12/18/10

New Approach to Long-Distance events

As a reminder...2010 Ironman World Championships is on TV today at 4pm EST on NBC. My DVR is set for NBC HD(with extended recording time, in the case of starting late) and I am sure to watch this broadcast at least 5 times in the next 2 weeks. Karel and I always watch it together so as soon as he gets home from work at 5pm, my best friend Jennifer and I are sure to have a motivating, and likely tearful, viewing of the Ironman World Championships while enjoying some yummy food.

I wanted to post an article by John Bingham, from Competitor magazine, Nov 2010 - Mid Atlantic. I couldn't find it on the internet so I will post it for you from my magazine. Enjoy!

A Novel Approach

The fall used to be marathon season. The big fall marathons were Chicago and New York, and about the only spring marathon in the US was Boston.
Those days are long gone-and the marathon season now lasts year-round.
I've run 45 marathons. Well, OK, I haven't run 45 marathons. I've started 45 marathons and I've run/walked/crawled/hobbled my way to the finish line of 43 of them. More importantly, I think, is that I've seen hundreds of thousands of other athletes run and walk across their own marathon finish lines.
While this doesn't make me an expert, it does give me perspective on both what it takes to start a marathon and what it takes to finish (or to choose not to finish) the 26.2 challenge.
I've hard all the advice normally given to new marathoners and half marathoners: Don't try anything new on race day, trust your training, don't go out too fast. This is all good advice, but i think there's another way to approach a long-distance event. It's what I call the "novel" approach.
After having run so many marathons and half marathons, the one thing I know for sure is that I don't know anything for sure. As I've written before, there's no such thing as a marathon or half-marathon plan that goes exactly as expected.
I now approach long-distance events in the same way that I approach reading a new novel. I know I'm interested in running the race or reading the book. I have a pretty good idea what the book is about, and I have a pretty good idea what the event is about. But I stand at the starting line with the cover closed and don't open it until I cross the start line.
I stand at the start with what I call a sense of wonder. I think to myself, "I wonder what's going to happen today?" I don't have any expectations or any fear or anxiety, just a sense of wonder.
It makes me really calm in one way and rally eager in another. I'm calm because I know that i don't know what's going to happen, and I'm eager; I can't wait to get started to find out what's going to happen.
Like any good novel, a marathon or half marathon has a plot. Sometimes you can see the plot from the very start. Like a good writer setting the mood, you can find yourself standing on a field of dreams with sunlight cascading through cotton-ball clouds from an azure sky..or on a bleak tarmac of terror as the skies darken as a foreshadowing of the gloom you are about to experience...
It doesn't matter, thought. Using the novel approach you just accept what you are reading as the author's description of the day. In the same way, using the novel approach, the weather is just another element of that race's plot.
As the race beings, as the mile markers come into view, I try to look at each mile as a new chapter in the novel. No matter what happens in Mile 1, I wonder what will happen in Mile 2. As the miles build, I can sometimes see how the plot is changing. Sometimes what seemed like a secondary theme in the early chapters (a dull ache in my knee) turns out to be the focus of a later chapter.
What makes the novel approach so appealing is that nothing good or bad can happen. The truth is that if you can keep your sense of wonder as you go through the miles, you can't be disappointed because no matter what happens, it's a surprise.
The effect of my novel approach to long distance running -and this would certainly work for cycling or multisport events as well- is that each starting line is a chance to learn something about myself, about the thoughts and feelings that make me who I am am, and about how, on that day, I am bot the author and central character of the story of my life.

12/17/10

A Novel Approach

Sunday is the big day. 13.1 miles as fast as my 5-foot frame and short little legs can go. I've trained hard and smart. I feel great and I'm excited to put my Galloway-training to good use. I plan on racing with my experimented version of the Galloway method and I can't wait to continue training with the Galloway method throughout the upcoming year.
Karel and I have talked about the upcoming triathlon year and as of now I am excited to announce that I have decided on two Half Ironman's for the beginning of the year.
1) New Orleans 70.3 - April 17th
2) Rock N' Roll Halfman - June 4th

Looking forward to training and racing in two exciting races before a well-earned 2-week unstructured exercise break after Rock N' Roll. In late June, after I rest my mind and body and create new goals, it will be time to start building a base for the Ironman World Championships (Oct). I don't believe in specifically training for an IM for more than 3-4 months. For IMWI, I only did 5 rides longer than 5 hours and only 2 of them were more than 100 miles. The other 3 long-rides were on rolling courses which meant quality miles, not quantity. Hopefully, I will find a challenging, rolling course (my favorite) for another half ironman in the late summer. I will then take another unstructured exercise break before my last build/peak before a 2-week Kona taper. I will be in Kona on the Tues before the race so this will leave me with 4 days to acclimate to Kona time/temperature before the big day. Wow-time is just flying...I can't believe I am already thinking about Oct 2011!

When I was in Washington DC, I picked up Competitor Mid-Atlantic from a local running store. While riding the metro to DC, I couldn't stop re-reading an article written by John Bingham (AKA the Penguin) titled "A Novel Approach".

