9/24/10

On the road to Healthy

It'll be two weeks since IMWI on this Sunday. I'll be tracking several of my athletes at Augusta 70.3, in addition to dozens of other athletes that I know participating in the race. It's always exciting tracking athletes during races!!

The road to recovery after IMWI was not easy. Thankfully, NO residual injuries or any sticky areas. Sure, lots of soreness on the days following the race but all was good after about a week of rest.
The worst part about my recovery was the lack of sleep that occurred due to my body being mentally and physically exhausted. I experienced two days of post-race blues where I felt really depressed and not overly excited about my accomplishment. I talked about it with Karel because post-race depression is very normal. However, it's how you deal with it in an effort to get over the hump which includes building up to a race for x-months, finishing the race and then wondering...now what? Of course, I now have my internship and a trip to Kona to look forward to...but I just had a lot of questions in my head with no real answers.
After sleeping 5 hours on Sun night, 5 hours on Monday and about 2 hours on Tues (up all night), I finally started to sleep through the night and on Wed morning I headed to the pool for a soak.
Looking back on my Thurs and Fri, the float in the pool (500 yrds + float in therapy pool, then hot tub) did wonders for my body! However, because Wed was the first day of my food service internship, I needed to wake up rather early (6am) to be finished with my "recovery" exercise in an effort to be ready to intern later that morning. Next time, in the case of having to get up early, I will forgo the float in an effort to catch up on sleep. I always pound on myself and my athletes to prioritize sleep so I need to make sure that I consistently focus on sleep as a method of recovery.
This week has been busy but I am enjoying it all and soaking it in. I am finally back exercising and even running again. Well, more like a walk jog but I'll take it. I don't want to go too fast with a rush back into exercise so I am limiting myself to around 45-75 min a day of exercise this week and around 2-3 hours of riding this weekend (Sat and a little less on Sun). All easy and fun and I am enjoying every moment of it. Sleep is good and I am trying to average around 7 hrs a night. The early mornings at the kitchen make it hard but I try to be in bed early.

