2/13/10

Race for Humanity - Day #1



What a drive last night. Our 3 1/2 hour drive turned into a miserable 6 hours. We sat on I-75 south for a little over 2 hours. We estimated it took about 45 min. to .5 miles and in the 2 hours we scooted down the interstate, we covered a little under 2 miles. Campy and I got so bored just sitting in the car that we got out and walked along the grass on the interstate. Karel and I were tempted to just pull over and ride our bikes the 20 miles to our exit but we toughed it out. Finally, at 11pm, we arrived to my parents. Ughhh, so tired.
At 7am we woke up to wind and cold outside. Although the temperature read 40-degrees, it was a lot chillier with the wind and no sun.
After my morning workout, I quickly showered, prepared my breakfast and we headed out at 11am for San Antonio Florida. Campy was super excited to go somewhere new and I knew he would love the open field at the San Antonio Road Race.
An hour later, we arrived to the race. After he picked up his number, Karel bundled himself up and got ready to warm-up. Campy and I walked around and said hi to lots of familiar faces. Lots of Gearlinker's were racing in the other categories so it was great to catch up with everyone.
The race was supposed to start at 1:30 but like usual, it was running late. Finally at 2:20pm, the Pro 1,2 riders + category 3 riders were on the line.
Within 20 minutes of the race start, I see an ambulance heading down the road on the race course. Normal Marni..."Oh no..it's Karel."

I walked down to the feed zone and a lady said that 6 riders went down, 2 bikes were totaled and one guy broke his collar bone.
Worried as can be, I just waited in the car until the riders came around for their second of 4 loops. Each loop was 17 miles (with 8 big climbs) so needless to say, I had a LONG wait until I had to chance to see if Karel was in the crash.
Each loop took around 40-45 minutes. Finally, I see the police car with the lead group of 4-5 behind the car. No Karel. Then another small group. Then another. Still no Karel. Finally the chase group of around 70 riders came and I didn't see Karel. Of course, it would be easy to miss him with all of those riders but usually he is easy to pick out with his neon green Oakleys.

Still worried, I walked w/ Campy over to the announcer stand (start/finish) and talked with one of the race organizers. Lucky for me, everyone knows Karel at the races so he radio'd to someone on the course if Karel was in the crash.
"No, Karel is still racing and he is fine"
Whewww. What a relief.
Campy and I walked back to the car just in time. The riders were coming in for their second loop and this time, I spotted Karel. He was sitting in the big group but there were less riders than the last loop. There was still several small groups ahead of Karel and with only 2 loops to go, I figured a top-25 finish in the Pro 1,2 category (Cat 3's are counted in their own category) would be amazing for him.
I did a little reading in the car (Hammer Endurance News) for the 3rd loop and I stood at the Feed Zone for the last loop, just in case Karel needed another bottle.
Karel passed on by and he was in a small group with 5 other guys. I'd say there was a 5 min gap between the leaders and Karel's group but with about 20 guys ahead of Karel and around 50+ guys behind him, I figured he was in a great position to be able to sprint for a respectable finish.

Since Campy and I never really warmed up during the day, we figured we would go on a walk in the field while we waited for Karel to finish his last loop.
Around 5:15pm Campy and I made our way to the finish line. Bobby Sweating won the race with the first chase group just behind him. What a close finish.
It was no surprise that the field was broken into a bunch of small groups and lots of riders had dropped out well before that last loop. Just a miserably cold and windy day out there on one of the toughest courses around.
Finally, the next group was coming in the distance and I could see someone standing up for a sprint. It was Karel!
I know that sprint!
Karel's group of 5 guys were looking pretty pooped and Karel easily sprinted away from them well before the finish line. The announcer congratulated Karel for his finish and better than anything..his 10th place finish!!

Karel said he felt great today. It was tough out there with all of the climbs, in addition to the wind and cold, but he said it was a great day out there.

