3.18.2016

Here Comes the Sun

Instead of picking a New Years Resolution this year, I decided to pick something new to focus on every couple months. For January and February, I made my physical health my priority. I had just switched to a new insurance provider, so I selected a new primary care provider, got over my fear of the dentist, and went to the dermatologist for a skin check. Those last two agenda items made me the most nervous.

While I was proud of never having a cavity as a kid, letting my anxiety keep me out of the dentist's chair for a couple years left me with 3 cavities that I had to get filled. It was obviously not fun, but I'm glad that I got it all taken care of before things got much worse.

But on to the real point of this post... I had long dismissed the recommended annual skin check as not all that important. Then, a friend my age told me about her own experience with skin cancer, and I decided I just needed to put on my big girl pants and go. As an athlete, I spend a LOT of time in the sun. And I hate to admit that I've never been a big fan of sunscreen. When I was a young swimmer, I frequently had pretty serious sunburns because I refused to let my mom put sunscreen on me. I never gave much thought to sun protection -- I just figured I was too young for it to be a serious issue.

I'm sure some of you are cringing right now. Or you're yelling at me through your computer.

But, I had my wake-up call last month. The dermatologist found a spot on my back that she found very suspicious because of its color and irregular shape. I kept telling myself it was probably nothing, but I was pretty panicked while waiting for the biopsy results to come back from the lab. I was convinced I was going to get a call telling me I had skin cancer.

When I heard back from the doctor that the spot was NOT cancer -- the official diagnosis was "benign neoplasm of uncertain origin" -- I was relieved and made a commitment to be much better about protecting my skin from the sun. Now, I've tried many brands of supposed sports or active sunscreens, but hadn't found one that didn't run when I sweat or get wet. Plus, I'm not exactly thrilled about the idea of rubbing a bunch of synthetic chemicals into my skin. I have to live in this skin for the rest of my life, so I wanted to use a product that would be good for my skin.

And here's where this post turns into an advertisement, but be assured that it is a sincere and heartfelt advertisement. :-)

I have been very fortunate to partner with RocketPure, a company in Bellingham, WA that makes natural bodycare products for athletes. I met up with their founder Alex when I was in Bellingham for the US Trail Half Marathon Championship last fall, and he gave me some of their products t to wino try. Over the next few months, I plan to tell y'all more about why I love their products, but I thought I would start with the sunscreen because of my little scare and because we're getting more sunny, warm weather lately, so it's the perfect time to talk about sun protection!

RocketPure's sunscreen (available in 1oz and 3oz tubes, paired with lip balm) is made with all-natural
ingredients (as are all their products) and has an SPF 30. The active ingredient that protects you is Zinc Oxide. Yep, that zinc oxide is the sunscreen that leaves your skin with a whitish tint. Remember the lifeguard by your childhood watering hole putting white goop on your news? Zinc oxide. My major concern was that it would run and get in my eyes. I was particularly worried about how it would perform in the chlorinated water at my swim classes.

So, what's the verdict?

No sunburns, and no sunscreen in my eyes. I've tested it in a variety of conditions, and it has never let me down. I was a little hesitant about how I thought it would make me look like a ghost, but the whitish hue really isn't that pronounced. If anything, it's actually a bonus because it makes it easy to see if I've missed a spot!

In short, protecting your skin is SUPER important, and I HIGHLY recommend checking out RocketPure's all-natural sunscreen. Because I'm really excited about this and I want to help spread the word, I'll be giving away a Suncreen-lipbalm combo to one of you! Just comment below or tweet at me (@allterrainrunnr) to tell me about your favorite way to play in the sun and I'll enter you to win! Winner will be chosen randomly on March 31 from among the entrants and if there are enough entrants, I'll probably offer more prizes. At the natural bodycare party, the more the merrier!  :-)

2.07.2016

Re-Boot

It's been a while. Where have I been? Well, I've been rehabbing this stubborn hip injury I've had since the US Trail Marathon Championship exactly 3 months ago, and I didn't figure people were too interested in hearing about what I was doing while I was injured. I've spent a ton of time swimming, getting treatment from my chiropractor, working, starting grad school, and running on the AlterG (anti-gravity treadmill) at less than my full bodyweight. It's been a long, tedious process, but I've been surprised at how much I've started to enjoy swimming now that I'm getting better at it. Honestly, even though these 3 months have been frustrating, I think this time has been a really good re-boot for my body and mind so that I can start trail training fresh.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a terrible time of year to be injured. My first big trail race of the year isn't until July, so I have plenty of time to cautiously ease back into things and build up in a smart way. It has been difficult to be stuck inside when I love running in the snow, but 2016 is the year I will finally make rational decisions about my running instead of always getting so emotional about everything. In the past, I've frequently made poor decisions that have led to me getting injured or overtrained, and I'm really making an effort now to think about what is actually best for me in the long term. I think having an experienced, knowledgeable coach who can help me make those decisions is really key, so I'm finally ready to announce who my new coach is!

After several months of talking to various coaches and weighing the pros and cons of each, I've selected Scott Elliot to guide me in the next phase of my trail running career. Scott himself won the Pikes Peak Ascent 8 times and coached Kim Dobson to a new Pikes Peak Ascent record in 2012. After talking with Scott at length about where I've come from and where I want to go, I'm confident that he has the know-how to get me there. It's going to mean a lot of very hard work, but I'm really excited to get started.