Monday, November 24, 2014

Finding Chocolate in My Pants - A Body Butter Inspiration

Uh. Whaaa?
So the other day I was changing to get ready to go to the gym and as I was climbing out of my jeans and panties (I like to take both off in one full swoop for efficiency) I found a large chunk of chocolate smeared on my inner right thigh. Real chocolate. Not the metaphorical kind. Trust me. A lot of things go through your mind when you encounter smeared ANYTHING in your pants. But being an ultra runner, (and if you've ever been out on a LONG run without toilet amenities you'll know what I'm talking about here) I was confident in my ability to handle the situation.


Suddenly a whole Question and Answer series scrolled in my head.

Question in my head: Whaaaaa?...
(Honestly, I was confused and having trouble comprehending the whole situation.)
Answer in my head: Dear God, that better be chocolate. (After a little inspection, thankfully it was.)

Q: I don't remember eating chocolate recently. (I realize this isn't a question, but it was in my head.)
A: That looks tasty. (Apparently, I'm quick to get over the shock of a brown smudge in my pants.)

Q: What's the quickest way to clean up this mess? (Again. I'm all about efficiency.)
A: Maybe I can lick it off. It would be tragic to let perfectly good chocolate go to waste.
(Yeah. Maybe I could reach it if I had this dude's skills ...)


  
Q: Wait. How'd chocolate get IN my pants? (There were smeared bits everywhere.)
A: Or the bigger question could be: How'd it get in my panties? (Cuz it was in there too.) (I realize I answered this question with a question, but things are often confusing in my head when faced with a crisis - especially when you find that crisis in your panties.)

Q: Is this my chocolate, or could it be someone else's chocolate? (Oh jeez. The horror.)
A: What would someone else's chocolate be doing in my pants?! (I don't wanna know.)

Q: ???
A: ?

Q: Look for caramel!! (Again. Not a question, but a good point.)
A: Yes Sherlock. The caramel would give it away. If there's a trace of caramel then I KNOW it's MY chocolate and not someone else's. (Cuz it's plausible that it could be the chocolate elves' chocolate. You know - those naughty elves who are highly adept at sneaking non-caramel fairie chocolate into obscure crevices on my body.)

Q: If I find caramel, I'm definitely licking that shit up. That shit shouldn't be wasted. (I realize that the word "shit" is probably not a good choice here.)
A: Oooooooh caramel! (Now I'm bending over inspecting the insides of my legs for tasty morsels.)

Q: DamnNo caramel. I wonder if there's more in the fridge?
A: I should just whip up another batch. (I'm easily distracted by thoughts of baking scrumptious desserts.)

Q: Hmmmm. Look at that - I really need to shave my legs. (I'm also easily distracted by my poor excuse for bodily hygiene.)
A: The texture of leg hair and chocolate could be a less-than-interesting combo. (You think?)

Q: You know... if I added a little shea butter to the chocolate, poured in a small amount of almond or avacado oil, and maybe added some vanilla essential oil, this could make a damn good body butter.
A: YOU. ARE. BRILLIANT. (OK. Cuz I am.)

BOOM. And that's how chocolate in my pants became inspiration for a new homemade body butter recipe which I will be experimenting with soon. It will be so good, you will want to lick yourself. I might just share the recipe. But, be sure to shave your legs first.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Krista's Top Ten List of What Not To Wear While Running

WARNING: Hanging booty
I'm pretty sure I broke a running fashion rule the other week. It's probably the first rule of running fashion. 

Running Fashion Rule #1. Never run with your ass cheeks hanging out of your shorts.

Yeah. Shorter than short shorts are a big NO NO. Well for running anyway. They're perfect for pole dancing and for women fifteen years younger than me.

In my defense though, it was one of those weeks where I was hard-pressed to find time for even my 25 minute hill repeats, which meant that I had to let the laundry suffer. And when the laundry suffers I find myself desperately digging through my clothes drawers to find something, ANYTHING, that is remotely acceptable to wear. I was lucky I wasn't going into the gym or that could have been tragically uncomfortable - instead I was running hills and trails in a somewhat isolated area where only a handful of people in a three year time period unwittingly witnessed my brave attempts at peeing-while-standing-up so I figured the odds were good that I could get away with wearing the hanging-booty booty shorts.

