training buddy, after all.

There was a certain magic that happened in my training and race day for the NJ Trail Series Watchung 50k. The magic was in knowing that I wasn’t doing it just for me. This was different because I was motivated by something outside of myself and something greater than me. When I wanted to quit I thought of the kids we were raising money for. They can’t quit. When I thought about not training I thought of all the people who rose to the occasion to support my fundraising. If I didn’t try my best, I would be letting everyone down. This was another level of motivation and I plan to do it again next year. And with social media, fundraising wasn’t nearly as difficult as I once thought it was. This was just plain awesome.

For this race, I was lucky to have the course close enough to train on. I did 4 long runs right at Watchung and my final long run was a true “dress rehearsal” for the event. I also decided to use the training for this event to test a new nutrition product that I’m really excited about. Base is a newer endurance nutrition company that you’ve likely heard of, and if not, you’ll see them soon. They are making a huge splash in a short amount of time, for good reason. They’ve figured out the best and most effective hydration and electrolyte system that I’ve seen. It’s completely innovative. The idea is that the electrolytes (Base Salt) are taken as a salt by licking the salt off of your finger as needed. This is far better than taking salt/electrolyte capsules. Why? Because salt is absorbed through your mouth/tongue and doesn’t absorb as efficiently in your stomach. It’s immediate delivery and its a welcome taste alternative and break from all the sickeningly sweet fuel. I didn’t have it yet for my first long run on the course (30k) and I had a rough time. I had it for the following long runs and felt great. Also, I never considered myself to be someone who loses much salt while I train and race, but it still made a huge difference. I didn’t fade. Now I won’t train or race without it. I’m excited to see what else this new company comes out with. I am excited to try their aminos and would be even more stoked if they make a sports drink.

Okay, back to the 50k report… You may know that I’ve been battling a nasty injury with my foot. Rupturing my plantar fascia ended my season early in August last year. I’ve been playing with finding a balance of training volume and healing and have struggled with deciphering between further injury pain or stiffness and inflexibility from being in a walking boot. Luckily I got through the 50k with only medium discomfort.

On race morning, we arrived with an hour to spare. It was 27 degrees at the start and I went to use the bathroom one last time. I tried to take a sip of water from my hydration pack while I stood in line and I’m glad I did! The bladder was empty! It must have been leaking the entire car ride there and thankfully I discovered it before I needed to hydrate while racing! I refilled it and had to run from the bathroom to the start and got there as the gun went off, so just kept running.

This race start is especially tough because the race puts on a 10k, 20k, 30k, marathon and 50k race at the same time on the same loop. Everyone starts together. I normally like to line up in front so that when girls go ahead of me, I know exactly how many and I can pace myself accordingly. In this race, all distances start together so I have to focus on my pacing and keep in mind that girls flying ahead may be running the 10k and not the 50k. I won the marathon here last year and ran a lot of that race with the 50k winner, so I knew I had a chance. It’s really tough to be competitive and let girls go not knowing if I’m racing against them. Also, just being in the mix with people running the shorter distances threw off my perceived effort. I ran the first lap in 58 minutes, 3 minutes faster than my fastest speed focused loop in training. Well, crap. I also let 6 girls go ahead. And I dropped a gel flask with half my calories in it. You would think the race was off to a bad start but I was having a blast. I was running comfortably and I looked at my first fast lap as bought time for later, as long as I forced myself to chill out. I started the second loop at what felt like a snail pace.

A third of the way into the second loop I took a massive digger, my first one in all the times I’ve run this course! My hand and knee were bleeding and my hip flexor felt slightly strained and I was covered in dirt. Oh well! I kept going. Then I found my nutrition that I had dropped the lap before! What luck. I finished the second loop only about 6 minutes slower and slightly faster than my target pace. I still needed to slow down more.

During my third loop my hip really started to hurt and I had to focus on not letting it throw my gait off. That said, my previously injured foot felt okay, so I was thrilled about that. I wasn’t sure if my hip flexor hurt from the fall or because I’m an imbecile and climbed/hiked the biggest mountain I’ve ever been on only 2 days prior. What kind of stupid taper idea was that? I finished the third loop in about the same time as the second.

