Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm baaacck!

Hi, friends!  I'm back!  Did you miss me?  
I missed you guys.  I'm currently wading through my google reader, but I'll try to get caught up with what everyone was up to ASAP.  If something REALLY REALLY important happened (you ran a race, broke your neck, got a new puppy, made cupcakes, etc.), drop me a comment so I can come check it out.

As for us, we had a fabulous time.  There was food everywhere.  I think I am good on white carbs and dessert until at least August.

We met a bartender who could mix martinis much faster than I could drink them.  So I'm probably good on alcohol until June August as well.
I spent most of the week laying here, reading the 20 or so books I had with me and drinking pina coladas all day.
Or laying here, just....laying.
I did a little bit of running, a tiny bit of swimming and some yoga, but I mostly stayed horizontal (heh) all week.  

The puppies had a fabulous time visiting in PA as well.
But we are all happy to be home!  And apparently I brought the Jamaican weather back to DC with us, just in time to start doing track workouts again.  Vomit Hurray!

I hope you enjoyed the guest posts as much as I did - I loved the chance to have posts up about something other than injuries, not showering and cupcakes.  So, what have you guys been up to all week?  What did I miss?  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sports Psychology

Today’s post is brought to you by my partner in Dr. Pereles-stalking-crime, the fabulous Amy Reinink!  
I'm not a professional athlete. When I sign up for a 5K, I can say with almost absolute certainty that I'm the only person on earth who gives a crap about my time. I will never win prize money in a race. And while the sense of accomplishment upon crossing the finish line is always nice, it's not necessarily enough to keep me going on 20-mile training runs or 7K training swims. 
So why do we bother racing, anyway?
If you're a regular reader of Katie's blog, you know that she's faced some obstacles in her training, including some injuries that have made her wonder: Why is it so much harder for me than for other people? Having struggled through my own share of injuries, I've asked the same question myself. But I believe that getting past that question, and simply accepting our journeys for what they are, is the real reason we race. 
I sign up for marathons and open-water swims and other crazy challenges because I value the mental toughness I develop from getting past the tough parts of a race and crossing the finish line. When life gets rough, I want to be able to course-correct by simply telling myself: "It's OK," the same way Katie did during the swim portion of her half-Ironman earlier this month. 
With that in mind, I'd like to share some tips I originally posted on my blog at amyreinink.com. They're from top sports psychologists, and amazingly, they work. 

1. Identify negative or distorted thinking. Sports psychologist Alison Arnold says negative thoughts can be sneaky. We know better than to tell ourselves we’re about to have a crappy workout. We’re more likely to make definitive statements about our performance: “I always get tired around this point,” or “I always get hurt in the winter,” Arnold says.
Letting your mind focus on pain that might be quite real – “My knee is killing me” – counts, too.

2. Substitute positive thoughts – or at least neutral ones. Arnold says not to sweat it if positive, sunny thoughts don’t ring true at first, and suggests taking “one step up on the feel-good scale.” So it's less about saying, "My knee feels great!" and more about saying, "I guess today's my day to chill out and enjoy the scenery." Or even just: "It's OK," which is a powerful mantra in and of itself.

3. Channel your passion. Every runner should have a long-term goal they’re passionate about and should remind themselves of that goal often. A runner training for Race for the Cure might repeat “cure” during speed workouts. A runner training for a marathon might hang a course map on the refrigerator, tape a motivational quote to the bathroom mirror or create a billboard with inspirational magazine cutouts and photos.

4. Find a mantra. While we were fighting, wheezing and gasping our way up a killer hill at the end of the Earth Day 5K a couple weeks ago, Katie managed to stop wheezing for a few moments to share this lovely one: "Your heart is a weapon the size of your fist.
I couldn't stop wheezing for long enough to thank her, but I've been repeating it to myself ever since. 
5. Express gratitude. Sports psychologist Kay Porter suggests thanking your body as if it’s a separate person. Give your body constant shout-outs during hard workouts and races. Promise it an ice bath, a protein shake, a good dinner out, a post-race massage. It can also be helpful to maintain a genuine sense of gratitude for every step—which is one thing we injured runners do quite well. 

