Sunday, October 27, 2013

November Challenge: 15 minutes of Strength for Runners

We all know we need to do it. So let's do it together: a quick daily strength based workout for everyone. I completed the 200/100 Challenge for October everyday because I knew you were all counting on me! There is no reason not to complete this workout EVERYDAY.  Strength comes in consistency. Without consistency, we have nothing.  

The plan is to come up with a roughly 15 minute workout each month that will play to your weaknesses making you stronger overall.  The workouts will focus on core specifically with upper body and leg work that will make you stronger as a runner.  If this workout is too hard, and it just might be, cut the reps in half. It only works if it is something you will do everyday, and if it's too hard, you won't do it.

To join the group on Facebook, go to our event page.  Without further ado, here is November's Challenge: 125/200/125+ 2 min plank

2 minutes of Plank, downward facing. This will be very hard for some of you. I suggest taking it in segments if it is. If I am unable to hold it for 2 minutes I take very brief breaks in downward dog.
Extra Credit: 30 seconds side plank, on each side, for a total of 1 minute. 30 seconds of upward facing plank.   
125 Alternate Arm/legs:
Do 5 rounds of this:
10 pushups (50 pushups total)
10 triceps pushups (50 triceps pushups total)
5 one legged squats, or 10 regular squats (25 one legged squats per leg total)
Variation/advanced: add in Kettlebell swings.

200 Core: (in addition to the plank)
100 Bicycle crunches
100 other core work: example bicycle legs, vertical leg crunches, hip lift, etc.

125 Full Body: (repeat 5 times)
10 mountain climbers
5 burpees
Hold squat for 10 seconds, sit into it deeply with good form, see picture.
Squat good form

Alternate squat/butt workout

Bicycle Crunch

Plank, face down, with variation leg lift

Side plank
Triceps pushup

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tahoe Running & a BIG Surprise

Loon Lake Trail Run
A Running Vacation in Tahoe
I've never been to Lake Tahoe in the fall, and what a treat!  I usually spend some time at the lake in the summer running trails, racing, or helping put on a tour there.  This year I was there during the hottest days of the summer for my failed FKT around the TRT.  This past week it was really lovely to run in the sun with that crisp feeling of autumn and beautiful fall colors all over the mountains.  It was warm enough to run without a shirt and in shorts. All the pics are from the runs I did this week near Tahoe.

2014 Races
On another note, I am working on a really big project that I hope to make into a pretty amazing race. I'll give you a hint: there's nothing like it. It is going to be super unique and pretty crazy and the beginning of a new chapter in ultra races in the US!  This is why I have been too busy to blog much lately.  I have a whole new website to add content to and it's a lot of work.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I'm hoping to hear from some permitting folks soon and then I can announce this MONSTER project, just in time for Halloween.

 10/23 Loon Lake Trail 9 miles total

10/24: Ward Creek to Stanford Rock/TRT intersection 10.5 miles total

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Imaginary Podcast with Trail Runner Nation (and the real one too!)

I was pretty stoked to say the least when Scott Warr of Trail Runner Nation asked me to go on the podcast this week and talk to them about my latest write up, The Every Person's Guide to Trail Running Lingo. My write up is really not what it purports to be, readers be warned. It's written for the trail runner who has been in the sport long enough to see the humor in my "definitions."  Rather than give traditional definitions, I give funny, sometimes crass definitions for various ultra running terms. So you can see why I was surprised when TRN contacted me!  I thought, wow, here I go with one of (what I think) is my most crude, potty mouth obnoxious posts and they want me to talk about it on the air! Sweeeeet. Oh god. What did I just get myself into?!  To celebrate, I'm going to give you an imaginary conversation I had with the folks at TRN, before I even spoke to them! Think of it as the pre-interview. Or the nervous "I'm-better-at-writing-than-speaking-interview".  

Don: Hi Candice. So first off, let's just get it off the table. Why are you such a potty mouth?

