How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Tiffany Henness

Profile-2015

In honor of our inaugural Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing my teammates via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland (click here for details)! 

Does stalking on Instagram count as meeting someone nowadays? If so, then that’s how Tiffany Henness and I first got to know one another (or, rather, how I started following her and liking #AllThePuppyPictures).

But as far as our first real-life run-in goes, we crossed paths (literally — while on a shakeout jog) one morning at IDEA World Fitness Blogfest with SweatPink last summer. And when I found out we’d both be in Oregon as I was recruiting for our Team LUNA Chix Portland Run, I started bugging her by phone and email, as well.

Digital lives aside, I’m thrilled to have her on the team and to be able to log more miles together this season — not only because she’s super-positive, a great role model and loads of fun to be around, but also because this RRCA Certified Running Coach, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and ultra-runner is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to living a healthy, fit lifestyle.

She’s in the process of launching her new blog (Thoroughly Thriving — check it out!) where you’ll be able to follow along on her adventures and pick up some great tips. But in the meantime we sat down to chat about a mutual love: Running.

1. What’s your favorite route? Anything trail or scenic. I get bored running the same streets too often, so I frequently explore new areas or reverse routes to keep it interesting.

2. What shoes do you wear? I’ve been in Saucony Guide 7’s for over a year now and am very pleased.

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? INKnBURN running shorts. Best ever.

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” Learning to run with as little as possible has been huge for me. I don’t need a watch, music or a water bottle. I can totally manage running by feel, reaching inward for motivation, and last up to an hour before finding a water fountain or something. It’s freeing, mentally and physically, to be more minimal on the run.

runphoto

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? Ha! I’d say running without music or mental distractions, simply because almost everyone I know believes (falsely) that they simply could not run without music.

I certainly enjoy tunes once in a while, but I’m great at running in silence, entertaining myself, focusing my mind on my breathing and effort when I need too, and being more meditative when I run.

6. What do you listen to while running? Normally when I listen to music during a run it is because I’m on the treadmill. Therefore, I listen to anything with a solid, driving rhythm (Knights of Cydonia by Muse) or even just a song that makes me smile/laugh/want to dance (Uptown Funk).

7. For what are you currently training? Autumn Leaves 50k in October (and I’ll hit up the Portland Marathon on my way there). Of course, all of this is only in preparation for a hopeful first 50 miler in 2016. I have some big longer-term goals I’m chasing.

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? There is no routine right now, but when my mileage increases and I start hitting 14+ mile long runs, the routine will reveal itself.

Here is a complete description of my usual recovery and sleep routine. It boils to some active recovery exercises and small snacks followed by lots of hydration, a full meal, a quick nap, and then light stretching/mobility. Occasionally beer or ice cream is also involved.

9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Well, I’m not a fast runner and — believe it or not — I used to be even slower than I am now. I was sure that people who ran fast must not feel as awful and uncomfortable as I did.

I have a good friend who is an incredibly fast amateur runner, however, and when I said I didn’t think I could ever run as “effortlessly,” he kindly explained that simply because he runs faster does not mean he’s in less pain (not the injury kind, just the regular ‘ol pain of running). His lungs still burn, his muscles still cry out for him to slow down, his body still feels heavy some days.

He said if I wanted to run faster, then I just had to RUN FASTER and learn to handle the increased discomfort and effort that brings.

Tiffany1

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? So many! Probably my husband (then boyfriend) and I finishing our first marathon together. That’s when I started using running unreasonable distances as a way to learn about myself, my strengths and weaknesses, my limits and potential.

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with ______. MOXIE!. I love my dog, but she’s rubbish at running right now — tripping me, stopping to sniff and pee everywhere. My dream someday is that she’ll be a great running pal and we can do a half marathon together!

12. Anything else you want to add? Visit me at ThroughlyThriving.com where I write about nourishing, training and giving in order to get the most out of life!

Thanks, Tiffany! I’m pumped that we now live in the same city and will be hitting the track and trails together more often. 

Runner friends, shoot me a note — info (at) kineticfix.com — so I can feature you, too!

ClassPass-ing around Portland: Month Two

IMG_5758

Yep, what started out as a one-month experiment has now quickly become a verb. My workout buddies and I “ClassPass” around town each week, testing different workouts, meeting with studio owners, spreading word about new places and making all kinds of fit friends in the process.

If you’re not familiar with ClassPass, I wrote about my initial experience with the service here. During our first round, Carolyn and I threw down the gauntlet for #30ClassesIn30Days, but now we’ve issued each other a much more sustainable challenge: hitting a handful of new (to us) studios each month.

Aside from one hiccup at a Saturday bootcamp where the class was overwhelmingly large and somewhat unruly, we’ve had nothing but excellent experiences across the board. Portland’s really stepped up to the plate when it comes to delivering quality sweat sessions.

IMG_5660

Here are the latest and greatest from round two:

The Grinning Yogi: Warm yoga haven whose mission is to provide consistently accessible, affordable classes for all levels

Fulcrum Fitness: Bootcamp and personal training gym featuring a mix of exercises that work different body systems

Hot Yoga for Life: Fusion of sweat and serenity, this place promises to strengthen your body and leave your spirit softened

Vibrant Studios: Lively community of movement classes, workshops, musical concerts and nutrition-based food events

Yoga on Yamhill: Non-competitive approach to yoga that fosters health and well-being and is accessible to everyone

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for month three!

IMG_5847

Wanna check ClassPass out? Here’s a list of cities where it’s currently available.

Are you a creature of habit when it comes to workouts, or do you like to mix things up?

Happy Earth Day! Now Go Outside & Get Sweaty

Earth Day

Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

Not only is it the largest civic event in the world, celebrated around the globe by a billion people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities, but Earth Day is also an opportunity to spend some time outside, celebrating the great outdoors.

It’s also why I’m challenging you to do two things today in honor of Mother Earth:

  1. Get off your computer/phone/iPad and do something nice for the environment, whether that’s picking up trash, teaching your child about Earth Day, taking your recycling in, planting a garden, installing solar panels on your roof or sending a letter to your elected representatives.
  2. Get off your butt, and do something outside to celebrate! Of course, my suggestion is exercise-related, which is why I created the body-weight workout below to be completed in your local park. So why not grab the family, talk about the importance of ecology and break a sweat together?

Earth Day Workout

How are you celebrating Earth Day this year? 

Race Report: Race for the Roses 10K

Race4Roses

You know when I said I was going to slow my roll this year when it came to signing up for a bunch of events? Well, when a rockstar social media pal has an entry to spare (thanks, Karen!) and you’ve got willing running buddies (mad props to Nicole and Ben!), it’s hard to resist registering for another race.

Oops.

In my defense, this almost turned into another 13.1 because my usual masochistic tendency inclination is toward the longest distance available (especially since I need miles while training for next month’s events), however this time good sense prevailed. Ben and I raced pretty hard last weekend, and despite post-race massage and chiropractor appointments, I still wasn’t feeling fully recovered.

The solution? Split the difference, and trick ourselves into training. So we signed up for the 10K and decided not only to run it for fun, but also to jog to and from the race for a total of nine casual Sunday morning miles.

IMG_5908

We arrived at the start just as the half marathoners were taking off, so we waited off to the side, stretching, as we watched them disappear into the distance. Then, with 11 minutes to spare, we lined up and waited for the corrals to fill around us.

Except they didn’t. Well, at least not in front of us.

In typical Oregonian fashion (and particularly at more casual races like this), the start was orderly and polite, and the race director had to encourage people to step up to the line. I always appreciate a courteous crowd, but it makes me smile and think back to other races where I’ve see elbows being used as weapons in order to jockey for position, even in small, local events.

The seven- and eight-minute mile areas were still pretty light, so we lined up towards the front but stayed on the side as the crowd slowly filtered in. By the time the gun went off, though, the area around us had filled in pretty well.

IMG_5916

As far as courses go, this was one of my favorites so far in Portland. Not only do you get two bridge crossings (Broadway and Steel), but the race directors have also designed it so you don’t get stuck with a loooong out and back on Front Ave.

If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s a super-flat, super-industrial stretch, which is slowly starting to fill in with residential buildings but can also be a mind-numbing straightaway during races (i.e. when I ran the Portland Marathon half in 2010). Instead, this course curved nicely through the Pearl District and into the Northwest so we only had to do Front Ave. once.

