Pretty Muddy? Pretty Amazing Start!

Welcome to June! Summer is officially here – school is out, the grill is on and the mud races have begun.

Today marks the kick-off to the 2013 Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run Series. The first wave was this morning at 8:00 a.m. at the Skyline Ranch in Dallas, Texas.  The course there is amazing per the Pretty Muddy updates…the weather is going to be perfect and Pretty Muddy has partnered with some very exciting organizations-

PM_FB_Pinterest_hdr_2 DALLAS

Pretty Muddy is a 5k adventurous obstacle course mud run for any woman who wants to get outside, spend time with friends and have a lot of fun. (Not to mention, get a little lot muddy). Good luck to everyone running today!

You can keep up with Pretty Muddy and follow race updates throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook.

I’m excited to run the Pretty Muddy race in Columbus on September 14. Registration is now open! You can register here. Join me and several other Central Ohio Bloggers. We are Team Powerful in Pink slated for the 9:00 a.m. wave. You can run or walk, so don’t be shy – I would love to see you there!

What about you? Are you running a Pretty Muddy race? If so, which one? Did you run in Dallas today? Leave me a comment and tell me how pretty awesome it was!

Until the next mile marker,

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Trying to Beat the Summer Heat? Don’t!

“I always felt that the biggest mistake people make is that they go by the watch when they’re running in the heat. If it’s warm and humid, you have to adjust. Early in the run, look at your pace, and if you can’t sustain it, back off. Within a mile, you’re going to know whether you can sustain that for the distance or the workout, or if you have to make an adjustment.”– Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World

It’s no secret that it is hot outside – enough to make anyone want to stay inside and kick out the miles on the treadmill. In fact, temperatures in Columbus, Ohio soared to 101 degrees today. At 11:30 p.m. it is still 88 degrees. However, just because it is hot does not mean you have to sacrifice time on the trails or pavement this summer. And, just because hot weather forces your body into overdrive, you still don’t have to stay home. I’ve put together some tips to keep you running safe, healthy and happy with us on the trails this summer.

The human body is in fact well equipped to handle heat. Working muscles generate heat, blood flows from your muscles to your skin and transports heat away from your body`s core. Then, evaporating sweat cools the blood before it returns to your muscles and internal organs. The human body can sweat as much as 2 liters (8.5 cups) per hour, enabling us to handle most exercise as the temperature climbs past 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yet, hot weather effects every runner – younger, older, experienced or not – we are all susceptible to heat illness and injury. And in fact, even though fatalities that occur as a result of a heart attack while running are currently widely publicized, many argue that heat is actually the single most dangerous threat to a runner’s life (Source: Ryan Shay in the 2007 US Olympic Marathon Trials and author Jim Fixx).It is important to understand why hot weather takes such a toll on your body. During a hot run, your heart rate increases, your body temperature rises and the decreased blood flow to your muscles gets in the way of them functioning properly. If you are dehydrated, your heart must work even harder to keep blood flowing to your legs and also to help keep your skin cool. Your heart rate increases greatly when you don’t drink enough fluids. Add in humidity and it could be a recipe for disaster. The drier the air, the faster the sweat evaporates and cools the body. Humid air slows down the rate of evaporation of sweat thus compromising the body`s ability to cool itself.  Heat from the working muscles builds up, causing your core temperature to continually rise (Source: Eight Essential Hot Weather Tips For Safe Summer Running © 2012 International Association of Women Runners).

Tips to Keep You Running in the Heat:

Run a shorter distance than you might normally run in cooler weather. You can always make up your miles on another day; or later or earlier in the day when it the temperatures might be lower.

  • Run slower than you would in cooler weather. It is okay to slow down in extreme heat. When I am running with my pace group, we often run 30 to 60 seconds slower than our average 13 minute per mile pace.
  • HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! I cannot express this enough. You should be consuming fluids before, during and after your run.