Way to go Karel! Day #1 is done. Hoping for a crash-free crit race tomorrow in Dade City. I've watched Karel in this crit race about 4 times and each time there is at least 1 crash on the super technical and fast 1K course. 2 years ago, Karel crashed twice....I'm thinking once you crash on a course, you aren't allowed to crash again :)


















2/12/10

Breakfast - recovery smoothie and apple-nut pancakes

I wouldn't consider myself "Fashion Forward". I won't even bring up an example of me shopping for clothes because I can't even remember the last time I bought an outfit, let alone something nice to wear. Perhaps a possible acceptance to the VA dietetic internship is the perfect reason for me to use a bit of our disposable income to buy some cute clothes for myself :) I guess for the past 2-3 years, my priorities have been on school which means $$$$$ on books and tuition.

When it comes to the sport of triathlons, I absolutely keep myself updated on the latest supplements, nutrition products and training philosophy's. However, if you asked me what group set, shifters and rear derailleur I have on my bike, I'd probably have to ask Karel.

I'm not the type of person who desires the latest and greatest accessories for my sport. I do love a good pair of running shoes (Mizuno's) and goggles (speedo) but when it comes to NEW items in the triathlon-world, I guess I am a little behind on the current trends.

Karel is always up with the NEW stuff in the bike world. He knows everything and anything about cycling and triathlon bike gear. Most importantly, he has tried everything when it comes to bikes and in my opinion, he is the go-to person to find out what the "best" parts and accessories are for triathlons/cycling. He has worked on every type of bike and as the guys say in the Trek store "Karel builds Campagnolo Shifters blindfolded in the dark".

I do feel very fortunate that I have Karel in my life...for many other reasons that just cleaning and tuning-up my bike...and taking care of all of my friends' bikes :)
Although I still don't feel like I "need" anything special for my bike, Karel always excites me with he surprises me with something new for my bike. Just like me, he knows that I don't need the latest-and-greatest shifters and chainring. Karel always told me that if I want to be a good cyclist I have to train harder and smarter. Not only do I need a bike that will allow me to reach my potential and help me work hard during workouts but I need to know how to change my gears, have good bike handling skills, feel confident on the bike and most of all, feel safe on my bike. Karel, on the other hand, loves to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest so I let him enjoy all of the bike toys...and oh, does he love them :)

So, as I train hard on my bike with my 4-year old FM radio, 3-year old Look pedals and 2-year old cycling shoes, my secret to success in your sport is proper recovery nutrition.
I won't argue that there are great swim suits, bikes and wheels out there, designed and tested to make you "go faster and further" but for me, I give myself the best nutrition possible in an effort to get stronger and faster.

In my opinion, if you want to be a successful athlete or want to get fitter with your exercise routine, it doesn't matter if you have the latest and greatest gear. If you don't learn how to swim efficiently, what's a $500 wetsuit good for in an IM swim? If you are constantly sore and fatigued after your weekly interval workout, what's preventing you from getting stronger and faster?

My mom exercises at the Y on a daily basis. She loves her aerobics, zumba and pilates class and she loves doing the circuit/strength training routine that I wrote for her. Every Tues and Thurs (her "long" workout days) she recovers with a hard boiled egg or yogurt. Before I told her to add in that protein snack post-workout, she always told me how tired and fatigued she felt with her workouts. Now, she feels more energy during and after her workouts and she finds herself getting stronger in her pilates class. Way to go mom!

I put together a healthy, recovery breakfast. There's nothing expensive, ground-breaking or top-of-the-line in this meal. Just something yummy and easy to make after your intense or long workouts. No workout is complete until you recover with the best food possible (specifically quality protein and a portioned-controlled and balanced post-workout snack and/or meal).
As far as this recipe goes, it's up to you if you want both the smoothie and pancakes, just the smoothie or just the pancakes. However, if you don't have time to make both, I recommend the smoothie and a bowl of oatmeal. If you just want the pancakes, I recommend combining a lean/low fat protein-source (cottage cheese, eggs, tofu, veggie burger, lean meat) with the pancakes.
You really can't go wrong with this breakfast, no matter what the volume or intensity.
Enjoy my latest creation!


