While at a facial appointment last week one of my clients was told by her esthetician that all of the running that she does is causing her skin to age prematurely. And in the next breath tried to sell her $300 worth of skin products. No matter how good you look, those words would send any of us into a tailspin that would cause even the most secure to spend the next week in the bathroom mirror using our fingers to lift, pull and manipulate our forehead, eyes, cheeks and neck to produce a more youthful and slightly catlike appearance.
So here’s the question, are we inevitably sacrificing all of our hard work for firm hamstrings, toned thighs and buns of steel so that we can also receive droopy eyelids, jiggly cheeks and sagging chin lines?
Sooner or later we all start to notice the subtle changes. I am so guilty of feeling my daughter’s firm jaw line and wondering with a scowl on my face when mine stopped feeling like that. My friend CA says the lines on our face show that we live life and we should be proud of them, but do they also need to look like a road map of my last ½ marathon?
I started digging a little and found that aging skin is a process that starts sometime in our 20’s, sorry young’ins. And by 30 our bodies are not producing as much collagen and elastin which is responsible for the tone and firmness of our skin. Ok, so this is normal, so does it really have anything to do with running? There are various schools of thought and some believe that the impact and jostling of the skin (not just on the face either) by pounding the pavement over the years does in fact cause premature aging. But without adequate research one is left only to assume that these claims are just hype fueled by the cosmetic industry.
An interesting study conducted in 2009 on twins and aging revealed some interesting findings, which had to do with weight. In an article written by John Cloud for Time.com Cloud summarizes the researchers conclusions and states “Many of the twin pairs were of similar weight, but differences in how old they looked began to appear when one had a body mass index (BMI) at least four points higher than the twin sibling. For twin pairs under 40, the heavier one looked significantly older. But surprisingly, after 40, that same four-point difference in BMI made the heavier twin look significantly younger.”
Distance and marathon runners tend to be lean, resulting in less fat not only in the body but also in their faces, add some sun and wind damage, sounds like an old weathered leather face to me. But before you hang up your runners with hopes of gaining 10lbs that would only go to you face and boobs proportionately or start searching online for a face bra (which I am sure if Lululemon made them we would all have one or two already in this season’s colours), we can have a banging body as well as a youthful complexion we just have to age wisely.
Available to us are many over the counter lotions and potions to smooth, plump and hide the visible signs of aging. There are peels, exfoliants, laser therapies and massages designed especially for skin rejuvenation. And if you are looking for something a little more extreme, it seems that botox and filler procedures are available even at your Dentist’s office now.
But you can also build collagen in your skin naturally by consuming vitamin C rich foods (raw hot chili peppers, guavas, raw sweet yellow peppers are among the top ranking vitamin C super foods) garlic (contains sulfur which helps make collagen), antioxidants, omega 3’s and vitamin E.
Lifestyle also plays a huge roll in how we age. Don’t smoke ever, drink of lots water, get plenty of rest, avoid stress, protect your face by wearing hat and sunglasses, moisturize and don’t forget your sunscreen!
…. And to my client, I would also find a new esthetician, you are spectacular just the way you are.
Guest post: uglyfinish.com
Keri Cawthorne from Iron Mountain Movement has shared her advice with us on how to set your running pace. Apply the following tips to your long distance training to make your last mile your fastest one.
How to Set Your running Pace
When it comes to setting your running pace for distance training, keep your pace realistic. Select a pace that is comfortable to run at, it shouldn’t be a struggle to maintain and even if you run alone, you should be able to maintain a conversation. Your pace should change depending on the distance that you are running as well as the type of training that you are doing.
Save your speed training for your shorter distances or track work. Speed training is just as important as logging distance mileage; if you want to run faster, you need to train faster. Speed training should only be done after a comprehensive warm-up, and should be followed by a complete cool-down as well as stretch. You shouldn’t feel like you need to spend the rest of the day on the couch after a speed session, but you should feel like you have had a good workout.
