Author Archives: Kate Mroz

Colt State Park Half Marathon Race Report- Finally Got My Half PR!

As you are aware, after months of training, I did not start the BAA Half Marathon last month due to Achilles issues. My doctor basically gave me the following options: 1) Run the BAA Half without PRing because you’ll be in pain and needing a lot of recovery time 2) Take care of this injury, cross-train, and run a PR in late October/early November. As disappointed as I was to not get to do BAA for a second time, I am so glad I chose the latter option. I was also excited to debut this new outfit my mom bought for me for my birthday back in June.

pre-race

 

My fiancé was a real trooper. He drove 1 hr 15 minutes to Bristol, RI so I could do this race. I wanted to PR so badly that I tried to do everything perfectly. I tapered. I carbo-loaded for two days prior, and I forced myself to eat a little before the race (I often have trouble eating before races and its hurt me in the past). While I was stretching, someone came up to me and said “Are you Kate Mroz?” It was one of my online running buddies. We were thrilled to finally meet in person, and took a picture to send to our running group.

me and stephanie

My strategy was to stick with the 1:40 pacer and just see how it felt. Thankfully, it felt perfect. The first two miles felt easy and I was shocked at the splits, but I decided to control myself as I’ve started out too fast in the past and paid for it later. Sure enough, mile 3 had a few slight inclines and was slower, so I got worried but by mile 5, I knew I was at the right speed. I was also in awe of the breathtaking view of the water. This race was absolutely gorgeous.

As those of you who know me are aware, I LOVE TO TALK (and that’s an understatement). Thankfully, I spent miles 1-11 talking to Matt, the 1:40 pacer, and Chris, another runner from Massachusetts. Chris and I were determined to break 1:40 together. Around mile 4, I learned that she lost her sister to a heart attack this year, and not long after that, had to put her dog to sleep. She said she was doing this race for her sister, and I decided I would too. (Of course, I still kept my planned mile intentions at each mile- so don’t worry, friends and family) We sent up a prayer to Darlene and we thanked her at the end of the race. This was very fitting considering that right now in Exploring Catholicism, I am covering saints. The communion of saints is something I love about Catholicism, that we not only have a who list of official saints whom we can read about and look up to, but we believe that all persons who have gone before us are people to whom we can pray for guidance.

During the race, Matt, who has done numerous triathlons, gave us the following advice. “I’d love nothing more than to see you pass me during the last few miles if you feel you can do it. Just don’t speed up too quick and have me catch you!” This made me cautious, so Chris and I decided together to stick with him until mile 11. At mile 11, we speed up by about 10 seconds, knowing that mile 12 had some inclines. At mile 12, I just took off, thought of all those months of training, and gave it my all. I somehow ended up doing my last mile in 6:48. It was the only part of the race that was truly painful, and I wonder if I should have sped up earlier.

I saw Bryan after passing the mile 13 marker. There was an abrupt, awkward turn at that point, so he wasn’t able to get a picture. I knew I must have been doing well because Bryan did not, as he usually does, tell me to “hurry up!” He was just like “Go Kate!” Sure enough, when I got to the finish line, I saw 1:37something and was elated. All I wanted was sub 1:40, so it surpassed my expectations!

Chris finished shortly after me and we hugged each other. Matt finished right on target at 1:39 and we both thanked him for pacing us. Poor Bryan was wondering why I wasn’t trying to find him and was talking to all these strangers. Thankfully, he walked over to the finish line and met everybody.

with matt and chris

Shortly after that, my online running buddy Stephanie crossed the finish. We later found out that we both placed 2nd in our respective age groups, and we starting jumping up and down. My official time was 1:37:32.

age group

 

This race taught me a very important lesson. Running, contrary to popular belief, is not an individual sport. Sure, my time is my own and I run independently of a team, but my fellow runners bring out the best in me. Running reminds me that God comes to us through other people and places.

 

 

Right now, I am focused on doing easy runs, strength training, and cross-training in preparation to start training for Boston.