So I did what any desperate runner would do. I put them on. Then asked my husband to photograph the atrocity. I needed confirmation.

Too short booty short fix
These booty shorts were just plain wrong. I bought these shorts online not really paying attention to the inseam measurement. Who measures their inseam anyway? I would think there should be a standard of "appropriate shortness" for workout clothing but apparently I was wrong. Even I found the wedgie from those shorts to be a wee bit invasive and I'm a thong girl.

With my need to run growing more and more intense I tried to correct the problem by pulling my shorts down a bit then using the buff around my waist to keep them from riding up again. I think I was about two repeats in when my cheeks were like "OH HELLO THERE."

I accepted my fate. I should have just ran in a pair of bikini bottoms.

I should clarify that I'm no stranger to running/gym fashion faux pas nor to breaking rules.

Footless socks? Wha?
Check out this little nugget -  my footless socks, ironically, for warmth. Yes. I did that. When I was running barefoot a lot I would cut the feet out of my socks and run with the socks but sans the shoes. For warmth. Yeah. Don't ask. There's no answer to stupidity.

Well... I've smartened up over the years by wearing full length socks and shoes for warmth although most would question my style sanity...

I still support this decision. I love fun socks!

And speaking of cold, let's not forget the time that I smartly decided that since my toe warmers didn't fit INSIDE my minimal shoes I would stick them to the OUTSIDE. Yeah. I did that too. They looked like maxi pads, but in all fairness they worked like a charm. 

For about two miles. Then they fell off.

Oh jeez. Where were the running fashion police that day?

Then there were the toe shoes. My vibrams. Many of my fellow minimal and barefoot friends would say this is not a running fashion faux pa, but I would have to disagree. In my case, they were the ultimate fashion faux pa since I bought them forgetting I had webbed toes that would never comfortably fit into them. Duh.
Mud run with my toes shoved into little painful pockets.
Oh and there's more fashion mistakes I've made over the years. Really. I'm the poster child for the worst dressed runner out there. I could go on and on... but I won't - or maybe I will. How about I give you my top ten worst dressed fashion running secrets here? Come on. I know you want to know. *wink*


Krista's Top List of What Not to Wear
(or, if you're me, What TO Wear) while Running
Cuz everyone needs a running fashion guru… 

1. If you’re a badass wear whatever the hell you want. Let your cheeks hang, your boobs sway, rock the rhinestones.  When you're fast and a badass there's no need to dress responsibly. 

2. If you’re gonna run a race in costume make it worth it. Pink assless chaps and a unicorn costume is pretty worth it. For everybody.

Not sure I'd want this guy running BEHIND me.

3. Cotton is the ultimate running fabric. Seriously. If you can stand the chafing it’ll keep you cool and wet in the summer. And you can rock those old concert tees on the trail. In the winter… well who the hell runs in winter anyway?

4. Look the part. Don’t smell the part. Saturate your running gear in large amounts of perfume or aftershave and you’ll never have to worry about friends complaining that you stink. Of course, your running partners will be MIA, but what do you care? You’ve always enjoyed solo runs anyway.

5. Run naked. There’s nothing wrong with running sans the clothes but note there’s a time and place. You’d be smart to do this at night and in a mostly remote area away from traffic. There’s nothing more disappointing than being arrested just as you are about to PR your best time. But on the flip side, running away from the cops could be the most effective technique for PRing. Be sure to bring your Garmin and track that shit!

6. If you’re a guy, “manpris” (running capris for men) aren’t wrong at all - as long as you can kick everybody’s ass. Literally.

7. Test all your gear for a 5k. If you really want to see how that hydration vest is gonna work out, wear it for a 5k. Oh and try that fuel belt too. Oh and those gaiters… and that headlamp… and those compression socks… and don’t forget the running poles. Because ANYTHING can happen around 2.5 miles.

