How I PRd my Half Marathon

How I PRd My Half Marathon - People always tell me they want to be a runner but they hate running. They ask my advice on how they can like running more. Here is what I say…Last weekend I ran my 83rd half marathon. I ran my first one in 2001 when I decided to train for my first ironman.

At that time I was 29 years old and the longest I had ever run was a 10K…once! And BTW…at that time (and for the following 10 years) I pretty much hated running. I did it because I liked triathlon and if I wanted to be competitive in my age group, I had to run. So I did.

People always tell me they want to be a runner but they hate running. They ask my advice on how they can like running more. Here is what I say…

1. If you truly hate running, find another form of exercise that you love or you will never do it anyway! Or you may do it short term but never stick with it long enough to enjoy it or get the benefits running offers.

2. If you hate it but have a strong “why” you want to do it (my case) then keep running.

3. The more you run, the easier it is.

4. The longer you run, the easier the shorter runs are.

5. The faster you run, the less time you spend running a certain distance, and therefore feels easier.

6. The less you weigh, the easier running is.

7. The more nutritious your meals are (lots of fruits and veggies), the more energy you have, and the more energy you have, the easier it is to run.

In summary: Run more, run longer, run faster, eat better, maintain an ideal weight for you, and running will be fun and easy! Once it is fun and easy, you will like it more, maybe even love it!

No short cuts, no secrets, just do it…like most things in life you are successful with!

So basically that is how I PRd my half marathon. That and it was a flat course at sea level.

Over the past 15 years of my running career, I have had ups and downs: injuries, digestive issues, and a love/hate relationship with running to name a few. I even took 2 FULL years off and didn’t run a single step about 9 years ago.

But in the past 3 years, I have consistently been getting faster and improving my running times following the guidelines I posted in this article. I want to place at the top of my age group in my triathlon races this year and qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI (my why).

I am doing a running streak at least a mile a day (I’m on day 57…running more)

I have now done 67 marathons including a series of 7 marathons in 7 days (running longer)

I am incorporating 30-60 second ALL OUT intervals on all my treadmill runs (running faster)

I have lost 5 pounds this year from last year so I weigh less, and I am 100% vegan now and eat more raw fruits and veggies throughout the day so I have more energy and recover more quickly so I can run longer, faster, and more often

So that’s it! The secret is out!

Here are a few other articles that may help you with your run…

Making Running Easier, With Interval Workout!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/making-running-easier-with-interval-workout

I didn’t even really like running…until today!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/i-didnt-even-really-like-running-until-today

Advice For Your First Marathon

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/advice-for-your-first-marathon

How I Trained For 7 Marathons In 7 Days

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/how-i-trained-for-7-marathons-in-7-days

I can’t hear about how much you LOVE running at this time next year!

Share your story with me!

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See you soon!

How to Run a Marathon on the Treadmill

How To Run A Marathon On The TreadmillMy 3rd annual running of a marathon on the treadmill took place the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Each year my friend Wendy and I run a marathon on the treadmill the day before thanksgiving to show gratitude that we have the mental and physical capability to do such a challenge.

This year Wendy moved to Georgia, so I was solo on my treadmill that morning. I decided to post a pic on Facebook and share what I was grateful for at each mile during the 26.2 run. At each mile I took a pic, posted my gratitude, and by the time I was done with both of those, I was half way through my next mile! I hardly had time to listen to my podcasts, drink my Shakeology, pee (poop), watch Scandal, fill up on Energize, or struggle through the marathon! And before I knew it, I was done!

Here was my mile by mile gratitude during the 2016 treadmill marathon…

1 mile down…25.2 to go!!! I am listening to the Rich Roll podcast and his interview with the Spud Fit. He is the guy who ate only potatoes for a year!!! He has lost over 140 pounds and his blood work is pristine health-wise!

Mile 1 Gratitude…

Grateful I have made a lifestyle for myself where I can choose what I want to do on a Wednesday!

Happy Hump Day!!

So far so good! Mile 2 DONE! Easier than mile 1 since I’m not a morning person and unless I am racing I usually don’t workout until 8-ish!

Mile 2 Gratitude…

Grateful for the Rich Roll podcast. I have been listening to it since it very first came out and have loved almost every single episode! I always learn something about someone cool as well as something about myself.

3 miles down! When I am running a marathon, this is a milestone for me. I always think “5K done…I only need to do this 7 more times and I have done hundreds of 5Ks. I got this. This will be easy!”

Mile 3 Gratitude…

Grateful for technology! I love that I can listen to this amazing interview while sharing my experience with you! This is the first year I am doing this challenge alone and I don’t feel alone at all because of technology!

Mile 4 done! Feeling good and sweating up a storm. I don’t swear outside because of the breeze, dry air, and coolness, but the gym is a different story! Plus I’m wearing my full compression tights for maximum support.

Mile 4 Gratitude…

Grateful for self-discipline. I don’t know if it’s an inherent skill or a learned skill, and I’m not always as disciplined as I want to be, but for the most part I will do what it takes to get me toward a goal.

