Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Betty Invasion #GranfondoHincapie

One event I didn't want to miss this year was the Hincapie Gran Fondo. Its not a race, it's an event.  When you can head south in October, meet up with your badass teammates,  hang out, volunteer, ride together and climb, and climb some more and celebrate then end of an incredible season together it's a beyond epic weekend. 

Traveling to races and training camps are fun, yet focused, and out to accomplish a mission.  It might be to get in shape for season, race, qualify, set a PR, prove yourself, beat your friend or whatever the goal might be. It becomes somewhat self focused on the mission of the trip and needing to go to bed early, eat right, fit in work outs, make sure gear is functioning to perfection, bikes checked in, breakfast lunch and dinner at the correct hour all to achieve the goal. All that is fine for the time. But this trip allowed for some epic riding, while having so much fun in more ways than just racing and training. I signed up for this in May and confess many times through end of summer and early fall almost bailed due to logistics, travel, its CX season and missing races, wanting to save time off to go home to Oreogn and whatever else I could come up with. I am so so glad I didn't give it up because it was beyond worth it.   About 20 teammates from all over the world literally descended upon Greenville SC for the George Hincapie Gran Fondo.    It was so fun to meet so many of my teammates in person, ride, volunteer, hang out and celebrate! 

I arrived Thursday afternoon to the Swamp Rabbit Inn., a local bed and breakfast in town that is biker friendly and the most rad set up ever;  perfect for a group of  Bettys arriving from all over the world with bikes ready for some adventure.   The accommodations were so incredible, so comfortable, with everything available for a weekend of fun.    We had coffee in the morning in the kitchen,  wine and pizza post ride in the family room,  packed bikes on the deck,  shared race and life stories at the picnic table, then crashed at night in the most fluffy and comfy rooms equipped with everything needed for a perfect trip away. 

The  Invasion party Thursday night, started off the weekend the hosted by the Hincapie Ambassadors.Thank you to them for setting up a fun meet and greet to kick everything off with an amazing food trunk and Hincapie Fondo wine!   A perfect way to meet up with all teammates arriving to town from all over the country, and world actually.
BETTY INVASION stopped the party

Friday morning TeAMBETTY volunteered for several hours at meals on wheels of Greenville, a local charity supported by Hincapie.  We packed over 1300 hot meals for locals in need, and then delivered meals in person.  An amazing time bonding with teammates and giving back to the community. EVERBODYisaBETTY.   

Pre ride night in Downtown Greenville at Halls Chop house!

Saturday we all descended upon Hotel Domestique ready to ride.   I myself haven't been riding long, and haven't ridden more than about 40 miles since mid summer because I was running and  focusing on CX  but I was excited to check out this amazing ride, and climb and climb and climb some more. OMG I love those hills. And it was so worth missing a week of CX to ride in these hills and experience this.  Because its not really a race, there are rest stops, not aid stations. The first was like a block party! Loud band food, sunshine, in a fun little town in the hills. It was hard not to hang out all afternoon! After this the real climbing started and its been awhile since Ive done some true climbing but I LOOOOOVED it.  More please!  It was so gorgeous and hard not to want to stop and take a million pictures. 



Everyone finished and celebrated at the post race party.  The setting in hills was gorgeous with amazing views, food, and friends.   Until next year.  This is on my event calendar again for 2017. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Its in the air!!!

Its out there in the air floating around like Pokeman.  Its energy, excitement,  motivation, …change…..a new season. You can almost touch it!

Summer's ending….you can feel it even though its still hot humid and muggy, it's everywhere and it's not hiding> the end of summer.  I've been squeezing in shopping for school supplies, new school clothes and fitting in eye exams for 13 y/o who has entered world of wearing contacts.

 Football practices have started, along with hitting  workouts early before carpools …and I have to turn the lights on sooner in the evening. I've even seen the Halloween/ Spirit stores now have their signs up.   And ….cross is coming. Its been a fun summer of running with a few more races to go, but its in the air…..CX season!