8. Drink it don’t wear it. We all know beer and whiskey are the best hydration for any race so when drinking it’s important not to get sloppy. Don’t spill it all over yourself before the finish line. You’re an athlete not an alcoholic. Ok. Maybe an athletic alcoholic. Either way, finishing a race smelling like a bum is not cool. Keep it neat. See what I did there?

This hydration did not end up on my shirt.


9. The brighter the better. Wear bright reflective clothing on the trails so the bears know where to find you in the middle of the night. Or so your running partners can run away from you when they see you attacking them.

I have been known to attack innocent runners on the trail.


10. Wear race appropriate attire. Be sure to wear a shirt that is compatible with the race you are running. Be clear so there are no questions.

Perfectly appropriate running attire.
For a mud run.


That's my top ten list of what not to wear, or what to wear. Dress responsibly folks. There are other runners affected by your running fashion actions. If you have anything to add feel free to comment below.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, October 20, 2014

Giveaway Winner #2!

Random.org picked #2
Emir! Dude! The universe thinks you need a new shirt, man! You were picked to receive a Zaps Threads original tee. Contact me now at zapmamak@gmail.com so I can get your info and send you a free shirt. Feel free to peruse the selection of awesome shirt designs on my site so you can let me know what exactly you want.

 






For the rest of you... thank you for entering my giveaway. I'm done with slacking lately, so expect more giveaways in the near future. And if you're a NorCal local or even a Born To Run amigo, stop by and see me at my booth at upcoming events. I'll keep you posted on those. Trust me. It'll be worth it. *wink*
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Free Tee Giveaway - Are you ready?

I'm giving away my shirt!
Wanna free shirt? Sure you do. Honestly, I've subjected you to enough of my flim flam these days you deserve a little something for free and it's seriously been FOREVER since my last Zaps Threads giveaway.

I just finished putting three of my latest Zaps Threads designs up on my Spreadshirt site - The Stupid Miles, the Ultra Warrior, and the Ultra Runner tee designs. If you want one of these, or any one of my myriads of other designs you see here you will have to enter this giveaway... NOW. Seriously, folks, those Stupid Miles tees have been stupidly popular and I would hate for you to miss out on getting one for free.


Zaps Threads Men's Ultra Warrior Tee
So if you haven't had a chance to buy a shirt from me in person at one of the events I vended at this year - and trust me, that once-in-a-lifetime awesome experience is much better than the online one, usually involving a free shot, free beer, a special cookie or just my charming personality which you should take full advantage of should you ever find yourself in close proximity to the Born To Run Ultras, She Rocks the Trails, or possibly Way Too Cool next year - then let's not forget that here's an opportunity to get your hands on my shirt for FREE. Ok maybe not *my* shirt cuz that could get me into trouble, but one of my exclusively designed ultra running tees that I've worked my ass off to conceive, design, and produce, mostly to keep myself sane. It's what I do. 

Zaps Threads Men's Ultra Runner Tee
So I won't keep you from your coffee, or work, or sleep, or whatever else you're multitasking with at the moment for much longer - and for pete's sake if you're driving put the fucking phone down!! Here are the details:








1) Go like Zaps Threads on Facebook (if you haven't already).

2) Tweet, Facebook, or use some other social network to share this giveaway and be sure to use any of the following hashtags : #stupidmiles, #ultrarunning, #giveaway, or #freeshirt in the post.

3) Come back here and leave a comment and tell me how you shared this giveaway.

4) Please don't double post. Lets keep it fair, folks.

That's it! Then check back here for the winners which I will pick in about a week or so. Good luck! 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why Ultra Running is Just Like Sex...

Yeah. I'll bet you wanna know. I've been pondering lately on the similarities between ultra running and sex (Surprise! I'm back!) and with the help of a few friends and some informal brainstorming (which may or may not have included alcohol) I've summed it up here. Not a very meaningful post, but who needs meaningful when you've got entertaining, right? 

