12/30/08

Resolution: Clean and healthy

I've been a mission to have a clean and healthy life for the past 5 years. Although I was in top shape in college, the 18-20 hours a week swimming (not counting meets) did not justify a diet full of carbs and cheese. As a vegetarian athlete and no education in nutrition, I lead a diet of pizza, pasta, cheese and bananas (I wasn't a big fan of veggies) in order to fuel 7000-8000 yard workouts on a daily basis.
However, in 2003 I started building a collection of nutrition books and for the next year I learned how to eat healthy. It wasn't until the next 4 years that I jumped into the world of sports nutrition and started learning how to be a healthy athlete (let alone a vegetarian athlete). I haven't once looked back at my days of Dr.pepper, french fries, cheese-smothered foods and lots of candy. Although my body may have looked fit on the outside from the age of 12 until 20, my insides were yucky and unhealthy.
In a quest for weight loss in 2009, many people strive for a better looking body. It's all about how you look on the outside...so you think.
However, the aesthetics for a tone, lean body appear to outweigh the benefits of longevity and a decrease risk for disease. In all seriousness, who really thinks about better eye health when eating carrots or a chance to not get the flu when eating a fruit medley? As much as we would like eat for health, the majority of weigh loss enthusiasts eat for calories.
You rarely hear people complain about their weight and associate it with healthy food. In almost every diet of a weight loss candidate, there are foods which are being consumed that are not healthy for the body. It isn't like a person would say "I really need to cut back on celery and carrots in the afternoon and that orange I eat in the evening". It is usually the mid-day snack or evening treat that instantly triggers a thought "if I could only stop eating that, I could lose weight".
For many people, calories are controlled and exercise is regular but there are treats and excuses here and there. Unfortunately, here and there treats do add up and it isn't that a certain food or snack should be avoided, it is that certain foods trigger bigger cravings and uncontrollable snacking.
As you set a resolution to lose weight, recognize that there are foods that you need to avoid eating for a while in order to control the blood sugar and to clean up the diet. That isn't to say that you can never have a piece of cake, a cookie, bowl of ice cream or a muffin again, but when you give yourself that ok to enjoy a little of something at the beginning of a new lifestyle of healthy eating (aka diet for most people) that little bit could potential affect how you eat tomorrow or the next day.
Rather than looking at numbers, specifically the scale, start to enjoy healthy eating. Avoid buying fat free, sugar free everything and start eating more natural and whole foods. A clean and healthy diet will involve food that needs a little attention. Be prepared that with a healthy and clean diet there also involves a little preparation, chopping and cooking.
Rather than looking at all the foods which you should avoid, take time to recognize the foods which you should be eating more often. Don't be afraid to eat more fruits and vegetables. It isn't like you can't have bread but add more variety and color to each meal. Don't forget low fat sources of protein and even if you aren't a vegetarian, don't be afraid to look for meat-free types of protein. A person can only eat so much before he/she gets full so if boxed, frozen, canned or fast food is minimized, there is more room for fresh food.
It is hard to think about your body in 30,40 or even 60 years but if you take control of your eating and fill your body with less processed food, you will instantly notice a more clean and healthy body.
Hopefully the new year will bring you lots of happiness and less stress and most of all, remember that you only have one body and it would be selfish of you to not give it the right fuel it deserves.
Happy eating!

12/27/08

Marathon legs

There has been no running this week. Some long walks with campy and short walks on the treadmill but that is it. I felt a little twinge in my right hip and I want to be a smart athlete rather than a stubborn athlete. 1-2 weeks of no running is much better than 1-2 months of no training.
So, in order to keep myself sane, I have been spending plenty of time in the water and on my bike. The legs are still tired but my heart feels good. On Monday morning I did nothing and even though I was exhausted, I didn't sleep very well. I ended up on the couch because I was tossing and turning all night.
On Tuesday I joined a few people in the pool for a quick 4000 yard workout. There was just a few of us in the pool because our coach was out of town but the workout went by really fast.
On wed. I joined Karel for a nice 30 mile ride and ot was a bit obvious that I was tired. Karel kept asking me how my marathon legs were feeling and I just gave him a quick answer "ouch". But, it was good to get on my bike and spin my legs.
After cooking and baking all day, Karel and I had a great x-mas dinner. After we lit the menorah for hannukah, we opened a few gifts for x-mas. Karel and I prepare a great dinner of all his families traditional foods and I even challenge myself in the kitchen with some homemade bread (vanochka = european christmas bread).
On Thursday Karel went mountain biking at hannah park and I went on my road bike for a 40 mile ride. Then on Friday I went for a swim (4000) and I was impressed I stayed in the water for so long, even though I was alone in my lane.
On Friday evening KArel, Campy and I headed to my parents to stay for a few days. MY aunt, uncle, cousin and brother are visiting so it is great to be with family.
As for this morning, my marathon legs are pooped. Karel and I joined the Gearlinkers for a 16 mile time trial. I ended up last, even though I started 3rd out of about 25 people. I really pushed hard but the wind and my marathon legs made for a suffer fest out there. Karel and I ended up with 50 miles and the last 10 (warm down home) were just brutal. Annoyed at the wind and super hungry, it seemed as if my parents house was 100 miles away.
Well, time to head to the International Mall for lunch. I am actually looking forward to not cooking and ordering some good food at a great deli :)

12/24/08

Happy holidays!!


I hope everyone has a safe, healthy and happy holiday!!