Beginning my 4th loop I was trying not to limp too much. I had passed a few girls but I was also starting to bonk from being behind on calories. I had fallen behind during the period that I didn’t have my gel flask. I was also low on hydration so I stopped at the aid station to fill my water and load up on more Base salt to help revive me. I needed a lot of calories but the bar I had with me was frozen solid! I still have so much to learn with ultra running. While I was dallying at the aid station I met a girl who was also doing the 50k and was also on her second to last lap. She had been behind me but she left the aid station before me and was looking super strong, running with a fast-looking guy. I knew my only chance of catching her and passing her would be if I got my nutrition squared away. This ended up being a scary tactical decision that worked. I walked swiftly as I tore into my frozen bar and it was exactly what I needed to give a Popeye eating spinach effect. I felt strong again and caught her by the end of the 4th loop. That said, my 4th loop was ridiculously slow and it took me about 15 minutes longer than I wanted it to.

I didn’t know if I was in the lead but I knew I had passed the other girl and that she was a strong runner so I pushed the pace. I was so sore but I focused on good form, and with nothing left to hold back for, I flew through the 5th loop. I was amazed I had so much in me.

It felt incredible to finish my first 50k and I was fully in love with this new distance as I approached and crossed the finish. The race director was right there as I crossed the line and said “Wow! 5:38! In case you don’t know, you won”. And it appears that I set a new course record since this course changed from the original loop a few years ago. How cool is that?! I already can’t wait for my next ultra.

Thank you again to everyone who supported my fundraising, to John for coaching me, to NJ Trail Series for putting on such awesome events, to FemMed Sleep for fixing my insomnia so I can train and race to my potential without feeling exhausted, and to Block Island Sport Shop and Jim Ortel for all of your love, support, and gear.

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The Sickest Nutrition Deal Ever

December 26, 2014 by holisticguru

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RIGHT NOW (sign up through December only) I’m offering the lowest price I ever have for nutrition counseling. I’m looking for 7 new clients to do a 3-month version of my 6-month program for only $100 per month (normally $195/month for 6 months). Once these 7 spots are taken, anyone else will pay the regular price. Three spots were spoken for on the first day – leaving only 4 MORE SPOTS.

The 3-month Nutrition Counseling Program is a shortened version of the 6-month program (with an option to continue to 6 months at the $100 monthly fee. All programs include:

- Two phone or skype sessions per month, held bi-weekly
- Handouts, simple and delicious recipes, and notes to accompany every session
- Unlimited email support between sessions
- A personalized nutrition plan based on the needs of your body, including set action steps to be held accountable for between sessions to help you reach your goal
- An in-depth understanding of your training and racing nutritional needs (when applicable)
- Tips to prepare simple and healthy meals, control your cravings and balance your macro-nutrients to fit your metabolic type

This can be an AWESOME holiday gift for a friend or loved one. If you’d like to give this as a gift, I’m happy to send you a gift certificate with a healthy gift to give to the person. Then they can schedule their sessions with me personally.

Get your butt in gear for 2015! Don’t wait! Email me: christine@liveandeatbetter.com to schedule your initial consult RIGHT NOW!

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Coming Back With a Vengeance – 5k and 10k WINS and 50K Training

December 26, 2014 by holisticguru

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I’m finally getting back into my running “stride”  and I’m balancing a fine line between continued healing from my August injury and training for my first 50K. The runs are long but I’m mixing in cycling so that I don’t need to run more than thrice per week. I’m also doing a lot of strength training, which I’m really seeing a benefit with. I feel STRONG when I’m running. I’m definitely having discomfort in my foot but it feels less like pain and more like stiffness. I have to mentally focus on agility when running trails. I’m telling my foot to bend fully (in all of its bendy places) with every step. But, I’m running and that makes me HAPPY.

