Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Dare 5k Recap

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Dare Athens, GA
Field: 200-300 running and/or doughnut enthusiasts
Spectators: Minimal, but there were many very energetic volunteers.  Perhaps they tapped into the doughnuts a little early. 
Start/Finish: Outside the Coliseum
Course: Loop course through the UGA campus.
Schwag: T-shirt and a box of 10 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts 
Other: The event is put on by UGA Miracle, a student group that raises money for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  It's a small, charity event with lots of passion.  Don't expect chip timing or tech t-shirts, but do expect to have a good time, get a sugar high, and raise money for a good cause.

On Sunday I ventured to Athens for an event I've been dying to do for years.  I trained for months, preparing for both the distance and the caloric onslaught, and I felt both nervous and ready to compete.
Thousands of doughnuts ready to go. Source
A true test of physical and gastrointestinal capabilities, the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Dare consists of a 5k race with a pit-stop in the middle during which you eat 10 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. You don't have to eat the doughnuts if you don't want to 'take the dare', but then you would just be running a 5k while other people eat doughnuts. That doesn't sound nearly as fun.
This will be worn with pride! 
It was a little chilly at the start with temps barely in the 20s.  I dressed in loose layers to accommodate my impending mid-race snack. I wore gloves as to keep my fingers warm and nibble for the feeding frenzy I had planned.  Scoping out the pre-race competition, I realized I was up against a lot of college students.  Hungry college students.  This could be harder than I expected.
Video of this year's race! Source
With a quick, "Go" we were off, with high spirits and empty tummies. The first part of the race went well.  I hit a good rhythm, worked on making it to the doughnuts quickly, still being able to breathe and eat. We arrived at a courtyard full of doughnuts 1.25 miles into the race.  This meant I was going to have to run the majority of the race with a tummy full of confectionery delights, which I would hopefully not hurl all over the campus. The doughnut consumption area was a bit of a dance party with loud pop music, enthusiastic volunteers, and runners awkwardly wiggling as they attempted to down their doughnuts.
The check-mark means I ate all my doughnuts.
I quickly grabbed my box and looked for a spot to open it up and get to business.  I ended up sharing a planter with a bunch of college boys who were already a couple of doughnuts in.  I went with a multi-doughnut sandwich method, squishing 2-3 doughnuts together at a time. With the first bite I realized I had overlooked something in my training: the temperature of the doughnuts.  Cold doughnuts, like 20 degrees cold, are far more difficult to eat than doughnuts hot from the shop.  This definitely slowed down my DPM (doughnut per minute average).  I made it through 7 doughnuts without too much excitement in 5 minutes, but the last 3 were definitely a challenge. I drank very little water while eating the doughnuts which definitely made them go down slower, but greatly reduced my risk of hurling. I ended up finishing my doughnuts in 8-9 minutes, before all the college boys around me (not that I was being competitive during a charity doughnut race). I quickly showed my empty box to the exit volunteers, learned that I was the second female out of the eating area, got my check mark, and was back on the road.
Getting my chow on. source
When I exited the area, I still had about a half of a doughnut in my mouth and the next third of a mile trying to get it down was one of the more challenging of my life.  Add to that that the second half of the course had several significant hills, I worked hard to get to the finish. Knowing that there was only one other girl in front of me was definitely motivating. I arrived at the finish in 34:50 with ALL of my doughnuts still safely in my tummy, and received a finish card that said I was 15th among challenge participants. I am very proud that I kept the doughnuts down, as many of my friends bet that it would take me longer to eat them then they would stay in my stomach. The female winner finished in 34:00, so I definitely have something to work towards for next year.
After the race, all smiles.
As a doughnut enthusiast and a runner, there really isn't a better event than the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Dare. This year the event raised over $10,000 for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  I also learned that doughnuts might be a new fueling option for me, as they are only the second item I've been able to keep down when eating on the run!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Krispy Kreme Donut Dare Pre-race thoughts

So the big day is finally here.  I developed a strict training plan. I've put in the miles and some donuts. Now it's time to see what I'm made of.
I'm excited, but also a bit nervous.  What if I didn't train enough?  What if I get a jawcramp? What if I am so sugar high I have to run all the way home from Athens? My donut training definitely took a nose dive after my marathon training started back up. Eating donuts during a 12 miler just doesn't seem as fun. Not to mention, the winner last time ran & ate in under 23 minutes.  Yikes.
If this doesn't pump you up, I don't know what will. source.
It is also going to be chilly on race morning, so creates another set of concerns.  With starting temps around 32 degrees, I am actually kind of hoping they will be serving coffee at the water stops. Let's be honest, it would pair well with what they are serving at the midway point. Obviously, I want to dress in stretchy, forgiving fabrics, as I will be taking on a considerable amount of fuel during the race.  But do I wear gloves?  I don't want my donuts to get all fuzzy from mitten hands.  That's not going to make them go down any faster.  But I also need my hands to be dexterous, so they can quickly shovel the donuts into my mouth.  I could always take them off as I enter the donut zone.

