Monthly Archives: June 2012

No Knee-Pain, How to do Non-Girly Pull-Ups and Other Milestones


If it weren’t for the slight soreness in my legs this morning, I wouldn’t believe that I actually ran 18 miles yesterday.

It was my first truly long run of the training season, and it went better than I had anticipated. In years past, I’ve run the trail (clockwise) starting at Langlau, around the Kleiner Brombachsee,  Igelbachsee, and the Grosser Brombachsee, and by the time I get to Ramsberg I am either in serious pain or…well…I’m usually in serious pain.

The first year of marathon training, I was sucking down ibuprofen and goo packs to get me through–little did I know those things actually harmed my performance. The ibuprofen didn’t help and the goo exasperated the swelling, which helped my kneecaps to slide out of place.

The second year of marathon training was better, though my knees ached by mile 15, even with the knee braces.

So, imagine my surprise to arrive at the beach at Ramsberg yesterday with nothing more than my calves feeling a little tweaky.

This year of training has been the best thus far. And it is the first year that I’ve actually accomplished a few of my goals (that I first wrote about in my original blog,

One of my goals was to run without knee braces and no knee pain.

When I saw the physical therapist before my first marathon, she said I could only run if my knees were taped. I had the dreadful feeling there was no way I’d ever be able to run without some sort of device strapped to my knees.

It was more plausible that I would have bionic legs before I would have healthy legs, because I know myself and how lazy I am.

But here I am, nearly three years later, twenty pounds lighter, fueled by plants, minimally shoed and running pain-free.

So far, so good.

In case you didn’t know this about me, in addition to being lazy, I am stubborn, so sometimes, stubbornness cancels out my laziness.

I hold the belief that women should be able to do ‘real’ pull-ups–especially with all the training we get toting toddlers and wrangling strollers.

While I’m not up to ten ‘real’ pull-ups (another goal), I can do four of them, which shows tremendous improvement. And honestly, I never thought I had the dedication required to accomplish something like that.

I began by simply hanging from the pull-up bar whenever I would go down to the basement to switch out the laundry, which, having four kids, happens frequently.

*tip for parents: put the pull-up bar near the laundry room!

Once I could hold myself up on the bar, I started lowering myself to the breaking point, which is signified with an audible groan and a free-fall in a quivering heap.

After a couple weeks of laundry, I got the bright idea to try and lower myself a few millimeters and pull myself up (brilliant, I know). I was so proud of my ‘baby’ pull-ups I boasted to all my friends, who lovingly applauded me like the preschooler I am when it comes to meeting milestones.

Then, the unimaginable happened: I tried ‘real’ pull-ups, and I ended up doing four (before again falling in a quivering heap).

I’m pretty sure that after another month of laundry, I’ll be doing pull-ups for real.

Next come push-ups. And organizing my basement. And mountain marathons. And ultra mountain marathons. And publishing a best-seller.


Sometimes goals seem too big, until you begin to meet them.

I never thought I could run with no knee pain. I was told it was genetic, and that one leg was longer than the other, and that I needed inserts. But by taking a holistic approach, switching my running style and eating habits, and actually working my weak muscles, I’ve been able to overcome the knee pain.

I thank God for that.

I knew I’d never be able to do pull-ups because I could barely hold myself up on the bar–and it was hard. And while I am great about dreaming about doing hard things, I’m not always so good at the actual DOING part. And yet, I can do four pull-ups.

So, if I can do pull-ups, why not best-sellers & ultra marathons? Stranger things have happened.

I don’t expect perfection, nor do I expect things to work out exactly as I dream they will, but I do know there are certain things I have control over.

If I allow my stubbornness to trump my laziness, I may soon find myself doing push-ups in a clean basement.

Creamy Carob Goodness: Recipe of the Week


The thought of going to a Memorial Day Barbecue as a Vegan was a little daunting, and it wasn’t the smell of roasting meat I feared (since meat surprisingly has little appeal to me now), but it was the knowledge of all the sweet goodies I would ‘miss.’

Of course I’m quite accustomed to bringing my own food to potlucks or other functions, since most baked goods make me violently ill.

But I wanted to bring a rock-em-sock-em dish, which is why in addition to all the veggies we brought for the grill, I decided to try Dr. Fuhrman’s Carob Avocado Cream Pie.