I find that many athletes struggle with nutrition after a race...especially an endurance event. You get use to eating a certain way (regardless if it is the "correct" way for your body and training load) for so long and then all of a sudden you question what needs to change??? Unless you are restricted with your calories prior to an endurance event, I suggest that most athletes focus on their carbohydrate choices at meals and snacks....especially processed items. It is really easy to enjoy a bowl of ice cream, cereal, granola, bars, extra sandwich or two or extra servings during long distance training and not see any downfalls, but in the off-season, the focus should be on tapping into your fat stores and not overloading yourself with a high amount of calories...often from high carb foods. Now, I'm not suggesting to go low-carb or eat only fruits and veggies, but the off-season, especially post-race, is a great time to bump up the nutrients in your diet. So many athletes fear running out of energy by changing nutrition habits during peak season, so the off-season is a perfect time to find out what works for your body to maintain weight, while you aren't training intensely. Once you find out the best sources of wholesome and nutrient-dense foods (little to no ingredients) that keep you satisfied during the day you can gradually decrease calories by bumping up the fruits and veggies, alongside changing the macronutrient distribution in your meals and snacks.
Here's an example.
While I was training, I would typically have a smoothie AND oatmeal after my training sessions during the week. Right now I am only having my oatmeal and I add milk to my oatmeal, rather than in a whey protein smoothie. For lunch, I would typically have a sandwich and salad and lots of sides, but I am currently having a sandwich because it keeps me satisfied longer than a salad + sandwich and lots of sides. Also because of my internship, I don't have a lot of time to spend 30-45 min to eat so I decided that sandwich would be the easiest and most filling option for me. I snack on fruits and veggies during the day and finish the day with a big beautiful salad...whereas during IM training I would typically have a selection of carbs w/ a salad such as quinoa, beans (although a great source of protein), rice, bread, etc. I am still enjoying those foods that I love and that I ate during IM training but just not in high quantity or every day. I really focus on that's day's "exercise" routine in planning my meals because I am no longer training for the time being. Right now, I am just keeping my body healthy and continuing to have a healthy relationship with food. I certainly don't feel restricted with my food selections because I am really enjoying listening to my body and finding out what works best for my body during my off-season.
Now, for many people, there isn't an urge to get back into training but for others, exercise validates eating a certain way or feeling control of what you are eating. I find that the body has a great chance of becoming stronger after a long distance event, but we must respect the time that it takes to repair. Spending 2-3 weeks after a big race to get back into a routine is perfectly normal. There is no rush with 52 weeks in a year. Feeling the need to "have to" exercise in order to stay healthy is only going to set you up for a possible disaster. If your body isn't ready to exercise (and certainly, there shouldn't be an immediate need to exercise like you did pre-race) you must be patient.
In my opinion, exercise is not the only way to keep your body healthy. And if you ask me, exercise isn't always the healthiest choice to stay healthy. Think back to previous injuries, sickness and burnout experiences (in your life or for others) and ask yourself....is it really worth it to go any exercise while my body is recovering from a race?
For me, I give my diet, sleep, friends, animals, Karel and internship the same dedication and attention as my exercise routine. I'll be the first to say that I 100% feel better when I exercise but to me, walking on the treadmill for 30 min at 5:30am is a great way to start my day if I have a choice of nothing or something.
In reference to nutrition, it's important that we really take a little time to think about our diet in the off-season. Because many of my blog readers are athletes, I don't think it is a stretch to say that the diet is an area that can be improved in an effort to make you stronger, faster and perhaps, injury-free (or reduce the risk). More than anything, focusing on the diet in the off-season, as oppose to peak season will allow you lots of time to find out what works for you while your body isn't expending a lot of calories (ex.6 weeks away from your A-race and you aren't at your "goal" weight). Certainly, you are going to get back into some type of structured routine a month or two after you recover from your last big race so for the time being, enjoy the beauty that is "fresh foods" and don't forget about the other areas of your life (sleep, relationships, outlook on life, etc.) that can also keep you happy as you ease back into training.


So I lost my camera at IMWI right after I left the terrace for the swim start. It must have dropped out of my bag as I handed it off to Karel but luckily...the race director of IMWI called me up 2 weeks later and told me that he found it..along with LOTS of other cameras! I finally have my camera back and I'm so happy because I had lots of pics on there that I never got to post! Thanks so much to the race director for sending me my camera and keeping it in good hands!
Of course..it was pretty easy to know that my camera belonged to Marni Sumbal...perhaps the pics gave it away...
Enjoy!













9/22/10

Happy Birthday Karel!!!

To my wonderful husband. Words can't describe how much I love you. I am wishing you the most amazing birthday. Now, at the age of 34, I think you are "younger" than ever before. Here are 34 things that I love about you....
1) You make me laugh
2) You never make me cry
3) You always say the right things
4) You make me challenge myself
5) You believe in me
6) You help me believe in myself
7) You are an amazing Trek Store General manager
8) You are an exceptional bike mechanic
9) You love animals...almost as much as me :)
10) You save turtles while you are riding your bike
11) You are close with your family and my family
12) You are caring and thoughtful
13) You don't have a mean bone in your body...although lots of strong ones!
14) You are intelligent
15) You know how to fix anything
16) You keep me safe
17) You respect me
18) You like to cook...and LOVE to eat!
19) You like to eat my "creations"
20) You love your life and like to have fun
21) You don't complain
22) You tell the best jokes
23) You have a great accent :)
24) You enjoy setting goals and working hard towards those goals
25) You came to America with nothing and have worked incredibly hard for everything you have
26) You came to America with a dream to live a better life and you are changing the lives of so many
27) You are a great Campy, Madison, Smudla and fishy daddy
28) You are a great team worker and leader
29) You are very creative and artistic
30) You make a great travel buddy
31) You are a great athlete
32) You care about your body and taking care of it
33) You want to spend the rest of your life with me
34) You love me