Here are the recent highlights:

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22 Mile Trail Run - After the last 18-mile trail run I was concerned because I thought I had lost my endurance altogether, since I had taken an entire 3 months off from running. I felt awful after the last one and barely made it through. I was also out of practice with my nutrition and packing all I needed. I didn’t take the distance seriously enough and I didn’t fuel well with the freezing cold. So, for this run, I got my nutrition back in the game. I calculated and measured and timed my calories, the way that I know I should. I packed gel flasks and plenty of water in my hydration pack. I also set out to try BASE Performance Electrolyte Salt. I’m excited about this stuff because I believe in the science behind it. The electrolytes are absorbed through the tongue, rather than trying to absorb salt through the stomach via a capsule. Genius! And a lot of people are having major success with this product. It was awesome to have a salty taste throughout the run. I get so sick of sweets. We started with a short out and back to get our full mileage in, then we paced the first 10k loop EASY and ran it in 1:10. The next loop felt easy too, but we ran it in 1:07. For the last loop, I got in the front so that I could take an opportunity to learn the route without mindlessly following behind. This run is meant as prep for our race at Watchung for the 50k with NJ Trail Series. Last year, John and I both won the marathon distance race. I have this thing that I do whenever I’m in front for a run or ride. I feel like I don’t want to slow us down and hold my training partner back so I go WAY TOO HARD and my perceived exertion is all off. So with this going on, coupled with the fact that I could see really well in front of me without another person to look at, I paced us to a 1:01 loop. Negative splits for 22 miles! Shoot!

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5k WIN - This holiday season we have been giddy about holiday running races. We did out “Turkey Trot Tour” for Thanksgiving and hit two 5k races. Now we decided to drop into the local Holiday Hustle 5k in Dobbs Ferry, NY. I happen to love Dobbs Ferry. It’s an adorable town along the Hudson River. We showed up, did our warm up, then lined up for the race. So MANY people were in costume! I was crazy excited when I saw that the lead vehicles were SANTAS ON HARLEYS. How fricking cool is that?! I was also surprised that so many people were there to race. I knew there might be some college runners in the crowd and that strikes fear into my heart. The gun went off and I settled into 2nd place. This course was ridiculously hilly and the girl in 1st got pretty far ahead pretty quickly. I kept seeing her at the top of the hills as I started climbing at the bottom. I wasn’t sure I’d catch her and my only hope was that she couldn’t hold her effort. I just settled in and held mine (eyeballs almost bursting out of my head but not hard enough to actually have them pop out – 5k effort). Eventually the gap got smaller and soon I was only about 20 yards behind her and we stayed like that for over a mile. Then, as we took lefts and rights, winding through hilly neighborhoods, I knew I had her. With about a half mile to go I attacked on a hill and got in front. I steadied my breathing as I passed her and I kept the lead to the finish. Woooooo! Winner, winner, chicken dinner. The best part of this race was the after-party. They had hot chocolate and candy canes in the local fire station and there was a Grinch on a scooter! SO MUCH FUN.

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10k WIN - After that, only 6 days later, we lined up for another trail race. This time it was the NJ Trail Series Winter Series #2 10k. I HATE 10k racing. It’s like running close to your 5k pace but for way too long. I don’t love the head-exploding feeling of running 5k pace but I can handle it for about 20 min or so. But barely ease off of that and have to go balls to the wall for more than twice that amount of time? No thanks. So I usually opt for the 13.1 races in this trail series, but my foot needed to NOT have another long run. So I sucked it up. When the race started I got in the front right away. I knew there was a girl right behind me but I didn’t want to turn to look. I waited for the switchbacks to get a sense of how hard I had to work and she never dropped back at all. Crap. Now I had to run a racing 10k pace with her breathing down my neck! OUCH. I felt one with the trails though and I ran like a kid, with no fear of tripping or falling and my feet landed exactly where I wanted. I felt like I was flying. But like an uncomfortable flying. The trails were technical and windy with lots of climbing and descending. So much fun! I was on the rivet but I was careful not to show my discomfort and risk giving the girl on my back a mental advantage. At about the halfway point I got a peek of her on a switchback and she had fallen back, but not enough for me to chill at all. Soon, I started to hit a wall and I began to slow. I got passed by two guys who were behind me the entire race and I knew that all I could do was try to hold on and not slow anymore. When I made the turn for the last 100 yards I had no idea how close she had gotten. I sprinted anyway and finished with her finishing less than 30 seconds back. Yikes! But I won! How awesome. Oh, and John won too so that’s really sweet and romantic.

