Monday, March 12, 2018

My Boston Marathon Training With My Pacer

Last year when I was training for the Comrades Marathon I ran the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon and qualified for Boston.  The Comrades Marathon was an epic race and in training for it I raised $3,500 for the Nevada SPCA and my Run For Fido was a success. I love running with my dogs and the dogs at the Nevada SPCA.  I recently have been training for the Boston Marathon with my dog Pacer.  It takes place next month on April 16th and Pacer has run up to 18 miles with me during my training.  Having a dog for a running partner is so great for both of us.  She has so much fun and having Pacer with me makes the miles go by so much faster.  In January I ran a local marathon and she ran 18 of the 26 miles with me.  My other dog Lilly ran the last 8 miles with me.  This past weekend she ran 11 miles of my 18 miles with me.  I carry a snack for her on our long runs like salmon cakes and every once in a while she gets one of my fruit chews.  I give her water periodically from my camelback and then I carry a collapsable water dish for the halfway point.  
I am excited to run Boston for the first time!  Not many people train for their marathons with their dogs but for me its the reason I run.  I love having her by my side and she seems to be perfectly happy running with me.  If you plan on running with your pup get them checked by the vet to make sure they are healthy and able to run.  Work up the mileage slowly and always be prepared to change your plans if your pup isn't feeling well.  Once on a run about an mile into the run Pacer threw up.  I fed her something different than her normal morning meal and it must have upset her stomach so rather than continuing our run we walked home.  Be aware of the weather in particular on warmer days.  Dogs will do anything to please you so they will run even when they are in distress.  Be careful out there and most importantly have fun and be safe. 
My lobster shoes

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

We Did It……and it was so much FUN!

I must admit I haven’t been doing anything serious as far as working out since June of last year when I completed the Comrades marathon.  I have not been a couch potato and have ben doing some exercise daily just nothing extreme like I am usually doing.  I took time to let my body recover and I rested my hip so the tendonitis would go away.  In October I started increasing my running and completed a half marathon with my dog at the end of November.  I’ve done lots of big races such as Ironman races and Ultra Marathons but this little half marathon with my dog was one of the most rewarding.  She is a rescue and it was the year anniversary of the day that I adopted her.  She did amazing and I was so proud of her and how much progress she has made recovering from an abusive past.

I decided that I wanted to run a 30K with her, she is young and seems like she can run forever.  I signed up for a marathon that was a 4-loop course near my house.  I planned to run 3 loops with my dog Pacer and the last loop with my older dog Lilly.  I decided to train for this marathon a little differently then most marathons.  My vet told me to train her like I would train any human.  I figured if she would be running 18 miles at the race then our long run in training would be 15 miles.  Even though I still would be running 26.2 I figured a long run of 15 miles would be enough for me as long as my weekly mileage was about 40-45.  My highest weekly mileage was 45 and I did a 15 miler followed the next day with a 10 miler. 
Race day I felt pretty good and was excited to run.  I was a little nervous about Pacer at the start since there were a lot of people and she gets nervous around new people.  I got to the back of the group and went off last and let me tell you Pacer was ready to go.  She wanted to chase everyone down and be in the lead.  Once things thinned out she wasn’t pulling so hard to get ahead and we settled into a good pace.  Each loop was 3 miles out and 3 miles back.  I had fruit chews for me and a salmon and sweet potato cake for Pacer.  There were 2 aid stations that we stopped at each time for water although Pacer wasn’t too interested in drinking she wanted to keep running.  We finished the third loop and she was honestly fresh as a Daisy.  I believe she could have easily ran another loop.  My boyfriend brought my other dog Lilly for the last loop and took Pacer home. I made sure to tell him to give her the peanut butter kong when they got home.  It was her reward for being such a good girl. 

Lilly is a little older but she was fresh and wanted to run fast!   I had to try and slow her down since I had already ran 18 miles.  We finished at just about 4 hours and 30 minutes.  It was probably the slowest marathon I’ve ran but the most rewarding.  

When I first got Pacer she was terrified of everything on our runs.  She would flinch or react at fire hydrants, loud motorcycles, people, and other dogs.  I got her at 10 months old and she hadn’t been socialized at all.  Just over a year later after lots of work with trainers and lots of running she ran 18 miles with a bunch of other people.  That is amazing and just shows you that running can not only helps humans overcome things but can help dogs too!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

If Your Dog Is Overweight, It's Your Fault!

