6/28/08

1 day 'til Iron Girl Atlanta!!

After a day of nothing, Kate and I were excited to get our heart rates up. Of course, when you get to sleep in you can't and when you should get up, you just don't want to. Fri morning we tried to stay in bed until 7am and this morning, we looked at the clock at 7am and knew that we needed to get the coffee going.
7:30am we were on our bikes to set out for our 10 mile warm-up ride. We wanted to ride the beginning of the bike course, starting at the transition area. We went about 6 miles and we had some up and downs. Just when we finished a big climb and thought about turning around, we decided would be just go ahead and bike all 18 miles of the bike course. The street was well marked so we knew where to go without our map. The ups and downs turned into rollers which then turned into climbs. Steep ones. We are both super excited about the race tomorrow, which should be a difficult race. Don't ever underestimate an all-women's event, especially an Iron Girl race. The bike and run is all up and down and there is nothing flat for this Floridian!
I just can't wait to get out there, get into the beautiful lake and get this race started.
We did get a little lost on the course and ended up with 5 extra miles so our 10 mile ride, which turned into an 18 mile ride, turned into a 23 mile ride. Oh well, we had fun and enjoyed riding the entire course. After the ride we had a quick transition and went for a 10-min run. Again, up and then down.
We were super hungry and couldn't wait for the breakfast of champions. Oatmeal, banana, raisins, yogurt and a little PB with some pita bread. What a life.
We headed to the expo at 10:45am to pick up our packet, get our fabulous Aflac duck, get our awesome shirt and then rack our bikes after the course talk. Seduza is very happy on the rack and so is felt. I'm sure it will rain tonight so we will have very clean bikes in the morning.
I answered a lot of questions in the transition area. Some athletes remembered me from the nutrition talk at the pre-race clinic but I guess the Zipp race wheels and disk give it away that Kate and I have a feel of what we are doing (or, so we think we do :)). Well, we helped some athletes with the layout of transition and how to set up a transition. I just love all the newbies and if they can get through the scary bike ride (there are some FAST downhills) I think they will feel so good wearing an Iron Girl medal at the finish. I can't wait to see it all go down and be part of the action.
Well, just resting right now. Kate and I are lying in our super comfy hotel beds and watching movies on TBS. I have my list of to-do's by my side and I am happy i am finally being productive and answering emails. A day of "not working" is just so hard for me but I think it was well-needed.
And most of all....OUTBACK TONIGHT!!! Can't wait for my bread, salad and sweet potato! Looking forward to the race tomorrow :)

Kate looking good with her Felt



Me and Seduza...what a great team!




Kate enjoyed the hills



Hills???? In Florida we call those MOUNTAINS????



AFFFFFLLLAAAACCC (that was the duck saying that)


I love Iron Girl!



Let's get this party started!!!