From: Marni, Karel, Campy and Smudla....and the fishies

12/23/08

Campy, Campy, Campy

What a little booger.
After the marathon on Sunday, I had the day to enjoy my 26.2 mile finish. It was only 10:30 when I wobbled my way to my car so I had a good chunk of the day to recover. As I was driving home, I thought about the perfect concoction of ingredients for a great smoothie to help me recover. Then I would crash on the couch with campy in my lap and we would watch TV all afternoon. By early afternoon I would probably be ready for some pancakes and then I would have the rest of the day with Karel to relax. Karel did a 92 mile ride and headed straight to work (12-4) because the Trek store has been busy, busy, busy.
When I got home I immediatly let Campy outside to pee. As if walking up 3 flights of stairs was hard enough, it was agonizing walking down the stairs with an excited dog that wanted to go for a walk. Sadly, there was no walk that morning for Campy. I told him to do his 5-10 squirts so I could get out of my gross clothes and take a cold bath.
After I slowly made my way back up 3 flights of stairs (Campy met me upstairs, too fast for me) I went straight to the bedroom to start the shower. When I walked into my room I couldn't believe what I saw.
The bag of Karel's christmas gifts was torn to shreds. A few of his gifts were untouched but the 6 ounce, king size dark chocolate Hershey bar was gone. All that was left was the wrapper. Also, there were gingerbread cookies scattered all over the ground. I have learned two things. Both Campy and Karel love chcolate and just because you hide christmas gifts from your husband in the back of the closet, it doesn't mean that the dog won't find it.
I was so upset at Campy that I pointed my finger at home and told him NO! He started shaking and the poor little thing starts crying. Real tears, laying on his back, sad as can be. I tried to stay firm so I just went into the shower, rinsed off and then took a cold bath. I kept looking at Campy, curled in a ball on my bed, giving me the puppy dog eyes. He knew I was mad at him.
I had a little talk with Campy and then everything was ok.
I went to the kitchen, made my smoothie and stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes so that it would be nice and cold. As I waited for my smoothie to chill, I went on the internet to learn a little more about how lethal chocolate can be for dogs.
Apparently, 6 ounces of chocolate for a 11 lb dog is not a good thing. Campy seemed ok, no tremors, seizures, vomiting or diarrhea but as I did a little googling, I started to get really freaked out. If the word lethal is associated with my dog eating chocolate, I need to do something. So, I called the Emergency Vet just a few blocks down the road and they suggested that I bring him in, get him checked out and induce vomiting.
I called Karel and told him I needed to take him to the Vet even though Campy didn't have any symptoms. I am a "what if" person so I do not take very many chances, especially when it comes to my life, Karel's life, my families life and the life of each of my pets (even the fishies).
So, I told Campy we had to go back outside and I prepared myself for 3 more flights of stairs. Ouch, ouch ouch.
Into the car, hair still wet, a few spoonfuls of my smoothie in my tummy and my happy puppy.
Although I don't recommend animals getting sick on the weekends because it costs a lot more than a weekday, we were lucky to have no wait and the vet (and assistants) were really nice. Campy weighed 11.5 lbs, his temperature was good (he didn't appreciate the thermometer being put there) and after the check-up, the vet gave Campy something to make him vomit. I stayed in the room with Campy and the assistant and we just waited for Campy to get rid of the chocolate. It wasn't too long before Campy threw up a good amount of chocolate. Then, a few minutes later, an even bigger pile of throw up. Atleast it was all out of his system but it was then time for the liquid charcol. This substance is suppose to bind to the chemical in choclate, to prevent it from getting in the bloodstream. Campy wanted none of the charcol and I don't blame him. It was yucky! They had to force it in his mouth (in the other room) but he finally ate it. The doctor also put some cream on Campy's eyes because he appeared to scratch his eye as he was eating his breakfast of chocolate.
After a big bill and an hour in the vet, we were able to go back home. The vet gave me strict rules to avoid any loud noises and walks and to prevent him from getting excited. I wasn't sure if that was possible with Campy but I needed to keep him calm so he wouldn't get a seizure. Of course Campy was a bit anxious to get in the car, get outside at our apartment and take a walk but I carried him upstairs (once again, up three flights of stairs on tired marathon legs) and finally I was able to rest.
Campy was really overwhelemed at his point and you could see in his eyes that he was so tired and exhausted. I watched over him very carefully as I made my pancakes. My smoothie was too frozen to eat and I was so ready for some real food.
After I had my whole wheat pancakes, with raisins and banana and a few scrambled egg whites I finally crashed on the couch. I never complained once or felt bad for my morning because I wanted to be sure that Campy was ok. He was my only concern and I was happy that I finished the marathon.
After about 15 minutes on the couch, Campy finally took a nap on my lap. We both laid there for about 45 minutes and when I went up to go to the bathroom Campy got up with me. When I got out of the bathroom, I found throw up all over the white carpet floor. This was the dark charcol that Campy last ate and I said good-bye to our deposit for our apartment. I first cleaned up the piles of throw up and then called the vet.
They wanted us to come back so that they could give Campy more charcol in a syringe and then give me 3 tubes for me to give him later on during the night. They said he may have not been able to tolerate the amount of charcol so they wanted him to have smaller dosages. However, it was very important that he have the charcol in his system.
So, at 3:20, we went back to the vet. I wanted to be sellfish and just rest on the couch and wait until Karel came home at 4 but I knew I had to be there for Campy.
Back down 3 flights of stairs (it didn't feel any better as the day went on) and I limped my way to the car. My legs were just so tired and Campy wasn't sure if he wanted another ride.
After 10 min. at the Vet, we came back home and finally we could rest. My poor Campy was so tired and all he wanted to do was rest. Lucky for me, so did I!
I grabbed a quick snack and headed for my bed. Campy joined me until Karel came home. Of course Campy got excited when Karel came and it wasn't too much later that Campy threw up again. We ran out of carpet cleaner so Karel went right to the grocery store to get more.
Then Campy threw up again and again. Once on the fllor and then on the bed.
I called the vet again and they suggested that I bring him in to see if they could give him the charcol and for him to stay the night incase he threw up again.
Karel and I decided that Campy just needed a break and I told the Vet that I would bring him in if Campy had any seizures or threw up anymore. We stopped the charcol and finally, Campy stopped throwing up. It was 8pm and Campy was out.
It was around 7pm when the day kind of got to me and I just started crying. I felt so bad for Campy, I hadn't had much food all day, my legs were tired and I was exhausted. Karel said he would take care of everything and by 8pm I finally crashed on my bed with Campy.
I kind of took a nap around 8pm but I woke up at 10pm when Campy was running around the house like a crazy dog. The vet warned us of the caffeine and an already excited dog was now a super crazy dog.
So, after an eventful Sunday, Campy is just fine.
We are still giving him his prescription food and watching him. After a full Monday of napping, I think campy is back to his happy self.
No more chocolate!!!!

12/22/08

26.2 miles and so much more

Although I was stuck on the couch for most of Friday and Saturday, I kept an open mind about the marathon. In the midst of sniffling, coughing and trying to clear my stuffed up head with green tea and probiotics, I kept telling myself that I don't have to run 26.2 miles, I get to run for 3 1/2 hours.
So, with my positive attitude and very little sleep for 2 days straight, I woke up at 515 on Sunday morning and started my morning with tea and after my coffee was ready I got dressed and ate my oatmeal, banana and raisins in the car, on the way to the race. The race venue was just 4 miles down the road so I didn't need to rush to the race but I was a bit nervous about finding a parking space at Bolles High School.
After I arrived to the race I headed straight to the restrooms. I knew my nutrition wasn't the best over the past few days because my head cold made me feel a bit nauseous when I thought about food. I did manage to get in eggs, toast, veggies and fruit on Saturday but I felt a little carb-depleted going into the race.
As I stood on the starting line I only saw a few familiar races. I saw my good friend Kellie who is suffering from a hip fracture. Nonetheless, she always brightens my spirit.
At 7am the gun went off and off 2000+ people went. The half marathon and marathon started together and I stuck to my plan to run at a 8 min pace, rather than trying to keep up with all the fast runners.
The first few miles seemed to go by really slowly. Even though my pace was fine and I felt ok, it was just really really boring. I had ran parts of the course tons of times so perhaps I knew exactly where I was and each and every turn reminded me how much more I had to go until the next mile.
By the time I got to mile 5, I used the next 2 miles to create an excuse to quit the race. I was just so besides myself of how I could finish the race. I kept thinking, WOW-A marathon is a LONG race and I am not enjoying this. I hoped that I would see Karel on his bike and I could hop on and get a ride home. However, I knew that Karel was on a 90mile ride, far far away from me. Then I wished that i had my radio. Although I never run a race with a radio, this was the first time I actually wanted my music that I always use when I train. Although I was contemplating quiting, I felt the endorphins around mile 7. So, I changed my perspective and decided I would just try to hang in there. If anything, I was still on pace for a 3:35 finish and I had built in about 2 min of cushion time in case I needed to slow down in the end.
Then, the worst happened. At mile 8 my brain and legs stopped working together. I felt great, just had a gel (at mile 7) and I was getting powerade after every aid station. But, my legs were not cooperating. My hip flexers just stopped working and I couldn't get my legs to move right. It is hard to explain but I just thought of all the Ironman DVD's I have seen and seeing people falling to the ground right before the finish line. I have ran 8 miles on an empty stomach and no fluids during the run and felt great but why now!?! I didn't want to be forced to stop so rather than just trying to hang on until I couldn't go anymore, I decided I would need to walk a little. So, I ran to the aid station and walked for about 30 sec. I decided to start running again and decided to hit the grass rather than the concrete. I love running on trails and the grass and I felt a lot better. Still at mile 9, I wished I would have just done the half marathon. I hadn't even gotten to half way and I was just filled with all sorts of emotions. The negative thoughts were hard to ignore and although my nose was running a bit, that was the least of my concerns. MY nutrition was going fine and when I convinced myself that I only had 3 more miles until half way, I decided to add in 20 sec walk breaks at the aid stations. So, I walked for 20 sec at each aid station and that really helped break up the miles and to keep my body going. I forgot about my goal time and by mile 11 I was at my goal pace and I had no more cushion. Bummer.
Mile 12 was in Mandarin park and I was starting to feel much better. I picked up the pace and then the worst happened. As I was passing a group of people on the left, I tripped. Yep, right on my knees and I was frozen on the ground. Some people asked if I was ok and luckily, my sunglasses hid my tears as I toughed it up and tried to run again. So with blood running down my legs and my hands burning from the fall, the running didn't come so naturally after my knees took a big hit on the ground. After another break to walk I was just so mad at everything that had happened for the first 12 miles that I just started running. I ran and ran and ran. There was lots of spectators around so I had to wipe the blood off my legs at an aid station so I wouldn't be the talk of the crowd but after the 13 mile aid station, it was time to finish the race just like I had intended to do before I signed up for the race.
By mile 14 I was heading back and I just look forward to each mile. I would run, walk for 20 sec and run again. Sometimes I would need to walk twice but I tried to keep it around 10-20 sec. of walking. I was passing lots of people and I was pleased with my pace.
As the miles came, 15, 16, 17 I thought about all the people who may not be able to run right now. Kellie with a stress fracture, marathon virgin friends who are amazed how a person can run 26.2 miles (I asked myself the same thing as I was running this race). Then I thought about Kate and all my northerner friends who are stuck on treadmills, inside their homes and who would love the warm weather we had for the Jacksonville marathon (it was a bit hot for a marathon in Dec.). I then thought about Karel, Campy and Smudla (my fan club) who could care less how I finish, so long as I am there to give love to them all. I've learned that a race is a good race when you finish it. It is great to have goal times and to train hard for a race but in the end, somewhere between pain and wanting to quit, there is an inner strength that you have to find to finish a race. For me, however, it took me 13 miles to find this strength.
The best part of the race happened at mile 20. I was looking at my watch and I thought that I was at mile 19. I kept running and I just hoped, so badly, that I was at mile 20 rather than 19. However, I was pretty sure that I would see mile 19...and when I saw 20 I think I yelled out loud...THANK YOU!!!
I knew I could make it 6 more miles but I knew it wouldn't be easy. I just started to break down the miles and kept with my walking strategy. It began to get hot when I got to 2 1/2 hours but at 3 hours and 6 more miles to go, it was a long morning.
There was little excitment in the last few miles, except for the last 2 miles when I really wasn't sure if I could make it 2 more miles. As I continued to pass people and reach mile 25, I told myself, 10 more minutes...that is it and I will be finished!
When I made it to the track of the HS and finished my last .2 miles, I did it. I finished my first solo marathon since Jan 2006. There was nothing easy about this race and my 3:45 finish time was a great time for all that I went through. If I saw 3:59 I would have been fine with that as well. I finished, I got my medal and now I can wear my t-shirt for the Jacksonville marathon.
I was 9th in my age group, 180th overall and 23rd female.
Here are the splits:
8:01
7:45
7:52
8:07
7:50
8:06
7:45
8:48
8:41
8:30
8:40
8:52
8:24
9:30
8:22
8:40
8:31
8:29
8:53
8:54
9:05
9:02
8:50
9:23
9:29
9:07
2:09
Finish:3:45.48

