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Inspirations

“Motivation remains key to the marathon: the motivation to begin; the motivation to continue; the motivation never to quit.”

-Hal Higdon

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To Fifty and Beyond!

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We’re almost there.

Fifty.

Why does everyone complain about 50?

The way I see it, if the second 50 are even remotely close to the first 50, well, then, I have it made.

I mean, is 50 really that bad?

For me, it will come without fanfare. I don’t expect a party.  I don’t expect a home cooked meal from my kids. I don’t even expect a BBQ dinner from my husband…well…because he doesn’t BBQ…or cook, for that matter.

I don’t expect my girlfriends in my neighborhood to rent a limo and take me to all the fun places in the city. Mainly because I don’t live in a neighborhood, or have any girlfriends. Well, maybe one or two. But it would be a pretty wimpy gathering, and we’d have to shell out a lot for that limo. I don’t expect any relatives to come over and help me celebrate. The closest ones I have (by blood) are in New York. And my closest in-laws are in Kansas. And I although I have many virtual friends, and a handful of dear friends from my past on Facebook, I don’t expect them all to fly in to Minneapolis toting black “over the hill” balloons, and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

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For me, turning 50 is a rite of passage. It is the halfway point of a life filled with numerous ups and downs. It marks the spot where I am more conscious of the choices I make and where I can defend those choices. Because being 50 means that I know better. I’ve learned through past mistakes. And I keep learning because modern technology allows me to better myself everyday. Want to learn how to do almost anything? Check the internet. Want to run faster and more efficiently? Turn on a podcast. Want to calm your thoughts and heal your mind? Go to a yoga class. Want to be heard? Speak, dammit, speak.

It has taken me 50 years to get right here. Here is where I am. Here could be much better. Right now, it is complicated by life’s battles. But I’d much rather be fighting them now at 50 than then at 30. I’d rather have all this knowledge that I’ve accumulated over 50 years serve a wall to press my back against and hold me upright when the pressure gets intense. I’d rather be here than there.

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As a runner, 50 has an entirely different meaning. It’s the leap into a new age group. One where the women of my age stand where I stand, and run for the same reasons I run. It signifies the end of the search for the confident, solid, and intense woman we all worked so hard to find in the first 50 years.

Now, here we are. Here we stand. Here we run.

We run with passion. We run with grace. We run to escape. We run to breathe. We run to challenge ourselves. We run to recollect. We run to dream.

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I know my next 50 years I’ll be running more than my first 50 years. And I know that I’ll become a better runner for it. I know that I’ll be able to put that same passion into any situation I face because I’ve learned how during the first 50 years.

I’ll embrace 50. I’ll wrap my arms so tightly around it, that they’ll get tingly. I’ll wear it proudly, like I’d wear my Boston Marathon medal. After all, I survived the first 50 years with flying colors. And I’ve come out as a much better version of myself.

To fifty and beyond!

Let’s get this party started.

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Fueling the Fire – Part 1: #UCAN Superstarch

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Disclaimer: I received Generation UCAN SuperStarch Packets to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

One of the many benefits of being fat adapted is having your wits about you as you greet the final few miles of an endurance event. I’m still in awe, that as I look around me at the end of a marathon, so many runners are more than whooped. They look scared, exhausted, disheveled, and emotionally spent. Of course, I understand. The marathon IS an endurance event. It is not easy and it is not for the faint of heart. Just toeing the line means you are made of something, of which the typical human who doesn’t run, is not.

I don’t wish to preach to any person, let alone a runner, about how to live their life, or how to train for an endurance event. However, if one comes to me for advice, listens intently, and then responds with a “Oh, there is NO way…” or “You have to be kidding me…you want me to give up what?” and then proceed to do what they have done time after time, then that is what I call insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result.

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Seeing race course after race course littered with empty glucose gel packets makes me more nauseated than the race itself. Watching runners consume pouch after pouch of the stuff and still look completely spent at mile 20 answers the question of who is gaining the most benefit from the product sales. My gut tells me it’s NOT the runner. In fact, after mile 20, many guts have been emptied because of the overconsumption of such products.

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Feeding the endurance fire has been a topic that I have studied ever since I began running, and realized that any run longer than 10 miles in length, or an hour in time, needs to take into consideration a fuel source. Your body is burning some serious calories out there. However, the old adage about calories in = calories out doesn’t necessarily ring true for runners, or anyone else. It is the quality of calories, not the quantity of them that matter.

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Glucose is sugar. And yes, sugar can provide a surge of energy, but it is quickly followed by a severe drop in blood sugar. Then, you are forced to consume more sugar to keep the cycle alive. The trouble is two fold. One, you’ll never get to that initial super high you had when you started the race by fueling with sugar. And two, your belly will likely not be able to tolerate packet after packet of glucose gel. It really doesn’t matter if the source of the sugar is natural or unnatural, organic or inorganic, or filtered or not. Sugar is sugar. Glucose is glucose. It all reacts the same way in your system.

You may believe that because you run, you are one of the healthiest people on the planet. And you might very well be. But with all that glucose you are consuming, you instead may be teetering on the very edge of Type 2 Diabetes. Believe it or not, even among the skinniest of runners, this is more prevalent than you think.

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Generation UCAN SuperStarch was introduced to me first by a guy named Ben Greenfield. He has this super serious podcast that caters to the endurance athlete looking for a leg up on the competition. But if you aren’t willing to experiment on yourself, then don’t waste your time. You have to be willing to take a chance now and again, and refrain from your insane ways to find others that might just work better for you.