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25 Mile Train Run - The 10k was on Saturday and I went home and hit the gym right after, so I worked all day Sunday and didn’t train. On Monday we headed back to Watchung for our last long run of our 50k training. We planned to do 4+ loops of the 10k course. We were both super cooked and decided to take it really easy this time. I, once again, dialed my nutrition. This was my last dress rehearsal for fueling for the big day. My legs were still heavy from lifting but I don’t mind that so much when I’m training. Especially because we were just going to cruise. My foot was really stiff and now I was developing a specific pain on the center, lateral side of my foot. I had done some research and obsessing and determined this to be my cuboid bone. It is common for issues to arise here after a PF injury, like I had. My fingers are crossed that with icing and rolling and resting (kinda) that it will resolve itself enough to run the 50k without issue. I’m walking with a limp but running relatively pain free. Honestly, my foot feels like it lacks flexibility and that’s why I’m limping. My plan is to go to a new doctor after the 50k, when my new health insurance kicks in for the new year. Anyway, we hit the trails with our pump up song running through our brains and veins, because we had been playing it over and over for days. We ran the first “easy” loop in 1:08. Oops. The next loop was 1:07. Oops, we were aiming for 1:10 loops! The third loop was in 1:06, DANG! Then I got in the front for the last loop and did the thing again. I felt great, even though I was struggling with my sad/ stiff foot, and we did the last loop in 1:01 again. WHAT THE! I hope I feel this awesome on race day, January 3rd! I’m definitely planning to use the BASE Performance Salt for my 50k. Yum.

I’m pretty stoked about my fitness right now. I’m tapering for Watchung 50k and it has been a perfect goal to focus on to help me cope with life stuff (mom’s cancer and the unexpected loss of my big sis). I’m pouring myself into my training and nutrition and finding happiness amidst the chaos and pain. I got my body fat measured with pinchers the other day and I’m at a super lean 14% – which is definitely helping me feel great on my runs. I won’t go any lower than that and its nice to have my diet, strength training and running so dialed. I love having race goals over the holidays!

 

How to Snack and Not Hate Yourself For it

December 19, 2014 by holisticguru
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I received a question from a twitter follower last night about healthy snacking and I thought it would make a useful blog post for my adoring fans.

The question:

What are some healthy snacks I can choose when I start to get brain-dead, tired, and restless around 3pm? A piece of fruit doesn’t do it for me anymore and I’ve fallen into the habit of getting an ice cream instead.

Answer:

1) Your lack of energy could be a hydration issue. One of the first things that happens when we start to become dehydrated is a decrease in energy. We don’t actually feel thirsty until we’re dehydrated so its important to keep drinking water to avoid feeling thirsty. Also, our brains often misinterpret our body thirst signals as food cravings.

Step #1 to wake yourself up at 3pm… “do a little dance and take a sip of water” -Red Hot Chili Peppers

2) Also, when you crave a snack try deconstructing that craving and identifying the specific qualities of the food in mind. Are you craving creamy or cold food when you get ice cream? Can you find something healthier to have instead, like a creamy and cold smoothie? Or a blended frozen banana? Most people tend to crave certain types of foods all the time. Identify the common qualities and come up with a list of snack ideas that have these qualities.

3) Another way to increase your energy in mid-afternoon is to move your body. Try going for a short stroll, doing push ups, a 5-minute core workout or a few yoga stretches. Any yoga pose that inverts your head will refresh your energy. Try a standing forward bend or a few sun salutations.

4) Create your own healthy snack list. Try making a list of healthy snack ideas based on 4 categories: crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet. Here is an example to get you started:

crunchy

apples
frozen grapes
carrots with hummus
celery with peanut butter

creamy

fruit smoothie
yogurt
frozen, blended banana
avocado

salty

olives
peanuts or other nuts
pickles
steamed veggies with tamari

sweet

wheat grass
baked sweet potato or other root veggie
apple with almond butter
dark chocolate chips

Feel free to leave comments with the snack ideas from your own healthy snack list!

Gallery 57 Dental Gives Matching Donation up to $1250!

December 8, 2014 by holisticguru
Andrew Koenigsberg - Dentist/ Ironman!

Andrew Koenigsberg – Dentist/ Ironman!

Strong Like Bull athlete, Andy the Dentist, of Gallery 57 Dental has offered us a HUGE matching donation in honor of our next long run to train for our 50k race at Watchung! ALL of the money we raise will be used to buy holiday gifts for children in inpatient pediatric oncology units. We plan to run 3 loops of the course (6.2 miles each) tomorrow. Here’s what we ask: Are you willing to donate $19 (miles) OR $30 (kilometers) or MORE to be matched by Andy and Gallery 57 Dental? Just think of what (19 x 2) $38 can buy for sick children who are fighting cancer this holiday season. Our goal is to raise $6,500 by December 20th!

