For more than 30 years, the Lake Michigan coastal town of Muskegon has welcomed runners for the annual Mercy Health Seaway Run. In recent years, some 3,000 runners have made this an early summer tradition. Race Director Andrew Buikema joins Heather on the show to talk about this year's race, takes place Saturday, June 23. New this year: a 10K race option in addition to the half marathon and 5K run/community walk. Andrew shares all the details of this year's event (including why the 15K is no longer around and the two places you'll get your post-race brew) and also talks about his own running plans this spring and summer (he's part of a pacing group for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run and is training for the Chicago Marathon).
Last year, Heather ran the half marathon along with friend Amy Keizer -- they were helping lead the 10-minute mile pace group. In addition, MRG had a booth at the Mercy Health Seaway Run Healthy Lifestyle Expo the day before the race. It ended up being a weekend getaway: Joe joined Heather for the expo (he also spectated the race the next day, by bike), and they spent Saturday and Sunday after the race exploring the area and checking out some great restaurants.
A special race discount code also is mentioned during this episode.
We’ve all been told that regularly getting enough high-quality sleep is essential to running our best – and to living well overall. (That feeling of slogging through a day super tired, when there’s not enough coffee in the world to help? Pretty awful.)
In an article about sleep and exercise on runnersworld.com, we’re told that while we sleep, hormones such as human growth hormone (HGH) that help us recover from training are released. On the flip side, when we don’t get enough sleep, levels of the stress hormone cortisol and the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein stay elevated, cutting into our ability to recover. Poor sleep also throws off the hormones related to appetite regulation, which could lead to weight gain.
OK, so we know all of this. And yet…how many of us truly make sleep a priority? It’s something I’m continually working on, and I figured I’m far from alone. In fact, when I mentioned sleep on the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook page recently, I heard from fellow runners that sleep is a big deal and not always getting the attention it should in their lives. I also heard from a few of you who always get the recommended seven to nine hours a sleep each night, which impressed and inspired me.
On the latest episode of the Michigan Runner Girl podcast, I have a great conversation with Dr. David Walker, DO, a board-certified sleep medicine specialist at the Munson Healthcare Sleep Disorders Clinic here in Traverse City, Mich. We talk about the importance of sleep, night owls vs. early risers, how lack of sleep affects our running performance and everyday activities, common sleep issues, and the ways we may be sabotaging our sleep (drinking that glass of wine or pint of beer, and being on our devices, too close to bedtime). Dr. Walker also talks about how a “sleep diary” can make a difference, sleep aids that are OK (and the ones to possibly avoid), and why the quality of sleep is most important when looking at our sleep routines. I also couldn’t resist asking him about dreams (I have vivid ones most every night) and what they may mean.
Dr. Walker says the National Sleep Foundation site is a great resource. Here’s what the Foundation found about sleep and exercise in their 2013 Sleep in America poll:
Self-described exercisers report better sleep than self-described non-exercisers even though they say they sleep the same amount each night (6 hours and 51 minutes, average on weeknights). Vigorous, moderate and light*exercisers are significantly more likely to say “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night on work nights than non-exercisers (67%-56% vs. 39%). Also, more than three-fourths of exercisers (76%-83%) say their sleep quality was very good or fairly good in the past two weeks, compared to slightly more than one-half of non-exercisers (56%).
“If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep,” says Max Hirshkowitz, PhD, poll task force chair. “Making this small change and gradually working your way up to more intense activities like running or swimming could help you sleep better.”
“Our poll data certainly find strong relationships between good sleep and exercise,” adds Hirshkowitz. “While cause and effect can be tricky, I don’t think having good sleep necessarily compels us to exercise. I think it is much more likely that exercising improves sleep. And good sleep is fundamental for good health, productivity, and happiness.”
National Sleep Foundation: http://www.sleepfoundation.org
Munson Healthcare Sleep Disorders Clinic: http://www.munsonhealthcare.org/sleep
Marathon training is well underway for Heather and her daughter Emma (who is training for her first 26.2, the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Mich.), and they sit down to share how things are going so far. Also joining them: special guest…Heather’s husband and Emma’s dad, Joe, who is planning to run the 10K at this Memorial Day weekend’s Bayshore races. What happens when parents and their 17-year-old daughter get together to record a podcast? Plenty of laughs, a little good-natured family ribbing, and even some backstory on the first time Heather and Joe ever ran together, back in the summer of 1996. (Let’s just say it didn’t go so well.) Heather and Emma talk about the marathon plan they’re following (a plan from friends Sarah and Dimity of AnotherMotherRunner.com), the YouTube Channel they started to chronicle their training (check it out and please subscribe if you’re interested in following along!), how Emma’s plant-based eating is working with her running, and how Joe has gotten into a groove of early-morning running (and why he doesn’t like to eat anything before he heads out for a few miles). The trio also talks about spring break and summer plans – and how they’ll be incorporating running, exploring, and staying active as much as possible.
Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K: bayshoremarathon.org
Another Mother Runner: anothermotherrunner.com
Michigan Runner Girl YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTdVGFXBtFr8xo000Zj12uw