Running Related Things I Don’t Talk About

This morning on my run I listened to the most recent Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antionette podcast with Lauren Fleshman. The episode (and all her episodes really) get into the nitty-gritty details of what goes on in everyday life. It’s messy, complicated and often not as Instagram worthy as many people may seem. They talked about pregnancy and the things Lauren has experienced, explaining what was different for her, how she dealt with the changing of her mood and body and the discussion she had with her partner, Jesse, who was racing an Ironman on her due date.

Additionally, I listened to an episode of Heartland Running with Joel Cohen (of the Simpsons) about the book he just wrote How To Lose A Marathon. In the book, Cohen spells out everything that happens when you begin to run for the first time. Things I didn’t even think about or remember experiencing, but make a big difference.

These two episodes, listened randomly so close together made me think about what I don’t talk about concerning my own running. Here we go:

Bathroom: I go to the bathroom A LOT. When I say a lot, I mean 5 times per day, and that is just number 2. If I am actually properly hydrated, that number reaches 9-10. I go once when I wake up, most likely once during my run or right immediately after, once after I finish breakfast and once in the afternoon. Then I also have gotten up to go in the middle of the night. This is due to my fiber consumption and also depends on my hydration status. It is getting exceedingly better since I started taking more vitamins and trading starchy vegetables (like potatoes, squash and even some grains with too much fiber) to bread. I eat a higher proportion of calories from bread and white grains than I ever have because it simply stays with me longer. I used to eat say, some blueberries with my breakfast, and then 2 hours later they would be coming out, not as digested as I would like. It has been a lot of experimentation regarding this, and I am actually making progress. Veggies are great, but white grains keep my belly and body happy.

Feet: I am not talking about my foot injuries here, I am talking about the regular foot maintenance I do each day on my feet. I spend at least 5-10 minutes after my shower pumicing, massaging and lotioning my feet so that they don’t rub my shoes the wrong way. That is not debilitating, but painful, annoying and it prevents me from wearing certain shoes. I also work consciously to harden my feet without rubbing them raw. I want to get them to a leather-like feel, but not with blisters underneath. That is where the problems come. It’s gross sometimes with all the dead skin that comes off, but it allows me to focus on putting my best effort in a run instead of running gingerly.

Keeping Clean: I run at 4:30AM, and need to be at work by 5:45AM. I do not shower in between there. However, if I don’t do something in my lady parts, I have had, let’s say, less desirable feelings later on that day. This also sometimes happens in the later stages of an ultra when you’ve been sweating and in the water all day. Not fun and feels like peeing needles. A few months ago, I discovered the power of baby wipes. Huggies to be exact. These things are super simple and the fastest way to clean up down yonder when you’re pressed. I simply shed my running gear, do a wipe through, and put on clean undies for the day. I will shower later, but I take comfort in that I am not growing bacteria all day.

Running with people: I will be honest, I do not run with people in my daily runs. I used to last year and I enjoyed it, however my schedule is not conducive to other people with normal hours. I also need to focus on my own paces, both in workouts and recovery and easy runs. What I find happens, especially with peers, is that an easy run is never truly easy. You either get talking and the pace quickens or someone feels like they are slowing everyone down, so they speed up, and then everyone else speeds up. That is not an easy, recovery run. I do enjoy running with others when I’ve done it, but I realize that most times, I use running as my me time. I see people all day. I like my 1-2 hour solo adventures where it’s just me and the outdoors.

Running in the dark: I run in the dark, with my headlamp, everyday. Every single day. My batteries are the best. I do this because I run before I work, which is at 4:30. Even today, when I went out at 6 (sleeping in HOLLA) I probably could have used a headlamp until 7. It’s fall, and that happens. There are some things I don’t talk about, like how sometimes cars see you and your lamp and like a bug to a candle, they drive right at you! I know they really do not mean it, but honestly, you need to be careful. Even I would not take on a car. I run on the roads so I don’t worry too much about stepping on things, but I am still aware. No one is up, so if someone is up, it’s weird and just be cautious. They probably think the same as you, but still. I have never felt unsafe, but I try not to be an idiot.

Strava: I honestly, do not look at my or other’s Strava. I stopped doing this because it only did one of two things, it made me with I was out there when I was injured, or it made me compare my training to someone else’s. I am not her. I am not a man. I am me and I know that most times, my body responds fine to low mileage. It’s hard to not go do another 20 miler when your last one felt great and it looks like so-and-so can do three of them a week. I won’t do that to my body and mind. Avoiding Strava is self care. I barely even look at my runs, I just use it as a log or if something did feel weird.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Any other things you think runners don’t talk about?

Inside Tracker Blood Test #2

A few months ago, I got my first blood test from Inside Tracker. After which, I made some lifestyle and eating habit changes, took a break and saw some good results.

I took a month off from running.

I ate more nutrient and calorically dense foods.

I gained about 15lbs.

I came back to get second in the Cayuga Trails marathon, win Many on the Genny and have the courage to leave a job that was stressing my body and causing sub-optimal performance and fatigue.

I was feeling pretty good until Escarpment, which I completed, but I begin started a cascade of little niggles, that turned into bigger problems leading to a pinched nerve and foot issues at Greenlakes. After that race, I took a step back and started to look for more answers.

I saw a chiropractor. I changed my stretching and mobility routines, I didn’t run and I did other things. I spent more time with family, I was more present at my job, I got a van.

I didn’t run for almost a month, allowing my body to dictate my return. I shifted my priorities to other things, but kept up with recovery work.

One thing I hadn’t thought about for a while before Greenlakes, and oddly before my dad asked about free range eggs and why I don’t eat what comes from our chickens, I largely forgot about my Inside Tracker test and my at-risk levels.