Recovery Smoothie


1 scoop Whey protein (I recommend Body Fortress from Wal-mart/Target or Hammer Nutrition Whey protein
1/3 ripe banana (best if frozen)
Small piece of dark chocolate (or 1 tsp chocolate chips)
6 ice cubes
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 ounces low-fat yogurt
1/2 small apple
1 tbsp peanuts (or 2 tsp natural peanut butter)

1. Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
May need to add more water depending on your consistency needs. I like mine like a milkshake :)
*I like to pour my smoothie into a small and large glass if I am having something besides my smoothie for my post-workout snack/meal. If I am having a meal after a workout (ex. sat or sun workout) I will have the large glass of smoothie immediately when I make it and put the other small glass in the freezer and have it for a snack w/ fruit later in the day. If I am having a smoothie during the workout and my workout is not long but I am feeling the need for a smoothie, I will have the small glass with oatmeal and give the larger glass to Karel.







Apple-Nut pancakes

*I probably make these pancakes 2 times a week. I just love them for a snack or when I want a change from my normal oatmeal and/or smoothie.

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp extract (almond or vanilla)
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg
1 tsp flax seeds
1/8 cup trail mix + raisins
1/2 apple (chopped)
1/2 tbsp honey
Water

1. Mix everything together in a bowl.
2. Add a few spoonfuls of water until mixture is easy to stir and drips off your fork.
3. On a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat, sprayed with a little non-stick spray, pour 1/8-1/4 cup batter (be sure to get some nuts, apples and raisins in each serving) on skillet and cook until edges begin to round up (about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes).
*Optional-prepare 1 egg white w/ a little skim milk to serve with pancakes. Top pancakes with banana and a little (1-2 tsp) natural PB.






2/11/10

Could it be?

Karel and I always wondered where Campy came from. Where is the mommy and daddy of this chihuahua-Italian greyhound mix and does he have any brothers or sisters?
First off, who could ever want to abandon a dog with a face like this?

Hey where'd you go?


We got Campy about 1 1/2 years ago (I can't believe that's it...I feel like we've been BFF's forever) from a foster family in Amelia Island who had found him behind a building/warehouse. Thank goodness that "Sparkey's" foster mommy trusted me enough and allowed me to be the mommy for Sparkey-now known as Campy.

What a little blessing in our life.

He makes me a better person every day and most of all, I wake up every morning, with Campy, looking forward to another lottery-winning day.

We've seen a lot of look-a-like chihuahua's but never a match to Campy. I think it is his long legs that give him a distinctive look. People always ask "What kind of mix is he?"


Campy and I had a cold walk/jog to the Trek store last night and when we got there, a customer was in shock to see Campy. Her husband pulled out his camera phone as the lady told me "That's MY dog!".
Of course, she wasn't about to steel Campy from me, they were in complete shock that Campy looked exactly like their dog XuiXui.
Once her husband showed me the pic, I couldn't believe it. This could be Campy's sister!!!!

I told her that Campy had to meet his long-lost sister so this morning she brought Campy to the Trek store before it opened and the two family members had a reunion.
The odds that this is actually his sister are probably slim but I am so happy that Campy is so happy. It was just a great start to my morning and I can't wait 'til the next doggy date :)



video



Now you can see why I am so pooped after my "campy" miles. What a runner! video

2/10/10

All-Natural vegetarian dinner

I'm getting really tired of reading ingredients. I can never tell what is the "healthiest" option and I'm just exhausted trying to shop for my daily meals and snacks. Plus, I just don't have time to go through 100 cereals and 50 bars to decide what are my healthiest options.

Does this sound like something you would say?

I don't know about you, but I am also tired of reading ingredients. I would say that Karel and my diet is probably 80% natural foods (less than 5 ingredients), 15% canned, frozen or refrigerated "extras/condiments" and 5% "pantry" foods.

