Happy Hump Day Runners! A few weeks back a former Prairie High School alumni, Morgan Russel, had reached out to me to introduce herself and the Type 1 Diabetes Running Program that she is trying to establish here locally in Cedar Rapids. I have to admit, it was the first time I’d heard of the global running program and figured that I wasn’t the only one that has never heard of it. Thus today’s “Happy Runner’s Hump Day” blog post and podcast introduction to Ep. 9 Morgan Russell and our Local Chapter for Type One Run.
What Is Type One Run?
Type One Run is a global grassroots initiative to unite those that live life as a Type 1 Diabetic and communes those that also want to live a life which includes running. Their presence is worldwide and even includes a Type One Run Strava training group that according to their website has already united almost 300 runners from across the globe.
Morgan Russell, has chosen to volunteer and drive this program to establish local camaraderie, and posts group run announcements and other helpful information to Type One Run – Cedar Rapids Facebook page.
Podcast Interview Morgan Russell Reveals More of Her Personal Story As a Type 1 Diabetic Runner
Morgan is honest is admitting that learning to run as a Diabetic runner can be a little scary. She details her own personal runner’s lifestyle and how that lifestyle may look different for her as a diabetic runner.
Her own humble advice to others are to maintain and keep a journal or log to be able to document and recall what’s worked or not worked well for aspects relating to fueling and carbohydrate vs. insulin intake considerations. She’s discovered that in order to maintain a safe healthy balance thru some of her long runs, she even requires setting an alarm clock to go off at 4:00 a.m. in order to eat and prep.
But these are the types of convos and information tidbits that runners being part of her Type One Run chapter would be able to all share with each other. No different than perhaps a run club that you or I may be a part of, sharing training tricks of the trade or asking and bouncing questions off of each other for when or how to fuel say for a marathon. Good stuff!!
Continuing Efforts to Unite Runners and Pay it Forward
Morgan and I seemingly share principles of wanting to just foster other runners and a positive running community. In interviewing her for my RMC podcast, and learning about the Type One Run program and educating others thru this blog post, we are both hoping to support and foster enabling all kinds of runners.
Please consider liking and sharing this blog post via Facebook or other social media. In addition, go check out Morgan’s Type One Run – Cedar Rapids Facebook page and follow her unique story and the group’s news.
Happy Hump Day Runners!! (podcast link below but also available thru iTunes, Spotify, & Google Play)
When I started this blog, almost a year ago, I realized that it would help me to have some structure to it. I had originally thought that I would blog once a week on topics that were relevant to me such as, being a mom, being a runner, and being a coach. My Monday blog posts were designated as “Mom Blog Monday”. So, today as I begin my return to hopefully more regular blogging (now that XC season is over), I have to pass along an idea that I saw a Mom share on the national news to help prevent possible stranger abduction. This Mom proactively prepped her own child with an agreed password, so that the child would know NOT to go with any stranger posing to know his/her parents. How genius!
The Reality of Our World Today
There has been seemingly more media attention brought to light regarding stranger and child abductions as of recent. Sadly, maybe this being a by-product of several recent deaths and abductions within the news.
It is terrifying and unsettling to realize that this media attention comes with the harsh reality and strong caution for all of us. And yet, how can we direct this caution and ability to also be proactive with our own lives and children?
For almost seven years, my oldest daughter and I studied martial arts and self-defense. At the time she was quite young and maybe didn’t even consciously realize the subtle lessons she was receiving. She would often spar much larger people than her and sometimes spar several people at once. Our instructor did a fabulous job of not only teaching her and me how to use our petite frames to defend ourselves, but also to have the mentality and confidence to be able to do so. This message is imperative! Our children must do everything they can; kick, bite, scratch, scream, and have the confidence to do so, in a situation if needed.
“What’s the Password?”
The mother that was sharing her daughter’s attempted abduction on the news, merited their proactive plan of having an agreed upon password. You’ve heard the tactic of a stranger telling a child that their Mom or Dad got hurt and that they (the child) are supposed to come with them (the abductor) to go see Mom or Dad. This specific girl was put in this exact scenario but remembered and had practiced with her Mom, that if it were a real situation, whoever it was would’ve been privy to their families password.