And aside from the final ascent to the Steel Bridge, I don’t remember there being any big hills. In fact, the race even touts the fact that it’s PR-friendly, so take note if you want a good spot to clinch that new record next year!

IMG_5918

Ben, Nicole and I agreed ahead of time that we were going to keep the pace conversational. I’d estimated we’d be in the nine-minute mile range, but aside from Nicole letting us know each time we completed a kilometer, none of us were watching the clock.

We stopped at the aid stations every two miles or so to grab water and electrolytes, but ended up skipping the final aid station because it was less than a mile from the finish. By that point, we also figured it’d be better to keep moving forward rather than get caught up with the crowd of half marathon walkers, 10K’ers and 5K’ers who were converging on the course.

Again, I have to give kudos to the race director, though, for dividing us up into lanes so as to prevent any major traffic jams during this last stretch. We were divided not only by distance, but also by runners/walkers, which alleviated the headache of having to bob and weave through the crowd too much in the final stretch.

IMG_5920

Before we knew it, we were crossing the Steel Bridge and had the finish line area in sight (the spire off to the right in the picture above). A few quick turns later, we rounded the last corner and gave one last push to cross together in 56:38 for an overall average pace of 9:06/mile.

After collecting roses and hand-made wooden finisher’s medals, we made our way into the Oregon Convention Center for the post-race party. And, boy, did we feel well taken care of (thanks to all the wonderful volunteers for their time and energy)!

Between Jamba Juice smoothies and a solid spread of food (bagels, coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, all kinds of fruit, mimosas and coffee), they were also offering free photos, massages, expo shopping and live music. I can’t recommend this race highly enough if you want a fun, low-pressure event to run with friends and family.

Rather than wait in line for the official shot, however, we opted to snap our own impromptu version of a finisher’s photo before jogging back home. It was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday morning, and especially rewarding to be able to share the experience with Nicole, who is one of my Team LUNA Chix Portland Run teammates, and Ben.

IMG_5923

If you’re interested in participating or volunteering in next year’s Race for the Roses, visit their website here for details.

And if you’re in the Portland area and want to grab a workout with Team LUNA Chix on Monday nights at 6:30 p.m., check our Facebook page for the latest location updates.

Hope to see you soon!

What’s your race schedule look like this season? 

Recipe: Zest Nutrition’s Gluten-Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

IMG_5364

Despite whatever the weather’s doing near you, the calendar says it’s spring. And one of my favorite ways to celebrate is with a sweet treat, preferably something light, bright and lemon-y.

Ever since my friend (Zest Nutrition co-founder & fellow Team LUNA Chix Portland Run memberMegan Fuetterer posted this recipe, I’d been dying to try it. The only problem? Our oven was broken for almost a week.

So as soon as we were up and running again on what happened to be a rainy weekend afternoon, baking these little rays of sunshine was first on my to-do list. They’re everything you love about lemon muffins — and more — because they’re super healthy.

Gluten-Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Adapted from Zest Nutriton

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups almond meal/flour
  • 4 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup lemon-flavored Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients, then pour into lined muffin tins.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!

Here’s a look at the process:

I just bought a great new grater from GoodCook, which made zesting the two lemons a breeze (and spared my poor knuckles).

IMG_5357

They’re pretty dense, thanks to the almond flour, so be generous when you’re filling the cups; these muffins will rise only slightly.

IMG_5360

Bake until the edges are a nice golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

IMG_5362

Since I used agave nectar, which is 1.4 times sweeter than sugar, I halved the amount of honey the original recipe called for.

But if you like them on the sweeter side, you may want to experiment with the type and amount of sweetener used.

IMG_5363

The lemon yogurt, which I added instead of applesauce, also added another layer of flavor and kept the muffins nice and moist.

IMG_5365

Enjoy, and here’s hoping they bring a little ray of sunshine into your spring!

Is your baking influenced by the change of seasons? 

8 Tips for Ditching Runner’s Trots for Good

To quote that infamous childhood book, “All living things eat, so everyone poops.”

True enough, especially if you’re a runner. And if that’s the case, there’s a good chance you know this all too well, having likely discussed it extensively with a handful of close runner friends.