And..my day didn't end after the marathon. Please stay tuned for my horrible afternoon with a dog who ate 6 ounces of chocolate when I was gone. Campy is fine but it was a tough day for us both yesterday.

12/20/08

NFL game

A few weeks ago, our friends James and Jennifer S. asked if we wanted club seats to the Jaguars game on December 18th. We said sure, why not. Karel and I are not NFL fas but I use to be a big basketball and football fan. We had never bee to a NFL game and we heard the game would be good against the Colts. The whole experience was new to Karel and he just thought it was crazy that people come to the game 4 hours before the game and grill hot dogs and burgers and eat chips. Now tailgating is a new word in his vocabulary. :)
We had a great time and it was nice to get out and do something totally different from our normal lifestyle. The club seats were a treat with a variety of gourmet food options (very expensive but good) and very good seats. We also saw Jeff (karel's boss and team manager) and his family there. Jeff use to play for the Jaguars. Can you believe it, football player turned cyclist? He is super strong and a lot leaner than his football days.
Unfortunatly, with a game comes germs and I only had enough room in my purse for my nuts and not my antibacterial gel. That gel goes everywhere with me but silly me choose my nuts instead. So, now I have a bad head cold. I am sniffling like crazy, my throat hurts and I feel like my head is filled with cotton balls. Then I think about my last blog on how proud I am to not get sick. Well, perhaps I keep myself away from germs as much as possible and this just goes to show how easy it is to get a virus when around other people. This is why I always cook my own food and stay in a little bubble when I am about to do a big race. Of course, with taper week, my body is working overtime to heal and repair and I'm not suprised that I got a little cold. I am still doing the race tomorrow but my goals may change as I am running. Karel reminded me that I always tell people if your symptoms are above the neck, usually exercise makes you feel better. As if 26.2 miles wasn't hard enough???









The jaguars were winning until the 4th quarter. We left at the beginning of the 4th and when we got home, the Colts had won.

12/18/08

Keeping yourself healthy

I answer a lot of emails. I just love it. However, I seem to get a lot of questions about what to do when a person is...
Injured
Craving sugars
Has a cold
Is not recovering properly
Feeling lethargic during exercise
Feeling lethargic at work


From the popular topics, I get the most questions about what to eat in order to help with recovery, being injured and to get better with a cold. I wish I had a perfect recipe or nutrient for everything, but unfortunantly the body reacts to stress by giving us symptoms that are hard to cure overnight.
I believe that the best way to help with these problems is to prevent them. I know I'm not the only one who doesn't get sick that often but when I do get sick, I get it bad. In these cases, there is very little that I can do (nutritionally) to make myself feel better. In these cases, I do my best with nutrition and just give it time for whatever is in my body to leave. I am a firm believer that being a healthy athlete is a daily effort. There may be days when your body is just off or you just can't seem to not crave sweets but for the majority of the month, you are providing your body with good sources of nutrients.
I find myself preparing the same meal every night. It is my go-to meal. Sometimes I am bored with it so I swap egg whites for tofu or I add in a little rice. Or, I might serve my go-to meal with a pita instead of bread...but there is always a piece of bread with my go-to meal and I never get bored with that :)
But whenever I am bored with my meal and think about something else to prepare (since I don't ever do frozen dinners or an entire meal that can be prepared in the microwave) I start pulling out ingredients and the stove gets turned on...and I am back making my go-to meal and I am love every bite of it.
The concept of my go-to meal is a bunch of veggies and a protein. It works for me. I started to think about my boring go-to meal but it is so nutritious and good for me. I always enjoy making it and both Karel and I enjoy eating it. All I do is cut up a bunch of veggies and my favorites in include peppers, mushrooms, onions, brocoli and tomatoes and I add in frozen corn, tofu, chickpeas, egg whites and sometimes veggie meat. Then comes the marinara sauce or salsa and I top it with cheese.
I think everyone can have a healthy go-to meal. You need to start with veggies because that will comprise the bulk of the meal. If you like cheese, pasta or rice, cook a little of the rice and pasta seperatly and use that as a topping to your collection of veggies. For the cheese, just use that as a topping. I recommend using at least 4 veggies and if there is a veggie that you think you should eat more of (for me it is brocoli) just chop that veggie finely but keep your portions of each veggie equal before cooking.
*If you think your kids (or yourself) will have a hard time eating protein-packed tofu, crumble it up (firm tofu) and then use mozerrella cheese for a topping. You won't know if you are eating tofu or cheese!
Here is my go-to meal the other night.


Although it is easy with my go-to meal, Karel really out-did me with his meal the other night.




And what is a blog about being healthy without my super healthy Campy who is still cuter than ever!

12/15/08

Probiotics



I think I have at least 6 ounces of yogurt a day. I can't even remember the last time I haven't had a little yogurt at least once a day, for the past few years (yes, I am including yogurt ice cream). I love yogurt! I am a big fan of yogurt because it is filled with healthy bacteria (low sugar is recommended).
I had to go the vitamin shop a few weeks ago because Karel needed Flex cream (he can't live without it). I don't shop much for supplements because Wal-mart has my whey protein and fish oil capsules and Hammer has all my sports nutrition products. However, if you put me in the nutrition store I am bound to read labels and see what is the latest and greatest product(s). I spent a lot of time at the amino acid section but the probiotics caught my eye. I have read about probiotics and my good friend Cassandra Forsythe is a fan of them. You may know of Cass from two books which she just published:
New rules of lifting for women
The perfect body diet
Here is her website http://www.cassandraforsythe.com/. She is one of the smartest females I know and we love being the young females in a sports nutrition society filled with males.
Anyways, I ended up buying two bags of Trail mix and a bottle of Nature's Life
Cranberry Pro-96 Acidophilus. The consistency of the product is a bit like really liquidy yogurt but when added to water or a smoothie you don't even realize that you are drinking something so good for your body.
Here is the profile of the product we have:
Purified water, super red Pro-96, soy protein blend(identity preserved soy protein isolate(including lecithin), fructose, phytored blend(cranberry concentrate, natural flavor, cherry juice, red grape juice, raspberries, red beets, tomato juice, red bell pepper and acerola berries), fiberzyme blend(psyllium seed husks, apple pectin, oat fiber, bromelain enzyme and papain enzyme, natural cranberry concentrate, live Lactobacillus culture(lacidophillus, L-Bulgaricus, L-Thermophilus, l-rhamnosus, bifidobacterium lactis, bifidum and infantis) and Fructooligosaccharides.
Not only is it filled with great ingredients and only 25 calories per serving, but it is filled with all of the amino acids (and you know how much I love amino acids).
Your body is filled with bacteria and microorganismas and probiotics refer to foods which contain the beneficial bacteria. Yogurt is extremely high in probiotics and you may see a lot of dairy products listing "probiotics" on the package. Although you have healthy bacteria in your body, a supplement form of probiotics may help you further protect yourself from harmful bacteria.
I believe that being healthy isn't just about what you look like on the outside. One of the common concerns I have with athletes is wanting a lean body but not being able to do anything with it. It is fine to look a certain way but you want to provide your body with the best nutrients possible in order to peform well and to stay healthy. Even at your goal weight, it sucks being sick in bed or with an injured body part.
Keep yourself healthy this holiday season and pick up some probiotics. Because I am not a big advocator of supplements, be sure you are eating healthy more often than not so that you don't let the holiday eating get the best of you.