And as for donut eating, I'm thinking of going with multiple at a time. A smoosh and chew method if you will.  Like the gentleman in the yellow neon shirt in the above video.  Liquids are essential in getting them down, so I considered wearing my hydration pack, but I don't think I will because it may not fit after all those donuts.  I'm going with the race provided liquids, another wild card for the day.

Sadly, the Jayhawk has come down with some form of the plague, so he will not be join me on race day. I am more than a little bummed because he was going to be my race day photog. Now you are stuck with my horrible selfie skills. Where's a GoPro when you need one?

In all honesty, it's going to be a lot of silly fun to benefit a great cause.

What's  on tap for you weekend?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why I #RunDonna.

I've mentioned my training and my excitement to be apart of 26.2 with Donna, but I  haven't fully shared with you why I am running and what makes me passionate about cancer charities. As I mentioned in Monday's post, running enhances my life in many ways and because of this, I am constantly looking for ways to pay if forward and make it bigger than just the miles I log.
The start of 26.2 with Donna (source).
My first race.
The very first running event I did was a 5k for breast cancer in Houston in 2001.  I signed up because my grandmother was going through a particularly bad round of cancer at the time. I was far from home in Maine and couldn't be there to support and comfort her. Though she wasn't dealing with breast cancer, I felt the need to support others who were faced with a similar challenge of a cancer diagnosis and the race was a small way I could reach out. I was by no means a runner at this point. I didn't train at all for the race and ran in a thick cotton t-shirt in the hot, Houston humidity.  Needless to say, from a running standpoint it didn't go well (honestly I thought the race would never end), but from an inspirational standpoint, I was hooked. Here were thousands of people with various levels of fitness all coming together on a Saturday morning to sweat, cry, share stories, raise awareness, and do their little part to support those who needed their support.

The first step in my career.
Fast forward a year and a half, and I was experiencing a whole different side of the challenges of cancer. My first post college job was working as a cancer researcher in one of the biggest cancer research hospitals in the country (yes, I really am a nerd). My experience with the challenges of research, the constant search for funding, and the heartbreaking stories of our patients drove me to want to do something more. I turned to charity running again to fill this need.
The people.
Like many of you, cancer has greatly affected the lives of many important people in my life. Watching their struggles, their journey through cancer treatments, and the stress on their loved ones has been at times overwhelming and a true lesson in the power of the human spirit. A cancer diagnosis is filled with fear and endless questions.  It is a challenge that you can't understand until you experience it yourself, which hopefully most of us will never have to do. But it is something best faced with unity, support, and education.  I am continuously amazed with the attitudes and emotional strength of my friends and family. A close friend of mine is currently facing breast cancer, her third cancer.  Facing cancer 3 times is something that would frustrate and defeat many of us.  But not her.  I am astounded by her strength, her constant ability to find the lighter side of cancer treatment (there is one, I promise), and her perpetual optimism. She is truly inspirational.
Why 26.2 with Donna?
There were two key things about the Donna Foundation that grabbed me. The first is their approach to the challenge of cancer. Instead of taking a combative approach filled with words like fighting or battling, the 26.2 with Donna Foundation encourages facing the challenge of a cancer diagnosis with love, support, and positivity. Cancer diagnoses are stressful enough.  Let's not compound it with words of conflict.  The second element is that 100% of the race proceeds (registration fees etc) and the fundraising dollars go directly to the charity. No money is spent on overhead.  70% of that money is spent on bench-top breast cancer research, specifically the Translational Genomics Program at the Mayo Clinic under the leadership of Dr. Edith Perez.  As a research scientist, I know how vital this funding is and the advancements that can be made from the work of scientists like Dr. Perez. The other 30% supports patients who are facing critical financial needs due to their treatments.
Dr. Perez and Donna. (source)

If you would like to support my run, please check out my fundraising page. All donations are greatly appreciated!

Want to learn more about 26.2 with Donna? Check out their social media sites!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Motivation: What are you doing for others?

