Sacramento Bee- CIM write up

Sacramento Bee- CIM write up

This is an article from the sac bee about sunday!


Lost in Translation!!

So a few people have requested that I explain some of my terms, so here it goes!!

It appears that some of my writings have been lost in translation, so to speak. So firstly I am Irish so I say certain things differently. If theres anything you fully don’t get, please let me know as I do forget sometimes!!!

So without further a do:

  • T’wud: It would
  • Runners: are running shoes
  • Craic: fun time
  • Rubbish/bin bag: trash bag
  • Legging it – running really fast!
  • Lashing rain: really pouring down
  • Again you’re finished: by the time you are finished
  • Raring to go: ready to go



Energy Bars-How to pick which one is best.

With so many different energy bars and energy “chews” on the market, the process of choosing an appropriate bar under specific circumstances can be a bit confusing. There is nearly too much choice!!


Lets start here with the main goal of eating an energy bar to gain the most fuel and energy from it. The truth be told, not all so-called energy bars provide appropriate energy from a performance perspective. If your eating for tastiness sake then the energy bar world is your oyster but if you are meeting specific needs the choice is a bit more complicated than that, especially for the needs of endurance, marathon and ultra running.

Each bar may serve a unique purpose in an individual’s diet, but not all energy bars serve the same purpose. Here is some helpful tips in choosing what bar and when.

  • Consider Your Carbs

Choosing a balanced bar that contains a little fat, carbohydrate, and protein works well for many circumstances. However, there are many bars that are quite low in carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates fuel demanding training, constantly curbing carbs may hinder performance, especially if this is a pre-race bar.

In conclusion, If you’re looking for a bar that will support a race or hard workout, choose a bar that contains more like 40g (or more) of carbohydrates. Choosing a carbohydrate-rich bar also applies to post-hard effort snacking. Keep the low carb bars for snacking or treats or whatever during the day.

  • Judge the Fat

Having a little fat in an energy bar can support feeling a greater sense of fullness and satisfaction with eating the energy bar. The important factor to note when a bar has a higher fat content is the fat source. A bar that reads 11g of fat on the label may seem like a high fat load. The next step would be to look at the ingredients. If list of ingredients reads, “organic oats, organic honey, organic peanut butter, raw pumpkin seeds” (in this order), it’s safe to say that a bulk of the fat is most likely a healthy, unsaturated source in coming from the peanut butter and pumpkin seeds. If the label were to read, “whey protein, milk chocolate-covered coating, chocolate chips, glucose syrup,” it’s likely the fat source goes toward the yummy chocolate layer. When the saturated fat content inches up much more than 1-2g, it’s time to look for another bar and steer clear.

  • Protein power!

Energy bars are frequently marketed as providing energy in the form of protein. For a typical healthy diet, a 30g protein bar is not going to be necessary. On the flip side, looking for a bar that carries some protein can be beneficial to meeting daily protein requirements and offer a greater sense of satiety. When choosing to eat a bar before competition focus on carbohydrates, not protein. A bar with 6-20 grams of protein will facilitate the recovery process. A mega-dose of protein for recovery is not necessary, but some protein should be present.

  • Tummy Trouble

Choosing the lower sugar energy bar is the better choice, right? Not so fast. The key here is to look at the label under the total carbohydrates and compare actual grams of sugar when choosing a lower sugar bar. If the label actually reads “low sugar,” it often contains sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols can wreak havoc on the digestive system. Reaction to sugar alcohols varies from person to person; but, sugar alcohols can ferment during the digestive process leading to very uncomfortable gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Some energy bars can have as many as 27 GI distress-causing grams of sugar alcohols.

SO be careful and figure out what works. I personally cannot eat GU, it just doesnt aggree with me and makes me ill (and its nearly at EVERY race 😦 oh well ).

  • Full with Fiber

Choosing high fiber bars can work really well in providing a greater sense of fullness and support overall health. The downside is that this too can lead to gas and bloating for some. Such bars are worth testing outside of critical training and racing windows to ensure they are well tolerated.

  • Fortification

Fortified energy bars can be useful to runners who struggle meeting certain vitamin or mineral needs. Take for example Iron Girl, Marathon and Luna bars, which all have a higher content of iron compared to many similar energy bars. A runner struggling with anemia may choose to include such bars often.

