Wednesday, December 28, 2016

10 Great Races to Add to Your 2017 Race Calendar!

1.  Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  April 2, 2017.  Not to be missed.  This race is a DC institution and self dubbed "Runner's Rite of Spring".   People travel from all over the US, hoping to get perfect race conditions that line up with peak blooms!  The lottery is over, but they do allow for bib transfers and that window is open Feb. 1-Feb 28, 2017.  People are always selling their bibs as the race gets keep an eye out and put the word out that you are looking! 

2.  Marine Corps Marathon.  October 22, 2017.  "More Than a Race".  So true.  You will feel such emotion and pride for your country running this one.  You will feel an amazing sense of gratitude for our service members and their families.  You can't beat the amazing 26.2 mile tour of the Washington, DC area...staring at the Pentagon, running past monuments, the Potomac River and ending at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  Entry for this race is also by lottery which opens on March 22.  I have run this race 4 years in a row 2013, 2014 and 2015, 2016 and you can click on the year to read my race recap.

3. Navy Air Force Half Marathon  Sunday Sept. 17, 2017.  This race is a great PR friendly course - mostly flat, start at the Washington Monument, through the monuments of DC and Rock Creek Park.  It comes in early September at the perfect time when all your hot summer training lends to a PR on the cool race morning!  It's a perfect race too because it hasn't become so popular (YET!) as it's relatively new and so there is no lottery for this one.  But mark my will grow every year!   Register here:  You can read my race recap from 2014 here

4. Annapolis Running Classic  November 2017 Date TBD based of the Navy Football schedule.  Great race through historic Annapolis.  Not flat and not a PR race, but the after party will make the 13.1 mile jaunt well worth your time.  Lots of micro-brews and oysters in the party tent.  They always have amazing premiums for the runners as well.  You can read my recap here of the 2013 race.

5. Smuttynose Half Marathon October 1, 2017.  Great fall seacoast course and a great medal with the Smuttynose Harbor Seal on the medal!  The beachfront after-party in true New England style is fantastic as well.  Lobster rolls, clam chowder, and Smuttynose Beer!  You can read that recap here of the 2013 race.  I can't wait to make it up north for this one again one day! 

6. Love Run Philly Half Marathon.  March 26, 2017.  Was so fun to run past the rocky steps and run past all the flags that line the Ben Franklin parkway! 

7.  Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon and Lobster Bake.  Portland, ME July 8th, 2017.  Race field capped at 4,500 to keep it small.  Coastal course with Shipyard beer to refresh you at the finish. It's only $60 until 12/31/16 and save 10% by registering through this link:

8. Army Ten Miler.  October 8, 2017.  A great racing distance, the 10 miler and supports a great cause.  This is also a very popular race and sells out very quickly so you have to stay on top of registration when it opens on May 24, 2017. 

9. Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon.  April 29, 2017.  Downhill, speedy marathon starting in the mountains outside of Las Vegas.  Finishes in Las Vegas where I plan to celebrate and recover....racecation!   $105 with a $5 facebook discount. Plus select join a team and join "Team Nuun" for an extra $5 off.    Free photos and finishers video.  They also have the most liberal deferment policy I've seen of any race. 

10. Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon. August 2017 This race is already sold out for this summer and word on the street is that they WILL allow bib transfers this year.  If you don't get a bib, you can still attend the Sunset Festival attached to the race as tickets can be purchased separately if you aren't running.  A great waterfront course in Vancouver plus sunset yoga festival and concert.  You can read my recap of the 2015 race here.  If you did get in for 2017, I am super jealous of course, but  as always want you to have the time of your life!  Check out the guide I put together to help you make the most of your trip! 

11. Thinking Ahead to 2018!  January 2018, plan a trip to Florida for the Clearwater Distance Festival!  A beautiful course with great ocean views.  You can read my recap here.  A fantastic beach destination race but not for PRs as you will cross 2 bridges twice each.  Great post race festival with unlimited pasta and beer.

Product Review: Mizuno Breath Thermo Cold Weather Gear

It's no secret I love to run in the winter.  I don't let the cold weather stop me from my 5am runs.  I prefer to get bundled up and head out in 20 degree darkness than jump on the treadmill if I have a choice.  The key to being successful and maintaining my training over the winter, is the right gear.