Give one of these a try before your next run. Once you've mastered them in your training, try applying them to your life—which is what it's all about anyway, right?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Inside a Dietitian's Grocery Cart

Hola! I’m Heather, from Dietitian on the Run, filling in for Katie today. 
I used to wonder – if I wore a hat that said “I’m a Dietitian” while grocery shopping (humor me, assume that wouldn’t be an odd wardrobe choice), would I shop differently? Would I try to set that ideal example, or would I go on about my business buying whatever I wanted? Would I choose the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, or walk the talk?
First, I’ll assure you that my wardrobe is free of such choices. Secondly, now I can safely say I would theoretically wear it and shop fearlessly.  
But then? At one point my cart was filled with those low-fat, low-calorie, low-sugar things. I rarely looked at ingredient lists, but assumed that the things I chose were “healthy”. At a glance, the following would presumably provide healthy meals/snacks: granola bars, low-fat/fat-free yogurt, oatmeal, peanut butter, fruit, veggies, whole wheat bread, deli turkey slices, low-fat ice cream or frozen treat of some sort, diet soda and gum.
See all those low/free/ “light” choices? Yup. Me too.  There was clearly a calorie > nutrient priority. 
Fast forward a few years, and my grocery choices look like this:
I try to avoid packages as much as possible, aside from the occasional cereal, hummus, yogurt and condiments. I’ve even learned you can buy things like mushroom, spinach and salad greens by the pound (which is awesome, so they don’t wilt before you get to the bottom of the bag!). And if it’s Farmer’s Market season, I am all over those local tomatoes, peaches, salad veggies & basil bags. 
I religiously check ingredient lists, not calorie counts. I want to see things short n’ sweet, and I want to see things I could have in my own kitchen (but probably don’t). I don’t want “high fructose corn syrup” or preservatives that I can’t pronounce. I want as many fresh things as possible; by the end of the week our fridge would send the message that we’re going hungry. Don’t worry, there’s a grocery store right down the street that can save the day when needed (expensively, but sometimes I’m okay with being the Whole Foods victim). 
I’ll search grocery stores high and low until I find what I want, and I’ll go to a few different places if that’s what it takes. It requires a little more time and patience on the boy’s part, but he doesn’t complain when it’s time for dinner. 
So, what is on this RD’s “staples” list?
Bought in bulk: rolled oats, almonds / pecans / trail mix, quinoa/rice Bought in the produce section: green/red peppers, spinach, salad greens,
onion, sweet potatoes, cucumber, zucchini/asparagus/squash (seasonal)
Apples, bananas, pears/strawberries/grapes/melons (seasonal)
Cage-free Eggs, Almond Milk, Greek Yogurt, Hummus,
Natural Peanut Butter, Cheese (flavor of the week)
Quinoa (or whole-wheat) pasta, Pasta Sauce, Oils, Salsa, Annie’s Salad Dressing*
Garbanzo beans, black beans, whole-wheat bread (depends on the options available)
Dark chocolate. Oh, yes. 
*not purchased on a weekly basis
And there you have it! All my secrets, revealed. Of course there are a few seasonal and taste-bud-request changes, and you’ll see some of the above come and go. And more often than not, fresh made pizza dough will find its way on to that list. Either way, we usually make it out anywhere from $40-70 - bellies and bodies satisfied. 
Would you go shopping with an RD? 
If that doesn’t sound fun (it’s okay, I hear ya), just put it out there – what’s on your “staples” list??

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spectating is a sport, too!