Incorporate interval training to improve your cardio into one of your weekly runs by adding hills. Focus on shortening your stride and keeping your heart rate consistent as you climb so that you save something for the other side of the hill.
When it comes to tracking your mileage and pace, invest in a good watch with gps as well as heart rate capabilities. And if you don’t want to break the bank, check out many of the apps available for your smartphone.
Most of the time I don’t give the lack of street lighting where I live a second thought. By now I have become very accustomed to navigating the dark roads…in my car. But I also know what wildlife roams out there, so on a morning when I am just itching to get my run started, I sit patiently with my coffee cup in hand waiting for the sun to rise.
I have to say that this morning’s sunrise was spectacular, the pink and orange sky peaking over the treetops reflecting off the thick frost on the lawn, it had me standing at attention.
Bundled up like a stylishly dressed snowman I hit the pavement for my 10km loop. Oh what a polar opposite from my treadmill run last Saturday. The air was fresh and crisp, the streets were quiet and I felt fantastic.
The only thing that was missing was my running husband and neighbour, Chris. Chris has been off for the last few months nursing a foot injury and my early morning weekend runs just aren’t the same without him. I have to sing by myself; there is nobody to carry the tune or do the guitar parts. I don’t have to slow down every so often to get my bladder in check because he is making me laugh so hard that I have to pee. I miss how we like to speak in accents, him calling me fatty, our chants and most of all our colourful and highly inappropriate conversations.
Chris if you are reading, please hurry up and heal, it’s time to run like hell again.
We all have our own reasons why we do what we do.
When I hear someone say that they got their homework run or did their long run on the treadmill I cringe. Being a Pacific Northwest runner I run in pretty much anything; I have to. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I ran on a treadmill, for me it is a last, and I mean a last resort. But we all know that desperate times call for desperate measures and my only option on Saturday morning was a hotel deadmill. I guess I could have sacrificed my only two-hour ball free window of Seattle shopping for a daylight run…I don’t think so.
Before we left I checked the hotel website to find out exactly what amenities their fitness centre had, the picture showed a brightly lit room with an elliptical trainer, two treadmills, a stationary bike and a small stack of hand weights.
Minus the mirrors, that’s pretty much how it looked when I entered the room.
It was a tough choice, but I picked the treadmill next to the elliptical. I fumbled around with the settings and found a ‘loop around the lake’ workout; I guess that would be as close as I could get to going outside, so I hit the start button on the machine and shuffle button on my nano. Being the good Canadian kid that I am, I run in kilometers not miles, and at 6:45am my math skills weren’t quite as sharp as they could have been, so selecting a running speed took a bit of trial and error.
It wasn’t long before I was joined by another deadmiller. I felt a little embarrassed because I had already started to break a sweat so the garlic and spices from my previous night’s dinner at PF Changs would be emanating from my pores and would surely have engulfed the tiny room by now. I smiled sheepishly at her.
Seems that my new workout friend had used these machines before and they have a built in TV, hmm. I really didn’t want to watch TV, but I was kind of bored staring at the blank wall in front of me, so I investigated further and yes, mine also had a TV. I played with the channels but found that listening to my music and reading the closed captioning on the food network was just too much, I also felt ridiculous that I was watching TV while I was running (although a great marketing ploy to turn couch potatoes into treadmill potatoes).
I was done at 40 minutes, not out of energy, but just done. I guess I am used to taking in the scenery and letting my thoughts wander. I found that there was just too much to think about that I didn’t want to think about while running on the treadmill; my gait wasn’t my own, my shins were starting to bother me and there was no airflow, I could smell me, gross.
I hear a lot from people that they hate running, and now I think that I finally know why. GET OFF THE TREADMILL AND GET OUTSIDE, you will never go back, unless of course it is the only option for you to get your run in and be able to run wild in South Centre Mall.