I really worry about the state of our nation. I think the #1 reason why people fear changing dietary habits is "giving up my favorite foods". When I think "favorite" foods, I am assuming that people aren't worrying about giving up foods found along the perimeter of the grocery store like carrots, milk and apples. If a lot of your diet is comprised of processed foods, it is likely that you shop in the aisles of the store, primarily in the middle of the aisles.
A processed food is any food product that has undergone physical or chemical treatment resulting in a substantial change in the original state of the food.
Common food processing techniques include:
* Removal of unwanted outer layers (ex. whole grains, potatoes, etc.)
* Chopping or slicing e.g. diced carrots.
* Mincing and macerating
* Liquefaction, such as to produce fruit juice
* Fermentation e.g. in beer breweries
* Emulsification
* Cooking, such as boiling, broiling, frying, steaming or grilling
* Deep frying
* Baking
* Mixing
* Addition of gas such as air entrainment for bread or gasification of soft
drinks
* Proofing
* Spray drying
* Pasteurization
* Packaging

Here are some food label examples. I find it very hard to believe that the following foods can actually be beneficial for the body.

Minute Made Lemonade (made with REAL lemons):
Pure filtered water, sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup, sugar), lemon juice from concentrate, less than 5% each of the following: natural flavors, citric acid (provides tartness), modified cornstarch, glycerol, ester of wood rosin, sodium hexametaphosphate and sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate and EDTA (to protect taste), yellow #5.

Kellogg's Brown Sugar Frosted Pop Tarts (20% FIBER):
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL (WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS), POLYDEXTROSE, DEXTROSE, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, WHOLE GRAIN BARLEY FLOUR, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF GLYCERIN, MOLASSES, INULIN FROM CHICORY ROOT, SALT, CORNSTARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), WHEAT STARCH, CINNAMON, GELATIN, CARAMEL COLOR, SOY LECITHIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), FOLIC ACID.

Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip bar (25% less sugar):
GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWN SUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTEDBARLEY EXTRACT], WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, PARTIALLYHYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND COTTONSEED OILS* WITH TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID ADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL WITH NATURAL TOCOPHEROL TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRY MILK), CORN SYRUP, SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CRISP RICE (RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, BARLEY MALT, SALT), SUNFLOWER OIL WITH NATURAL TOCOPHEROLADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, OLIGOFRUCTOSE, POLYDEXTROSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF WATER, CALCIUM CARBONATE, INVERT SUGAR, SALT, MOLASSES, DATEM (AN EMULSIFIER), SUCRALOSE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.

DIGIORNO PIZZA CRISPY FLATBREAD TUSCAN STYLE CHICKEN:

WATER, WHEAT FLOUR, GRILLED SEASONED WHITE MEAT CHICKEN (WHITE MEAT CHICKEN, WATER, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SALT, DEXTRIN, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, FLAVORING, YEAST EXTRACT, FRUCTOSE, CARRAGEENAN, CHICKEN FAT, COOKED CHICKEN), SHREDDED LOW-MOISTURE PART-SKIM MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES, SHREDDED LOW-MOISTURE WHOLE MILK MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), SHREDDED MILD BRICK CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), SPINACH, TOMATO PASTE, CULTURED MILK, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF GRATED CHEESE BLEND (PARMESAN, ASIAGO, AND ROMANO CHEESE MADE FORM COW'S MILK [PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES], CELLULOSE POWDER TO PREVENT CAKING), PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND COTTONSEED OIL, TOMATOES, CANOLA OIL, BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, GARLIC, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, TOMATO JUICE, PARMESAN CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), CREAM CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CREAM, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, CAROB BEAN GUM AND/OR XANTHAN GUM), SALT, YEAST FLAVOR, SUGAR, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, BAKING SODA, MODIFIED CELLULOSE, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN OIL OR CORN OIL), SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, SPICE, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SOY LECITHIN, BETA CAROTENE (COLOR). CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK, SOY.


This was my dinner creation, last night.
*grilled eggplant w/ olive oil - cooked on panini maker
*Sliced potatoes w/ olive oil, garlic, pepper and caraway seeds - cooked on panini maker
*Sauteed tofu (firm) onions, garlic and mushrooms seasoned with cumin and pepper
*Steamed Broccoli w/ garlic

Starting today, try to plan/prepare at least 1 meal and 2 snacks (per day) that are 90% wholesome and natural.