6/27/08

A little Girl Time



Kate flew into Jacksonville on Wed. evening. I arrived promptly at 5pm for her to land at 4:50. I thought I was going to die on my 30 min. drive to the airport because it was storming out, with heavy rain and lots of wind. Of course I had to cross a bridge and then another and when I arrived I knew the flight was going to be delayed. I just didn't think the flight would be delayed by 2 1/2 hours. Errrrr. A final to study for, dinner was on my mind (although already prepared) and I was anxious to get home with kate. I spent my time shopping at Old Navy and surprised Karel with some new clothes and finally, Kate landed.
We got home around 8:15pm and good thing that dinner was already prepared. Couscous, hard-boiled egg whites (chopped), tofu, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, tomatos, scallions and onions. Yep, we had wraps! YUMMMM. And for desert, fruit salad and my home-made frozen yogurt.
We entertained Karel with girl talk and at 10:30pm it was lights out.
I woke up super early on thurs morning to take my Food science final. Since Kate and I were going for a 15 mile ride I wanted to get my final overwith as soon as I could. The alarm went off at 5:15am to make some coffee and at 5:30am I started my final. 90 min later and 100 questions finished, I received an 80% and my class was finished! My other class (nutrition education) had a "take home" final which I finished earlier that week. What a relief.
As Kate and I were getting ready for our ride, Karel pumped our tires. What a good man! Karel did lots of work on Kate's bike, with a total re-haul to make Felt even faster, earlier that day since Kate shipped the bike to karel on wed morning.
We had a great ride together and we each took turns pulling for a mile. After the ride we had breakfast and then time to get packed up.
As I made Pb&J sandwiches and a goody bag of healthy snacks for the road, Karel took Kate to the Trek store for her own personal shopping hour. All alone, doors locked...just kate and her Credit Card. Luckily, she had Karel there to assemble all her new goodies to her bike.
So, off we went at 11am on Thurs and with lots of girl talk we arrived in atlanta in no time. About 5 1/2 hours of driving and we were there!
We had about an hour to kill before we wanted to get to the Iron Girl Clinic at the Big Peach Running company, so we had a fabulous dinner at Ruby Tuesdays.
The Iron Girl clinic was great! There were about 20-25 people there and the ladies asked some great questions. I met some great people and even met some people that I have done nutrition consultations for! I always love that.
I talked before the Polar rep and I talked for about 20 min. The time always flies when I am talking and I wish I could talk more often. It was great to see Judy who I love so much and I am so happy that I am part of the Iron Girl team.
Kate and I made a quick stop at Kroger to get some necessities (oatmeal, PB, bananas, yogurt, etc.) and off we went to our final destination.....Lake Lanier Resort.
Well, now we are at the hotel and we spent a whole day doing nothing. We slept in until 7am, walked around the hotel, had breakfast, watched tv in bed, went to the pool for an hour, walked down to the lake, ate lunch in the room (PB&J, raisins, yogurt and banana on pita bread), watched more TV, drove some of the bike course, went to publix, drove in the rain, saved a baby turtle in the middle of the road (what a good deed, I felt SO good when I saved him. It was a baby turtle on a two lane road in the middle of the road!) and then back to the hotel for dinner. Now we are watching tv and thinking about our warm-up tomorrow.
Enjoy the pics...we've been busy doing NOTHING. Oh, we are loving every minute of it!










6/25/08

The good mood diet

I opened my computer this morning as I was drinking my coffee and came across this headline on MSN.com (my homepage).
The Good Mood Diet
I decided to go on my 25 mile ride before diving into this article but as I was riding my bike I thought about what the article might contain, without reading it.
Here are my thoughts:
Certain foods make you feel good.
Other foods make you feel bad.
If you eat these foods you will feel good.
If you eat those foods you will feel bad.


Does there really need to be a diet plan that assures that you will be in a good mood by following this plan? Or maybe, just maybe, we could call it "healthy eating" and just eliminate the word diet all together.
There is no reason to stick to a plan (aka DIET) when trying to lose weight, get in a better mood, or try to tone up. Eating is a way of life people! Get with it!
Ok, so I'm not mad. I don't like to get upset, angry or furious when I read things on the internet or hear about them on the news. Obviously, researchers are out there studying days and nights to come out with something ground breaking that people will believe that the "new thing" will work for them. Once day coffee is good for you, the next day it will cause cancer and then the next day coffee will prevent cancer?
I believe that we must prioritize food. I have said this over and over again but eating shouldn't be complicated. There was a time that I measured food, weighed food, read food labels for carbohydrate grams and compared calories....of HEALTHY food. That doesn't seem right. Now I want to look at food labels for the best food to help me with my training, the best food to keep me satisfied at a meal, the best food to give me vitamins and minerals and good nutrients and most of all, the best food to keep me in a good mood.
It is no surprise that if you don't eat for a few hours, your blood sugar will drop. You will get moody, shaky and/or extremely hungry. Same thing will happen if you "bonk" during training. Food should not been seen as good or bad in terms of weight gain or weight loss. If you eat this you will gain weight, if you eat this you will lose weight. It is all about controlling what you eat so that your hormones are under control, your brain chemicals are controlled and most of all your strong muscles are properly fueled.
I just don't believe that a diet plan will put you in a good mood. After reading through the article, it plainly states that eating protein will help with mood and eating every few hours (a carb snack before and after meals) will also help with mood. I don't have a PhD but I could have told ya that...and I do!
I'm not upset at the author my any means. I am just concerned about the many people out there who struggle with weight, energy levels or depression due to poor eating habits from confusing articles, books and studies.
If I could suggest one thing about eating healthy it would be to prioritize the best food so that you can finish a meal feeling good about what you ate. Ultimately, eating healthy will put you in a great mood.

6/24/08

I'm eating WHAT?

I think that will be the title of one of my books. Of course my first book will be tailored to sports nutrition and weight loss/management but I would love to write a book, or perhaps a cookbook, on what we are really eating....and what we should (or could) be eating.