Enter the new Mizuno Breath Thermo line meant to keep you warm on winter runs due to it's heat generating technology that uses your body's moisture to generate heat. 

I tested out the Base Layer Crew and I was very happy with it.  Not only was it comfortable, but it kept me at just the right temperature on my 40 degree run.  I also am really happy with the style.  It is a bit longer in the back and fits just right.  I will mention Mizuno does run small, so I normally wear an XS in most brands but I wore a Small in Mizuno.  I really like the blue and orange design as well. 

The Mizuno Breath Thermo Warmalite gloves kept my hands very warm.  I actually got too warm and a bit sweaty mid run and I took them off.  They offer reflective detailing and a storage pocket on top of the hand that could hold a key. 

I have been really happy with Mizuno products lately.  I am normally a huge lululemon and Nike devotee but Mizuno can give them a run for their money! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Product Review: The Mizuno WaveRider 20 Running Shoe

Nike has changed their Lunarglide with the recent models and not to my liking.  The Lunarglide is technically a stability shoe but it was also such light stability that it was basically a neutral shoe.  The newer versions now have way too much I am in the market for a new shoe.  Runners know that changing shoes is no easy task!  Have to test new models, take them for runs to see how they work for us....who's got time for that?

Mizuno contacted me to send me a pair of the new Mizuno WaveRider 20s and I was happy to test them out since I was in the market anyway.  Perfect timing!

I have taken them out on a 6 miler on the road and worn them during a track workout so far. 

Here are my thoughts:

Look:  I do like the way they look.  They are pretty sharp with clean lines and a bright blue color.  Not to mention the box that they came in was beautiful!

Fit: They are slightly more narrow and fit smaller than my Lunarglides, so it is worth noting that you may have to go up a half size in Mizuno to get a fit that you are used to.  I normally wear a 6.5 but those were too tight and I had to exchange them for the 7. 

Feel:  They definitely gave me a nice neutral ride with a good amount of cushion.  The cushion is a stiff cushion, not a pillowy feel, but I liked that I could feel the road.  They definitely felt responsive.

Overall, if you are in the market for a new shoe- I would try the Mizuno WaveRider 20.  They are definitely a part of my shoe rotation now and will get a lot of miles this marathon cycle. 


Monday, November 7, 2016

#OwnTheRun with GoreTex

I am so happy to have been sent the Women's Saucony Ride 9 GTX shoe to try out!  When I was contacted I was so thrilled as I was about to head to a Ragnar Trail Relay that would get soaked by Hurricane Matthew.  Unfortunately, the shoes arrived after I had already boarded my flight.  Major bummer as the GoreTex liner would have been a game changer!

Women's Saucony Ride 9 GTX is a neutral shoe with great cushioning and traction for the trail.  I am very excited for the GoreTex feature....wet feet are the worst on a run!  It has been super dry here in DC and it has not rained since I got them!  I have not been able to test out their waterproof-ness on a run yet but will be sure to update this post as soon as I can take them for a spin in the rain!  I am running a spring marathon again so lots of training will occur during the winter splashing through snow melt.  GoreTex brand is all about weather not being an excuse and encouraging runners to #owntherun no matter the weather.

Now the GOOD STUFF....

Goretex is celebrating their new shoe collaboration with Saucony, Brooks and Asics by giving away a head to toe Gore-Tex outfit: shoes, shorts, running pants, jacket, and headphones!   You can enter here:

I know each of you #OwnTheRun in your own way- so tell GoreTex how and win!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Race Recap: Dogfish Head Dash 8k

Dogfish Head Dash

Registration: sells out in minutes.  Last year registration opened on April 1, so keep your eyes peeled to their Facebook page!

Location:  the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE.

Course:  the course was nothing spectacular but was a five mile loop around the surrounding neighborhoods and town.  It's a large race so there was a good amount of crowd support and distraction with all the costumed racers!  The real joy was the finish line!