Overall, I highly recommend this race and really want to do it again (am actually torn between putting my name in the NYC Marathon lottery or doing this race next year since they are the same weekend). The directors and volunteers were amazing. When we arrived, there was a problem with the tide and there was tons of water on the course. We were warned that we would get wet. With only a 10 minute delay from the original start time (which I welcomed since it gave me more warm-up time), they managed to get all of the water off of the course. I was pleasantly surprised and did not get wet. There was plenty of water every mile and a half, and volunteers to cheer us on. The course was gorgeous. Flat with a few very very small inclines that mostly just helped to stave off boredom. I’m lactose intolerant, but my fiance enjoyed the post-race pizza party. This is a great race if you want a fall half-marathon PR.

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Stop Fretting: Your Sweaty Grimacing Race Photos Are Beautiful

“Why can’t I look good in race photos?”

Fall racing season is in full gear and I think I have come across this question a billion times over the past few weeks. It breaks my heart. A woman completes a 5k, half-marathon, or marathon and feels tremendously proud of herself, but instead of celebrating, she agonizes over the race pictures.

“I look sweaty and gross.”

“My mouth is hanging open.”

“I’m not smiling.”

“ My legs look weird.”

“ Why can’t I look like the lady next to me? She’s smiling.”

“Why can’t I look good in race photos?”
I’m here to tell you that you can “look good” in race photos. In fact, you already do “look good’ in race photos. It’s just that so many of us women have been socialized to have a very limited of what “looks good.” We associate beauty with happy faces, hair and make-up in place, and an elimination of any pain or struggle in our expression or body language. “Smile.” “Look at the camera.” “Cheer up.” “Don’t slouch.” “Comb your hair.” “Take off your glasses.”  No wonder cameras are sometimes a source of anxiety. Sure, it’s OK to spend extra effort before taking a professional headshot or a formal photo, but sadly, so many of us cringe whenever a camera comes out at a party or race because we are not “picture ready.” But shouldn’t pictures capture “real life” and “real time expressions?”

Bangers 5k finish line 2016

Determination. 

 

As a Catholic theologian, I subscribe to a Catholic anthropology that sees the extraordinary in the ordinary, that finds God in the everyday, including the messy and chaotic. Beauty, my friends, is not just smiles and fancy hair dos. Beauty can be sweating, bleeding, crying, and screaming. Beauty is life as it is lived, and that is not always smiling and posing.

baa half mile 12

It’s raining and its mile 12 and I’m almost finished! 

One of the best words of wisdom came to me from my mom, who reminded me that the most miraculous things in life often happen when we are struggling, not smiling. Think of childbirth- a woman giving birth is sweaty and bloody and in pain AND SO BEAUTIFUL.

So when you see that race photo of yourself with sweat dripping off your face, your hair all mussed up, and your mouth in a grimace, BE PROUD. It shows a strong woman who is working hard and giving it her all.

So, everybody, here are my race photos. I used to be embarrassed of them, but now I cherish them. They represent some of my greatest memories and accomplishments, and remind me how strong and tough I am.

kate fools dual finish

Yeah, I totally saw my fiance with the camera, but I was not going to stop to smile. “I’m going to PR and win third place in my age group and I’m going to keep my beautiful mouth open!” 

 

Mary brought out the best in Jesus, we need to bring out the best in each other- what I learned at Pre-Cana

Last weekend, Bryan and I took part in marriage preparation, often called pre-Cana after this Gospel story, at Boston College. For those who are unfamiliar, all couples getting married in the Catholic Church have to complete some sort of marriage preparation program prior to their wedding date.

The experience was much more low-key and enjoyable than we expected. We were not forced to prove our Catholic orthodoxy, or share our most intimate thoughts with a priest or a random couple. Rather, we listened to talks by three married couples on various topics, and then went on walks together to discuss how to handle certain issues. This may seem silly- after all, couldn’t we have just done this on our own at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir? Well, not exactly. As participants in a program, we were removed from our work and other concerns. Instead of our focus being Kate’s dissertation and a little Bryan, or Bryan’s experiment and a little Kate (which so often happens), the focus was entirely on the two of us. Furthermore, in a calm environment with prompts in front of us, we were able to talk about potentially contentious issues in a way that caused no hard feelings, speaking to each other with respect and a genuine interest in each other’s expectations. During such a stressful period in our lives (two of us trying to finish doctoral degrees, teach, and plan our wedding), getting to walk around a beautiful campus holding hands and just looking forward to our future together was a positive and necessary experience.

 

I think the most inspirational part of the day for me, however, came at the end. Fr. Tony Penna, the priest in charge of the program, said a mass for us. Keep in mind this was at the end of an all day program, so I was not expected to feel super pumped or excited about doing any more listening and reflecting. Yet, when the Gospel was spoken and it was the Wedding Feast at Cana, my eyes lit up and I turned to Bryan and was like “this is one of my favorites” and this, of course, peeked his curiosity.

When the wine runs out at the wedding feast, Jesus’ mother Mary notices and informs her son. Yet, she is rebuffed with the words, “My hour has not yet come.” Mary does not take no for answer and sure enough, Jesus performs a miracle. As Fr. Penna explained, Mary brings out the best in Jesus. She believes in him and prods him- perhaps she knows what he is capable of more than he does! This, he told us, is what marriage is about- two people coming together to bring the best out of each other.

Indeed, this is something Bryan and I have already had to do for each other. When I was nervous about teaching my first class on my own this semester, Bryan told me it was time to accept my newfound position and qualifications, and all that hard work I did to get there.

 

Think about it. When you are standing in a room full of people and you go up to talk to someone, you cannot see yourself as you engage in conversation. You may notice that you are moving your lips and your hands, or standing in a certain position, but you cannot really see what you look like at each moment. Your conversation partner can see things you cannot see. Likewise, you too, can see your conversation partner in a way that they cannot see themselves. In other words, our perspectives are limited. It is not physically possible to see everything going on simultaneously. How our senses perceive the world at any given moment is never exactly the same as how another person’s sense perceive the world at that given moment.

 

When you love someone, you see things they cannot see. They see things you cannot see. Therefore, sometimes you need to be each other’s eyes. You might be the one to first spot a talent in your partner, or draw them to something beautiful about themselves that they may never have recognized and vice versa. You might also help each other correct problems. If your partner is tired, you might be the one who observes that they have not been sleeping or do not eat a lot for breakfast in the morning. If you are anxious, your partner might be the one to notice that you have not spent a lot of time together lately, and need more downtime.

 

This also need not apply only to married couples or romantic relationships; this sort of dynamic is seen in friendships, parent-child relationships, and mentor-mentee relationships. It is also not a sign of weakness, but a sign of our humanity. Even Jesus did not figure out who he was and what he was capable of without the help of other people.

As I prepare to get married to Bryan this August, I know that there will be a lot of ups and downs in our lives. We will make mistakes, we will get annoyed with each other at times. Yet, through it all, my promise is to help make Bryan “better at being himself” and his promise is to help make me “better at being myself.”

mary newton campus

The Spinathon- When Cross-Training Becomes More Than Cross-Training

I love racing. I guess that is obvious.

 

I love the training, the nerves and anticipation of the course, the use of my sport for the benefit of local charities, the bonding with other runners, the sense of accomplishment after a tough finish and the first taste of that protein shake and bagel with peanut butter (my post-long run breakfast of choice).

 

So, when I got an injury 5 weeks before the BAA Half (at which I was hoping and planning to PR), I was quite disappointed. The doctor diagnosed it as Achilles bursitis, which, thankfully, it’s not as bad as Achilles tendonitis. The bursa are thin, lubricated cushions that serve as the points of friction between bone and soft tissue. It’s painful, but not nearly as painful as some other common running injuries.