Over the past 6-weeks I have found an even greater love for cooking from my food science course. I have my final on thurs (before I head to Atlanta to speak at the Iron Girl clinic) for my two classes before I start another 2 classes for 6-weeks. Although I would not call myself a baker, I have really enjoyed learning the science about food and how to make food. It is so easy to buy food off the shelf at the grocery store but I have now learned how to make basic foods. The same foods which come to us as a processed, packaged and boxed-up food item... that we eat almost every day. I have made bread, muffins, cakes and frozen yogurt and today I made granola bars.

If I had the money (oh, do I say that a lot!) I would make all our food. Of course it is very convenient to buy food and even for me, I feel I cook a lot. I wouldn't consider myself a baker cause I'm just not educated enough on how to make sweets more healthy. I know Karel has really enjoyed this class and every week having something new to eat but I must admit that not everything tasted that good. I just couldn't get the strength to use 1/2 cup shortening, 2 cups sugar or 8 egg yolks in the recipes. So I tried to cut out things but ultimately, I ruined the final product. However, I have learned a lot from this course and I do know how to make foods which is the most important thing of all.

My best friend Allie called me the other day and asked me to help her. She has two girls under the age of 3 and she just can't find healthy snacks. She hates that all the snack food is processed, filled with perservatives and artificial ingredients and too much sugar for the normal adult to handle. I don't blame her for being confused and upset so I am on the hunt or some healthy kid snacks. Of course, my kids will eat tofu and carrots for snacks.....hahah, yeah right! If there is one thing that I want to be known as, it is that I want to be a realistic and practical sports nutritionist. I want people to learn to prioritize food, love healthy food and want to put the best food possible in their bodies. Unfortunantly, it is hard to even find healthy food that isn't organic or costing a fortune. Karel and I aren't there yet with our income of buying all organic but we try to do the best we can to prioritize the best foods.

I think we need to see food as body fuel. The body needs good food just like a baby needs the right nutrients in order to grow. Just like a plant needs sunlight or a car needs to be fueled and cleaned in order to run properly. I don't joke around with food because I know what "bad" food will do to you if it becomes a routine to eat it everyday. Cravings, overeating, mindlessly eating, emotional changes, hormone changes, electrolyte changes, WEIGHT changes and well...you just don't feel good after you finish it. If you know me I am not afraid to eat real ice cream, have a piece of a cookie, eat pizza or eat white bread :) However, these foods are not part of my daily diet. These are accessories that aren't needed. They are nice every now and then but I enjoy prioritizing the best foods for my body so that I know exactly what I am putting into my body.

Just thought I'd post a few of my creations from my food class :)




6/23/08

Eating on the road

This was one of my most favorite articles to write. You can find it on the Iron Girl website but I wanted to post it on my blog for everyone. Check out the Iron Girl website for lots of great tools, tips and events! Enjoy!

Don’t Forget To Eat!
The first part of “traveling nutrition” is to eat an adequate amount of energy providing foods to meet the demands of your race. If you are traveling for a sprint triathlon, avoid a day full of carbo-loading in anticipation for a 60- or 75-minute race. In contrast, if you are traveling to a marathon or Ironman race, do not let the time pass by at the expo. If you forget to eat necessary, frequent snacks you will only find yourself overeating late at night.

It is most important that you focus on your pre-race meal two nights before a race – this is designated as your “carbo-loading” meal. The night before a race should include foods from your “carbo-loading” meal, but in less quantity. Often times, you can arrange to travel to a race the day before, and you can enjoy a home-cooked meal filled with your favorite low glycemic carbohydrates two nights prior to race day. Regardless of the distance of the race, if you plan to compete at an all-out intensity, proper digestion and absorption of food is critical for optimal performance.

As you are thinking about your travel details, remember that you are traveling to a race in order to put many weeks or months of training to the test. Do not think that you can buy new clothes, a new set of race wheels, new running shoes or a new swim suit and forget to eat! Participating in a triathlon or running event is simply daily training at a higher intensity. If you are concerned about your training nutrition you should be concerned about quality pre-race nutrition.

Focus on filling meals with an abundance of healthy complex carbohydrates, as the foundation of the meal, and low-fat protein to keep your blood sugar stabilized. Keep your meals around 350-500 calories and snacks around 150-250 calories. Smaller meals and regular snacking will ensure glycogen storage and plenty of fuel come race day. Most importantly, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking water at all meals and finishing a 20-24 ounce bottle of water every 2-4 hours during the two days before a race.