There are so many inspirational and introspective Martin Luther King Jr. quotes, but this is by far my favorite one. It is a great question that can be applied to all aspects of ours lives. Given the day's significance, I found myself thinking about this quote a lot this morning and how it relates to elements of my life, specifically running.  Running and the running community give me so much: support, stress relief, a source of strength, enjoyment, and a way to challenge myself. Because of all the ways running enhances my life, I am constantly looking for ways to pay it forward, use my love for running to "do for others," and make it bigger than just the miles logged.

For me this means raising awareness and running for a reason.  Paying to forward by providing support for people that are facing challenges, whether it is the challenge of a first race or something bigger.

How do you share your love for running with others? Do you use running to "do for others"?

#RunDonna Training Recap: 6 weeks to go and #Megsmiles

The week started off on a sad note as the running community tragically lost Meg Menzies when she was hit by a drunk driver while on her morning run.  The story really resonated with me because it easily could have been any of us.  I've had several close calls with distracted & unobservant drivers, but  I've always been lucky.  Just another reminder to prioritize safety above all when out on a run. I dedicated all my Sunday miles this week to Meg.

With 6 weeks left, here's how my training went for 26.2 with Donna.  I didn't get in as many workouts as I wanted this week, but I am still getting in the majority of my miles. Sunday's long run was a big confidence booster.
Monday: Rest day after Sunday's long run.

Tuesday: 4 miles easy on the treadmill. I am eager for the gym to get back to normal after the strong influx after New Years.

Wednesday: 3.1 miles on the treadmill with a bit of speed work. Starting to do a better job of pushing on the treadmill.  Still seem to run faster outside when I run on feel, but I'll get there.

Thursday: 4.75 mile run commute home.  I did not find $20. :(

Friday: Rest.

Saturday: Rest.  I did make my first loaf of bread at home!  I think it went well. :)
It is now all gone. The crowd liked it.
Sunday: 18.7 miles (8:44/mile) on the Silver Comet Trail for #Megsmiles.  I needed a break from my usually running routes and all the hills, so I headed out to the Silver Comet Trail.  It's a rails to trails path that leads from just north of Atlanta all the way to Alabama. It was a perfect day for a long run and my legs were very thankful for the break from all the climbing.
Perfect weather.
I made a huge fueling mistake and didn't realize that I only had 1 Island Boost left in the house and I used it at mile 5.  I tried a new fuel that I had hanging around for future Fuelin' Up Friday posts, but I just couldn't stomach it. Luckily I had decided last minute to run with Tailwind in my hydration pack and it saved me so I didn't have to run the last 13+ miles without fuel.  Rookie Mistake (am still allowed to use this excuse?).  I will be heading over to REI this week to restock.
Huge hawk I saw during my run. He was definitely eyeing me.
How did your week go? Any races or big runs? Did you run #Megsmiles?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Goals

It seems I  never really got around to posting my goals and plans for 2014.  The start of the New Year has found me pretty busy juggling work, training, family, and life. My day job has a seasonal aspect to it, and well, let's just say, 'tis the season. So not a minute too soon, here are a few stats to sum up 2013 and some of what is on tap for 2014.
2013 in numbers:
Running: 825 miles
Biking: 270 miles
Races: 2 Marathons, 4 half marathons, 3 10k's, and a 5k.

2013 was a pretty great year running wise. I refound my stride and managed to develop a good running/life balance (though occasionally it still tips one way or the other).

On to 2014:

I am not one to shy away from stating my goals no matter how much they scare me or challenge me. For 2014, I am really focused on challenging myself in new ways.  Sometimes I worry that I let myself get off easy and being public with my goals helps prevent that.
  1. Break 4 hours in the marathon. This was one of my goals last year and though I didn't reach it, I made huge strides in the marathon.  I now feel much more comfortable with the distance and have a much better fueling plan than previous marathons (which was basically minimal fueling and fingers crossed I didn't hurl).
  2. Break 1:50 in the half marathon. I knocked almost 5 minutes off my half time last year and another 2 minutes is within my reach.
  3. Run my first Ultramarathon.  I've got a couple picked out, but I have registered yet.  I've put together a training plan and am really excited.  More on this to come.
  4. Have fun!

This is what I've signed up with so far.  There will definitely be additions!
  • Krispy Kreme Donut Dare 1/26
  • 26.2 With Donna Marathon 2/23
  • Georiga Publix Half Marathon 3/23
  • Troop Trot 39k 7/12
  • 24 Hours of Booty 10/11
  • An Ultramarathon yet to be determined
  • A Fall Marathon to be named later
What are your plans for 2014?  Any big goals or fun races that you are excited about?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

#RunDonna Training Recap: 7 Weeks to go

With 7 weeks until 26.2 with Donna Marathon, here is how my training went.

Monday: Rest after a Sunday longrun. Consumed more bread.

