Sunshine, Puppies, & Donuts.

Currently I’m in my fourth week back in the running world. The first week was all sunshine and puppies; the pace felt nice and easy and I was just so darn happy to be back on the road again that it seemed every run was flawless. I thought for sure all the cross training I did had paid off big dividends and as you can probably guess from my sunshine and puppies tone, it didn’t quite work out that way.

The second week started out well with a string of easy runs. Then on a Thursday I made a poor judgement decision which led to a domino effect of sore legs for days to follow. The Mr. is in the Navy and the local bases host a series of running events to encourage fitness. The races are always free and always have loads of yummy food and the occasional fun swag too so I told myself to run it as a tempo effort. This kinda happened. The first mile felt great (can we say excited adrenaline?) I found myself with a pack of guys and in the female lead but not by much. The mile was a low 6 pace but we had a tailwind ego boost. By mile 2 (1/2?) we did a turnaround and I could see two speedy female friends very close behind me. The turn around meant we would be running straight into a head wind for almost the entire remainder of the race and my previous tempo-ish pace felt uncomfortable and slightly panicky. Even though I shouldn’t have, I picked it up as much as I could to fend off two friends. I told myself I wouldn’t, but I’m stubborn like that. The finishing clock said 19:40 and while its a ways off my 5K PR (17:53), I was pleased with the effort. All was good. I was still living in sunshine and puppy land.

The next day I was sore- like post-marathon sore. I felt like I was 135 years old. I sprinted half a mile to finish that race and was paying for it. The sunshine and puppies were gone. I did my usual recovery tricks; extra sleep, hydration, soaking legs in cold water. For the next 7-10 days though every log entry was ended with a “Still so very achey” and it took until the last two days to start feeling like myself again. It was the first time I’d ever had thoughts that maybe I shouldn’t have run that race. It set me back quite a bit. There was a reason Coach Hadley had texted “Don’t run it hard, just tempo pace!” He was right.

So what am I training for? Because of personal reasons I had to choose an early Fall marathon. After running a string of hilly (although fantastic and highly recommended) marathons (Twin Cities, Boston, and Philly) something flatter was appealing and since I’ve run Chicago twice before, and know the course well, it seemed a perfect fit. I have family coming with me and a few great friends running as well. That being said, considering my current fitness level, it doesn’t seem all that far away. I’m confident I can get there but I also know I have to work every angle I can to do so. I’m excited to say I’ve started working with a nutritionist. This was a BIG leap for me.

Honestly never-ever did I think I would consult a nutritionist. It was similar to how I felt about hiring a running coach a little over a year ago. Why would I hire someone to tell me how to do something so simple as running and/or eating? It seemed unnecessary and my very limited impression of nutritionists was: They tell you what not to eat. They tell you to only eat small servings. They tell you you can only have one cheat day a week. Maybe those are myths, maybe those are true, maybe that totally works for you and that’s awesome, either way it is not for me. If someone told me I could only eat one donut on a Sunday I’d shamelessly roll my eyes.

So when I approached my good friend and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Crystal Witte, about helping me out I was hesitant. I didn’t want to offend her so it took me awhile to tell her how I felt and I was so surprised when she agreed with me. No meal plans, no weighing myself, no “bad” foods. She was brilliant. I won’t be giving away all her advice, simply because that’s her job. I will say she has been great about picking out my weak areas. I was dragging every afternoon and was then reaching for caffeine to make it through the most hectic part of my day 3 pm-9 pm. It turns out my body was starving for carbohydrates and my pre-run nutrition was terrible (as in non-existant). I’ve made some changes and my afternoon energy level has been great. No cranky KLaw! I especially loved all her advice on nutrient timing. I already knew the importance of eating something after working out but not as much prior. Here is her website in case anyone has any questions for her. The blog section is my favorite.

Customized Nutrition Works, LLC.

