Woke up at 3:30 am.
Drove 2 hours directly into a storm.
Ran my first Marathon in 3 years...
The Marathon Dilemma: Pick Your Poison.
A unique world of discomfort exists between Mile 21 and the finish when the heart is fully invested in seeing how fast the body go.
It is odd how “10 miles to go” can somehow feel more manageable than “5 miles to go”. Marathons are like that. They challenge reality. This is why I love them. Running marathons reminds me that I am more capable than I realize.
It has been years since I have experienced "Mile 21+." This is where I find myself in a battle between two equally awful options:
(1) The Physical Distress of a potential medical crisis that is completely avoidable if I just slow down. As the miles accumulate, each seems longer than the one before. The distress mounts while relief is just a matter of me deciding to back off the gas.
(2) The Psychological Distress of a self-disappointment that will manifest promptly the next morning. I will feel awful for choosing to back down when so close to the finish (forgetting all about the physical distress). This emotional disappointment wont likely get erased until the next time I find myself at 21+ of a goal race and have the same decision to make.
The question is only how bad do I want it. And sometimes the answer is "Not this bad"... and something the answer is "More than this race could ever hurt me". And both answers can be the correct answer.
The hinge for me is understanding my WHY.
I have missed feeling like myself for years now. My "WHY" is really powerful right now.
I think about things when racing about performance, nutrition, sports psychology. I share with these thoughts with those I coach. I want to add those thoughts here, too.
Realistic Goal Setting.
One peak performance mindset technique I use to try to optimize my performance if possible is Realistic Goal Setting. If I set myself up to fail then I wont have the chance to make any decisions at M21+. Running myself into the ground before I get to the hard part doesn't do anything for me. So regardless of what I wish I could run, or what I have done in the past. I goal set using current information about what I have done lately not hopes and dreams of what the best outcome might look like. This is harder than it sounds. The Ego is loud and unwise sometimes.
Based upon my recent training and recent half marathon times, I felt I had a realistic chance to BQ with a 5 minute buffer. I need a 3:50 to qualify for Boston. It became important to me to chase the BQ at my first marathon after years of not racing them. But it was more important for me to execute the race in a controlled way. I wasn't interested in a crash and burn. I didn't want to walk. I didn't want to create unnecessary suffering for myself by going out over my head and then feeling shocked when I started to drown. I wanted to work hard but also smart.
Another Peak Performance Technique I try to use when I am racing for a goal is Tiered Goals. But I do it differently than most people I know. Rather than identifying an A, B, and C goal with A being the hardest goal, B being the achievable goal, and C the easily achievable, I only set two goals:
The "A" Goal. This is my target for the race and something that should be achievable while still a significant accomplishment. This is the purpose of the work.
The "Reach": I leave open the option to chase a Reach Goal in the second half of the race. A lot of people call this their A Goal but I don't.
I want to set my pace plan up so that I can achieve my "A Goal" from the start. I don't chase my Reach goal from the start. The Reach Goal will happen with a negative split if everything is going well. The Reach Goal will not happen for me if I chase it from the gun. I know this. The A Goal usually get lost that way as well. By setting myself up to achieve the A Goal, I often end up achieving more Reaches than I thought possible.
When I go home, I get to feel proud of my work whether I hit my A Goal or my Reach. I want more chances to celebrate - not less. It feels awful for me to think of accomplishing something amazing (the A Goal) but feeling like crap because it wasn't as amazing as I wished it could have been.
I think it is important to mention that not all my races are Goal Races. I race a lot. Often those races are for growth and development. I practice skills. I test fuel. I check in on pacing. I dial in race day routines. I challenge myself to achieve smaller goals within the race. Sometimes it is just be social. Not every race has to be about goal acquisition for me.
But this marathon was a Goal Race.
My 'A Goal" was to BQ on my first race back.
My "Reach Goal" was to break 3:40.
The Pace Plan: 8:45 pace through 14M then negative split to 3:45 (8:35 pace) or faster.
Jim Thorpe has an unusual rolling start but it makes sense. The trail is narrow and the first 2 mile section is an out-and-back. To spread people out the start time was not fixed since the race was chipped time. If you wanted to run with a pace group you would start at 8:00 am but the first runners could start as early as 7:15 am. This made the race feel like a long training run. I appreciated that.
Dave and I started just ahead of the 4:00 pace group with a plan to chase down the 3:45 group by the end if possible. If we did that we could come in under 3:45.
We hit our goal pace through the first 14 (8:45 average) but it was little sloppy. I needed to stop at the port-o-potty at mile 2 because I drank a lot on the very hot train ride to the start. Dave had to stop to get a rock out of his shoe around mile 5 or so and once more to use the bathroom. Trying to average 8:45 pace by M14 was more work than it needed to be with all the short stops for self-care issues.
At Mile 14, with 12 to go we dropped the pace and it felt like it was going to be an amazing day! We were easily running low 8:00s but my gut told me it was too soon for that speed. I reigned myself back in to 8:20s..
At my 16, I still felt strong and fluid. 10 to go really didn't feel outrageous. Sub-3:45 was within reach. But it was still early.
Then the rain and wind picked up as we approached 20M (as if the last 10k of a marathon isn’t already hard enough). My wheels started to fall off. The puddles were shin deep. My clothes were soaked. My feet were numb. My hands were numb. I was cold and wet and using a lot more energy to regulate my body temperature than I had to spare. I definitely felt the WALL.
I had consumed all my Gu by Mile 21. I really wish I had one more. Rookie Mistake! I am out of practice and brought enough fuel to run a low 3 hours (like I used to) without thinking about how I long would be out there. For 3:45, I would need one more Gu to keep me feeling peppy. If there was Gatorade on the course I would have been fine with calories, but they had UCAN and I don't drink that. Sometimes 100 calories can make a HUGE difference and today was one of those days.
As my body and mind struggles to hold on, having someone at my side literally working through the weather with me who really wanted to see me accomplish this goal for me as much as I did made was a nice. I tethered my energy to his as he was just a few strides in front of me and I just let running happen. HIs presence helped me hold on when it got hard. I am grateful.
It ain’t over 'til it’s over.
The amount of happiness I feel when a race is over is almost always directly related to how well I navigated through the struggle. The struggle will never feel wonderful in the moment.. Sure, there is "good pain" which for me only happens when the reward and the suffering are happening at the same time (like in the last few miles of a race when I know I am "doing it" and I will achieve my goal if I can just hold on...).
