Kayla’s Running Analysis

As some of you may remember, I had some hip/groin issues during the end of my marathon training. I went to physical therapy at Campbell Clinic here in Memphis. I had two great PTs Nicole and Phillip!

Toward the end of my therapy, they told me about this really great service their clinic offered, a running analysis. Of course, my first thought was Amy Schumer in Trainwreck when she visits Bill Hader at his clinic.

It was not like this, but I will say that every time a doctor tells me to walk normal, I strut for like a split second and have to remind myself I’m not Beyonce!

Instead! It was a wireless system that the analysis guru stuck on my shins that would communicate with a pager like device I carried in my pocket while I ran around the block for about 30 minutes.

 

The analyst, Drew, also watched me run for a bit to notate any physical markers the system might not track. When I got done running for 30 mins, Drew took the pager and connected it to the computer to get the details about my awesome running skills!

IMG_3189Then I was given a ton of information, that made me go huh?! But Drew was great in explaining. My cadence, which is steps per minute, is slow but this doesn’t mean I am slow. It just means that I do not open my stride wide to get more steps in per minute. I take about 100-120 steps per minute and I have an average speed of 6mph.

I favor my right side, which makes sense since I am always injured on my left side. In the photos below you can see that the time I spend with my left foot on the ground is more than the right. Some suggestions he had for this first eval was that I can download a metronome app for running that would help me increase my cadence and stride. This will also help the time I spend from foot to ground to back up. Like, I said, a lot of information!!

 

I had to come back for the final eval which included Drew watching my form on squats, push ups, wall sits, shoulder rotation, neck rotation, trunk rotation and more. All of this information is put into the system and then you are given an at home training plan through the Fusionetics app. Which is really cool.

They give you specific exercises to strengthen your weaknesses. They focus on the area you originally came into physical therapy for. So for me, the hip and groin area. Then they give you exercises to stretch, strengthen and stable your weak areas. They also make you foam roll! And each exercise comes with a video you can watch.

 

 

So all of this is sent directly to the app on your phone. It syncs with your calendar so you know what days you are supposed to be doing it. And the goal is to make a routine you commit to BEFORE running or working out. Which if you know me, you know I am bad about!

So I had to go buy some things, foam roller, resistant bands, exercise ball (which I still need!). I am trying to change my routine to carve out ten minutes before a run to do the stretches and exercises. Since I run at work I was told that you can split up the exercises. Do the static stretches and strength stuff before the run and then the ones that require props, do that evening at home. You can make it work for your schedule.

Now while it seems like a lot and you do have to change your routine I said something to the analysis like “How can I fit this all in?!” He said, “It’s only ten minutes once you get the hang of it. And think about all the time you spent in physical therapy, you don’t really want to come back here do you?!” Touché, Drew, touché.

So huge thanks to the crew at Campbell Clinic for keeping me in tip top shape. Now if I could stop hurting myself when I am not running! *cough* kickboxing *cough*

With healing,

Kayla

Did you know a marathon is hard?!

But super fun, too?!

The above image is me after running for 5 hours 52 minutes!! Of course it was hard, but I trained hard for it too and this will always be something I will be proud of.

To start off, I have to give a huge shout out to my support system! These ladies came out and stayed in the worse hotel in Memphis (Motel 6 don’t go!). They were ran out by bed bugs at 3 in the morning and were standing at AutoZone Park ready to cheer us on bright and early at 6am!

Being surrounded by 26,000 runners to kick off the race was so crazy. It was just so amazing to be in that group of people who were running for so many different reasons.

I was really grateful to start the race off with Sarah since we would not finish together. Let’s talk about badass though! She finished this shit in 4:59!!! Like what? I’m just back here taking my sweet time!

One of my favorite things about the race was the city of Memphis! There were so many fans out there cheering complete strangers on. It was so fun. One street’s neighborhood showed up! They had donut holes, shots, beer, Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, chips, music! I was like Damn! Could you guys move to the end please?!

