6/20/08

Inconsistent yet strong

Inconsistent is the word I am using to describe my training. Strong is the word that I am using to describe my body. This whole move has really re-structured me and caused me to change around my training. Instead of two-a-days I am putting in double hours in the morning. Instead of biking in the afternoons I am putting in more miles in the morning a few days during the week and one of the workouts is with Karel. I am running faster than ever but I couldn't even tell you what days I run, how long and how far. I wake up, decide that I will run that morning. I found myself not being in the pool for over 2 weeks (well, two times to be correct) and now I am swimming fast. My runs are fast, my biking is fast and my swimming is fast.
I guess inconsistency is working but perhaps I should think about the type of workouts that I am doing. I have no plan so when I set out for my workout I am sure that it is a quality workout. I have goals and expectations for the workout and when I return home I feel accomplished when I complete those goals.
Yesterday I biked with Karel for 30 miles and I felt great. This morning I ran 30 min. on the treadmill and at 7.8mph I was floating on the treadmill. Just skipping away. In the pool I did a 1000 warm-up in 15 min and then a series of 100's with 5 sec. rest. All of my 100's were around 1:21. My muscles are sore but my heart feels really strong for all my workouts.
Next week I go to Atlanta w/ Kate for Iron Girl Atlanta. I am speaking at the pre-race clinic and the triathlon is on sun. I am hoping for a good race. At first I was wondering how I would get excited for a race with my inconsistent training but I guess I should think about how strong I feel and hopefully I will have a fun and successful race.
As for my other half...Karel has been consistent AND strong. He heads to LaGrange, GA today for the GA state crit championships. There are two crits on sat and in addition to the state crit in the early evening, there is a race called the "win and out" crit which is new to the GA cup race in LaGrange. That race is 30 laps and after the first 10 laps, every other lap is a race for $100. Once a cyclist (cat 1,2,3,4) wins the lap, he gets $100 but has to leave the race. Karel is so focused on $100 cause we could use a little traveling gas money so he is ready to sprint for the money. Sun is the road race which is 3 loops and 102 miles. Unfortunantly no one will be there to feed him his fluids but I think he will survive :)
Have a great weekend and since it is prime race season....good luck to anyone racing!

6/18/08

What to eat?


