Welcome to my running blog. This blog is designed to educate you on foot and ankle health issues and all the things that can help you run fitter and faster. My goal is to help you in your running goals. It is updated frequently to keep you informed.
Dr Marybeth Crane talks about chronic heel pain and the difference between plantar fasciitis (acute) and plantar fasciosis (chronic). Have a listen.....
Rainy weather happens everywhere, even in North Texas. We have all signed up for a race and woken up to a deluge. I actually did an Ironman in Quebec where it rained almost the entire time! Quite the challenge! (an a personal worst time to boot!) Rain happens, so here are some tips to prepare you for running in rainy weather. Personally, as long as it is not freezing cold, I enjoy the flashback to childhood romps in the puddles that can come from a rainy day run outside.
1. Dress in layers but not necessarily waterproof. I find that waterproof jackets actually trap moisture and heat, which can make you overheat in a jiffy. You can get dehydrated in the rain since you don’t notice that you are sweating that much. A water-resistant jacket breathes better. Layer this on top of a moisture wicking technical shirt and you are good to go, as long as it is over 40 degrees! Wear the least you think will keep you warm on a dry day and avoid overdressing. You are going to get wet. More is not better, just heavier!
2. Wear a hat with a brim. It helps to be able to see where you are going and avoid falling.
3. Wear reflective gear. Drivers often has poor visibility and think you are nuts for running in the rain, so they won’t be on the lookout for runners like they are on a nice day. If you don’t have reflective gear, make sure your top layer is light colored.
4. If you are running a race, wear a lawn and leaf trash bag as a fashionable jacket for the start. You can throw it off after the first few miles as you warm up. Please don’t litter! Give it to a spectator or aid station.
5. Wear older running shoes. We all have them in the closet. That pair that has a few too many miles but you haven’t parted with them yet. Pull those out as long as they are not way too worn. If you don’t have an old pair, pick your ugliest. We all have them too!
6. Chafing sucks! Wet weather can lead to chafing so use Body Glide or at least Vaseline on those parts that are prone to chafe or get blisters. This is your toes, heels, underarms, inner thighs, nipples and bra lines.
7. Leave the electronics at home. If you are a music junkie, today is the day to go au natural. Enjoy nature in its fullest and leave the IPod at home.
8. Let loose and enjoy your inner child! Make it fun and even jump in puddles! Life is too short not to enjoy a rainy day like a 6-year-old!
9. Take care of your shoes when you finish. There is nothing worse than a pair of running shoes that shrink. Stuff your shoes with old newspaper and this will draw the moisture away and helps keep their shape. You can put them in the dryer on no heat and that helps too! Spray them with Lysol after they dry to ward off any fungus or mold that may accumulate!
Rainy days can be fun and a time to enjoy a long run! Keep safe and enjoy running in the rain!
Here is the video race report for Ironman Mont tremblant 2012! The FAANT girls rocked it!
The FAANT chicks are racing again!
Ironman Mont-Tremblant was in a word: Amazing! The entire city joined together to welcome all the triathletes. They repaved the roads, rolled out the red carpet (literally there was a red carpet on the road from the swim exit to transition) and put together the most organized race weekend I have ever experienced in any sport. The venue at Mont Tremblant, Quebec was breathtaking. This cute little village on the mountainside was perfect for a family summer vacation with adorable shops, lots of activities for young and old and a great venue where families could stay right on the mountainside and catch their triathlete many times during the race without having to travel anywhere!
We flew into Montreal on Thursday night and drove the almost two hours to the village of Mont-Tremblant. The hotel was lovely and about 400 yards from the finish line. Perfect! Friday included packet pick up, a practice swim in the crystal clear mountain lake, picking up my bike from Tribike Transport and a short bike ride to explore the course. Wow! Super hilly in the just the small portion around the finish line. This was a harbinger of what was to come! A little shopping, a gondola ride and then an extremely well attended pre-race welcome dinner. When have you ever seen more than 5,000 people at a pre-race pasta dinner? Never! The tent was overflowing and excitement was in the air.
It was the little things that you noticed. They repaved a large portion of the bike course. Permanent street signs marking the bike and run course. People to help you everywhere that actually knew what they were talking about. Super organized packet pick up that flowed quickly and efficiently. Lots of pre-planned entertainment for the whole family! A sense of welcoming excitement everywhere!
Saturday was a day to explore and rest. Check in the bikes and drop off all the transition bags. Big dinner and early bedtime. Sunday was race day!
Since the swim start was less than a half mile from the hotel, I didn’t have to get up before 5 am to get to this race! 5:30am to body marking then check on my bike. A short walk to the swim start and we were ready to go! I actually had a small melt down on the beach when I realized I forgot my goggles at the hotel! I was less organized than the race officials! Janet had an extra pair, but my super-sherpa, Peter, ran back to the hotel and got my goggles before we started. Thank the Lord the hotel was so close! The Canadian anthem, a fighter plane fly over and we were off.
A tremendous beach start! A wide beach so it wasn’t extremely crowded at the mass stat. It still felt like swimming in a washing machine, but the crowd thinned out quickly on the way to the first buoy. No sense of drowning today. The water was amazingly clear and a crisp 70 degrees. Perfect for a comfortable wet suit swim. Janet and I both had a good swim and were out of the water and into transition practically together.
Onto the bikes we go! The first half of the bike course (two loops) was absolutely gorgeous! There were great crowds, lots of volunteers, tons of spectators yelling in three languages and breathtaking scenery along the way. The countryside was dazzling and the air was crisp and cool but not cold. The hills at the beginning were challenging but not horrible. A nice warm up for the backside of the course!
The wind started to pick up and a light rain started to fall just as I headed into the last 20K of the first loop. I was doing just fine until the rain. Steady and on pace. Janet was rocking the bike course, as we all knew she would! The last part of the first loop was incredibly challenging. So many hills I stopped counting. I thought I was never going to see transition! My brakes were wet and I was freezing! I was extremely thankful for the light jacket I had put on because it was a little chilly. It kept me from going hypothermic in the chilly rain. The rain subsided and I hit transition for the second time. Oh no! I had to do the loop again! The hills were so daunting and my legs were already dead. Back onto the course I went for the second loop. I slowed considerably and then rain returned. Ugh! Janet was about an hour ahead of me by the time I hit transition to go on the run. She was doing awesome! Me, not so well…. There were times in the last half of the second loop that I wasn’t sure I was going to make the bike cut off! The last hills were sadistic! Who puts a 15% grade hill in the last 6 miles of a 112 mile bike course? God has a sense of humor and the race was on a mountain side! I saw a lot of the mountain! They don’t make hills like that in Texas!
As I exited transition and tried to run, my legs protested. Internal whining and a little negative self talk ensued. I was fast walking the first few miles to see if I could “embrace the suck” (see previous blog) and get my butt moving. When I saw Janet going the other way on the first loop of the run, she was smiling and looked good. I started to run (maybe you would call it a fast shuffle, but it was all I had). The run was also two loops, but they were nice enough to make about ten miles of the course along a dirt trail in the woods and predominantly FLAT! I made lots of friends on the run (shocker to anyone that runs with me – yes, I talk non-stop). Chatting away as I tried to keep myself moving. I was laughing at myself. Due to the fact that my bike potion was so slow, I found myself in an unusual position in the back of the race with the elderly, physically impaired (lots of walking wounded) and the people like me that perhaps hadn’t trained as much as they should’ve for the killer hills! This was an interesting group and lots of great stories were told as we all trudged toward the finish.
My only complaint about the course (can’t really complain about the hills, I knew it was on a mountain when I signed up!) was the fact that we had to run right by the finish line to enter the second loop of the run. This was great for spectators, but the crowd was cheering you on and telling you that you were almost there when really you had 21K left. Ugh again! It was just mean! You could see the fish line but knew you had to go back out for a second loop! At this point, my daughter Caitlin was very inspiring yelling, “You can do this Mommy!” and jumping up and down with excitement. It got me motivated to finish hard. I sucked it up and started to run again; this time at a decent pace. My legs were killing me, but the last 21K weren’t going to get done under the cutoff without a little push. It is times like this that you realize why Ironman is not for the mentally weak. You have to dig deep and overcome your natural instinct to quit and call it a day!
There were many times in the last loop that I thought I was nearly the last person on the course. The people behind me were dropping like flies. We had lost a handful to the bike cutoff and a few more to the sag wagon. At one point on the run course, I had a personal guide on a mountain bike with a headlight. They had thought of everything. They had medical volunteers patrolling the last half of the run course making sure everyone was OK. I had a nice chat with an EMT from Toronto on his bike, who said he was so inspired by the athletes that he thought he would try an Ironman! It was infectious! Even though there couldn’t have been more than twenty people left on the course that were going to make it in by midnight, there were still lots of spectators along the course! And yummy hot chicken broth! Nectar from God! Amazing! Dark, cold, windy and yes, the rain started again!! I had to keep moving at my pathetically slow run pace! One foot in front of the other! I chatted with a fellow from Toronto for about the last 7 miles. We were both hyperaware that we had to keep moving at a decent pace or midnight was going to come and we were not going to make the finish! Onward we trudged, running the flats and downhill while walking the hills. The last hill at 2K to go looked like a mountain to my weary legs, but you could hear the excitement at the finish line.
I picked up my pace and glided to the line. Whew! Made it with a half hour to spare! Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman) stopped me just before the finish line, put his arm around my shoulders and turned me towards the to crowd of spectators saying, “Mary Crane from Grapevine, Texas, these people have something to tell you!” The crowd shouted together, “You are an Ironman!” What a moment! Even though I had been there before, nothing can equal the emotion I was feeling at that moment. Elated to have finished and emotional since there were so many times during the race I had thought of quitting and giving up. I had dug deep for this one and succeeded. I can’t explain the emotions. I was disappointed with my performance because of the times but elated to just have made it to the finish line. A fantastic ending to a tough day.
The finish line people were also amazing! I had a personal guide to get my medal. The winner of the entire race, Romain Guillaume from France, gave me my medal and kissed me on both cheeks. What an awesome guy! He had finished almost 8 hours before me, but came back to give out medals to the stragglers at the end of the race. My family was waiting for me with big hugs and happy faces. The time was forgotten in my daughter’s hug! The look on her face made the day all worth it. I had embraced the suck and won! Janet finished almost an hour before I did and had a great day! A monster personal best for her on a killer course! She deserved it! She worked so hard this year! I am proud to be her training peep!
Ironman Mont-Tremblant is easily going to rise to the top of the destination races! It was extremely challenging, but so incredibly well run for all! Kudos to the people of Quebec! They get an A+! The race experience was excellent, even if my time was not!
Yes, I said it, "Embrace the Suck!"
I was watching the London Olympic ‘s Women’s marathon this morning and thinking of my upcoming Ironman in Quebec. (Yes, I was up at 5am to watch the race and was on my bike trainer so I wouldn’t waste the training time) The announcers were talking about the work these women put in day after day for years that culminates at their shot for Olympic gold. They also talked about the way an Olympic gold could really change many of their lives, especially those from African nations. Although I did find their commentary interesting, the one thing that struck me was the comment that at least 30 of the woman had the athletic talent to win gold, but it was the ability to embrace the suffering inherent in the marathon distance that eventually meant the difference between Olympic champions and also ran.
It reminded me of an article I read in Triathlon magazine by Chris McCormack (for those non-triathletes he is “Macca” and a hugely successful triathlete and pretty neat guy) that had this topic as its theme. “Embrace the suck!” is Macca’s mantra when thinking about long course. He also felt that mind over body and how you controlled your mind during a race meant the difference between successes and also ran or in some cases DNF! (Did Not Finish)
There was one study that had half the athletes doing math problems while doing weight reps and half the athletes concentrating on the weights. Guess which one fatigued earlier? Of course the ones spending mental energy on math and losing focus of the reps. Focus is the key to success!
What does all this mean? My musing this morning comes down to why we do this sport. Whether you are a marathoner or a long course triathlete, you challenge yourself to perform races that most people think are insane. Why? The challenge! The edge! Whether our goal is to finish or a time goal or to win, a satisfying race is accomplished when we come to the edge and come face-to-face with our inner weakness. The edge comes when the risk is compelling enough to make it all count. I find myself asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” about halfway into a long race. How I answer is the difference between success and a less than optimal outcome. Whining is not an option. At that point, I might as well throw in the towel. Perishing on the pavement is also not a good option. Confronting this inner voice and trouncing it makes the race a success.
After finishing my first Ironman, I went back to work the next week with the feeling I could do anything! Not only was my mental attitude better at work, but it was also better at home. I had embraced the suffering and succeeded so nothing was impossible, even the whining of my 13-yr-old! I find in business, the same mantra holds true. If you embrace the suck, meaning put it all on the line knowing it will take work, suffering and an uphill battle; you usually succeed. Why? Same reason, the risk is compelling enough for us to put in 100% effort! We can’t lose when we bring our “A” game!
I have a significant challenge in 2 weeks at Ironman Mont-Tremblant. The course is at altitude and is very hilly! I will conquer the course and finish the race, which is my goal this year. I know I will be asking myself why I am racing and what does it matter to anyone except myself that I finish. My self-talk will tell my inner voice to suck it up and finish no matter how bad I feel, for myself, for my friends and family and for all my patients following their doctor! I inspire them to take on life’s challenges and win! If it were easy, everyone would do it!
Bottom line: Embrace the suck!! In a race and in your life! You embrace the pain and the challenge, then deal with it and succeed!
Paula Radcliffe, the world record holder in the women’s marathon, withdrew from the Olympics today. Radcliffe, 38, has competed in four Olympics, but has never won a medal. She experienced a flare of degenerative arthritis in her foot about 3 weeks ago and just can’t push off normally. She was quoted to say that her joint was “degenerative and badly damaged’, but does not expect that this will end her career.
Radcliffe failed to finish the 2004 Athens Olympics marathon and was 23rd in Beijing four years later after deciding to race while still recovering from a stress fracture in her thigh. She finished fourth in the 10,000 meters in Sydney in 2000 and was fifth in the 5,000 in Atlanta.
She is a three-time winner of the London Marathon, and had hoped for one more big victory in the capital.
Sadly, this is probably the end of her Olympic hopes. Paula was in tears when she announced her withdrawal. At 38, it is doubtful she will return to top form in 2016 at the age of 42. Doubtful, but not impossible!
Degenerative arthritis of your foot can be treated with anti-inflammatories, injections, functional foot orthotics, physical therapy, and surgery. Surgery can included cleaning up the joint, fusing the joint or replacing the joint with an implant or spacer. If you suffer from arthritis in your foot, there are many treatments available. Contact us or visit your local podiatrist to discuss your symptoms and options for treatment.
All is not lost for Paula Radcliffe. She will return to running, but will probably never claim that elusive Olympic medal.
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Janet and I decided we needed a hilly warm up 70.3 race about 2 months before Ironman, so of course we picked the hardest course we could find; Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 Triathlon in Lubbock, TX. This was the same weekend that Mont-Tremblant was having their warm up race as a 70.3 on the same course as the Ironman race, but who has the time or the money to go to Quebec twice in one summer? No, we thought, we will drive to Lubbock.
That was our first mistake! We jumped in the car Friday morning and drove the 300 miles to Lubbock. What a beating! There is nothing between Fort Worth and Lubbock but wind farms, crops and cow patties. At one point, we were laughing at all the small towns with population 250ish! Really? We stopped in a Dairy Queen about 100 miles from Lubbock to get a snack. The people in the restaurant looked at us like we had dropped in from another planet.
After a lovely drive (NOT), we checked into one of the nicest hotels in Lubbock, the Holiday Inn (smirk). It actually was not horrible and was clean. Lubbock is not exactly a happening town. There really isn’t much in Lubbock other than Texas Tech and lots of cotton fields. We went to the expo on Friday night and got our numbers. The race shirt was the ugliest one I have ever seen!! A steak dinner and a beer, then off to bed.
Saturday morning we decided to go out to Buffalo Springs Lake and watch some of the sprint triathlon as well as check out the water temperature and the horrendous hills we had both heard about. If you listened to most of our friends, the hills were mountains and we were going to perish on them. Well, the water temperature was about 76 and even though they said it was going to be wetsuit legal, we both decided on speed suits. The lake was gorgeous! The hills were steep, but nothing like the mountains that had been described! We rode out bikes up and down the first 3 hills and decided we would live! A nap then a pasta dinner and we were ready for bed!
4am came really early. We had our breakfast and hit the road about 5am. We ran into a little traffic jam getting into the canyon. Seems there was a race going on! Got to the parking lot and then had to walk our bikes down a gigantic hill to transition. Found our spots and we were ready to go.
Swim waves were interesting. All the women were in one huge wave so the start was a little challenging. Then the majority of the men started just a few minutes later. Needless to say, they ran us right over! I got punched in the eye and was happy I was wearing double swim caps so I didn’t lose my goggles. Then I got kicked in the face and got a bloody lip! Ugh! At least the water was relatively calm and the temperature was very friendly! My swim time was not stellar but I got to transition only bleeding from my top lip!
Onto the bike course we went. The first hill is almost as soon as you leave transition and it was almost a 9% grade! Sadistic! After conquering the first few hills it was relatively flat but the wind kicked up as soon as you left the canyon. My swim was so bad I was convinced there weren’t too many people behind me until we hit the third hill, which was another sadistic grade, but this time I was catching the downhill. Now I know what 40 mph feels like on a bike! Scary!! Sadly I reminded myself I had to go back up that grade on the way back! At this point I saw the crowd behind me as I made the first turn around. Whew! I wasn’t in last place. That would be embarrassing! Janet passed me just about the 30 mile marker like I was standing still! Man is she fast on the bike!!
The fourth hill is a long winding grade with killer turns and a skinny road. In other words, as your butt is being kicked by the grade you have to watch out for the people coming down out of control on the turns and trying to kill themselves and you. Written on the road was SLOW DOWN on one side and THANK MIKE FOR THE HILLS on the other! You then hit a long stretch of windy farmland in which you began to cook. Literally. My nutrition and hydration were great and I actually had to pee for about the last 25 miles! A good sign!
I had the pleasure of cheering on a few of the hand-cyclists as they were challenged by the hills. Those guys are tough!! Back into the canyon I went after feeling like I was challenged but not beaten, hit the last two hills and wanted desperately to get off my bike!!
Into transition I went, ditched the bike and found a port-a-potty. Running shoes and a little more sunscreen, I was ready to run! Who turned up the heat? As soon as I hit the asphalt, I felt the heat. Thanks Mike for the roving ice carts. He put people on golf carts with large coolers of ice to help with the heat. The hills on the run were not that bad, but were sadistic in the fact that they were long and it was almost 100 when I started running. When I hit the 6 mile marker, the volunteer at the aid station said it was 105! Crazy! The heat was just wafting off the road. I had ice chunks in my bra and down my pants as well as down my back just to keep my heart rate from spiking. It was walk:run the whole way. Walk through all the aid stations then run until your heart rate started to spike again. A beating! I passed Janet at about the 7 mile marker. She wasn’t faring much better than I was. We were both in hunker down and get it done mode.
I was so happy to enter the park and see the finish line, I almost cried. I crossed, got my medal and shirt then headed for the lake. I barely took my shoes off before I dived in. The water felt amazing!
So that was Buffalo Spring Lake 70.3 Triathlon. A butt whipping of a race, but a great challenge on the road to Ironman Mont-Tremblant. The hills were a challenge, but totally doable. The heat is what got you. Now I understand why it is a Kona qualifier. It was harder than Ironman Texas because of the heat coupled with the tough course. Mike, you are a sadist! And , Yes, we will be back!!
PS. Janet won her category, so she got to go home with a really cute buffalo trophy which she named Leonard. ☺ Very cool!
PPS. Video is posted...enjoy:)
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