On Sunday I ran the 2nd annual Golden Ears ½ Marathon. My training for this race was a little unusual, a theme for me lately. Since the beginning of the year I have been working with both my ½ Marathon Training Clinic and my Intermediate Running group at the same time on Saturday mornings. And although I was able to get the majority of my long runs in there was a lot of stop/starting while doing so. That being said I have also made some changes to my diet, combined with my Sunday evening Boston training session with D, I am 5lbs lighter than usual. So Sunday’s run was going to be a bit of a crap shoot, I was either going to bonk at 65 minutes or have the race of my life.
When race day rolled around I was prepared for anything; rain, wind, thunder and lightning?
Conny must have rubbed off on me after all of these years because by the time I had finished loading my car I had five clothing options. I am never that indecisive, even when I am going downtown for the night, I take one outfit, there is no option (but always take a light and a dark bra, too much info boys? You never know what you will find on your travels and you definitely don’t want to have to go emergency bra shopping). So in addition to my base outfit of a tank and crops, I also had sleeves, a long sleeved shirt, a running jacket and a garbage bag.
As it turned out I wasn’t the only one dealing with the what to wear dilemma. But after a quick discussion with the girls we decided on wearing our running jackets, rationale: it wasn’t raining but it would be windy on top of the bridge and if it didn’t start raining by the time we hit the 10km finish we would leave our jackets with the cheering section there. And if that wasn’t to be the plan, it was too late because the race was just about to start.
We made our way to the start line and away we went. I always have my music ready to go so all I have to do is hit the play button, but nothing so far was easy on this Sunday morning, I hit the play button and had a major music catastrophe I was listening to Tom Jones, OMG. I knew that I had put “Sex Bomb” on my Valentine’s spin play list for E, but would not have dared to put it on my running play list. Was my nano too much technology for me? I couldn’t worry about it then, I would just have to listen through, it would be over soon enough, but then it got worse, my music stopped altogether and I hadn’t even hit the 1km marker! Draaaa-ma. I couldn’t listen to the sound of cars and my breathing for the next two hours so I pulled out of the pack, took off my gloves and regrouped.
With my music now intact I but my tank out of place I decided to ignore the lesser of two evils and just get running. By the time that I hit the Golden Ears Bridge I was in a comfortable stride. I did a fair amount of passing as I climbed the bridge, which is always good for the ego at the beginning of the race, but there is a fine line between going out too hard and running at your race pace, and as tempted as I was I wasn’t silly enough to try to draft in behind Jim as he crested the bridge.
At this point of the race I could see the front runners who had already crossed the bridge and were coming back over the otherside. I gave a big woo-hoo to Colin through the traffic as I listened to Chad profess his undying love to me. Feeling pretty warm now (a combination of Chad and the grade of the bridge) my gloves were off and my jacket was unzipped, I could not get to the 10km finish fast enough.
I wound down the bridge crossed to the other side and then back up again. My plan was to walk this section but I had fallen into the beat of my husband (and every husband’s ) theme song “Sexy and I Know It” and continued back over the bridge. It was my turn to wave to the the racers on the other side.
I knew that once I was off the bridge the rest of the race would be mostly flat so I enjoyed the last little bit of undulation and picked it up a little, and then picked it up a little more when I saw Gisele and Laurie cheering us on from the bottom of the bridge. It’s amazing what a boost seeing a couple of smiling faces can give you, thanks ladies.
With less than 2km to go to the half way split I was overheating and kicking myself for not leaving my extra clothes with Gisele and Laurie. As we circled the round-about there was a big cheering section with awesome signs “your feet hurt from kicking so much ass”…um yeah and my fav “you’re kind of a big deal”, they brought a smile to my face and served as a great distraction to bring me into the half way point (10.09km) at 54:53 minutes.
Conny and Jody were a sight for sore eyes, I could not wait to gear down to bare shoulders. Because I was wearing my camelback my disrobing and redressing was a bit of a process, but it did give me a few seconds to get some reassuring words and then to be passed by Soraiya who already had her jacket off and in her hands. I don’t even think that she broke stride when she dropped it. That is when our game of leapfrog began.