Once the young girl asked the stranger what the password was, the abductor was immediately turned off and fled. This struck me as such a smart and genius plan. Not only does it ward potential kidnappers, but it also even buys a few more seconds for the child to take a look around and possibly pinpoint where to run to for help.
What Else Can We Do?
I urge you to take the time to talk thru a plan with your own families. Aside from martial arts and self-defense classes, there are other general safeguards that you can consider using such as;
Another useful app that works across platforms is Life 360. You can also set the app up so that you receive notifications when your child leaves school, or arrives home.
Additionally, on the iPhones at least, there is the ability to make emergency calls by pressing the right side button 5 times. Again, in your settings on the phone you can also enter other emergency contacts that should be notified when an emergency call is made. Of course, save this ONLY for emergencies.
Have talks with your children on what to do in hypothetical situations. I’ve discovered that these talks vary from one kid to the next and with different ages. I never wanted to scare my kids, but I did want them to understand the importance of their safety. Your talks might be very different if you’re talking to a small grade school child vs. a teenager.
Safety for Mom and Dad too
These apps and safeguards might be something that you have a tough time getting your teenager to buy into. Especially, if said teenager is not liking being tracked (if you know what I mean). But hopefully, you can convince them and help them realize that it is for them to be able to also be a lifeline of support if the tables were ever turned.
I’m a runner, and I’m aware of the risks. I am 100% ok with giving my children the security of knowing where I’m at when I’m running. And for convenience sake, they frequently use the app to check things like how far away I am from picking them up at school, after-school practices or a friend’s house. That way they don’t need to distract me if I”m driving.
Today’s topic is not a light one necessarily, but one that seems so important now days. Our school tells our kids that, “If you see something, say something!” If someone or something looks fishy or suspicious, to not just dismiss it. Watch out for yourself and others!
Thanks to Iowa Running Company
Our local Cedar Rapids running shoe store, the Iowa Running Company, is hosting a Ladies Night this Thursday. One of the features they’re offering to pre-registered ladies is a self-defense segment. I love this and am grateful that they’re emphasizing runner’s safety within the community! Thanks, Iowa Running Company!!
If any of you are registered for this, then I will see you there on Thursday as a guest speaker. I’ll be doing a drawing for a free t-shirt give away and podcast highlight of YOUR story. Can’t wait!!
My goodness, it has been several weeks now since I’ve been able to blog. The past 12 weeks of the cross country season has been quite intense and now I’m finally able to slow down a bit and catch my breath. This 2018 season will be one that I will never forget and for good reason. It has been “A History Making Cross Country Season” in more ways than one. Today I write somewhat of a surface level recap.
Mother Nature Likes to Test
This has been the most significant season, since my time and seven-year tenure, of a record number of meets, canceled either due to heat or rain-related issues.
The first meet of the season which we (Prairie High School) host started Mother Nature off to the races, for lack of better and less ironic terms. The morning wasn’t necessarily all that hot, 76 degrees at peak race time to be exact, but there must’ve been just enough humidity in the air from the dense fog that morning as well as evaporation off the soggy ground that we had kids really struggle. That morning we had to cancel the JV races, which seemed to set the trend for the season.
Then in succession, the next several weeks of continuous rain had meet directors canceling meets which really throws everyone for a loop. Grounds were soggy and wet, and predictably unsafe to run on. Or forecasted thunderstorms had everyone scrambling last minute to figure out some way to either substitute a meet for the week, and thus shift training days around. The kids get antsy and anxious and I suppose us coaches do somewhat too. Everyone wants to be able to mark the measures of their hard work and see who they can measure up against.
But thru it all, there were opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade. We were welcomed, although very last minute, into the Luther All-American Cross Country Invitational. Which proved to be a new meet that we have all become quick fans of. Perhaps we’ll work this one into the calendar again next year.