(This is Karel's plate: I soaked raw lean chicken (diced) in a bowl of fresh lemon juice and squashed vine tomatoes for 15 minutes and then cooked it on the stove w/ pepper and olive oil).








Question for you??
1) Do you eat/drink out of habit or due to cravings?
2) How much of your diet is processed and how much is natural/wholesome?
3) What is the #1 reason why you choose processed foods (convenience, price, taste, etc.)?

2/9/10

Anytime Carrot Cake




Campy LOVES carrots!!
As for me, a bowl of baby carrots with a side of hummus, an ounce of block cheese or salsa is just what I crave when I need a crunchy afternoon snack.

When I first became a vegetarian my diet was lacking in key nutrients. Specifically, fruits and veggies. If you count a bowl of iceberg lettuce w/ ranch dressing as a "nutritious" salad, than I guess I was healthy. Oh, but if you count a box of "vegetarian" bagel bites alongside 1/2 box of cheeze-its, I probably wasn't the healthiest vegetarian. However, I was a 12-year old competitive swimmer and piano player and new nothing about what it meant to be healthy.
I went to see doctor when I was in middle school because my skin was incredibly dry, especially around my elbows, I got really bad razor burn every time I shaved and my nails were really brittle. Let's just say I was having a hard time as a self-conscious teenager.
The doctor told me that I could have a vitamin A deficiency and that the easiest thing for me to do was to increase my intake of Vitamin A-rich foods. Not knowing then what I know now, the best source of vitamin A is from the beta-carotene which is found in orange and dark green vegetables. Therefore, since my mom and dad encouraged me to bring my lunch to school on most days of the week, I started eating carrots every day for lunch, along with my PB&J sandwich and baggie of pretzels. I didn't go overboard with the beta-carotene with a fear that my skin would turn orange, but after a few days of eating more carrots, my skin looked so much better.

Now that my diet is filled with fruits and veggies and very little processed food, I finally feel like the healthy vegetarian athlete that I have always aspired to be. Certainly, cooking all of my meals has helped me feel in control of what I put in my body but even when I do indulge in something that I wouldn't normally eat on a daily basis, my body (and mind) knows that I am still healthy in the inside. Although I have always been (and will be) an athlete, training/working out/exercising at least 10+ hrs/wk, I am conscious about my food choices and always fuel my workouts and lifestyle with the best foods possible.

My philosophy about heart-healthy eating/fueling is "if you eat well most of the time you don't have to worry about the rest of the time"

Carrots are a must for your active and healthy lifestyle. They are a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Manganese and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium.

1 x 7 1/4" - 8 1/2" carrot has 30 calories, 7g carbs, 2g fiber, 3g sugar and 1 g protein. Although you may feel that a large portion of the calories come from sugar and this food may have a higher glycemic index, it isn't likely that you are going to pound down a pound of carrots and significant elevate your insulin levels, specifically if you don't live with a blood sugar problem. Because we all handle foods differently it's always important that you find what works for you and understand how to time that healthy food with your training. My body personally does not handle carbs very well when eaten alone, so I always add protein or a healthy fat w/ my carbohydrate food choices.

I hope you enjoy my latest creation. The bulk of this recipe comes from an assortment of fruits and veggies and therefore, you can eat this cake anytime of the day and feel super healthy when you are finished with your serving.

Anytime Carrot Cake
3 large carrots (shredded)
1 apple (shredded)
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 large banana (mashed)
1 tsp rum or almond extract
1 tsp all-spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp raisins (I like to chop mine)
1 tbsp chopped nuts
1 tbsp shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 non-stick round baking dishes with non-stick spray (lightly).
2. Combine apple, carrots, pineapple and banana in a bowl. Add honey, egg, milk and extract. Stir well and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, all-spice, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet bowl and mix well.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and raisins and add water (by the spoonful) until batter can be stirred easily and slightly drips off your stirring spoon.
6. Combine nuts and coconut in a small bowl.
7. Pour 1/2 of the cake batter in each baking dish and evenly sprinkle the peanuts and coconut over each cake.
8. Bake for 20-30 min. or until cake is firm to the touch and edges are slightly golden.