Tuesday: 4.2 miles in the cold. I left work late and I knew the gym would be packed with all the New Year's crowd, so I opted for an outdoor run.  It was 14 degrees (including windchill) at the start and it ended up being one of my fastest runs recently (8:04 pace).  I guess I am still a northern at heart.

Wednesday: 3.1 miles on the treadmill.  I only had a short window to get a workout in and somehow it wasn't fast.  So much for pressure leading to speed work.

Thursday: 5.5 Run-commute home.  Turned into the best run ever because I found a $20 bill. I guess that makes me a paid athlete earning roughly $3.63 per mile.
I got $20 in my pocket....
Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: Woke up to thunderstorms with a tornado warning.  Booooo.  20 miler pushed to Sunday.  To make life more exciting, I had a bit of a stomach bug all day with a low grade fever, so Sunday's run was downgraded to "whatever I can complete" due to my poor fueling all day.  Double booooooo. I have a 3 day weekend next weekend.  You can bet that 20 miler will be on like Donkey Kong.

Sunday: Woke up feeling much better with stunning weather outside.  There was no way I wasn't running.  I set out with the goal of listening to my body with a hope of 5-10.  I ended up with 11.5 and a 8:48 pace.  That was definitely all I had though in terms of fueling.  I am still quite pleased.  To celebrate, I made apple bread pudding with the leftover brioche from class last week. Win-win.
Isn't it lovely?!
How was your week? Do you find you have troubles amping it up on the treadmill?  Maybe I need to push it a little more.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fuelin' Up Friday: Tailwind Nutrition

So a few months ago I sent out a tweet and it was like lighting the running batsignal.

I received a lot of great suggestions, many of which will appear in future Fuelin' Up Friday posts. The item that got mentioned the most was Tailwind Nutrition, so I knew I had to try it and I put it on the top of my list.

I wasn't familiar with Tailwind at all, so first I had to do a little homework. With all fuels, my first questions are what is it made of and what is the potential of me barfing. Tailwind is a powdered drink mix that contains electrolytes and carbs. It is all natural and made with organic flavors. It is designed for long distance endurance events like marathons and ultras so you don't have to carry multiple fuel sources.  On top of that, Tailwind is formulated to be gentle on the tummy, allowing you to consume it for hours. All these things made it a must try in my book!
I ordered a sample pack of single use packets with one of each of the 4 flavors (Mandarin Orange, Organic Berry, Organic Lemon, Naked Unflavored).  I was a bit surprised that they refer to them as single use as each pouch makes 48oz of hydration or 4 servings.  Not a bad deal.  I did correspond with the company a bit when I ordered it (I am a huge nerd and ask lots of questions) and their customer service was excellent. One of the many benefits of working with a small company.
So far I have use Tailwind only before long events (7 Bridges Marathon, Chickamauga Marathon, and training runs over 15 miles).  I take 1-2 servings (~12-24oz) prior to long events to help top off electrolytes and carbs without weighing my stomach down.  Given the barfing pyrotechnics I have put on in the past, it is important to me that my fuel not weigh me down or sit in my stomach too long. Otherwise it's like running with a loaded cannon.
4 'single' use packets
Taste:  I tried the mandarin orange flavor first and didn't care for the flavor too much but in their defense I am not a big orange flavor person, so this was probably a poor choice on my part.  Second, I tried the Lemon flavor and was much happier.  Right off the bat, I noticed that Tailwind tastes very different from other electrolyte drinks.  It tastes more salty, which is key for long endurance events.  The unflavored and the berry also worked well for me.

Consistency: It is similar to other electrolyte drinks. Tailwind dissolves quickly in water and is clear.

During Run: I actually haven't tried it on the run yet, but this is more of a logistical thing for me.  I run with a hydration pack and usually keep only water in it because I am a little lazy about cleaning it.  Since Tailwind dissolves clear, it should be far easier to rinse out of my bladder (I'm referring to my hydration pack).

After Run: Great.  It has been an excellent addition to my pre and post run routine especially on hot days here in the ATL (which we have plenty of). The formula doesn't bother my stomach and allows me to get extra carbs through my hydration. The electrolyte boost also helps me ward off any cramping on hot days.  As someone who is typically not hungry after runs, it allows me to replenish without eating.

Overall: I really liked Tailwind. I don't think that it is necessary to use it for short runs due to the extra carbs, but I think it is a great option for long runs/races especially on hot days when you are going to be losing a lot of fluid and salt. I continue to incorporate Tailwind into my overall long event fueling process and, while I don't see it as a stand alone fueling option for me, I do see it as an important component especially as I work towards longer distances.