Planning Your Trip
While the price of paying for a race only crosses your mind for a split second before clicking ‘register’ on the race Website, the combined cost of hotels, food and gas can weigh heavily on your checking account. After planning out your racing schedule, it is equally as important to find affordable hotels as it is to find hotels with your desired amenities.

Don’t be surprised if the coffee, cold cereal and bagels are absent from the hotel breakfast nook as you are checking out of your hotel at 4:45 a.m. Aside from a few races that start later in the morning, skip the hotels that feature a continental breakfast since it probably won’t be open until after you leave for the race.

Besides the semi-fresh aroma of free hotel coffee, plan to stay at a hotel that provides a refrigerator AND a microwave. Although eating dinner in your hotel room may seem unappealing, look forward to not waiting for food, meals prepared the way you like them and a good night’s sleep without any worries that you ate too much food.

When booking a hotel with a ‘fridge, you don’t have to worry about missing out on healthy refrigerated items such as yogurt, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, skim/soy milk or other must-have pre-race foods. Plan ahead by investing in a cooler or insulated lunch box for the road trip. This will guarantee that you won’t let your blood sugar drop between meals. When you need to stretch your legs, pre-made sandwiches such as peanut butter and jelly, are ideal for road stops.

If you choose to eat out, look for a restaurant that offers healthy food in reasonable portions. Opt to use the microwave and fridge for your early morning breakfast (ex. oatmeal) and plan ahead to find a restaurant to help you fuel for your race. Because most races occur on the weekends, bypass the heavy rush for dinner and plan to eat around 5:00 - 5:30 p.m. You may want to make a reservation to avoid a possible wait, but an early dinner guarantees proper digestion for your early evening bedtime. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions (ex. light on the cheese, vegetarian, salad or soup as a side, bread instead of French fries or no butter/oil) and check Online menus ahead of time, so you arrive to the restaurant with your meal in mind.

As you are browsing the race Website for race maps, start times and your competition (like you don’t want to know who is in your age group), check out Yahoo search, Google or Mapquest for restaurants, fast food and grocery stores. You will save yourself a lot of time, stress and gas by knowing the surrounding area and the food choices that are available.

If all else fails and you find yourself in a remote area with only fast food and a few restaurants, have a plan of action when picking the best pre-race meal on the road. Don’t let a race be the only reason to eat healthy when eating out. Use the following suggestions for healthy eating, anytime!

Snacks:
Parfait - McDonalds makes for a great stop when on the road and in need of a snack. Avoid parfaits at grocery stores and gas stations, as they tend to be loaded with high-sugar yogurt and canned sugary fruit.
Bars - Avoid bars with a heavy icy coating and keep bars around 120 - 200 calories.
Fruit – Always wash before eating.
Yogurt – Less than 120 calories, look in the refrigerated section of gas stations or in grocery stores.
Trail mix – Avoid overeating and portion control by taking 1 handful out of the bag and limiting yourself to 1/2 - 1/3 cup servings every 2 hours.

Starters:
Side salad w/ dressing on the side - Watch out for onions, broccoli and garlic that may create GI upset. Ask for fat-free dressings on the side.
Bread basket - Preferably whole wheat or rye bread or ask to hold the butter on the white rolls/breadsticks.
Nuts - Often steakhouses provide peanuts at the dinner table that will stabilize blood sugar and prevent overeating.
Soup – Avoid creamy, cheesy, meaty soups and choose a simple broth (vegetarian, chicken, tomato) with veggies and/or lean meat.

Entrees:
Vegetarian burger – Ask for the burger to be grilled and not fried or cooked in heavy oil.
Meat – Choose lean meat.
Fish – Baked not fried. Hold the butter.
Baked potato or sweet potato – Hold the toppings and ask for butter on the side.
Pasta – Ask for lunch size portions rather than dinner size. Although you have a refrigerator for leftovers, you will have plenty of post-race foods at your race. Save money on a smaller portion and prevent going to bed stuffed because you tried to clear your plate.
Pizza – After finishing two to three bread baskets, you will be happy you ordered thin crust rather than deep dish. Ask for light on the cheese, extra sauce (marinara/tomato) and plenty of lean meats or veggies.
Wraps, burritos, soft tacos – Watch out for excessive sodium when eating at a Mexican restaurant. Opt for rice and veggies, and ask for no guacamole and sour cream. Limit the beans, cheese and salsa. For healthy options, ask for “fresco” when ordering your meal. Save the margarita for after the race.
Subs – Hold the toppings (mayo, dressings) and stick with lean meat, lots of veggies, low-fat cheese (mozzarella, swiss) and a whole grain sub.
Omelet, whole-grain pancakes – Check around for diners or restaurants that serve breakfast all day. You can find egg substitutes, sugar-free syrup, fresh fruit and many healthy choices, and you can find great deals without spending a lot of money.