  • Before: Start drinking water regularly in the days prior to your long run. By the time you head out the door for your mileage, your urine should be clear to the color of weak lemonade so take a look! If your urine looks like apple juice (or even darker), you’re not properly hydrated.
  • During: Pay attention to your thirst and sip water (instead of chugging) when you are thirsty. Some runners take a sip of water every 15 minutes or so, or after every song on their iPod. Find what works to keep you from feeling depleted. But, be careful not to chug or drink too much water, which can also be dangerous by causing your blood to become too diluted. Drink more than water. On any run longer than 45 minutes or in extreme conditions, you need to be consuming a sports drink that has a combination of electrolytes and carbohydrates to sustain electrolyte-fluid balance and your ability to exercise.
  • After: Don’t stop drinking water just because you are done with your run. Have water (or a sports drink) that you can sip on your way home from a workout. Continue to hydrate throughout the rest of your day.
  • Run with a group or  if you are running alone, let someone know where you are running and when you plan to return. In case you suffer from a heat-related illness or injury, you can ensure you have help nearby to get medical attention, if needed.
  • Give yourself a week or two to acclimate to the heat, gradually increasing the length and intensity of your workouts. Your body will adjust by decreasing your heart rate and core temperature and increasing your sweat rate.
  • Run during the coolest time in the day (before or after sunrise).
  • Run in the shade if you can – on trails or tree-lines roads to avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, loose fabrics and as little clothing as possible to encourage the evaporation of sweat. You may want to consider wearing a summer hat or visor to keep sweat and sunlight out of your eyes. You may also wear sunglasses to decrease squinting, which can fatigue facial muscles and potentially cause a headache.
  • Listen to your body! If something doesn’t feel right or if you feel ill, back off of your training or stop and seek shade, cool air and water. While it can be difficult to distinguish normal heat-related discomfort from a serious heat-related illness, be vigilant. In extreme heat, fatigue often sets in faster than normal or after exerting much less effort than normal.

It is also important to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. And remember, most heat-related illness can be prevented by hydrating properly and following the tips above.

Heat-Related Illnesses:

  • Heat Cramps: Spasms in the abdomen, arms, calves or hamstrings; dehydration, thirst, sweating. Rest, stretch and massage the affected muscle. Be sure you consume a sports drink to restore electrolyte balance to your muscles.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Heavy sweating, paleness, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, decreased urination and decreased muscle coordination. If you experience these symptoms stop running, seek shade immediately, remove excess clothing and lie down with your feet elevated. Cool yourself with water, ice or cold towels and follow up with your doctor if symptoms continue.
  • Heat Stroke: Confusion, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, disorientation, irrational behavior and vomiting. If you or someone you are running with experiences any of these symptoms, stop running and seek emergency medical attention immediately. Get in the shade, remove excess clothing and submerse or cool yourself with cold water.

Stay safe, happy and cool this summer.

Until the next mile marker,

Maybe I should become a dog (or weather) blogger.

I go back to work tomorrow. Maybe that is for the best? If not, maybe I need to become a dog blogger. Or maybe even a weather blogger? The news hasn’t been interested in my photos (I may have sent a lot), hence I am sharing them with you.

It’s been a rough couple of days around here. We’ve had some pretty intense summer storms. The 75 mile an hour wind gusts and baseball-sized hail took out power for over 475,000 people. There have been boil alerts, water shortages, emergency shelters opened and National Guard troops deployed. The Governor declared a State of Emergency and power might not be restored until next weekend in some areas.

I am very lucky I did not lose power. I would not have been able to breath without air in the heat. Thankfully, my doctor allowed me to go off oxygen last Wednesday so I am not as dependent on electricity as I might have been.

This was the scene outside my house on Friday night:

It came out of nowhere.

Tonight was like a rerun, but we had a little more warning:

The dogs do not like thunderstorms.

“Did somebody say thunderstorm?! Can I go outside?”

“This wind is great, Mama!”

The dog dog does not like thunderstorms.

“Oh. No. Is THAT a thunderstorm I hear?!”

“Maybe Daddy can save me.”

 What about you? Did you get severe weather where you live? Are you without power? 

Until the next mile marker,

Dog Days of Summer

It’s 98.5 degrees here today and there is no relief in site. It just keeps getting hotter. Random thought: If I had a band, I would name it 98.5 Degrees. It’s going to be a long summer. I apologize in advance to everyone who has a social media connection to me. You might get really tired of me before long.

It’s not even July and here we are, the Dog Days of Summer.
So much for running outside. Or so much for running. Actually, so much for being outside. I’m sweating inside my own home. With the AC on. And a fan. I’m blaming it on recovery.
Summer is usually my favorite season. My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July. My anniversary is July 7. Good things seem to happen to me in the summer. I’m pretty sad that I had to get sick during the summer. No pool. No camping. No running. No racing. No backpacking. No canoeing. No picnics or cookouts if it remains 100 degrees outside. At least for this summer. Maybe I’ll be able to go to the fireworks? Bummed.
Oh well, there’s still social media, right? Welcome to my Dog Days of Summer:

“Don’t be sad, Mama, there’s things to do inside!”

“Yes, Mama, you could check your email again.”

“See? We can enjoy the view and Tweet about it from right here!”
“It’s true, Mama. Tough times don’t last forever. Not even in cyberspace.”
“Tough times!? Will the excessive heat stop you from taking Instagram photos?”
“Can you stop blogging and take a nap with me now?”
“Facebook? Seriously…I’m getting tired of waiting!”
“I’m not waiting for you, Mama. How many more pictures do we need?”
“Forget my bed, I have my very own PillowPet that I stole from you!
Everybody knows I’m a criminal, don’t they?”
“Keeping up with social media is hard work. We’re so dog tired!”
How will you spend your Dog Days? I would love to hear about it!
Until the next mile marker,

Make Your Summer Run a Success!