I tucked in behind her through the trails and out onto the road and that’s when I saw my fam, what a surprise. I had left the race map on my kitchen counter, it didn’t even occur to me that they would come out on course, they are more of a start line-go for coffee-finish line kind of crew. I took a break from my music as they drove along side me for a few minutes.
My fam is a pretty sporty group. I joke a lot about how I live at the rink for half of the year and the ball park for the other and I can’t even skate and throw like a girl, but there is no other place that I would rather be. So when it is my turn, and they are on my turf cheering me on I’m pretty proud, and it means a lot.
I waved goodbye to them as I turned onto Ford Road. I was not looking forward to this section because it seems to go on forever, so much so that I could still see D far ahead in the distance. If I was going to bonk or something was going to twang, this would be where it would happen. I was still on pace for a sub 2 but I could feel that I was starting to fatigue.
Instead of focusing on an entire 21.1km, several years ago I started breaking the race down into two sets of 8km and one 5km, a little mind game but it works. So once I hit the 16km mark I took myself to my 5km out and back route that I run weekly, and I knew that I would be done in less than 30 minutes at the most.
I completed the dreaded section of Ford Road and made my way up to the dykes. I could see the bridge that I had crossed earlier and it looked soooooo far away. I started to let my mind wander and watched Soraiya’s easy gait. By this time I felt like I was running through molasses and dragging 50lbs of ass behind me, but I was determined to finish strong, especially after all of my injuries and anticlimactic finishes last year.
I’m not sure if I was on autopilot and missed the 18km sign or there was just no 18km marker, but before I knew it I was at 19km. I checked my watch and was still doing well time wise, and could even possibly make a PB, but for the life of me I could not remember what my PB time was. I mean really, I remember those things, I know the PB’s of other people, and it’s not like I don’t see the shadow box with a picture of me crossing the finish line of that very race complete with medal, bib and finish time displayed on my office wall EVERY DAY…
I tried to keep my breathing calm as I took the short road detour and then back into the trail towards the finish line. At the last water station I took a cup of water and splashed it on my face, I know I am vain, but nobody really needs to see the salt marks covering my face when I cross the finish line. As I came out of the trails, I wiped the sweat from my face one last time (this running is hard work you know) and started my kick or what was left of it.
There is something about crossing a finish line that just makes you feel like a rock star (I think it may not be running that I am addicted to, I think it may be the finish line) it also helps that my running family have really loud voices. Official finish time 1:56:13 (16 seconds shy of my PB, but I will take it).
Big thanks to Peninsula Runners for organizing a great race and to the volunteers for keeping us safe and on track. Thank you also to our cheering squad; Conny, Jody, Gisele, Laurie, Gerri, Sheila, Rae and Dave. Big congratulations to Jim and Brian on their PB’s, to Colin on his 12th place overall finishing as well as 2nd place finishing in his age category, to D finishing 1st in her age category, to Spring, Shelley, Rob and the Michelle’s on your first ½ marathons, to Amanda and Brandi on your first 10km race and to Susa on your first 10km race in Canada. And last but certainly not least, thank you to Conny and Colin for the hot tub and red wine that followed the race.
So what’s next? Time to get off the road and hit the trails!
With the Golden Ears ½ Marathon on Sunday, Saturday is to be a rest day. And what better way to enjoy a rest day than to go shopping for “my new” on race day, it’s tradition and especially after receiving my Lulu product notification yesterday and seeing the Run: For All Skirt.
That was my plan, but then the weather forecast changed for Sunday to rain, not just a little drizzle either but to 20mm. I learned a hard lesson during my final Haney to Harrison run about running in a run skirt in the rain. Sure they look cute but running + rain + run skirt = chafe, and running + rain + run skirt + cold temps = a chafe that you cannot feel until it is too late and there is blood running down your leg…I know, it was not a pretty sight. And given that winter is almost over, what is the point of buying something that I won’t wear again until next year?