As a final thought, the more you dine out, the more you increase your risk for food poisoning by eating contaminated food. Although salad bars and buffets are ideal for choosing your own foods, be aware of the sharing of utensils. While washing your hands seems like a no-brainer, think about your last race expo and how quick you were to take a bite of an energy bar after racking your bike. Hand sanitizers are convenient germ-killers, so give yourself a little squirt before and after pumping gas, making a rest stop, picking up your race packet or stopping for food. Although you may not be training for the Olympics or a World Championship, every athlete should be cautious of what he/she is eating the week leading up to a big event.

6/22/08

Uneventful

A weekend at home....alone. Friday afternoon I worked a few hours at the shop and came home to a hungry cat and many hungry fishes. I didn't sleep very well fri night but couldn't wait for a long run on sat. I had my music and as usual, I zoned out for an hour and 27 minutes. My legs were SUPER tired (heart was good) so I took out seduza for the first time in many weeks. I must say I have really enjoyed riding my road bike. I rode my run course and couldn't believe my speedometer. 11.2 miles! wow...under 8 min miles for almost a half marathon. That is what I like to see! In the back of my head I have a little section for endurance thoughts so I will store this workout back there as I await the fall when I start training for the Jacksonville Marathon.
For the start of my run I had a funny experience. I was running for about 5 min. and was about to make a turn when I saw a bunch of ducks in the middle of the road (2 lanes on both sides). I decided to run straight since cars were coming. Luckily the cars slowed and swerved around them but I was so worried that some careless driver would hit them. So, my animal-lover side came out (why I am a vegetarian) and I decided to save all 16 ducks. Here I am in my running outfit, headphones, fuel belt and visor in the middle of the road clapping at the ducks to get out of the road. I am just laughing and smiling and a line of cars have stopped to take pics of all the ducks (not me) with their cell phones. A guy on a motorcycle came and reved his engine and that got the ducks off the road but it was just the cutest thing. After the road was cleared the ducks kept walking, single file, on the sidewalk. I can't tell you how many animals i have saved (plenty of turtles) when I'm out training. Of course i think about my own safety but I don't have to think twice about saving an animal. I guess it is my motherly side but I will save anything with 2 or 4 legs...ok, I even save things that have 8 legs or slither around.
I finished my workout on sat with a 16 mile ride and worked a few hours at the Trek store in the late afternoon. I almost sold two bikes so I feel like I am getting somewhere in the bike industry :)
This morning I went out for a 50-mile ride on seduza and 2 hours and 50 min. later I am back home. It felt like I was out for a 20-mile ride. I don't think I got my heart rate up beyond 80% but the wind was not on my back, that's for sure. It was a toughy but a great solo ride.
Karel had a great weekend and he is finally feeling like he is ready to race this summer. He is really training hard to place well in the races so he can upgrade to category 1 (From cat 2) although cat 1 and 2 race together in the Pro 1,2 category. However, if you are a cat 1 rider (or pro 1 rider) you can race the National racing calendar without invitation and there are some amazing riders and teams in that series. Karel went to Lagrange, GA with a Linder teammate (Ryan) and Karel had an impressive weekend. 4th in the TT, 4th in the crit (so close to a podium finish) and 2nd in the RR!!!! FINALLY!!!!!! Karel got on the podium. I didn't get much of the details of the race (karel isn't a phone talker) but he said 3 guys were working with Karel because cat 1,2 and masters 30 all raced together (I think that is right). Karel was sprinting to the finish with another guy and the 1st place guy bumped Karel off his wheel (not literally, "cycling talk") and won the race. Karel came in 2nd after 102 miles of racing. Also, Karel won a sprint in the "win and out" race that I mentioned in the previous post so he got $100. In all, I think karel made over $200 this weekend so I would call this a successful weekend!
Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend...everywhere! I was checking results all over the world to keep up with you triathletes!