I live with a hungry male endurance athlete. With us both putting in many weekly hours of training we go through a lot of the same foods. These are a few of our staple foods: eggs, egg beaters, skim milk, soy milk, frozen waffles, veggie and lean meat, cottage cheese, string cheese, veggies, fruit, PB, whey protein, oatmeal, lots of different types of bread, whole grain cereal and trail mix (nuts and raisins). Oh and chocolate for Karel. If I could, I would prepare every meal for Karel so that he never has to eat out. I never rely on fast food for a meal and since a very young age, my parents always had me bring my lunch to school. Everyday for high school I had a PB and jelly sandwich, pretzels, string cheese and carrots. Every single day I had the same thing. Unfortunately, the rest of my vegeterian diet didn't reflect a healthy diet. I was big on cheese, bread and very little veggies and fruit. However, after 14 years of being a vegetarian, I am finally figuring it all out.
I make Karel dinner almost every night and I try to be creative and healthy. last night we had lots of fresh veggies but I also made lettuce wraps w/ cuscous, meat (veggie for me), tomatoes and cheese. It was a yummy dinner. We both love breakfast and since we both train early in the morning on an empty stomach, we have no problem getting in a smoothie and a healthy breakfast. This morning I had a great 9 mile run and an hour spin on my bike and Karel did a sprint workout (crit style) for 75 min. on his bike. After a workout like that, a healthy breakfast is mandatory.
So I've mentioned breakfast and dinner but what about lunch. Well, this is a hard topic for Karel and I because Karel hardly has time for lunch, just like many people out there. Especially athletes who are trying to squeeze in a workout during lunch or have a busy work schedule, I understand that lunchtime is hard to stay on track with a healthy diet. With Karel trying to save gas, he bikes to the beach when he has to work at the other shop (not the trek store 1 mile down the road). Therefore, he relies on a pre-made sandwich which usually lasts until 10:30am. I wish Karel and many others would bring a lunch to work but I understand it doesn't always work out that way. Early morning workouts, straight to work, late nights..I totally understand.
When it comes to healthy eating I try to be practical. Although my focus is on sports nutrition, my consultations are designed to teach people how to eat for a lifetime. Regardless of the situation, circumstance or time in life, I want to be sure people are eating conciously and recognizing what the body needs, dependent on exercise intensity and volume. Because it is important that all people exercise, you don't have to be an athlete to learn how to eat right.
So, back to Karel. What a trouper that he lets me educate him with healthy eating. Just like me, Karel wants to eat well in order to perform well. I find that those who want to lose weight are worried about feeling restricted and missing out one certain foods. Well, if it wasn't for those certain foods people would have less cravings and a more manageable diet without weight gain. If you truely want to get in control of your eating, you don't only need to learn how to eat well but you must follow through with consuming different foods.
I went to work so I could find Karel and everyone else, some healthy foods to eat when you can't bring your lunch. I am still amazed with the "healthy" items on the menus because they are filled with sodium and fat. Both of which can be avoided by making your own meals but...I understand that not everything works out like you'd like and you can't always get what you want. I am also amazed on how cheap foods are when you eat fast food. But, I guess you get what you pay for so expect high fructose corn syrup, saturated/trans fat, sodium and other additives and perservatives in your fast-food meals/snacks. Also, you never know how the food is prepared so please avoid eating fast food and eating unfamiliar food the week before a race.
Eating out shouldn't become a regular thing. If you took the time to leave work, order and wait for you food, pay for your food, pay for gas and then eat you will have saved a lot of time and money by preparing your meals at home.
Here are some of my suggestions:
Taco Bell
Not for the vegetarian but any of the Fresco (no cheese) items will give you 150-180 calories for the tacos and 330 for the burritos. The spicy chicken soft taco comes in with 180 calories, 640 mg sodium and 6 grams of fat. Although one taco may not fill you up, stop by the grocery store and pick up a bag of chopped fresh veggies or fruit and a individual serving of cottage cheese. Now you have a healthy and quick meal.
Arby's
Be sure to avoid dressings and toppings when ordering out. You can save a lot of calories, sodium and fat without losing the taste. I suggest the Roast Turkey Reuben Sandwich w/o thousand island. You can keep the cheese but ask the person preparing the sandwich if you can only have 1 slice of cheese. This sandwich comes in at 451 calories and 17grams of fat, with 823 mg of sodium. Another option is the Southwest chicken wrap without one of the cheeses (it comes with pepper jack and cheddar) and order it without the ranch sauce (as for salsa or a fat-free dressing on the side if possible). The wrap will give you 376 calories and 13 grams of fat. I am not happy about the sodium at 1213, which is coming from the chicken. Ask for roasted turkey to only give you 723 mg. Although both meals are high in sodium, you are going to have a hard time reducing sodium when eating out. Therefore, have half of the sandwich or wrap and order a side salad w/ fat-free dressing on the side and bring a piece of high fiber fruit (apple or pear) to work to eat with the 1/2 sandwich or wrap. Save the rest for after your evening workout.
McDonald's
Although there are a few items on the menu which are low in calories, I am going to stick with a fun meal that will appeal to the vegetarians or those looking for a light meal. My favorite snack on the road is the parfait from McD's w/ granola which is 160 calories and 2 grams of fat. With that, I suggest the Premium Asian salad w/o chicken (to avoid over 800 mg of sodium). The salad w/o dressing is 150 calories and 7 grams of fat and I think you will find the salad and parfait quite filling on a hectic day. Unfortunantly, even the 1.5fl oz. low fat balsamic is low fat and only 40 calories, it has 730 mg of sodium! this won't go well with your 2000mg of sodium daily allowance. I suggest going to taco bell, grabbing a bunch of hot sauce packets (when you buy a meal of course :)) and topping your salads with hot sauce (if you like hot sauce like me). If not, pick up your low fat/fat free cottage cheese if you need more for lunch.
Panara
If I am traveling for a race or flying (Atlanta airport has an atlanta bread), I like to go to Atlanta bread or Panera for a PBandJ. However, the kids PBandJ is overloaded with PB and jelly. Although it sounds strange, I ask for 2 slices of whole grain bread (toasted) and a cup of Pb and a cup of jelly (with the lid). This way, I can put on how ever much I want and since i usually travel with nuts, I like to sprinkle some trail mix on my PBandJ. Another of my favorites is the vegetarian black bean or vegetable soup but both have around 1000mg of sodium. Great for pre-race in florida! Another favorite is the seasonal salad line, which right now is the strawberry poppysead salad. This is a yummy 190 calories and 2.5g of fat. Order the whole grain bread with the salad and ask for the fat-free poppysead dressing on the side. As for the meat items, you are best with the half sandwich, half salad deal and again, avoid dressings and lots of cheese when trying to cut calories.
Subway
The under 6g of fat deal is great for saving calories but you are still getting sodium and lots of it. While most subs are around 300 calories, the oven roasted chicken breast has the lowest amount of sodium at 830mg.
Starbucks
We all need a caffeine fix but you must avoid a drink that is loaded with sugar. I like to ask for an Americano or regular coffee with a shot of sugar-free hazelnut and Karel likes his Non-fat latte. For the chocolate and vanilla lovers, the skinny mocha or vanilla grande is a nice treat at 130 calories and 17 grams of sugar (that is still 4 packets of sugar) and for a hot day, the iced tazo passion shaken ice tea is 60 calories and 15 grams of sugar.