Candice: <Pause> Uh, er, well.... I guess I need a filter, like coffee.  You know <nervously rambling>  I like coffee. Ultra runners like coffee. Do you like coffee?

Scott: Uhhh, yeah.  I...

Candice: So when I make coffee I use this cool little one cup espresso press. It's all by hand. Damn, what's the name of that press? Well, my point being that it has a really good filter. 
Don: Which is what you need?

Candice: Exactly. I'm going to mount one of those filters over my mouth, tape it on real good. Wait...hold on... right now.  Before I let loose any doozies.

Scott: If Faith was here, she'd be pleased.

Don: She opted out.  Err, we guys thought it was funny, you know, your trail lingo. But Faith is a bit more feminine and-

Candice: cultured? I knew it!  Damn. Well maybe she'll join us next time when I talk about my newest post: "How to Match Your Nail Color with Your Sweat Stained Shorts".

Don: Not sure that filter is working Candice, haha.  That's not really the point I was making.

Candice: Gee guys, this is going so well!  Haha <nervous laugh> I'm so happy to be on here. Can we talk about beer?

 Scott: That's Ultra Runner Podcast.

Candice: Oh yeah, right <blushing>.  Well, I thought I'd prove I was a real ultra runner by consuming not 1, not 2, but 4 beers before talking to you.  And running a lap for each one. Like a beer run!

Scott: So... you forgot about #3 and basically you can swear and shit talk, but don't tell us you're drunk.

Candice: Oh.  Not to worry, I'm good for another, maybe 2 beers.  And anyway, I'm just trying to loosen up! Haha, ha....<nervous laugh>

Don: <Clearly changing subject> So, Scott and I were on a run this morning wearing our Petzels and Scott, like he always says, was like "Don, thank you so much for getting me up at 4:20 this morning. I was going to kill you when you called, but I would've had to kill my phone too. And that's just taking it too far."

Candice: Yo, I heard this one. You like the Petzel? And poor Scott. How could you make him get up every morning at 4:20. Waiiiiit a minute. Does this have to do with the new marijuana laws? I knew it! That explains a lot guys.

Don: What do you mean exactly? We're in Callie, Not Washie.

Scott: She means that our sound is dank.  It's cool Don.  Anyway, moving on.  Candice, we're planning on describing you on our podcast as an "active" blogger. Could you please comment on blogging activeness. That's some blogging lingo.

Candice: Ooooh, impressive. I, too, am a fan of making lingo by adding "ness" or "ing".  But, yeah, active blogging, it's really an endangered species.  It's like the Siber Toothed Tiger of blogs.

Don: Haha, I once made a blog, posted about my 5 mile run and my 10 mile run. And then I kinda got bored.

Scott: Who got bored?  Don, you had a blog?  I would've read your blog.  What did you call it?

Don: The Doninator Runs.

Scott: Like the Terminator?

Candice: So about the blogging--

Don: That's why we're friends! Wanna watch the show tomorrow night?

Candice: Sure.

Scott & Don: Ummmm, ahh....(looking at each other) We were talking about here in Californie.

Scott: Moving on, again, so if you listen to Trail Runner Nation Candice, how come you haven't made fun of us?

Candice: Good question. Not to worry, I'm working on it.

Don: Very good. Now on to Trail Running Lingo. 

Without further ado, my interview with Trail Runner Nation.  Thanks guys! Check out their other podcasts. There's a plethora of great interviews. Some of my personal favs? Check out anything with Warren Pole.  Also join the conversation at Trail Runner Nation.  Yes, they have an active forum!  Oh, and let's not forget one of the most important trail running terms Scott and Don taught me about: PEK, Performance Enhancing Kokopelli. Get one or 20, it apparently enhances ultra performance. Great for gear junkies like me ;-)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

10 Things Dog Owners Should Never Say to Runners

Dedicated to all the leg-humping-teeth-baring carnivores out there.