Katie goes on vacation and all you guys get is a bunch of guest posts... Who does she think she is spending the whole day layin' on the beach, wearin' nothin' but a smile, playin' kissy-kissy, smoochy-smoochy, talkin' mooshy-mooshy er... wait that's a Steve Holy song. Sorry! But you get the picture, must be nice to go honeymooning!!! (Just kidding, that girl earned this honeymoon! 70.3 last weekend anyone?!?!?)
Anyway, when Katie first asked me to write a guest post I said, "But Katie, I don't even know what to talk about on my own blog! What the heck am I going to write about?!?!" In case you don't know me; Hi! My name is Morgan and I am the overly excitable redhead that writes: "Caution: Redhead Running." For the last two months I've been dealing with an incredibly annoying, non-healing stress fracture that sidelined me mid-training cycle. Since then about the only other thing I've done besides aqua jog my life away is spectate a a whole slew of races. When debating which would be the more exciting topic to write about, clearly I chose the aqua jogging... just kidding!!! Of course I meant spectating!
Everything I ever needed to know about being a good spectator I learned while running the 2009 Chicago Marathon. I spent a majority of that race soaking in everything around me and looking for my own spectators amidst the masses. If you've never ran a big city marathon than you just do not understand how hard it is to find your loved ones amidst wall to wall people some 5-10 people deep. To be effective you have to be creative and draw attention to yourself so your runner can find you. 
Here are my tips for effective spectating:
Have a plan, man: Go over the course map with your runner, figure out which points you can realistically get to during the race, and keep in mind that they'll need your energy the most from the half way point on. "I'll be at the turn before (location), runner left." Keep it simple and specific. Every year for the Boston Marathon I set up shop directly across from the convention center in front of Trader Joe's on the runner left. This is a location Spike won't ever forget because we go to the convention center for the expo and we're both left-handed.

K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid): If you want your posters to be read they need to be easy to read. Use big bold letters, short statements, and pictures. You also can't go wrong with using your runners favorite quote or empowering mantra. B.o.B. and my cousin made this poster for me in Chicago and having my logo on it made it easy to spot. 
POSTER TIP: Make sure to write out and spellcheck before you write it out on the posters. This should have read "Run Fierce Melissa" Can we say spectating FAIL!?!?!
More cow bell: Every runner loves a cowbell and you can pretty much always find one at Party City. While there pick up other obnoxious party favors in the birthday party aisle. I love giving kids around me stuff to spectate with too since parents tend not to think about that kind of stuff. Who better to enjoy being obnoxious then little kids?!?! I also like to fire up the crowd by shouting things like "That guy/girl looks like he/she needs more cowbell?!?!?"  "What was that? Did I hear someone needs more cowbell?!?!?" The runners eat that up and as a runner myself always demand it as I go by anyone that has one.
We have a floater: I will never forget seeing this group of spectators on the course that had a huge birthday cake balloon, I literally saw it at least five times and because I recognized it and remembered their signs I would shout to them as I ran by. I now make it a point to pick up some random balloon from the dollar store, like a big smiley face or cookie monster, anything that's obnoxious and colorful. Make sure your runner knows what the balloon is and they'll see if from a good distance away and it'll perk them up before they ever even reach you.

Costumes, not just for Halloween: Now I'm not saying go all out, but dressing obnoxiously will get you noticed. (And the passing runners will appreciate the effort).

Say my name, say my name: Send your runner out with their name on their shirt or bib and make it a point to cheer on runners who pass that have their name on their shirt or bib too. It's such a boost to be directly cheered on, even by strangers. I also make it a point to cheer on anyone that has an easily identifiable sports team, university, cause, or marathon name on their shirt. "Looking good Washington State!"  "Nice turn over Determination runner!"
and last but not least...
Have fun: Dance, sing, say off the wall things! (Need inspiration? Just read any of the one liners Spike has ever shouted at races. Bullhorns make these all the more effective!) I also have a mix of fun run-spiration music to play if the weather permits a radio. There's nothing like an impromptu booty shaking session to cheer up passing runners. In short, if you make it an enjoyable experience for yourself, the people around you and the runners that pass you can't help but get in the spirit.
With the fun stuff out of the way, here's the more serious side of things: 
  • Make sure you check the weather and pack accordingly. 
  • Dress in layers to add and remove as the temps rise and fall. Pack ponchos or umbrella's in case of rain. 
  • Snacks are a must, for yourself and extra for your runner just in case. Last year at the 2010 Chicago Marathon I had a cooler with water, coconut water, and an apple for a friend. Somehow we missed each other but I put the coconut water to good use as quite a few runners went down near me with calf cramps. 
  • Make sure you have access to restrooms. You could be out there for hours and no one likes a spectator that pees their pants.
  • Redbull (and other caffeinated drinks) are your friend. The longer the distance of race you're spectating, the longer of a day it will be. Despite what people may think spectating is a sport too and you can end the day feeling just as exhausted as your runner.
  • If at all possible spectate with friends. Company makes everything more fun.
Want to read more about spectating fun? Here's a few of my spectating recaps:
Have a blast!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Training While Traveling