Pacer has the metabolism
 of a young elite athlete!
Is your dog fat or overweight?  Then you have probably been feeding it too much, giving it too many treats and not exercising it enough.  Its so sad when I see very overweight dogs because its so easy to prevent.  I recently took Lilly to the vet for vaccines and when they weighed her I compared it to the last weigh in which was 4 months prior.  She had gained 6lbs in 4 months!  That is like a human my size putting on about 30lbs!  She was getting less exercise because of the summer but I hadn't changed the amount of food I was giving her.  I quickly put a plan in place to help her lose the weight.  I began to get back on track with our walks and she is getting less food and very few treats.  When it cools down a bit and we can run more often I can start feeding her more.  The lesson here is that the weight can creep up so fast you wont even notice.  It's so easy to gain it and so hard to lose it for both dogs and humans. 
Don't just assume each of your dogs can eat the same amount either.  Both my dogs are about the same size and get the same amount of activity.  Pacer is a youngster who is a lean machine and I feed her quite a bit more than I can feed Lilly who is the same size and gets the same activity.  If I fed Lilly the same amount as Pacer she would balloon up and be huge!  Unfortunately  for Lilly she's middle aged and she is not naturally a lean dog.  Daily exercise is a must for all dogs and humans!  Its good for you and your pup so just get out and do it.  I have to be to work at 5am so I get up at 3am so I can walk my dogs before I go to work.  Sure I would like that extra hour of sleep but its important for us to get our exercise. If your dog has excess weight it will shorten their life and we don't get to be with them long enough as it is so keeping them healthy and fit is important. 

Good snacks like vegetables are low calorie and a lot of dogs like them.  Lilly didn't much like her celery but she does love stuff like cucumbers, watermelon, carrots and broccoli.  
Keeping them active is important and in the summer swimming is always a good alternative to running or walking.  Pacer loves the water but Lilly prefers land and unfortunately Lilly is the one that needs to keep an eye on her figure.  
Lilly has the metabolism of a middle aged female:( 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Comrades Marathon Race Recap

The Comrades Marathon in South Africa is a bucket list race for anyone who does ultra marathons.  It’s one of the most iconic ultra marathons in the world.  It has been in existence for over 90 years and was started by a man who wanted to remember his comrades who perished in the war.  It is not only the oldest running ultra marathon in the world but it’s the largest with close to 20,000 runners.  Another unique thing about this race is the very challenging cutoff time of 12 hours to run 54.5 miles. 

Running the Comrades was going to be the toughest challenge of my life.  Training for this event was special to me not only because of the iconic race, I was also raising money for the dogs at the Nevada SPCA.  I called my cause Run For Fido and I was hoping to raise $3,000 for the Nevada SPCA.  I do a lot of my training for my events with the dogs at the Nevada SPCA and with my two dogs. 
We had a bit of a hiccup traveling to Johannesburg when our flight to Atlanta was delayed and we missed the direct flight to Johannesburg.  There wasn’t another flight for several days so we had to get rerouted through Amsterdam, Paris, to Johannesburg.  It was over 30 hours of traveling but at least we got to spend a few hours seeing the sights in Amsterdam.   We made it to Johannesburg and we spend a night there before traveling to Durban where the race would start.  Comrades is unique in that one year they run uphill from Durban to Pietermaritzburg and then the next year they run downhill from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.  We had a few days to relax in Durban before the race.   Several weeks leading up to the race I was having a lot of pain in my hip.  I had tried dry needling, massage, stretching and all did a very minimal amount of running.  I didn’t get much permanent relief so I was very concerned if I would be able to finish this race.  

The race started at 5:30am and the excitement at the race start was unbelievable.  I had to finish before the cutoff time and I had never had to worry about making a cutoff in my life. In fact it’s not something I have never even looked at when entering or competing in a race.  At this race I had all the cutoff times written down and in my pocket.  It is very unsettling being so unsure of your ability to finish when competing in a race.  With my hip problem I had checked into what I would do if I had to bail on the race.  I mean I am in South Africa and I wasn’t too sure how I would get to the finish safe and sound if I couldn’t finish the race.

As we started the run I didn’t feel pain in my hip. Maybe it was all the excitement or the massage or the rest but it felt ok as we started to run.  There were so many people we were forced to start at a very slow pace, which was a good thing. I ran with my boyfriend for the first half of the race.  The weather was a little humid but very comfortable.  I knew going into this race we were going to have some really big hills but I had no idea just how big and how long until I got to each one.  The hills were like nothing I had ever seen let alone run before in my life.  The first major hill I was trying to run up until I realized I could actually go faster with a power walk.  In this race the people who have completed more than 10 Comrades have green numbered race bib.  Everyone has the number of Comrades races they have done on their race bib.  I realized all these runners who have ran more than 10 Comrades with green bibs were walking these monster hills.  I figured I should follow their lead, I mean lets face it they know what they’re doing if they ran this race more than 10 times!  Power walking the hills was going to be my strategy throughout the rest of the race. 