I also was pleasantly surprised at the strength in character amongst many of our girls on the team. It could’ve been very easy to be down and out and permeate negativity, but they chose to focus on forward momentum. They chose to continue to try and have moments of fun during practice. And they chose to continue to support each other towards the ultimate end goal of Championship Season, without dwelling on the things they couldn’t control…Mother Nature. They chose to resemble our season mantra, which was GRIT. Their choices proved to reward them in the end.
Prairie Girls Cross Country Makes History
It’s still settling in with me…seems like it’s been a goal now for the past 7 years and maybe somewhat started to feel like chasing a unicorn. When I first came into coaching in 2012, my middle school team had 24 kids and the high school team I believe had 22. Maybe only two or three of those kids ran during the summer and if they did, it was with the boys as there wasn’t a girls’ summer running program at all.
Within the first couple of years, we doubled our roster numbers, implemented a summer running program, and a camp for 7-12 grades. Since then, the dream of a team that could strive to get to State became more of a reality. Kids started committing more and more, logging more miles, working harder and more or less…believing.
Then three years ago, we had our first individual qualify for the High School State meet. This spark seemed to reach down all the way into our middle school team. For three years, we saw the young budding middies race and do well. In fact, there were a couple of years there where we went undefeated except one meet at the end of the season, which was the STATE middle school meet. Maybe it was back then, that the ever evading unicorn seemed to really come to be within reach. It may have even been on a solo run during one of those seasons, that I started dreaming about jerseys with orange wings on them for a State qualifying team.
The Multi Facets of Coaching
I”m sure I”m not the only coach that tries to figure out how to deliver a message to an entire team, that miraculously has to also somewhat resonate with each of the team members as an individual. The training, the mileage, the paces, the before and after work, stretching, strength and mobility, foam rolling, nutrition, icing, yada, yada, yada…could almost be categorized as one facet of coaching.
Yet another facet, and one that almost consumes just as much if not more mental real estate, is how does a coach motivate an athlete individually or team as a whole where everyone contributes. I mean,…what it seems like one athlete needs to hear might be something totally different than what another one needs to hear. What resonates with one person, may not resonate with all!
It did seem, however, very apparent to me that with such a potentially young varsity team of practically all freshman and sophomores, and one junior (whom by the way just joined XC this year) that they needed to understand how tough it would be. They would need to harden themselves, and callous their bodies AND minds. There would be no room for fragility or softness if we were going to get there. “There” being the STATE meet.
With a season mantra of G.R.I.T. (Girls, Running, Intentionally, Tough), which was implanted during days of summer camp, the 2018 team DID IT! It was amazing how they stepped up and ran fearlessly on arguably one of the toughest State Qualifying courses. They embraced and cried together just after crossing the finish line and it was a moment that I hope they realize made their families, coaches, team, and entire community proud of.
So now, only being nine days postseason, I am back to the drawing board. I’m back to running by myself and having lot’s of time with just my brain and the roads. One question my mind got spinning on was, “what if”? What if, these girls could strive for being on the “deck”? Meaning, placing in the top 3 teams at the State meet. Or,…what if, we could have some individuals placing in the top 15? Or,…what if we could even set stretch goals to win the State meet? What if?…..!
This, I wonder might be one of those messages that might resonate with the entire team during the off-season, thru spring track season, and into next summer’s daily mileage under the beating sun. Perhaps, “What If?” will be next seasons mantra.
The leaves on the trees have begun to change and radiate fall’s beauty thru it’s vibrant hues. It’s this time of year that many runners revel in all the glory of the crisp air and sanctuary of the outdoors. With much anticipation of training that will culminate towards fall marathons, trail runs and the community of runners enjoying this time of year together, I am happy to announce today’s blog post titled, Capital Strider’s Happenings and RMC Podcast Interviews.
RMC Podcast Interview with Capital Striders
Capital Striders representatives, Kristin Adkins, Amber Crews, and Jason Kenyon were all kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules organizing and hosting the upcoming fall trail races, Des Moines IMT Marathon Volunteer coordination, and the 100 mile November Challenge to let me ask them a few questions during a group interview.