WHY ULTRA RUNNING IS JUST LIKE SEX
1. Duh. You have to like getting dirty. I mean REAL dirty.
2. If you start out too hard and too fast you're likely to blow your wad too quickly.
3. Sometimes you do it ALL NIGHT LONG.
4. Calf and foot cramps happen at the most inopportune times.
5. Sometimes it makes your ass hurt...
6. ...and your nipples bleed.
7. There's spandex involved.
8. Form is important.
9. It's often more fun in a group.
10. It's OK to take a break and eat a sandwich.
11. After you're done, you want a beer, a cigarette, a shower, and a nap (not necessarily in that order.)
12. Endurance makes all the difference.
13. You get really sweaty.
14. Your mouth feels dirty halfway through.
15. Mmmmmmm. What's that salty taste?
16. When it's really hot getting wet feels so good.
17. A shower afterward is optional.
18. We suck on nipples. A LOT.
19. Your pacer gets excited when they see you coming.
20. Sometimes it involves a monetary transaction.
21. Often times there are shots involved.
22. One word - Swag.
23. Sometimes your hallucinations look like Ron Jeremy.
24. Repetitive injuries can happen.
25. Lube can be very important.
26. Sometimes you just gotta do it alone.
27. You always end up with melted chocolate.
28. LICKIT!
Did I forget anything? Feel free to contribute. Come on! Lets make it an even 30!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Is it Time To Throw a Party in Your Temple?

Glitter everywhere!
Summer is settling down now. Routine is resuming. I'm getting back to semi consistent training (although my gym schedule will be shuffling again soon) and finally, my mostly paleo diet is getting back on track. I launched myself off the wagon for a bit. You don't know this yet, but if you happen to run into me on the street, I will convince you that there is something nutritiously redeeming about corn-dogs and milkshakes... and lots and lots of chocolate chips. Oh. And beer and bagels. I could go on, but it would be embarrassing.

But we can't all be perfect all the time, can we?

And we shouldn't.

Sometimes you just gotta let go and have some fun. Your body may be a temple, but I recommend throwing a kick-ass party in there from time to time. In fact, temples are the BEST places to throw a kick-ass party - the acoustics are awesome. But, be sure to clean up the mess afterward, wipe the glitter off your body, and kick out any lingering party guests, cuz eventually you'll need to get things back in order.

So that's what I'm trying to do right now. 

I'm still finding glitter in unusual places. Oh well. It happens.

So now that normal life is resuming, I am starting to think about my t-shirt designs again and planning an upcoming giveaway of one of my Zaps Threads "Stupid Miles" t-shirts (I just sent in my order). I know it's been forever – which is why this needs to happen – but trust me. This IS HAPPENING, PEOPLE, so keep yourselves in the loop and keep checking in.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pine To Palm 100 - From a Crew's Pespective and My Epiphany of Flow State

My friend and fellow Ranch athlete, Monica Moore
completing the Pine To Palm 100 Miler 2014.
I'm back from The Pine To Palm 100 after crewing and supporting my friend and fellow Ranch athlete, Monica Moore - who, by the way, completed that bitch of a course in sub 30 hours. So proud of her!! It was strange to revisit that course from a crew's view. I got to see a bit of that course again where it intersected the runners as I had to pass a few on my way up to the crew points. I was unexpectedly surprised by the climbs - climbs in which, as a runner who ran that course last year, I have little recollection of. But, the realization hit me... as a runner who has 100 miles ahead of her, I don't think about the climbing, or about mile 90 or mile 100 for that matter, my only focus is the next step with my right foot or my left. It's probably why I can't remember much of that part of the course and now I realize it's the only way I can cope with the distance. And in that way, running the super long distances is an exercise in being present in the moment. It was an experience in flow.

Yeah. That was sort of an epiphany.

I hear people say all the time that they won't sign up for a 100 miler (yet) because they can't even wrap their head around the distance. Frankly, I don't think its necessary (or even possible if you've never tackled that distance before) to wrap your head around the distance before you've ran it.