 

The injury also happened two weeks before the Brighton Bangers 5k- super super important event to me given that it is put on by my running club! My doctor allowed me to do the race provided the pain stayed under a 5. I finished in 21:40, which was slower than my time for that course last year but better than I expected with an injury. This was the first race where I approached the finish line and my fiancé did not cheer for to “hurry up,” since he begged me to take it easy. In retrospect, I should not have raced. Mile one was a great split- 6:47- and I got confident that I could repeat last year’s performance, but then the injury kicked in and I had to slow down – 7:20 for mile 2 and 7:09 for mile 3. The foot hurt so bad afterwards that I could not do a cool down and instead of socializing, I went home to ice it. That being said, I still had fun and the pain subsided on the walk home. But overall, I probably should have just volunteered and stayed out of the race (but NOT RACING when others are running is so so hard :/)

 

So, when the Oak Square YMCA announced a Spinathon to raise money to help local families, I was super excited. For the past two years, spin has been a fun cross-training activity but it’s taken on an even bigger role during this injury. Spin classes have kept up my cardiovascular fitness while I am unable to run much, and in fact, I think they are quite more challenging than a lot of my runs! The sprints and hills mimic running workouts.

 

The Spinathon had an option of doing 1, 2, or all 3 hours. Eager for a new challenge given that I am not running a fall marathon and my half may be out of the picture (still deciding), I decided to try for the 3. My fiancé joined me for the first hour and we had so much fun looking over at each other. Prior to this, an hour had been my maximum for a spin session. After that hour, I took a quick break to say goodbye to Bryan and hopped back on. We switched instructors mid-way and just like a long race, hunger suddenly came on and I grabbed some Powerade and a banana. After the burst of Powerade, I knew I could finish the thing. I seriously need to have more sports drinks during my long runs and races, they help! The instructors were super enthusiastic, and one made us put our hands up and shout “woo!” during various points in the last hour. While my sprints were slower and my resistance lower during the third hour, they were much higher than I expected they would be. I kind of thought I would be barely pedaling toward the end, but that was not the case. As the instructors reminded everyone, our legs are stronger than we think! I also kept thinking of Iron Tony upstairs, attempting to break the world record for an indoor triathlon. If someone can run 26.2 miles on a treadmill, surely I can spin for 3 hours!

 

When I got off the bike, I felt a bit dizzy at first but not nearly as bad as I expected to feel. There were only a few of us who stayed for the whole thing, so we took a picture together. Even though we barely talked (I mean, it’s hard to hold a conversation while spinning), we felt a special bond after our three-hour ordeal.

 

While the soreness and dehydration were not as bad as a marathon (namely because I had constant access to water), the hunger was just as intense. I drank a muscle milk on my walk home, and called my fiancé to make sure he had bagels, peanut butter, and fruit waiting for me. On my walk home, I passed by people running a 5k and instead of feeling upset and angry about not being in it, I shouted “go runners!” It did not even occur to me until the next day that it should have been my last long run before the half-marathon. I had so much fun and felt so accomplished, I barely thought about my injury!

 

Moral of the story- there can be a silver lining in injuries. While I have always cross-trained, I never took the time to really develop a love for one of my cross-training activities or used one of my cross-training activities to benefit a local charity and meet other athletes. Cross-training need not be viewed as “cross-training.” It can become another hobby, another love. Indeed, that’s how I’ve come to see strength training/weight-lifting and spinning. Running is not the only thing I can do to challenge myself, to support a good cause, to stay in shape, and to meet other amazing athletes. While I expect to recover from this injury soon and resume normal training, this was not my last Spinathon!

Big thanks to Emily & Alyson for leading us, and to Bryan, as always, for doing the first hour with me and for feeding me afterwards! 🙂

A Prayer for Squeakers

Hi everyone! It is Squeaker Monday! I’m sub -4:28 here and incredibly nervous, and so many of my running friends are feeling the same.