Capital Striders is a running club group based in Des Moines, Iowa and is currently about 550 runners strong. They offer a well-rounded amalgamation of various types of training runs, group runs and is heavily involved in the Des Moines area running community. Listen to their interview thru the podcast link below that describes and talks more in details about some of their specific training runs thru out each week.
Upcoming Races and Fall Motivation
Amber Crews and Jason Kenyon tell us some of the race highlights of two of the upcoming trail races that the Capital Striders Club will host.
Fast approaching at the end of October (October 27th, to be exact) is the “To Grandmother’s House We Go” trail race. Included here is a link for registration and race details. http://www.capitalstriders.org/to-grandmothers-house-we-go. The race distances of 5k, 10k and 15k offered are based on the 5k loop thru Brown’s Woods. They even encourage and give prizes for those that are brave enough to come in costume and honor the Red Ridinghood them.
The other scenic trail race being held before the end of the year is the “Sycamore 8“. This race travels along the Des Moines River and if you’re one of those cold weather runners, then mark your calendar for this year’s race to be held on December 1st. Link for registration and race details here – http://www.capitalstriders.org/sycamore-8
Along with the weekly offerings of speed work on a track, hill runs for strength, and Saturday group runs, the club offers some more informal trail runs which you can find out about location announcements by following the ‘Capital Striders’ Turkeys‘ Facebook page.
In addition to the weekly group offerings, there is also what’s called the ‘100 Miles in November Challenge‘ spearheaded by Kristin Adkins. With a couple years under its belt, the 100 Miles in November Challenge has been proud to collaborate prize offerings with Fleet Feet Sport and Heartland Soles to award a pair of new runnings kicks. Local Hy-Vee dieticians have also contributed runner’s swag in the past like a new Fitbit watch. If only I lived 2 hours closer, I’d sure be taking advantage of this late fall motivational running group.
Runner’s at Heart
It’s always fun to hear about an individual’s specific reasons for running, their personal motivation or their proudest running moments. Within the Ep. 8 – Capital Striders RMC Podcast episode, you’ll get to hear Amber tell you about her zen 50k in Portland memories and how she came to identify herself at a young age thru running, Jason’s Rocky Mountain Park experience and his downhill hail running PR, and Kristin’s battle with Mother Nature at last spring’s Boston Marathon and how she came to find her role with Capital Striders.
FREE Race Registration Giveaways Contest!!
Capital Striders was generous enough to give away 1 FREE race registration for each of the upcoming “To Grandmother’s House We Go” and “Sycamore 8” trail races. If you’d like to enter the contest, here are the parameters;
Share this blog post thru Facebook and/or Twitter via the Runnermomcoach Facebook/Twitter page, on your personal Facebook/Twitter page. This can be done by simply clicking on the SHARE button at the end of this post.
Be the first to directly e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with screenshots of 1 and 2, along with which race you would like to receive FREE entry into by 10/25/18.
Sunday is the big day! On October 7th, 2018 (this Sunday), I will set out around 5:30 am to get to Grant Park in Chicago, IL in order to run the Chicago Marathon for the Girls on the Run Charity. I will run 26.2 miles for You, and you, and you!!
26.2 Dedicated Miles to My Donors!
As promised, I will run 1 mile for each of my exactly 26 donors and the .2 for my husband and family, who are always unconditional support to me.
Here is my 26.2 list of donors (in no particular order) and the miles I”m dedicating to each of you.
It has enlightened me to receive all of your support thru out this charity journey. You will have a lasting impact on not only myself, but to some young girl who may just be discovering who she is or who she’s to become. Thanks to you for donating to me, but more importantly for your belief in humanity and in making a positive impact in the world!
Enjoying the Ride
J.Bo and I are looking forward to our experience and are hoping to make the best of it. Life has thrown us a little curveball as Jen has been experiencing some back issues and it’s affected her running game a little bit. But we’ve worked to raise the awareness for supporting young runners and specifically young girls thru our charity efforts and running for Girls on the Run. And we’ve decided together, that just to ensure we are enjoying the experience itself, the camaraderie of the runners in Chicago, and each other that we won’t be at all time focused and may even choose to pause and walk a little here or there to stop and smell the roses along the way.