But more often there are moments in the middle of race or at 21+M to go when it is just hard and there is growing doubt. This is when that unwise voice that acts like it can predict the future but knows nothing at all starts whispering "you can't do this..." Silencing that voice is a skill that needs to be practiced. This is the same unwise voice that at the start of a race whispers "Go out REALLY hard...you got this! You will be fine!" when really there is no reason to go out really hard.
The opportunity to practice enduring in the face of adversity and to practice silencing that voice is what makes racing special to me. This is a transferrable skill to other areas of life.
Some Mindset Techniques I use to silence that inner unwise voice is to (1) keep my Mind + Body in the same place at the same time (do not think about future parts of the race) and (2) Stick to the plan I made before I was actually in the event (That plan was based on what I did lately to identify a realistic A Goal and Reach Goal). Then I try my best to stay the course and not let unwise "whispers" distract me.
When my pace slowed it was just a part of the narrative that was being created. This moment is not my forever. Sure It felt awful at the time to fade, but I needed to not let my need to regroup effect my ability focus on what I was doing well.
I take pride in understanding peak performance strategies. But let's be real, knowing mindset techniques and being able to apply them in the moment when we need them most are two different things. I know the only way to get good at Mindset Skills is to put myself in challenging situation so I can practice them over and over. This is why I race a lot when I can.
Mile 24 aid station. I wanted so badly for that table to have gels on them. Just the taste of sugar would have given me such a mental boost. As I passed the table there were none. I don't know why I didn't grab a cup of UCAN drink. I just have this sense that I would hate it. I had a really bad experience with HEED in the past that made me feel like I would puke once I drank it. A little packet of sugar seemed like all I needed. But there were none. I didn't dwell on this disappointment. I moved on to what I could control and what was working for me.
I took a moment to regroup physically and mentally. I gathered my energy. There wasn't much more to go. I channeled what I could into finishing strong. We picked up the pace.
And by the time we reached the finish line, we managed to do exactly what we set out to do! A Goal accomplished.
Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend who cares as much as about your goals and dreams as you do. A friend who is ready, willing, and able to get in the trenches with you and do the work along side you. A friend who understands the physical and mental skills it takes to unlock full potential. When it comes to marathon training, Dave is that friend for me.
Resilient moms create endurance athletes.
It's true. Google it.
I have no excuse to quit on anything ever. My genes are good ones. My mom is an endurance machine. She is a medical miracle. Knowing what I am literally made of gives me strength. I need to get back to my sport.
In mid-January, after completing the Key West Half, I started to feel like a racing was possible again. My Haglund's Syndrome, which derailed my running for 2 years, was becoming less of a hindrance.
I have been so very patient. I have been careful. I pivoted. I found other sports that I enjoy. I was ok with not racing again it that is was to be. But my patience is paying off and I am back to running again.
The Key West Half proved that I was able run non-stop for hours and walk the next day. This was a huge win for me.
Then I ran 16M with Dave shortly after that with a sub-8:00 paced fast finish. We felt strong. I was ready to see if I could get through a marathon training cycle. I registered for 2 half marathons to use as marathon training runs (E. Murray Todd Half and Runapalooza Half).
I had an 18M scheduled for 2/18. For me, I don't feel like I am officially training for a marathon until I get through an 18. I was so close to being back in "marathon training".
Then on 2/17, my mom had a perfect storm of medical complications. The ER doctors weren't sure what was happening for at least 12 hours. No one knew how to help her. We watched doctors argue about how to even try to diagnose her. She had no fever which threw everyone off. (PSA: Older adults may not get fevers when suffering infections)
My mom was cognitively gone but responded to touch. I spent a good amount of time helping to restrain my comatose mother as she tried her best to fist fight off anyone that came near her to draw blood. They drew a lot of blood. Then she spiked a very high fever that lasted for days.
She was suffering from a strep infection that turned into bacterial meningitis sent her into a ketoacidosis coma with a side of sepsis. This landed her into the ICU on a ventilator for days. With the help of sedation to keep her under, she rode out several days with a 103 fever under a cooling blanket while having a 24 hour seizure monitor glued to her head.
Once my mother had been diagnosed and transferred, 15 hours later my dad spiked a fever (he had picked up the infection). He returned to the ER and was assigned his own room.
My parents always are together. They can't do anything apart from each other... apparently.
Needless to say... I missed my 18M LR that weekend.
My dad needed a week's admission to get his IV treatment and he was the one doing well.
My brothers and I practically lived at the hospital taking turns sitting with my dad, then with my mom. We kept my dad updated. Not being there with her was hard for him.
The antibiotics were working for them. It was treatable! She would soon come out of the sedation-coma but the doctors warned us that we needed to have realistic expectations. They did not expect her to be the same. We were told to be prepared for cognitive damage and physical limitations.
"She may not be herself... we don't know what to expect at this time" were not comforting words but she wasn't dead and that was good.
I stopped running for the next three weeks while my parents healed.
But I am proud to say that I didn't completely derail. That would help no one. I took each day moment by moment. I know practicing a healthy lifestyle helped me to continue it when everything fell apart. I took care of myself as best I could while making my parents the priority. I rode my spin bike almost daily for 30-40 minutes before visiting hours. I packed 8 hours worth of healthy food. And then I spent days sitting in a room watching monitors as my mother slowly came back to life.
When she was taken off the ventilator she was definitely not OK. at first
She had no short term memory. She could barely speak, but when she did her words were out of order or wrong. I had to decode what she was trying to say. We had the same conversation 10 times in a row. She had no proprioception. She couldn't find her own face. She couldn't feel her feet. She had a blot clot in her left arm that make it swell up 2 x times the size. Her head was covered in hardened glue from the seizure monitor ... and no one tells you regular soap doesn't remove that glue. (Pro Tip: Get a jug of coconut oil which does loosen the glue and plan for a solid 8-10 hours of picking off microscopic pieces until it is all out).
About 2 days from her re-awakening, her short term memory returned. The doctors didn't believe her. They had to ask "She says she remembers me from yesterday... do you think she really does." She did. They were shocked!
Over the next week or so, I got to slowly watch all her systems come back online one at time until my mom was 100% herself. The doctors were in AWE of her recovery. Nurses from the ICU who cared for her during her coma came to see her awake and alert and alive.
She was soon holding her own spoon and finding her mouth with accuracy. She was able to do exercises for her legs while lying in bed.