For those of you who do not know, Squeaker Monday is the day that all persons who are less than 5 minutes faster than their Boston Marathon qualifying time can register for the Boston Marathon. Due to not enough space, in recent years, not all persons who qualify for Boston are able to gain entry. In 2016, entrants had to be 2:28 faster than their qualifying time. In 2017, it was -2:09.

When I am nervous, I like to pray. The communion of saints is one thing I truly love about Catholicism. People who have gone before us are praying for us, encouraging us, and inspiring us. This is true of both, officially recognized saints, like St. Sebastian mentioned below, and all those who have died. Since I am known as “Running Theologian,” I figured I would compose a prayer to the patron saint of athletes, St. Sebastian.

St. Sebastian, often known as the saint who was martyred twice, lived in the third century during the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian. Sebastian joined the Roman army, disguising himself as a noble pagan, so that he could minister to persecuted Christians. It is said that Sebastian converted many prisoners of the Roman army, and was also a gifted healer. When he was eventually caught, Diocletian ordered that Sebastian be shot with arrows, but miraculously, the arrows did not kill him. The Emperor then ordered that he be beaten to death. His feast day is January 20. Sebastian is known as the patron saint of athletes because of his physical endurance and bravery.

A Prayer for Squeakers

St. Sebastian,

Through strength and perseverance, you endeavored to spread the Gospel message, undeterred even by the threat of death. As the patron saint of athletes, I ask that you pray for us squeakers, as we register for the Boston Marathon so that we get the opportunity to run this April. Pray that we may always run with a purpose, and use our sport to benefit not only our own minds and bodies, but those of others.  Help us never neglect to remember God’s blessings and to use our running as opportunity to see God in new places, people, and things. Amen.

 

Holy Envy: A Reflection on the Sacred Texts and Human Contexts Conference at Nazareth College

In high school, I remember being delighted when a close friend invited me to her graduation from Hebrew School, which she called confirmation. Each teenager had to get up in front of the congregation and give a small talk about why Judaism meant something to them, and why they wanted to continue practicing their Jewish faith. It was so inspiring to hear about the ways Judaism influenced their lives, encouraging them to go on service trips, to help those struggling in their communities, to pray regularly, and to have hope in the midst of difficult times. As a Catholic who had made her Confirmation two years earlier, I felt a pang of sadness in my heart, not for the fact that I was Catholic – I still love my faith- but namely because I was so in awe at the way these Jewish teenagers had an opportunity to reflect on what this rite of passage meant to them, something I never had a chance to do when I received Confirmation. For many Catholics, Confirmation has come to have little meaning, since it is often forced upon thirteen and fourteen year olds who have almost no knowledge of the teachings of the Catholic Church by their parents or grandparents.  It was not until I went to a Catholic university as an eighteen year old, that I finally found a group of people my age with whom I could share my faith journey.

At a conference entitled “Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Women and Gender in Religions,” held at Nazareth College at the beginning of the month, I finally found a name for that experience I had over a decade ago. Rabbi Rachel Sabath- Halachmi, in her keynote speech, spoke of “holy envy.” Coined by Krister Stendahl, “holy envy,” is the recognition of elements in another religious tradition that you admire so much that you wish they were reflected, or emphasized more, in your own.

I think most of us approach the word “envy” with some fear and trepidation. Many of us probably have memories of envy breaking up, or getting in the way of, a relationship. Yet, envy need not be a destructive force. Feeling holy envy does not mean the other tradition is better than your own, or that you want to adopt every aspect of the other tradition. It is simply a reminder that we live in a religiously pluralist world, and naturally, those who worship and believe differently than we do have something important to share with us.

In a religiously pluralist world in which certain religious doctrines are in conflict with one another (i.e- is Jesus God incarnate or a prophet? is there a personal God who reveals Herself to us or is there not?), people often fear that we may not be able to find any common ground or relate to one another easily. When you are in a group of scholars and add academic interests to the mix, the topics we study are so diverse that we may wonder if we have anything worthwhile to say to one another.

