Taper week…..sucks!

I hate tapering, I genuinely do not welcome the down time, I mean I should and my body needs it, but I just keep procrastinating about one last run, the weigh in etc, even though I am totally prepared, I somehow feel lost without my long run and the fact that I have to decrease my millage. Its really my mind that needs to taper!!

I mean I am already up to 28 miles and its only tues!! I definitly need to ease off before saturday, one tip I like to do is aim to run before I have to get ready to be somewhere, meeting, work etc. That way I cant run the risk of over running!!!or I will be late…

The fact is that we runners develop a bit of an addiction to running; we become psychologically dependent on the rush of endorphins and the feeling of staying in good shape. And when you are used to a certain level of training and then stop, some bad things can happen.

So what can you expect during the tapering phase, below is a little list of how, what and how should you prevent problems?

Carbohydrate Overload: As you wind down your workout, make sure you don’t wind up eating too many carbs ignoring other important nutrients. Try and get 55 to 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 to 15 percent from protein, and 20 to 30 percent from fat. Ensure the proteins are low in fat, such as chicken, fish, lean meats, beans, and legumes.

Intense Last Minute Workouts: Runners usually fall prey to the impulse to get a lot of training in to ready themselves for the big day. The problem with following your impulse is that you will be absolutely exhausted by the time the starting pistol fires. Marathon training isn’t like closing a merger or prepping for a big presentation—don’t cram.

Phantom Aches and Pains: Isn’t it odd that during your taper you start feeling weird pains and muscle twinges? Trust us, this is part of the rejuvenation process that the body goes through naturally. Try to think of this as a good sign—rather than a pesky problem or cause for alarm. Your body is getting stronger during this healing process.

Heavy Limbs and Depression: When it is only one week before the big race, many marathoners get a sluggish feeling throughout their body. Remember that it is psychological. Also, you can knock out a few 100-meter sprints after some of your easier runs and this will help recharge your batteries a bit. If you are getting depressed about not running, try routines that are easier on your body, or space out your runs. If you must run to feed the addiction at this point its def more mental than anything else, just go for a short one. I always do yoga alot more during taper week 🙂 soothes the mind more than the body sometimes!!!

And remember to spend more time with your family and friends and engaged in activities you like.

Preparing and running a marathon is intense emotionally and physically. While the above problems and pitfalls are by no means an exhaustive list – sorry I know! – if you prepare yourself mentally to go through them you will emerge ready for the big race.

Good luck to anyone and everyone running NVM this sunday and in any other races too and stop by the San Francisco Marathon Booth at the expo in the Marriot on Saturday, I will be there repping fro SFM. 

Happy tapering and happy running 🙂

Home made energy bars.

I throw these together in the house, they keep really well and you can freeze them and I find that they are sometimes more effective and tastier than the ones you buy. Plus they work out cheaper in the long run (pun intended!!!)

I have problems with fueling sometimes, that leaves me having to vomit either after a long run or mid way, so finding the right fueling and perfecting it (which I haven’t managed just yet, I am still experimenting, but almost there!!) is really important. You burn so many calories long running and I don’t love sweet things at the best of times, so often the energy bars are very intense and make my tummy really ill. Which is grand if I’m sitting at home but when I’m 15 miles from my house its not ideal!!

These bars are great, however. I keep the sugar content fairly low but if you like sweet, add more and I looooove oats so I pop a bit more in than is probably normal!!This recipe is a good guideline but its so easy that you can, more or less, really whatever you want – fruit and nut and sugar wise.

Give it a try and let me know what ya think.

Banana Oat Energy Bars / Makes 10-12/ Calories per bar: approx 120

What you’ll need:
2 very overripe bananas
½ cup vegetable oil/low fat butter melted
1/2 cup artificial sweetner/brown sugar/natural sweeterner/honey 🙂
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup rolled oats
¾ cup flour (I use whole wheat flour but ya can use white both work grand)
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup toasted chopped walnuts
¾ cup dried cranberries
(Use your choice of nuts and dried fruit as substitutes, seeds etc everything kinda works)

How to make it:
1.    Preheat oven to 350, grease 8×9’’ baking pan
2.    In a mixing bowl, mash bananas. Mix with sugar, oil and vanilla extract until smooth.
3.    In a separate mixing bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and oats.
4.    Add banana mixture to oat mixture, mix until just combined.
5.    Fold in walnuts and cranberries, careful not to overmix.
6.    Pour mixture into baking pan, and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting. AND there ya have it 🙂

The recipe is easy, it’s vegan, and the results taste good enough to serve as a dessert. Just pop a little banana-oat wedge in a Ziploc, and you’re ready to fuel your next long run. So I hope they keep ya fueled on your runs this weekend.

Enjoy. 🙂

I do run run run, I do run run!!:)

Ah so with the NVM impending and tapering almost here (hooray!!for a little down time) I am preparing myself to run this marathon without music. It will be the first time I have been forced to actually run without music. On my long runs and ultra training I often run with music then turn it off for 10-15 miles then turn it back on etc, to mix it up. But NVM strictly prohibits any kind of audio, earbuds or music. So as 2300 runnings including myself take to the roads and vineyards…for the NVM we will be “going it alone” so to speak.

