Men Who “Get It”

I’ll be honest, I don’t meet many men who really understand the female body and psyche. I get it, it’s hard and most men (my father included) either believe women are just small men or are too fragile to work hard.

Things are improving, which has given me both hope and healing.

The first guy who “got it” for me was Ian Golden, my sometimes coach but mostly “advisor”(?) from Red Newt Racing. The way he knows what I can handle and saw things in me I could never dream of is just one of the ways he gets it. He knows my stresses, always says the right thing (even if it sucks, it’s true) and though it may hurt in the moment, it makes me better.

The second guy who got it was David Roche. I shared emails with him and he convinced me not to injure myself by running a race just to prove myself. He understands the female body and his training philosophy is just great. Always eat more than enough. Take things easy, build up slow and then get it done. His wife Megan’s success is just an indicator of his running knowledge. I am fortunate to be part of his SWAP group even though I am not his athlete. Each week he congratulates each athlete for their races, writes articles with great advice and is just overall excited about life and running. I want to get drink with that guy! Soon perhaps?

The final guy who just gets it is Jonathan Levitt from Inside Tracker. I met him through SWAP and blogging and through his help, I’ve changed my nutrition and recovered from extreme fatigue. We’ve discussed training, trails, food and just loving running out of the context of Inside Tracker and I consider him a friend. He is one of the brain children of the hashtag #restdaybrags which I love. During my period off, it was nice to have companionship as he just had a race at Boston. We healed together and he encouraged me to trust in the process.

We need more men like these guys. We need men who get it. It is so important for the progression of female running.

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This is obviously just my experience and other men do get it. I can’t not mention Weldon, he knows how awesome he is.

Tell me some of yours.

Who are other men who get it?

Eat Food and Don’t Think

Last week, I posted a couple shots of the cookies I was eating as an afternoon snack on Twitter. I have been loving the #restdaybrags threads as they help keep my focus on both recovering and resting but also ENJOYING the down time.

Let me preface this by saying that for some, eating big portions or without a reason (i.e. eating not out of hunger or to recover from a workout, but just because) can be hard. I won’t get into society’s standards for women nor the obesity crisis that is apparent in America today, but let’s just say if you focus on it too much it will make you question everything you put into your mouth.

Being in the vegan health scene can be like that too. There are a lot of detoxes, raw diets, low fat diets, fruitarian diets…the list goes on. I have gone down this rabbit hole a time or two in the past 5 years being vegan and at first you feel awesome and righteous…then the people in the movement really start to annoy you. You start to wonder why cooked rice is deemed “bad”. You start to hate having to pee every 30 minutes because of all the water in the fruit you are eating.

That’s not where I want to take this article, but it is a good reminder that there is a lot working against us when we want to enjoy food. So give yourself a break if you have anxiety sometimes over what you put into your mouth.

Anyway, I started getting involved in the #restdaybrags community really after I posted a picture of a large chocolate chip cookie I ate randomly during my shift at work. I had not worked out that day. I wasn’t hungry or starving. I didn’t think “I should have this because I am trying to gain energy for my next training cycle.” I simply was given an “older” cookie and so I started to eat it, and finished it.

I then did it again the next day. And the next. I also had them for dessert after dinner.

Yup, two in one day, for three days in a row. (there were about 12 old cookies…yup, I’m surprised too haha)

I was scrolling through Twitter and thought it would be a great thing to post to the feed. Even though I didn’t think about it then as part of my “resting”, it fit in with the group’s vibe. I got a lot of likes and retweets on it, which made me feel awesome.

I simply ate the cookie. I didn’t think about it besides how good it was. I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t emotionally lacking anything that the cookie was giving me. It was there, so I ate it.

I enjoyed it. The end.

After about a week of my either 1 or 2 cookie per day habit (it’s now a habit that I’m trying to break only because since now I’m eating the new cookies I have to pay for them…sad!) I stepped on the scale.