It's nearly impossible to wrap your head around that shit before you're in it - because you're not there. You're not standing on the start line waiting for the gun to go off.

There's something about being in that moment that allows your mind to break free from all its thoughts and be ready... for anything. Even a hundred miles. Because you have to. You've trained your ass to be ready so let go and just... be... in that moment.

And when that gun goes off, you're not thinking about mile 100 yet - you're just dealing with the next mile, or the first climb, or the next aid station or in my case at mile 53, putting one foot in front of the other and just "checking out" for a while cuz the next 18 miles is ALL UP and cuz I do that.

"Checking out," turning off my brain and letting the white noise take over is how I cope. Kinda like when you're driving on the freeway and go into zombie mode where you can't remember driving past that last exit. Yeah. That's a bad thing when driving - that lack of attention is likely to make you roadkill - but, in ultra running this is a great tool.


What is flow?

I would suspect that a lot of runners do this, but I'm not sure how aware we are of it. There's a concept emerging in the sports world and it's called "Flow." Its a term mainly used to describe an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best. It's a peak state of awareness and experienced by many athletes who are involved in extreme sports where last minute decision making is vital. I would suspect that even in ultra running, many runners experience this state at some point. Many people who experience flow note a different sense of time - things either speed up or slow down and you lose track. I remember experiencing this during Pine to Palm last year. There were points where I felt like hours ticked by super fast and I had almost no recollection of the last few miles. It's a fascinating concept and I heard about it from my coach who sent me a link to a podcast that interviewed Steven Kotler, the author of the book "The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance."

Apparently, there are many triggers to this state of consciousness: 4 psychological, 3 environmental, 9 social, and only 1 creative trigger.

I can say with almost no doubt that I have at one time or another (mostly while running my 100 miler) experienced all the psychological triggers of the flow state and I would suspect other runners have experienced these as well. In fact, my term "fiyah" came out of this exact concept although I hadn't heard of flow at the time. All of those psychological triggers are internal strategies that we, as runners, employ to drive our attention into the "now" so we are better able to cope with the challenge and circumstances that lay ahead. Ultra runners know that it's not about "if" something will go wrong during a 100 miles, it's more a question of "when" and how you will react when it does.

The four psychological strategies that create flow are:



Intensely Focused Attention - long uninterrupted periods of concentration often produce flow state. The state almost always requires solitude and focus.
Clear Goals - flow can't happen if your mind is wondering what to do next. When running long distances the only clear goal is the finish line or a specific time. That is what we are there for and usually, as runners, we have this already mapped out in our heads. Our goals are unwavering.

Immediate Feedback - many of us runners have learned to assess our bodies almost mechanically while running. It's like we touch a button and our minds run a program that says... "Have you eaten? Have you drank? Have you peed? Do you need electrolytes? Am I going too fast? Am I going too slow? Can I push my body harder?" We constantly assess our bodies internally and externally for signs of disruption and do our best to address those in real time. Sometimes we don't even notice that we are making tweaks because it's second nature. These rote adjustments only contribute to our natural ability to access the state of flow.

The Challenge/Skills Ratio - flow exists in this sweet spot between boredom and anxiety. If we are too bored we lose focus, if the challenge is too hard our brains exit the present moment and try and find an escape route. I found flow the most during my 100 miler at night. The course got pretty technical and it forced me into a heightened state of awareness, but it wasn't impossible so long as I stayed alert. After having over 70 miles on my legs and fighting the urge to sleep, fatigue coupled with questionable terrain is a challenge. But it's a challenge that can induce flow.
I recognize that as ultra runners we are rarely in a situation that requires immediate decision making unless we're bombing the downhills or face to face with a mountain lion, but, nonetheless, because of the distance many of us run I believe we have the ability to induce an altered state of consciousness and many of us do this out of pure necessity to cope with the challenge of the distance. 

So I'm deeply curious if any other ultra runners have ever experienced this heightened sense of awareness called flow. What is your experience and what do you think the triggers were?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .