6/5/09

Misleading the consumer

I'm learning a lot in school right now. I love my technical writing course because I am learning how to write better and how to understand how other people write (and speak).
Here are some misleading ads that I'd like to bring to your attention:

1) Next time you watch a commercial for a medication, listen carefully when they start listing the side effects. In almost every commercial for a medication (depression, sleeping pills, libido drugs, weight loss, birth control, rheumatoid arthritis, cholesterol meds..the list goes on), the person in the commercial is smiling, performing daily tasks or is overly content as you hear the side effects. Sure, they list cancer as a side effect (in the commercial I just watched for a med for rheumatoid arthritis) but you don't even hear that because you see how happy the person is putting on her socks in the morning. Just something to think about next time you see an add for a drug that you are interested in taking due to an annoying problem that you are dealing with short-term (which can often be helped with changes in your daily habits) but it is easy to overlook the side effects because you are convinced that this drug is worth it due to the ad. Let me know when you see a commercial for a drug and they show happy people as they list the side effects.

2) Wendy's Toffee Coffee Frosty.
How about a rich creamy Frosty with real-brewed coffee and chocolate-covered toffee candy. Doesn't this look yummy! Although I enjoy sweet treats on occasion after a hard workout, I am not encouraging anyone to use this desert/drink, whatever it is, as your post-workout treat. Here's the nutrition breakdown for you:

Calories: 540
Fat: 20g
Saturated fat: 15g
Sodium: 270mg
Cholesterol: 45mg
Carbs: 83g
Fiber 1g
Sugars: 69g
Protein: 9g

INGREDIENTS:
Coffee Toffee Pieces: Chocolate Coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, alkalized cocoa, soy lecithin [emulsifier], vanilla), Sugar, Butter (cream, salt), Corn Syrup, Palm Kernel Oil, Instant Coffee, Soy Lecithin (emulsifier), Salt, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor (contains sulfites).
CONTAINS: MILK, SOY. Manufactured in a facility that processes or uses peanuts & tree nuts.

OUCH!! Not sure what the size is but I am assuming (and hoping) there is only one size and this is the biggest one. I am going to work on a healthy version of this smoothie after my workouts this weekend so hopefully I can give everyone an alternative to still cure your toffee coffee frosty cravings.

3) Fuji Apple Chicken Salad.
Do you ever feel like it is much easier to just pick a salad over a sandwich when you are trying to find the healthiest item at a fast food place or restaurant.
I'm always up for a nice hearty salad with nuts, fruit and a good vinaigrette (without meat of course), but you have to be careful with salads. Much of the calories in salads are in the dressing but you'd be suprise that the Panera Fuji Apple chicken salad (sounds healthy, right?) has more fat and sodim than the frosty tofee coffee at Wendy's an almost as many calories!
Here's the breakdown of the salad:
Calories: 520
Fat: 30g
Saturated fat: 6g
Sodium: 900mg
Carbs: 34g
Fiber: 5g
Sugars:22g
Protein:32g

Not sure where they are hiding the calories in this salad (my guess is still the dressing) but in any case, order a low-cal/fat free dressing on the side and skip the bread. Yes, it hurts for me to say that because I LOVE bread but save yourself those calories if you are ordering this salad. You are better off ordering a side salad and sandwich so you can still get your bread fix.

4) Smooth and Creamy Yogurt.
Yogurt is SO good for you with so many healthy bacteria in each bite. Great for your immune system, digestive system and for the urinary tract. However, an 8 ounce yogurt can pack a lot of calories and sugar. You don't need to go for yogurts which claim to have special probiotics and certain ballicus..they all have some, if not all of that. Opt for 60 or 90 calorie yogurts to save yourself a lot of calories and sugar. Yogurt is great after a short workout, for a snack, for desert or before a meal. Another option is greek yogurt to up the protein value.
Here's the breakdown of Breyers fruit on the bottom 6ounces:
Claories: 170g
Fat: 1.5g
Sat fat: 1g
Sodium: 90mg
Carb: 34g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 29g
Protein: 6g


Hopefully you are a smart consumer and you read food labels, you aren't mislead by "healthy" foods in commercials and you recognize when and if you need supplments/meds. Have a great weekend!

6/2/09

My Birthday - Recap

My Birthday was great! Another year older (27) but I feel younger every day. My body feels like I am 23 and without a job, I wish I was 23!!