The Diarrhea Dilemma

While we like to think our workouts are accompanied solely by philosophical conversations, some inevitably spiral into war stories about bodily functions. But as prevalent as these intestinal issues (aka “Runner’s Trots) may be, it’s a topic that’s not addressed in all circles.

So what’s a trot-troubled runner to do?

Well, first, realize that you’re not alone — more than half of us have experienced exercise-related GI disturbances. And, second, there’s a lot you can do to prevent (best-case) and handle (worst-case) it. But it also helps to understand exactly what’s happening so you can make an informed plan of attack.

Desperately Seeking…A Restroom

According to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, “there are three main causes of GI symptoms: physiological (reduced blood flow to the gut), mechanical (bouncing effect of running, for example) or nutritional.”

As you exercise, the body diverts blood flow away from internal organs to support working muscles and cool the surface of your skin. Combine that with intestinal “jostling” and heavy/fatty/fiber-filled/sugary foods, and you’ve quite literally got a ticking time bomb in your gut.

Avoiding The Runs on Your Runs

Don’t want to make “that” emergency call during a long training run or veer off-course for a mid-race porta-potty pit stop? The former used to happen to me frequently, and the latter got me at mile 16 of the 2002 Chicago Marathon…sans TP; ’nuff said. 

poster_96_fullsize

Here are my eight tried-and-true tips for taming those tummy troubles for good.

1. Develop a pre-run routine. Develop a system (mine’s coffee) to “get things moving” before you head out the door, and you’ll drastically decrease your chances of a mid-run meltdown.

2. Hydrate before, during and after. Dehydration compounds stress on the GI tract, so be kind to your colon and it may just return the favor.

3. Avoid common triggers. Things like NSAIDs, ibuprofen, sugar and fiber are known to irritate or stimulate your intestines, so refrain from ingesting ’em in advance of workouts.

4. Track your habits. Keeping tabs on what you ate and how it affected you during a run can be quite revealing! I know that quinoa, for example, leaves me doubled over…while I can eat potential triggers like dairy, beans, dried fruits, etc. with no issue.

5. Experiment with fuel type. Again, what works for a runner and his/her digestive system can vary from person to person, so take the time during training to see what agrees with you — and what doesn’t.

6. Play with fuel timing. Some people start jogging while chewing their last bite of breakfast, while I prefer to give myself a few minutes to digest before heading out the door. It may take some trial and error to find your rhythm, but it’s well worth the time.

7. Slowly increase intensity. Going too fast or too far too soon can result in GI backlash. Allow your body to acclimate to the stress of speed workouts and long runs by easing in with a warm-up and building a foundation before going all-out.

8. Whip your gut into shape. I consider probiotics my secret weapon for not just gut balance, but also overall health. After experiencing success with them over the past few years (i.e. long runs that bring joy instead of fear), I’ve been taking Sound Probiotics, which came highly recommended from my Coeur pal, Erin, who’s also an accomplished Iron(wo)man.

A little PSA: Sound’s the first probiotic engineered for the competitive athlete.

Why’s this important?

Well, during training you’re more susceptible to illness and fatigue due to the sheer amount and intensity of exercise. And since as much as 80 percent of your immunity resides in your digestive tract, I consider these little pills my insurance policy for optimizing training and recovery.

After an initial adjustment period (very mild bloating), I’ve been thrilled with the results. Not only have I been able to up my mileage without incident, but I’ve also managed to avoid all the nasty bugs circulating this season — which is especially impressive considering my daily ClassPass studio-hopping habit.

That’s a small investment for exponential results. Need more incentive? Use code KINETICFIX for 10% off if you want to try ’em yourself. 

IMG_5706

If all else fails, though, consider stashing some toilet paper and a few wet wipes in your run belt for peace of mind. Plotting routes with public restrooms also helps, but if you’re concerned it might be something more serious, consult with your doctor to check for underlying health issues.

And whatever you do, don’t underestimate the effect that soothing your gut can have your overall experience, let alone performance, during training and racing. After all, as marathon legend Bill Rogers once famously said, “More marathons are won or lost in the portable toilets than at the dinner table.”

How do you prevent those mid-run stomach rumbles? 