Finish Party:  this is where the fun happens!  Each racer gets FOUR Dogfish Head brews.  Amazing!  Great food at the finish such as fresh bagels, a yogurt and granola bar, fruit, drinks, etc.  There were also a number of food trucks- even one serving apple cider donuts!

Lodging:  hotels book up quickly and hot fairly expensive even with the off season.  A friend was able to rent one of the town homes at the brewery for $100 a night on air bnb which is a great deal!  With the late start of the race (9am) we made it a day trip from DC. 

This was a great race and I hope I get in every year!  In addition to the fun after party that you earn after running a fast 5 miles, the race was able to donate $100,000 to the Nature Conservancy.  That is AWESOME in my book.  Plus I love any excuse to head to Rehoboth, DE!  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Giveaway: Two Entries to a Zooma Run Event (For You and A Friend!)

I am giving away TWO entries to a remaining Zooma Run 

event for 2016!  One for you and one for a friend!  The codes

can be used for the all new Cape Cod fitness weekend (9/24) 

and the Florida race (10/22).  Make a girl's weekend out of it!

Yoga on the Beach? Yes, Please! 

Ritz Carlton Amelia Island is the Host for the Event!  Beachfront!

This looks like an ideal place to relax post-race!

Enter below and good luck!

Women's Health Magazine Run 10 Feed 10

I am once again participating in the fight against domestic hunger with Women's Health Magazine and the Run 10 Feed 10!

About RUN 10 FEED 10

Right now, 49 million Americans are going hungry—they don't know when they will get their next meal. The reality is there IS enough food in the world today for everyone to get the nourishment they need for a healthy and productive life.


It's something we can do something about. Together, we can make a huge impact in a very simple way. All you have to do is RUN!
This fall, Women’s Health will once again host our run with a mission. Run a 10K with us, and you will instantly provide 10 meals for those going hungry in your local and surrounding neighborhoods. You can join us by racing in New York City, Chicago or San Francisco, or you can join us at Fun Runs nationwide. If you don't live in one of our host cities - you can still participate! Sign up to run your own 10K or start a team and host your own RUN 10 FEED 10 run. The money from your registration and fundraising efforts will go to those metropolitan areas nearest to you.

There are a few options to participate:

1.) Race in cities such as NYC, San Fran, Chicago and Denver.  You can read about my awesome experience attending the NYC race here: NYC Run 10 Feed 10 Race Report

2.) Fun Run
Race and Fun Run dates and locations now available: hold the dates in your market! The schedule for

Flagship events and Fun Runs is as follows:

 9/8 – Chicago

 9/10 – Atlanta

 9/11 – DC

 9/18 – NYC

 9/24 – Boston

 10/1 – Los Angeles

 10/2 – Detroit

 10/22 – Austin

 10/29 – San Francisco

3.) Run Your Own

To Sign-up: Click here ( and go to Register Now, then scroll down to RUN YOUR OWN. Then select JOIN A TEAM or CREATE A TEAM, select RUN YOUR OWN 5K. You’ll start the registration process and then will again select CREATE A TEAM or JOIN EXISTING TEAM and search for your team. Finish registration using discount code WHDAHLEM.

4.) Donate:  If you don't want to run you can still help the cause through a donation!  My goal is reach a minimum of $50 so any little bit helps!

Please consider joining me!  You can save $5 OFF any city's registration or 10% off the Run Your Own Option by using code: WHDAHLEM.   Do something good for yourself and for your community.  As a teacher, I know that hunger affects more than just bellies, it affects a child's ability to learn.  Let's #dogood together!  All of the money raised goes to the Feed Foundation

You not only will be raising money to feed the hungry in your local community, but you will cross the finish line with a sense of pride, accomplishment and some great SWAG.  Check out the Feed 10 bag.  I love mine and use it all the time! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Race Recap: Revel Rockies Marathon

I DNF'd and it was the scariest race experience of my life.  

I chose to run Revel Rockies after having run Revel Mt Charleston five weeks prior and getting so darn close to that BQ time I could taste it.  I figured this would be a good course since it was so similar and hopefully my muscle memory would be there.   Revel Rockies starts at 10,500ft above sea level.  I didn't think the altitude would be a factor as Mt Charleston started at 7,000ft and I didn't notice it.  