To start off my birthday Karel and I went for a 90 min. spin. I was super sore from my race but I couldn't pass up a birthday ride with Karel. After the ride, I took campy for a long walk (I told Campy no running) and when I came home there was breakfast ready for me!
Crepes w/ strawberries and scrambled eggs. Yum!
After breakfast is was time for presents!!!
I don't like receiving gifts like I LOVE giving gifts so seeing that my b-day is also our anniversary (3 years) I had to give Karel a gift as well. After he surprised me with a Garmin 405 (which I knew I was getting but was super excited nonetheless) I surprised him with a Nano Ipod 5th generation. This is Karel's first Ipod and since he only has Oakley Thumps to listen to music while he is riding, I thought I would spoil him with a nano. He isn't much of a music person when it comes to training but I thought he would enjoy it when he warms-up for races on his trainer.
I LOVE my garmin!! I have wanted one for the past 2 years but because I am not too tech-savvy, I never went out of my way to order one. I guess Karel picked up on my hints and now I have the second best running partner EVER! My first running partner is Campy, Of course :)
I absolutely LOVE my Garmin, used it once (today after my bike ride) and I am obsessed! Oh how my running will improve.
Karel also LOVES his Ipod. As I was studying on my birthday (BOO), Karel spent all day on the computer downloading songs.

After our day of nothing exciting (except for watching the last day of the Giro...how about that crash!!??!!) Karel and I headed out to Jacksonville beach to meet up with my close friends Laura, Libby and Katrine. Libby and Katrine brought their hubby's and Laura came solo cause her hubby travels.
We all ate yummy pizza at Chicago Pizza and laughed, chatted and just relaxed over good food and a few drinks. Since I don't drink, I enjoyed my water :) Laura made me a cake which was SOOO yummy. Carrot cake!!! Laura is a dietitian so we have LOTS in common when it comes to cooking. We also have LOTS to talk about any time we are together!


I am so thankful I have such good friends in my life. And blogger and facebook friends count :)
Enjoy the pics...and of course, I had to include a few of Campy. Oh, do I love him!











6/1/09

Calorie Restriction

Here's my latest article from the Iron Girl FREE monthly newsletter.
This is one topic which I love talking about. Enjoy!



Calorie Restriction
By Marni Rakes, M.S.

As a fan of fitness, health and challenging yourself to exercise out of your comfort zone, it's likely that weight loss and an ideal body image will always be on your mind. No matter how good you feel after a workout, at the end of a race or first thing in the morning, most women are not comfortable in their own skin.

In reference to the word "diet" and "weight loss,"most people dread the thought of low calorie diets, expensive fat-free/sugar-free foods, constant hunger pains and lots of exercise. However, when it comes to reducing calories, optimal and balanced nutrition are key to staying healthy, increasing longevity and improving performance. Although it is wise to de-emphasize foods that provide minimal nutritional value, it is equally as important to not eliminate essential heart-healthy foods in the diet in an attempt to reduce calories.

Caloric restriction is a scientific method suggesting that you can add more healthy years to your life by reducing caloric intake to 20-40% less than recommended. The difference between compulsive dieting and lasting healthy weight loss, however, is to adopt healthy habits that build a more nutritious, satisfying and balanced daily diet. As you cut back on calories, in an effort to tone up or maintain weight, it is required that you still obtain necessary macro and micronutrients in your food choices, necessary for energy production, immune system functioning, hormone production and proper recovery.

As you embark on a healthy journey of caloric restriction and daily exercise, you must learn how to choose foods that provide nutrients without compromising flavor and satiety. Rather than skipping snacks, attempting to stretch out meals to reduce daily calories and cutting back on healthy fats and carbs, recognize the foods that need to be replaced in your diet. Instead of eliminating foods (both healthy and heart unhealthy), swap empty processed calories, which are heavy in calories and poor in nutrition value, for nutrient-rich foods. Choose high- fiber bread with natural peanut butter instead of low calorie, enriched bread with 4 squirts of spray butter. Or, snack on a low-fat yogurt with nuts and granola rather than an energy bar and a diet soda. Not only will your palate desire more nutrient-dense foods, with substantial amounts of nutrients and fewer calories, but you will find yourself enjoying a feeling of contentment from wholesome and natural foods.