Once football starts, and first day of school is just around the corner, my summer is basically done. I love summer,  and live to be outside and soaking up as much of the outdoors as I can, but there is something safe and exciting about a regular school schedule a new year and new season.   The highlight of my summer was my trip home to Oregon which is just about my favorite place ….EVAH!   This trip was extra amazing because my brothers were home with their kids. For part of the trip we had a great weekend visit near Bend celebrating my parents 50th anniversary. 50 years with same love through thick and thin is truly so cool.
Happy 50th

 My Dad is fighting stage 3B cancer. He is doing so incredible, fighting it and coming along just fine. My mom is there by his side driving him into Portland to all the appointments, and treatments making him eat, drink and telling him to stop rest.  While there I went to 1 chemo treatment and met his Dr. who was incredible. I was able to leave feeling much better about his fight and the whole treatment process.
Cancer Sucks

I ran a lot while home, actually the most I've ever run in a single stretch. 6 days in a row with so many amazing miles that added up to more than I've done in 1 week. True runners do this all the time, but I love to bike too, so don't normally run so many consecutive days. However, when in Oregon without my bikes … was perfect. I finished feeling strong motivated and ready for more, but also ready to have a date with my bike once I got back home.    My heart is truly in the mountains and outdoors, I LOVE it, and I soaked up as much of the outdoors as I could:   
seen on my run!

hanging by the river



making sure there are no snakes

Olympic Fever is also in the air! The spirit and energy of the Olympics is so contagious. Its hard not to get caught up and addicted to watching. I've gone to work a little tired with an Olympic hangover (just staying up too late/ getting up too early)  Seeing the hard work and dedication is just a little more than motivating!  While I am vey far from an Olympic athlete, Im still so motivated to get out and train hard, push myself and do best I am in whatever I may show up doing. These days running has been so fun and going well. Its been super muggy and hot that can leave you nearly throwing up at the end of a hard effort. Why not give it your all right? I just raced the BigTen10k in the city.

It was such a fun race with very fun post race celebration tailgate style. Who wouldn't want to dance with the mascots post race? 
Wobble with a WildCat, I'm a Northwestern Med School alum!
But the Buckeye was the best dancer!

I finished 2nd in my AG but not quite as fast as I had wanted either from slowing down too much running in the dark stuffiness of Lower Wacker, or just not enough speed, because I've been logging miles for an upcoming half marathon. Cross is coming though and I've been hitting the trails earlier than usual this season, experimenting on mtn bikes, crashing some and playing in the dirt.  


Speaking of Olympics, If you had to pick what event  you'd compete in what would it be?  The roads we take and bridges we cross make us who we are, all the good and bad turns are part of what we become.  I was a college volleyball player, turned triathlete for 20 + years who now loves to run and race CX.  Many miles of biking running (with some swimming ) over the years I still wouldn't pick to be an Olympic runner cyclist or triathlete.  I think my event of choice would be heptathlete, because they train to be the best in multiple events over several days.  Every day I go for gold in being the best  single mom, physical therapist, runner/ Cx racer, homeowner, daughter, sister, and friend. There are gold medal days, and often epic fails. Winning requires getting back up, wiping the dirt off and, lacing up your big girl shoes and trying again.

Friday, June 10, 2016


I've been part of some very fun projects lately that are essential components to great running and racing.   My friend and former fellow co-worker Kathy and I just finished a 3 week Running Essentials series. We taught new runners who are training for the Fox Valley Marathon/ 1/2 marathon some of the essentials for a great training program and race experience.   There are many elements to a great race,  and race season, but as physical therapists who like to analyze the body, and fix or prevent injury we focused on: 

Week 1 flexibility
Week 2 run specific strength
Week 3  efficient form. 

As their mileage increases through the summer preparing them for the race, they are now equipped with stretches, strength exercises and tips on proper run form to help them prepare for a successful race day. Good Luck girls! I'll see you out there!

Even when you do all the proper training, hard workouts,  stretching, strengthening and preparation for a big race sometimes things don't go as planned. Also part of a great race day performance is proper nutrition, rest and mental focus.   I recently raced at the Soilder Field 10 miler. I loved this race and was super stoked to race. I had some great training and physically was ready to race. But the day before the race, I found out my Dad has stage 3 squamous cell cancer. I hadn't slept well, or  ate well for several days waiting for the results, and certainly didn't have mental toughness needed to push the pace I wanted.  Its hard to run fast when your heart is heavy. I walked a bunch, cried a tiny bit , and my body still feels numb, but still finished with a smile and was thankful to still have the gift to run. 

