Tales of a funny tummy: working on that race day fuel!

I think I’ve talked a little bit about my nausea-woes, but I’ve never really talked about where they began and how much I’ve struggled with my “funny tummy” over the years. It all started in 2012 when I was travelling home from Australia (I lived there for 2 years), through India, Nepal and China. I was away for 2 and a half months and in that short period I was sick with food poisoning 3 times. After I got home from that trip my stomach never really felt quite right, as my husband would say I did not have an “iron gut”. I was often bloated and most foods went straight through me. It was manageable for a while in my day-to-day life, I just thought I had a sensitive stomach, it wasn’t until I started marathon training in 2013 that I realized how bad it really was.IMG_1012

Running on empty

When I started running long distances I struggled HARD with what my stomach could tolerate on the go…which at the time was pretty much nothing! I went back to the usual gels and chews that I used to use, but I couldn’t stomach them and would end up eating next to nothing on the 2-3+ hour training runs. It took me 2 marathons and ending up in the medical tent of my second to realize that if I wanted to become a stronger runner, I needed to fuel better and sort this sh*& out!

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I’m smiling because it’s over…moments later I was throwing up and in the med tent!

Getting answers

My first step was an appointment with a naturopath who explained that the food poisoning had caused me to have a “leaky gut” and that a food sensitivity test would be the first step followed by a cleanse, which I did. I was super strict with what I ate for about 6-8 months and felt soooo much better! But I still struggled to find the right fuel during my runs. Most of the gels and brands out there {such as GU, powergels and Clif shots} still reeked havoc on my tummy and the others {like honey stingers, Skratch and Huma} that did go down easy, I couldn’t stomach after 2 or 3…especially if it was hot and my mouth was dry #worst 🤢

Maple syrup for the win!

Finally, on a really hot day in 2015 I came across Endurance Tap gels at my local running store and took them out for a test run…they were sooo good! They went down super easy, were really liquidy so I could get them down quickly, and they didn’t make me feel queasy after multiple hours of eating them (even in the heat)… I was in love! I used to think I was one of the only ones that struggled with my race nutrition and fuelling; but lately I’ve seen so many posts and received so many messages from people saying they feel the exact same way! It’s hard to find something that works, but I think if you’ve struggled like I have, than I think one of the keys is the fewer the ingredients the better. I think Endurance Tap works for me because it only has 3: maple syrup, ginger and salt which has definitely saved my tummy and my training!

During this training cycle I’ve made it a goal to really practice my race-day nutrition during my long and tempo runs and have been exclusively taking an ET every 35-45mins…and for once I actually feel good! I guess this is what it’s like to be properly fuelled🙈 So if all goes to plan on race day, it will be the first Marathon EVER that I won’t be under-fuelled and energy deprived!! Fingers crossed 🤞🏼

Do you struggle with fuelling? What works for you?

TRY ENDURANCE TAP FOR YOURSELF WITH THE DISCOUNT CODE “GoodForMyTummy” and get 20% off until May 7🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼

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Let’s Catch up on March!

Please excuse me for my absence this month…because this month I became A DOG MOM!! And since I don’t have kids, I can only imagine that it’s pretty much the same thing as being a real baby momma (said sarcastically, but also kind of wondering if it’s true🤔); given that you barely have time to yourself and whenever you decide to be productive she wines, cries or is just so cute you can’t get anything done! Oh, and my sleep has suffered because I have to get up multiple times in the night so she can go pee. But it’s totally worth it because I love her soooooo much!! So there you go, I’ve pretty much caught you up on my entire month in a few short sentences…okay well not entirely, but that’s definitely been the highlight!

Here’s the rest…and some more about my dog😉

Currently Obsessed with: Of course it’s my dog! She is an Australian Cattle dog (also known as a blue heeler), her name is Kylie (after Kylie Minogue to honour her Australian routes) and she is currently 3 months old. I’ve wanted a dog FOREVER and my husband finally agreed last year that we could get one. We decided on this breed because we wanted a medium sized dog (she will get up to 35-40lbs) that I could run with and that were smart so my husband could teach her tricks. We’d been looking for the last 6-8 months and finally found her and she is the best…I think she will be making many appearances on here in the future❤️

Currently Reading: Marathon Woman by Katherine Switzer, which I’m reading for the second time. It’s about the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. I read this book after I ran my first marathon and wasn’t sure I wanted to run again. It inspired me, not only to run another marathon, but also to chase that Boston dream! I don’t usually re-read books, but since I have big goals for BMO I thought it would give me some extra inspiration.IMG_0100

Currently Eating/Fuelling with: Since I almost always struggle with GI issues on long runs and fuelling properly on races, I’ve really committed this training cycle to figuring out my race day nutrition. In the past I’ve tried to use a few different types of gels and bars, but this time I’m only exclusively using Endurance Tap gels. They are the only thing that I don’t get sick of, give me enough energy to get through my long runs and don’t upset my stomach during or after my runs.