9/21/10

Bartow Criterium Race Report


The last time (and only time) that Karel won the the Florida Cup (and Florida Points Series) was in 2006. Might I add that Karel was a category 3 rider. In an effort to upgrade to Category (Pro 2) he had to race consistently well throughout 2006 and 2007. Once Karel moved to the Pro 1,2 category as a category 2 rider, he was determined to move to Category 1 in an effort to race on a national level. Moving from Cat 2 to 1 was no easy feat but with determination and strength, Karel raced as much as he could in the summer of 2007 and with a few top-10 finishes, Karel quickly moved to Category 1. It is an honor to be a cat 1 rider. Rather than asking for an invitation to Speed Week, Athens Twilight crit and the US 100K classic, Karel was able to register and race due to his category 1 status.
Last year, as a Category 1 rider, Karel did really well and was really pleased with a few top-10 finishes. I still remember Karel's first two Pro 1,2 races when Karel told me that there was no way he would be able to race at "their" level. Knowing that many of the Pro riders raced cycling as a full-time job, Karel wondered if he could ever race at a higher level while working a 40+ hr week as the General Manager of the Trek Store of Jax.

This season has been amazing for Karel. After 4 HARD years of training, Karel has really peaked throughout the season. With a very long season, starting in Feb/March and ending next month, Karel has certainly had his ups and downs with training this year. Starting with crisp air and arm warmers, Karel hated the welcome of summer races and despised racing in the heat. However, with a few exceptional results early this year (in some of the hardest races in the Florida Cup series) Karel set himself up as the athlete-to-beat in the Pro 1,2 category. With the help of the Lindner Capital teammates, Karel has lead the points series ever since the first race. Not know if this dream was possible, Karel and his teammates worked wonderfully together at every race and Karel managed to have his best season to date.

This past Sat was the 8:45pm, 70 min criterium race in downtown Bartow. After Karel worked all day (10-3), we left our place around 4pm for a 3 hr and 20 min drive. Karel left his "racing" legs at the last race in Dade City for the Labor Day Cup race and wasn't really in the mood to race in Bartow. Even thought it was a night crit and Karel LOVES night crits, Karel was really hoping to help Curtis win the Bartow race and work for him during the entire race.
Karel figured out that he would need to crash out of the race or get 33rd AND the 2nd place Cup series guy would need win the race, for Karel to get 2nd in the FL points series. Although the pressure was kinda off, you never know what will happen in a criterium race with 4 sharp corners.

My friend Jennifer met me at the race with her dog Molly so Campy and Molly smelled and pottied on every push and twig around the course.
Before the race we watched Curtis win the 35+ race. I had a feeling that Curtis was not going to win two races in a row (although he is a power house!) and I could tell from Karel's expression on his face that he was really excited for this night crit. We saw a bunch of our Gearlink friends staying around to watch the Pro race and the crowd was quite large for the little town of Bartow.

Because the race was 70 minutes, a lot happened in the first half of the race. Like most crits, there is typically a break away or two but it never lasts. Curtis worked really hard during the race, as did Karel. I don't think I've seen Karel so active in a race in a really long time. Every time I saw Karel breaking away (solo) or chasing down a break away, I wondered if Karel would have enough in his legs to sprint at the end of the race.
Karel is not the type to ever sit-in during a race and just take it easy until the sprint finish (although many guys do that) but as the race progressed over an hour (nearing 9:45pm) I had a feeling that Karel was feeling good and anything could happen.
With about 5 laps to go there was a break away of 2 riders staying away from the group. With 5 laps to go, the riders are no longer able to stop at the wheel pit to change wheels due to a flat or mechanical. Anytime between the beginning of the race and 5 laps to go, you are allowed to change wheels if you need to, and are given one "free" lap.
The break away was getting further away from the 50+ group pack and all of sudden Curtis exploded and drug back the entire group to the break away. For a moment, Curtis, Karel and another top rider were in the front but the field kept changing after every loop.
I heard from Karel that in the 4th loop, Karel's handlebars got caught with another guys' bars and Karel was ready to crash. They were making a left hand turn but Karel and the other guy (tangled together) were heading straight. However, Karel had a rider on his right who was turning and nearly brought him down. Karel was looking for a place to crash and his entire body clinched up. By some miracle, Karel managed to loosen his bars from the other guy and they safely made the turn. If Karel would have crashed, he would have been out of the race and out of the FL CUP series win.