To preface that, I bought a scale the day after getting my blood work to monitor progress in that area. Putting on a few pounds didn’t sound like a bad idea then (nor does it now) as I felt weak and broken. I had been weighing myself everyday, but forgot for about a week when life got busy.

Anyway, I got on the scale and had gained 6 pounds in the three weeks since I got blood work. 6 pounds!!! That’s amazing right?

Not only had I forgotten I was doing that (trying to put on some weight), but I was eating food normally without judgement or thinking too much about it. When I stepped on the scale, I was elated that I had gained weight while not thinking about it.

In those three weeks, I ate the same amount of food as when I was training. I never felt like I hadn’t eaten enough during the day and therefore tried to “make up” calories by eating more for dinner and dessert. I never felt uncomfortably full. I ate when I was hungry, when something was given to me or if I just felt like it.

A secret to gaining some weight: it’s easier to eat 4,000 calories spread out in the day and have tons of energy than like 1,000 before dinner and then stuff yourself with the rest.

That sucks.

I guess the lesson I’ve learned this month is that I have the ability to just let food be food. I have eaten great food, good food and food that was just “eh” and it all was enjoyed, but not thought about too much.

Nutrition is important, God I know that’s the truth. But sometimes, don’t think, just eat.

In-Season Off Season

After tomorrow (or today’s) race depending on when this gets published, I have decided to take an off season.

My body is telling me it’s time. I could push it and train for something, but I am not emotionally invested enough in a race to do so.

Two halfs, an ultra and a very busy job has done me in for now. I woke up this morning feeling like I ran a marathon yesterday, and it was just my job and a light training day.

This is not right nor safe for a racing schedule, at least not for me.

I will take this off season to rest and heal my body both mentally and physically, use the results from Inside Tracker to help with nutrition and just, enjoy the warm weather in Syracuse.

Rest, heal and explore.

When I first moved to Ithaca, I was not racing, just building a consistent running base. I allowed myself to explore, go on runs where I didn’t know the distance or pace, get lost.

When I moved to Syracuse, I started a training plan where I ran on the treadmill because the winter was awful and I had no idea where I was. Syracuse is a city, Ithaca is a crunchy town. Difference.

I built up, got niggles. Training for Caumsett 50K interrupted and I didn’t do it.

I built back up. Raced the Syracuse half and Naked Prussian, got a niggle and training was interrupted again. I’ve been on and off since then nursing an Achilles niggle.

Work has gotten extremely busy, but insanely satisfying as well. I enjoy the environment, my coworkers are great and it’s what I want to be doing. However, my 8-9 hour workday is a training session in itself. I did not account for this in my weekly mileage or attempt to recover more from this. I simply expected my body to adapt.

Stress upon stress does not lead to adaption.

Rest leads to adaption.

So that’s where I’m at. I am healing my Achilles. Allowing my body and mind to relax. Getting to know my city so when I decide to train again, I will be more familiar.

I am deciding to be more focused on recovering from my daily job stress than attempting to crank out 90 mile weeks.

I am deciding to take the advice from Inside Tracker and apply it as best I can, but not obsessively. Honestly I don’t want to think about that too much, about nutrition for myself right now, so I’m giving them the reigns and I will follow the instructions.

I may not have run Boston or Lake Sonoma or anything like that, but my body has the fatigue of a fast marathon or ultra and it is telling me to relax and enjoy May in whatever way I choose.

See you out there…eventually 🙂

Why I’ve decided to work with Inside Tracker

There are things in life you can control and things you can’t. As a runner without the monetary access to state of the art facilities, coaches and chefs, it is important for me to optimize the opportunities I do have.

I know that one of the most important parts of training is diet and recovery. Diet in a sense that as an endurance athlete, I need to get in all the nutrients required for daily living…at a minimum. Let me explain this a bit. Rather than thinking about diet in terms of calories or macros, I think of it in nutrients. I must eat enough things and of diverse quality to get everything in. 100% of my daily recommendations for vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and the like.