On the second day of the conference, I had the honor and privilege of presenting in a session with Amy Milligan, a professor of Judaic Studies and Women’s Studies Old Dominion University. My presentation dealt a comparison of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests and female prayer leaders in Islam breaking the “rules” of their traditions.  We both admitted to each other before we gave our presentations that we thought our topics would have little in common. Yet, we could have not been more wrong. During Amy’s presentation, I once again found myself with the feeling of “holy envy,” especially viewing the pictures of Jewish women and their communities involved in Women’s Marches across the United States shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump. These women found amazing ways to bring their faith to the struggle for gender equality. When it came time for questions, the audience directed most of their inquiries to both of us, and we had a very fruitful discussion.

Certainly, I think it is dangerous to reduce all religions to being the same. They are not nor should they be. Our differences enable us to approach one another with a sense of curiosity that provokes awe and develops friendships. Differences are only a cause of strife if we force others to adopt our own doctrinal beliefs. I am Catholic and believe in a triune God of which Jesus is God incarnate, the Second Person of the Trinity, but I know that many of my friends and colleagues from other religions do not share this belief. Nevertheless, all those who were present at the conference share a fundamental conviction that has the ability to transform this world. Namely, we all believe that God loves women, that God desires their flourishing and the flourishing of all human beings, and that God motivates us to change the status quo. We all can look at the injustices and violence committed against women in this world and say, “no, that’s not the way things should be!”

In today’s political climate, faith can be a taboo word in the political realm, especially when it comes to non-Christian religions. In the United States, some politicians hold the position that Islam is incompatible with a genuine concern for women’s rights, or the well-being of one’s country.  Yet, Muslims too believe in a God that desires the flourishing of women and all human beings, and use the Quran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad to say no to violence and discrimination. I am always filled with holy envy when I encounter the Quran’s depiction of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Quran not only explicitly names Mary as an example of faith for both men and women, it also depicts her as having experienced the pangs of childbirth that all women go through. As a Catholic, these verses brought me to tears, since the Catholic tradition (except for recent works by contemporary theologians like Elizabeth Johnson) has not affirmed that a birth can be miraculous and holy, as well as bloody and painful.

Another one of the most poignant experiences at this conference was visiting the Susan B. Anthony House with other attendees. It was beautiful to watch men and women of all different faiths, veiled and unveiled, admiring the amazing accomplishments of women suffragists, all deeply convinced that God does not see men and women as unequal.

I am a Catholic. I believe that Jesus is the cause of my salvation and I could never imagine letting go of that belief. It comes from my experience of Jesus as the source of light and guidance in my life. I also cannot imagine leaving the Catholic Church, which, imperfect earthly institution that it is, is my home. But I also cannot imagine being a Catholic without my Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Protestant, and non-affiliated friends. Jesus lived in a particular time and culture. He did not leave us a blueprint for how to handle every possible problem or situation. Catholics do not have all the answers.  It is God’s will that we learn from one another.

IMG_2336.jpg

I will end this post with a Quranic verse mentioned by Professor Asma Afsaruddin in her keynote talk.

If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.

 

A major thanks to Dr. Muhammad Shafiq and the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue at Nazareth College for organizing this incredible conference, to the presenters and speakers who taught me so much and gave me so many new ideas, and to all the attendees of whom I had the pleasure of meeting. May our paths cross again in the near future.