With 2 laps to go the announcer gave away a gamblers prem. The next rider over the line with 1 lap to go would get the prem of $160 (money that was collected from the crowd). A gambler prem always spices things up...do you go for the glory (overall win) or the money (gambler prem with 1 lap to go). Obviously, you can't go for both cause your legs will be trashed by trying to sprint with 1 lap to go.

With 1 lap to go, Karel was working his way towards the front and the crowd was gathering at the finish. My heart was pumping and I was holding tight to Campy. The excitement was growing because I knew Karel had a sprint in him for a top finish.
I could see Karel sprinting to the line and before my eyes, Karel crossed the line in 2nd place!!!!

I ran over to Karel after he cooled down a loop on the course. The announcer gave the top 10 results and also congratulated Karel for WINNING the FLORIDA CUP SERIES!!! I think Karel won the series by a large margin (he was 33 points in the lead before this race) and he was congratulated by a lot of the other Pro 1,2 riders. Although everyone competes during the race, Karel is really close with a lot of the other Pro 1,2 guys on other teams.

Nearing 10:20pm Karel finally got his award money for the race (which he split with Curtis for helping him out) and he couldn't believe that he won the Florida Cup and almost won the last race.

Driving home LATE sat evening, Karel and I were thinking back to 2006. Karel won the Florida Cup and I was training for the Ironman World Championships. Four years later, Karel wins the FL Cup as a Pro 1 rider and I just qualified for the Ironman World Championships. I think we are in a great place in our racing career because we are both loving our life as athletes, as well as making the most out of our life as doggy-parents, hard-working career individuals and husband and wife. We are not professional athletes, nor do we strive to be pros (although I have a feeling if Karel had the choice he would ride/race his bike all day, every day). I firmly believe that with hard work, balance and goal setting, anything is possible :) As an athlete, I have trained differently almost every racing season. This season, both Karel and myself trained during our peak season with very low volume training weeks (although high intensity) compared to years past. We didn't worry about miles or time but rather quality... I find with quality (not quantity) training you feel much more control over the rest of you life and can quickly notice performance gains in your athletic life.

*I took this pics of FB...




9/20/10

Food Service Rotation

I've traded IM training, spandex and early morning, heart rate pumping, sweat fests for black and white scrubs, a hair net and non-slick sneakers.


"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely."

For the next 10 weeks I will be interning at the Lakeside Nursing home. Today was my first day in the kitchen as a prep-cook and boy oh boy....my feet are tired!!

Finally feeling back to normal (although I could still use a few more nights of restful sleep) I managed to get in 2 enjoyable bike rides this weekend. I rode 2 hours on Sat morning and 1 hour on Sunday. I wish I could tell you how fast or far I went but Karel removed my computer AND my power tap. I suppose this is a good thing for me because I gladly welcome just exercising and NOT training! Not having the structure of a training schedule, or specific workouts, is very comforting to me. I love to exercise as a way to keep my body healthy and to relieve stress so I find the off-season a great mental and physical break for my body. Because I am really in-tune with my body and appetite (although there is always an adjustment period, especially after an IM) I rarely find myself working out to "burn calories". I still enjoy the benefits that come with exercising so I do not feel as if I have to do x-miles or distance on any given day of the week. Karel said that I will be getting back into training sooner than in years past because he wants to make sure that I keep my fitness and continue to get stronger. However, since both Karel and myself are in our off-season (Karel's last race report to come soon!!) we are both excited to ride together, lift together and do plyo's together. I, however, also look forward to LONG swimming sessions (6000 yrd+) and a return to running in about a week (no rush for me since I'm assuming that my body needs more than 1 week to repair damaged tissues from an almost 11 hr race, covering 140.6 miles).