I flew to Denver Saturday morning and was picked up by fellow Nuun team mate, Cody.  We went from the airport to the expo.  We both missed our BQ times at marathons within the last five weeks and were both out for redemption (mine by 1 min 12 secs officially).  I felt ready to run another knowing exactly where to cut the time even with the same run effort.  I had a plan.  I was nervous but I believed in myself.  I had mostly rested since the last marathon and despite a bout of tonsilititis during the in between period, I felt like that BQ plus a 2 min buffer was in reach.  

We had lunch in Golden, CO after the expo and I drank lots of water.   I started to worry about the heat.  It was 94 on Saturday.  Cody informed me last weekend had not been nearly as hot.  We then rested for the afternoon, made a pasta dinner and went to bed by 7pm.  

The alarm went off at 2:30am.  We ate a breakfast of oatmeal and a peanut butter English muffin plus a Nuun and coffee.  We hit the road at 3am headed to the bus pick up.  Being a point to point, the busses take us up the mountain to the start line.  On the bus I drank half my bottle of Nuun and half of a banana.  
I drank more while we waited at the top to start and finished my Nuun before checking my bag.  We hit the bathrooms in which the lines were a little crazy due to space restrictions being right on the edge of the mountain.  Then we shed our Mylar blankets.  It was almost warm enough to not need them.  

We headed to the start and I talked to many runners all trying to BQ.  I wished them luck and told them I'd check on them after in the results to make sure they got it!  And one of the girls didn't- I found her after- next time Kelsey!  And when I checked the results Kim (aka Chowder) did with a 5 min buffer to spare!  

The views were incredible!  We came around one turn early in the course and you could almost hear jaws drop.  Evergreens, rushing water from snow was amazing!  

I started strong and happy with the 3:35 pace group.  I lost them about mile 5. I stayed ahead of the 3:40 group until about mile 12 and they passed me.  I started to realize my dream was dying.  My batteries were draining and my stomach was starting to turn on me.  I had to stop to use the porta potty and 3:45 passed me.  I had dirrehea a total of  four times and one time couldn't even make it to porta.   Around mile 20 I was walking with an older gentleman and he said "all right lets run now" and I responded, "I can't, I think I'm going to poop my pants". And I had to just pull over side of road with no privacy cover- not a finest moment.  At this point any time I tried to run again, my stomach fought back.   I think the altitude affected my supply of oxygenated blood and then what I did have went to my extremities and not to my stomach.  So I wasn't digesting any of my gels.  Then they all just came out in the porta potty 😖Stomach hurt so much I stopped taking gels or any Gatorade but guzzled water.  My hands bloated and went numb at mile 21 (which I later learned is a dehydration sign) so I walked to 23 with them over my head trying to alleviate the situation. Then I started to get dizzy and decided I needed to find medical bc if I collapse out here in the hot sun with the winding mountain roads no one will find me for a while.  I was having lower back pain on my right side only and other runners were telling me it was just from running so far but I knew my body and knew that wasn't it....I feared my kidneys.  I stopped at medical at 23.5 and As I was trying to tell them what was wrong my hands locked up and I couldn't move my fingers!  It's like they were paralyzed....another symptom of my level of dehydration.  I started hyper ventaliating.  They wanted me to get electrolytes right away but I couldn't hold the cup since my fingers wouldn't move so they had to pour down my throat.  They put a finger pulse monitor on me and my heart rate was very high.  Once I could finally breathe I asked about the pain and they said kidneys, possible start of a kidney infection.   I said I'm not finishing this thing.  Not worth it!

I had to wait to get cleared by medical then wait for the SAG wagon.  Then the SAG had to go all the way around the back of the course.  While this was happening,  time just kept ticking.  I was worried about Cody who I knew was waiting and wondering and worrying.  Medical asked if I wanted to call him but I didn't have his number memorized.  It's in my phone but I didn't run with it.  Then I thought of calling Jim because I knew he was worrying with the tracking. Medical realized their phones didn't have service anyway.  

I didn't finish but unfortunately the results say I did due to getting picked up by the sensor when I went to go get my bag around the 5:20 mark.  I found Cody and his friend Dave who were very relieved and worried.  Dave went to go get my bag for me while Cody and I waited- super hero!  