Andy is one of our BEST training partners AND he’s our dentist. He’s the coolest dentist in the universe. In fact, he raced Ironman Cozumel a couple of weeks ago in a Team Continuum kit and he saw other TC athletes out there racing too! So cool!

Andy and John at Strong Like Bull cycling camp in Spain

Andy and John at Strong Like Bull cycling camp in Spain

Thank you so much for your generosity, Andy and Gallery 57 Dental!

Please donate here and your money will be doubled from now until midnight on December 8th (tomorrow).

COACH JOHN AND CHRISTINE RUN 50K TO RAISE $6.5K TO BUY HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR THE KIDDOS!

November 20, 2014 by holisticguru

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Hey peeps,

Now its OUR turn to raise money! (You can donate here). We (Coach John andChristine) recently learned that Team Continuum donates approximately $6000-7000 per year to purchase holiday gifts for children in inpatient pediatric oncology units in our local hospitals. This tradition began in the earliest days of Team Continuum by our founder, Paul Nicholls. The following story, telling how the tradition began, was shared by one of the first TC athletes, Peter LaMonica, on our Facebook page. Hearing this story inspired us to choose a race and to raise THE ENTIRE HOLIDAY GIFT AMOUNT ourselves. We are always asking friends, family, and even strangers to join our cause and to race and raise money for us. Now, with NYC Marathon season behind us, its our turn. We will be running the Watchung 50k Trail Race with New Jersey Trail Series on January 3, 2015, and with your help we intend to complete our fundraising by December 20th, 2014.

“One Christmas…

This is one of many stories I have with Paul Nichols. In the beginning of Team Continuum, we held the second annual appreciation party for all of the people that worked so hard for the year. A couple of weeks prior, Paul was at the hospital having his weekly check up and while sitting in the waiting room, he noticed a play pen with one toy in it. He asked the receptionist why there was only one toy in the pen, and she told him that the toy was for all of the kids in the pediatric cancer area.

Now, If you know Paul, there is no way he’s going to stand for this! So we had the party and Paul asked everyone to bring a wrapped toy. Well, the next day, we had over 1,500 wrapped toys! We brought the toys to Paul’s home, and put them in a small apartment in the townhouse. On Christmas Eve we had people donate some of their holiday time to distribute the toys to five hospitals in NYC. With limousines donated to deliver, Paul and I delivered gifts in the terminal children’s areas of the hospitals, placing a toy at their bedsides. We brought all the toys to the play room, and the kids came in. A little girl came up to me and asked if she could have a toy ( so humble), I said, “you can have three toys!”

The best part, for me, involved a young girl who had a rare brain tumor. Her dream was to learn to play the guitar but she didn’t have the means. Paul gave her a brand new guitar. These kids sat in that room and so respectfully opened their gifts. This was the most fulfilling Christmas I have ever spent.

And this is the person Paul Nichols was… all after noticing a playpen with one toy, Paul and Team Continuum brought happiness to so many that Christmas. That playpen will never be empty again.

Peter La Monica”

Please consider contributing to this very specific cause. Help us bring holiday cheer to these children, as they fight their fight. Let’s put a smile on their faces. This will be our first 50k run (both John and Christine) and we will be running that day with these children on our minds, knowing that you all helped us to brighten their holiday season.

Thank you for your support of Team Continuum! Click here to donate.

Katy Kicked Her First Tri’s Butt!

October 14, 2014 by holisticguru

So, I’m coaching Katy and she is busting into tri and killing it already. You need to admire her dedication. Also she’s super funny. Here’s her race report from Mermaid Capitola Tri! I’m so damn proud!

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Pre Race Saturday:

Drank water all day, some of it was with Nuun. Dinner at 6pm of pasta with marinara, small salad, and an apple.

Race Day Sunday:

Thoughts going in were that I knew my knee was going to be sore from the bike wreck the previous week and to just do what I could. I was over thinking about it and just wanted to do the damn race.

Amrita Bar and apple for breakfast.

