As we head into 5k, 10k, half and full marathon season...I challenge you to sign up and run. Even if you don't consider yourself a runner, just do it. If you've ever stood at the finish line of any kind of race you see all shapes and sizes running across the finish line...why? Because it's a head game. Everyone's body only does so much. You can only train for so long. At some point your body gives out but it's your mind that keeps you moving. And when you finish something you didn't think was possible, you look at yourself differently in the mirror. You're a superhero. You set a goal, worked hard to get there and then achieved it. It's a beautiful thing. When I ran the Madison Marathon three years ago, I did it in honor of my then one year-old nephew, Carter who was born with a congenital heart defect. And let me tell you...it helps to have a reason to run. If you just lost 20 pounds, if you recently had a major life change, if you promised someone who's now gone...there's no way you're going to go back on your word...you WILL finish. I went back and found my blog from after the marathon and I'd like you to read it and think about a person, a cause or a passion that's important enough to make you sign up and run.
Tuesday, 6/8/10 Well hello!!! I think I've finally had enough time to sort through all of the emotions that come with completing a marathon. YES...I finished. Despite the 90+ degree heat and crazy humidity I crossed that finish line with a part smiling, part crying, part total exhaustion sort of look on my face. I trained for a five-hour finish and I was pretty solid for that to be the final outcome...but there's nothing like that kind of heat and humidity to blow every single second of training you put into the last five months. I had a fabulous five-hour pacer, Beth. She was running her 106th marathon if you can believe that. She assigned a joke to one person in our pace group for each completed mile and when she blew her whistle three times we all had to growl. It was the boost I needed heading into that kind of challenge. But...around mile nine, there was a stretch of pure sun and no shade. I watched my heartrate go up to 187 in a matter of a minute and knew this was going to be a completely different race...one I hadn't planned on at all. In that minute it became more of a head game than one of what my physical body could handle. I watched my pace group turn the corner without me and I went through disappointment, anger and sadness...then it all turned to determination and I was gonna bust my butt to get through what was already seeming like the longest couple of hours of my life.
At 11am, four hours into it, the race was black-flagged. That means the conditions weren't favorable for the race anymore and the clocks were stopped. It was a little confusing there for a bit because no one was sure if the timing had just ended or if the course was actually closing. There were buses picking people up if they decided to be done and there seemed to be a constant ring of ambulance sirens as people overdid it and either collapsed on the course or manged to make it to a medic tent. Most people were either dehydrated or suffering from heat stroke...either one could happen so quickly in that kind of heat. The scene was described as 'carnage' by one on-looker and I didn't doubt it one bit. I put it out of my brain, pictured my nephew, Carter who had to fight much harder than I was at that very minute not just to finish a race but for life.... I put one foot in front of the other and knew I was getting closer and closer to the finish line.
I trained with Electrolyte cubes at every hour, but with that heat...couldn't swallow the gummy-like cubes, so I settled for Gatorade which seemed to swish around in my stomach like a giant wave in the Atlantic Ocean. At each water station I grabbed a cup of Gatorade and took a sip or two, a cup of water and poured it over my head, a handful of ice and stuck it in my sports bra and another cup of water to drink. Around mile 15 a truck passed me and I heard, "go get 'em Lanette!" It was a fellow, first-time marathoner, Robyn who I had passed a couple miles ago...her husband came to pick her up. She was done. Maybe next time.
At mile 18 I caught back up with Pam...a fabulous woman I started with in my five-hour pace group and another outstanding woman named Jessica. With a couple miles left, Pam was able to pull ahead with a sudden burst of energy while Jessica and I watched with pride from behind. With a mile left, heading down West Wash., Jessica could see my Arthritic knees were really getting to me going up the hill that IS West Wash. She grabbed me by the wrist and we finished at 5:59...exactly one minute before the course closed.
Do I want to do another marathon anytime soon...no. Do I want to do another one...yes. I want to redeem myself. I'm proud that I finished but still shake my head at the heat and humidity that put an early end to many people's races and made mine an hour longer than planned.
I asked my insanely wonderful husband, Marc, who rode his bike along side me for the entire race, if someday we can drive the course because it's really one big blur. I remember a couple things...like my amazing family and friends coming out to cheer me on. My first familiar face was Juli Hinds and her daughter Joelle just outside of Camp Randall. Her excitment and smile gave me the strength to stand up straight and keep moving. At mile 13 I saw the Sweeney/Lavik family and I got a second wind. Peggy and Ted were there with armfulls of anything I may have needed to continue on, my parents and their cowbell were downtown and at Warner Park, the Kwiatkowskis were there complete with 2-year old Elizabeth's and 4-year old Olivia's handmade signs of encouragement. I saw my parents again at Shabazz HS, then Peggy walked with me a little and I give her some credit...I was in a foul mood at that point...after that I saw my best friend, Kit at the Tenney Locks. My girlfrend Jenna ran with me for a couple blocks and then Juli and Joelle took to their bikes and we went down John Nolen Drive together with a little help from the Red Bull they brought. I remember seeing the Kwiatkowskis again, though I'm not sure where. I remember getting high-fives from the girls and it made me smile. Then...the finish line. Everyone, including my girlfriend Erin who had finished the marathon an hour and a half before and I'm sure just wanted to get home, was there. Her boyfriend, Marc was there too, taking pictures and rooting me on through the finish. And even beyond the faces at the finish line, I knew there were so many people texting, emailing and calling to find out how I was doing. I am truly blessed to have such amazing people in my life.