 

Running Theologian’s Tips for Running in the Heat

Here in Boston- ITS HOT! Many days, even if you get up at 6 or 7am, it is still already in the 70s with high humidity (therefore, I will not include “run early in the mornings” as a tip here- that’s already obvious- you can thank me later :P). This is difficult for runners both mentally and physically. Its important to remember that it is necessary to adjust your expectations. We are human.

smiling sun

  1. Carry water with you. I recommend the Amphipod Jett-Lite Thermal. The pouch is big enough to hold keys and gels. However, if you like to run with more stuff, you can buy a bigger one. Remember to drink at regular intervals- every mile or even every half-mile. Don’t wait until you are thirsty- THIRSTY IS ALREADY DEHYDRATED.
  2. Carry salt tablets. You LOSE A LOT OF SALT. These come in handy if you start feeling lightheaded. I really thought they were ridiculous but they have helped me to not crash and burn on more than one occasion. These are the kind I used for my last marathon. Just make sure you take them with water.
  3. Plan water stops if you are going longer than a couple of miles. Even with a handheld, if you are doing a 17 mile marathon training run, you are going to need to fill up. If you cannot find water fountains, local businesses are often accommodating. So are fire departments, libraries, or gyms. I often plan my summer long runs to stop halfway around the Boston College campus so I can stop in the cafeteria to fill my water bottle.
  4. Wear sun screen. Even if the temperature is not the high, if the sun is out, you are likely to get burned. Believe me, I have learned this the hard way.
  5. Stay close by. If it’s hot, I try to do routes that are close to home so that I am never super far away if I start to feel sick.
  6. Wear a Band ID on your wristwatch. My fiance bought me this for Christmas last year. While I thankfully have never needed it yet, I am comforted by the fact it is there.
  7. Adjust your expectations. Your long runs may not be as long, your tempo runs may not be as fast, etc.- THAT IS OK. Run by effort instead of pace. For example, my tempo run last week was more like a marathon pace run, but it sure felt like a tempo run due to the heat. You will still reap the benefits.
  8. Be flexible in your schedule if you can. I try to look at the weekly weather forecast at the start of each week. Tuesday might be speed work day but if the weather forecast says Wednesday or Thursday is going to be the coldest day of the week, you might want to try to switch things up. Saturdays are typically long run days, but I’ll switch to Friday or Sunday if it looks like it will be easier.
  9. Wear as light of clothing as you can. Now is not the time to be self-conscious. You are a human being running. Therefore, YOU LOOK LIKE A RUNNER AND YOU DESERVE TO WEAR WHATEVER MAKES YOU COMFORTABLE. You will feel much better in a sports bra and shorts than a tank top and long leggings. Nobody in the whole entire universe is perfectly happy with their legs or their butt or their stomach, etc.
  10. If you are feeling famished upon returning, try a protein shake before hoping in the shower. I recommend Muscle Milk- I love it because its sugar free (at least the version I buy, you can get ones with sugar), it has 20 grams of  protein in one container, its lactose and dairy free and it tastes great. Trying to eat something big immediately after a long run can cause an upset stomach (of course, Muscle Milk is not a meal, so do eat something more substantial after you’ve showered, etc.)
  11. Continue to hydrate throughout the day after you return. I love Propel Fitness Water. 
  12. Be careful of both coffee and alcohol. On really hot days, I try to have tea instead of coffee in the afternoon since tea hydrates and coffee dehydrates. Starbucks Iced Passion Tango tea is a great caffeine- free option.  Obviously, I am not one to tell people who are over 21 they can’t have a celebratory drink after a hard work out (those who know me know I like my vodka and my whiskey), but I recommend waiting several hours after you have finished exercise and only imbibing if you are feeling OK.
  13. I know this is gross, but keep track of the color of your urine throughout the day. If its dark, you are dehydrated. If it is clear, you are over hydrated. It should be pale yellow.
  14. Listen to your body. You may be hungrier and thirstier than usual. That’s normal in this weather. Keep drinks and snacks near you all day.
  15. Don’t be afraid to take an extra recovery day in your training, you are working extra hard.
  16. Stop exercising and seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of heat related illness listed below.

Heat Exhaustion: ashen skin, goose bumps, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, decreased muscle coordination.

Heat Stroke: disorientation, confusion, dizziness, unusual behavior, headache, inability to walk, loss of balance, profound fatigue, hyperventilation, vomiting, diarrhea, delirium

Stay safe and happy running! 🙂