5 miles down!! Legs a little fatigued and I have to poop but other than that I am feeling great!!

Mile 5 Gratitude…

JoeyWhile looking through my photos on my phone I am reminded how grateful I am we found Joey… He makes me laugh every single day!!!

10K done! This is another huge milestone for me during a marathon. My average marathon takes me 4 hours so each 10K is approx an hour. After my first 10K I say to myself “You are awesome! 3 more of these and you are done!! You have done dozens of 10Ks and you know exactly how they feel! Keep it up you are rocking this!!”

Also in a race this is the point where I drink my first sports drink (whatever they have on the course). In training I drink Beachbody Performance Energize. It’s made with beet sugar and has electrolytes and caffeine and I love the taste which is super important for me!

Mile 6 Gratitude…

Speaking of Beachbody, I have been a coach with them for almost 6 years and am grateful my friend Wendy for introducing me to them. I love their mission, their products, and their CEO Carl Daikeler!

Beachbody EnergizeMile 7 done! Poop break! I also grabbed a drink of Beachbody Performance Energize. Break felt good!

Maybe too good….ack!

Mile 7 Gratitude…

Rick SmithI was thinking about my incredible husband and how supportive he has been in everything I’ve ever attempted. I have seriously started like 30 businesses over the past 20 years (with most of them failing).

Plus all my crazy health and fitness challenges I do!! He didn’t choose to be vegan or to be an ironman widow, but he cheers me on every single day!!

Mile 8 DONE!! Time flies when you are having fun!!! Done with the podcast…I think I’ll watch an episode of Scandal!! #guiltypleasure

Mile 8 Gratitude…

Grateful for social media so I can connect with my friends and family every single day!!

Mile 9 done!! Wow that Energize gave me a boost and my last mile was 8:34! Not that I have a time goal, but I like numbers and keeping track of everything! You should see my geeky spreadsheet!!!

Mile 9 Gratitude…

Grateful I was raised by parents and in an environment where I was encouraged to be, do, and have whatever I could dream up!!

Mile 10 in the bag!! I love mile 10 in a marathon! It’s the first mile in double digits and is only about a 5K from the halfway point. I like to remind myself how easily I am progressing toward the halfway point and how many 5Ks I have under my belt. I also remind myself that I have done 5Ks sick and sore and injured and out of shape so I can definitely do this next one. I am a running machine!

I am drinking my Energize every 10 minutes now and the only thing getting sore on my bod is my booty!

The hour on the stepmill yesterday may have been a bad idea!!!

Mile 10 Gratitude…

Speaking of sore glutes…I am grateful for my compression tights and calf sleeves. I am wearing them both today. Since I am not actually trained for the marathon today, I figured I could take all the help I can get!! Compressport and X2U I thank you!!

Mile 11 down the tubes! See ya!! I love mile 11 because 11 is my fave number! Been watching Scandal and doing a couple faster intervals just for fun!

Mile 11 Gratitude…

Kirsten McCay Smith - BeachbodyGrateful for my Pure Romance biz (www.MovingTowardPassion.com), my Beachbody biz (www.RealResultsROCK.com), my coaching biz, and my blog biz www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com) for letting me make money online and on my own schedule! You have allowed me to accomplish so many of my fitness, financial, and personal goals over the past 10 years!!

Mile 12 DONEZO!! Ahhhh! Only one more mile to the halfway point! Still drinking my Beachbody Performance Energize every 10 minutes and actually feel amazing right now!!

Mile 12 Gratitude….

Grateful my body is healthy, strong, able, fit, and does what I ask it to do!!

Oh how I love you 13.1 . Halfway point in any challenge for me means “it’s all downhill from here” and by downhill I mean easy!!! I love hitting the halfway point!! And I’m right on target for my time restraint I have today. It’s not too bad but I agreed to sub a class at the gym at noon so I gave myself 5 hours to finish. Got to 13.1 in 2:02 so I am good to go! Still feeling strong! Getting a bit hungry…may drink a Shakeology® in a couple miles!!!

Mile 13 Gratitude…

I am veganGrateful I am a vegan. I became a vegetarian when I was 8 because I didn’t want to eat animals. Becoming a vegan was a 10 year process of breaking my physical and emotional addiction to cheese and dairy. I have been vegan now for almost 3 years and I have never fly better both physically, emotionally, and ethically.

14 miles down!! 12.2 to go!!! I’ll be honest with you…I love seeing the numbers of calories burned! I know they aren’t accurate on a treadmill, but I know running for 4+ hours will burn a lot of calories!! I’m not as obsessed as I used to be (14 Mile Gratitude) but I still want to be fit and thin. I love food so burning calories helps me stay healthy and in shape on the days when I do tend to over eat! I know I will indulge at the vegan buffet at Native Foods tomorrow for Thanksgiving so I am grateful for the calories I am burning today!!

Mile 15…crushed it!