12/14/08

3:35

I'm starting to think twice about my Marathon goal time. With only 1 week to go I am wondering if I did enough to prepare.
I think the marathon is one of the hardest races out there. I even think the Ironman is more comfortable than a solo marathon. Out of the 2 marathons I have done (Miami and Boston) and the two Ironmna's I have done (IMFL and Kona) I was more sore after the marathons than the IM's. I just think it is so hard to just start running and finish after 26.2 miles. I still love long distance running but it sure does hurt. I just can't seem to recover after marathon training.
On saturday I did my last long run. I think I should have ran longer but the last hour was long enough. I did 2 hours and 35 minutes and the first 90 minutes went by really fast. It was that last hour, on my familiar turf (I ran the first 90 min. on new roads) that become very boring.
I did have time to think about lots of stuff and with my radio keeping me zoning out, I didn't stop once. I was really proud of myself because I wasn't even tempted to stop and rest. Only a few jogs in place for the lights by my place but that was it. The best part of my run was when Karel road by me for a few minutes after he finished his ride. What great timing! He asked how I was feeling and I told him I was so happy to be on the street where we lived. I guess my 7-7.5 mph pace was too slow for him on his Trek TT bike so he beat me home by a few minutes. I was pretty sore most of the day but I had lots to do to keep me busy.
I waited anxiously for Karel to get home from work so that we could watch the Ironman on NBC (which I taped on my DVR). I always get so inspired by watching Kona and every year I say "that was the best one yet!". I think I have a new appreciation of watching the race since I some how hobbled my way to the finish line in 2007 but the stories and the people who race IM (each and everyone of them) are just amazing. I think it takes a lot to be a triathlete and no matter what the distance, it is an amazing sport to be apart of.
This morning I new I wasn't going to have a good ride with the guys so I prepared myself (and Karel) that I wouldn't ride the entire ride with him. I think he could tell that I was very sore because I was also a bit moody and tired. During the ride I just kept my mouth shut but after 27 miles it was time to turn around. I made the decision at that point because Jeff told Curtis and Karel that they would each rotate for 3 min each. Yep, my time to head back home. I will have none of that, even if I was drafting.
Unfortunatly my ride home was not easy and with head wind for a solid 23 miles I just listened to my music and new that eventually I would be home. I survived a long weekend of training but I couldn't help but think that a 2:35 run and 50 mile ride is going to be an easy weekend as I train for IMKY. Good thing I have many more months to go.

12/12/08

Where'd the days go?

It was just Friday...last friday. Geezz how time flies!
I had a great time with my parents. Campy LOVES being in a house and having backyard to run around. I enjoyed eating dinner and not having to cook it and having someone to wash the dishes. Gotta love parents!
Karel had to go back last Sunday for work so he drove back down on Tues evening. It was great to see him. On wed morning Karel and I went to the Y by my parents house and it was great to get in a nice 40 min run to start the day. In the afternoon, Karel, Campy and I headed back to Jacksonville and I was super excited to see all my fishies and see Smudla. It was early to be for us and early to rise for me.
I never miss swimming unless I am traveling so there is no second guessing getting up on a Tues/Thurs at 5:15am for my 6-7:30 swim practice. This Thursday was KICK day and I have been asking for a whole practice devoted to kicking. Kicking is my weakness when it comes to my stroke.
We ended up with 3600 yards and the main set was:
3 x 200 kick (no board)
4 x 150's pull
5 x 100's on 2:00 (ouch!) w/ board
4 x 150's (100 free, 50 no free)
3 x 200's kick w/ board

After the swim I had no energy left to run or bike. So, I just went home and spent the morning sorting through my summer clothes and organizing my "winter" clothes.
At 12 I went to the Trek store to work 3 hours with Karel and he kept me busy with stuff to do. I did the invoices, I made sure all the bikes had tags on them and I put away bar tape, kids bells and some other random things. It was raining on and off all day but we had a handful of people come in the store.
After working I went home, rested for about 30 minutes and took Campy on a walk. We visited Karel and had a nice long walk. After the walk, it was a quick transition to get ready and when Karel came home at 5:30 (the store closed early) we headed to the beach for the Trek/American Bicycle Company holiday work party/dinner.
We went to TacuLu and as the name implies, it was a Mexican restaurant. There is a big group of us and we were all treated by Jeff. I had a great salad called the Grape salsa salad. It was a bed of greens covered in Grape and Almond salsa (with real grapes and almonds). It was also really hot and spicy..I loved it!
This morning I went to the gym and had a good 8 mile run. Karel met me on the treadmills and we ran my last 10 minutes together (well, on different treadmills).
After the run we did some plyometrics on the Bosu. It's been a long time since we did our plyos and we worked really hard at the gym. Then I took a trip to Wal-Mart for our weekly Grocery run and by 9am I was home...to work on an article for the Ironman Passport newsletter.
Well, after writing all that I can see why the days went by so fast.
I hope everyone has a great weekend and don't forget to the watch the NBC airing of the Ironman World Championships on NBC at 2:30-4 (EST).

12/8/08

Yoga

What a tiring past few days. I am finishing up in my microbiology class and I have an online final to take before wed. Karel and I went to my parents house on Fri evening so that we could attend the Gearlink Cycling team, Holiday party, which was on Sat. The party was awesome and it was so great to be around all our close friends. We haven't them since our wedding so it was nice to catch up. Plus, as a married couple, Karel and I can know get great advice from all our "older" friends (I am one of the youngest on the Gearlink team).
Because I knew I would be doing a bit of cycling this past weekend, I had to think ahead with my workouts. Thursday morning I did my normal morning swim and it was tough. However, I had one of my best workouts in the pool and that was great because the past few weeks of swim workouts have been kinda crappy for me. The main set was 4 x 100's, 3 x 100's, 2 x 100's, 1 x 100's and you get faster with each set. I started out at 1:30 and I thought that I picked a good cycle but then when I got to the 3 x 100's on 1:25, I was feeling the burn. The 2 x 100's were fast on 1:20 but i made them. However, I didn't make the last 100 on 1:15. I think I came in on 1:18.
After the swim I dried myself off, dried my hair, changed clothes and headed home. I put on my cycling gear and headed on my bike with Karel and Jeff. I only joined them for 15 miles and I ended up getting in a good 27 mile ride. I was tired after I got home.
Because I wanted to ride on sat I did my normal saturday morning long run on Friday. It was kinda weird heading out for a long run with lots of cars on the road but I went to my favorite roads to run and look at nice houses. The roads I run on are the same as the Jacksonville marathon (12/21!) so it is nice to have those roads covered in my training runs.
I had my radio to entertain me but I went for my first REAL long run. 2 hours and 18 minutes. I was surprised that I felt ok for the run. No bonking, no brain fatigue and no cramps. My legs did feel really tired around 1:30 and I wanted to take my 30 min short cut home. However, I kept going and stayed focused.
The rest of Friday was really tiring for me. I had to pack, clean our place, get the car ready and of course, take Campy to the park to play with Annabell. Lenore and I took them first to PetSmart to walk around and then we went to the baseball field. They had so much fun running after each other. It was just too cute to see them tire themselves out.
Karel and I headed out at 7pm and after 4 hours in the car, we arrived at my parents.
Sat morning we were a bit rushed as we were riding to the CVS for the Gearlink ride. I thought it would take us an hour to get there from my parents but with Karel pulling me at a fast 21 mph in the wind, we made it in 1 hour and 1 minute. I was more than warmed up after a quick 20 miles.
The 50 mile ride was great and I was so happy to ride with the Gearlinkers. They are so organized and smart when they ride and of course, we have a lot of fun talking to each other. It was a recovery week for them so I could actually talk to people and not have to suffer and hope for red lights after being dropped. There was no getting dropped for me.
Saturday evening was the Gearlink party and after another late night, Sunday morning came quickly. Karel headed off to San Antonio (florida) for his favorite hill ride (he misses that ride so much!). I went out by myself for a 3 hour ride but after realizing that I would get head wind (and mean HEAD WIND!!!) all the way home, I barely made it home in one piece with 40 miles. I averaged 13 mph for about 15 miles on the way home and I felt like I was climbing mountains. That's ok, you can't beat the wind and it will just make you stronger.
After the ride yesterday I was pretty toasted. I thought about swimming this morning but instead I stayed in bed and told my mom I would do Yoga with her at 11.
I don't think I have stretched since April. Yes, I know it is horrible and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I was SO tight when the class started and the class started really slow. I wanted to just walk out after the first 20 minutes. I was so bored and just watching the clock. That is just me and my go-go-go personality. But, at around 30 minutes the class became a lot more challenging. I couldn't believe how tight I was and how good it felt to stretch. Especially my tight, tight, tight hip flexers. When I left the class I felt so relaxed and clean. It was a great feeling.
I really advise everyone to keep up with stretching. Your muscles work according to your range of motion and if your muscles are tight, you don't allow the muscles to move properly. That is advise to myself and I think Karel and I will start stretching more.