So, when it comes to eating out you may think you are saving calories by picking the healthy items but you add in a lot of extras like sodium, fat and how a food is prepared (the unknown). Make eating out an occasion and find ways to cook at home. Just like sleeping, training (exercising), cleaning, paying bills and working, having a healthy home-cooked meal should be another priority on your list.

6/17/08

Feeling fishy




This is Karel's hobby, Smudla's TV and my way to put a smile on my face. I love our 8 fishies (+5 in the other tank).
Things just haven't been the same. I've been busy..well, that is normal. But i miss my routine. I miss swimming at Palm harbor on tues and thurs, I miss my interval tues and I miss my sat morning long runs on the trail. I miss being able to go see my parents whenever I wanted (when time permitted for the 45 min drive) and I miss seeing familiar faces. Now I don't know where to swim, when to do an interval run, who I am passing on my bike (hehe, thought Karel would like me phrasing it that way) and what else to do on the weekends when I am here.
This morning I went to the Brooks YMCA which is 7 miles away. I probably drive 20 miles (if that) a week now so I was hesitate of committing to a Y so far away. . I wanted to swim with the masters team at 6am so I arrived early in order to check out the facility. This was one amazing facility. I didn't have time to scope out everything but the gym was huge, there was so much equipment and the locker room was beautiful. I went into the indoor pool and swam by myself for 1900 until other swimmers came. The level of swimmers was a bit below me but when it come to swimming I could care less. Give me people to swim with who do triathlons and I love being in the water with other people. A guy named Aaron happened to swim in my lane, so I introduced myself, told him about Karel and he said that he had Karel work on his bike on fri. small world.....but I think the accent from karel is allowing people to remember him easily. Czech who works on bikes=easy to remember. There was a workout on a white board because the coach is on maternity leave but it was a tough workout. My shoulders are really hurting after the 3600yd workout but I think that is because I have only swam 3 times since I moved. I am ready to get in the water more now that I think I found my Y!
Well, that was only the start. I went into the gym and jumped on the treadmill. First I had to pick a tv station because there was a tv on the dashboard of the treadmill. Not a screen sticking up and out of the top of the treadmill. This was amazing! The screen looked awesome and I easily did a 40 min. run with 5 x 2 1/2 min at 7.7 mph and 30 sec at 8mph. I just got new brooks yesterday so my feet are feeling really happy but my running is really coming along. I am feeling really strong and comfortable at a warm-up pace of 7.5 mph. Wow, what a long way I have come.
After the run I did some weights. Something else I haven't done in a LONG time. Impressed again..the machines had counters on them (all electronic) and once you started the counter kept track of your reps. Wow!
I went to take a shower and the lockers had electronic key pads that you punch in a 4 digit code (whatever you will remember) and you can have a locker anytime you want. The showers had nice smelling shampoo, conditioner and body gel (not the cheap kind) and there was a room just to dry your hair with special lighting. Ok, so I passed on that room since my only makeup is mascara and lipgloss and once I dry my hair it goes into a poof ontop of my head but i was still impressed. And there were towels as well all over the gym and bathroom. What a great place!
I guess I will be joining the Y shortly! This way I feel like I can have a place to go to and meet people. I just love the gym environment but I want to be sure I don't stop my consistent riding. Karel is letting me ride with him more now that I can draft better and I am a bit faster so that is a lot of fun. We are riding together tomorrow so I will rest my sore shoulders.
Other than that, I think I can start establishing a routine here. I know it takes time but at least I know I always have great friends and family back in Clearwater.