I also loved being able to run through the St. Jude campus and see some of the patients that I raised money for. Props to those people who helped me reach that goal!

IMG_2269

I didn’t have a goal for finishing by a certain time. I kept my pace around what I trained at, 11:30. Everything was good too. My hip didn’t hurt, my nutrition was working, I was having fun. And then came Mile 20. Which was the furthest distance I had done during my training.

For me to get to Mile 21, it took me 15 minutes! Like what happened? I have no idea. I guess my body just needed to get used to that distance. And it did. After that I picked my pace back up to my normal. Once I got to Mile 23, I was like “You are about to finish a marathon!”

767340_268857944_XLarge

Photo By MarathonFoto

I told a guy next to me, “Mile 23 to 26 is where winners are made!” He was like “Or failures.” Ummmm, Boy, Bye!!

Once I got to that point, I knew I just had to keep moving. I was dodging so many walkers and one couple was like “You go girl! Keep it up.” I was like “I am just ready to be done with this!!”

At that point though, your body is numb. You’re hungry! And if you walk, you just think, RUN! So this will be over faster. Thanks to the tracking app, my friends and family were sending encouraging texts toward the end of the race which really helped me through.

As I crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes and thought, “I cannot believe I just did that. Wait, yes I can. Of course I did that!” It was so amazing. To be able to accomplish something that I had put so much work into was unbelievably gratifying.

767340_268833759_XLarge

Ignore that time! Me crossing the finish line! Photo by MarathonFoto

After the race, I told people that there was no way in hell I would run another marathon. But now….I don’t know. I might do some more. I will definitely be running half marathons, especially the St. Jude. I highly recommend this race to anyone! The expo was top notch. The after race goodies were great! So many options! Oranges, water, bananas, foil human burrito maker, pizza, donuts, BEER!

And thanks to Sarah for waiting a whole hour after she was done for me to finish! It was great to see her smiling face when I came across. Then we had to walk up stairs to get to the food and beer! Like hello?! Whoever designed that has never done a marathon!

Life has been slowly returning to normal. It only took us the whole month to recap our races. The New Year is right around the corner and we hope you stick with us to see what we have in store for 2018! The Badass Unicorns are here to stay and run around!

767340_268845596_XLarge

Photo By MarathonFoto

Peace out!

Kayla

Seasons Change

Seasons change, the weather changes, the leaves change colors and fall. What does not change is the date of our marathon, December 2nd!

fall bundle

No matter what changes are going on in the weather, in the seasons, or even our personal lives, the fact that we still have to run stays the same. The race is not going anywhere therefore we still have to train no matter what changes are going on.

fall leaves 2

Change! That’s a loaded word. With change can come frustration, anxiety, and chaos, but it can also bring joy, excitement, and new beginnings. For myself, I am slightly OCD. Slightly meaning I like things to be a certain way. I like things to have their own place and for it stay there. I like to do things a certain way and to not deviate from that way. Thus I do not like change that much. Change stresses me out and gives me anxiety. I really think it is a control thing. I’d rather be in control of the outcomes of my life. Funny right? Because we all know that will never be the case. Change is constant. It will forever interrupt our lives. So we can either get used to it or forever fight it.

fall path 2

Running continues to teach me every day about life and about myself.  And as the seasons change, running teaches me that change is okay. You have to adapt. As the weather gets colder, I have to now learn how to run with more layers of clothing. I have to figure out the right amount of layers and what is most comfortable as well. I have to get use to running in the cold. I hate the cold! I also have to adjust my running schedule due to the sun rising later and setting earlier. Because of this I have had to do a few afternoon runs in between my am and pm jobs. I am thankful for the time change though. I can hopefully be able to get in more early morning runs now. 

fall leaves 4

Running teaches me that no matter how life changes we still have to keep running. I have worked hard training for this marathon and I’m not going to let any changes stop my progress. Through running I have learned that I can adapt. I am strong and change does not have to be difficult or scary.

fall kayla                    fall sarah2

Without change you are comfortable and complacent. Without change you don’t progress, you don’t grow. Change forces you to fight, to push. Change forces you to change something about yourself which then forces you to grow and become a stronger and better person. So when changes happen, embrace them. Yes it will probably be difficult and uncomfortable but it will also push you to grow into the strong person you are meant to be and the badass unicorn you truly are!! 