After conducting an enlightening poll of runners about dog encounters, I've come up with some statements that dog owners should never say to runners.  It's not so much that the dog is the problem, it's the ridiculous statements their owners make to runners and other non-tethered folks.  Don't get me wrong, I love dogs and most dog owners.  I just find you funny and obnoxious.

It's OK, he's friendly!  As person's dog lunges and bears its teeth at runner.  If you have to say he's friendly, there's a problem.

He really likes you!   This either means the dog just humped your leg, jumped up on you, or is wiggling his body like the wound-up-under-exercised-ADD dog that he is.  Also goes along with "Oh sorry she's still a puppy." An apparent excuse for bad behavior and leg sex.

Oh sorry, she's still a puppy.  That explains why the 100 pound dog just jumped up on me.

She's just scared.  I'd say that looks more like some serious carnivorous intentions.

She won't bite.  If you have to say this, then she really might bite and I'm not coming anywhere near that piranha on a leash.The next thing these owners are likely to say is:

Oh my, he's never done THAT before. Well, thanks for clarifying and not apologizing. 

He has a high prey drive. No way! Is that why he just ran off into the bushes after that squirrel?

He's afraid of kids. I call that aggressive and dangerous.

She loves giving kisses.  Actually, I think she likes salt and has a penchant for french kissing.

He's in training. You mean you're in training?  Dogs respond to their owner's behavior. Good leadership equals good dog behavior.

Now go walk your dog and please don't forget to pick up your little baggies of shit. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Being Vulnerable by Recognizing Our Common Humanity

I love it when people write or talk about their life challenges with a dirty paintbrush, reminding us that life is messy.  Telling it like it is.  There's a disconnect between our own experiences and what we see on social media. How often do we become vulnerable to our audience, our friends, even our own families?  I often write something only to edit it into what I think others can handle.  What?! You say.  Considering what a potty mouth I have, you're surprised aren't you?  

Social media only adds to the problem of everyone's seemingly perfect life. We post pictures of our amazing trips where we're smiling, running, winning, and enjoying good food.  Can we even live up to our own profiles? Are our relationships so perfect? Are we super fit?  Um, no, no, no!  I once had a friend tell me that life really is like the TV show Desperate Housewives.  If you haven't seen it, it's full of dramatic events that are (mostly) well hidden under a smooth, beautiful surface.  At the time I thought, yeah whatever, mine's not.  Then I took up ultra running, went through a nasty divorce, and had some secrets of my own that I'll spare you from.  I became very close with a few of my friends who shared their own shocking secrets with me.  I was stunned. Here we all were living in quiet desperation thinking we were all alone all the while everyone else was too.  

I guess it's not practical to think that we can share our struggles with just anyone, nor is it a good idea on social media.  Yet there must be a way we can be more real.  How do we become more genuine with those close to us and honest in social media settings without creating a big pity party?  Being vulnerable is hard but it is exactly what makes us compassionate and bonds us to each other. We alienate ourselves when we hide parts of ourselves and when we smooth over our lives.  

  Dirty Truths about Life as an Active Human
  • Life is boring.  Don't let Facebook fool you. Life can be a fucking monotonous load of crap. Take it from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, published in 1798, sometimes life is like being on a sailboat with no wind to move you where you want to go:
All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
'Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

  • Life is Unpredictable: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  You win a race, complete a FKT, PR on our favorite run... the highs can be so high.  But the lows are often equally dramatic. Don't put too much on any one event (good luck with that one). It's too darn depressing when it isn't the brilliant success you wanted.

  • We all have Addictions: In the broadest sense, we all have things that we use to keep us from feeling vulnerable, feeling our emotions or anything else that scares us.  Maybe it's a drug or maybe it's an addiction to a person, exercise, food, work, internet.... the list could go on.  We all have something that we turn to when we don't want to feel.

  •  We all have Fantasies: All you have to do is listen to an episode of Dan Savage's Savage Lovecast to know that you're not alone.  Where do all these people come from? I don't think I know any in my daily life.... or do I?! 