Yes, I am sweaty Betty but I feel great! This is my longest run since IRONMAN Boulder August 7th. My body doesn’t mind it at all!!

Mile 15 Gratitude…

Speaking of IRONMAN…grateful for my performance last season. I cut over an hour from my ironman PR in Boulder at the age of 44 and am grateful (and excited) to see how well I do in my new age group next year! I love that my body is faster, stronger, and recovers more quickly than it did in its 20s and 30s.

Mile 16 DONE! Yikes! In less than an hour I have to restart or switch treadmills! Last year Wendy ran her first 10 miles on one treadmill and the last 16 on 16 different treadmills!

Mile 16 Gratitude…

Speaking of Wendy…I am grateful I have friends who will do crazy and fun things with me!!

Mile 17…killed it! Ok maybe not so much of a kill as a slap actually I LOVE mile 17 because it means I only have 9 left. 9 is a single digit number and it seems manageable! In a race it is mile 17 where I start counting down. I’ll say to myself “9 miles to go, an hour and a half, nice and easy 3 miles and then see how you feel.’ Usually by then most marathons have an aid station so I’ll start drinking a cup of electrolyte at each aid station.

Mile 17 Gratitude...

Kirsten McCay-SmithI often forget to be grateful for things I take for granted because it’s just part of who I am, but things I like. I am grateful I have blonde hair, grateful for my blue eyes, grateful I am tall, grateful that when I do gain weight my stomach stays fairly flat. I am grateful for my calves and forearms-2 of my body parts I like. I am grateful I have full lips. I am grateful I never got in the habit of wearing make-up or a push-up bra! What you see is what you get!

Mile 18…YIPPEE! My joints are getting a bit achy, but that is to be expected!! I drank half a cup of Shakeology® because I was a bit hungry. I’m holding steady at 10:00/mile which is perfect for me at mile 18. In a race if I have snacks like PROBAR Bolt or an energy shot, this is when I would take it.

Mile 18 Gratitude…

I am grateful for Dave Ramsey and his baby steps. It took us about 7 years to get on board but this is the first time in my life I have had no debt, had an emergency fund, had an HSA, and starting to save money toward retirement!

Mile 19 just flew by!! Ok maybe not flew…But I did it! Just a little over a 10K to go! This is when I am amazed at where the time went. Often I strongly remember the first and last 6 miles of a marathon, but not much in between!

Mile 19 Gratitude…

Kirsten McCay-Smith ShakeologyI am grateful I have a free membership to this gym. I sub fitness classes here so I get my membership paid for! It’s almost like I’m getting paid to run today! Almost!! #professionalatete

Mile 20 COMPLETE! My 3rd favorite part of the marathon (after 3 miles to go and the finish). I finished off my Shakeology®, walked a couple minutes, restarted the treadmill and off and running again! 10K to go!!

Mile 20 Gratitude…

I am grateful for my family. They are all so supportive of me, my lifestyle, and all my choices. I am super excited to see my sis and her kids at Xmas! I haven’t seen them since April and I miss them all soooooo much!!

Mile 1 what?? Is it Groundhog Day? I would not choose treadmill marathon day to be my day I live over and over! Actually I had to restart my treadmill…hit the time limit!! It’s slower going but I will most likely still finish under 4:22 which is always a great goal for being “out of shape”. 4:22 is a 10:00/mile average. 21 down…5 to go!!

Mile 21 Gratitude…

Grateful that thinking about gratitude and sharing my experience with you is making my marathon fly by!! I spend time every single day focusing on gratitude and I know it has made me a better person and my life more meaningful.

Mile 22 done! Filled up my cup and drank half while walking one minute. Pretty much every muscle from my neck down to my toes is achy. Luckily I have done this before and know this is normal, that my body can handle it, and that I can easily finish with 4 miles to go!!

Mile 22 Gratitude…

Grateful my mind is tenacious and more resilient than my body! Running this marathon on the treadmill will only make me  stronger!!!!

I love me some mile 23!! My 2nd fave part of the marathon. This means I have about 5K to go and as I mentioned a couple hours ago, I have done hundreds of them in my lifetime! At this point I know I am almost done! I know I will make it through! And I typically get a 10th wind…at least for 1-2 minutes

Mile 23 Gratitude…

Grateful for my husband’s job. His boss is super flexible and lets him take time off for his adventures and his adventures make him very happy! I also get a gym membership at UCHealth – Poudre Valley Medical Fitness through his job and that is where I do most of my swimming and indoor training for triathlon.

Mile 24 DONE! And I may have tripped on the treadmill belt twice in the last mile. Joints and muscles are all pretty much done but my stubborn brain is forcing them to keep going for 2 more miles!!

Plus finishing my bottle of Energize didn’t hurt!!

Mile 24 Gratitude…

Grateful for my tenacity and pushing when things get hard in my life. The harder the challenge, the stronger I feel!

Mile 25…WHAT??? Only 1.2 to go! This makes me very happy!! My legs are getting super super tight and I’ve been walking about a minute for every 5 of running!! Still on track to finish under 4:22.