-Forever Adapting, Sarah

How Unicorns Run Far

We have made it to November, meaning one month until we toe that start line and put all of our training to the test! Now that we are up to 17, 18, 20!!! mile runs, we thought we would share our long run routines. We thought it would be interesting to share the differences between our routines. If you didn’t know, not all runners are the same. We’d also love to hear about your long run routines! So leave us a comment when you’re done reading.

Okay, so this first part is how Kayla preps for a long run. I thought about referring to myself in third person but I think that would be weird.

I usually wake up an hour before sunrise to give myself time to get ready. So the first thing for me is COFFEE! I take about 15 minutes to drink my coffee and scroll through the social world. Then I make myself something to eat while I finish up my coffee.

IMG_1604

This is my absolute favorite pre-long run breakfast. When I don’t have this, I like to have a toasted peanut butter and jelly. It’s important for me to get enough on my stomach to give me some energy but not too much where I am feeling full.

Next, I make sure to Glide Up! Is it too much information to talk about the chaffing of running? Probably, but it’s reality. This training cycle I found out I can chaff under my arms where it rubs against my shirt. So weird! Just thought my thunder thighs were the issue!

 

Another reason, I have to wake up before the sun is so that I can take my water bottles out to my running route and drop them off. I live in a pretty rural part of Tennessee and do not live around any running trails. (I am pretty jealous of Sarah’s convenient Green Line! Even though I get some great nature shots!) Anyways, I take two water bottles out, one to the halfway mark and one to the two mile mark.

I also carry my handheld water bottle with the strap with me. When I get to my other water bottles, I refill with some nice ice cold water. They make for pretty good rest stops!

Last but not least, I take my first nutritional gel. I used to use Gu Energy Gel but recently I have switched to Huma Plus Energy Gels. They are more natural, lighter on my stomach and seem to give me more of an extra boost. I take my gels at the top of every hour. I have also learned that I need some type of electrolyte drink during the really long runs. So I try to have Gatorade mixed in my waters at the pit stops. This nutritional routine is what has worked best for me. But like I said, everyone is different!

And then finally! I am ready to run! I would love to hear about other’s long run routines. Leave us a comment!

IMG_1639

Kayla and I are perfect examples of how runners can be completely different.

Here’s my long run preparation check list:

The day before a long run:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Stretch
  • No alcohol at all
  • Eat a carb loaded dinner- now that I am eating gluten free this meal usually contains rice, or potatoes.
  • Charge my wireless headphones!!! – I Always forget to charge my headphones the night before so I usually wake up in the middle of the night and remember to charge them or plug them in as soon as I wake up.
  • Get a good night’s sleep

The morning of a long run:

  • I wake up about an hour before I want to start my run
  • stretch
  • make sure headphones are charging lol because I probably forgot to plug them in the night before
  • Eat a granola bar- the best for me is the Kind brand.kind bar
  • Go to the bathroom – a definite must!!
  • Apply Glide to chaffing prone areas
  • I can not drink much of anything before my run – helps me avoid having to go pee during the run
  • Eat an Energy Gel on the way to my run- I am currently still trying to find the best Energy gel for me. I have tried Gu, Huma, and now Hammer. All pretty good. Huma and Hammer contain more natural ingredients and are lighter on my stomach.
  • I make sure I bring enough Energy gels with me on my run- I consume an Energy gel about every 5 miles.
  • I bring my handheld water bottle with the strap with me on my runs. I refill my water bottle with the water fountain at the beginning of Shelby Farms Green Line and at the Tap Routes along the green line.
  • tap route2  tap route

After the long run:

  • stretch
  • refuel immediately- meaning lots of water, Gatorade, and FOOD!
  • post results on Social Media because I am proud that I am I runner!greenline

-Sarah

How do you prepare for your long runs? Leave us a comment!