Once she was able to stand up and take some steps with a walker. she was transferred to a nursing home and continued to recover... fast. They told her to order a cane for her discharge. By the time she got home she didn't need it. She had PT come to the house but I don't know why. She was moving around on her own by then just fine.
I know I train up fast. Clearly I get it from my mom.
It is outrageously awesome how strong my mother is at 74 years old. She is an endurance machine. She is the definition of resilience.
I know what I am made of and it is a gift I can't squander.
E. Murray Todd Half Marathon, Lincroft, NJ, 3/12/23
I almost didn't go. Once my mom was home, I was able to get out for just 2 short runs before the E. Murray Todd Half.
During my last run before this race, Amazon Music randomly selected songs for me. And Birdy - Keeping Your Head Up comes on. I ran my heart out holding back all the tears I clearly had stuffed down into my soul for weeks while taking each terrifying day one second at a time.
The lyrics felt literal to me. I was back in the hospital in my mind while I ran down the street as fast I could handle. .
Hold tight; you're slowly coming back to life
I'll be keeping your head up
I'll be keeping your head up, darling
Let go of all your haunted dreams tonight
I'll be keeping your head up
I'll be keeping your head up, darling....
I wont let you down....
And since that moment this song has creating the momentum I needed to get back to my training.
On the way to the half, I played this song at least 5 times in a row. I programmed it into my mind. I wanted to tap into it when things felt hard. I wanted to remember what I am made of.
That last run was 6 miles at 8:21 pace. I plan to run 8:30-8:40 pace from the start. Once I hit 10M, I would see what I got left.
Lincroft has rolling hills. It can be challenging but this is my home turf. Kim and I trained on these roads for years. These roads are my roads. I am happy to be be back home.
The weather is perfect. I go out a little fast, but I get my act together quickly. I feel remarkably good early on.
By mile 4 the music in my head starts and its my mom's song that I planted there (sometimes the wrong song shows up, but not this time). I feel amazing. I can't wait for the 10M mile so that I can really see where I stand.
Despite not being able to train for 3 weeks, I am incredibly pleased with this outcome.
Time: 1:45: 46
OA Place: 14
AG Place 2.
Getting back on track:
After having such a great positive experience in Lincroft, I text Dave and tell him that I need to get back on track for marathon training. I had run 15M total and so did he that weekend.
We agree to meet for an 18M the next weekend and make marathon training official And that is exactly what we did!
The following weekend, Dave and I meet halfway between his girlfriend's house and my house to try a new trail for a 20M run. We need something between us if we are really doing this. Wow, the trail is beautiful. It was everything we hoped for.
My Haglund's syndrome speaks to me on occasion, but isn't stopping me from getting the miles. It is starting to feel like the universe wants me to run a marathon again! And I believe a it is possible!
Runapalooza Half Marathon, Asbury Park, NJ, 4/1/23
The next weekend could have been a drop back week, but I felt like I needed to keep going. I felt great. Nothing hurts,
I am catching a wave.
I want to ride this out.
I was signed up for Runapalooza. A runner, Kelly, I coach was also going to be there with a plan to use the race as part of her 20M long run.
I message her and ask if she wants company. We chat about the weather. She is on the fence about a 20M run in 20+ mph winds with rain. But when I leave it up to her, she rises to the challenge and agrees to met me early for a 7 mile warm up.
I only ran a 1M warm up before the E. Todd Murray Half. I had bonked pretty hard on the 20M with Dave. I wasn't sure how this 20M would play out.
If I could beat my 8:05 pace that would make me happy, BUT the conditions were much more challenging. I decided to just let the race unfold and plan to finish strong.
The weather was good at times, but rain came fast and strong non-stop winds were in our face for 6 miles straight as we headed south to the final turn around at 11M. It was exhausting!
I am pleased that I was able to hold on and still have something left for the last 2M.
Since April 1, I have met Dave for 2 more long runs. We are doing it! Marathon training is really happening!!!
Last weekend we ran 22M and today we ran a 24. Each long run pace has gotten faster. We are getting fitter. It feels awesome to be able to do this again!
I consider marathon training done when I hit 24. We got through the first round of marathon training! This was just a base building cycle. We only wanted to get the mileage under us. And we did it!
I think we are ready for our "check In" race.
It is 5:52 am.
We plan to leave at 6:00 am.
Sid says "It is probably time to figure out what I am going to wear."
He finds his watch. “Oh, I probably should have charged this.”
I say, “Does it matter? You don’t actually save your runs anyway."
We grab the headlamp and the little flashing light we found in the basket of one of the rental bikes, a 20 oz Gatorade each, and two small packs of Fig Newtons for “energy.” We ride the 1.5M to the start of the Key West Half Marathon in the dark. It was just perfect.
The pre-dawn bike ride to the start was stress-free. Finding a spot to lock the bikes was easy. I drink my Gatorade to avoid having to hold it any longer than necessary.
The night before I discovered a one sentence note in the pre-race information that says proudly “This race will be cup-less again!” Well, I wasn’t ready for that. I had a brief moment of panic. I hate carrying anything in my hands when I run. I rarely drink or eat even on long runs. It takes me a moment but I know I will be fine. Sid was already half asleep by then and mumbles “I will carry my Gatorade.” Problem solved.
Once at the race, we line up around the 2:10 pace group with no actual plan. We didn’t really talk about anything except for me saying “I just want to run with you” and Sid saying "I just want to finish this thing."
Sid has been bothered by plantar fasciitis for about as long as I have had my achilles issue. That was his one concern.
I am hopeful that my body will find a way to race again as long as I don’t rush. But if I can't race "fast for me" again, I wont be devastated. I am running again and this is a success. I accomplished a lot as a runner when I did race well. I have no regrets.
At the start, Sid and I laugh about how much has changed since our first Key West Half back in 2007. It was three weeks after my last immunotherapy infusion that completed my cancer treatment. Way back then, the race was only 400 people. Sid paced me through bursts of running that I broke up with walks at each aid station.
That run was the furthest I had ever run in my life and having Sid with me made it a special experience. Today running 13.1M again will be the longest run I will have completed since Sept 2021. Running again with Sid made it feel just as special.
Over the next 16 years, Sid and I ran the Key West half at least 10 more times.
Like always, Sid “trained” his usual way. About two weeks before the race it occurs to him that he is going to run 13.1M soon. He decides to to run a long run of about 8 miles at most or maybe just 6. We will never know because he deletes every run he does as soon as the run is finished. He runs "long" declares his work is done and that his “taper” will begin.