Rode bike to transition area since only about a mile away downhill. Great on the way there…not so great later. Noticed numerous boys pumping up tires on bikes of numerous girls and thought of the Laura & Christine podcast about being self-sufficient. Transition area was irritating with chicks yacking about kids, divorce, blah blah blah. Told swim start was delayed but headed to the beach which was about 8 minute walk…again downhill. (do you see a trend?) Jumped in and out of waves and paddled around waiting for swim start.

Swim (or more like dog paddle): “Get your mermaid tail to the start”

Ran out to Taylor Swift song. Really? REALLY?

Swells were big (well they seemed big) and current was strong pushing me back towards the start. I was freaking out. I felt so compressed by wetsuit that I could not get a deep breath. Kept telling myself to calm down and nobody was going to let me drown. Because I’m a mermaid…duh. Wasn’t even half way to the first buoy and was considering getting pulled out. I’m serious. I was really freaking out. But kept telling myself that I would be ok. Since I could not catch my breath, and was in my head, I was not really swimming…more of a dog paddle. Briefly thought how I could be back in hotel room watching the Food Network. Briefly thought about how Christine the Evil Kitten would kick my ass if I did. Before I could get to the first buoy I could hear the wave behind me starting which only contributed to my overall freak out. ….you’re a mermaid Katy…keep paddling….. Remembered my plan was to flip on my back. So I did. Freaked out more because I couldn’t see and water was sloshing over me…so back to dog paddle. Tried to focus on crawl with head out of water. Kept telling myself that consistency would soothe me and get me out of my head.

Use your arms Katy…breathe Katy….

Nice ladies in other colored caps swarmed me, one asked if I was ok. I said yes. I’m a mermaid. Then I hit the sea of kelp. Fuck me. Are you serious? What is your problem Poseidon? Hit second buoy. Excited because I could see the shore and for some reason thought the current would carry me right in. Apparently not and Poseidon is a dick. Noticed the shore line was full of lifeguards and they were bringing in swimmers. Ya, I’m about to die but I notice the hot lifeguards. Swimmers were getting in but then being tossed with the waves. Got my feet under me and started to go in and was warned about wave behind me by lifeguard. Wave hit us both and we were tossed. We ended up on the shore with me on his lap. Asked if I could stay there. He said no and to keep going.

Whatever.

Got out of water and went to transition area…uphill slog of about 10 minutes…knee was being a bitch. I was one of the few bikes left in the transition area so I did not have the shit show to deal with.

Bike:

The Goz (bike) and I got out and on the road and had a Gu and started working on getting some Nuun in me. I could not stop spitting, I think I drank a ton of salt water during the swim. Poseidon is a dick. Passed some people, had some back and forth, felt good. Kept spitting. Knew the climb was coming. Didn’t appreciate the dumbass volunteer who shouted “all uphill from here.” Really Jhole? Is that encouragement? I struggle with gears, this is something I need to work on. I get confused. Started doing math equations in my head to ignore the fact that I was struggling on the incline. Walked at ‘almost’ the top of the hill. My gears were all messed up and calves were crampy. Said fuck-it. Katy needs to catch her breath. Downhill fly down, ate half an Amrita Bar bar as I flew by bikers who were being cautious and breaking at every corner. So annoying. Get out of my way. I’m a mermaid on two wheels! Some woman named Elizabeth and I kept going back and forth. Decided hell with that and she was going down. Never saw her again. Counted 6 water bottles on the route. Apparently some people don’t practice grabbing and drinking. Rolled to transition and knee was REALLY pissed.

Run:

Tried to run.

No.

So I embraced the power walk which I did until about the last mile then ran. Hit the beach and the hard sand…knee said no. There was some sort of blue grass band playing under the wharf. If I wasn’t busy being a bad ass mermaid I would have stopped to enjoy them.

So did a little trot over the finish line.

Texted Evil Kitten.

Slogged back uphill to my hotel and was asked by a boy (probably about 8) how was the race? I said awesome. He gave be a high 5.

I love beach towns.

Pain in the Mass Tour Race Report!

October 7, 2014 by holisticguru

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Yes! I got to do a race! I’ve been surviving my injury (rupured plantar fascia at Block Island Tri in early August). It started with 3 weeks of crutches and NO weight bearing and then more time in a walking boot. Now I’m at 10 weeks post-injury and I’m walking fine, unable to run, nursing some atrophy in my foot, and I’m able to ride my bike! Its been pretty tough to be off my feet for so long. If I didn’t have the Pain in the Mass Tour to focus on I would have needed padded walls. I literally got on the bike trainer before I could really walk, and that was only 2 weeks before race day!