When BibRave offered my the opportunity to sample UCAN SuperStarch and share it with my readers, I jumped at the chance. Here is all you need toknow about Generation UCAN.

Generation UCAN is powered by SuperStarch, a healthy, natural, gluten-free innovation in carbohydrate nutrition. SuperStarch is a complex carbohydrate (derived from non-GMO corn) that uniquely stabilizes blood sugar and causes virtually no reaction from the fat-storage hormone insulin. It’s backed by proven science. Finally there’s a healthier, more efficient energy source than sugars, caffeine, or high-carb meals. Originally discovered for children with life-threatening energy imbalances, SuperStarch is a revolutionary fuel being used for ENERGY, SPORTS, and FITNESS.

Generation UCAN SuperStarch is a super alternative for those runners who are willing to disembark from the sugar fueling roller coaster. If you have successfully removed sugar from your everyday diet, as I have, the last thing you want to do is use it to fuel your marathon.

Caveman-Eating

Way before man was introduced to sugar, there were only two other sources of fuel available to him. That would have been fats and proteins. The original caveman needed something to propel him forward as that mastodon came charging after him. More than likely, it was the natural carbohydrates and fiber from the rich plant food he consumed that gave him the initial surge. But it was the fat from last night’s kill that allowed him to outrun the beast.

Here is the gist as to why the sugary drinks and gels are useless. From an article in Men’s Health Magazine:

Essentially, superstarch is digested more slowly than both regular starch and sugar. As a result, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream at a steady and much slower rate than the sugars in popular sports drinks. The result: sustained energy throughout 4 hours of battle… “Consuming a regular carb drink that is rapidly absorbed is like emptying your entire gas tank into your engine at once,” says Dr. Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., associate professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut, “It’s overkill.”

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The way you teach your body to endure the marathon works on the same principal. Generation UCAN provides you with what you need for that initial surge. After that, your body will take over the process with it’s stored fat, of which we all have way more than you’d ever suspect. The great thing about using your stored fat is that fat feeds the brain, too. It keeps it humming on an even keel, and functioning on reason, unlike sugar, which acts more like a habitual drug hitting your system…and hard…in which afterwards the crash starves your brain, so it tells you that you are finished. You can’t go any further, aka “Hitting The Wall”. Burning fat, however, tells your brain “You got this. I got plenty of fuel for you. Keep running and enjoy the ride. And don’t forget to smile for the photographers at the finish line!”

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The easiest way to ingest UCAN SuperStarch is to mix it with water, add some ice, and shake it up. Generation UCAN suggests consuming an entire packet about a half hour or so before your event. Just beware that a packet of UCAN SuperStarch contains about 34 g. This should sustain you through about 90 minutes of hard exercise. If you use the scoop in the larger 30 serving canister, it contains about 25 g. Theoretically, this would get you through about 60 minutes of exercise. But realize that every human is different. Personally, being fat adapted, I don’t need nearly the recommended amount. I can typically run with about 10 g prior to an event, and then with an additional 10-15 g mixed into my hydration bottles with sugar free electrolytes that I consume on the run. And even then I rarely finish those unless it is a very warm day.

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UCAN SuperStarch appeals to the masses with some great new flavors for every taste. Try the fruity flavors, like Tropical Orange or Cranberry/Raspberry , or the savory flavors like Cinnamon Delight, or even Cocoa Delight for the chocoholics out there. They have also branched into the world of protein recovery products, and delicious sustaining bars, as well. In fact, I prefer bars on the mornings where the races start a little later and I’m craving a little something in my belly.

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If you are striving to be ketogenic or watching your carb count with diligence, you might be thrown off by the carb content of UCAN products. Be aware that you may not need to consume an entire serving prior to your event. Then again, if you aren’t quite fat adapted yet, then the full serving could be what you need to get you started. It’s all an experiment. And as you train, you will have plenty of time to determine what works best for you. And you should! What better way to save the environment than to be one who does NOT toss their empty glucose gel packets along the race course…or their cookies…they ones that they hurl.

I have a coupon code for you, too! Thanks to Bibrave and Generation UCAN. Use code BIBRAVE to save 15% on your purchase of Generation UCAN SuperStarch products! This code is good until the end of June.

Stay tuned for Fueling The Fire – Part 2: Energybits

April Apprehension Brings May Manifestation.

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Okay. I’m just as confused as anyone. What happened between the Boston Marathon and today? In just one month (30 days…720 hours…43,200 minutes), I seem to have witnessed runner’s redemption. And it all started with simply running 26.2 miles.

Cozy Phones – Lycra Headband Headphones #Review

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Recently, I was asked to test and review a new product on the market that combines the comfort and functionality of a headband with the technology of wired headphones.

New Prague Half Marathon #RunNewPrague 2016 – Race Recap

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This was one of those runs I couldn’t get particularly excited for, and not because I don’t like it. In fact, I LOVE it. This is the first half marathon I ever ran, back in 2012. I look forward to running it every year, with the exception being the year I ended up with a stress fracture/reaction and couldn’t run it at all. This year, I was totally unprepared as I’m still recovering somewhat from Boston. I didn’t expect to PR it, or even run a course record. My goal, in fact, was just to finish it with a fairly respectable time.