I'm Lauren of Failed Muffins...
and I'm pretty psyched to be guest posting for Katie while she's off frolicking on her honeymoon!

If you're like me, you read Katie's posts and think: Wow, that's awesome. Um... I do not have the motivation to bike every morning and then swim....and then lift...and then run... and then....  I am, for the purposes of definition, a recreational runner.  I don't consider myself an athlete, even after 11 half marathons, 2 marathons, 2 16-milers in the most god-awful hilly areas of NH, 2 200-mile relay races, and a random handful of 5ks and 10ks.  Nope.  I'm not an athlete.
This has been a debate for awhile among bloggers and Daily Milers.  What does it take to call yourself a runner, a marathoner, an athlete, a triathlete?  If I were to suck it up and train for a sprint tri, I would not call myself a triathlete, although others may.  Where is that line and who defines it?  I don't really know.  As a recreational runner, I don't train with very specific goals, nor do I mind so much if my pace sucks or if I never negative split.  I mean, it would be NICE to be faster and sometimes I work at pushing my pace...but overall I do not let it dictate my training.  Nevertheless, I totally and completely respect those bloggers who ARE athletes, and I consider Katie to be one of them.
As a recreational runner, I try to stay conditioned and able to run half marathons on a whim.  I like racing, even if my race pace is someone else's recovery run with a broken leg.  But despite the fact that I suck at weight lifting and I don't care about my VO2 max, the running community accepts me.  And that's what I love about you guys.  The best part about blogging, for me, is the community and how supportive we are of one another.  So, thanks for that.  And now...it's my turn to give back!  
I travel pretty frequently for my job.  In fact, I am currently on the road from Boston to the DC-area!  (I swear I am not stalking Katie, I just happen to have an event 20 minutes from her house...)  At least once a month I'm on the road, if not twice or three times during busy season.  Traveling is TORTUROUS if you're a Type A athlete (or just obsessive about your schedule in general).  I have to say, it took some getting used to for me (as I am the schedule-obsessed type), and it was particularly hard when I was marathon training.  Who wants to hit the airport at 6 AM when you're supposed to be running 12 miles?  And what do you do if the hotel only has $17 salads and you're worried about your fiber/protein intake?  
1) PLAN AHEAD and then set a BACKUP PLAN knowing that all your plans are probably worth shit anyway.  Luckily, I'm an event planner so it's easy for me to set 5 alternative schedules to accommodate for all sorts of changes while I'm on the road. 
2) Always pack your running shoes in your carry-on.  If your suitcase is lost and you have to replace your clothes/toiletries for the trip, at least you know you have your $95 running shoes by your side.
3) If you're staying at a hotel, check ahead of time if their fitness room is open 24-hours.  If it's not, then you need to plan ahead for early morning workouts.  If you're not a morning person, it sucks to be you.
4) Check Google Maps, Map My Run, running forums, etc if you're traveling to an unfamiliar place.  I like to do shorter runs (3-5 miles) outside of the hotel if possible.  Ask the front desk to hold your room card, but carry your phone on the run, just in case.
5) Ok, but how do you eat healthy while traveling?  Pack food.  Pack a LOT of food.  I'm not joking about this.  On one of my last (four day) trips, I packed the following in my checked bag: apples, protein bars, granola bars, baggies of raisins/peanuts, a small container of peanut butter, packets of hot chocolate, instant oatmeal, tea, and several bags of dried fruit.  I ate all of this.  If there is fruit set out in the hotel lobby, STOCK UP.  If you're at an event with complimentary breakfast, definitely grab any whole fruit possible.  Yogurt is also a great score, especially if there is a fridge in your hotel room.  If at any point free food is offered to you, STOCK UP...but only on the condition that it is healthy.
I keep my packed snacks on me at all times, because I know that when hunger hits I am fallible and may cave to the free cookies and craptastic food offered at work events.  If I'm going to cave to bad food, I make a choice of what it will be and I limit myself to one (if possible, but obviously I am far from perfect).  I remind myself of the following: eating too much junk makes me feel sick the next day, and eating too much junk makes me feel too lazy to exercise.  Even if it is impossible to sneak away to work out, at least I know I can control what I eat and feel good about that.
6) You're supposed to cross train but the hotel fitness center is closed?  I write down interval circuits of 5-6 activities each that I can do in my hotel room: lunges, squats, core work, and intense cardio that can be done in place.  Do 20 second intervals with 10 seconds of rest, repeating each circuit twice.  Take 60 seconds of rest when it's time to change circuits.  You'll sweat after 40 minutes and at least you'll know you did your best with what you could work with.
7) Pack a lot of workout clothes.  Luckily, spandex doesn't wrinkle and you can stuff it into the corners of your suitcase.  Always pack plenty of socks in case you have to split your workout into parts to fit around a conference schedule.  Pack a light windbreaker that rolls up if there's a possibility of inclement weather.  Just think about all the possibilities and make sure you've planned for what you can.  Although...shit happens and it might not make a difference.
8)  Let go.  That is the hardest thing to tell an athlete, so thank goodness I'm just a recreational runner.  Let go.  Let go of your pre-planned, color-coded training schedule.  Sometimes it just can't happen.  That might suck, but if the trip is only a couple days long, you'll be ok.  If you're traveling for a week or more, then go back to my first suggestion (PLAN AHEAD AND MAKE MANY ALTERNATIVE PLANS JUST IN CASE).  Otherwise, just let go.  Be easy on yourself if don't complete an 8 mile tempo run because it's pouring outside and the two hotel treadmills are in use.  Everything will be ok.
This is not what you should be eating while you're on the road.

