1/16/09

Thankful to be healthy and alive

I can't believe the miracle on the Hudson. I can't stop watching it and I am amazed that everyone survived. For the past few years I started to fear flying. I will fly if I have to but it kinda scares me at times. Driving scares me as well. I love road trips but it is the around-the-town driving that really worries me. There are so many rushed and occupied drivers on the road that I don't think people watch the road carefully when they are driving. In either case, by plane or road, I am always careful to buckle up and to always think about possible scenarios which could put my life in danger.
As I watched CNN and the Today show this morning on the treadmill, I was almost in tears when I heard all the stories from the survivors. Everyone had their own story and their own reason to be thankful to be alive.
So, I ask everyone out there, are you thankful to be alive? Do you take care of yourself on a daily basis in order to prevent injury, illness, disease or an accident?
Do you wear your helmet when you are on the bike? Do you run in daylight? Do you properly inspect your bike for safety reasons? Do you swim with a group in open water? Do you wear lights when you ride in the dark? Do you have ID on you ride or run? Do you carry your cell phone with you when you are on your bike? I guess I can go on and on about ways to stay healthy and alive when you are training but it is quite obvious that there are many ways to prepare for any scenario.
Now on to the topic that concerns people, but perhaps for the wrong reason.
Nutrition.
So many people are concerned about their eating because of their weight. Perhaps it is to lose a little bit of body fat or to lose 30 lbs. In either case, people often strive to lose weight for the following reasons: In order to look a certain way, to fit into certain clothes or to get to a certain number on the scale. Rather than looking at the aesthetics of losing weight, it is more important to look at the long term goals.
I know it is hard to think about your life 30,40 or 50 years from now but your eating habits now will likely determine the health of your body many years down the road. As I mentioned in an early post, it is hard to think about the immediate effects of eating tomatoes and preventing cataracts or drinking milk and preventing osteoporosis. It is much easier to think about cutting back on calories and to exercise more in order to lose a few pounds as quick as possible.
I know it is easy to think about your training and the future because you know if you don't consistently train and push the body, you will always keep the same level of fitness. It is easy for athletes or fitness enthusiasts to feel the immediate effects of training. A good sweat and a longer and harder workout than the day before gives you great strength and confidence that you are getting closer to your end goal. However, if you can't get in control of your eating, all that working out means nothing if your insides are not as healthy as what you feel on the outside.
I ask everyone today to think about your life and what you will do nutritionally to stay healthy and alive for many more decades. This doesn't have to happen tomorrow, this can happen today.
You know what you need to do to live a healthier lifestyle. Everyone has a food that if they would only eat less of it or eliminate that food, it would be much easier to lose weight. For many athletes, that certain food is a reward for all that hard training and although the training may be spot on, that certain reward food that is eaten too often, is the reason why weight is not coming off.
For many other people, more fruits and veggies need to be consumed on a daily basis. It is sad that so many people aren't eating fruits and veggies and if so, they are in minimal amounts.
And for the majority of people, poor eating habits are the culprit to cravings, low blood sugar, inconsistent training sessions, skipping meals and snacks and overeating. All of this can be changed if you start to take control of your eating and to be conscious of what you prepare, what you eat and what you choose to keep in your house.
If you can forget about looking a certain way, I promise it will be so much easier to reach your weight loss goals. Start swapping out some of the junky foods in the diet with more wholesome and nutritious foods that will ward of disease and enable you to live a long and healthy life. Remember, it is OK to have a sweet treat or heart unhealthy food every now and then, but if your every now and then food occurs everyday, you will never experience the joys of having a consistent heart healthy diet.

How about a few pics of Campy during his daily morning nap




This is Karel and Campy time (and sometimes Smudla). Campy doesn't get "dog" treats so we train him with carrots and apples. And when Karel makes his lunch in the morning, Campy LOVES getting a few treats of meat. :)



And of course, Smudla looking very beautiful on the speaker by the door.

1/15/09

Power Test and Campy

Uggh...I did my bike power test today. NO fun!
Here are my comments on Training Peaks to Shawn

The test started out really slow for the warm up. Couldn't get my speed up but this was my first time on a trainer so it was a little weird at first. I did two 1 min pick-ups and afterwards I thought I would never survive the test. The warm-up last 15 min and after the 2 x 1 min pickups I rode another 5 min. easy (as prescribed by my test).
The test was 20 min at max, starting out around 65% max HR. I broke the test into 4x5 min intervals. I got out of the saddle the last min. of each 5min interval because my legs (mostly my right leg, the one that was injured) was tightening up on me. I probably should have stayed in the saddle the whole time but physically and mentally I wanted to quit after 5min. I was never in pain from the leg but just in pain from the grueling test at an all-out effort.
The test got better (mentally) after 10 min but physically it was killing me.
I tried to increase my wattage for each 5 min interval by 10 watts and I was able to get my watts to an average of 190-200 at the last 5 min. However my HR almost popped out of my chest and I could feel my heart beating in my head.
I wasn't pleased with my speed but I tried not to focus on that too much. I really focused on HR and watts and I think I may have been able to do better outside, yet it would probably be less consistent.


So there ya go. My first power test. At least now I have some zones that I can use for training so my workouts will be of better quality for IMKY.