I Was… I Am… I Will…

I was…

lost, used, beaten, insecure, weak, gullible, sad, abused, far from God, naïve, empty, taken advantage of, unhealthy, mistreated, broken.

I am…

strong, fierce, confident, determined, beautiful, brave, motivated, baptized, closer to God, learning, growing, forgiving, independent, fit, happy, healthy, free, hopeful, a fighter, a runner, a blogger, an entrepreneur, a badass unicorn.

I will…

motivate, inspire, guide others, walk in my purpose, succeed, lead, disciple, achieve, thrive, prosper, encourage others, overcome, live life to the fullest, become all I am intended to be.

I was. I am. I will. was a very challenging and eye opening experience. To write down who I was, was sad and hurtful but then I saw all that I am and will be. I am who I am today because of what I’ve been through and I am so proud of the strong woman I have become. I challenge you to write your own I was. I am. I will. Keep it for yourself or share it with us and others. So many people can relate, learn, and be inspired by your story. This challenge was inspire by youniquefoundation.org

youniquefoundation

-Sarah

100 Miles Later

I’ve been in the trenches of marathon training for a month now. I’ve ran 103.78 miles. I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m hungry. All. The. Damn. Time.

I don’t know if I mentally blocked what training for a half marathon was like but this seems different. I am not even up to the super long distances. Next week I will be hitting 12 miles. Of course, 13 is the longest Sarah and I have ran so we are getting close to new territory. The level of hunger at 25 miles a week is literally ravishing. I can’t imagine what it will be like in another month. I want to eat all the foods!

Other than the never ending need to consume something delicious, the training is going pretty well. I have only skipped one run and one cross training session. I think it was from the sheer fact that training is exhausting. I don’t remember being this tired last time I trained. It may have to do with the fact I get up at 4:30 in the morning. But it comes with some beautiful sunrises, so it works out.

If you are ever thinking about running a marathon, just know, you will be tired and hungry. Very hungry. And sore. I have come to realize how important stretching is. If I do not stretch after a run, I will pay for it by the end of the week. I get horrible lower back pain. So I have been making sure to take the 15 minutes after a run to stretch it all out.

So far, this training has been a good way for me to focus on a goal. It’s been a good way to let my mind wander. I have been able to center my thoughts and focus on a path moving forward. A positive path that will allow me to move on. Training is hard and so is life. But I’ll get through it. And after I cross the finish line, I’ll eat and eat. And eat and eat and eat.

 

Don’t forget, all this training is for a great cause! The children of St. Jude! Donate today!

 

With love,

Kayla

Only 5 miles

only 5 miles

Today was my first time running in over a week! What happened? Life! Life happened. I went out of town for a convention and did not find nor make the time to run. Horrible I know. Especially when in the middle of marathon training.

So today I woke up and told myself that I was going to run just 5 miles so I could get my muscles back into the routine of running. After I said that I smiled. Just 5 miles? Yea its only 5 miles! Only 5 miles? I couldn’t help but to smile and reflect on how far I’ve come.

5 miles is more than a 5K race (3.26 miles). I remember when it was so difficult, nearly impossible, for me to run 3 miles. Now the minimum I run is 5 miles. People tell me all the time that they can’t believe I run that far daily and that they could never do that. I know how they feel because I was there once. I thought a 5K race was impossible but I trained and then I did it. Then I thought that there is no way I could run a half marathon(13.2 miles) but I trained and I did it, twice! Now I’m training for a full marathon and I think to myself, what have I got myself into. There is no way I can run 26.2 miles but I know I will. Because I will focus on the goal, train hard, and keep pushing till I accomplish that goal.