Here I was, unable to walk, sad and tired. Sure, I was happy in my job and knew I was in the right place, but something was off and I was ready to fix it.

So I started eating eggs again, once every few weeks. I also stopped reading labels or asking what was in things. I let my parents and friends make and give things to me and I ate them. I took a very relaxed attitude to this, and felt a lot of pressure lift.

I got serious about my supplementing and now am compulsive about taking all my vitamins everyday.

I realized that I want to be able to run for life and be healthy and happy doing it, so I will take care of my diet and recovery outside of running.

Well, I feel better, am at peace with whatever fitness I have, running or not, and what do you know, my levels have improved.

My B-12 is great.

My testosterone to cortisol ratio (indicating overtraining) is in the correct range.

These were two things I was concerned about.

My vitamin D and Iron are still at risk, so this is the next hurdle.

Then I will tackle magnesium. I’m trying to work on sleep and just need to find my secret sauce.

I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

One thing I don’t know very much about is my low white blood cell count. I had a lot of inflammation, however I had just come back from a run, which increases inflammation and temporarily suppressed immune function. This will be in my focus along with vitamin D and iron.

What I started doing began to work, time to try a bit harder. I am discussing my test with the Inside Tracker team shortly and getting their recommendations as to how to proceed.


Any questions?

Budget Meal: Cinnamon Roll Slow Cooker Oats

I recently came across a really great oatmeal recipe that was too good not to share. I’ve been eating it all this week and I can tell you, I will be making it again when I can.

Oatmeal is probably my favorite fall and winter breakfast simply because it fills me up and tastes good. Nothing beats a cold run followed by a warm breakfast.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and immediately it drew my attention because it combines oatmeal and cinnamon rolls. It’s not simply oatmeal with some cinnamon in it, it has other ingredients that up the calorie and nutrient profile.

I was also attracted to it because I could make it in my slow cooker and it only took 2 hours. The problem I have with slow cooker meals sometimes is that I am not home to turn them off. Then they over-cook the food or in the case of oatmeal, I would need to get up at like 3AM to shut it off.

No thanks, not even for oatmeal.

I thought I would do the cost and calorie breakdown per serving for this recipe. I must confess that, as with most of my breakfasts, I added peanut butter on top when I ate it, so add 300 calories if you do that.

[picture from Moms With Crockpots]

2 Cups Oats (Aldi’s Rolled Oats: $1.13)
2 eggs, beaten (free from my family farm)
3 Cups Milk (Aldi’s Vanilla Silk Soy Milk: $1.19)
1/2 cup sugar (Aldi’s Brown Sugar: $0.14)
2 tbsp Baking Mix (Gluten free or regular) or All purpose flour (Aldi’s All-Purpose: $0.01)
1 tsp cinnamon (spice rack)**
1 tsp vanilla (spice rack)**

Total Cost: $2.47

Total Calorie (3-4 Servings): 1,489

**I consider these “freebies” because I do not buy spices often and buy them in bulk to have them on hand.

Have you ever made oatmeal in a crock-pot?

Building Blocks: A Short Tempo

After a few weeks of steady running, I started to feel like myself again. My legs felt adjusted to running and I no longer was in discomfort from lack of fitness through my runs
As I described in this post, building fitness is painful at times. It’s not an injury pain but a bodily fatigue that feels like learning a skill I thought I mastered. It’s taxing on the body, and also the mind. I feel as though I’ve made it over the first hump in returning from injury time off. Running is coming back.

So why not try a bit of tempo paced work?

My plan was to do a bit of pyramid style faster running and see how it felt. I would be happy with anything even if it was a 10 second on, 5 minutes off type of thing.

I began with a 2 mile warm up and felt pretty fine getting a bit faster towards the last half mile. I then progressed into a 400 on, 1200 off, 800 on, 800 off, 1200 on, 400 off, and finished with a full 1600 meters at tempo pace before a 2 mile cool down.

It wasn’t easy, but it felt doable. It was a confidence boost rather than a workout that provided any kind of adaptation in my legs. I just needed to believe I could do something faster than “easy”.

This is by no means what others do or what anyone “should” do. Other ways to do this, build up some fitness or rev the engine so to speak, are short hill bursts, strides or a fartlek. This workout just works for me, it is my confidence run.

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Cinnamon Almond Meal Cookies

This year for the holidays, my sister, mom and I are having a cookie baking party. I remember fondly the parties my mom had when I was a kid and the delicious dozens of cookies we would get each year. Each lady my mom invited made something I now associate them with.

Mrs. Poulsen made butterscotch chow mien cookies.

Mrs. Seymour cheated and bought sugar cookies and then frosted them.

Mrs. Eastman made white chocolate raspberry cookies.

My mom usually went with cherry mocha balls.

Each year I looked forward to it, so this year I took matters into my own hands and so the Pell girls are having one of their own.

Of course I need to start testing recipes now. What cookie do I want to be known for? Peanut butter automatically comes to my mind, but honestly, the holidays are a time when I expand my dessert preference. I don’t want to make peanut butter cookies (at least I think I don’t).

I am a big texture person when I comes to food, and almond meal has a more course consistency that works for these cookies. It’s heartier, more filling and a great option for my holiday baking.

The cinnamon and brown sugar though, they make these cookies. They add to the rustic, down home goodness that a cookie should have. And to be honest, my house smells amazing right now.

Cookie party test cookie number one, complete.

Cinnamon Almond Meal Cookies

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 20Total:

You'll Need...

  • 2.5 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3 T oil
  • 1 t cinnamon


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  3. The result will be a course, moist texture.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Using a wet fork, push the center of the balls in to form grooves.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. The edges will start to turn golden brown.