If you are not a vegan, you are probably shuddering at the use of the words avocado and carob in the same sentence. But let me just say, anyone who has trained their tastebuds to natural foods should try this pie. It is SO good, I felt guilty for eating it. Not only did I think it was loaded with sugar, but it tasted too good to be gluten-free.

In fact, it is so good that the first ‘test’ pie didn’t make it to the barbecue. 

In fact, it is so good that I made two other pies to ‘bring,’ out of pure benevolence, having absolutely no ulterior motives about leftovers. 

The thought DID cross my mind that my friends would shun the pie, thereby leaving me no choice but to take some home, but I would endure it graciously.

Without further ado…direct from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof your Child:

Recipe of the Week: No Shuddering Allowed Avocado Carob Cream Pie

I have to give credit to Noah, who has been reading Disease-Proof Your Child (totally his idea), and who begged encouraged me to make some of these recipes.

The Raw Materials


1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup crushed raw macadamia nuts

4 medjool dates (or 8 small dates) pitted

The Method:

Place coconut, macadamia, and dates in food processor until everything is powdery. Then, place in bowl and knead the mixture until it begins to stick together.

Plop into pie pan, placing plastic wrap loosely on top. Press down gently and spread until the mixture covers the bottom of the pan.

Cream Filling:

2 tbsp raw carob powder (or more, to taste)

12 raw cashews

1 avocado (I used 2 avocados)

3 medjool or 8 regular dates, pitted

The Method:

Rinse the chunks out of your food processor, and place carob, cashews, avocado, and dates inside. Blend until creamy and smooth. Spoon filling over crust and chill by freezing for one hour before serving.

We found this is best served slightly frozen.

Now that I’ve shared this recipe, I need to sign off and go buy some avocado attend to my chores. 

Guten Appetit!

Bare-Wristed: Running without Gadgets


 When my Garmin Forerunner went completely blank during the first few miles of my last marathon, I briefly envisioned throwing the watch into the lake.
[Read about the Garmin tragedy here]
It was two years old, which seems young to me, but maybe it’s a lifetime in sweaty running-watch years?

After the watch fiasco, I decided to run for the simple joy of it.

I could talk about the romantic idea of running through the countryside, and letting my spirit become filled with the tranquility of the landscape without numbers telling me what I’ve done wrong–and I did that for many months. However, now that I’m marathon training, numbers seem to have some significance.

After all, how do I know if I can run my ideal time, if I’m not recording my training runs?

Thus, I loaded a few apps on my iPhone, hoping that I could 1) monitor my workouts and 2) not damage the bank account.

MapMyRun worked fairly well, until I went over a ridge, whereupon, it lost my signal and placed me at a variety of locations throughout middle Franconia. It said I went 41 miles in 2 hours, which if true, would mean I am, in fact, a SuperHero.

RunKeeper also worked okay…but it still lost my signal, thereby randomly teleporting me and skewing the results.

Searching for something that would track me live ( to avoid using my cell during the marathon to alert the cheer team), I came across MapMyTracks. The GPS signal is surprisingly strong out here in the middle of farm country, and it even followed me through the steep terrain. However, it quickly drains my iPhone battery–and unless I can run a 2 1/2 hour marathon, it won’t last.

I guess I’m not a superhero after all.

Another problem with the iPhone apps is user error, meaning, I always mess up something.

I forget to push a button or I push a button by accident. Or I leave the thing running until my phone dies. I also have the dreadful fear that it will publish inaccurate (or all too accurate) results without my knowledge.

Connect to Facebook? I think not. 

Honestly, the number crunching is taking some of the joy out of running for me. It doesn’t help that I’ve eaten atrociously the past two weeks, and I can feel it in my aging body.

In an attempt to salvage some running pleasure, I did a deliberately slow walk/run simply to mark the mileage. Then the next day, I ran without the gadget.

I don’t know if I was slow or fast, or if it should even matter.

I wonder if I can enjoy my run AND improve my speed at the same time? Because I seem to be the kind of person who gets distracted by the numbers.

Hopefully I’ll find a balance soon.

Or not. Maybe gadgetless training would be a good experiment for me, since I don’t have a ‘career’ or ‘reputation’ on the line?

But the real problem is that I am so self-competitive, I just don’t know if I can completely let go of the gadgets.

I guess I’ll work it out one way or another before July 22nd.

Do you use gadgets during your runs? Which ones do you find helpful?