Cody and I chatted and we both experienced very similar digestive issues and rough races....We think due to the heat.  We said goodbye to Dave and headed to board the shuttles back to our car.  
Revel still said I could accept a medal but I didn't initially.  Then Cody told me to get back in there and get it.  If nothing else as a reminder of the experience, so I went back and got it.  I probably won't hang it with my other medals, but I will save it as a reminder of hopefully my only DNF.  

I am sad that I really wanted this to work out but conditions weren't on my side.  But there will be other races....hopefully many other races.  At the airport on my return trip I sat next to a couple at lunch that had each completed 100 marathons!  So this unlucky 7 is perhaps just a drop In the bucket.  I've completed 4 marathons in 8 months and that in its self is tough.  It was not worth pushing my body just to finish the last 2.7 matter how much I wanted to. 

Time to regroup, plan and conquer!  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Product Review: TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch

I was sent the new TomTom Spark Cardio + Music GPS Fitness Watch to test out as part of the Women's Health Magazine Action Hero program.  The unique thing about the watch is it has a music feature, unlike many fitness trackers.  The music really stood out to me because I always used to love running with music, but just couldn't get myself to run with my bulky Iphone any longer!  Now my music is in the watch (it holds 500 songs), and nothing extra to carry.  

One other neat feature that I am still playing around with and can't comment too much on just yet it the heart rate monitor.  I am interested in heart rate for certain workouts and I could never get my chest strap to get an accurate read.  My garmin chest strap worked for my husband but not for me.  I am hoping I will have better luck on my wrist.  

And lastly, the headphones are bluetooth enabled so no more annoying cords.

I want to thank TomTomUSA and Women's Health Magazine for this great watch.  I am looking forward to playing around with it some more!  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Race Recap: Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon

We found this race back in January when I decided I wanted to go to Boston 2017 after my hubby didn't go this year saying he'd save money and we'd run together next year.  Problem was I needed to qualify!  I trained hard all winter knowing this would be my BQ attempt to qualify for Boston 2017.  We flew out to Las Vegas arriving after midnight on Weds night.  We spent Thursday exploring Zion National Park (that post here) and Friday was for relaxing and visiting the expo.  We met up with my friend George who was on my Ragnar team at Wasatch Back last summer.  Jim, George and I are all Team Nuun athletes.   We Run Social also hosted a meet up at the expo and it was fun to meet other runners. 
After the expo, we went home to rest and ate a very late pasta dinner and straight to bed for our super early 3am wake up call.  We got up, dressed and I had two instant oatmeal packets and some coffee.  Then we made the long journey across the city of Las Vegas to get the busses.  We parked and walked the short walk to the busses which was very well organized.  I texted George and we coordinated to get on the same bus and we all sat together.    I was expecting school busses, but these were nice coach busses which bathrooms-  which was a HUGE plus.  I definitely took advantage of that a few times of the ride to the start.  Pre race nerves always get me.....
The busses dropped us off at the start area and it was cold!  We used our space blankets to keep our legs warm and kept our throw away layers on as long as possible. 
Trying to stay warm at the start


We had gotten there early and had some time to kill so we awed at the scenery and goofed off a bit.  Of course another trip to the porta pottie was in order and then it was time to line up in the starting corral.  I looked and looked but could not find the 3:35 or 3:40 pacer that the website said they would have.  I chatted with some runners near me who were also looking for that pacer and realized I was probably in the right spot. 

As soon as the race started, we headed up a hill and due to the elevation you could hear everyone struggling to breathe!  Once we crested the hill and started to head down, I felt much better!  Shortly after the start, it also started to snow on us!  I was glad I had my toss away layers and the gloves and hat that the race provided us at the expo. 

I passed a bathroom at mile 5ish and just decided to go.  I figured I might as well.  I took my gel at mile 6 as I brought 4 gels with me and decided to take one every 6 miles.  When I get to water stops, I slow down and walk through them because I really can't drink from those little cups while on the run. 