I was very lucky my hip didn’t give me any problems during this race but about the halfway point my knee started hurting pretty bad.  The awesome thing at this race is they have stations you can stop at for someone to rub your legs with arnica massage oil.  I figured my knee was hurting from my IT band or my calf so each time I saw a tent I had them rub my upper and lower leg quickly.  This helped tremendously each time and enabled me to continue to the next station.  Toward the end it was survival and just getting to the finish before the cutoff.  I knew it was going to be close and was well aware of the pace I needed to keep to get there in time.  On my race bib it had a zero since this was my first time racing.  People running by me must have seen me struggling and new I was going to be close to the cutoff.  As people passed me many of them encouraged me to get to the finish and that I could do it!  As I crossed the finish I broke down and cried my boyfriend was there waiting and the first thing I said to him was, “that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”.  Competing in Ironman is hard but this was a whole different kind of hard!  The medal for this race is the smallest medal I have in my collection of medals but it certainly is the most memorable.  They have been giving out the same medal for the duration of this event.  Going into the race without confidence and then barely making the cutoff was emotional and a very rewarding experience.  The best part of the experience is all the money I raised for the dogs at the Nevada SPCA thanks to my amazing friends and family!  The dogs will have wonderful new courtyard with splash pads, agility equipment, and treadmills for exercise! The best news of all was that my favorite running buddy Sandra from the Nevada SPCA was adopted a few days before the run!  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Revel Race Report

On the bus to the top of the mountain
I found out Sunday a week before the Revel Marathon that we could sign up for the race since it had sold out.   We were on the wait list for the Revel Full Marathon in Las Vegas and I honestly had forgotten about putting my name on the list.  My boyfriend and I are doing the Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa in June and we had to submit a qualifying marathon time before May 2nd.  When we found out Revel was sold out we signed up for a small marathon in Long Beach.  We really didn’t want to go out of town to race but we didn’t have any other options.  Sunday before the Revel race we got an email that we could sign up so rather than go to Long Beach we decided to sign up for the local race and stay in town.  Revel is a downhill run from the top of Mount Charleston down to North Las Vegas.  This run has a massive elevation drop of over 5,000 feet.  While we had not been doing training specific to this race we had been doing lots of up and downhill runs.  Each weekend in preparation for Comrades Uphill run we have been running Red Rock loop, which has both up and downhill sections that are pretty steep.  I was a little excited when I realized the Revel race was a Boston qualifying race.  I am a pretty good downhill runner and my qualifying time was only 3:55 so I was hopeful I could qualify.  I have qualified in the past but it was never a good time for me to do the race since it always conflicted with one of my Ironman races.  I figured I would have to do better than a 3:55 since Boston now has the three-tiered entry process and the faster your time is the more likely you are to get in.  My boyfriend and I set our race goal at 3:40 and this would also give us a good placement at the Comrades race in June. 

Race morning the temperature on the mountain was predicted to be in the 30’s.  We bundled up and got on the bus with the herd of people trying for a PR and/or BQ.  We got to the top with plenty of time before the race, we had about 30 minutes before the race started.  We got some coffee and then stood in line for the bathroom.  I told my boyfriend to get his stuff together while we waited in line because he hadn’t pinned his number, started his music, put his hat and put his watch on all the stuff you should do well before the start time.  He kept saying we have plenty of time.  When we got to the front of the bathroom line we had 8 minutes before the start and he still had to do all that stuff and we still had to drop off our morning cloths bags.  He was still pinning on his number and putting hat and glasses on as the gun went off.  We were 2.5 minutes behind the start group and needless to say I was a bit annoyed.  Thankfully your time starts when you cross the line but we still had hundreds of slow people ahead of us.  The first half of this race is the steepest so my pace was faster than normal.  I find running downhill too slow hurts worse than running at a faster pace.  The problem is that between mile 6-8 my quads started feeling the downhill running and I still had a long way to go.  It worried me and I wondered if I would be able to sustain my pace.  I knew the last 6 miles could be brutal since there was not really a downhill and I would be tired and very sore by that point.  By the halfway point I was on target for a 3:30 marathon but I knew the last 5-6 miles would be slower so I was still thinking it would be a 3:40.  The last 3 miles was brutal physically and mentally.  A small portion was into a major headwind up a slight incline.  I was barely going to make 3:40 and as I was approaching the finish line I had to practically sprint to make the 3:40 time.  I qualified for Boston with 15 minutes to spare!  