Sometimes this is it. Do just enough to get out of an experience all that we need to feel content. Sid can run a half marathon anytime he feels like it. He isn't trying to PR. He doesn't care about his place. He just wants to finish what he starts and so far he has been able to do just that every single time. No stress. No drama.
My training for this was only slightly more invested. I peaked with two 12 mile run/walks, I rowed a half (which was a major accomplishment but it wasn't running), I rode my spin bike, I did some short runs, and that felt like enough for me to know 13.1M was not going to be a problem.
At 7:00 am, off we go.
The crowd is 2000 runners deep. It is 57 degrees, which apparently is the point where no one knows how to dress. Some runners were in coats and gloves. Others in sports bras and shorts. The range was outrageous.
The wind had calmed. The sun was up. It was getting warm. We run right past our hotel and decide to throw our outer layers behind a bush hoping they will be waiting for us when we get back. Once we shed a layer it was incredibly comfortable. Just perfect!
There are 25 local musicians along the out and back course that is mostly along the water. It is all that an island foot race should be!
Despite the cup=free announcement, the aid stations actually had some cups but out of principle, maybe an irrational sense of guilt, I don’t take any fluids. If I was seriously racing, I would have grabbed a cup of anything I could get my hands on but we were moving at comfortably 9:30 pace. I just didn't feel a need.
All is well until Mile 5.5 when Sid notices his Plantar Fascia getting sore.
By mile 7, we find ourselves running next to a guy who continuously and rapidly repeats “You are a Winner! Don’t give up! You are a winner! You got this! You are a winner!!!”… to everyone running the out portion (in our direction) to our back portion. He repeated this possibly every three strides. After a full mile of this guy right behind us, I knew we needed to do something.
I would let Sid decide. I wondered what Sid would decide to do? Would he walk a bit because his foot was sore and let the guy go? Nope! Instead, Sid picks up his pace and we more a little faster for about 2 miles. We make enough room.
I wonder how Sid’s foot is doing after that, but I will never ask someone to assess a problem in the middle of a race. Instead I say to him “Hey Sid, almost less than 5k to go! You know what? You are a Winner! Don't Give Up! You Go this!” :) He rolls his eyes at me. :)
After the out and back on the pier at Mile 10, I realized we had not eaten or drank anything yet. Sid says he doesn't need anything, but reports his foot is on fire. I say “Almost less than 2 to go”… We don’t stop moving.
Sid reminisces about how he used to be able to just run a half without training and have no issues. I comment that he seemed to have used that same plan for this one. He comments back that things are getting harder over the years. There are issues now. I agree.
We are definitely slowly growing old together.
We are ahead of the 2:10 pace group. I remind him that our first Key West half was about a 2:02. We might be close to that time. I know better than to say “Want to try to break 2” Sid isn't motivated by stuff like that. Sid is content with exactly what we are doing and so am I.
It is a beautiful experience to run this race once again side-by-side with Sid 16 years later feeling just as grateful to share his company as I did the first time we ran this far together.
The volunteers' cheers were welcomed. It seemed like despite the race being much much bigger, the spectators were really much less this year. This year, we hardly saw anyone course-side. There were some people but just not like in the past.
We hit the final stretch. Sid says jokingly “Do you want to sprint?” because he knows I am motivated by stuff like that. I say “Oh yeah, let's pull all the muscles that are still working for us in the least few strides” LOL. We cruise in at a 9:50 pace and finish smiling with nothing broken.
We get our metals and find some oranges.
I ask Sid if he has any bread left. He does. He ran the whole race with bread in his pocket waiting to see chickens :) He didn't see any so we look for roosters and chickens to feed, then find our bikes and ride back to our hotel. Our long sleeve shirts are waiting for us behind that bush. I am happy.
Then I ask “So, did you save your run?”
And he says “Yes. Yes I did!”
One important thing to know is that jumping rope can be remarkably hard on the body. The dose of jumping needs to be small at first. I will be making my jumping minimum 60 seconds total. I only plan to do three longer "jump rope workouts" per week with the rest of the days filled in with, at the minimum, 1 minute of jumping. I anticipate increasing to 3-6 minutes of easy jumping as I get acclimated.
I also think that for me, starting with two feet together will do a lot to help my left achilles not feel overwhelmed. Over the 30 days I would like to progress to a running step. This approach should do a lot to help my achilles tolerate the burden of running again.
Of course, if I feel like it isn't working, I won't proceed. But based upon how I feel today, I think this will help me find my way back to racing again in the next few months.
Here is a copy of an article I wrote about jumping rope and how to get started.
Jump Rope To Improve Running Form
Shannon McGinn, Certified Running Coach, USATF, RRCA, NFHS Revised March 2020
One key component to efficient running form is good posture. Those who run with their posture out of alignment waist energy..To run our best, we want to run tall with a slight lean from the ankles.
We want our feet to land under our center of mass, not out in front of us. If viewing from the side, we should be able to draw an imaginary line from our head, down
our spine, through our hips to where our foot lands under our hips, give or take. No one is perfect. However over-striding is not optimal.
Momentum, from pushing off the ground with our back foot, carries our body forward over our planted foot. The back foot comes forward, traveling directly under our level hips and lands beneath our center of mass again.
Optimal cadence is approximately 180 steps per minute or more. Over-striding heel-strikers often have a hard time achieving this 180 step tempo, mostly due to the center of mass being behind the foot as it lands too far forward.
One of the best reasons to jump rope as a runner is it reinforces some elements of efficient running form. Jump rope with poor form and you will not be able to sustain the rhythm and pace needed to jump continuously. Jump with proper form and you will find your flow.
It just so happens that proper form for jumping rope mirrors in some ways ideal posture for running efficiently. To successful jump rope, the feet must land under the center of mass, directly under the hips, while the spine is held straight and tall. Slouching results in failed jumps. To practice ideal running form, consider adding jumping rope as a warm up, cool down, or cross-training activity.
How to get started:
Initially, I assumed that since children can jump rope, getting started would be easy.
I quickly learned that I had many questions: What type of rope? How long should it be? Where should I jump? How should I jump? To help me get the answers I needed I consulted Michael Schwartz, an experienced Crossfitter. He helped me figure out everything I needed to get started!