YIPPEEEEE!!!

Mile 25 Gratitude…

Grateful for guilty pleasures! I love binge watching shows and drinking Zevia when I am feeling anxious or overwhelmed!!!

26 miles OMG! Sooooooo close! I walked a few minutes but overall felt good! I am super thirsty but didn’t want to take the time to stop and fill up since I’m almost done!!!

Mile 26 Gratitude…

Pure Pleasure LubeGrateful for silicone lube to prevent chaffing!!! When I was w Passion Parties I used Slip-n- Slide and now w Pure Romance I use Pure Pleasure. They are 100% silicone and even after 4 hours of running today and sweating like crazy, I chaffed NO where!!! YES!!

DONE AND DONE! 26.2!! My 3rd annual treadmill marathon is complete! I feel amazing! My legs are tired (DOY) but for not running a lot in the past 2 months I did so great!! I may be sore later today but that is expected! I am grateful for my body! Good job girl!! Now off to bike (easy to loosen my legs and get my bike streak in). I’ll swim later too since that always makes me feel better!!

Mile 26.2 Gratitude…

Grateful for the awesome things that helped me get through the past 4 hours and 13 minutes…

And all YOUR energizing words of encouragements, thoughts, and messages!

I’m out!!!

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See you SOON!

PS – There are affiliate links and links to my business in this post! Help a girl out and support these fine sponsors!!

Running 105 Laps on a Track was Surprisingly Easy

Running 105 Laps on a Track was Surprisingly EasyMy friend Wendy and I like to do crazy stuff! Last year we started a tradition of running a marathon around a track to celebrate the 4th of July. So 105 laps!! I like to say it’s to celebrate the freedom of choice and we are choosing to run around a track for 4+ hours.

I also like to tell people it’s celebrating that I have the mental and physical capacity to do such a challenge. Both are true, but of course there is more to it.

If you know me, you know I like to challenge my body and mind, I like to inspire others to go big, and I like the attention of doing crazy things. It helps my confidence, gives me something to talk about, and grows my businesses. After all, I can’t expect others to attempt hard things if I’m not willing to do hard things myself. And this year it didn’t hurt that I have my “A” race, the Boulder Ironman, in 5 weeks, which for me is a perfect time to run 26.2 miles.

Last year Wendy and I ran together on the CSU track in Fort Collins, CO. We didn’t know what to expect since it was our first year, so we walked, jogged, ran, and mixed it up. Sometimes together, sometimes not. We had a track team training for about 2 hours there as well, so that was a good distraction watching them do drills, sprints, intervals, etc. I also was living in the RV at the time, so I had my dog, Joey, with me and I needed to take him out a couple times, so he even did a couple laps with me. All in all, we finished under 5 hours and it never felt hard or long.

This year I was a little more nervous. Wendy moved to Georgia so we were doing our track marathon at the same time but in different states. I decided to run on the track close to home at Roosevelt High School in Johnstown, CO which is pretty quiet and lonely. I didn’t know how it would be doing it by myself, but was of course up for the challenge.

I left my house at 7:00am to go to the store to get Gatorade. I also had a cooler with me with Beachbody Performance Endurance, watermelon, and almond milk to mix with my Shakeology in case I got hungry. I was all set up at the track with sunscreen and silicon lube to prevent chaffing covering my body and ready to start at 7:30. I grabbed my phone to start my timer and lap counter and was off and running.

As soon as I started, I FaceTimed Wendy to see how she was doing. It’s 2 hours later in Georgia so she was already over halfway done. We chatted for about 45 minutes which got me through my first 5 miles.

I was taking my splits of each lap as a way of counting and keeping track of my time. I wasn’t running for time, but I like to see numbers. I’m a geek like that!!

I felt great! I was running at an easy pace and the only thing that felt a little sore was my lower back, but it was manageable.

After my 45 minute chat with Wendy, I switched directions and started my first set of intervals. 5x (400 easy, 400 moderate, 400 fast, 400 walk).This made the next 5 miles go by pretty quickly and even with the walking, I was still averaging a 10:00/mile pace which would put me at 4:22 total time for the marathon.

I then switched directions, grabbed a bottle of Beachbody Endurance, and walked 2 laps while I drank it.

I finished up the “half-marathon” with a comfortable jog putting me at 2:15 for the half. I then decided to make my goal to finish under 4:30. At this point, I was also getting a lot of sun so I put on my arm/back covers, drank a bottle of Gatorade, and headed out for the second half. My knees and hip joints were a little sore, as was my back, but nothing I haven’t dealt with before, so I jogged the next 2 miles at a consistent pace.

At mile 15 I switched directions again and started back with the same intervals I did before. I only got through 4 repeats when I decided to walk a couple laps, drink another bottle of Beachbody Endurance, and check my texts and facebook messages. Luckily I had convos going on with Wendy and a couple other super supportive friends that reminded me to keep going!! I also decided to look at my GPS which reminded me I was already at mile 20. With only a 10K to go!!! I was an hour away from my time goal and I knew I could do a 10K in an hour, even on tired legs. YAY!!