12/4/08

Off-season nutrition

Here is my latest article on Irongirl.com. Subscribe to the FREE newsletter for more great tips!!!


Off-season nutrition
By: Marni Rakes, M.S.

You've set your goal and have decided to train for an Aflac Iron Girl event. Great choice! You replaced the elliptical machine and stationary bike with the treadmill and a few weekly spin classes. Now, you are counting miles rather than calories burned.

The day you register for a race you begin to train like an athlete. The day you finish a race, you become an athlete. No longer do you tell others that you have to "exercise." Instead, your workout routine is structured, planned and disciplined. Although training for an event may seem tiresome and sometimes boring, an end goal will give you the determination and motivation to stay true to your training routine.

As mentioned in last month's article, winter brings cold weather and a lack of motivation for your training routine. Even non-structured activities become difficult. Do you contemplate getting out of bed, leaving that warm, snugly comforter, to get in an early 30-minute swim? Are you one of the many who stays in bed or do you fight temptation and go for the workout?

For the times you do have the motivation to exercise, and find yourself enjoying your change in routine, weight loss is probably still on your mind. Don't worry, you are not alone! There is nothing wrong with focusing on calories in and calories out during the time of year when performance is not a main concern. Of course, you are also doing a great thing for your heart, as you focus on hitting the gym six days a week. Exercising to burn calories is a practical method to gradually lose weight, so long as you gradually cut back on your caloric intake in order to create a caloric deficit.

Unfortunately, your high-calorie nutrition plan, to support arduous peak-season training and racing, tends to carry to the off-season. No longer do you have the luxury to eat a little extra during the day because you can't just "burn it off in training." In the off-season, you want to give your body a break from structured training, so you can stick to an exercise plan that will boost the metabolism without a sense of monotony.

As you choose to exercise on a daily basis in order to burn calories, it is important that you aren't just exercising in order eat whatever you want. Exercise is only one part of losing weight in the off-season.

Find foods that leave you feeling satisfied and not stuffed. One less serving a day, or 300-400 fewer calories, may be the missing link to losing those stubborn five to ten pounds. When grocery shopping, check food labels to find foods that have less than 150 calories per serving, so you don't go overboard on meal and snack calories.

When struggling to find the best heart-healthy foods in your supermarket, use your best judgment, and a little nutrition knowledge, to find the healthiest options. And, when there isn't a healthy option, think twice about buying that food. Unfortunately, there is no healthy alternative to double-stuffed Oreos (and no, regular Oreos do not count).

When planning your meals and snacks, it is important to prioritize low-calorie, low-sugar and low-fat, portioned-controlled foods to complement foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates. Furthermore, a colorful diet with a variety of wholesome and natural foods will ensure you are meeting all calorie recommendations without eating an excessive amount of calories.

In the off-season, don't be afraid to go to bed a little hungry. Start your day with a filling breakfast and try to eat fruits and veggies for your snacks. If you appreciate a calorie-controlled diet, you will not only create a lifetime of healthy eating, but you will also go into the racing season with a more efficient body.

12/2/08

Memories

Now that I am approaching my last week of school, I have a little extra time on my hands. So, what better than to look at old pictures. I think my life wouldn't exist without pics. I am always camera happy and I am so fortunate to be able to look back at some many good times.

Here are some great memories....

My dog Misty. She battled bladder cancer for over a year and she lived longer than expected with the help of my mom's holistic diet for her. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. I think about her every day and I miss her so much but she allowed me to truely enjoy life for what it is and to never take anything for granted. This pic was at Karel's cycling race. Misty was in her last few months of life and this was one of her best days.




I miss my 21 years in Lexington Kentucky but I don't miss this. Life in Lexington Kentucky= ICE! I miss my old house but I don't miss the ice tearing down all our trees!

But misty LOVED the snow!



My very first triathlon in 2004. I was the only one in my age group and I just got a bike 5 days before the race. To no surprise, I won my age group and I was sore for at least a week. The race was so hilly and I had no idea what I was doing...but I had fun!



My brother, being the stud that he is. 4 years on the NCAA gymnastics team at the University of Michigan and 1 Big Ten, High bar champion title. He is now a business man at PPG in Pitt, PA but he will always have a love for gymnastics.





Swimming! Where would I be without 10 years of competitive swimming. This was my life and although I was into the arts (I played piano at an arts school for 5 year before HS) I always felt comfortable in the pool. I remember getting so upset at my parents if I would have to miss practice for whatever reason. Swimming kept me grounded during HS and because of it, I didn't get involved with any bad crowds or bad habits in HS or college. Without swimming I wouldn't have triathlons and I know I wouldn't have the discipline, motivation and determination to reach my goals.


11/30/08

Thanksgiving

What a great long weekend. I got in a 37 mile ride on Friday morning, a 40 mile ride on Saturday morning and a 8.5 mile run this morning. I spent a bit of time on the computer working on training schedules and nutrition write-ups and I finished up a few assignments for school. This is my last week of school and I am super excited. I can't wait to have Dec. off before I start another semester of school.
Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. Karel and I went to Lenore's parents house in Riverside (downtown Jacksonville) at 2pm. I brought my fruit pizza dish and I also made a brocoli and chickpea side dish. I added a little low sodium ginger soy sauce and sesame seeds to the brocoli dish and then baked it in the oven.
I was really excited for Karel and I to celebrate our first thanksgiving together as husband and wife and I was also excited for Campy to meet his new girlfriend. I was looking forward to this all week....Lenore has a chihuahua named Annabell and this would be the first time that Campy would interact with another dog. I was really excited to see if the two got along and if they acted the similar since Campy is a chihuahua/italian greyhound mix.
As soon as campy got out of the car, Annabell and Campy had a few sniffs of each other and then they started playing. They were running all around the backyard in circles, chasing each other. I couldn't even take a picture of them they were running so fast. Campy also enjoyed his first thanksgiving with a few pieces of Turkey from Karel. Oh did he love that!
Thanksgiving was great and we enjoyed the people around the table as we shared stories and talked about random stuff. I missed being with my family but I always tell them how thankful I am to have them in my life.
I hope everyone had a great weekend.

My fruit pizza (sugar cookie dough crust, fat-free strawberry cream cheese and whatever fruit you want)



Annabell meets Campy (she dressed up for Campy)


They are so fast!


Water break



Campy is looking for his future wife (annabell)


Karel found Annabell's christmas outfit


Karel!!


More turkey please?



Too much turkey...