Oh, and if you're a triathlete, I have no idea what to say to you.  It's hard to swim with no access to water and to cycle without a bike.  
I blog about general training (and race training, when applicable) along with all sorts of random topics at Failed Muffins.  Come say hi!

Monday, May 23, 2011

POTA Springfest 5K: race report

Or, how to not prepare for and then poorly execute running a 5K.

Friday afternoon we drove up to Philly.  We went to the Phillies game that night and the traffic was so bad that I had to drink 3 beers for medicinal purposes (stress relief) pretty quickly once we got to the game.
When we got home from the game, my dad was out drinking scotch on the porch, so of course I joined him for a glass (or 7).  I topped off the night with a Phillies cookie and went to bed.
When I woke up the next morning, I had a pretty powerful headache.  I had looked up local races earlier in the week, but we decided to make a morning-of call on whether or not to do one, and I actually didn't even bring any race gear with me because I figured I would be too hungover tired from the game to follow through.  It was a gorgeous morning, sunny and humid and hot, but at least not raining, so we found a 5K in Perkasie and headed out.  We got there pretty quickly, registered and I ran an easy warm-up.  
Check out my sweet non-dropping hip!
I felt like complete crap during the warm-up - I was sweating out scotch and had some excellent heartburn going on.  I sat in the car for a few minutes after warming up, and found a Gu in the center console that might have been 2 years old and ate it, washed down with some hot-water-fountain-water.  I figured I couldn't really make anything worse.