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Currently Drinking: I think I’ve talked about my ginger-ale obsession on here before…I love it! And I also love Ginger Kombucha, which I feel much less guilty about drinking after a long run since I feel like I’m also getting some hydration from it (not sure if that’s actually true?!) I think I’ve had one after every long run this month and after every tough tempo workout…I’m obsessed!

Currently Wearing: Since it’s FINALLY warmed up [a little] this month and I can wear shorts again, it means I can also wear my mid and knee high pro-compression socks!! This is a double win since I’ve also upped my mileage this month and have way more tired legs. I’ve been rocking them pretty much everyday to help during and after my workouts…I love them!

Favourite Photo I Took This Month: It’s obviously with my dog Kylie!IMG_0098

Miles Ran: 175.6mi/283.3km

Let’s Catch Up! January’s run-down

I feel like I say this at the end of every month, but seriously how is it *February (*insert month here) already?! Regardless of my shock at how quickly time flies, the first month of 2017 is officially over and that means it’s that time again, so…LET’S CATCH UP!!!

Currently Eating: If you remember my last “let’s catch up post” then you’ll remember that I was doing the 21 day sugar detox for the month of January…and guys guess what, I MADE IT, whoop whoop!!!  It’s definitely the longest I’ve ever gone without a baked good or pizza and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss it; but I’m hoping some of these habits I picked up in the last month will stick! For example, I’ve learnt that not every Friday and Saturday night is cause to celebrate by eating ALL THE THINGS! And I plan on being a little more picky with my “treat yourself” occasions. Below are 2 of my favourite things I ate this month…

Favourite Adventure(s): Once again I couldn’t choose so here are my top 2:

  1. The Squamish Chief first peak with @thehilaryann because I’d never been there in the winter and it was SO FREAKING PRETTY!

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    photo by Hilary Ann
  2. Taking my sister up to Dog Mountain on Seymour because, even though I’ve been up there a lot this year, she had never been EVER! And watching her take it in for the first time always gives me a new appreciation of the view!

Currently Obsessed With: Selling my clothes on the Lululemon swap and shop Facebook group! It’s a local group where you can buy and sell your new and used Lululemon, and since finding it just over a week ago, I’m already obsessed! My goal for the year has been to limit my shopping to only the things I NEED and since lately I’ve been selling clothes instead of buying them I keep telling my husband that I’m “reverse shopping” Lol! Needless to say he’s pretty happy about it:) (I think they have them in other cities too, so check it out if you haven’t already!)img_0067

Finish Lines Crossed: There was only one, and you already know about it, but it felt so nice I’m going to tell you twice…The Chilly Chase 15km aka my confidence builder!

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Currently Watching (instead of reading): I normally read before bed but my battery died in my reading light (yes this is a lame excuse and yes I’m a dork with a reading light), so I haven’t picked up a new read yet. So since I’m not reading, I’ll tell you my favourite things I’ve watched this month, which have both been inspirational movies about running…I know shocking right?! The Steve Prefontaine Movie, “Without limits”, which I watched the night before my 15k race…totally inspiring! And “Finding Traction” on Netflix which is a documentary about the amazing ultra-runner Nikki Kimball as she runs the 273mi Long Trail in Vermont…again super inspiring!!!

Monthly Mileage: 249.3km/154.6 miles

Hope you had a great start to the year and a great month! Huge thanks to The Athletarian for inspiring these monthly catch ups:)

5 Things I think I would have DIED without this winter!

For us wimpy west-coasters, this winter has been epically cold, snowy and overall ROUGH on our poorly acclimated bodies. Don’t get me wrong I love running in the snow, but I’m used to driving to run in it at the local mountains, not stepping into it off my front door step! With that being said, I feel like I’ve had a crash course in “what’s the best gear to run in” with all the negative temps we’ve had; and I’ve quickly acquired {to my husbands disapproval}, a pretty good stash of it!

So since I’ve received quite a few messages about what I run in and the gear that I like to use in the winter on the road and on the trails, I thought a top 5 list was in order….drumroll please!!!