What Type of Rope: There are many types of ropes available, included beaded and weighted ropes. Schwartz explained that as an athlete I should consider a speed rope, which is a lightweight cable coated with plastic. These ropes are built to turn fast enough to sustain the paces needed for an adequate workout. He recommended I look at ropes from http:// www.rxsmartgear.com. Another highly recommended site for quality jump ropes is http:// www.roguefitness.com. However, any jump rope that works for you is good enough. Keep it simple.
Correct Rope Size: Some ropes may be adjustable while others require you to purchase the appropriate length of cable. To find the proper length of rope for you, the simplest method is to add three feet to your height. However, jumpers under 5 foot 6 inches and more efficient jumpers may find that three feet is a bit too long for them.
A second method is to use a measuring tape (or the actual jump rope cable if it is too long and you need to cut it). Line up the starting end of the tape or cable with the base of your pectoralis major muscle. Step on the tape or cable with one foot. Bring the remaining length of tape or cable back up to meet the starting end, at the base of your pectoralis major muscle. If you are measuring from your armpit you are measuring too high. The distance of this entire round-trip measurement should be very close to your height plus three feet. Cut the cable and make note of the length. Error on the side of cutting the rope too long if you are not sure. You may find that some further adjustments may be needed to find your optimal length rope, but this should get you started.
Where to Jump: Schwartz recommended that I not jump directly on the concrete pavers in my yard as this will quickly degrade my rope. Instead, he suggested that I get a 4ft x 4ft piece of plywood and place it over the grass to create a supportive, shock-absorbing surface for my workout. Other easier suggestions include jumping on a mat or cardboard to protect the rope from breakage. When selecting where to jump, make sure that the mat, cardboard, or plywood surface is large enough to not catch the rope.
My Very Simple Jump Rope Routine:
When I first got started, I tried few different methods of jumping. Eventually, I decided that I needed to keep it simple. This routine makes a good warm up, emphasizes good running form, and can be lengthened to become an additional workout.
(1) Double Hop with feet together (2 jumps per one turn of rope) x 30 jumps, recover 10-20 seconds
(2) Single Hop with feet together (1 jump per one turn) x 30 jumps, recover 10-20 seconds
(3) Left Leg, single hop x 30 jumps, recover 10-20 seconds
(4) Right Leg, single hop x 30 jumps, recover 10-20 seconds
(5) Running Step (Alternating Left Foot - Right Foot in a running motion) x 60 jumps (if counting each foot plant as 1 jump), recover at least 20 seconds before starting set over.
The routine takes between 5-10 minutes to complete. Do it once as a warm up before other types of training. Repeat this multiple times to make it a stand alone workout.
Jumping rope can be harder on the body that is seems like it should be. I recommend jumping rope only up to 3 days per week. Expect muscle groups that have not been used regularly to feel stressed, tired, and sore, including your arms.
Advanced jumpers can reduce the recovery between types of jumps all the way down to 0 seconds and/or repeat this series many times in a row. Eventually, you will become proficient enough to add more challenging jump steps to the set, such as Double-unders, where the rope must pass under the feet twice per jump. However, personally I do feel the need to include double-unders into my jumping routine.
Efficient running form and jumping rope both require good posture. A great way to train the body to hold efficient running form is by adding jump-rope to your training plan. I hope this article helps you get on your way to becoming a more efficient runner.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this article. If you have any questions or are interested in coaching, please email me at shannon@CreatingMomentumCoaching.com
Shannon McGinn holds an MS degree in Kinesiology with dual concentrations in sports performance and sports psychology. She is also a Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is the owner of Creating Momentum Coaching, LLC where she provides endurance and whole-person health coaching for optimal performance. Shannon is a regionally competitive endurance athlete, a USATF, RRCA, and NFHS Certified Distance Running Coach, and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Transformation - Behavior Change Coach. She is a life-long runner, becoming more involved in racing after surviving cancer. She considers herself a marathon and ultramarathon specialist, achieving the USATF Master’s Elite Marathon standard (sub-3 for women over 40), USATF National Championship top 10 place finishes 50k and 50M distances over many years. She set an Age Group American Record for 40-44-year-old women for the 6-hour duration race by completing 43.16 Mile in that time.
Breaking the Cycle: Spinning my way through Achilles Tendonitis (by riding my new bike into the ground.)
I went to see my doc today.
I rarely go to the doctor.
Only when I am about to die do I go, so this was unusual.
Not being able to race is killing me.
I guess I am being consistent.
Last May (2021), the bursa behind my heel started to speak up. Scream at me, really. It was irritable and cranky and didn’t enjoy running. So, like any “good” long distance runner would, I noticed the issue and decided I don’t care what my achilles says, I am a runner so I will figure it out. Sometimes things hurt. Most of the time they get better.
This isn’t the first time that I have had a cranky achilles. This is the first time I have noticed it swelling up like this. But the next day it was not swollen. So I wasn't sure what to make of this initially.
Back in 2015, I had the same type of feeling. By backing down on volume & speed, it eventually became a non-issue. I went on to train just fine and set life-time PRs in every distance from 5k to 50 miles. So I wasn’t too worried back in May 2021.
So this time, once again, I backed off, felt better, started to rebuild. It would flare up again, so I would back off again.... repeat for a year.
I didn’t stop running completely (until now) because:
(1) I was registered for the October 2021 Boston Marathon, a race I trained for after sepsis tried to kill me for year straight. I got back into peak shape and qualified for it with a 3:03 in January 2020. It was very meaningful BQ and I wanted to a least be able to show up and enjoy the day.
(2) The achilles didn't bother me consistently. There would be plenty of perfectly pain-free days in a row, even weeks in a row, then a random flare up that would lead to 2-3 days off just to be safe. I reduced my running down to 2-3 days per week only if I didn't feel any pain. It seemed like I good plan.
I had worked through an achilles issue before, but it wasn’t 2015 anymore. It was 2021. I was 6 years older in 2021 and everything seems to take longer to heal for me now.
As much as I would love to say “age is only a number”… my Achilles disagrees. Training age is more than "just a number". it represents accumulated wear and tear on a hard working body, a body that needs to be taken seriously, listened to, and treated with respect.
I only have this one and it has done good work for me. I have been dumping unnecessary parts as they break down on me for years now (my breasts, half my thyroid, random teeth. Getting older is fun! :) If you are not yet over 40, start saving money for your teeth now, you will thank for this in about two decades!)
With high hopes of running Boston, in August, right on schedule while going out for a 20M long run, I made it to 6.5M and my calf popped. I was over compensating and couldn't take it any more. It wasn't obvious to me that this is what I was doing until the calf popped .