The race didn't start until 10am so it was full on hot and humid by the time we lined up to start.  Graham had decided to run with the poet to try and PR.  
I had no intentions of trying to PR, I just wanted to set a decent pace and hang on.  I didn't have a time goal in my mind, but I was hoping to run pretty even 8:30s.  The race wasn't being chip timed, so I lined up near the front.  I couldn't decide whether or not to run with music, but I grabbed my iPod shuffle at the last second and plugged it in.  There were only a few hundred people running the race, and the guy working the clock stood up and yelled, "Ready, set, go!"

Immediately a pack filled with mostly high-school-age-looking kids took off, plus a few more men.  I settled in behind the pack with two other men.  I'm pretty bad at judging my exertion levels when it's hot out, but the pace felt fine and I figured I would just draft off of them a bit.  I never trust my Garmin during a race for pace, but when I looked down the first time it said I had covered .38 and my pace was 7:11.  I freaked out and hit the brakes hard, letting the two men pull ahead.  My watch beeped 1 mile at 7:37, and I knew I was going to blow up.  My heartburn was back and I was already spitting a lot.  

The course went on a little trail, over some small bridges and out to a park, where we did two loops of the park and then headed back.  The mile markers on the course weren't even close - I ran past the 1-mile marker at .68 on my watch, and the 2-mile marker wasn't until roughly 2.2 - although the total mileage for the course ended up being right.  There was some shade in the park but the air was very thick and humid, and there were several places where the trail had been washed out and we had to run through deep puddles.  I got through the first loop and started the second when my stomach revolted and I had to pull over.  I didn't puke, just dry-heaved a few times and spat all over the ground.  I walked for about 15 seconds and then kept going.  My watch beeped for mile 2 at 8:26.

We wrapped around the back of the loop and a pack of teenage girls caught up with me.  I tried to hang with them but my stomach was in knots.  I ended up making two dry-heaving pit stops in mile 3. A guy ran past and asked if I was okay, and I just yelled, "HANGOVER!" and he laughed and kept going.

The course came out of a loop and the last .5 of a mile was on sidewalk in direct sunlight.  It was awful.  My watch beeped mile 3 at 8:38 (goddamn pit stops) and I started trying to do math in my head.  I somehow thought that I could still make it in under 25 minutes (race math fail, um no, I sadly can't run .1 in 19 seconds) but didn't really have much left in the tank.  When I rounded the corner and saw the clock showing 25:15 I just hauled ass towards the finish.  .1: 43 seconds, final time: 25:26 (8:12 pace).  Graham and the poet were pretty close behind me, finishing in 26:50, a big PR for Graham!
The finish line was stocked with orange slices and soft pretzels (Philly suburb, yesss) so we hung out and stuffed our faces for a while.
They were tearing off tags and posting them on a board, and when I looked at it, I realized I came in second in my age group (30-39).  Hooray for small local 5Ks!  I was pretty pumped to get a medal.
Okay, I was ridiculously excited to get a medal.  I never win anything!
I wore my bib and medal to the grocery store and Target and all day until I had get changed for a party.  I walked around all day saying, "I came in second!" in a loud voice and "In the women's 30-39 age group" in a much softer voice.  
I also had an incredibly hilarious text messaging conversation with my coach about running a 5K after 3 months of no speedwork at all and a broken butt (similar to the conversation we had last week about running 13.1 after 3 weeks of training; yes, I'm a complete disaster, sorry George!). However, this time makes me REALLY pumped to return to the track next week and see what I can do to some more short races this summer.  But until then, have a great week, friends!  I hope you really enjoy the guest posts this week as I think they are great topics being covered by some truly amazing women.  And as you read this, I'm probably drinking something with an umbrella in it (yes, at 9am, no judgement).  It's delicious!  

Friday, May 20, 2011

random friday facts

1. The sound my phone makes when I get new email completely stresses me out.

2. I never drink soda, but I very occasionally crave the taste of real Coke.

3. I think boobies is a funny word.

4. I really hate it when people yell.

5. I never used to wear sunscreen, and I would almost never burn.  Now that I've had 72 different chunks of skin removed, I wear sunscreen, although still not as often as I should.