Post Race Re-cap next week along with a new podcast episode with Capital Striders representatives and even an opportunity to receive a FREE race registration for one of their upcoming fall trail races. Stay tuned!…
Hey Folks! Have you heard about the new Boston Marathon Qualifying Standards for 2020? I just received this e-mail from Runner’s World that included an article pertaining to the new standards, where the time cut-offs lie, and where a few of the time windows lie for entry if you run faster than your qualifying standard.
“Do you think the new qualifying standards are fair?”
The Runner’s World article written by Sarah Lorge Butler and published on September 27, 2018 asks the question, “Do you think the new qualifying standards are fair?” You may even participate in an online poll to voice your opinion.
I think the reality of the qualifying standards is and always has been, that Boston continues to be quote “the holy grail for serious distance runners”, per Sarah Lorge Butler. Read the article for yourself, but the cap of 30,000 registrants must be maintained regardless of the newfound speed of the general population of marathoners. Read the article here – https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a23481338/boston-marathon-qualifying-times/
The limit to the number of registrants, part in due to the original necessity to limit because of the narrowness of the streets out in Hopkinton where the race starts, and the increasing popularity of the race and registrants, has evolved and progressed thru the years.
In fact, it was declared back in 1970 by the B.A.A. officials that “this is not a jogging race!”
“A runner must submit the certification of either the Long Distance Running chairman of the Amateur Athletics Union of his district or his college coach that he has trained sufficiently to finish the course in less than four hours. This is not a jogging race”
My humble opinion on the fairness of this new standards is that Yes, I do believe it will eliminate the “grey area” on qualification times. The modern era of running has also metamorphasized and evolved into faster runners, better science and knowledge on training, and an overall larger percentage of individuals in general that participate in the sport. Thus if we want to maintain the prestige of Boston and its’ integrity, the field must be adapted.
What Can You Do to Get There?
My humble recommendations are to first train intentionally, if you are going after a B.Q. (Boston Qualifier time). Pick your goal qualifying marathon to nail down your B.Q. time and be sure that it is certified so that the time you run even counts. Also, make sure that it is within the window of time for you to submit towards whichever Boston Marathon race you want to participate in. Typically, you qualify the year prior and then submit for entry for whatever age you will be on the day of your desired Boston Marathon.
There are many good and fast qualifying courses out there, but of course my favorites are the only two that I can speak towards where I was able to run qualifying times; Grandma’s Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. But you can find qualifying marathons thru these links;
If you are indeed going to train intentionally, part of that training should include some goal marathon pace runs, speed work like the Yasso 800’s (which are also a great marathon time predictor workout), and strength and mobility work 2-3 times per week.
Happy Marathon News Monday!!! Quotting Carrie Tollefson and her CTolleRun mantra, “GET AFTER IT!”
Well, folks my apologies for the less than consistent blog posts so far this fall. As most of you already know, I also coach middle school and high school cross country and we’ve had a weird first half of the season with meets getting canceled due to heat and then too much rain or ground saturation and having to scramble to find replacements or re-figure training plans, etc. The coaching life is a fun and very rewarding one, but can also be quite intense at times. With that said, here finally is my Girls on the Run – Chicago Marathon Update.
Two Weeks Out
I peaked two weeks ago at 20 miles. I like to typically do 22-23 or so, but since the marathon this time is focused more towards the charity and raising awareness and also checking off a bucket list item, I decided it wasn’t necessary to do the few extra miles.
Last week, I started a 3-week taper that put my long run at 15 miles. It was such a huge reprieve to finally have cooler weather and I actually felt like I just kinda wanted to cruise for a couple more miles, but then that would defeat the taper wouldn’t it?!?