I switched directions and changed up my intervals to 2 easy run, 1 as fast as I can, 1 walk. Each lap was significantly slower than my early intervals, and my “fast” laps started creeping over the 2 minute mark, but I was watching my lap count go up and before I knew it, I had 7 laps to go…then 4…then 1!!! I decided to walk/skip my last lap to celebrate my victory. I took lots of pics and shared my success with my friends who support and love me.

I couldn’t believe it. I was done! 4:27 and I didn’t feel bad at all!! Of course my joints and muscles were tired, but I never once felt like I was struggling or miserable or any other feelings you would assume would go along with running around a track for 4 ½ hours.

So why did this feel easy? I think I have done enough “hard” things in my life at this point that something seemingly hard isn’t hard anymore. Some of my biggest challenges have been 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 states, double century ride (yes 200 miles in one day), Kona ironman, living in an RV for 2 ½ years, being married for 20 years, working full-time while taking 20 credits in college, working full time while building my first business, getting out of debt, working 4-5 jobs at a time in my 20s, giving up dairy, recovering from an eating disorder, making peace with money, watching 2 dogs die, and the hardest journey of all…loving myself.

Compared to all that, running 105 laps around a deserted track in the middle of the summer is easy!

I am grateful for every hard experience in my life. It has made me who I am and has helped me become the person I am proud to love today. Embrace your challenges, love the hard parts of your life, look your fears in the face and tell them you are afraid but that won’t stop you.

I know it’s cliché to say “go outside your comfort zone” but it’s such great advice. The more you push your boundaries, the bigger they become, and next thing you know, you are running a marathon like it’s a walk around the block. A very LONG walk around the block!

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See you SOON!

The 10 Vital Products I Used to Run 7 Marathons in 7 Days

The 10 Vital Products I Used to Run 7 Marathons in 7 DaysIt’s been a week since I finished running 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days and I am still getting a lot of questions about how my body made it through 183.4 miles in one week. Especially since prior to the 7 days, the most miles I had ever run in a week was 84 (once) and then 74 (once). A typical week of running for me is about 20 miles running and 20 miles walking totaling 40 miles.

During the week of marathons, I had a very regimented pre, during, and post-race routine that I want to share with you guys…just in case you decide you want to do something as FUN as this one day!

And BTW…if you want to know WHY the heck I ran 7 marathons in 7 days OR how I trained for it, I wrote 2 other articles about it.

Before I get into the actual races, we had a 24 hour drive to the first race. During this time I made sure I got up and walked at every rest area/gas stop, drank plenty of water and Recharge (I’ll talk about Recharge later), and caught a nap or two whenever I could (hubby was driving thank goodness!!). I wanted to at least arrive in WV loose, hydrated, and rested.

So here is the EXACT routine I followed every single day for 7 days…

1. Sleep – I set my alarm for the last possible minute to get everything done in the morning. I believe sleep is one of the most important things for our bodies and I knew I would recover better and feel better as a whole if I got enough sleep. Unfortunately, this was the one thing my body didn’t take to very well throughout the week. I had a hard time sleeping each night and almost always woke up before my alarm. But my intention was to sleep as much as possible. If I were to do something like this in the future, I would consider taking an OTC sleep aid to help me sleep through each night

2. Cool Azul (https://www.youngliving.org/expandtofreedom) – Every morning when I woke up, I would rub “Cool Azul” all over my legs, hips, and back. Cool Azul is a sports gel from Young Living. My friend Kim gave it to me before I left to use on my sore muscles. It’s an aloe based sports gel formulated with 10% essential oils.

3. Shakeology (www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Shakeology) – After I rubbed myself down and got dressed for the day, I would drink Chocolate Vegan Shakeology with water. This is the nutritional shake I have been drinking at least once daily for the past 2 ½ years. It is vegan, I can drink it with just water so it is quick and convenient, and it is full of amazing superfoods and nutrients that have helped me become an incredible athlete over the past 2 ½ years. I would fill my shaker cup with cold water, empty the packet of Shakeology, shake it, take a selfie for Instagram, and then drink it.

4. Recharge (www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Recharge) – Recharge is a sports drink by RW Knudsen Family. I love it because it is simple with nothing artificial added to it so my GI system does well with it over a long period of time. Basically it is apple juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and water. It is organic and tastes refreshing. You can buy it from most health food stores, but it is more convenient and less expensive to buy from Amazon. We stayed with a friend halfway through the week so I had a case delivered to her since I drank more than I had anticipated the first few days.

5. E&E (FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/E&E) – Energy and Endurance is the other sports drink I drink on a regular basis and I rotated it in with my other 2 drinks during the marathons. E&E not only has a blend of nitric oxide boosters, amino acids, natural energizers, electrolytes, and essential B vitamins, but also has a little caffeine to give me an extra kick when I am getting tired. This way I don’t have to drink cola or Red Bull which is on a lot of courses now. I love it because it gives me the kick AND taste is super mild lemon flavor working well with my GI tract.