I haven’t done a lot of marathons in my life in fact I have done more Ironman races than marathon races.  If I remember right this might be my 7th marathon that I have done and I have done 12 Ironman races.  Today the day after the race I am more sore than after any Ironman races I have done.  People think a downhill run would be great but the reality is that it really beats up your body.  My quads, back, and shoulders are so sore from this race.  I don’t recall ever being this sore after a race and I have done 50 mile runs, Ironman races, 8k swims and paddled the Molekai channel in Hawaii.  This soreness tops any of those!  I only hope it doesn’t last too long because we have a race to train for that is in June! 

My dog didn't care that I ran 26.2 miles she
still wanted her walk!
My event in June is going to be EPIC.  The Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa is the oldest and largest ultra marathon in the world.  I am also raising money for a great organization that helps animals in need.  The Nevada SPCA helps so many homeless animals and they are a non-profit.  I volunteer there running and walking dogs.  The shelter is currently undergoing a major and much needed remodel.  The money I raise will be used to purchase treadmills, splash pads, agility equipment and training for the dogs.  Splash pads in the new courtyard will be a great addition for the dogs to keep cool in the summer and have fun.  The treadmills will be great for the summer, when it gets too hot in Las Vegas to walk all the dogs.  Agility is a great way for some dogs to learn and work their brain and body getting much needed physical and mental stimulation.  So far I have raised just over $2,000 and am hoping to raise $3,000. 
You can support me by going to my Razzo Run For Fido Page.

Thanks for all your help and support!

Run For Fido!

Coach Cyndee

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Does Your Dog Have What It Takes?

Lilly's first day of work at a cancer
infusion center
I was looking for a running partner last August when I was looking for a new dog.  I had recently lost my beloved dog and running partner and I was devastated.  I wanted to rescue another dog and was looking for a young dog that had potential to be a good runner.  As a volunteer at the shelter I run lots of the dogs.
One of the workers who knew me well suggested a dog that recently became available for adoption.  She had just been spayed so she was in the back and I didn't meet her yet.   He brought her out to meet me and my dogs and we met the sweetest dog we had ever met.  She was older than I wanted but once I met her it didn't matter.  I took her home and named her Lilly.  She was 6 years old and some sort of husky/retriever/ lab mix but who really knows she's simply beautiful.  So I started out running her very slow and she took to it right away.  As I got to know her I was amazed at how well behaved, sweet and an all around great dog she was.  I knew she not only had potential to be a good running partner but she had something more. With her temperament I thought she would make the perfect therapy dog.  She loves people and it seemed to be the perfect job for her.  I decided to go through the Michaels Angels Paws Therapy Training Program with her and she past with flying colors.  She now has a job and a purpose and a home with an owner that loves her and would never give her up.  Michaels Angels gives us a list of jobs that they need dogs for and we can choose what will be best for her.  

If you think your dog has the potential to give back and be a therapy dog then I highly suggest contacting Michaels Angels Paws.  They are always in need of therapy dogs to do work around the Las Vegas area.  It is a class that takes 6-weeks and meets once a week.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Run For Fido Important Update

As race day grew closer I was feeling confident in my effort to run 12-hours and 55-60 miles while raising almost $3,000 for the Nevada SPCA.  A week before the race, while on a training run, I fell and broke a bone in my hand/wrist.  I was upset but figured heck its my hand I can at least still run.  That was until I went to see the orthopedic doctor and he said I broke the worst possible bone in my body and the hardest bone to heal properly because of low blood flow to that area.  He was very adamant that I should not run the 12-hour run this weekend or run at all for about month to prevent further damage to the bone.  If I don’t listen to him I run the risk of needing surgery, which is a very difficult surgery to do and recover from.  Needless to say I am not running this weekend or at all for at least a month. 

Run For Fido is not dead since I have a 56-mile run I was planning to do in June.  I will continue my fundraising efforts through June and that race.  The good news is that I have more time to meet my financial goal of $3,000.  You can still follow my adventure on my Run For Fido Facebook page and lets face it this has really turned into quite an adventure!

Thank you for those who have donated and supported me, I will be running in no time at all.  The dogs, NSPCA, and I appreciate your support.  If you know me well you know my determination is relentless!

Thank You!
Coach Cyndee