After studying for a quiz and getting myself prepared for this week of interning, I was looking forward to my first day as a kitchen worker.

My alarm went off at 4:30am and I was in the car at 5am to make my 30 min drive to the Nursing home.
By 5:30am I was already cooking.
Not knowing what to expect when I arrived, I was happily welcomed by the 4-6 kitchen employees. Everyone was really nice and wanted to help me out.
My day was spent with a lady who's role is "prep-cook".
My first assignment......
Remove the bacon, sausage and sausage links from the oven and plate them.
hehe- I kinda chuckled inside. My first day on the job (interning) and the vegetarian is platting bacon. Lovely.

I don't get grossed out by meat unless the animal protein has something other than the "meat" that needs removing. Sadly, that means that Karel doesn't get much variety in my creations for him, involving meat.

From 5:30 until 1:30 I got one break (9-9:15am) and was on my feet the entire morning. Not only was I on my feet but I was BUSY! The nursing home just transformed to "restaurant" style which means that the patients can sit down in the eating area and place orders based on the menu for the day. Therefore, there are a lot of cook to order requests.

I have to say...I have a new appreciation for eating out and anyone in Food Service!!

I believe that life provides us with experiences and we should take advantage of those experiences. Perhaps we may not be able to relate or enjoy all experiences in life but it is the learning opportunities that open our eyes to the rest of the world.
I know my mom and dad are probably reading this with wide open mouth's because they are probably thinking back to MANY of my experiences when I wanted to quit after the first day. Just SO much to take in and it is never easy feeling exhausted after the first day. Today I am 100% exhausted but looking forward to the rest of the my busy week.

For example, Graduate school comes to mind..I think I was in tears for 3 straight weeks "Mom-it is just WAY TO HARD..I'll NEVER SURVIVE!!!" Well, I survived and how funny...I even went back to school for more education!! I guess at the time, my Master of Science degree wasn't enough for me....8 more months til I am a Registered Dietitian!!

Here is what I did on my first day of food service
1) plate bacon, sausage and sausage links
2) toast and cut bread (fancy toaster machine)
3) label a gazillion things and put them in the massive fridge (Everything must be labeled right after you use it)
4) Made potato salad
5) Made cornslaw
6) Made sugar-free and regular juice
7) Made Yellow Cake (with a huge mixer)
8) Topped the yellow cake with regular and sugar-free frosting
9) Learned how to use a meat cuter.
10) Learned how to clean a meat cuter.
11) Assembled "snack" trays
12) Chopped veggies
13) Delivered food around the nursing home
14) Washed my hands a million times
15) Put on gloves (a bunch of times)
16) Cleaned my work space
17) Became a queen at using plastic wrap
18) Started to learn my scoop size for portion control (#4 scoop is 1/2 cup)
19) Folded silverware in napkins
20) Made salads

I am sure I am forgetting lots more.. What a day!
Tomorrow I will be spending most of my day in the dining room, taking orders and making sure the plates are correct.

After my day at the Nursing home (which ended at 1:40pm) I was craving a load off my feet. My body was craving a swim so I went to the Brooks Y and cruised for a 2500 yrd swim (2 x 1000's + 500) and finished with a little core.

Well, time to get going on some homework before I start making dinner. After a LONG day, there is nothing I love more than enjoying home-cooked meal with Karel and my 3 little furry ones. I am sure Karel is thinking the same thing.
Ironman or Internship....my day always ends (and starts and everything in between) with a home-cooked meal :)