  • We Write Our Own Story: When aren't most people spinning the string of their life into some sort of story?  We all do it.  Isn't this what training is?  We try to create the picture that we want the world to see, backing up peoples' online social feeds with disgustingly happy, fit, romantic stories.  Ultimately, that we can write our own story is a very, very good thing. Don't waste your opportunity.

  • We are all slow: At least sometimes. Yes, some of us are way slower than others, but there's always someone waiting in the wings to kick your slow ass.   I recently ran and DNF'd the Run Rabbit Run (dropped at mile 20). I ran in the hare race, which is the elite field.  All the "normal" runners do the Tortoise race and start 4 hours earlier. So there's like 40 bad ass runners starting in my "fast" heat and I line up after a night of severe gastrointestinal issues (we'll leave it at that). Lo and behold I experienced something I've never, ever experienced and hope to never experience again: the dreaded DFL. Until it was DNF that is. Yep.  I feel your pain back of the packers.

  • We're all Scared Shitless.  Recently, it was a message from Trail Runner Podcast wanting to interview me for a podcast. OMG!  I've always wanted to be on a podcast but all of a sudden all my insecurities came out.  To grow, we must get through our fear. When we avoid it, we may be missing the greatest opportunities of our lives.  Take it from Georgia O'Keeffe: I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.  

  • We are No Better than a Herd of Cows: Ok, we're a little more advanced.  I'm sorry to break it to you folks, but don't we all just seek acceptance most the time?  Oh, this is the pitfall of so many of us!  We lose our sense of style, our beauty, our creativity, our very souls by seeking acceptance.  No, I'm not being dramatic.  This is serious stuff folks.  We lose who we are when we join the herd of mooing beasts.  Originally, I got into ultras to do something different and exciting.  Not to ruin it for all the newbies, but it's just another herd. Moooooooo
  • Sunday, October 6, 2013

    200/100 Daily Challenge

    As runners we often neglect our overall body fitness for a good jog in the park, a scramble up a mountain, or a track workout.  As great as running is, we'd all have better fitness if we added a strength workout.  I'm no expert, but I can claim to inconsistently practicing yoga and various body weight exercises since high school. I even had an off season romance with Crossfit.  Yep, I'm one of those runners.

    I own 3 kettle bells, a yoga mat, pull up bar, and a barbell.  My parents had a basement full of hardcore weight lifting equipment when I was a kid.  My siblings and I mostly just used the space for rollerblading and writing the year in the dust on the Fitness Equipment Station (1996) and laughing at posters of thick veined, greasy weightlifters in 80's spandex.  Perhaps it set the stage for my so-far-life-long relationship with guilt and inconsistency in my strength routine.  That is about to change.  The most important thing I learned over the past 15 years of inconsistency is that consistency trumps intensity or duration. Clearly duration and intensity are good, but if you set a goal for yourself that is too hard to attain daily, you won't do it consistently.  So here's my challenge to all the runners out there:

    200/100 Daily Challenge

    Simple: Every single day you do 200 reps of core/abdominal work and 100 reps of upper body work, in addition to your regular running routine.  You can do reps of anything you like. You can change it up every day or weekly. But you must do 200/100. We're counting on you.  I did the workout the past 2 days when I put in loooong workdays on my feet and just wanted to curl up in bed with a good movie.

    For some of you, this is going to be really tough. If that's the case, ease into it with a 100/50 challenge. For those of you that it's really easy, be sure to slow down on each rep and feel free to add more reps, just don't add so much that you don't want to do it consistently. The beauty of it is that on a day when you don't want to do it, it only takes 10-15 minutes. On a day when you're digging it, add some extra.