6. I keep thinking about cutting all my hair off, but then I remember what I looked like the last time I did that.
7. In the past 5 months, I have gotten married, finished my master's degree, completed a half-Ironman and brought home a new puppy.  Not to mention gotten injured and had at LEAST 5 bikini waxes (ow).  I am ready for this vacation.

8. I read books over and over and over.  I am currently reading the Stephanie Plum series for at least the tenth time.

9. I've been trying really hard to teach myself not to cross my legs while I sit at my desk because my back feels better when I don't.  When did I get old?

10. My favorite kind of grilled cheese is made with Velveeta.  Mmmm.

11. I am generally scared of all bugs.

12. I like going home to PA because that's where they keep the Herr's Sour Cream & Onion potato chips.  I don't eat a lot of chips but I can plow through a family-sized bag of these in about 4 minutes.

13. I never wear a watch.

14. I invite all people to all things.  I will make workout dates with anyone, I don't care how slow you think you are.  I bring home strays.  Smashing people together and forcing them to socialize usually works out well.  

15. I was a pretty good kid in high school.  I never had detention.  I usually turned things in on time and never cut class.  I had no idea it could be any other way.  When I went to college I was shocked that people would just not go to class.

16. I hate seeing people waste food.

17. In the past 15 years, I would guess I've had cable TV for a total of 3.  I don't miss it at all.

18. I have thin hair and it falls out all the time.  I'm scared that I'm going to be one of those ladies with a pink scalp showing through my silver curls.

19. I get really mad when people ride bikes without helmets.  REALLY MAD.

20. I don't like meatball sandwiches. 

21. I wish I had big shiny white movie star teeth.

22. I actually miss pool running.  Stupid hip flexor.

23. I am pretty excited to spend a week without the internet.  But I will miss you all.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

three things thursday

1. I tried to make my first smoothie this morning (I know).  I put in a container of raspberry yogurt, a scoop of protein powder, and a big handful of frozen mango.  The blender started to smoke but wasn't chopping up the mango, so I thought maybe it needed more liquid and dumped in an entire muscle milk light (the big one).  Then it was watery so I put in more frozen mango.  And on and on until the blender was full and I had to stop.  My smoothie is the consistency of a milkshake and tastes like muscle milk and nothing else and I will be drinking it for the next two days.  Where did I go wrong?  I tried to chip off some frozen spinach to make a green monster but it was frozen solid.  Maybe next time.

2. I've got some pretty awesome folks lined up to entertain you guys while I'm gone next week.  I'm pretty pumped about this (you should be, too!).

3. Recovery is going well.  I've been lifting every day and I'm really happy to be back in the weight room, but I'm not doing much else because I can tell my body is still tired.  Yesterday I commuted to work and back and was pretty worn out, so I bagged this morning's ride.  All of my soreness is gone, I can just tell that there is a level of exhaustion I haven't recovered from quite yet.  I was very happy to discover that there is an outdoor 25m lap pool at the resort as I'm really enjoying easy swimming right now.  It feels stretchy and calm without making me feel worn out the way cycling did.  I haven't run yet, but I might do a few miles before we leave.  Or maybe not.  I'm in no hurry, especially as we leave in 2 days and my to do list is 40 pages long.  Gak!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

nutrition, recovery & what's next

Pre-Race Nutrition
Coming up to this race, I decided to try an experiment with nutrition to see if it made a difference on race day.  About two weeks out, I cut out alcohol and as much white carbohydrates/refined sugar as I could.  I was essentially trying to eat lots of lean protein and get my carbohydrates from fruits & veggies instead of cupcakes and bread baskets.  Because I started my taper 10 days out, this overlapped with the end of a high-volume training block, so on my last long ride and long run, I still ate the usual Gu/shot bloks/etc that I would eat, but otherwise, I left it all out.  I was eating a lot of chicken, soup, tofu, and fruit.  I did really well for the first week, but fell off the wagon a bit when I went out to Indiana for graduation.  When I came back, I went back on that "diet" for 3 days and then started carb-loading for the race.  