11/28/08

Outback classic half marathon report

I had my doubts on Wednesday. After feeling super heavy during my 4 mile warm-up run on the treadmill at the Y, I went to Karel in the weight room and told him that I felt a little strange. I wasn't too concerned because I knew what was coming. Let's just say that mother nature gave me a little surprise, 5 days late and 1 day before my race. I don't mind admitting it because well, I am a women and it is part of life. All the women out there live with it and well, I think it is just one more challenge for us women to overcome as we are training. Unfortunatly, after leaving my microbiology class on Wed I was feeling super horrible. My body was all crampy, my stomach hurt and I was just feeling awful...absolutely awful. I just wanted to go home and sleep.
I had some errands to run and I tried to keep my mind off how miserable I felt. When I got home, Campy and I went for a long walk and as usual, he cheers me up. Later that afternoon we did our daily 1.2-there and back walk to the Trek store and Karel cheered me up with a new Giordana winter jacket and gloves. :)
So, the day went on, I had an early dinner of eggs and toast because I had no apetite all day and while watching TV with Karel last night, I just wondered how I would be able to race on Thursday.
Having said all that, I do not make excuses. Although I was feeling super crappy, I had not convinced myself that I would have a crappy race. I told Karel my body was ready to race. I tapered, I rested and I was excited to run. My body may have felt lousy but I was in the mood to race. So, when Thursday came I just put away any negative thoughts and convinced myself that I could run fast today.
It was kinda strange because the race was 1.2 miles down the road at Outback and because of that, I didn't need to drive there. After waking up at 6am, eating my toast w/ PB and banana slices and getting dressed I had so much extra time. It was only 7am so I decided to take Campy for a walk. I could hear the race music going on and I was even more excited to leave. I was dressed in my zoot long sleeve shirt and I decided on my hammmer tri shorts because they compressed on my legs, rather than wearing loose running shorts. It was a bit cold (mid 40's) in the morning but I knew that would bring fast running.
I made my 9 min run up to the start and at 7:45 I was just standing around, waiting for the start. At 8am the race was off.....
The best part about this race was that I had run on all the roads, except for the last 2 miles. I knew every turn, every slight incline and decline (there were only a few of them and very small) and all the nice houses I could look at.
The first 3 miles were fast. Almost too fast. I was running under my goal pace of 1:25 and I found myself around 7:15 and under for the first few miles. Rather than slowing myself down I told myself that if I could keep that pace up, I would have some built in time (around a minute) if I needed to slow down the last few miles. I had a new race strategy today if I wanted to reach my goal time of 1:38.
If I don't slow down, I will run fast enough to get my goal time.
I know, I'm a genius.
In all seriousness, I really really really wanted to slow down. Especially around mile 6, my legs started to not coroporate. There was only water at the aid stations and I only had 1 gel with me (Hammer vanilla). I wanted to use 1/2 of that gel at mile 8 and then again at mile 10 but I was beginning to feel super tired by mile 7. Luckily, an aid station with powerade came at mile 7 and when I grabbed that drink, it was like I was getting a shot of sugar. Oh, did I love it.
I kept on running with the same group of guys and although I was slowing down a bit I was still on pace to reach my goal time. After taking 1/2 mile gel at 8 and then again at 10, I was feeling like I was going to run a bit faster than my goal time. However, I got a super sharp pain/cramp in my right side just before mile 11 and I was hurting so bad. I had to slow down a bit but there was no walking for me. I tried everything, pushing in my side, making sure i was inhaling and exhaling on my left foot and I tried breathing deeper. Finally, I decided to do my hillary biscay run (I call it that because I feel like I run like her when I do that and I just think she is great!). I kinda lowered myself to the ground, lowered my arms to my hips and kinda shuffled my legs fast for a few minutes. Although it didn't do the trick completely, it did enough to allow me to pick up my pace again.
I had 1.5 miles to go and I saw Karel's coach in front of me. As I passed him up he told me to "go get 'em girl!" That really cheered me up to power it out as much as I could on the last mile.
*On a side note, Karel's coach, Shawn Burke, just did Kona (for fun), raced IMFL a few weeks later and placed 8th in his AG to re-qualify for Kona (to race) next year. What an awesome athlete/coach. He was just cruising during the half marathon and I don't blame him.
The last mile came and although I didn't spill the beans during this race report, I knew I was way ahead of my goal time during the entire race. When I saw the clock as I made the turn to the finish line shute, I was in shock. Absolute shock.
1:36.30

I just can't believe it.
5th in my age group
32nd overall female.
I still can't believe it but my body is reminding me this morning, that I pushed really hard to get that time.

Here are the splits:
7:12
7:06
7:12
7:20
7:11
7:40
7:12
7:23
7:29
7:22
7:33
7:27
8:16 (last 1.1 mile)
Total: 1:36.30

11/26/08

Do's and Don'ts of Thanksgiving



In no particular order....
-DO eat breakfast. Rather than going for the daily bowl of oatmeal, cereal, toast or bagel, think protein. Egg white omelet, whey protein shake, yogurt or lean/veggie meat. Although turkey is high in protein, there are is abundance of carbs on Thanksgiving and there is nothing worse than starting off your day with fluctuating blood sugar levels and feeling extremely starved when your thanksgiving meal is served. If your thanksgiving meal is before 4pm, aim for a decent sized breakfast (around 400-500 calories). If your thanksgiving dinner is after 4pm, stick to protein foods, at around 350-400 calories.
-Do not go long hours without eating. Again, stick to foods which will stabilize your blood sugar and will not digest too quickly. Choose foods such as deli meat, cheese, string cheese, nuts, PB, carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, pears, yogurt or egg whites (hard boiled). Stick with snacks around 100-150 calories, every 2-3 hours.
-Do not go into the thanksgiving meal starving. Hungry, yes. Starving, no. Go for a small snack of your slow digesting foods around 1 hour -45 minutes before the meal. Pass on the heavy appetizers which can add 300-500 extra calories to your daily diet, before the meal is even served. Although I do not suggest this on a daily basis, a good choice before the meal would be a carbonated beverage such as a flavored water or seltzer. Even a 12 ounce diet soda will help to curb any cravings you are feeling as you are anxiously awaiting the meal. Especially if your meal is in the afternoon (ex. around 2 or 3) or in the late afternoon (4 or 5), a few sips of your carbonated beverage will keep your tummy from feeling empty.
-Do not use excuses. Just because it is Thanksgiving, you only have the day to enjoy a variety of foods you normally wouldn't prepare. Yes, the portions may be a bit bigger, but 200-30 extra calories is no big deal. However, giving yourself the excuse that you can eat however much you want will leave you feeling extremely full after the meal. Stay focused with your portions and try to overestimate your calories for each serving that you put on your plate. You'd be surprised that you could easily eat 1000 calories at a meal from just 3 oversized portions of the green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole and a piece of pie.
-Do use strategy when serving yourself (yes-please serve yourself). Use big plates for any type of vegetable or salad and meat. Use smaller plates for deserts and side dishes. Or let your brain think you are eating a lot by using one plate for your meal and use 60% of the plate for the turkey, greens and veggies and then choose a little of whatever you want to make up the rest of the plate.
-Do exercise on Thurs morning. See this day just like any other day. Although your table may have a few more table settings and the fridge is packed with food, make sure you are portioning your calories during the day in order to eat a little bit more come the "real" meal. Having said that, give yourself some extra room to eat a variety of food. Burn those calories in the morning! Remember, it is the off-season and you don't have to train. It is ok to work out for a few hours (or be active for a few hours) and not have to worry about properly replenishing or reaching x-heart rate. Get in a good sweat even if it is just for an hour on the treadmill or a 90 min spin on your trainer. And, if you are choosing a protein-filled breakfast, you won't have to worry about feeling sore and lethargic all day.
-Do plan a workout for Friday morning. Plan ahead (like today) and know that you will do something active on Friday morning. You can sleep in and go for a 45 min or 60 min run on friday morning or wake up before your family gets up and go for a long bike ride (or a ride on your trainer or treadmill). Ever eat too much on the night before a race, sleep horribly the night before a race and then wake up on race day morning regretting that you had too much to eat? Thanksgiving is kinda like that. You feel great when you are eating but when the meal is over, you tell yourself you will never do that again. If you know ahead of time that you will exercise on Friday morning, you will be less likely to eat until you are stuffed (rather than satisified). You probably won't need to have a pre-exercise snack on Friday morning but just getting yourself out the door on Friday will help you burn those extra calories that you enjoyed on Thursday.
-Do not think all is ruined. Maybe you didn't lose the weight you wanted to this past season/year. Maybe you are "feeling" fat at the moment. Maybe you are dreading all the "unhealthy" foods that are going to presented to you at your meal. Although this is Thanksgiving, this is just another day. You still need to use all the wisdom, knowledge and education that you have to make good choices on Thanksgiving.
-Do have a go-to food. This is something I believe in for all events and functions. If you are holding Thanksgiving at your home, it is easy to plan what you will prepare, what you will eat and how much food you have to choose from. However, when attending Thanksgiving at a neighbors house, family members house or a friend of a friend's house, it is very hard to maintain your healthy eating plan if nothing healthy is available. And believe me, even though a bunch of athletes are reading this blog there are plenty of people who go to houses where everything is soaked in oil, fat or butter and there is absolutely nothing under 400 calories a serving and less than 10g saturated fat. No matter where you go for Thanksgiving, always have a go-to food/side item for you to feel good about. And, if you find that your go-to food is the only healthy food, be sure that you use your dish to help make up that 60% of your plate of veggies, greens and turkey. Maybe you choose to make your own healthy version of a sweet potato or green bean casserole or maybe you want to bring your own steamed veggies or a bowl of chopped hard boiled eggs and fresh chopped celery. Regardless of whatever you bring, you will have nothing to fear when platting your plate of a variety of foods (unhealthy and healthy).
-Do give thanks. I know it sounds cliche but it is a great holiday to give thanks to the people who you choose to be with in order to celebrate the holiday. Furthermore, we all have people around us that we should probably thank more. Specifically all the half ironman and ironman athletes out there....LOTS of thanks is given to the friends and families who put up with us and our long training sessions. Rather than thinking about all the food you will eat, take the time to email, call or visit those who have played an important part in your life. I am sad because this is only the 2nd Thanksgiving I have not spent with my parents (the first was because I was cramming my brain with info before my exit exams in grad school in Dec. 2005). Karel and I are thankful that we have great friends here in JAX to spend Thanksgiving with and we also look forward to meeting new people tomorrow.