PITM logo

This event was a first time event and I was amazed at how well run it was. The organizers are completely new at putting on a race and they thought of nearly everything and even added some special extra touches! I wrangled up my parents and my friend Michael to volunteer for the weekend and it was super awesome to have them all there. It was a 2 day event and a point-to-point ride. The entire ride was timed and the two main climbs were timed. There were individual and team awards. But before I get into the details of the actual race, I want to explain the WHY.

This event is a fundraiser for the Tyler Foundation. The foundation was established by Heather (an event organizer) and Erik in honor of their son Tyler.  Tyler was born with epilepsy and as an infant he suffered up to 20 grand mal seizures per day. His parents were fortunate enough to be able to afford all of the expenses (food, gas, equipment) during Tyler’s extended hospital stays but they thought of the families who struggled. This is why they began the Tyler Foundation – to help families of children with epilepsy who are being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital and UMASS Memorial Children’s Medical Center to be able to cover their expenses. They are very similar to Team Continuum in this way. All proceeds from the event go to the Home Away Fund/ Tyler Foundation.

The event was insane. You know I love riding up mountains on my bike and this was the BEST climbing I’ve done in the US. My Evil racing Cult bike was donning its ERC race wheels and looking darned sexy, if you ask me. Day 1 began with a 30 mile warm up to get to the first climb, Mt Wachusett. I used the first 30 miles to chill and just meet the familiar faces. I hadn’t been training for long so I planned to just race the climbs and enjoy the rest of the ride in a chill fashion. Of course I came to a couple of really steep shorter climbs and couldn’t resist digging in, to which I got some comments from the tough guys because I think they weren’t expecting lil’ ole me to breeze by up a big hill. Giggle. The weather was a bit chilly (gloves, hat, jacket) but warmed up enough to start shedding layers by the first aid station. When we finally arrived at Mt Wachusett I was pumped. I went over the timing mat and dug in. I passed people one by one and felt STRONG. I was surprised at how comfortable I was, considering I hadn’t been on my bike in a long time. I was the first lady to get to the top and was QOM. At the top I waited for my folks and chatted with a new nutrition client of mine who has been struggling with some muscle cramping. I asked him if he had done all the things I had told him to do to avoid cramping. He said no. So I made fun of him and glued myself to him for the rest of the day (nearly 80 miles). I tried to get him back on track with electrolytes and hydration and stopped with him when he would cramp. Eventually we collected a group of people who were happy to chill a bit but eventually my buddy started to cramp less and we all picked up the pace and hammered it in. I was FRICKING COOKED by the time we got back. Day one was 117 miles and like 9,000 feet of climbing.

4 exhausted cyclists, 4 bikes, one elevator

4 exhausted cyclists, 4 bikes, one elevator

When I got back to the hotel I was completely exhausted but totally wired. I started to panic that I wouldn’t sleep because I was excited and nervous for the next day. I went up to my room and the race staff already had my luggage in there waiting for me. That was a special touch that I deeply appreciated. Then I was off to dinner and they had GLUTEN FREE PASTA! I ate all the things and then put my name on the list for free massage after dinner. I got a two-lady massage, and if you have never had one, I suggest you grab the first two ladies you see right now and make them give you a massage at the same time. From there folks were fixing to go get drinks and hang out but I opted to go to my room and chill and get some good sleep. I took my FemMed Sleep (that I use especially for mega training and HARD racing) and was out cold and didn’t even wake up when my roomie came in after hanging with the cool kids. That stuff is like a mix of magic, plus a snuggly blankie, plus your mom reading you a bedtime story. I sweat through my sleep because my metabolism was through the roof from my crazy day. And I was already sore and my voice was hoarse. Holy moly.