This week, I’ll continue as always running with the kids at practice as they work towards their own peak in training. That means 3-4 days a week doing between 3 – 7 or 8 miles. I don’t typically run with them on their quality or speed work days, since I”m running the clock and coaching. So have been taking these couple of days off or only doing 3-4 miles with the middle school kids or on my own. Needless to say, my own training has been a bit more unstructured this time and it’s been a little bit of nice change.
Along with this more un-structured approach, I’ll admit that I have not been as disciplined towards my own strength and mobility, stretching or core work. I would say on average, I’ll help lead the kids thru what they’re doing at practice and end up doing all or part of their workout, but often times am kinda all over the place with this and again coaching thru out. However, knock on wood, I’m not experiencing much soreness or tightness anywhere and am assuming the extra off days in between have been a little blessing in disguise for recovery.
As of today, I have exactly 26 donors. I will dedicate and run a mile for each of you during my 26.2 mile journey on October 6th. If I end up being even more blessed with additional donors, then I’ll group your dedicated miles towards the end when I’m having to dig deep. The extra incentive and purpose to run for you will be my motivation when my body and mind are tired.
My Bib number is #8877 and if you’d like to live track me during the marathon you can download the Bank of America Chicago Marathon App.
Race Day Goals
First and foremost, of course, to run for charity, raise awareness and check off a bucket list item with my running bestie. Secondary, to run for fun and complete enjoyment. No worrying about pace, no calculating miles and accumulated time in my head during the race, no obsessing over how I’m going to disperse what’s left in the tank and what’s left for course.
My goodness! Perhaps, I’ll even cross paths with another famous person in the running world again this time. Last time I ran Chicago, I met Bart Yasso, dubbed the “Mayor of Running” by Runners World. http://runnermomcoach.com/bart-yasso-blog-shrine/
I’ll see if I can figure out how to do some live video over Instagram or Facebook. I’m not as tech savvy with these sort of things yet, but wouldn’t that be fun. Then you can experience some of it along with me.
Good Luck to All!
Happy Monday everyone! Hopefully, you are all feeling crisper with this cooler weather and finding your legs spinning beneath you just a little smoother and quicker. Good Luck to any of you who may also be running Chicago, or the Twin Cities Marathon which is also the same weekend. Enjoy the remaining two weeks of your taper and on race day go get er done!!
Humble Running was some sort of cathartic declaration I made back in 2009, in my running journal. It was a couple years after I first started realizing I could run longer distances. I’ll never forget the first time that I ran from my house, out to school, and back. It was 12 something miles and I may have lived off that high for several months. That’s when I started to believe in the possibilities of running my first 1/2 marathon, which was Mason City in 2011. I had been bitten by the distance bug and in 2014 signed up for Grandma’s Marathon to try and qualify for Boston.
I read an article today that hit home. In it was an interview of a very famous man in the mountain running world. Who said that he doesn’t measure his running success by miles or minutes or a clock. He just goes until he can’t go anymore and doesn’t race for glory or fame. That would be too greedy and self-absorbed. He doesn’t buy all the latest greatest gadgets or shoes. He finds a pair that fits him and then buys the store out. He doesn’t obsess with all the Power Bars and Energy Gels. He eats what’s available and doesn’t spend a whole lot of money on something that’s not going to be there tomorrow. I’ve often asked myself , Why do I run? I know I run because it makes me feel better and I feel like I’m a better me when I do. I run to meditate. I run to escape responsibility and feel free. I run to maintain good health and be able to keep up with my kids and someday their kids. I run because when I don’t, I feel like every aspect of my life is off. Running regulates me and fulfills me and makes me content. I fear the day that may come that I won’t be able to run. And running won’t become a choice anymore. I run for strength; physically, spiritually, mentally, metaphorically. To run is part of who I am!
When Did You Start Believing?
Distance running is all relative right? Like the first time, you run a 5k and you never thought you’d be able to run that far. As gluttons for goal setting, runners like to up the anty after each goal is attained, myself included. It’s like the possibilities become infinite and you ask yourself to what limits you can get to.