I hope this all helps!
Happy Thanksgiving!

11/25/08

Somewhere around #20, my arms fell off

"Earn your turkey Tuesday" or for me, "Earn my sweet potatoes"

This morning at swimming we had a change in our typical workout regime. Rather than doing sets, our coach Lindsey decided that we would do 100's all practice long. The practice started at 6am and ended whenever we needed (or wanted) to get out. I normally stay in until 7:15 (depending on the set).
Lindsey had us pick an interval and then it was time to repeat 100's.
I picked the 1:30 cycle, but in order to change things up, I did:
3 x 100's on 1:30
3 x 100's on 1:40.
This broke up the monotony of swimming and swimming and swimming...like nemo would say.
After 2 sets of my 6x100's, I was ready for a break. However, I found it hard to stop. I kept telling myself just to get in 3 more fast ones. But then when I finished the 1:30 cycle I wanted to do the 3x100's on 1:40 to relax a bit. Finally, at #20 I took a "social" break and did a 100 kick. Then back to the 100's.
By 7am most people had gotten out of the pool but I was determined to get to #40.
When I got to #28 I kept telling myself that I only had 2 more sets to go. After 6 more, I had no more arms and my shoulders were struggling to reach and roll. I kept thinking about my form since the cycle wasn't very hard, but after swimming continuously for over an hour, I was ready to get the last 6 over with! 3 more, 2 more, 1 more. FINISHED!
But...
I didn't want to stop at #40. I wanted to do more, even though my arms did not.
I ended up doing 5 more by alternating kick, backstroke, kick, backstroke, kick, swim/cool-down.
I ended up doing 45x100's in 1 hour and 15 min. I only stopped for 1 minute after #21 and then the last 5 were on no cycle. I just gave myself a few seconds rest. The 4500 went by pretty fast but then again, it must be the Ironman mentality. Lindsey told me that many people found the set really, really, really boring. Not me! :)

After the swim I walked on the treadmill for a few miles (for the second day in a row) to rest my legs. I am taking my race on Thursday really seriously and attempting to taper my legs as much as possible. Tomorrow I will do some intervals on the treadmill to warm myself up.

I wanted to post these pics....
Campy is just the luckiest dog in the world. We love him so much! Karel thought Campy was cold so he bundled him up when we were watching a movie the other night :)






And this is our Chiclet fish. She has never done this before! We woke up on monday morning and although the fish were still sleeping, the timer on the tank came on and we found Chiclet resting in her "bed". We've never had a fish sleep on a shell before. *No, she isn't dead.


11/24/08

At least I'm consistent

Yesterday was another early morning ride with the guys. After watching a movie with Karel on Saturday evening, we were asleep by 9:30 and the morning came really fast. We set the alarm at 5:20 so that we could be out the door by 6:20. Campy was in no mood to get up (as usual) but once we told him we would go Outside he was fully of energy. It is just too cute how he gets so excited to go outside, even at 6 in the morning. Campy and I walked outside, after I bundled myself up with a sweatshirt and pants. After my normal pre-ride breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, I started layering for the ride. It was around 41-degrees out and I was trying to stay positive that I would eventually get warm. The one thing I hate to be when training is cold. In the pool, while running or on the bike...if I am cold, I am miserable. But, I've learned that layering on the bike (in Karel's winter clothes, since I don't have my own yet) helps a lot.
After dressing in my leg warmers, shorts, t-shirt, jersey, arm warmers, jacket and socks we headed out the door to drive to the beach. Needless to say, I still wasn't warm in the car. After arriving at the ABC store on the beach, I put on Karel's cycling shoes, Jacket, booties and gloves and finally I was somewhat warm. Karel, Jeff and I were on our bikes by 7am and off we went for our ride.
Jeff had a plan to take Karel and I to the "mountains" of jacksonville. I just kept smiling because I thought we were just going to ride over bridges (the florida version of mountains). However, after about 20 miles of riding rolling streets and going over 1 bridge, Jeff was not kidding. We were climbing neighborhood streets which were named "mount" or "pleasent hilll" and these roads were steep! They were all short but I had to get into my smallest gear, get out of my saddle and swerve back and forth to get up these hills that were at least 14% grade. They kind of scared me cause it has been a long time since i climbed something that steep (I think the last time was in 2007 when we went to watch the Tour de Georgia in Dahlonega). Nevertheless, I was a trooper and I did the climbs.
After a few more miles, we got to a neighborhood, made a left and started climbing again. There were two climbs on a road that made a big loop so Karel and Jeff did their own thing by riding the loop 4 times. I couldn't keep up with them but instead of waiting for them, I decided to ride alone and do the loop (with the two hills) alone. We eventually started heading back to the shop with 30 miles of rolling hills and a few steep climbs and I knew our ride was not overwith. I got dropped on the way back on the bridge but I pushed hard to catch back up. Although the sunday ride is long, it is a tempo ride so the pace isn't incredibly fast. Needless to say, it is still tough with the wind that never goes away here in jacksonville.
I didn't want to complain but a few times I wanted to yell to Karel and Jeff to wait up for me. However, I knew they wouldn't be too happy about waiting for me every time I couldn't keep up. So, I would push push push to get back on their wheel and then we were all back together again.
When we got back to the beach, Karel told me they would do another hour and a half and I could go to the car and get some breakfast if I didn't want to go with them. I wasn't ready to stop so I told Karel I would join them. The pace picked up a bit to about 23 mph and with a little tailwind, it was a bit easier to stay on their wheels. However, I was looking at all the huge and beautiful houses along the beach and I found myself drifting back. After about 12 miles, we made a potty stop and I thought we would turn around to give us 30 more miles. Well, Karel and Jeff had a few more miles to go until the reached another steep bridge and then they would turn around. Karel said I could start heading back and with the headwind, we would probably all get back together eventually. However, I was in no mood to try to ride by myself in straight (and I mean STRAIGHT, in your face) headwind, so I joined them for another climb over another bridge. I stayed on their wheel for the first climb but I got dropped on the way back on the bridge. However, I powered my way back to the guys and with burning legs, it was time to face the wind.
The way back was ridiculously hard. The guys were holding around 19mph but I have no idea how they did that. If I even moved to the side of a wheel (they were rotating every mile) by just 1 foot I would be popped off and there would be no more drafting for me. I was grinding my teeth and pedaling for dear life and before I knew it the guys switched into their small chain ring and it was time to cool down.
Karel was impressed and so was Jeff. I was also impressed that I didn't complain. I am trying really hard to just suck it up and get through these workouts. However, even though they are crazy hard for me, I absolutely love riding with Karel and I get an extra boost of confidence when he sees me "hanging on" during these rides. I think everyone needs a confidence booster in their life, whether it is a coach, friend, family member, child or teammate. That person just makes the workout so much better and when you feel like death after a workout, the person reminds you that you aren't the only one that is suffering. We all suffer in different ways and if it wasn't for the suffering, we would never get stronger or faster.
The rest of Sunday was kinda pathetic. Karel had to work from 12-4 after our 60 mile ride and I did thank you notes, finished up a microbiology concept map and took Campy for a SLOW walk. After Karel came home, we had dinner and watched IMKY (taped on the DVR) and watched a movie. By 9:30 we were ready for bed.
Now I am at school, I just got out of Microbiology and I'm waiting for my next class to take an exam in microeconomics. Thank goodness this is a short week...I can't wait until Thursday!

11/22/08

A cold morning

I woke up to the mid-30's outside. Brrrr, another cold day. I know, we don't have snow, but wind, anything under 60-degrees and a Floridian is not a good combination. Karel and I are enjoying the cooler temps but it takes a little getting use to when we are training.
The run this morning was good. I slept in until 6:30 (ok, it was 6:20 when I finally decided to get up) and heade out at 7:30. I was suprised that I could run 1 hour and 33 minutes without water when dressed in long sleeves, my ear warmer/headband and gloves. By 20 minutes, I was a little warm but in no rush to take off the gloves. My music kept me going and I wasn't even thinking about my run....as I was running.
I guess I was just enjoying the morning and thinking about the run on Thursday when I try to break my PR at the Outback Distance Classic.
Karel went to Hannah Park at Jacksonville beach at 8 this morning. But instead of mountain biking, Karel, and several other mountain bike riders in the area, cleaned up the trails and worked on trails that weren't being used. It was great that Karel gave back to the community and he didn't even have to think twice about missing training to help out.
I think I am finally warm and it is time to get started on some work. Not sure how much studying I will get done today but with only a few more weeks until finals, I need to keep up with my studies.
BTW-Ironman Kentucky is on versus tomorrow!!! I know I'm not the only one signed up and you can be sure that I will be tuned in tomorrow, watching it with Karel and getting super excited and motivated!