For the past 3-4 years, I have had the privilege of working with an outstanding young athlete who has had great success in her running. I've gotten to play a small part in her development of running and watch her get stronger and faster over the course of her high school career.  She has all the essentials to being a great runner and has remained consistent with working on strength and form in her off seasons with our SEP program at my clinic. Recently she finished 4th at state in the 2 mile with a school record,  was invited to race at the Magnificant Miles track meet in Chicago where she ran her all time fastest mile at 4:51, and will be going on to run Cross Country at Syracuse University in the fall.  Mackenzie has worked on her flexibility, strength, form, she is coachable, dedicated , positive and its been fun to see her develop into a great runner. I wish her best of luck as she gets ready to head off to college.
good luck Mackenzie

Essential to any race is a great post race party. Last weekend my friends and teammates volunteered at the Girls On the Run 5k. This is such a great program getting young girls involved in running at their schools and finishes with a 5k race and celebration. Our job was to face paint their excited and smiling faces after they finished.
#bettysquad  #everybodyisabetty

Summer is really here, my favorite time of year. I maximize as much time as possible to be outside. Some of my new favorite summer essentials to make the most of this super fun time of year.

The new Momentum BettyDesigns+ Rudy Project shades! so fun in the sun!
Betty + Rudy

Hanging on the patio with friends in the evening solving the worlds problems

Beach adventures, a must!
photo credit: breedfreakphoto

Coola sun care!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lets Race!

I've raced for a lot of years, countless triathlons, big and small….long ones and short ones. Races with great results big and small….. world championship events …. local races and complete fails.  Plenty of experience to toe the line, and wait for the gun to go off and race. Plenty of experience to deal with the good and the bad before during and after a race.  I don't get too nervous anymore, not much phases me these days.   But I do still love and get excited to race, and see how fast I can go whether it's a small local race or a big giant marathon, or a crazy huge gravel road race, making it to another starting line is always a fun adventure. 

I've had some fun racing this spring. Jack is in 2 sports;  track and rugby.  
Jack has found out racing is fun/ 7th grade track
It keeps me racing through the day to fit it all in. My job at work fixing people is slammed. My schedule is packed every day. Sometimes it feels like a race to get out the door at the exact time so I can walk in exactly on time and starting treating patients and not fall behind.  Yes sometimes my heart rate is even elevated walking in.  It all doesn't leave tons of time to mega train, or prepare bikes  and gear etc  to perfection for race day , but I fit in what I can and am grateful to still be able to step up to the starting line and race. 

RACING TOP 10s: its simple….
1. don't t try anything new race day
2. prepare your gear
3. have a nutrition plan
4. follow a your race plan
5. don't start to fast 
6. do a proper warm up
7. do a proper cool down
8. go fast
9. have fun
10. celebrate your finish

I was pretty good at doing all 10 for many years when I was racing big.  It may have drained racing the finer parts of racing out of me as I am best at numbers 9-10 currently, even though I still try to go fast.  Im pretty sure after 20 + years of racing  lately I've neglected numbers 1-8 as I've stepped up to the starting line. 

April Racing, thank goodness for experience: 

At our local 5k  5 min from my house I warmed up, not enough and got wet in the rain and froze waiting for the start,  then didn't take off my layers and ran in too many clothes and felt horrible on a miserable day. When this happens best you can do is push and use it. Its still a strong effort and will still add to your overall fitness. It will still help you get faster.  This was a fun race because so many of my pound4pound  gym members were racing. 
Pound4Pound, love my local gym

The best part of my April racing was Barry-Roubaix. A gravel cycling road race. 80-90% gravel roads in Michigan with over 3000 others. 

I decided about 3 weeks out it would work into my schedule, and decided to give it a try.  I only did the 36 because Im chronically short on time and have't ridden much over 2 hours anyway.  But this was such dirty hard fun racing! The gravel was loose dry sandy slick gravel causing you to fish tail down hill and slide out climbing. There were a few crazy technical sections which were my favorite thanks to my love of Cyclocross. I failed on the road sections especially going downhill as my CX bike only has a 1x and I ran out of gears and had to coast as everyone hammered by. All I could do is fuel and recover. I didn't take or have the time to even study the course, um I didn't have any idea it was so hilly, or even get my bike set up right, but who cares it was the most fun I've had in forever racing. I was surprised to find myself up on the podium up against some fast cyclists.  And this post race celebration was top shelf. 
Fun post race party
The mens open.   such a cool shot that shows all the fun

celebrating another finish line

Finally the race I had actually on my Trainingpeaks schedule that Jenny had really been writing great workouts for me was the Naperville Womens Half Marathon.  A new event with a fabulous course. I had put in some great workouts, and was targeting this race. Signing up early months prior  to get a discount is great but then there is a rugby tournament that falls on the same Sunday. So I switch to plan B and still raced, but a 5k.. again, making it goal to just beat my time from 2 weeks prior.  There will be more half marathons this year. This was such a fun race finishing on the track at North Central College. I didn't feel speedy, but had so much fun pushing it and still getting to race. Then I  raced off to rugby and got to see Jack play and score against the current U14 stage champs.    

made it
Cheers to making it to the starting line and crossing another finish line!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Thoughts on 4 and 8 and still chasing dreams

I recently celebrated another year of birth. Number 48 actually.   And yes, I celebrated it…. because even though I keep getting older and seem to be getting closer to  a new age group, I still am able to run, ride and swim (if I still felt the need), train, go to work, set goals and chase them down. 
Dance party and acting my age!
Colorado came to help celebrate!