Cost: 4 'single use' packets for $14.

Have you tried a electrolyte drink with carbs?  How do you incorporate it into your fueling process?

Monday, January 6, 2014

#RunDonna Marathon Training: 8 weeks to go.

With 8 weeks until 26.2 with Donna Marathon, here is what my training looked like.

Monday: 4.5 miles on the treadmill.  Nothing too remarkable to report.  Tried to keep it easy and ended up with a 8:35/mile pace.

Tuesday: 5 miles of hiking out to the Hike Inn. The hike was moderate with over 4800 feet of elevation change.  I think it is doable for many abilities and well worth the visit.
Such a relaxing spot to ring in the new year.
Wednesday: 6+ miles of hiking back to Amicalola State Park.
Fresh air makes me smile.

Thursday: 4 miles on the treadmill (8:35/mile pace).  My rear was a little tight from all the elevation gain during our hikes, so I opted for a flat run on the treadmill. Felt good and was happy to be running after two days of hiking.

Friday: Rest day to celebrate a busy work week.

Saturday:  No running.  I was in a 5 hour bread class and it was awesome.  I received a gift card for a cooking class for my birthday and finally got around to scheduling it.  I chose an Artisan Breads class because runner's love carbs and I had already learned the art of homemade pasta with my last cooking school gift card.  I am sufficiently carbo loaded for the next 6 months.  Or at least 6 hours. Needless to say, I didn't have to rush to the store for bread when Atlanta had it's little 'snow' scare on Sunday night.
A sampling of what we made. 
Sunday:  15.1 miles. I'm not going to lie. I felt like I was working for it the entire run. I was surprised in the end to find out that my pace wasn't too bad (9:16/mile average) and I had over 2200 feet of uphill running.  I am very happy I got it done and I am starting to feel like this 10 week training thing might actually work!

How was your week of training? Is the cold weather hurting your workouts?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Something Fun on January 1

Happy New Year Everyone! Hope you all had a great end to 2013 and have started out 2014 with a bang.  To celebrate the start of the New Year and the end of the hectic holiday season, the Jayhawk and I like to do something fun on January 1.  We aren't big NYE party people, so we always seem to end up doing something fun on New Year's Day instead.  This year was no different.
Nothing like watching the sunrise over the mountains to ring in the New Year.
Up until a week or two ago, we actually didn't have any plans. We tossed around the idea of a Resolution Run or a sunrise hike, but nothing really peaked our interest.  Then we found out that an Inn we've really wanted to visit had a huge cancellation for NYE and reduced all it's rooms. The Jayhawk and I have want to visit the Inn for a longtime and it finally worked out for us this year.
Now, this isn't your normal Inn. The Hike Inn is a 5 mile hike from Amicalola Falls State park and just a few miles from the Georgia start of the Appalachian Trail. In fact, the only way to get there is to hike.  Many hikers use it as a jumping off point for longer Appalachian trail hikes or even thru-hikes on the whole trail. The Inn is completely sustainable with composting toilets, rainwater showers (yes, they have hot water), solar panel electricity, and a worm farm to eat any leftover food.  It is pack-in/pack-out facility with no TV, Internet, or cell phone use. It's a great place to get away from it all and really relax.
We found it!
This description might have a few of you afraid and thinking we were staying in a odd hut in the woods, but the Inn is really nice and a fun visit. The hike to/from the Inn is moderate.  Family style dinner and breakfast are included in your stay, and the food was really quite tasty and plentiful. This hiker had no trouble filling her belly.
Maps and Signs.
We were very lucky in terms of weather.  On the hike out to the Inn, it was 40s and a bit windy in spots, but clear as could be.  From one vista we could actually see all the way back to Atlanta, over 40 miles away.  We followed the Hike Inn trail on our way out to the Inn.  It's a 5 mile rolling trail through Magnolia and wooded forests.
Magnolia forests and the starting line.
Only 2000 miles from home!
On New Year's morning, we chose to take a slightly different route back to the park.  We followed a 1 mile connector trail over to the Approach Trail.  The approach trail starts at Amicalola State park and leads all the way to Springer Mountain, the starting point for the Appalachian Trail.  The connector trail was probably the most challenge part of our two days of hiking.  Though it is only a mile long, it is completely uphill.
Connecting up with the Approach Trail.
The Approach Trail was a nice hike back to the park with a few vistas overlooking the other mountains.  Upon arriving back at the State park, we decided to take a short hike up to see the waterfall, just to get in a bonus mile.
Worth the extra mile.
View from bottom and top of falls.
How was your New Year's Eve and Day?  Did you do anything special to send 2013 off and usher 2014 in?
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