I shut down marathon training. I healed relatively quickly and ran 1:40 half marathon in Utah in September (the downhill course helped to make that possible by putting no stain on the my calves or achilles.)
That week in Utah was rejuvenating. We ran and hiked everyday. 10 miles per day on our feet climbing to over 10,000 feet whenever possible. Nothing hurt. Nothing flared up. I could do anything I wanted to do. I felt like I was healed! I was ready to start training again.
I thought I could get enough mileage in to simply show up to Boston just for fun. But then my calf popped again on mile 1 of an easy jog on a flat road one day after we got home from Utah.
And I knew in was over.
No Fall Boston.
This is stupid.
In late October 2021 I discovered that I could spin and row and my ankle/achilles was ok with that. I started to go 2-3 times per week and it was helping me feel like I was still an athlete.
I still had races on my calendar that were paid for deferrals. Races I wanted to run. I wanted to see a starting line. I wanted to cross a finish line. I wanted to talk about running with runners while running. I wanted to feel like myself again.
But as each race got closer, I knew they weren’t going to happen. I could run sometimes without any pain but then randomly my Achilles would flare up again. It had no logical reason. Sometimes it hurt after a run, sometimes it didn’t hurt at all. Sometimes, I could walk all day, but then sometime mid-dog walk it would flare up. It was not consistent.
Then in March 2022, my right arm started to join in. Apparently I strained something in my arm. From rowing? or lifting? or both. Or maybe from something else? Sleeping poorly? Writing too many treatment plans when I am at the hospital? I have no idea what happened.
I stopped going the gym in March and it continued to get worse through May. I didn’t feel like going if I could not row of lift. I was getting less enthusiastic about my 4:30 am alarm for spin class. I just wanted more sleep and I wanted to spin when I felt like it not when there was a class.
With almost 6 weeks away from the gym, my arm was getting worse. My athlete-self was degrading and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
So I made the appointment for my physical today to figure out why my ankle, my arm, even my abdomen (with pain that wakes me up at night), my shoulders (that each decided to take some time off during last year) all seem to be giving me trouble.
My doc is maybe in his 70s. He is an orthopedic specialist, but practices primary care. He is the opposite of histrionic. He very thoughtful, conservative, an excellent diagnostician, a bit of a comedian, and seems to be at a point in his life where he is ok with just clearly calling things he sees them.
“You are beating yourself up. You have tennis elbow. That is why you can use your arm.
You have achilles tendonitis. That is why you can't use your foot.
I can inject you, but that isn’t a solution. The ankle may not get better, ever. You have overworked it. YOU ABUSE YOUR BODY!
The arm, now that may be fixable. If you can ride the bike, do that for a while.
[Walks out of room... returns.. Hands me two handouts] Here are some exercises that can help you recover. This is better than medicine. (*And this is why I really love this man)
... and you need to find a new job, one where people don’t need to see what you can do to want to work with you! You need to take it easy on yourself. You aren't 21 anymore!”
He then shows me the newly healing wound on his head. Said he fell down his stairs. Hit his head on a pipe. Gave himself a concussion. Needed staples. Was told to take 3 weeks off but only took one… And said "That is how life seems to go lately. The demands work puts on us makes us ask things of our bodies that really aren’t reasonable… yet we do it. We feel like we need to do it. If you can find a better way, find it.”
I looked at the handouts he gave me. I said “I'm not ready to stop training but I will do these exercises.”
He said “Oh, I know you will!... You’re done here. Go home. Good luck. Take it easy. Use the bike for a while.”
Since I started running after my cancer treatment in 2007, the only time I stopped running was when I had sepsis and an internal abscess for a year that needed 4 surgeries to close it.
In between those two time periods I became a streak runner and ran daily for 7 years. Sepsis was my reason to end my streak. It didn’t feel like I had a choice.
This does’t feel like I have a choice any more now either. I need to stop running for a little while. Maybe not very long. A few days? Another week? Another month? I don't know yet. When my achilles is ready I will know.
I am tired of running a little, feeling good, thinking I am ok, getting my hopes up, then experiencing an achilles bursa flare up (Doc said, “Well, that means you are about to tear it.")
I rode 130 miles in the first 7 days and realize that I have been a super frustrated endurance athlete without any comfortable outlet for my identity for a LONG LONG TIME.
I have found a new home for now.
The SCHWINN is a decent bike. There are some pros and cons.
Pro -: I paid $850 total (after tax) and it is a “Good Enough” machine. I think the SCHWINN bike can be found on sale ofter for about $500 if you wait. I wish I knew but it wouldn't have mattered. I can sync my Garmin to the bike and broadcast my HR to the peloton app. Comes with universal SPD pedals and a set of cleats which are the same pedals that my gym uses. I will go back the gym eventually.
Con - WHY does it not tell me my watts or my power? It can do it. It just doesn't. But I am working on this. I may find a solution. The free JRNY app is useless to me because you can only sync one thing at a time to the bike and I choose my watch and I cant use the JRNY app without a machine synced to it.
I considered Peloton but I didn’t want a bike that cost $1200-$2000, would require me to pay $44 per month for the app (starting in June), and required me to get spin shoes that were different than what I would use if I did want to go back to taking classes at the gym.
I considered Keiser for around $2000 because it seem like it will last a million years. But I don’t have $2000 right now for this.
The SCHWINN seemed to be the best deal I could find on a bike that had less complaints than the other cheaper bikes I looked at. Except for some common complaints of pedal malfunctions (which I honestly think is caused by people pedaling backwards and not realizing they are unscrewing the pedals by doing that).
So now what?
Now I spin... like right now, right after I hit publish I will go to my garage, and free my soul
I set a personal goal to spin at least 10 minutes per day daily for 30 days. Today will be day 9. Once I hit 30 days I will buy myself some spin shoes. I want to make sure I am using this bike before I invest more into it. I want to make sure my cycling muscle are strong before I lock my feet into the pedals. I want to give my body and mind a chance to heal and thrive without worrying about anything else just yet.
Of course, if I need to rest during the next 3 weeks, I will. This is not a goal I will pursue at all costs. Spinning is all I can do right now. I will protect it. But I am also going to move, sweat, and feel like an athlete every single day that I possibly can.
I am tired of run-walking without any gains.
I am tired of sneak attack achilles flare ups.
I am tired of feeling hopeful, then disappointed.