  1. Merino Wool base layers: I wish I could say merino wool EVERYTHING, but I haven’t quite built my stock up to that level yet. So my base layers include socks, tights, long sleeves, gloves and a neck warmer…and in the mountains I wear it all! So far I can’t find anything that quite compares to the way it insulates you when it’s cold and wicks away moisture when you start to sweat. I’ve been playing around with brands, and the material tends to be the same across them all, it mainly comes down to fit. For me icebreaker and Lululemon seem to stay up and fit the best.
  2. My Yak-Trax: Best $35 I’ve spent on winter running gear hands down! While I haven’t needed them running in the city (I’ve only needed trail shoes), I’ve worn them a tonne in the mountains. A lot of people ask me if I use snow shoes, but I’ve found as long as the snow is well packed, not too soft, and not too icey I haven’t needed them. I just slip them over my shoes and I’m good to go!

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    I bought mine at MEC
  3. 1,000,000 Down Jackets: While a million may be overdoing it if you’re running on the seawall, down has been my favourite form of outerwear this winter in the city and on the trail. It’s the perfect extra layer if you’re heading to a viewpoint or to watch the sunrise since it’s light, packable and super warm in the cold. I learnt this trick from my friend Hilary, whose pack is like a magicians scarf of never-ending down jackets! I usually wear a light Northface one on the way up and have an extra thick Joefresh one in my pack for the top, a vest for a back-up-just-in-case emergency, and my Lululemon run for the cold pullover in the city.
  4. Light-weight backpack: This goes with number 3 if you’re in the mountains…you need somewhere to put those down jackets…and snacks, water, camera, hand warmers, etc. And since winter stuff is heavier (except the down), I recommend the lighter the better! I have a Marmot one from Atmosphere that I love.
  5. Really good cold-when-they’re-wet socks: This is important in the city if the snow is wet and on the mountain always since you’re bound to fall knee-deep into it! I usually wear my Pro-compression (PC) sleeves under my tights for comfort and then I’ll opt for a wool sock on my feet. In the city I like the icebreaker ankle socks, but in the mountains I usually wear higher no-name-not-so-cute Costco ones rated for -40…I can’t remember the brand😬 They not be the most fashionable, but they keep my toes warm even when they’re wet so they’re a must when it’s any number below freezing!img_0026

What’s your favourite gear in the winter months?

Let’s Catch Up!

Oh hi, remember me?! It’s been a while since my last post as I’ve been MIA for the last few months! I had a major switch up to my work schedule which pretty much turned everything else on it’s head and, as you can see, it’s taken me a while to sort my sh*& out…BUT I’M BACK! And since it’s been so long, I thought the best thing to do would be to take a page from Christina’s (aka the athletarian) book and catch up with a coffee date post. So grab your favourite mug, fill that sucker up and I’ll get you caught up…

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photo by Hilary Ann

Finish Lines Crossed: Since I ran so many back-to-back races from June-Sept, I was desperately in need of a “racing” time out. BUT I did pace 2 races at the end of October for the Rock n’ Roll series in Vancouver; the 10k and the half, which were both no pressure runs and really fun! Other than that the last few months have been all about building my base for my 2017 races and playing in the snow.

Favourite Adventure: I’ve been super lucky as my weird schedule (Weds, Fri, Sun off) matches up perfectly with one of my trail running friends (who also happens to be an amazing photographer), Hilary. So my favourite adventures have been with her in the last few months, and since I can’t pick just one my TWO favourite are:

  1. Elfin Lakes because it was my first snow-run of the year.img_0026
  2. Cypress Mountain because we laughed our butts off and worked our abs more than our legs! img_0038

Currently Eating: Since December was SOOOOO glutinous (I think my cookie count was up to 6 or 7 a day), my husband and I have decided to do the 21 day sugar detox for the month of January. So I’m currently eating all the veggies and all the protein, but dreaming of all the candy and chips (hopefully those cravings stop soon!).21-day-sd

Currently Reading: How Bad Do You Want it? by Matt Fitzgerald. 2016 taught me that my mental game needed some work so this book has been a HUGE help! I’m going to do a review of it in a week or two…I’m on the last chapter!how-bad-do-you-want-it

Currently Obsessed With: Running obvs…but in terms of gear, my favourite item has to be my Lululemon “Run for the Cold” pullover. I’m obsessed and I’ve definitely worn it more than I care to admit in the last 30 days!

Currently Signing Up For: my first race of the year the Vancouver First Half on Feb 5, and other than Seawheeze (which I’m so excited to run for the fourth year), I don’t have anything else on the calendar…YET. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my 2017 goals!

Okay, I think that’s enough about me for now, what’s new in your world lately?