My 5 miles today was tough. My muscles we sore, tight, and it hurt. I was hot and hungry and did more walking then I wanted but I pushed through and got it done! I know 5 miles or even 1 mile might seem like a lot but you can do it. Will it be easy? Hell no. You don’t learn from easy. You don’t grow from easy. You grow from struggling and pushing through.  You grow when you think you cant go any further and yet you take one more step, then another. Will it happen over night? Hell no. It is a process. I’ve been running for 4 years now.  I’ve trained for every race weeks and months in advance. It takes time and dedication. You have to just keep training. Keep fighting. Keep pushing. Keep going and don’t give up. That feeling at the end, when you accomplish your goal is all worth it. That is the feeling that keeps me going and keeps me pushing to accomplish my next goal. The feeling of knowing you are a strong badass unicorn that can do anything you put your mind to is all worth it!

-Sarah

Summer Running

kayla hot runIt’s summer time in the South which means it is ridiculously hot and humid! Kayla and I are continuing our marathon training but this heat is not making it easy. When it comes to running in the summer heat, we both had to learn how to run in hot, humid conditions and how to stay safe. Here are a few quick tips to running in the summer heat!

  1. Run before the sun or after the sun! Waking up early is probably the thing I hate most about running. But I rather wake up early than run in the blazing sun and heat. If you can wake up and run before the sun fully rises (like Kayla 4:30 am! *Crazy I know) then that is most ideal. I don’t get off work till late at night so I can’t wake up that early. But I still try to wake up around 6 am. And yes I do take naps during the day! Naps aren’t cheating! Avoid running mid day. This is the time of day that temperatures are the hottest and the sun is beating down on you. If you can’t wake up early then run after the sun has set!
  2. Choose a route with shade! I absolutely avoid routes in the summer time that have no shade. Shade makes a huge difference. It gives you some relief from the sun. I was so thankful for the shade on the green line during my 10 mile run this past weekend. Also asphalt and concrete retain heat, so running in the grass can help as well. shade greenline*Green line on my 10 mile run
  3. Join the Sports Bra Squad! Wear light weight clothing. I try to stick with mesh type, breathable shirts. I prefer not to wear thick cotton shirts because I feel it’s hotter. Try to wear as little as possible or whatever you’re most comfortable with. Join the Sports Bra Squad. OMG! It’s so amazing and most of all cooler!
  4. Hydrate before, during, and after! I feel hydrating and refueling is the most important during the heat! The heat just takes so much out of you, literally! It is recommended that you hydrate every 20 minutes during exercise. I drink water constantly during my summer runs. If you are going to run outside in the heat, please have water on you or very close by. I know it may be annoying to carry water during your run but it’s definitely a must! Try to drink water or sports drinks an hour before and after your run as well. Sports drinks are sometimes better than water because they contain electrolytes. Be careful with all the sugar in sports drinks though. Kayla and I like to water down our Gatorade. We also like using Nuun tablets* in our water. They have electrolytes without all the sugar. Can you drink too much water? Yes, you can actually. It’s called hyponatremia which is when you drink so much water that it dilutes your blood sodium levels. Crazy right! So make sure you don’t drink more than 32 oz of water per hour. Make sure you are also refueling with electrolytes and food within 30 minutes after your run! The heat will take a lot out of you but hydrating and refueling makes it better. water bottle*Water bottle I use. Fits around my hand so I don’t have to worry about holding onto it. It also has a pocket on the front to fit my phone and Gu. Nuun*Nuun tablets Kayla and I use.
  5. Slow your pace! “Every 5°F rise in temperature above 60°F can slow your pace by as much as 20 to 30 seconds per mile”-Runner’s World. Crazy right. Lately Kayla and I have been running in 75°F – 80°F weather which means our ppm (pace per mile) has decreased by as much as 2 minutes! Just reading this makes me feel so much better. Just recently I was getting frustrated with my 12+ minute miles. Now I know that it’s to be expected. I love what Kayla told me recently “Don’t worry about pace because the heat affects it so much. So were gonna be like so fast in December!” And she is right. Don’t try to try push yourself too hard. Just put the miles in and don’t worry about the pace.
The summer heat can be tough on your running but if you stick it out you will become a stronger runner and a badass unicorn!!
-Sarah