The downside of eating fortified bars all the time is that they can contribute to an excessive intake of nutrients. Aiming to eat a diet that most often consists of a variety in whole foods reduces the risk of over-supplementation.

  • Great Grains

When resources for fresh, whole food are limited and a bar is inevitably going to be the snack or small meal of choice, go for grains. Look for bars with ingredients such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, wheat, and rye. The sooner such grains are listed in the ingredients, the more beneficial grains are present in the bar.

SO Simplest rule of thumb if all else fails and you are unsure just use your good common sense. Chances are If a bar reads a lot of unfamiliar ingredients that are hard to pronounce and you figure it could also be a type of household cleaner!!! or they sound manufactured, a different bar may be a better option.

Happy fueling and happy running.

Marathoning in the rain t’wud seem!!

So with a weather forecast like this impending and likely for the CIM (California Int Marathon), I feel I need to RE-STRESS a few running tips for this sundays rainy race!!

Sunday, December 02
RiseRise: 7:06 AM
RiseSet: 4:45 PM
SetRise: 8:37 PM
SetSet: 10:00 AM
Cloudy, long periods of rain. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 40s.
Relative HumidityRelative Humidity: 84%
PrecipitationPrecipitation: 70%
CloudsCloud Cover: 58%

DON’T be too cool for a DIY rubbish bag!! Take a rubbish/trash bag, cut a whole for your head, and wear it while you wait at the starting line. DO NOT RUN with the trash bag on for any distance; use it to keep yourself dry at the start. More than likely, you’ll be standing in the starting corral for a long period of time before the race with little shelter.

Secondly my dearest friend – Vaseline!!! Lube up to your hearts content especially on exposed areas and body portions, it will help keep you warm. Vaseline is waterproof, which will help keep your hands and lower legs from getting too cold. One caution, Vaseline does not allow your body to sweat efficiently, so don’t put in on your head and neck 🙂

Brim/peak cap for run off water keep your face dry so you can see!!!self explanatory!!

If you have friends/family on the course, give them a dry shirt or socks that you can swap at 16 or 20 miles to get a nice fresh feeling and to get rid of any soggy clothing or shoes that are holding you back. It doesn’t bother some people to run in the rain so if your not in a bad way skip this one if ya like. However if your feet are soaking a quick change of runners and socks isn’t a bad idea – the wetter your feet are the heavier they are.

Dress accordingly but be mindful of wearing too much stuff and discarding your nice gear on the side of the road. You will warm up.

Drink as you normally would just because its not hot doesn’t mean you won’t get dehydrated.

Stay to the middle: most roads have a camber meaning they’re slightly curved and higher in the centre than either side. Stick to the middle of the road and you won’t find yourself splashing through as much water on the ground.

Remember the thought of running 26.2 wet is probably alot worse than when you actually do it. I think you’ll be suprised how little it might bother you on the day. So truck on everyone, its gona be a great race.

Happy tapering and running everyone and I will be at the SFM table at the expo this saturday morning if anyone wants to stop by to see what were all about and meet some ambassadors.

Part 2 – The Difficulty of Tapering!!!!!

While tapering is like the shiny beacon of relief and sunshine at the end of serious marathon training, it can also prove to be literally the toughest and most difficult thing to do. For me tapering is much needed but dreaded because I am always sort of lost during tapering weeks. Running is such a huge part of my life that without my weekly 22+ miler on a saturday what do I do!!!! Also the mind plays tricks on you, you end up watching every calorie going in and how its used, when usually its the other way around am I eating ENOUGH to fuel and run the milage I’m running. So tapering is great in its definition: carbs, rest, reduced milage…but also for me anyway it can also suck!!! So why don’t we love it as much as we should!!!!

Allowing the body to taper can be alot harder than the long runs!!Trust me I know that one final hoorah long run a week before my race will nooootttttttt make any difference its the base training, consistency and dedication in the months before that will get you to the finish line. Instead that last hoorrah could seriously harm you ability to have a good race…SO DON’T DO IT! You will be tempted….you will play it over in your mind and “will I wont I” and hopefully you will have someone there to say to you..don’t go for that run and they will occupy you with something else. Its not worth it…honestly. It could end up jeopardizing all the hard work you have put in already 🙂

Use the spare time time to catch up with your partner or friends or family who end up somewhat taking a back seat when your seriously training, you don’t need to allocate 50 hours to run in the last 2-3 weeks so do something different..enjoy.