My goals might be different now than they used be and aren't  #1, or  the top of my very long list of things to do.  But its fun to still have them. They keep me sane, happy, and feeling much younger than my actual age. 

I raced the Get Lucky 14k to start off my 2016 season. Signing up in a hurry while multi tasking lead me to sign up for the wrong distance, I wasn't really sure how far that was going to be at the race start and just ran. Warm enough and fun to shed a few layers and run and see where that winter training has left me

These arm warmers are incredible!

Happy to be racing ! 

Here are some random thoughts on being 48

 ** I don't feel 48, and mostly don't act it and certainly don't like dressing like it.

**Nothing phases me anymore; no workout, training day or race that is beyond epic, or completely blows is nothing compared to what life can throw your way.

**Its harder to recover; I can still do the hard efforts but it takes me longer to get over them.

**I'm afraid to stop moving, running,  riding or I'll wind up like one of my own patients

**Masters athletes can still be fast, there are plenty out there ripping it.

**In cyclocross I race against children, some not even legally old enough to drink the beer hand ups. But I wouldn't have it any other way.  Which leads me to,

**I love it when I still get carded

**Experience, goes a long way.

**I still get scared, but not as much at 28, or 38.

** I've worn plaid polyester bell bottoms in the 70s, double polos and rolled up jeans in the 80s, big permed hair with a banana clip in the 90s, and am living through much of it again (gasp)

4 ----- fun goals for this year
1.  Run a half marathon faster than I did last year
2.  Ride the George Hincapie Grand Fondo with my BettyDesigns Team in Oct
3.  Actually make the trip  to CX nationals
4.  Accept each day with what it brings

8 ----- things I am thankful for
1. my amazing 12 year old who set his alarm to get up early to fix me breakfast on my birthday
2. being able to to still run, ride, play and chase dreams
3. my friends and family who help me more than they know
4. while it can be stressful,  and not flexible... my job
5. that this winter  which was mild and calm
6. the strength I've gained over 48 years
7. opportunities; to help others, grow stronger, start a new chapter
8. perspective; its different at 48 and a single mom, sometimes scary, but empowering at same time

While I didn't make it to California to be part of this team pic! I have my #bettysquad to keep me honest on all of the above!  

Some of my amazing teammates #bettysquad

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ramp up your Run for 2016!

I love to run and running is what brought me to endurance sports and triathlon.  Years ago I started doing triathlons because I loved a challenge. I was never a runner who got hurt and then turned to triathlon. I was a college volleyball player who loved to run.  For a long time I did way more triathlons, than running events.  For a while I was strongest at running, then for some time strongest at biking, and for a while I was a true triathlete.  I was never the strongest at swimming, but did have a few years when I was working hard at swimming I could hang in the in the middle of the main pack. I haven't stared at the black line in 2 years!

Don't get me wrong I still love to ride my bike, and push the pedals hard. More often than not these days, I love riding off road and on CX courses way more than in aero.
riding outside in Jan !

 But I have always loved to run. I love going to the track, the trails, the hills.   Lately I've loved running more than ever.  It fits into my life right now the best. A pair of good shoes, the right layer workout clothes,  a good workout, and a little time is all you need.  Often I run with music, sometimes in pure silence.  I love to push and challenge myself by going fast, or long or over a challenging course. I love being outside and exploring new trails. I love being healthy, sweating on the treadmill sucking air with my heart pounding, and I love just cruising with Zoey through the forest preserves.

 Running helps keep me sane during the most insane and crazy days. I love to run and feeling younger than my age. I love to run because I can. 
My favorite 2015 run/ ColoradoRun!

Ownder and founder of Betty Designs Kristin Mayer shares why she loves to run in this Kristin 's badass video

Why do you run?
Run Free
Do you have some 2016 running goals?….
to be faster, more efficient, less painful, free of injury,
to qualify, PR or beat your friend in a race?
I work every day helping people return to daily life following injury, athletes return to sport, and helping runners make to to the starting line stronger, efficient, and injury free. I could give a 3 day seminar on running mechanics, strength, flexibility and all that goes into smart running. I teach and preach these all the time to my patients, athletes and clients I work with. Here are just a few of my running essentials for 2016

1. A plan/goal: a goal with a proper plan to get there is crucial to smart running. Random acts of intense training, rapid build ups, jumping into to friends/ group workouts can lead to overtraining, injury, and poor performance. Having a goal motivates me to work harder, stay focused and get out the door when its nasty. Find a training plan tailored to your needs, a coach, or mentor that can help guide you safely to a successful finish. 