I’m not one of those (yet) that has ventured into the Ultra-marathoning realm, but I can’t say that my mind hasn’t questioned what the next step is after the marathon and after qualifying for my last marathon bucket list, which is New York City Marathon. But had you asked me 10 years ago if I’d have ever thought I’d run a marathon or qualify for Boston, I would’ve laughed in your face.
Something us coaches have to remind our athletes all the time is that, “you’re stronger than you realize”. It seems like if you can just get someone to believe in their capabilities or tenacity to go after a goal, then the sky is the limit.
I assume if you’re reading this blog post, then you currently consider yourself a runner, have contemplated running at some point, or already have a string of hardware at home from races you’ve completed. Can you think back to when you first were “bitten” by the running bug? Can you remember the elation and euphoria you felt when you completed your first race? We have to remind ourselves once in a while where we came from and how we got to the point we’re at now. It’s humbling, yet empowering! If you can remember when you started ‘believing’ then you can use that as fuel to drive your confidence in what you can accomplish.
Happy Hump Day Runners! Feels like a Journey song should be cued….”Don’t Stop Believing!”
Isn’t it funny how we start the thought process or researching of one thing and it leads us to something else? Last week, I was thumbing thru a book in my library on ways to “Boost Your Immune System” in search of ways to keep my athletes healthy. While reading up on the therapeutic effects of different vitamins and minerals and specifically iron and the conditions of anemia, I came across a term I was unfamiliar with called “footstrike hemolysis”. Perhaps, you’re asking yourself the same thing I did which was, “What is Footstrike Hemolysis?”
Iron and its Function in the Body
Let’s first tackle the importance and function of iron in the body. In a nutshell, without getting too biologically descriptive, iron in the blood presents itself as red blood cells and is called hemoblogin. Hemoglobin, or these red blood cells, is essentially what carries oxygen thru out our bodies. And more specifically from the lungs to our tissues, like a muscle. It is our body’s requirement for respiration (breathing) and energy metabolism. Iron was highlighted as a mineral responsible for maintaining the immune system in the book.
Of course, as runners, we rely on ample stores of iron in our blood in order to not only stay healthy but to be able to run at our best. If we’re low on this essential mineral than we can suffer from what’s called iron deficiency, or anemia.
Causes of Anemia and “Footstrike Hemolysis”
There are various causes of iron deficiency or anemia. A few of the obvious are blood loss, not consuming enough of the daily recommended amount, iron absorption problems, and some other various medical conditions. You can do more research of your own and certainly my surface level recap here is not at all all-inclusive.
However, while reading about iron deficiency and runner’s anemia the term “footstrike hemolysis” was introduced to me. It’s somewhat self-descriptive in its name. Hemo meaning blood and lysis meaning breakdown. The red blood cells called hemoglobin sharing the root of the word hemolysis, and thus rupture or destruction of the red blood cells. And of course, footstrike just as it sounds.
Another name for “footstrike hemolysis” is “march hemoglobinuria”, which was discovered and coined during the 1800’s from an army physician who had observed a soldier who had completed some arduous field marching exercises and thus became anemic thru the impact of his footstrikes breaking down the red blood cells in his body. We as runner’s can suffer from the same “runner’s anemia” or impact destruction of red blood cells.
In extreme cases, as documented by scientists and sports physicians, long-distance track runners have been reported to have blood in their urine. Or in other extreme cases, long-distance runners or marathoners reporting blood in the urine after a race from the repeated footstrike trauma.
Runner’s Specific Precautions
As you can deduce, it is easy to understand how our repeated footstrikes while running long distances may be the culprit to our feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and tiredness through “runner’s anemia”.
A few precautions that can help you avoid this annoying debilitator to peak performance, are to make sure you’re replacing your shoes periodically and not running on worn out soles. A general rule of thumb is to replace shoes every 300-400 miles for heavier or larger framed runners or 400-500 miles for lighter more petite runners.
Change up your running surfaces! The harder the surface, i.e. asphalt or concrete, the more impact and destruction there is to the red blood cells. Consider a pea gravel trail or softer trail surface. Perhaps even consider a grassy park or someplace off the beaten path. Be creative! Think cross country running!!