Running in the heat and humidity of summer is difficult and poses more than one challenge to runners and athletes. Even if you run at 5:30 in the morning or 10:00 at night when the sun has set, high humidity and air quality alerts not only impact your performance, but make every step miserable as well. While most of us might prefer to lounge by the pool during the dog days or hibernate inside, there are some things we can do to stay cool – and safe – when summer temps spike. Whether you are new to running or have run for years before now, below you will find some of our helpful hints to keep you running smart, safe and successful as the temperatures heat up.

Runners need to take precautions when running in the heat and humidity, including dressing properly for summer temperatures. Avoid wearing cotton because it holds sweat and doesn’t dry quickly, which can lead to painful chafing. You should be wearing synthetic fabrics (100% polyester, CoolMax, Dri-Fit, etc.) to wick moisture away from you skin so that sweat can evaporate effectively. True, technical running fabrics may cost a little more, but you will appreciate being comfortable on longer runs. You can shop for technical fabrics at regular department stores to save money or shop at your favorite running specialty shop. Be sure to dress in lightly-colored, loose-fitting clothing, which when combined with appropriate fabrics, helps your body cool naturally by allowing it to breath and by reflecting light from your skin.

You should wear sunglasses or a hat to protect your eyes from the rays of the sun and unnecessary fatigue and/or headaches that may be caused by constant squinting. You can find running sunglasses and hats that are made of wicking fabrics too. Apply sunscreen before your run to provide further protection from the sun. A lot of summer running apparel is made from mesh fabrics that may not prevent damage caused by the sun. You want to be sure the areas of your skin that are not covered (including your face) are protected.

Me and Judi playing it cool last summer. (And yes, I do own more than just this one summer racing shirt!)


More summer coolness.


Also, don’t neglect your feet! I highly recommend getting fitted at a specialty running shop for footwear. The staff should be experienced at assessing your gait, pronation and running form to fit you in a pair of shoes that will keep you not only running comfortable, but help to keep you running injury-free. In addition, you should wear technical (non-cotton!) socks to keep your feet cool and dry. Wet feet can lead to blisters, which can be painful enough to sideline you for a run. As with clothing, you should look for socks that are made from polyester, acrylic or other wicking materials. You should not double up on wearing socks, which can cause chaffing and blistering as well. Ladies, it is also beneficial to get fitted for a sports bra. While I know many ladies who double up on sports bras, I do not recommend it because it is uncomfortable, hot, causes chaffing and does not adequately provide support, especially if you have a larger bust. There are bras that will fit you – you just have to find them and a running shop can help you do just that! These are two of my favorite options as a “larger” lady:


Moving Comfort Fiona -This is great if you are looking for functionality and style.Love the adjustable straps!


The Enell – Self conscious?Your girls will not move an inch in this baby!

The easiest way to avoid complications from heat is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking water before, during and after your workouts. You may want to invest in an inexpensive water bottle to carry with you during the day so you have no excuse not to drink. Listen to your body and don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking, you should be well hydrated before you even set foot outside to run. I have postponed a run due to inadequate hydration.

Recognizing symptoms of heat illness is also very important. Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms stop running immediately – find shade, cool water and fan yourself with a shirt or other item if possible. You want to keep the air moving around you. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention right away.

If you are going to be running or exercising longer than 30 minutes, you should be consuming both water and an electrolyte sports drink (I prefer Gatorade). Drinking a sports drink like Gatorade helps to replace salt, electrolytes and other minerals that are lost when you sweat. With warmer temperatures and longer runs, you may want to consider carrying your own hydration or having it readily available on your run or during your workout. You can find a variety of hydration belts or handhelds at running stores or online. I used to think a hydration belt would be awkward to wear, especially in the heat, but after just a couple of runs, it became part of my regular gear and now I feel like I am missing something when I head out without it. I have literally tried just about everything out there. iFitness is my favorite:

iFitness 12 oz Hydration BeltLove that it sits low on the hips.Plenty of room for gel and personal effects like a phone, plus you can add extra pockets.Love that it has a race bib holder, no more ripped up bibs or shirts!

It’s important to remember not to push yourself too hard this summer to take weather conditions into consideration when running. Hot and humid conditions are not the time to push the pace and it is okay to slow down in extreme conditions. Don’t be afraid to slow down, take walking breaks, or even take a moment to rest and hydrate while out on your run. Save your hard efforts and maximum exertion for more favorable weather conditions – don’t try to beat the heat! While following the schedule is important, it should not be your religion. If you need to adjust your schedule, pace or mileage due to fatigue or heart, don’t be afraid to do so. Listen to your body!

What are your favorite tips to stay cool during a summer workout? Please share!

Until the next mile marker,