I am tired to asking Dave to race something awesome with me and then telling him months later that I can’t do it. “I cant do it” has never been part of my vocabulary when it comes to something I have my heart set on, but it somehow has snuck in when it comes to running!
So now I will spin.
This is a topic that seems to confuse many coaches, so how are laymen supposed to know what the difference is?
More to come on this topic.....
There is a lot to learn from getting stuck. There is opportunity for growth in ways that may not be so obvious. For me, just stepping back and asking "What is the point? What is the purpose?" of all this repetition helps me to see what I really need.
I've been running on team, "competing", since I was 9 years old. I took a break from racing in my early adulthood, but returned to racing when cancer made me question my lifestyle and my purpose.
Racing gave me a sense of existence. Published race results really made me feel like I was leaving a literal mark that said "I was here!" Before cancer, I didn't feel like I was leaving my mark anywhere. Racing offered me connectedness to others. Racing made sense to me. I understand racing better than anything else I have ever tried to understand. Cancer taught me I could ensure. But racing taught me about that the limitation I believed about my own ability were. simply are not truth.
And now lately running has been frustrating. I have felt stuck in almost illogical ways. My body isn't responding in the predictable ways it has done for the past 35+ years. I am not new to training.
These words, from this link below spoke to me:
Alright, there’s no way I’m going to get what I want, this is not where I want to go, it’s not happening,” there’s a moment of truth telling, if you’re willing to take it. There’s a moment of potential surrender. You have to give up the goal. You have to give up where you think you want to get to. You have to give up the very conception of the practice that you’re involved in. You have to give up your very definition of it, and what you think you’re doing it for. And in that moment, there’s something real. There’s an authentic reality of yourself in recognizing you’re not getting what you want. This is a dropping down. This is a coming home. And interestingly enough, as soon as you do that, lo and behold, a door opens.
Listen to the entire 12 minutes of the podcast here. https://www.processarts.com/podcasts/process-before-practice/
This week I have rested and then I tested how I felt. I did not make the progress I hoped I would make. My calf is taking so much longer than I expected it should take to heal. My left heel bursa is intermittently agitated with me when I am not working very hard. I have a lot of questions that I am contemplating and I will find my answers in time.
I am happy that by yesterday I felt a turn around. Everything felt better than the day before. This is not the same as being "OK." I am not yet OK but I am better. That is progress.
I did spend time with Strength training. I created some workouts on an app and played around with that. I don't know how I feel about the app yet. Maybe I will keep it after the free trial. Maybe not. I'll figure that out later. I have two more weeks to use it. It makes strength training more interesting for the moment. That is something.
In the mean time, when I can't train, I create art.
Process Art has been helping me find time to process what is going on with me in this moment.
The Principles of Process Art are as follows:
1. Accept that you are not supposed to know what will happen next. Proceed anyway.
2. Give yourself space to think. Listen to your thoughts with genuine and non-judgmental curiosity. Actually sit with them. This is the opposite of all the mindfulness meditation work everyone has been immersed it. Here I we give ourself time to actually think.
3. Respect the process by not criticizing product. Wherever we are in the art is exactly where we are supposed to be. This is not about making "good" art. It is about creating art. In a group setting, participants are asked to NOT complement others. This act of judging the art product, even in a positive way, will extinguish the power of the process. It doesn't matter what you or I think of the final piece. That is not the point.
4. Allow yourself the freedom to follow the energy and not force the direction you go. This means we need to be ok with taking risks and committing to the marks we make on the page. We need to do something and figure it out we go.
5. We need to be ready to dealing with difficulty as we work. This is not about feeling like a kid. This is not childish work. There is a lot of junk that comes up as soon as you realize your art starts to feel like a self-portrait and you don't like what you are seeing. This is where the learning happens for me. Understanding that sometimes what we do doesn't look anything like what we thought we could do or hoped to do ... but there is it anyway. Sometimes things feel bad or wrong or imbalanced or in the wrong place or at the wrong time ... and then what do I do about that? I figure it out as I go. I deal with it. I accept it. I carry on.
5. Unlike other types of art therapy, in Process Art we don't even attempt to interpret the symbolic expression. We are not making art to find meaning in the final product. We are making it to learn from the process.
6. Recognizing completion, a sense of closure, a sense of being ready to move on. This is important. This is not the same as wanting something to go away, as wanting to leave something that is uncomfortable, or being afraid of messing it up something if you continue on. Attempting to achieve a sense of completion is the final "product" of the "process" regardless of what the actual product looks like. Learning what completions feels like is significant.
When not training, I am creating. This process art project is giving me the space to think about my identity as a runner and why I run. Running daily is just as much a "practice" as meditation or art making.
I am ok with not worrying about the product. I have completely stopped worrying about race times, DNS, DNFs, etc... I don't care if my running is "good", I don't care how others will judge me. This shift is what has allowed me to recognize that my "limitations" are simply a result of judgment of the my product of my labor. The same products that once allowed me to feel like I existed, like I was connected to others, like I belonged...
By shifting my focus from running for performance (at least for right now) to running for process I am allowing myself to be free and to figure out where I will go with my running practice. And this shift is allowing me to heal.
This workout the did me it. .15M repeats up an down a 5% grade. The entire horseshoe as .35M. I did 4 repeats on that road. I felt fine while running. I felt like I was holding myself back. But my calf felt otherwise.
The Importance of Strength Training for this Master's Age Runner
It occurred to me today that the reason this is happening to me is because I am not as strong as I used to be. I used to spend a lot of time in the gym during my last training cycle. I loved going to gym. I would be in there for 2.5 hours 3 x week doing full body work. It was empowering. It was a incredibly enjoyable break from the world. It was fast-paced and intense. I tracked everything. I got so very strong from my size. This made me quite resilient. More resilience than I realized.
I used to think the lifting was collateral, adjunctive, just a something extra that I had time for that maybe could help. I didn't realize how necessary strength training was/is for me now. It is now crystal clear to me that at my age lifting is essential for me to be able to tolerate training at all! This is a big of a scary concept for someone who has been running since I was 9. Aging is no joke, but we can mitigate its effects by throwing some mass around a few times per week. I can do that! I can even enjoy it!
I am now convinced that lifting was the reason I was running PR=paced training runs and feeling like I was back on track for a sub-3 in 2020. I ran a 3:03 in Charleston in Jan 2020 after a 3:08 at the NCR at the end of Nov 2019. In Dec 2019 I ran a PR half at 6:38 pace. I felt I was ready to really chase down a new marathon PR by Spring 2020. I was feeling so fit and strong. I was 44 then. I am 45 soon to be 46. I feel like I have the muscle tone of a wet dishrag. This has to change.