Also, if you are female you may be more susceptible to anemia due to menstruation cycles. Read more pertaining to this thru this article written by Kathleen Woods for Women’s Running.
Kathleen gives the reminder of food consumption and dietary recommendations.
“Recommended foods that are iron fortified include red meat, eggs, spinach, oatmeal, oysters, dried fruit and whole grain or enriched cereals. Vitamin C helps to absorb iron, so a tall glass of OJ with a nice lean steak could be just what the doctor ordered. Iron supplements are also available over the counter at your local pharmacy, but always consult with your doctor before adding any extra supplements to your diet.”
Great Articles on Footstrike Hemolysis or Hemolytic Anemia
I’ve attached a few of the articles that I researched that go into more depth on this condition, it’s causes and symptoms, and ways to prevent.
Take care of yourselves runners! Eat well, recover well, run in the right gear and vary up your surfaces. Happy Coaches Corner Friday!!
Congratulations to all of you who may have run this past Labor Day Weekend’s NewBo Half Marathon or 10k. Today’s blog post is my race day and Chicago Marathon training recap.
First part of my recap is that I chose to sign up for the NewBo Half this year to use as part of an 18-mile training run towards my build-up with running the Chicago Marathon on October 7th for the Girls on the Run Charity. Most of you already know this (donation link on the right of this page if you’d like to support me).
J. Bo and I started at 6:30 am from the Casey’s on C Street and ran just shy of 5 miles down to the market just in time to make a quick Nascar pit-stop before toeing the line. Gun went off at 7:30 am for the 13.1.
It was incredibly refreshing to be able to participate in a race and observe more along the way and to not feel the need to worry about pace. I also must say that I usually have to wear my hydration belt, which doesn’t fit awesomely, along on long runs and was liberated to not have to since the well-organized race had water and Gatorade stops planned out at every couple of miles.
NewBo Race Organization
Thank you NewBo race directors and volunteers for the well placed hydration opportunities and even the energy gel along the way. The course was a beautiful mix of Iowa rolling countryside, soft tree-lined trails, and a downtown send off and energetic greeting to the finish.
I felt it was a relatively flat course and enjoyed running on the trail surface as well as along some scenic waterways. It was also quite nice to have each mile signs posted and be able to count down the distance along the way.
PGXC Gives Back to the Community
There were many volunteers from various school’s teams and local running groups thru out the morning, including our very our Prairie Girls Cross Country Team and a few parents. We had about 25 athletes and parents combined working the finish line and food and drink there afterward.
I truly believe it to be a valuable lesson to teach the kids the importance to give back to running as much as they receive. Many of them said it was so fun to be on the other side of things and see everyone finish. One special senior on our team even hung the medal over my neck after I crossed the finish. =)
Many of the other kids were able to also hang medals around their parents’ necks as the too crossed the finish line. We had at least 3-4 team parents participate in the races. J.Bo and I even got to run with one of our special running team Moms, as she too used the NewBo half as a build-up to another fall race. It was cool to help each other thru the latter miles and cross the finish line together!
The unique medals are provided by the Cedar Rapids Ceramics Center and look like this.
And I don’t hate the nice collection of soft style t-shirts that I’ve collected over the years of helping volunteer. This year’s color is one of my favorites!
Five Weeks Out from the Chicago Marathon
Next week I will drop back down to a 14-15 miler and let my body recover a little bit. But will then cap off the peak of my mileage with a 20 miler the following week, which will be four weeks out. After that, I will do a 3-week taper and just let things kinda ride on into marathon weekend easy.
Hopefully, I won’t forget my running shoes this time, haha! If you want a good laugh or valuable lesson for traveling out of town to a marathon, then you should read my blog post called ‘The Fabulous Debacle of Ms. Type-A’.
Best wishes to all of you that are training for fall marathons like myself and with these last few weeks of peak mileage build-up. I would love for you all to tag my Instagram of Facebook pages @runnermomcoach with your pictures and stories of your race(s).