This was a great part of the race, where I was feeling very strong.  We were about 14 miles in and had a huge cushion.  A rooster crowed in the distance and the man in orange said, " a rooster- I was born in the year of the rooster".  And I said, " me too!".  We immediately started chatting and were the perfect pace for each other.  We stayed together until about mile 18.  He ran through the water stop and I stopped to drink since I had taken my gel.  I lost him.  I wish I had just made a determination to stay with him as my pacer and do what he did. If I had....I would be in a different situation today. 

After about mile 20, the sun came out and it started to warm up.  The terrain flattened out as we entered the Vegas suburbs and my legs struggled to adjust to the change.  My legs were hurting from the downhills.  I still thought I had more of a time cushion since I was so far ahead.  I had my pace chart but stopped looking at it because I felt like it was making the time go more slowly to keep looking at it and my watch.  Unfortunately that chose may have hurt me.  I needed to keep checking the pace.  One of the last water stops, I was so thirsty that I did stop to walk through just for water, not even a gel.  I walked through the entire stop and had trouble getting going again, I even said out loud to my legs, "come on baby!".
Thinking I am going to do this!
Hurting but smiling

The last two miles seemed never ending and I just wanted to finish.  I just told myself to just keep swimming.  I rounded the corner to see the finish line and tried to give it all I had to cross strong.  Then I looked up and saw the heart sank.  3:41:12.  I had just missed my BQ time of 3:40.  OUCH. 
Crossing the line realizing I missed my BQ

I saw Jen Greunke first as she was cheering along the sides after she finished the half and I all I could say was, "I didn't do it".  I was feeling so woozy and dizzy.  I got water and got a cold towel and walked to the end of the chute where I saw my husband Jim.  He knew and gave me a hug.  Yes, I missed my BQ which I was so bummed about it, but I had to be happy with my PR.  So we got a massage which lifted my spirits and we went to go take our finisher's photos together. 

I was really glad that we got to do this together.  I always love racing with my husband.  He had a great race as well (PR) and he ran a 2:53. 
Looking back, I know where I could have cut off that minute and 12 secs.  That bathroom stop when I really didn't need to go?  That long walk through one of the water stops?  The stop I made to grab someone's trash for them that they tossed?  The little things add up for sure.  Ultimately, I also know that I need to give myself not only the 3:40 BQ but the 2-3 min registration cushion as well.  So even had I made that extra minute I may not have been able to actually register for Boston. 
So, of course knowing I am so close I had to register to run another before the Boston cut off in September.  That would have meant a very early fall marathon and going through peak training in the height of DC summer or running another one right away.  I have done back to back marathons before.  I ran MCM and Richmond 3 weeks apart last fall and ran Richmond 19 mins faster than MCM so the back to back part didn't scare me.  What does scare me is that the recovery after Mt. Charleston was hard.  Normally after a marathon, I am taking jump shots and back to normal the next day.  This time, I waddled like a penguin and couldn't handle stairs for almost two days.  I know I hurt my recovery because we took a red eye flight back to the east coast THAT NIGHT.  Yeah, stupid I know....but it saved us a lot of money.  I am now 2 weeks post marathon and still feeling a little sluggish and taking it easy.  The other thing that makes me nervous is my next marathon will be 5 weeks post marathon.  Last time three weeks felt easy....recover, then taper again.  I didn't really run at all the three weeks in between.  This time....5 weeks is too long not to run.  So I have to do some semblance of training....hoping to recover enough but also not loose fitness....a delicate balance.
So I will head off to Denver in a few weeks to make a second attempt.  Thanks in large part to my enabler buddy Cody also from Team Nuun who missed his BQ last week and so we are in it together for another attempt. Wish me luck and a speedy recovery! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Come Zooma With Me!

I'm proud to be a Zooma race ambassador again this year and I want to invite you to come race with me!  I'm giving away a free entry to any distance for any Zooma location, though I'm secretly hoping you will pick Annapolis!

The Annapolis Race includes a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon and will be held on June 4th, 2016 starting at the Navy Stadium and winding through downtown Annapolis.