6. Beet Performer (FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/BeetPerformer)-Beet Performer is 100% beet juice in a convenient can. Beet juice contains nitrates which help oxygenate your blood and combat fatigue. It has also been shown to improve stamina and strength and allow the body to recuperate better from physical activity by increasing the amount of oxygen and blood flow to the muscles, heart, and brain. It also reduces inflammation which is key in multiple day hard or long workouts. I had Beet Performer in my rotation with E&E and Recharge.

7. Shakeology (www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Shakeology) – 4 out of the 7 days I drank a shake halfway through the marathon. On these days I felt a little hungry or more tired than normal so I wanted to add a little boost of calories and nutrients to help get me through the day.

8. Slip & Slide-LUBE!! The first 3 days I chaffed in places I never had before. I have a great lube I use for chaffing called Slip & Slide. Unfortunately the product has been discontinued, but I have enough to last at least another year. I used a TON of this stuff over the 7 days. It’s 100% silicone so it takes care of hot spots or any rubbing going on during my running. I used it every night too in all my chaffing places and by the 4th day, I was down to my normal chaffing areas. PHEW!!

Since I know I will run out eventually, I did find a replacement with the same ingredients as my old stuff. It’s called Ultra Pure Premium Bodyglide (http://amzn.to/1MNplSW). I’ll get some as soon as I am out of my stuff!

9. Shakeology (www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Shakeology) – IMMEDIATELY after finishing the race no matter how much I didn’t feel like eating or drinking anything, I would make another Chocolate Vegan Shakeology. I brought my shaker cup with me, filled it with water at the finish, added my packet, shook and drank. NO MATTER WHAT!! And this is tough because I usually don’t feel like eating anything immediately when I finish a marathon, but it was vital for my recovery!

10. Ice Bath – As soon as we were back to the hotel, I immediately took an ice bath. Here is the secret to an ice bath because they are NOT fun! Sit in the tub WITH your clothes still on. Turn on the cold water and let the tub fill up. It will be cold, but it is very gradual and your clothes will keep you warmer. When the tub is full of cold water, add as much ice as you can get your hands on.

We were at a hotel so we filled all our coolers with ice and dumped them in. Sit for about 5 minutes then slowly start removing your clothing starting with your legs and ending with your feet. You can keep your top on but lift it up if you tend to get a sore back when you run. Sit for a total of 20 minutes if possible and then immediately take a warm (not hot) shower for as long as you need to warm up. I did all my race reports in my ice bath to take my mind off it. You can find them all here… http://conta.cc/1W0yGM8

11. Nap – As my AMAZING hubby drove us to the next state, I would nap as best I could. Like I said earlier, sleep is vital to recovery and I needed as much as possible. We had our dog with us so we stopped more than normal which was good so I could get out and stretch my legs every hour or so.

12. Epsom Salt Bath (www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/EpsomSalt) – When we got to the next hotel we would settle in, eat dinner, and then right before bed I would take a warm Epsom salt bath to relax my brain and my body.

13. Recharge (www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Recharge) – Before bed I would drink a quart of Recharge to stay hydrated, replenish my electrolytes, and make sure I had lots of fluids in my body so that it would repair itself the best it could through the night.

14. Sleep – Finally, I would sleep. I had a hard time falling asleep but would lie quietly and still and meditate, visualize, or plan how awesome I would feel the next day while running 26.2 miles all over again.

So that’s it! That is how I ran 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days.

ANY QUESTIONS??

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Thanks again for all the support during the 7 days. I have the best peeps on the planet!!

See you SOON!

How I Trained For 7 Marathons In 7 Days

How I Trained For 7 Marathons In 7 DaysAbout 3 years ago I decided I wanted to run a marathon in every state. At that time I was 40 years old and had run 24 marathons, but only 7 different states. I decided it would be fun to do it before I turned 50 so that gave me 10 years to run marathons in 43 different states.

4-5 marathons a year in different states seemed pretty realistic to me. So anytime I had a free weekend and there was a marathon within driving distance I went out and did one. That took care of another 7 pretty quickly, but then I had finished all the states within a 12 hour drive so I had to get a little more creative with my time and money.

Earlier this year I happened upon a company called Mainly Marathons (www.MainlyMarathons.com) that does series of marathons for days in a row in different states to help cater to people who are running marathons (or halves) either in all the states or just racking up numbers.

I was coming home to Wyoming where we were parked at the time (a whole other story…we lived in an RV) from California where I was living with my sister for a month, and noticed the timing was perfect to detour and hit Kansas and Oklahoma on my way home. The catch is that they were back to back. As in one on Friday and one on Saturday!!

The only time I had ever run 2 races back to back was New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day…and those were only 5Ks.