My mileage hit 58 last week and I should hit around 60 this week. So while I don’t feel like I’m moving mountains yet I do feel that we are laying the groundwork for a successful Summer and more importantly Fall. I believe the addition of Crystal Wittes help will be huge in that reach to cut time off my marathon PR. So, is anyone else running Chicago this Fall? Anyone else seek the help of a nutritionist? Anyone else run a race and regret it later? I’m only half kidding about that last one. Thanks for reading everyone and have a good week!

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18 thoughts on “Sunshine, Puppies, & Donuts.

  1. So glad to see an update from you! So smart to be consulting with a nutritionist. I would love to do the same, when the timing is right. I checked out her website – I’ll be checking in on her blog for sure! Thanks for your input on Twin Cities/Philly. I seem to be settling on Hartford again for a bunch of reasons. Glad you are back in the training game and excited for what’s to come for you!

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  2. So glad that mileage is creeping its way back up Kris!! Can’t wait to see you knab another PR in Chicago!! 🙂

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  3. I’m really excited to see you running again Kris. Really excited.

    The month after my last injury I ran in cross country championships (6k). I made me so tired and it took me close to 2 weeks to recover too. I’m really interested to hear more about your nutritionist information because I know we are on the same page with that. .

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  4. I’m glad you’re back running again! I really missed your updates too, and I’m glad you’re working with a nutritionist to help you figure out any missing gaps in your diet- plus it’s neat that you figured out why you were dragging in the afternoons sometimes. One of my friends got into the Chicago marathon and is running it, he is really excited about it, seems like a great race.

    Yikes about the tempo-turned-race! I ran a half on Thursday with some friends, it was just a fun run type thing, but I think I went a little too fast because it definitely took me a few days to recover.

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  5. Unfortunately, I would have done the same thing in that race! It’s so hard to tempo a race, especially when you’re a competitor by nature! And when we spend so much time learning to push thru pain it’s hard to turn that off!

    Glad you’re working with a nutritionist! I have mid afternoon slump too but probably partly due to lack of sleep! Teething babe in my house! Ahhh!

    Keep up the great work! Chicago is a great choice for you!

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  6. I’m interested to hear how the nutrition help plays out! I always thought the same thing–that a nutritionist would just spew all the myths you listed. But I’m often dragging in the afternoon too so I would love to hear how this works out for you. 🙂

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  7. Dominate Chicago! I’m bummed I won’t be there to watch it happen!

    And very cool that you’re working with a nutritionist, too. I did, briefly and unofficially, after my first Boston in ’09. I hit the wall there, with fewer than 5k to go (!!!), harder than I EVER have before. One of the women in my group was an RD, so we got to talking, and I realized how horribly, horribly wrong and inadequate my pre-run meal and timing was. She became a game changer for me. I hope you are equally successful, though it sounds like you’re off to a great start!

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  8. Crazy that you would post about a Registered Dietitian as I had just decided I needed to find one too and didn’t know where to look! I went to her website and emailed her. Its awesome that she works with athletes as we are a strange bunch 😉

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  9. So awesome of you to give me a post for my birthday 🙂

    135 is REALLY old.

    So glad you’re doing well. I think the nutritionist will make a good difference 🙂 I just avoid calories. They make me feel soooooo heavy.

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  10. I am so glad that you are back to running, love reading your blog!
    I experience the same 3 p.m. slump and rely heavily on a cup of coffee to get me through. Checking out the nutritionist’s blog now.

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  11. Happy to read your update, Kris! And I’ve been there, done that on the tempo-turned-race run. Something about pinning on that number seems to take my mind from “we are just using this as a workout” to “MUST DO WELL AT ALL COSTS” and I push too hard. Glad you are feeling better though! Interesting thoughts/info on the nutritionist as well – I’ll definitely be checking out her site! I’m looking forward to seeing how your summer goes and will be following along! 🙂

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  12. So smart to see a nutritionist! I went to one a year or so ago and I didn’t have as great of an experience… based on what she recommended I eat, I gained nearly 10 pounds! I do find that nutrition is hardest for me to figure out… I might have to try it again!

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