DON’T take up a new sport and start using other muscles, if you usually do yoga take a class or pilates. But take it easy on other types of cardio, swimming etc as your body is no  trained and ready to go. You don’t want to strain anything.

Watch what you eat…you will be hungry, its a strange one your doing less endurance but I still manage to be hungrier than If I were!!!So be careful, consume as you normally would and don’t have the mentality of, oh I am gona run a huge race so lets eat burgers and chips each day-it balances out! It doesn’t!!

Its not the calories or anything, its just you need to feed your body with decent carbs and food and you will perform better by fueling with good carbs and healthy food. So keep an eye on your diet and hydrate well leading up to the race. Its a given but no alcohol 😦

And here we come to the exact term: In the wait before the race you fret, you obsess, you hallucinate and hyperventilate. That’s right, you’ve got “Taper Madness!”

You will find yourself perhaps bored and tempted to hit the trails for a long one just to clear your head. If you must and any experienced runner will tell ya sometimes you just break, head for a short run (mainly to quite your head, it wont make any difference to your body but it will quite the nagging in your head!!) and take the run waaaaayyy slower than race day pace. Just enjoy.

And finally know that your not alone!!I am in the middle of my taper madness as we speak and while I am still running, obviously shorter distances etc I am sitting contemplating heading to the gym to cross train even though I ran this morning!!!or should I venture to black friday sales to keep from training…now I def have taper madness if I am contemplating that!!!;)

Just be wise, listen to your body and know that if you have genuinely put in the work you have no worries.

Enjoy your taper week or two, for what it is. Let IT do what ITS supposed to do..SO on race day YOU can do what YOUR supposed to do.

happy safe holiday running.



The importance of tapering….Part 1!!

The tapering phase is a critical part of endurance and marathon training. During the last couple of weeks of your training, it’s important that you taper, or cut back your mileage, to give your body and mind a chance to rest, recover, and prepare for your marathon. Here are all the things you need to know about why tapering is important and essential.  I write this as I myself begin my last week of taper before CIM, so I hope I can keep it all in my head!!!

For seasoned runners etc how long you taper is really up to you usually I take 2 weeks and do my final long run 2 weeks before my race. They recommend 3 weeks but only you know your body and ability so listen to it.

Here are some general guidelines for what to do and what to expect during the pre-marathon tapering period:


  1. Do your last long run or long race two/three weeks before the marathon. After that, cut your mileage down to about 80% of what you were doing.
  2. Don’t be surprised if you feel some new aches and pains during the tapering period. It’s a normal part of the process, as your body repairs itself from months of training.
  3. Sleep is also an important part of the tapering process. You don’t need to sleep for excessive amounts of time, but try to get at least eight hours a night.
  4. If you want to get a pre-race, deep tissue massage to loosen up your muscles, do it at least a week before your marathon. A deep tissue massage can have the effect of a hard workout on your muscles, so you don’t want to do it too close to the race.
  5. Give your muscles a chance to rest and skip your strength-training routine in the final week before your marathon. You won’t get the benefits from it until after the marathon anyway.
  6. Work on your mental preparation by reviewing the course map and visualizing yourself during the race.
  7. Diets important leading up to race day. Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals), and drink plenty of fluids. In the week before your marathon, about 65-70% of your calories should come from carbs. Avoid alcohol as it has a dehydrating effect and can also interfere with your sleep.
  8. Take at least one or two days off from running during marathon week. Some people prefer to take off the two days before the race, while others will take off Friday before a Sunday marathon and do a very easy 20 to 30-minute run the day before the race to work out last-minute nerves. Its up to you its also ok to take the 2 days before to relax and aim to stay off your feet alot day before the race. Go easy at the expo!!!As race day approaches, you’re likely to be stressed and irritable. Stay relaxed and confident, and know that pre-race nerves are normal.
  9. Try to avoid stress-inducing activities or situations.
  10. Also during race week you can start getting your stuff ready and packing and checking all your gear is in order clean and working etc.