So in the normal “Kir” fashion I thought “What the heck…I’ll give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen? Well I woke up the morning after the first marathon barely able to get out of bed (for those of you who have run a marathon, you know exactly what I mean. Full weight on the sink and towel rack just to sit on the toilet RIGHT???). I made it to the start line and managed to run 18 of the 26 miles that day. PRETTY IMPRESSED WITH MYSELF I might add! It was AWESOME to check 2 states off in 2 days (I like checking things off my to-do list) and I learned a lot about how I was going to train and prep for my next series.

And that series JUST wrapped up last week. 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days. WV, VA, TN, NC, SC, GA, and AL. I still haven’t figured out if that was the “easy” way to get in 7 states, or the “hard” way. EITHER way, I have been getting so many questions about HOW I trained for the series, so I wanted to share my secrets with you!

I actually had an amazing training plan. But 2 months before the series was to start, I developed a very angry sciatic nerve and couldn’t run (could barely walk) for an entire month. Like all I could do that month was walk slowly with my dog and swim easy. I had already registered for a marathon with Mainly Marathons in North Dakota the following month, so I decided to test out my healed injury. I went from no running for a month to running a marathon…again, totally “Kir” fashion!

And I was shocked that I could run the entire thing! However, the lack of training resulted in being more sore than I remember being in the past few years. Barely able to drive home and then the entire rest of the week was slow-going. The following weekend (again I was already registered) I ran a half marathon, and surprised myself by running the entire thing, even “negative-split” the course (that means faster the second half), but like the marathon, I was incredibly sore the next day. And I had 22 days until the series started. I took a week off (swam and walked) and then “started” my training.

My training primarily consisted of recovery. Secondarily of running 10 miles a day for 10 straight days finishing 2 days before we left.

Here’s how it went down…

Each day I would wake up and drink my Shakeology (a super nutrient dense protein shake), take extra turmeric and spirulina supplements and then run 10 miles. I don’t care how much I didn’t feel like running 10 miles, I made myself do it. The first few days were fine, but it got old fast! Same routes, same neighborhood, same number of miles. The hardest part was the time it took each day to get in all the miles. Some of the miles were super slow because I had to build my dog-walking time into the 10 miles to have enough time to do it all. A couple days I had to break it up into 2-3 runs which was even less appealing. But all the “not wanting to run” was the best part of my training. It trained my mind…which is the hardest part of a running series. Running even when you don’t feel like it.

One day I was so busy all day I had to wake up 3:45am to run at 4:00am to get it in. And most of you know…I am NOT a morning person!!

So the most valuable part of my physical training was the mental training and it really came in handy come race day!

It also gave me confidence because on the last few days I felt great! My body was recovering quickly and responding quickly to the training. I did forget to mention that prior to my injury I was training for a 50 miler that I didn’t get to run so I had done a 38 mile run. But in general, my weekly mileage was about 20 miles of running and 20 miles of walking with a few exceptions. I was pretty well trained before the injury, so my body bounced back quickly…PHEW!

After my run I would drink another Shakeology for recovery, eat a clean veggie heavy dinner, and take an ice bath before bed.

I repeated this 10 times, took a day off and then we left to drive 2 days to the series start in WV.

And it worked. I felt awesome during the races, recovered quickly, and kept a strong positive attitude throughout the week.

I have written 2 other posts about the series if you are interested. One is my daily video reports from my ice bath and one is the products I used to get me through.

Reach out if you have other questions or are wanting help training for any running or triathlon races you want to do.

And stay connected with our Happy Hump Day newsletter by texting FFFF to 22828 or going here…

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And thanks AGAIN for all the support and love you gave me during the series! It really helped get me through on the tough days! I knew you wanted to see me succeed and I didn’t want to let you down!

See you soon!

How I PRd My Ironman Marathon

How I PRd My Ironman MarathonFrom what I have seen, read, heard, and experienced, the Ironman marathon is one of the toughest parts of the race.

Even for runners, experienced triathletes, and those who have completed their training “perfectly”, too many factors come into play after 5-10 ½ hours of swimming and biking.

Whether it’s fatigued legs, tired heart, overworked brain, or lack of digesting the calories, electrolytes, and nutrients you are feeding yourself, I have seen the best endurance triathletes in the world reduced to a walk (or something resembling a walk, shuffle, wog, drag) by the end of the marathon.

I completed my first Ironman distance tri in August 2001 and immediately signed up for another then another then another. I added in some shorter distance tris and runs for training, but always focused on the long distance.

I typically finished in the 30%-ish of my age group but I was determined to get faster and train more and maybe on the off chance when the planets were aligned with the sun on the 1st Wednesday after the full moon I could MAYBE qualify for the “elusive” Kona World Championships.

But I kept training and getting similar results. I was really hard on myself telling myself I needed to eat less, train more, blah blah blah. I continued to disappoint myself so in 2008 I decided to take a year off to get my HEAD in the right spot. A year turned into two. And in 2010 I was ready to come back.