Maybe a few professional pics from Kimicarrier.com will warm everyone up....




11/19/08

Things to do...

I have a big to-do list. However, I always have a to-do list. Since a very early age, I always do things ahead of time, way too early or right when things are assigned. ok-so maybe the cleaning doesn't get done on time (my mom can second me on that one), the laundry doesn't get folded and I never put away dishes (I always wash them though. I think I've used the dishwasher 3 times since we moved in may). I am not a procrastinator so I always write things down, write down the deadline and keep myself busy with a daily list of things to do. Here is my list for things to do in the next few months....
1) Find a new tri bike. I tried out the small Seduza QR (700 wheels) the other day and it fit. Karel is also checking on the geometry for the new Blue Triad TT bike (XS with 700 wheels). I love my bike but it is 3 years old and it would really help Karel and I out to have the same size wheels.
2) Start planning our honeymoon. Since Karel and I didn't take a "trip" after our wedding we decided to delay a honeymoon until the winter. We had a great time with Karel's family and I would not have changed a thing. Karel and I will be going to Lake Tahoe on Feb 2nd for a whole week! I am thinking snowboarding, lots of cross country skiing (hopefully we will get LOTS of red blood cells), snow mobiling and well, just relaxing a bit (in the evening). If the weather is nice we will take a drive to san francisco. My Grandpa and Grandma were so nice to let us stay in a rental house right on the Lake and of course we will have a great time with them. Karel and I LIVE for traveling so I guess this is just a nice change from triathlons and cycling.
3) Start checking out dietetic internships. I am getting close to the application process for an internship. I will start applying in September but my application needs to be perfect in order to get into the Mayo Clinic (my #1 choice). To do a 6-month internship there would be a dream and I would learn SO much.
4) Order books for the spring. As if sitting in class was hard enough, registering for classes and getting books are the pits! SO much money for these books and the classes are not cheap. I will be taking Biochemistry (locally), and two dietetic courses online. I am once again really looking forward to my dietetic classes. Just 3 more semesters to go!!
5) Get excited for my half marathon on Thanksgiving. I can't really say that I feel super ready but I have put in some good training sessions. I am really exhausted right now and I think everything is catching up to me. I am looking forward to decreasing my run volume starting on sunday and gearing up for the Outback Distance classic on Thanksgiving morning (ummmm, outback bread). I really want to PR and go under 1:39. My goal would be 1:38 but even that will be tough. The course is super fast and I know the entire course (the start is 1 mile from my place) so I hope everything comes together on Thursday.
6) Thank you cards. I finally got the proofs of Karel and I from the wedding and it was worth the wait. Kimi (from kimicarrier.com) did a great job and now I am going to make postcard thank yous with one of the pics. Now I need to decide what pic, get the cards ordered on snapfish and then start with the thank you's for all the great people in our life.

Well, looks like a long list but at least nothing needs to be done tomorrow. In the early morning I will bundle myself up for a 6-715 swim at 5:30(it is 30 degrees here now!!! WOW!) and then get on my bike at 8:30 w/ Karel, Jeff and Jerry.

BTW- Campy is doing great and he's still the best thing that happened to us!

11/16/08

Brrrr....what a ride!

Words can't express how I feel right now. I have a black eye and I am extremely tired. Let me explain...
Last night Karel and I invited Lenore and Alex over (Alex works at the Trek store) for dinner. I prepared one of the easiest dinners ever. Lenore brought the salad and I had a buffet of toppings for french bread pizza. I cooked onions, corn, spicy red beans, mushrooms and veggie meat all separately in a 450-degree oven. I used a can of tomatoes (diced) and added that to about 2 cups marinara sauce. I cut the french bread into 4 slices and toasted them in the oven for about 5 min. I heated the sauce, used shredded cheese and Karel cut up some meat. I put everything out on the table and let everyone make their own pizza. I'm not a fan of serving people or preparing food which people can't pick and choose what they want. This meal was just perfect and super easy!

And for desert I made my croissants (Pillsbury can helped with that) with jelly. I also made chocolate sugar-free, fat-free instant pudding and added some chopped walnuts with that. I think the entire meal took about 45 min to prepare and that was with the desert.
We watched our wedding video and it brought back so many great memories. Karel and I want to do it all over again! Maybe we will renew our vows next year and have another wedding/get together...just A LOT cheaper :)

We went to bed around 10pm and 5:40 came pretty fast. When Karel took Campy out in the morning he told me it was cold out. COLD???? It was just super hot two days ago. Well, it had dropped to 40 degrees and it was our first real cold day here in Jax. After a small bowl of oatmeal, banana slices and raisins it was time to bundle up. I toughed it up and only had my shorts, jersey, an underlayer shirt, arm warmers and gloves on but Karel had a vest and knee warmers.
As we headed to the bike shop (1.2 miles away) I was already cold on my finger tips. It was only 6:45am but I knew it wasn't going to turn hot anytime during the ride. Having already checked the weather, the high of 60 was a big shock for us this morning.
We picked up Cody at the store and by mile 10 my toes were cold. I wasn't having a hard time riding but booties and thicker gloves would have helped. I'm sure all the northerners are laughing now but for us, this was a cold day.
I drafted off of Karel and Cody and we met up with Jeff and Curtis. The guys rode 2 x 2 and I always had two guys to draft behind. I was planning to ride about 40 miles with the guys and then head home but when Karel told me that we would be getting head wind and crosswind all the way home, I made the decision to do the entire ride with the guys.
The wind was super strong and the pace was about 20-22 mph then entire ride. Even in the wind, it was tough to draft behind the guys. I have been working on my riding skills and I was not ready to do this ride in the wind alone. After 50 miles with Jeff and Curtis, Karel, Cody and I took a left turn home. A left turn into head wind and boy, it was strong. I couldn't believe how the wind was blowing.
Now, I must talk about my Karel and how amazing he is. He was averaging 18-19mph and the wind was pushing us backward. I couldn't believe how steady he was and how controlled he was on his bike. Even Cody, who was infront of me, was having a tough time in the wind. After an hour of pulling us we finally made a turn into a semi-tailwind (not really but after the head wind, it felt great!). I just couldn't believe how strong Karel was and I told him I would make him pancakes anytime he wanted for the next 2 months. If it wasn't for Karel, I think I would have fallen over on the side of the road and just cried until someone felt bad for me and picked me up.
After reading my previous post on the double 10K's I thought about the comments of how I stayed motivated. I was very impressed with myself during the ride this morning that I didn't complain and I didn't give myself a bad attitude. I have a tendency to complain to Karel when we ride because it is hard, tough and I always hurt. But, I am using these base training months on my bike to get me to a place where I can ride strong, hurt and enjoy what I am doing. I know I want to get stronger and workouts like today will get me there. The ride was just a tempo ride for the guys and for me drafting, my HR was controlled. The muscles hurt and I had to keep myself focused. I thought about my form, riding style and just kept myself entertained with my music and with my thoughts of upcoming races.
When we got home, I couldn't wait to get my feet warm! They were cold during the entire ride. We rode 3 hours and 33 min and got in 70 miles. I was super excited to see my Campy and I couldn't wait to eat my whole wheat blueberry pancakes that I always make on Sunday after we ride.
Karel received a phone call from Jeff, after he got a ride home from Curtis. After we left Curtis and Jeff, they had at least 30 more miles to Curtis's home. They decided they wouldn't draft off each other so after riding side by side, Jeff couldn't even make it 6 miles to his car after they got to Curtis's house. Jeff said that the wind was so bad (this is a TT champion and former NFL player speaking) that he and Curtis bonked so bad that he couldn't even ride his bike a few more miles to his car at the bike shop at the beach. I'm glad I wasn't the only one suffering.
So, after feeling completely exhausted and ready for a nap (which I never took) I bent over to take off my shoes and there was Campy. Super excited to see me, he jumped up to get on the bed and BOOM!
Right into my eye.
I busted into tears and just started crying. Crying so loud that Karel came into the room and was so worried about me. Campy was shaking and he felt so bad and I knew it wasn't Campy's fault. The combination of a windy 70-mile ride and getting punched in the face was not a good mix. Campy gave me a few kisses on my face and after I wiped away my tears I could feel my left eye and how puffy it was getting. After taking a quick shower, I noticed my eye was getting blue and after the pancakes I noticed that I had a black eye.


Yes, my 10 lb. dog beat me up. But that's ok, I love him anyways.
What a day and what a weekend. But now the excitement is over and it is back to school tomorrow :(
I've never been injured on my face before but I've always wanted to say this and now I can...
"sure my eye is bad but you should have seen what I did to the other guy" :)