According to the 2002 Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes macronutrients report, moderately active to active women should consume around 2,000 - 2,400 calories on a daily basis. However, in a calorie restricted diet, in an effort to increase lean body mass and decrease fat mass without compromising energy levels, reducing daily calories to 1,600-1,800 is a practical guideline. Because food is your primary fuel source to improving strength, speed, agility and cardio-respiratory endurance, add 100-200 extra calories a day (to your 1,600-1,800 daily calories) for every hour of exercise. For example, if you work out for one hour a day, add a 100 calorie low-fat protein snack (yogurt) after your workout to ensure proper recovery. If you workout at high intensity for 90 minutes, plan for a 100-150 calorie pre-workout snack (wasa cracker with 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter) about 45-60 min. before the workout and a 100 calorie low-fat protein snack (skim/soy milk) immediately after the workout. By spacing out your calories, and avoiding the tendency to eat more than 400-500 calories per meal and 125- 200 calories per snack, you should find your calorie restriction plan enjoyable, realistic and practical.

Remind yourself that healthy eating is not a fad and temporary changes are not options. Avoid the all or nothing approach, if you mess up all is ruined for the day. The keys to a lifetime of healthy eating are balance, moderation, nutrient timing, portion control and most of all, enjoying the healthy ways of living life.

5/31/09

Race Pictures

Karel did a great job capturing many great (and painful) moments during the race. I must say that this race was organized really well and I was so happy that Hammer was on the run course. My nutrition went great and I didn't cramp or get any signs over overheating.

Enjoy the pics. Thanks to Karel for being the best fan/picture taker out there!!!












































Rock N Roll Half Ironman Race Report

This picture says it all




What a race! Uggghh. That was another exhale from pushing so hard for every part of the race yesterday.

Pre-race:
To start off my morning I rode my trainer for 30 min. with a few race-type intervals. My friend Libby got hit by a car the day before her first big race about a month ago so I didn't want to take a chance riding outside. After my ride I went for a 1 mile run with Campy.
Not sure where to begin my race report but our trip started by dropping off Campy at Katrine's house. So sad to leave him but he made himself at home as soon as we dropped him off.
Karel and I made our 4 hour trip to Macon Ga and we arrived at our hotel around 3pm. I studied the entire car ride and it was weird to think that we were traveling for one of my races. I guess I wasn't nervous, just excited to put away my books and race.
After resting in the hotel room for an hour, we headed over to the race site about 4 miles away. The race was at a lake beach with beautiful (HUGE) houses in the background. Packet pickup was quick and effortless and after racking my bike we attended the course talks.
It was 5:30 when we left the race site and Karel and I were ready for dinner. OUTBACK!!!!
Not only did we have great food (sweet potato and salad for me) but we had the nicest server. He was awesome! We went through 3 loafs of bread but I think the loafs are smaller than normal. Regardless, the bread was YUMMM!!!
After dinner we went back to the hotel and watched GIRO on the computer. I fell asleep before the end and I had a great night of rest.

Race morning:
I woke up at 5:05am and started the coffee in the hotel room. At 5:30 I had 1 packet oatmeal w/ raisins, a little banana and 1/2 graham cracker sheet w/ PB. All foods I had in my cooler for the trip. We checked out of the hotel at 5:55 and headed to the race. Parking was smooth and the race was already well organized.
As Karel was eating his oatmeal in the car, I got body marked and got my chip. I headed back to the hotel to grab my transition stuff and we made our way to the transition area.
The transition area was huge because there were a million races going on during the morning.
There was an aquabike, sprint tri, half tri, duathlon and relays. Let's just say there were lots of bikes out there!
After setting up my transition area Karel and I headed to the lake. I was really nervous for the swim because I don't have a wetsuit and it was wetsuit legal at 73 degrees. BRRRR. BUT, when I felt the water it was perfect for swimming. I couldn't even imagine wearing a wetsuit. So, my speed suit was just fine for this race. Plus, I don't like wetsuits because they mess with my stroke so I was just fine with my decision to not wear the one I don't have :)

Swim:
I was in wave 5 (all of the women) and we started at 7:43. The first wave went off at 7:30. I had a good start and was able to get to the front of the group but for some reason I just wasn't swimming that fast. I checked my time at the first buoy and was a little disappointed. After the first buoy I caught up with all of the previous heats and it was a battle to swim by people to the second buoy. On the way home I swam pretty hard to try to get to my swim goal of 30 min but I was 2 min short. Bummer.
I figured I needed to bike and run hard if I wanted to have a strong race and make up time. I didn't have any time goals for this race. I just wanted to race strong and compete with any top girls out there.
The run to transition was up a steep hill and a min or so later I was getting on my bike.