So what's the plan? Forget racing for the moment. Focus on lifting. Use what I have at home until I get my booster shot (hopefully I will be one of the first to get the booster as I am due) and then after I am boosted I want to (NEED TO0 get back to the gym 3 times per week. Once I get my strength build, then I can return to marathon training.
I have avoided the gym because of COVID. I thought I could find ways to work on my resistance training at home. But it isn't really working. Clearly. I need to get back in the gym so that is what I will try to do as long as it feels safe for me to do it. (I am vaccinated. My gym is at my hospital. It is a big gym where people can spread out. It is required to maintain hospital-level hygiene standards as it is also used for PT). I feel like it is safe but who really knows. I need to return. If I go and I feel like I am not safe then I may need to buy some gym equipment for my garage. I don't want to have to do that but I will if there is no other safe option.
Here is actual research on the benefits of concurrent strength and endurance training on master's runners .
I had to sit down and have a hard chat with myself.
It was time.
Time to revise the plan, the goals, the finish line.
I don't know why running feels so hard right now but it feel like my body just needs time to adjust.
Resting doesn't seem to help. I know it seems like it should help, but I feel like my pain a result of weakness not overuse. Resting has helped reduce the aches and pain but once I start running again, I am sore. This is because resting doesn't do anything to address the weakness. Not running in pain is the plan. Strength training needs to take a starring role right now. If my focus was on getting prepared to race, I needed to run. If I can't run without pain, how do I train for a race?
The Answer: I don't. It is that simple. I don't.
I highly doubt I will be racing Boston 21. I don't see how I can take a step back, heal up, build strength, then move forward as a runner and be ready for Boston in time. I don't want to feel rushed. Rushed training never works,
The good news for me is that I am already qualified for Boston 2022. I don't need to run 2021. Sure, I wanted to. The opportunity to run Boston in glorious New England fall weather will be a once in a lifetime experience.
But it just wont likely be my experience.
So instead of trying to get those 16-20+M long runs done, I gave myself permission to back up. First I wanted a few short test runs to see how my calf really feels.
First, I went out for a 2 mile walk with some running to assess. Everything felt good.
Then I tried a little longer without walks. I feel "good enough". My right calf is sore, my left bursa is sore but all better than last week.
I was able to run a decent 4M on Saturday but the aftermath of a 9:03 pace was not pleasant. I felt like I had run a marathon. My body is not happy.
I waited until late afternoon. I had hope to get a 12M this weekend. I wan't committed fully. I would listen to my body. I planned two 6 miles loops so I could easily end the run if I was uncomfortable. I didn't need to! I manage to get all 12 but I did take a run/walk approach. That helped. I am ok with Run/Walking until I feel 100% again.
I am in no rush. I have nothing but time, really.
I rested last week so that I could have a chance to return to training safely. All went well until Saturday. It seems like the universe is really testing me during this training cycle. I am watching my fall race goals disintegrate. Sometimes this is how it goes. When the body is struggling, it is time to deal with the issues happening in the moment and not worry about what was supposed to happen weeks from now.
The week actually started off really well. Dave and I did two hill days on Tuesday and Thursdays. It was an amazing workout. We found a hilly loop. It was lovely.
7.25% incline/decline. .
35 miles up and down.
We would climb at moderate intensity and then crush the descent at top speed. It was so much fun. Our descent were averaging 5:30-5:40 pace, top speed 5:24. I am sure that hard work primed me for what happened next but it is hard to predict in the moment which step will be the one that is the straw that breaks you.
I was feeling great on Friday, just a little tired but nothing significant. I meet Alanna for an easy 6M which we accidentally ran as a progression down to 9:00 pace. Not blazing fast, but not our normal easy pace normal. It felt good and I had no reason to believe anything was wrong.
I decided to take it easy on Saturday and save my 20M LR for Sunday. I ran an easy 4M with Sidney and again felt fine. Nothing to suggest any thing was wrong.
Sunday, I finally got out the door in the afternoon for my 20. It felt so nice. I didn't look at my watch for 4 miles. It felt easy. I felt fluid. I wasn't working hard at all. I suspected my pace was about 10:00. When I finally looked at my watch, I was averaging 9:01. I felt so very strong and was excited to just hold my pace until 10M and turn back home. The course I run is slightly more incline on the way out so I knew once I swung back around it would be slightly easier home and if I felt ok, then maybe I could actually negative split this run and come in under 9:00 pace.
My long runs have been horrible this training cycle. I have marathons I planned to run. I told my self on the way out to 10M that if I could manage this 20M LR then I could finally give myself permission to believe that a marathon this fall was realistic. I just wanted 20M at any pace. I didn't need sub-9. I wanted distance not time. But when the pace was peppy my confidence soared. It felt so nice to find flow.
I passed 6M and was holding steady and feeling good until suddenly my right calf spasmed. WTF was that? I paused. Massage it for a second and kept on going. The at 6.5M again it spasmed hard and I felt a popping sensation. WTF? I am running a 9:00 mile. How is this happening?!
6.5M from home. No one around to save me. I don't have Uber on my phone. This was not planned out very well.
Sid is in the air somewhere, ironically flying to Boston. He is headed to Boston while I am watching my dream of racing Boston disappear.
I text Dave. Somehow lately I feel like all I do is complain and annoying complaining seems to help me feel better. That is not the type behavior I want reinforcement for. ugh.
I turn around. I drink the remaining fluid in my bottle and run again. I start easy but I loosen up. I realize that spasms did some damage but I can run. I run back to the park. I get more water. I run home. I have to pause a few times to massage my calf.
I think this happened because I am overcompensating with my right to take some pressure off my left side which has the angry bursa.
I make it back home and stop at 13 miles. I weigh in. I'm 116 lbs! WTF. What is happening. I drank 40 oz on the course. I drank before I left. I carried sports drink this time when I started. I didn't feel like I was that dehydrated. This is a 5lb weight loss. No wonder I cramped! I don't know what is going on lately with my body. I have trained for marathons for about a decade. I never cramp. I usually don't even drink or eat when I train. I made an effort today and it didn't matter.
Shannon McGinn, JD, MS, MA, EDS, NBC-HWC, ATR-BC, LPAT.