2. Strength: I'm amazed to find how weak runners can be in their core. (I confess, its even been me at times and I know better) Weakness in the trunk, core and glutes can and will most likely lead to injury at some point and put a halt to training and forward progress towards your ultimate goal. The hips and trunk need to stabilize 3x or more of your body weight landing on 1 leg every step you take while running. Thats a lot of steps in even a 5k, but think about 13.1 or 26.2  A few sides steps with a band and a few side planks and bridges most likely won't get the job done for someone training for half marathons, marathons or triathletes creating huge muscle imbalances. Run specific strength and core exercises are essential to successful running plans. 
One of about 100 or  my favorite strength exercises for running:
side plank with forward/back tap
don't drop the hip or flex the trunk
3 Flexibilty: most runners don't like to stretch, and is mostly the component that gets neglected the most due to time, impatience or just being too tired. Repetitive use of muscles shortens them, creates tension in them can inhibit proper firing. Runners don't need to be able to do the splits,  but should have enough flexibility to not place strain on joints, tendons, or interfere with proper mechanics. Foam rolling takes only a few minutes, and 2 of my favorite stretches for runners is 90% passive meaning you don't have to do a thing, and can still look at the tv or your phone
lazy stretch for posterior chain
tight hip flexors/ root of all evil

4. Form: proper running mechanics can make a huge difference how fast you get to the finish line and weather you make it to the starting line in the first place. Efficient form and proper mechanics can reduce the risk of injury, lower the impact and time spent on the ground or moving sideways instead of forward, therefore ultimately getting you to the starting line faster. When we were little we could run fast without thinking, then we grew up and got jobs, our muscles got tighter, weaker and we got sloppier. Having a running evaluation to assess your strengths weaknesses and form can make a dramatic difference in your running performances. I love to help athletes every day with their running strengths and weaknesses. If you are interested in a gait evaluation you can contact me at
fine tune your form

5. Recovery: resting and allowing your body, and muscles adapt to the stresses you've put on it is essential to healthy running, staying injury free and not becoming stagnant. Backing down the mileage through periodization, cross training and even doing nothing helps let all systems in the body recover adapt and become stronger. After a little rest you'll be surprised how amazing your next few runs can be.  
Feet up to recover

6. Favorite Treadmill W/O : the treadmill serves it purpose. I don't love it, but do when its -20 outside, or I'm short on time.  My favorite treadmill run comes from a former coach of mine from many years ago who is from Austraila and happened to finish 10th in the Olympics one time. I never forget this workout and resort to it when I'm bored or in a pinch because it a great way to focus on form, technique and turnover!
After a good warm up increasing the speed gradually by 2 mph for 10-15 min at 2% grade. then decrease the incline to 0% MS is: 3x
  :30 sec race pace :30 "float" 
  :45 sec race pace :45 sec "float"
  :1:00 min race pace 1:00 "float"
  :1:15 race pace/ 1:15 float
then 1:00/1:00
:30 /30
Race pace is 10-15 sec faster than goal pace, float is 10-15 sec slower than goal race pace, but not full recovery.
On recovery days or days feeling tired, float can be easy recovery pace.

7. Favorite Outside Run: too many to pick from! but I'd have to say over past year its been long runs over crazy hilly trails in the mountains to build endurance, strength and stability. But when I can't do that I love race specific tempo efforts over long course similar to:

30 min warm up
2 x 2 miles at goal pace, 5 min easy recovery
3 x 1 mile descending splits,  3 min recovery
easy c/d

8. Team/support: having a support crew, training partner, coach, team or someone to lean on run to with those amazing workouts, the epic fails, the days its hard to bundle up and face the wind and the days you cross the finish line with a smile makes the journey more successful.  

TeamBetty2016 is one badass team of amazing athletes and support with incredible sponsors to help make 2016 beyond amazing!

Of course there are more essentials such as nutrition, shoes and mental preparation, but I'll leave that for the professionals in those fields to write about.

Thank you to Stephanie who let me use some of her pictures from a recent gait evaluation and Pound4Pound Fitness and their awesome gym!

Happy Running