It was a harder process of getting in shape because I had gained 20 pounds and no longer taught regular fitness classes. I struggled through an early season ironman distance race and then started to focus on my nutrition and recovery more. By the end of that year I had one of my “easiest” races ever!

But even in my easiest race, the marathon at the end of the ironman distance was always pretty ugly.

Even after I had done hundreds of 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon races, I still couldn’t nail it! I typically had bad GI distress coupled with achy joints and tired muscles. If I was going to improve on my run, I would HAVE to make some changes.

The reason I just shared a bit of my background with you is so you can understand that I am an average runner and athlete. I am not a natural cyclist or runner and it’s taken me years to learn about my body and fine tune my training so that I get the best result I can get.

I have read my share of tri stories and training programs and bios and although they are SUPER inspiring, there aren’t many that have helped me in a practical way. They are either written by amazing athletes or people who have had tragic accidents or illnesses and have overcome and conquered.

My story has neither…I am a boring, average girl wanting to continue to set PRs and possibly hit some good luck at a super cold, hilly, high altitude race where such a high percentage of people didn’t finish that I could finally grab that Kona slot!

So I want you to know that you don’t need to be a naturally gifted runner, you don’t need to have a compelling “why”, and you don’t need to do anything super crazy to feel great during the marathon portion of an ironman distance triathlon. I made 5 simple changes to my training that I want to share with you.

In my 10th Iron distance triathlon over a span of 13 years, I finally had an awesome marathon. I attribute it to these 5 things…

1. I ran more overall, total mileage, frequency, and distance

2. I cleaned up my eating

3. I was on my bike more, mostly on my trainer

4. I swam longer sets with more drills, fins, recovery

5. I visualized my race every single night before bed

Now I know you may be looking at these 5 “secrets” to my success and be thinking “DUH” but there are a lot of reasons we don’t do any or all of these, and I hadn’t for 9 other races, so I couldn’t be the ONLY one.

The reasons I hadn’t done all 5 of these before is…

1. I was addicted to junk food

2. I worked long hours

3. I was too tired off the bike to run

4. I wasn’t motivated to get on the bike

5. I was always sore/fatigued

6. I had reoccurring overuse injuries when I added more running

7. I didn’t have the energy for long workouts

8. I thought I had to do my long workouts back to back

9. I was following a strict training program that didn’t allow me to listen to my body

10. I wasn’t in a place in my life to take the time to allow my mind to focus on me

Train Smarter for Better Results: How To PR Your Iron Distance MarathonGet the book! Train Smarter for Better Results: How To PR Your Iron Distance Marathon

In 2013 when I PRd the marathon, I had FINALLY found a way to get around all 10 of these obstacles and I share them in my book “Train Smarter for Better Results” which you can get here (www.KirstenMcCay.com) for only $2.99.

I hope this gives you hope that you too can conquer the 26.2 mile run after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112.

HAVE FUN!! And see you next week!!

Why I Ran A Marathon On The Treadmill

Why I Ran A Marathon On The TreadmillMy BFF Wendy and I like to do crazy things to celebrate the holidays. Several years ago we started swimming 10,000 on Xmas eve, a couple years ago we starting ringing in the new year with a long swim on New Year’s Eve (this year will be 15,000 for 2015), and then of course there is our birthdays, where we always come up with something fun and interesting.

We had been talking for the past two years about doing a marathon around a track since neither of us had ever done that. About a month ago, we decided to make that our new Thanksgiving tradition. I’m in Southern California this year, but she’s in Colorado, which has been unusually cold so far this Winter.

So a couple days before Thanksgiving, she asked if I wanted to switch our new tradition to a treadmill marathon since neither of us had ever done one of those either. Of course I said yes!

So was born our First Annual Gratitude Treadmill Marathon.

I would love to say I do these challenges to raise money for a great cause, bring awareness to something important, or even inspire others to go big and stretch outside their comfort zone, but the truth is I do these challenges for more selfish reasons.

I like the attention of people calling me crazy, I love pushing myself and proving that at age 42 I can do more than I could at age 22, and let’s be real here, I adore the fact that I start my Thanksgiving weekend with a 4,000 calorie deficit.

However, as with all events in life, there is a silver lining.

I am a health/wellness coach and I love when people say to me “since you did that, I can do this” or “because you didn’t give up, I know I couldn’t either.” So to be able to inspire others to attempt something new, accomplish a goal they never thought possible, to do something purely for the fun or challenge, or to love themselves more is ALWAYS a bonus.

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My Longest Run EVER!

I have friends who have done 100 mile trail races that take over 40 hours to complete, start at 10,000 feet in in elevation, and go up and down mountains, so it’s hard for me to say I did an ultramarathon yesterday. But semantics dictate that anything longer than a marathon is an ultra, so technically I am officially an ultrarunner. Here’s how it went down…

I had a blast and can’t wait to do another! JOIN ME!

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And to think I started running ONLY to be able to complete an Iron Distance Tri!! Crazy where life takes us sometimes!

My longest run ever