    Here are some ideas for what you can do in each category:

    200s: Focus on your core strength
    bicycle legs
    plank (use 1 sec=1 rep)
    kettle bell

    100s: Focus on upper body
    kettle bell
    tricep dip

    Also check out this awesome site: 22 Scientific Core Exercises for some new ideas. This website has hundreds of exercises for mountain athletes to build strength with links to videos/descriptions: Mountain Athlete Exercises

    Want to add in some extras?  After 2 weeks of doing the 200/100 regularly, you may want to add a few more things. I find these two exercises to be very helpful, as a runner:

    2 minutes of plank (continuous). If that's too hard for you, you can give yourself a little break by temporarily going into downward dog. But try to keep doing it for 2 full minutes. 

    Credit: 57 Physique

    One legged Squats
    10 one legged squats (on each side) or 20 reg squats if that's too hard. Tone it down if it hurts your knees. Keep your form!!

    Credit: Running with Jack
    A note for the ladies out there: there is no need to fear muscles.  You will not look big, you will look healthy.  Muscle burns fat.  And like mentioned above with consistency trumping intensity/duration: muscles trump fat!  

    Do you have any exercises you particularly like? Share with us.

    Thursday, October 3, 2013

    The Every Person's Guide to Trail Running Lingo

    All respectable cults, cultures, and clubs have their own unique vocabulary.  Behold the Every Person's Guide to Trail Running Lingo, warning: guaranteed to offend you and/or make you laugh.

    Running by Feel: Basically, it's not wearing a watch. Done by folks disillusioned by the road running religion, cheap as fuck, or forgetful like myself.

    PR: Something runners use to create obnoxious posts on Facebook and athlete pages.

    CR: Also known as Bragging Rights and obnoxious Facebook Posts.

    PB: How Canadians say they've PR'd.  Aren't they cuuute?!

    Technical: Trails made for rugged, rough, adventurous types. I believe you can look up Gary Robbins or Kilian Jornet and you'll get a good idea of this concept.

    Sponsored: A runner who is willing to sell her/his soul for free shoes or a logo'd jersey. Or someone who is fast and has sold their body/blog/website for advertisement purposes.

    No Meat Athlete: The folks who find themselves defending their food choices and B12 levels and have a good sense of superiority and guilt.

    Paleo: The athletes who like to spoil dinner parties and nacho gorging sessions, but still drink copious amounts of craft brewed grain beverages. Also tend to have good sense of superiority and guilt. 

    Road Runner: Runners of the Religious Watch Wearing Factions, Triathletes, and the Club of Suburban Child Bearing Middle Class. Could be of the Suunto, Garmin, or Polar denominations.

    Trail Runner: The runners who claim that they went on a "run" where they hiked half of it and climbed over fallen tree logs the other half of the outing.  Look up James Varner in the Trailepedia. Didn't find him? Oh, yeah!  He's still out bushwhacking in the middle of no where.  I mean "running".

    Pacer: Some lucky bastard's bitch.

    Crew: Some lucky bastard's bitches.

    Bonk: Some unlucky bastard running an ultra who thought it'd be a good idea to eat a ham and cheese sandwich at mile 20, and hasn't eaten since mile 20. Now it's mile 50. Ouch. Also known as running out of glycogen stores.

    Elevation Gain: What you should've done in workouts before your first trail race.  Includes plenty of sweat, heavy breathing, and endorphins. Sound familiar? What's not to like?

    Drop Bag: That bag of shit you never used at the aid station. More stuff = more anxious about the race.

    FKT: A record folks can set without actually competing in person with other runners or giving much verification. Great for runners looking for a new challenge, introverts, fakes, or slow folks who wish they were fast.

    Hokas: Clown Shoes. 100 mile shoes. The anti-Christ to the Minimalist Shoe Movement and arthritis. 

    Minimalist: If you're not naked and shoeless I will not accept your minimalism. Case closed.

    What terms do you have to add? Extra points for sarcasm and humor...

    For more daily fitness ideas, inspiration, and humor, check out my Facebook Page
    Yoga based core and strength exercises on my YouTube Channel
    A little crazy on Instagram
    Short, sweet and sassy on Twitter