Bike:
Karel cheered for me as I headed off on the bike and from the moment I started biking, I was feeling good. I was really excited to see how all of my power training paid off on my new bike (second race on it) and it was paying off very nicely.
The course was rolling with several big climbs. To a floridian, I was feeling the climbs but I guess most people (who were from SC, TN, NC and GA) just called them gentle rollers. Yay right, nothing gentle about these. But, although I train on flat roads with lots of wind, I felt really good on the rollers and I really enjoyed the downhills after a hard climb. I really liked this bike because, compared to disney with 2000 people, there weren't as many people on the bike course so there were very little chances for people to draft. In some races you can't help it when there are packs of 30-40 people and there is no way to pass all those people but rather than me dropping back because I can't pass big groups, I felt like this race was fair and everyone had their own bike race. I had one boring moment around mile 25-30 where I was ready for the ride to end but then when I started passing more people I was excited for the rest of the bike. How many people can I pass? Can I pass any more women? Will I see Karel?
Before I knew it I was at mile 50 and there was Karel (with his bike) taking pics. He cheered, I told him I felt great and after I finished one of my last climbs, I was back in the transition area.

Run:
I started running and felt great! Legs were sore but of course, I knew I had biked 56 miles. Karel was on his bike during my entire run and I loved having him out there. He would bike, stop, take pics, cheer and then bike to the next mile. I only saw him for a few sec. every mile but it was just great to have him out there cheering for me. Karel told me I was 6 or 7th on the run so I was really pleased with my place. However, I wasn't sure if they would rank us overall (like top 5) or just top 3 open (there was an open/elite category which was wave 1) and then give everyone else age group awards. I really wanted to place high overall among the amateurs (or all of the females) so I was on a mission to pass as many girls as I could.
Once again, the course was not flat. Nothing of the run was flat! You either go up or down and in some places (mile 9) you just keep running up. Even the last mile to the finish was up a hill.
I felt strong and steady and I was able to pass a few women around half way on the run. There was one girl who I was on a mission to pass but she was super strong and also steady. I just felt like I would never pass her. However, she had a great downhill stride, whereas I had a strong up hill stride. I was gaining ground on the uphill and then she would run away on the downhill. Finally, at mile 9.5, I passed her on the steady uphill. I was about 15-20 sec. ahead of her (judging by looking behind my shoulder) and I was just pushing and pushing. At one point (mile 12) I just wanted to cry because I was pushing and I didn't want to push any more. It hurt so bad.
But, before I knew it, my one competition was running right next to me at mile 12.5! I have never sprinted to the finish at the end of a half ironman but I guess it was time to show our toughness. Well, I think we were both tough because during the race we both passed several girls and after 13 miles we sprinted to the finish.
I'm sure you can guess the results. Me sprinting??? I tried. She beat me by 5 seconds. It was a pure give it your all to the finish and I tried. I stepped over the finish line, grabbed the gate in the finish line chute and tried to catch my breath. It took me about 30-60 sec. to get in a full breath because I was just choking on my own air. It was only a minute or so that I just stood there and then I was fine. I hobbled my way to Karel and he gave me a huge hug and told me how proud he was of me. He loves seeing me suffer.

Well, the best part of the race, after waiting 2 hours for the results (which they didn't post) was they surprised everyone with the news that the top 5 female and male half ironman athletes would get money. Karel was certain that I was 5th place but I never get excited until the results are final. After the announcer said that 2nd-5th place of the overall females were within 4 min. of each other and 4th place and 5th place were within 5 sec. I knew it was me! I was in the money (and a nice amount of money for not knowing about it) I was 5th place overall!
I also won my age group but I really enjoy racing for overall places.
I can honestly say this was the first time that I didn't want the race to end during the run (aside from wanting the pain to stop) because I was really enjoying competing. I looked forward to each mile to try to get closer to another female.

What a great race. I am so happy with my times and I feel like this was great prep for IMKY.
Here are my splits.
Swim: 33:37 (12th on the swim)
T1: 1:52
Bike: 2:46 (5th on the bike)
T2: 1:14
Run: 1:48.00 (5th on the run)
Total: 5:11:34

Results page: http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_results&id=1320

Pics will come in a few hours. I'm off to go for my birthday ride w/ Karel and we will do a nice and easy 90 min. spin to loosen out my legs.