I feel suprisingly anxious about running an entire 26.2 with only my own thoughts and music I have compiled in my head!!hehehehe. I find silence therapeutic on my longer runs thats true, but I also find certain songs,a pick me up , that I need at certain times on the course so, I guess I will have to embrace my own creativity and visualisation to combat any tough areas I may encounter on this race! Plus I also enjoy getting lost in music as I roam through 26.2 miles of scenery. I look forward to this new challenge.

I am excited to be forced to do this though because I guess its like anything you get in a comfort zone with, its important to try new things, tweak issues and embrace new possibly better ways of running. Plus its one less thing to worry about prepping the night before:)

Can music make you a better runner?? Probably not, well directly anyway. It may affect how fast or slow you run at times, although this could be argued that “getting lost” in music causes you to get out of the zone and thus as a knock on affect fall into a pace that is happening unknown to you, as your not fully focused. I think we have all probably been a victim of this, both resulting in  fast and/or slow runs.

I understand how a good song may alleviate the boredom of a long marathon training run, take the edge off one’s suffering during a brutal interval session, or add a layer of pure enjoyment to an easy recovery jog, SO I guess the benefits are what “you” make them really.

We have to listen to our brain.

How can mere sounds boost a person’s physical endurance? The answer to this question has to do with the brain’s role in physical performance. Exercise scientists used to believe that fatigue occurred when the muscles or cardiorespiratory system hit some kind of hard physiological limit. For example, the muscles became so acidic that they stopped working properly.

But now It is now understood that such limits are never reached. Instead, the brain imposes fatigue before these limits are reached to protect the body from serious harm. Thank you brain!!

Because the brain essentially chooses to impose fatigue based on a prediction of where the body’s true physiological limits lie, the brain has some flexibility in setting performance limits. When an athlete is highly motivated, the brain will risk a bit more and allow the body to come a little closer to the point of self-harm in pursuit of better performance. All kinds of factors may influence an athlete’s level of motivation, and music appears to be one of them.

Everyone finds their own ‘zen’ and I am hoping to find mine out on the hills and roads of napa on March 3rd. I anticipate I will discover my own “music” so to speak, and hopefully it will bring me rolling into a new PR.

Happy running and stay dry:)

For the love of running:)

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.” – Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)

 

I love to run..

SImple.

I dedicate this blog to simply me, why I run and my love of running.

I love to run for the feeling it gives me. Running makes me strong inside and out. I have a deep love affair with running and I am lucky enough to have a partner who is willing to share…me…with it.

I love to run because of the feeling I get at the start of a race, waiting, wondering… and then off I go. I love the finish…the finish line…its the end but its….the beginning of a new goal…of a new PR….of a new set of goals that I want to achieve.

I love to run because it pushes me to be better, to aim higher, to be fearless…to love myself…to believe in me, my body and my strength.

I love to run for the confidence it gives me that I take off the road and trails and into my everyday life. I miss running when I have to have a rest day 😦 

Running has allowed me to fall in love with myself, I love to be this fit, I love that running has made me a lean machine!! I love the people I meet when I run, I love the experiences I have both good and bad when I run.

I love the doors running has opened for me and the opportunities it has given me (SFM shout out sign up its june 16th!!)

I love heading off on a running adventure not knowing how long I will run for but always having a pair of runners (running shoes!!) with me in my car or the truck just incase the mood takes me wherever life takes me. Wherever I end up, I may have to run!! But all this running has caused me to slow down….I know that seems like a direct contradiction but YES…running has slowed me down…and all the endless hours on my feet running have allowed me think about life and how it can pass you by and how trivial things can consume the mind…don’t run away from those thoughts…deal with them…set them free….slow down….and then off you go to another trail…another turn…another adventure.

They say…we don’t stop playing because we get old…we get old because we stop playing…well I am never gona be old becuase of that. Play every day, love every day, love you, love me…love life…love to run…find “YOUR” run…and sometimes just love…because!!

Happy running and happy valentines day:)

Happy pancake tuesday!!

Pancake Tuesday falls today and all over Ireland people will indulge in delicious pancakes.  Nearly every person in Ireland will eat a pancake at some point on Tuesday.

Pancake Tuesday is the last day before Lent begins, falling 47 days before Easter Sunday  Just like Easter, the date changes every year. Sundays do not officially count as part of the 40 days of Lent.

Heres a bit of background!!

Pancake Day is the most popular term for this celebration, but it is also referred to as Shrove Tuesday in Ireland and England, or Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras here in the United States.  Mardi Gras is a French term brought to America by French settlers to Louisiana.  It literally means ‘Grease Tuesday’.

Lent is a time of abstinence so Fat Tuesday evolved into a day of indulgence, a time to use up decadent foods not permitted to be eaten during Lent.  In years gone by eating fat, butter and eggs was forbidden during the 40 days of Lent.  Pancakes were the perfect treat to use up any kitchen stores of banned lenten ingredients.  Pancake Tuesday is humbling, when you think that a simple pancake was deemed luscious by our ancestors.

The pancakes of my childhood were not light, fluffy, thick buttermilk pancakes so popular in America.  Our pancakes were thin, flat cakes, made by frying batter in a pan, just like French crêpes.  A dash of freshly-squeezed lemon juice was added to the top, then sprinkled lightly with fine white sugar.  The pancake was then rolled and served. SImple simple!!

Here is my recipe for the pancakes of when I was just a cailin!!

 

Ingredients For Irish Pancakes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 stick butter (2 oz melted)
  • 1/4 stick melted butter (for frying)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (for serving)

Enjoy mo chairde!!