And in case you're still thinking, Lanette...you're crazy for doing this. I sent an email to my nephew, Carter the morning of the marathon. I think it sums up well why I signed up, why I trained, why I finished: To my Bug, I've been up for about a half hour getting ready for one of the hardest, physical challenges I've ever endured. Today I will run 26.2 miles. And it's all in honor of you. Today I will put one foot in front of the other time after time. And it's all in honor of you. Your beautiful face will be on my mind the entire time because just as you fought for every minute, so too will I. Thank you for making me a better person. You are the reason for what's right in the world...I love you with all my heart and soul. This day is for you, little man! Auntie Netty
Sometimes a workout doesn't really even feel like a workout. In my opinion, if you don't at least like what you're doing to get some exercise in, you won't keep up with it long. We're so lucky to have such amazing bike paths in and around the city so it won't be too hard to map out your commute to work on your bike. It's bike to work week so there's lots of fun things going on, too! There are stations around town from 7:15-9am where you can pick up some coffee and treats. Then to close it all out on Friday from 4:30-7pm head to Cronometro for free snacks and drinks. And if you don't have a bike, you're in luck. Madison's B-Cycle bicycle-sharing program is waiving its 24-hour access $5 fee so youcan try it out free for the first 30 minutes. You'll be getting in a workout and not really even noticing it plus you'll get to work with an adrenaline rush ready for anything. Make sure to truly enjoy it. Stop and smell the hyacinth and take special note of the birds chirping and the sun shining. You'll be happy you did. Click here for some more great bike ideas from Fort Health Care.
When the weather is warmer, we tend to get that hankering for something cold and sweet after dinner. Frozen yogurt is all the rage right now with yogurt bars popping up all over the place. Grab a cup, choose your flavor, plop some toppings on there and toss it on the scale. It's true that frozen yogurt is a healthier choice compared to some other desserts, but I wouldn't go as far as saying it's good for you. For example, a 16 ounce cup of frozen yogurt with a banana and coconut for toppings is about 530 calories...compared to a pint of Ben and Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie which is 640 calories so there's a right way and a wrong way to do frozen yogurt. Keep in mind that while frozen yogurt is usually low fat or even fat free, it's still got plenty of calories and sugar that add up quickly. Choose the small cup and stick to fresh fruit for toppings. Stay away from the granola, dried cranberries, yogurt chips, cereals and mixed nuts which are usually mistaken for healthy choices. Also...frozen yogurt doesn't have the wonderful probiotics in it that the stuff from your fridge has. That's because probiotics are very delicate and they usually don't survive being frozen. So go ahead and grab a FroYo...but enjoy it just like everything else...in moderation. For more tips on fueling for fitness...click here!
During the hot, sweaty summer months it's pretty easy to remember to stay hydrated. But as we sit here waiting for spring to actually show up one of these days, it's easy to forget to drink water. You need 64 to 96 ounces of water per day to stay hydrated...and that amount varies according to things like whether or not you're working out or the temperature outside. Your mouth should never be dry and your urine should be light yellow...about the color of lemonade. And water is the best way to go...unless you're training for a marathon, you have absolutely no need for sports drinks or extra electrolytes...just good ol' fashioned, free water. When you're properly hydrated and fueled you'll have a better workout and there's less chance for injury. And if exercise isn't on your agenda for the day, staying fueled will still help you by keeping you alert and functioning at your best level. Click here for more tips on staying properly fueled.
It's not an April Fools joke...your fridge is full of hard-boiled Easter eggs. Your family made some great memories dying them...and now what? There are few nutritional debates that are more heated than that of the egg. If you uncover all of the myths...eggs are a fantastic food for a healthy lifestyle. Eggs are only about 70 calories and have a great balance of six grams of protein and five grams of fat...which means you'll stay fuller, longer. And don't pop out the yolk...it's the most nutritious part! There's an amino acid in the yolk called leucine that triggers your body to start building muscle...plus half of the protein is in the yolk. And if the only thing stopping you from eating those beautifully-colored pink, blue and purple eggs is the fact that you don't have any recipes to put them in...then I've got you covered there, too. Just click here for some great, healthy ideas.
Now let's remember. Everything is fine in moderation. (Yes a Reese's peanut butter cup from your kid's Easter basket is just fine here and there.) And with this nicer weather...along with moderation, exercise is another things that helps you take off some pounds. I have Arthritis in my knees so I've started to look for ways other than running to get my exercise high. Bicycling is an awesome way to take the pressure off your joints and also take in the gorgeous bike paths in the area. Fort Healthcare is all about a good bike ride and wants to help you with a chance to win $50 to spend at 2 Rivers Bicycle & Outdoor in Fort Atkinson. Just email me for info or to win! Good luck!
Q: What does 'gluten free' mean and am I eating healthy if I choose to eat 'gluten free'?
A: Gluten is a protein in things processed from wheat and other grains like rye and barley. I always envision it like the glue that holds it all together and what makes the dough elastic-like. Gluten gets a bad rap and cutting it out of your diet doesn't necessarily mean weight-loss. You very well could see the pounds come off though because gluten is in high-carbohydrate foods...when you take them out of your diet poof, you have weight-loss. But gluten itself is not bad. If you're gluten intolerant, you experience bloating, abdominal pain, joint pain and some other things as well. And there are many people who don't realize that they're gluten sensitive. So by cutting gluten out of your diet, you could easily feel better as well. We have an amazing local store called Silly Yak Bakery and they're a great resource for your gluten free questions.
Have a question? I would love to hear from you! Email mehere