While I was eating like this, I didn't feel hungry very often but I had a low-lying headache for much of the day.  It wasn't debilitating, but as soon as I started eating carbs again it went away.  I don't track calories, so I wonder if I simply just wasn't getting enough fuel - the headache would show up mid-afternoon and last until dinner time.  I did drop a few pounds, which on top of the few I dropped during my two high-volume training weeks left me lighter for race day (although I think I did put 2-3 back on in the carb-loading days just before the race).  

I didn't even notice cutting out alcohol.  I don't really drink that often - I'd say maybe once a week during a regular training week (although when I do, I certainly do it right) and as training intensifies, I go to bed too early - so it wasn't very difficult to cut it out.  I did have a drink each night while out at graduation, but otherwise nothing.  I generally drink wine in the winter and beer in the summer, though, and when I came over the finish line I told the poet that I would have paid $600 for an ice cold beer.  

Because I didn't do all that well doing this (a good week, bad 3 days, good 3 days), I'm not sure that my evaluation of it is really valid.  I did feel lighter and leaner for race day, but I'm also not sure it was worth it based on how incredibly grouchy I was while eating like this.  I think I could accomplish the same thing simply by cutting down on these things when taper started - so a week out, instead of two - and going lean for 3 days but being much more diligent about it.  So we'll see.

Race Day Nutrition
I executed my nutrition plan during the race very well.  I took a Gu (100 calories) before the swim, ate a granola bar in T1 (230 calories), a Gu at 1:00, a granola bar at 1:30, a Gu at 2:15, lots of little hard pretzels around 2:45 (misspoke about this yesterday), and a package of Shot Bloks (200 calories) at 3:15.  I had two large water bottles on my bike filled with Nuun.  I drank one entirely and the other drank about 2/3rds, filled up with water, and drank about a third.  I also drank about half of a water bottle that I grabbed at a handoff.  I realized later that I drank far too much on the bike for the conditions - it was cool, cloudy, and rainy, and I just wasn't sweating enough to need this much fluid.  When I got off the bike I could tell that my stomach had too much fluid in it, even though I had stopped drinking right on schedule.  My nutrition on the run is a little fuzzy - I had a Gu+water at 50 minutes and 1:35, but I also had a few orange slices and some sips of water from various aid stations.  My nutrition plan was based on exactly what I had done in training - the mistake was not adjusting based on the conditions of the day.  I think that too much fluid was my only big mistake.  I don't think I needed that many calories on the bike, but it wouldn't have bothered me if my stomach hadn't been so full.  

I'm essentially going to spend this week and next doing whatever my body feels like doing.  Yesterday my upper body felt fine and I really have missed lifting, so I did a light session in the weight room and nothing else.  Today I might swim.  My hips and my ankles (of all things) are still sore, so I probably won't get back on the bike or run until that has gone away.  Next week I'll be on vacation, and I'll bring my running shoes, but I have zero plan and if I don't do anything all week, that's fine with me.  The really important item that I forgot to mention yesterday was that in 6+ hours of activity on Saturday, I did not feel a single twinge in my piriformis or SI joint or hip flexor.  I was running much slower than usual, which probably contributed, but not a single shot of pain during or after.  I'm really pumped about this!

What's Next?
June is going to bring a pretty serious amount of mileage on the bike (century & double century), and I'm planning to start going back to track workouts, assuming that my butt keeps behaving.  There are a ton of local races here every weekend in June, but I think I'm going to do a lot of week-of signups.  I really like not being on a plan for right now.  The end of June I'll start focusing my training a bit for the San Francisco Half Marathon, which right now I am planning on running for fun and not trying to PR (yeah, we'll see how that goes).  I really strongly despise running in hot weather, so I think the next few months will be about doing things that are enjoyable and not trying to race like crazy.  I don't mind cycling in the heat nearly as much, so there will be a lot of that.

What are your plans in June?  Are you as cranky about the heat as I am?