Monday, May 30, 2011

VOTE! How often do you drink from the bottle?

According to a Runners World article posted by, the best way to gauge how much you should drink when training or racing is to ... gulp ... let your thirst be your guide.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

"It's pretty common for athletes to hit at least one or two percent dehydration during endurance events," says Craig Horswill, Ph.D., senior research fellow at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. "The body's temperature-regulating mechanism is affected even at one percent dehydration."

It is, therefore, Horswill's (and Gatorade's) opinion that even small amounts of dehydration should be avoided because it will affect performance.

At the other end of the spectrum, overhydrating can be even more dangerous than not drinking enough. Hyponatremia occurs when your fluid intake exceeds your rate of fluid loss from sweating, which results in low blood-sodium levels. Symptoms—nausea, disorientation, muscle weakness—can be similar to dehydration. Giving additional liquids to hyponatremic runners only exacerbates the problem by diluting their blood-salt levels even more, which can lead to coma and, in the worst cases, death.

Be sure and read the entire article for the full story on both sides of the argument, but needless to say, the conclusion that the International Marathon Medical Directors Association released came down to one simple prescription: Drink when you're thirsty.

"The new scientific evidence says that thirst will actually protect athletes from the hazards of both over- and underdrinking," said IMMDA.

Isn't the body a remarkable machine? I have been teased by triathlete friends about dragging along an Aquafina for a 5K, but I know that my body needs it.

I also have a friend that can't consume any liquids at all during a race of any length or she gets nauseous.

It really is about the genetic makeup of each individual and no one-size recommendation fits all.

So, go on, ya'll. Keep teasing me about my 20 ounces, and we'll see who's laughing when I pass you to cross the finish line.

Yeah, I know. That last line made me laugh, too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Mountaineer" wins first place Associated Press award

Me holding the awards.
Stunned was really the best way to describe how I felt when the announcer called my name.

I'm a triathlete. No, let me expand that label. I'm a slow, middle- to back-of-the-pack triathlete. Having my name called for a first-place win has only happened once. (I took first place in my age group at a 5K a couple years ago. I've still got the red University of Dayton prize hat to prove it.)

I've heard my name called during races while crossing the finish line at triathlons - and that was especially meaningful at the end of my first tri, an arduous, reach within your guts and ask God to pull out the courage personal trial - but never for having podium'ed.
First Place Best Blog award.

So, when the announcer at the Associated Press Society of Ohio's annual awards banquet called my name as first place for best blog for the *Division 1 category, I felt very surprised ... and honored. "This only happens to other people" or "Are they sure they didn't mix up the order?" were a couple of the many thoughts buzzing in my head.

I was also fortunate enough to take home a second place win for the news videos I produce (Online Photojournalist), which is also quite an honor.

The last year, 2010, was my first full, calendar year having worked in the newspaper business, and it was also my first year being nominated. Having seen the caliber of submissions and the outstanding work other newspapers around the state produce, I really am humbled to even have been nominated.

Second Place Best Online Photojournalist award.
I'm even humbled to have just been in the room. I have a dream job and the fact that I was sitting in that room on that day having just been honored with those placements, was easily a pinch-me moment.

My husband is a former newspaper editor who won quite a few awards in his day. There is no one I admire more professionally, and it was great to have him by my side.

Gary and me.
I've been a little hesitant to post about the win. I'm just struggling between trying to be humble yet trying to accept a compliment, in this case the awards. Plus, I had to miss church Sunday to attend, so ... you do the mental health math.

But I am never going to win an AP award for the first time again, so I'm sparing a few minutes to type up this post. Maybe this will be one of those moments, just like finishing my first tri, that I can look upon with great fondness and remember how far I've come someday.

However it all can be described, though, I could not be where I am today without Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. Period.

*There are five divisions. Division I: 32 papers; Division II: 23 papers; Division III: 16 papers; Division IV: five papers; Division V: six papers.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A surprising personal best at Sunday's Flying Pig Half Marathon

My finisher's medal.
The whole morning before the race started I was wishing I wasn't there.

I don't mind racing in the rain ... when it's warm, but the weather at today's Flying Pig Marathon/Half Marathon brought cold temperatures (60 F is cold for me anyway) and, though I was dressed for rain, I was utterly dreading it.

As usual, I got to the site extra, extra early. The race started at 6:30 a.m. and I was there at 4 a.m. I just like to have that much room for margin of error and to get a good parking spot. I got ready, took a half-hour nap, then walked to the starting line corrals, or Pig Pens.

It was beginning to rain at that point, a cold rain, one that goes to the bone. As I was walking to my Pen, I stopped a couple times in a porta potty (there was no line and plenty were vacant) to just get away from it.

I toughed it out and got to my Pen, moving my way forward so that I could seek shelter under an overpass. I was not looking forward to racing in this rain. (Have I mentioned that yet?) It was barely 60 degrees and the wind blowing off of the Ohio was certainly not warming things up. I was going to be miserable. I wanted to just get back in my truck and leave.

I didn't even hear the gun go off I was so far back; I just started moving forward with the others. I began walking past people so I could start sooner than later so I could get the race overwith and get out of what was sure to be miserable, rainy conditions.

As I was walking fast, and especially as I began running after crossing the timing chip mat, I was delighted to observe that the rain wasn't nearly as cold as I thought it would be. Indeed, pretty soon I realized how good it felt.

It rained for about the first 45 minutes of the race. Once it died off, I pulled out my iPod and kicked off the music with Adele's Rolling in the Deep.

There were 6-7 hills on the course, a few of which were on bridges. I kept telling myself to take it easy and pace myself because I wanted to be able to report that I ran the entire 13.1 miles...

My race bib.
...And I am happy to report just that!

From mile 7 onward, there were many times when I wanted to take a break and walk. Plus my HR was pretty high. I just slowed down on my run and brought it back to a comfortable mid-170s.

Miles 10-13 were the hardest. You know you're so close, but still have a few miles to run. Thank goodness for the iPod, especially the last mile. It began to rain hard enough to warrant tossing the iPod back into my Fuel Belt, so I did. Pretty soon I realized I absolutely had to have it to get through this last mile, so I pulled it back out. Luckily, the rain turned back into a mist and thanks to R.E.M., Fall Out Boy and Live, I was able to push through.
I picked up my pace the last quarter mile and crossed the Finish Swine.

Second half marathon DONE!

I couldn't believe I'd run the whole thing without even stopping and especially without even stopping to stretch. I think in my first/last HM, I had to walk a little bit on mile 11 or 12, and I stopped multiple times to stretch.

That is probably why I knocked EIGHT MINUTES off my time over my last HM! Woo hoo! I thought for sure that I'd see an additional 15 minutes on my time for this run given how little I'd trained and when you consider the obstacles hills can be. In fact, I told my husband the night before, "I'll be surprised if I come in under three."

Needless to say, I'm very, very pleased with my performance in this race. Most importantly, though, I'm glad to now be home in warm, comfy clothes and already daydreaming about my next race.

That is, of course, always easier to do after a race instead of during.

TOTAL TIME: 2h 40m 09s

OVERALL: 7,342 out of 10,870

DIVISION: 583 out of 985

GENDER: 4,040 out of 6,859

P.S. For those of you who are curious, I did NOT see the streaker that got Tased by the cops. Sorry.


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