6/16/08

Ocala State Road Race

Sat morning I stayed at home to finish up my pile of school work. I 98% finished my research paper (all but the reference page and inserting tables and figures), I finished my lab report and I caught up on some emails. This was all after the morning ride with the group here in Jax. Oh, and I did laundry and cleaned (two things I am not a big fan of...luckily, I have Karel :) ). The group ride was great, I made the whole ride and I was super tired all day. A great feeling as usual. Karel got 8th in the age group state road race and he said he was saving it all for Sunday's race. We watched a movie on sat night (American Gangster w/ Denzel Washington) which was just what I needed to be able to forget about school work and other nutrition stuff and not be on the computer for a few hours. In saying all this, I absolutely love what I am doing (school and nutrition consults) and I wouldn't change any of it!
Sunday morning I was planning to get up for a run but the movie on sat night kept us up until 10:30pm. Way past our bedtime. When the alarm went off at 5:30am I decided to stay in bed for 30 more minutes as Karel made himself a pre-race meal. I finally woke up and was ready for some coffee. I put on my running clothes and decided I would run when Karel and the guys were warming up and although I was only doing a short run, I knew the ups and downs of Ocala would make it a good workout. The drive was only around 2 hours and when we arrived, I couldn't believe all the linder capital guys who were racing. There was 8 of them which makes for a solid team of strong riders in a state road race.
I went for my 30 minute run and I was running up and down, up and down. It was hot, sticky and well, HOT so when I got back to the car I had just enough time to pour water all over me (A staple of cycling races, you must bring gallons of water for the cyclists to pour all over them when they are finished), take some pics, change and go to the starting line.
The race was 75 miles on a 5-mile loop course. After an hour of taking pics, I headed up a big hill to the feed zone with Kevin, who works at the Trek store w/ us. We were on water-bottle tossing duty all race so we strategically planned out how to pass 8 guys water bottles during the 3 1/2 + hour road race. All went well and we had a lot of fun. Of course, I wanted to take pics with my new camera the whole time but I guess sport drinks are more important than pics.
The race was really excited and Karel and the LInder guys were really strong during the race. Curtis, who placed 2nd on sat, landed in the break away group from the gun and after leading Saturday's race I could only imagine how sore his legs felt during the race. Curtis made it until 4 laps to go and dropped out because he cramped and didn't have anything left. I don't blame him..it is just part of the tactics of cycling. Karel, James and Jeff knew that Curtis was in the break so although the chase pack was getting close to the break away group, there was no reason to try to catch them right away in the race. It wasn't until around 4-5 laps to go that the 2min. lead of the break away group got caught and then everyone was together. Karel, James, Ryan, Jeff and Victor looked super strong and I knew these guys would have a good finish. Well, here comes the sprint to the finish (Karel's strength) and Karel was boxed in the middle and couldn't sprint. There was a 2 man break away on the last loop so the chase pack was sprinting for 3rd place and down. I could see Karel trying to dodge everyone and sprint but there was no where for him to go. Well, Karel ended up in 10th place and in his heart he feels like he could have gotten third and landed on the podium. Karel is just re-playing the moment in his head..."what else could I have done to get there???" but I think he is finally feeling like all the training is paying off and he is ready to race. There are no BIG races coming up but Karel is racing plenty for the next month or so. Well, I know these Linder guys are going to have many more great races and I can't wait to be there and take some pics!