My thoughts moved very quickly from run skirt to flip-flops this morning when Conny came to class wearing this season’s latest and greatest from Sole (ladies if you care about your feet, you need to try these babies out, you will NEVER go back to the cheapies), they were gold, ooooo. She let the cat out of the bag pretty quickly that they come in other colours as well (Kintec you should be paying this girl more). Say hello to my (and Jodi’s, she beat me to them) new silver flip-flops.
And yes, I am still going to get the run skirt; I just won’t wear it in the rain. It’s International Women’s Day, I say celebrate and treat yourself!
In preparation for D’s trip to Boston next month, we have been hitting the weight room at the Leisure Centre on Sundays for the past eight weeks. The first few weeks, we felt a little out of place, come on, the weight room in any gym can be a pretty intimidating spot…until the groaning and moaning starts. I really do have a hard time keeping a straight face because it can get a little loud, sometimes even a little titillating. Is it joy? Is it pain? Was it good for you? But over the course of our training, we have seemed to settle in, even let out a few grunts and squeaks ourselves!
During our last session, we decided it was time to invest in some weight gloves. I have never thought of myself as a weight glove kinda girl, it’s not a look that I ever thought I would sport, they just seem so masculine, but then again I have never had calluses on the palms of my hands before.
Yesterday we brought out the gloves. I totally thought that I had blown my new system even before I started because I had forgotten to take my rings off before leaving for the gym. Apparently that didn’t seem to matter, the gloves still fit without being too snug and kept my rings in place. It should be mentioned that if you don’t plan on wearing your long sleeve while training, you should take it off before putting your gloves on, it will save you the hassle of taking them off and putting them back on again, gotta love second savers .
Truth be told, I had forgotten about my new accessory by the time we had finished our first round of Bosu squats and lunges. We moved quickly through our workout without having to disinfect our hands after using each piece of equipment, I didn’t even stress putting my palms on an icky section of flooring for push-ups, what has happened to me? The best part, ok the second best part (the best part was knowing that the weight room skank was on the gloves and not my hands), bicep curls. I was able to move through a full range of motion without feeling like my palms were being torn apart, I even increased the amount of weight for my second set, hello gun show!
So I am giving my new weight gloves two thumbs up. Third best part, when I got home, I threw them in the wash with my gym towel, a little soap, some fabric softener and they smell cuddle-up fresh and ready for next week.
Guest post: uglyfinish.com
We have all heard the saying, “mind over matter”. This rings true when preparing for a long distance race… as long as you arrive prepared. We can run with confidence when we take the appropriate steps to get there, one run at a time.
Long distance training is as much about mental preparation as it is about physical preparation. Learn how to train for a half marathon, both physically and mentally so that you feel both confident and prepared on race day.
Mentally Training for a Half Marathon
Being both physically and mentally prepared for a long distance race will set you up for success. Check out this list of training tips to see if you’re on the right track toward the finish line.
- Have a training plan and stick to it.
- Add time increases of no more than 10% to your weekly long run.
- A sample training week should consist of 2 to 3 30-minute short runs, of varying intensity and surfaces, plus 1 long run. Try to spread your runs out over the course of the week.
- Train how you plan to run. You never want to try something new on race day, so take time to experiment with electrolyte replacement and different fuel sources over the course of your training. Keep track of how each run felt in a running journal.
- Resting is a part of training. Schedule rest days into your training plan, especially the day following your weekly long run.
- Pain is a warning sign from the body that should not be ignored. Deal with aches, pains and injuries promptly and don’t get discouraged. Freeze a Styrofoam cup of water; ice any areas that feel tender after each run. As the ice melts, peel back the cup, by the end of your training it will look like a medal from your war wounds.
- Run or drive the race route before race day. Knowing what and when to expect it will increase your confidence and your race day experience.
- The night before your race, lay all of your running gear out as well packing a bag with a change of clothes for after the race. Attach your race bib and timing chip, so all you have to do in the morning is get dressed, eat and run.
- Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. It is easy to get caught up in the crowd and head out to quickly at the start of the race.
Stick to your plan and running pace, breathe and enjoy the day.