2 ladies, 4 hands, 1 melting athlete

2 ladies, 4 hands, 1 melting athlete

The next morning I woke up looking like a beautiful-queen-cycling-goddess, or at least I felt like one. I went down to breakfast, dropped my luggage back in the luggage sag van, then batted my lashes at the bike mechanic and asked him to pretty please make my bike shift in all its gears again. We met at the start and had a mini KOM and QOM ceremony from the day prior. I got a polka dot jersey! Yay! Then we were off for day 2! 64 miles with about 6,000 feet of climbing! I felt surprisingly good and told the weather “bring it” with its dreary, gloomy drizzle. I have survived some pretty mean weather conditions and I knew that weather was going to blow over soon. Within an hour I was shedding layers, and an hour after that it was dry and sunny. My plan again was to only race the timed climb, Mt Greylock, and to make friends when I wasn’t climbing. I chatted up some honeys and they were my new friends, and PS they are wicked cyclists. I also rode with some fellas and noticed again that boys seem to always have something wrong with their bike that is slowing them down. Especially this guy named Peter. He had the worst luck. He totally would have beat me up the mountain the day before if he was able to shift into his small ring. Then he was struggling to keep up because all three of his wheels were flat. I mean, this guy must be a machine normally. Just a bad weekend I guess.

QOM!

Queen of the Mountains!

Most importantly, this ride was BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL. The overwhelming beauty started at the beginning of the 6-mile climb-to-the-climb. Me and the ladies took that easy and soaked it all in. The last aid station before the climb was super sweet because my mom and dad were there with my friend Michael! It was so great to see their faces and everyone enjoyed their company. Finally, at the bottom of Mt Greylock I started to get wicked nervous! I put on my climbing playlist as I began pedaling, building my confidence up as I thought of all of the SICK climbing I have done at Strong Like Bull. I was prepared. Several years of SLB meant that my default was to be prepared for the climbing worst, even without much training. I dug in. Oh man that climb was tough! It was harder than I expected and rivaled the bottom section of the Pico ride in Spain! This was no joke! I often wondered if I might tip over and thought about stopping to rest, but I didn’t. I just took it super easy and slow at the toughest portions. Toward the top the elevation gain started to chill out a bit, or the view was so gorgeous it distracted me… or both.  Again I was QOM and I was super stoked. Then, I was even more stoked when my nutrition client got to the top of the climb and said he had zero cramping all day and had been hydrating according to schedule. BOOM! I TOLD YA SO! The descent down the mountain was everything you’re hoping it was, switchbacks and smooth surface and 40 MPH excitement. From there I don’t remember much of the last bit of the ride back to the finish. It was great but I was too happy to notice details.

Look. I helped.

Look. I helped.

The finish was spectacular. They had BBQ food, and a dj, and fancy/healthy chocolate (Perfect Fuel) that was amazingly delicious, and beer, and a lake to jump in and rinse off. We had an awards ceremony and everyone sat around to celebrate and share their war stories. I will definitely do this ride again and the next time I will be bringing a badass team of SLB monsters.

Summit of Mt Grelock. Ooooooooh. Aaaaahhhhh.

Summit of Mt Grelock. Ooooooooh. Aaaaahhhhh.

Now I’m cycling focused, riding my mountain bike tons. And I plan to try running this weekend if I get a green light from the doctor. Cannot wait to run again after crewing Bobby at the Grindstone 100-mile run this weekend!

Do this event with me! The Pain in the Mass Tour!

June 26, 2014 by holisticguru

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Its put on by my buddy at Boston Common Coffee Co. The event is on September 20th and 21st and has some serious climbing! My fave! Its a timed event and they have KOM and QOM jerseys. I want one.

Check it out here: Pain in the Mass Tour

Why I Don’t Eat Wheat

June 26, 2014 by holisticguru

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Warning: This is a totally gross post! People always ask why I don’t eat wheat. This picture is why. I ate wheat (a small amount) while working last weekend and this is my body’s reaction. This is the skin flaking off of my scalp and hair coming with it. It also bleeds but isn’t that bad this time. If this is a reaction I notice (inflammation), I imagine my body reacts negatively in other ways as well (silent inflammation). I treat this with a special shampoo and get back to avoiding wheat in my diet.

When I used to eat normal amounts of wheat products I had this constantly, all over my scalp and onto my forehead and my hair became very thin. I also had chronic migraines. I haven’t had a migraine in 6 years now that I’ve stopped eating wheat and this nasty scalp issue comes up very infrequently as a way for my body to tell me that I got “wheated”. And I don’t have celiac disease!

So there you have it! You’re welcome.

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