If you have a pre race taper ritual that works for you and produces results congrats, I have a fairly specific ritual that includes easy running, yoga, stretching and a massage. This is all just some tips and guidelines pick and choose and create your own recipe for greatness.

And take a peek at part 2 🙂 happy running and happy tapering.

Happy national hug a runner day!!

Hey everyone today is National hug a runner day so get you hugs on!!I’ve already given a few and gotten a few 🙂

And I am a very happy runner at the best of times but I am even happier today with my new PR on a course that had its ups and downs (literally) and was a fairly challenging course as far as constant hills go. So more than half the field were women on sunday hooray for the gals. And 4408 women ran the half marathon and I placed in the top 1000 which I am very happy about:)

Official chip time and shiny new PR was 02:05:58.438

 A very happy camper!!
Roll on CIM on Dec 2nd I’m ready for ya!!
Happy hugging everyone.

Big Sur Half Marathon Nov 18th 2012 – Recap

SO the half yesterday was the most scenic race Ive ever done just beautiful. While meandering up through the cliffs , your head was filled with the smells and sounds of the waves crashing and as the sun began peeking out around 8am it illuminated the entire race.


The rain kept off and course was hilly but I still got my PR 🙂 was a brilliant run and race and the atmosphere was great. And a big shout out the the ladies who had the planks of wood covered in masking tape that had massive clumps of vaseline on it. OMG it was great, I didn’t stop to get a pic but you know who you are. Maybe they read my earlier blog about the importance of vaseline, either way, it was a lovely treat coming up to mile 8!!!! And in all the races Ive ran I have never seen anyone with vaseline on a stick!! Thanks girls.

It was really well organised and the medals are the nicest Ive seen very unique, I thoroughly enjoyed this therapeutic and beautiful race and think I may become a regular at it. See you next year guys!!

Some energy booster recipes to keep ya fueled for all the trotting around on thanksgiving!!!

So I am sure plenty of you are going to be attending and participating in some TG day turkey trot runs before dinner. I will just be out n about running on TG not in any particular race just running!!Here are a few energy boosting recipes that I love around autumn time there not sequentially Thankgivingy but there different, healthy and tasty and an alternative to the heavy sides etc that make us feel like were running with a tummy full of lead.

At ;east you can try them out before TG and if they go down a treat your good to go:)

Ok first one is a Brown Rice Pilaf with apricots and almonds, its real easy to make and can substitute as stuffing-I know I know stuffings the best part, but I don’t even eat turkey so I like this recipe its V tasty. You’ll need:



Combine chicken/veg broth, 1 3/4 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add rice. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.
Ten minutes before rice is finished, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute until just soft, about 5 minutes.
Add apricots, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir well and remove from heat.
Once rice is cooked, remove from heat. Let stand covered 5 minutes. Uncover and toss with onion mixture, parsley, and almonds. Serve. YUM

It has about 211 cals per serving and is crazy filling.

Ok next on the menu is Roasted Squash and Apple soup… Its tasty and its savory not sweet dont let it fool ya!! You will need:

  • 1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut or kabocha, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • salt
  • Chili powder, for seasoning (optional)
  • 4 cups veg stock


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, toss squash, onions, garlic, and apples with oil to coat. Season well with salt and chile powder. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until vegetables are fork-tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

  2. Transfer half the vegetables and 2 cups stock to a food processor; puree until smooth. Repeat with remaining vegetables and broth. Return pureed mixture to pot, thinning soup with stock, if necessary. Season with salt and chile powder; bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley if you like.

    And finally on the dessert front, we have Honey-nut apples. Ok so I looooove apples its no secret this recipe is no frills nice n quick dessert, but its really yummy and light and add som of your fav ice cream and its just lovely. You’ll need:

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 large baking apples, thickly sliced
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 tablespoon honey

Heres what ya do tis very easy: Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Add apples and walnuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat and drizzle with honey. Serve warm with ice cream, cream or yoghurt. It makes 4 servings.


SO let me know if ya try any and what you think, soup and apples I could honestly live on them!!!!!

Happy thanksgiving week and festive running wishes to all.

Be safe, Be seen 🙂