Some days this bare minimum is 2,000 calories, some days it’s 5,000 calories, some days I get all the nutrients from 1,000 calories (when I’m eating nutrient dense, but calorically sparse foods like kale or spinach etc). However, just because I have all the nutrients in those calories does not mean I am done eating. Bare minimum means that I need to make sure I get in all the basic nutrients. The dessert I eat every night is the filler, the calories that make life fun, the emotional support I sometimes need and the calories that give me the energy to run everyday.

Basically what I am trying to say is it’s important to me to get in that base level of nutrients everyday.

In a long winded way, this brings me to Inside Tracker. I have wanted to get blood work done after my ultra season training simply because I knew I did damage, I just didn’t know how bad it was. Running 30+ miles is no joke to the body. Unfortunately, my insurance isn’t the greatest for this type of thing, so I decided to wait until I was done paying for school in July to get it done.

By chance, I was given the opportunity from Inside Tracker to get my blood taken and profiled for a bit less than my insurance. In addition to the niggles and slight injuries I’ve had this season and the fact that my emotions are all over the place, I was at a point where when they contacted me, I was very open.

I want to feel good again. All the time, not just here and there.

I am working on this psychologically, but I think that if Inside Tracker identifies a nutrient deficiency or something I can add to naturally feel better, I’m all for it.

Vegan. The elephant in this blog post.

I have made it no secret I think being vegan is an optimal way to live. I also admit that although I am a health coach, I do not know everything nor do I know what foods are perfect for my body. I know how I feel after eating certain things, but that’s about it. Using Inside Tracker will help me identify what foods will support me in both my vegan and athletic goals. I will take all their recommendations that follow an ethical vegan diet. I will stand by what I’ve always known to be true and that is I did not go vegan for health, I went vegan because I want to live my morals and ethics concerning non-violence, compassion and love toward all beings.

Today, as of writing this, I’ve had my blood draw and await the results.

Look for part 2 in the coming weeks.

Find Your Role Model

Recently I had the opportunity to get an in-depth look into how one of my running friends and role models lives. I wanted to know how she manages to live through her running without being the idealized “sponsored athlete.”


In short: it ain’t glamorous. She works hard, she runs hard and lives passionately. She does not have a contract with some brand like Galen Rupp or Kara Goucher. She is sponsored by a few companies, but that does not bring income. I provides for some entry fees, food and gear.

If that sounds amazing, it is, but I mean, the girl’s gotta keep  roof over her head, pay for travel and other things that pop up. (Who always runs out of toilet paper? How about things like toothbrushes? A car? It adds up!)

She was open and honest and solidified her position in my mind as someone I can look to for guidance when I am feeling lost or unfulfilled.

Some days, training for me is hard. It is hard physically. It is hard when I am supposed to have an easy day and feel tired and sore. That makes it hard mentally.

I worry I will get injured. I worry I will run out of money for things like living expenses, school, car payment and insurance which obviously means running races is not on the table. I have not raced many times in the past simply because I don’t know where that $50-70 race fee will come from.

I needed food that week. Or is was time to pay loans.

Granted, I am fortunate, as is this other athlete, that I get reimbursed for races by my team Red Newt Racing, but I have to pay for them myself first (hence my apprehension).

I also have relatively low cost for food if I am not choosy.

I guess what helped in our conversation was that most of the best runners are doing what I am doing. We live day-to-day. We try to take advantages where they are given. We work full-time or have a bunch of add jobs. We worry about insurance as we get older. We try our best to take care of our bodies. We have a lot of unknowns, but somehow we make it work.

I encourage you to reach out to your role models, whomever they are. Each professional I have spoke to was a wealth of knowledge and so helpful in easing my mind or giving tips to get me at my best.

The best or most successful people are just that, people. Just like us.