Race Report: Corvallis Half Marathon

One of my favorite things about being an Oregonian now is getting to sample some new (to me) races this season! First up was the Corvallis Half Marathon, chosen because it takes place in Ben’s hometown and because the finish line is on his beloved Beaver’s home turf in Reser Stadium.

If you like the ease and friendly feel of a smaller race, along with some really pretty pastoral scenery, you may want check this one out. And there’s also the 9:30 a.m. start time; not having to wake hours before dawn is always a luxury on race morning!

After completing our usual pre-race prep at home, we moseyed over to the start on Oregon State University’s campus. Another perk? Ample parking at the stadium, which is always much appreciated when those nerves start to kick in.

We warmed up by jogging to the porta-potties and back for one final pit-stop before lining up in the 8:00-minute mile corral. Of course, this is Beaver country, so prepare to see a fair amount of orange and black in the crowd!

Ben was gunning for a PR (under 1:50, but I predicted sub-1:45) so we said our goodbyes and planned to regroup at the finish. Usually I can pinpoint a goal for myself, but since my off-season was so heavy with cross-training (i.e. light on running and speed work), I felt like I was flying blind this time.

My best guess was somewhere between 1:50-2:00, so I figured I’d take some of the pressure off and simply run by feel. That way, I’d be able to see where I was at without forcing things, especially because I knew a specific time goal might cause me to push too hard with my SI joint (lower back) still acting up.

We crossed the start line to the sounds of the OSU marching band, and I tried my best to settle into a good pace as I watched Ben weave his way to the front of the pack.

Mile 1: 7:50 / Mile 2: 7:59 / Mile 3: 8:18

It took me a full three miles to really get warmed up. I know went out a little faster than I should have, as my shins and ankles were pretty tight for this first stretch.

The next few miles felt great, though, so I settled in and enjoyed the scenery as I hit my stride. My fueling plan was to grab a sip of water at aid stations, and I was experimenting with chunks of Barnana every two miles starting at mile four.

Mile 4: 8:31 / Mile 5: 8:22 / Mile 6: 8:06 / Mile 7: 8:09

The course was gorgeous; we did a giant loop through some agricultural areas and around the county fairground, so even though it was a ‘road’ race, most of it was super mellow. And even though I was starting to feel the effects a lack of long training runs in these miles, I rode a wave of adrenaline after air-high-fiving Ben’s dad at mile nine.

Mile 8: 8:31 / Mile 9: 8:05 / Mile 10: 8:11

My fueling plan was working well up until this point; despite a few low-grade, longer climbs along the course, I was feeling pretty strong and stable, energy-wise. As we neared mile 11, however, some mild nausea set in and I started having trouble with my fuel; it took me a while to talk myself into a final piece of Barnana, but I knew I needed one final hit, so I choked it down by mile 12.

The course was well marked, but there were no timers at the mile markers (a good thing, in my case). I had no clue as to pace or time, but I was guessing I was around the 1:50ish range.

Fortunately they had mile 12.5 marked (so helpful!). I told myself that all I’d need to do was hold it together for just five more minutes to finish strong.

Mile 11: 8:25 / Mile 12: 8:27

I remember running alongside a woman in blue for the last mile or so; she passed me, so I set my sights on her as we rounded the final corner into the parking lot. We ran side-by-side by the 13-mile marker and sprinted together down the ramp, onto the football field and across the finish line.

Mile 13: 8:27 / Final .1 Mile: 7:12

I spotted Ben in the crowd and could hear him cheering me on, yelling for me to to do an end zone dance. But, at that point, I was too pooped to do anything but smile as volunteers clipped off my time chip and handed me a finisher’s medal.

Final times:

  • Ben – 1:43:54
  • Me – 1:48:39

Ben PR’d by about seven minutes (so proud!), and while I was about a minute off mine, I was thrilled to have run a solid race. My back wasn’t feeling great (it had felt tweaky off and on), but it wasn’t horrible. And with a little recovery and some speed work, I’m not far off from my eventual 1:45 goal.

We soaked up some sun and took the opportunity to get a few photos on the field before heading over to the beer tent to celebrate. This one may just become an annual tradition for us!

Have you ever raced ‘by feel’ and been pleasantly surprised by the results?