On a different note (a much cuter and less sweaty note), the cold temperatures that us wimpy Floridians are experiencing are really tough on Campy. His 11 lb body and almost no body fat are no fun for him during our walks. I felt so bad for him on Tuesday when it rained all day and I dreaded taking him on a walk on Wed because it was a bit too cold.
So, I got him a sweater. I always told myself that I would NEVER dress my dog up in clothes but I had to get him something to stay warm during our walks. I was worried he wouldn't like it but he actually loves it! I shouldn't be surprised since Campy loves snuggling under blankets and getting as much human body heat as possible by cuddling as close as he can to Karel or me.

After I got the sweater Campy showed off his new outfit at the Trek store. Jeff and Alex laughed at Campy but Karel said he looked gorgeous. :)
In the afternoon I took Campy to Mandarin Park and we walked all around the trails. Campy got in a good 45 min walk and he lead me all over the place. There were lots of squirrels for Campy to chase and he was nice and warm in his bubble bee sweater :)

What a cutie!






Campy was yawning during this pic and it came out so funny!

1/14/09

Change in weather

BRRRRR...It's cold here!! High of 59 and low of 34. On Fri the high is 49!!! I know it is nothing to joke about when people are experiencing freezing conditions and negative temps but for us Floridians, it is cold.
Although the weather is cold, I'm staying somewhat consistent with my workouts. I love my training plan! I feel I am doing less volume than I did during the off-season (when training is just for fun) but the quality of my workouts is killer! I am working really hard at being a smart athlete and having a coach keeps me accountable for not doing too much but doing what I need to do for IMKY. Oh jeez...IMKY is in 8 months!
I was suppose to do my power test on my bike yesterday (TUES) but it rained ALL day. I could have done it on the trainer but I really wanted to do the test outside. Karel gave himself off from work on tuesday but it was a bummer that he didn't get in a ride that morning. I went to the Y to swim and run but for a cyclist, all karel could do was weights (he hates the trainer!). He will ride the trainer if he has to but he usually sticks to outdoor rides.
Karel and I had a date last night. We went out to dinner at a restaurant for the first time in Jacksonville since Oct or Nov. We went to the European Cafe and it was SO good. It was great because they had beer from all over the world (even the Czech beer that Karel loves..he can get it at Publix) and great food. I always think a restaurant is great when I have more than 3 options to choose from. They had lots of vegetarian options and because I had a coupon for a free entree we even treated ourselves to a side dish of Tempeh and crackers. I had a great salad w/ raisins, fresh mozerella, almonds, organic spring lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers and Karel had some kind of pita w/ meat (hehe, I forgot what kind). It was all super yummy.
This morning I had the hardest swim set of my life. I almost threw up it was so hard. I thought my head would explode because I was working so hard in the water and my face was super hot. There were 4 people in my lane and 4 people in the lane next to me. All 8 of us were doing the same set on the same cycle (30 sec rest) so we were able to really pace ourselves and push ourselves. Shawn (my coach) was there so of course I had to work extra hard to show him that I can swim fast :)
Here's the whole practice (note the short warm-up and only one main set):
200 swim, 200 kick, 200 drill
2x300 pull (breathing 3,5,7)
Main Set
2x400 (150S, 50K, 200 pace) - my 200 pace was 2:35 and I pushed super hard for that
3x300 (150S, 50K, 100 pace) - my 100 pace was 1:20
4x200 (100S,50K, 50 pace) - I just sucked it up and went fast for it all
200 warm-down
Total:4000

After the swim I hit the treadmill for a easy 25 min run and then did a few core exercises. I am so happy about that swim set. I Love hard workouts like that!

1/11/09

Homemade Muffins!

Karel started making muffins last year and now I am hooked. We don't make them that often but with our training getting more serious, they are perfect after a hard weekend of training. We made several batches this past summer because our muffins are perfect for car rides when we travel to races. They take about 5 min. to prepare and about 10-15 min to bake.
I have two pictures of muffins that I made this weekend. The first batch was raisin, nuts and fresh apricot. The batch I made this morning were chocolate chips, nuts and raisins.
Here is the basic recipe that Karel and I use for our muffins. Then it is up to you to decide what to put in it!

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 egg
1 cup raisin bran cereal (if you don't like raisins you can use a bran flake cereal)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Cinnamon (a few shakes)
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

1/4 - 1/2 cup water (add last after mixing the above ingredients)
I use butter pam spray for the muffin tray and I set the oven to 375. They usually cook in about 10-15 min but check around 8 min and give them a little push with your fingers. If the batter is firm, they are ready.

*For extra ingredients you can use:
Nuts
Any fruit finely chopped or grated (ex. pear, apple, apricot, orange, banana, strawberry, blueberries, etc.)
Any vegetable (ex. you could do carrots and pineapples for a carrot cake type muffin or you could do corn and jalapenos for a cornbread type muffin)
Granola

Enjoy!

Here's the batter (makes about 9 muffins but you can double ingredients for double the muffins!)


Apricot and raisin muffin





Chocolate chip and raisin muffin



A big congrats goes out to Kelley Newgard (aka Kate's twin sis) for finishing her first marathon!!! Way to go!