I also want to provide you with a training shirt, feetures socks, huma gel and Nuun to start you on the right foot for your training!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Quest for "Racing Weight"

Out of the five marathons I have done, only one other has been a spring marathon- my very first at Rock and Roll DC and my goal there was truly just to finish.  After a few fall marathons and my latest feeling super strong coming in at a 3:51, I thought to myself....I am going to try for a Boston Qualifying time.  I need to knock off 11 minutes.  I know it's doable, but will be full of hard work. 

One of things I notice about myself every year is that my body always seems to put on a "winter layer".  Extra body fat all around.  The last two winters I was able to blame it on my vitamin D deficiency and the weight gain that is associated with that, but this year I did not have the vitamin D issue through making sure I was taking my vitamins and getting out in the sun daily and using my sun lamp.  I am not sure what causes my body to go into "survival mode" and add an extra layer of protection each winter but perhaps I am eating more comfort foods than I realize.

For fall marathons, I always had the luxury of being closer to "racing weight" meaning having a lower body fat percentage going in to race day with out really trying.  Late Spring and Summer the extra fat usually disappears- probably from getting out more and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. With this spring marathon, I don't want to leave anything on the table.  I want to have all my bases covered as I am going for that big, scary goal- the BQ.   I was explaining to my husband that carrying around extra body fat is like carrying a dumbbell through the race, weighing you down but not helping you.  Muscle weight helps you and powers you, extra body fat is just extra weight.  Don't get me wrong, body fat is essential to survival and function of your body.  I am not advocating to get rid of all fat (that would be impossible!) but I am saying that you can get into your optimal racing body fat zone. 

I just started reading, Meb for Mortals and in that book he explains that he essentially does the same thing.  Before a major race, he tries to loose any extra body fat that could hinder his performance.  He didn't say how far in advance of the contest he starts cutting back, I am going to ask him that when I meet him tonight! 

I recently had my body fat measured by Composition ID located at MINT gym in Dupont, D.C.  They have a very high tech measurement process in which your entire body is scanned and you get the breakdown of fat concentrations and lean muscle on different parts of your body.  You should check it out, and tell them I sent you!

Anyway, using the data I gathered from my Composition ID, I knew that my body fat percentage was now at 23.5%.  (Yikes, it was at one time 14% which was measured from a skin fold test).  You can gather your body fat percentage via a skin fold test from a personal trainer at your local gym. A body scan such as the one from Composition ID will be more accurate and will give you not only body fat percentage but also your fat mass and lean mass which may differ from the estimates using the Competitor Magazine Calculations.  I will calculate racing weight using only the body fat figure first and then calculate a second time with the additional information I have my Composition ID scan.  

Calculating Racing Weight (process gathered from Competitor Magazine using only body fat %)
Step 1: 116.2 (current weight) x .235 (body fat % as a decimal) = 27.3 lbs (current body fat mass)
Step 2: Lean body mass = 116.2 (current weight) - 27.3 (fat mass).
Step 3: Goal weight = 88.9 (current lean body mass) / .83 (goal lean percentage)
Goal lean percentage is 1.0 minus your goal body fat percentage expressed in decimal form.  For me that was 17% goal body fat so that equates to using .83 as my decimal. 

Goal Lean Percentage Chart

My goal weight for racing: 107 lbs.  That means I have 9 lbs of body fat to loose.  I have some work to do! 

More accurately, the Composition ID measured my body fat mass as being 26.1 lbs and my lean body mass as 85.1 lbs.  I will use these figures to recalculate using the same process. 

Step 1: Body fat mass from Composition ID 26.1 lbs. 
Step 2: Lean body mass from Composition ID 85.1 lbs
Step 3: Goal weight = 85.1 (current lean body mass) / .83 (goal lean percentage)
Goal lean percentage is 1.0 minus your goal body fat percentage expressed in decimal form.  For me that was 17% goal body fat so that equates to using .83 as my decimal.  Using that for my calculations instead leads me to 102.5 as my more optimal racing weight at 17% body fat.  That would mean 13.7 pounds of body fat to loose.....yikes!

In reading Meb for Mortals, he highlighted that even elites struggle with extra weight and work to get down to their optimal racing weight so I guess I don't feel so badly! 

Have you ever worked to get down to a "racing weight" for a big race?  How did that go for you?  Any tips or tricks to share?