I find that many athletes (including myself at one time) go into races over-trained for fear that they won't reach personal goals. While goal setting can be a powerful thing, it is important to be realistic and practical with your goals and to develop a training schedule that allows you to work towards those goals. I require that my athletes fill out a questionnaire, prior to starting coaching w/ me, in order to really understand my athletes (both with athletics and in life). Two questions that I believe are very valuable are "Why are you pursuing your sport of choice?" and
"On a scale of 1-10 (10 being a lot, 1 being a little) how much time, energy and commitment can you give to training so that it doesn't affect other areas of your life (work, family, sleep, friends, etc.)". I find that when athletes can answer these questions, as honest as possible, it allows me to create a balanced and fun training plan to help my athlete reach his/her goals (both in life and in sport) as well as address strengths and weakness's in life and with training.

Tomorrow I will be posting A Novel Approach for your reading. I think you will find it as a good read when approaching marathons and racing in general.

Have a great weekend!

12/16/10

Iron Girl Clearwater discount!!!

Just got this email...thought I'd pass it along!

Happy Holidays from the Iron Girl Team

As our gift to you, Iron Girl is offering $35 race entries ($85 value) for the Inaugural Iron Girl Clearwater Half-Marathon. Offer is valid for 72-hours and begins tomorrow* with a limited number of entries.


*Offer Valid December 16, 2010 at 8 A.M. EST- December 19, 2010 at 8 A.M. EST.


Location: Clearwater Beach, Florida at Pier 60
Date: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Time: 7:30 A.M.



Judy asked me if I would like to contribute a few tips/suggestions for the New Year in anticipation for registration for the 2011 Iron Girl Events. Not sure if you subscribe to Iron Girl but I strongly suggest signing up in order to receive lots of fabulous emails...that you will actually enjoy reading in your already-full inbox.

Here are two of my last two posts. Enjoy!

Say Good Bye to dieting and Hello to a Healthy Iron Girl lifestyle
When it comes to changing dietary habits, the aesthetic desire for a tone, lean body often outweighs the benefits of longevity and a decrease risk for disease. In all seriousness, who really thinks about improved eye health when eating carrots? As much as you would like to change eating habits for improved health, it's likely that New Year resolutions center around a number on the scale or a specific size of clothing.



If you are setting a resolution to lose weight, recognize that you are embarking on a lifestyle change. Heart-healthy living does not require deadlines, rules or restrictions.

Rather than thinking about all the foods that you shouldn't eat, focus on the many foods that you can eat. With 365 days in a year, there is no reason to have an "off-limit" food list.


First and foremost, appreciate the changes that you are making. What's the purpose in making a lifelong change (for the better) if you dread the change before it even starts?

Remember, you only have one body and one life. If you have goals, you are in charge of your destiny.


Set a goal to finish strong at an Iron Girl event in 2011

Welcome to 2011! With the New Year upon you, it is time to set goals for yourself! As you remember the past and look toward the future, there is no better feeling than having a list of goals to keep you on course for the upcoming year. If there are areas in your life that you hope to change in 2011, keep an open mind as you reflect on 2010. If you repeat your actions, you will receive the same results.

New Year goals may seem great on paper but attainable goals should be realistic and reasonable. It is suggested that you set both short (6 month) and long (1 year) term goals and track progress along the way. Goal setting can be a powerful process, but with an intention to start, you are already on the way to a successful year.


A few realistic goals for the New Year:



1. Run/jog a 5K in less than 40 minutes before the summer.

2. Eat a satisfying, heart-healthy and balanced breakfast... everyday.
3. Snack on fruits and veggies at least 5 times a week.
4. Join a triathlon/running group and attend at least three meetings/events a year.
5. Strength train at least two times per week.

12/15/10

Fair Trade Certification

Yippee! The January 2010 issue of Environmental Nutrition arrived in my mailbox the other day. I took a study break from Cardiovascular disease and Hypertension (quiz on FRI!) to read through one of my favorite newsletters.
This issue was filled with info so I wanted to share something new with you...it was also new to me! I summed up the article for you.


What does Fair Trade Certified mean?


When you consider Fair Trade food products, your first thought is probably coffee. In the last decade, awareness has grown, along with the number of products bearing the Fair Trade Certified seal. More than 6000 products are now available in the U.S. including rice, bananas, tea, wine and cotton.
The Fair Trade program moves beyond fair wages for farmers; it also promotes fair labor standards and pricing, sustainable agriculture and social responsibility. Farmers who agree to abide by Fair Trade standards are guaranteed a minimum fair trade price, plus a social price premium for community development and an additional organic price premium for organic growing methods. Although organic production is not a requirement for Fair Trade Certified products, Fair Trade farmers are more likely to use sustainable methods and not chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. It's common for Fair Trade revenues to be used to finance training in organic farming and the cost of organic certification.

Defining Fair Trade Certified:
TransFair USA licenses over 600 U.S. companies to display the Fair Trade Certified label. The only 3rd Fair Trade goods certifier in the U.S., it ensures compliance with the Fair Trade standards set forth by Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International, which include:
-Fair Prices - Farmers receive a guaranteed minimum price and a premium for certified organic products.
-Fair labor conditions - Farm workers have safe working conditions and living wages, forced child labor is prohibited.
-Direct trade - Importers purchase from Fair Trade producers as directly as possible, eliminating middleman.
-Democratic and transparent organizations - Farmers and workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
-Community development - Farmers and workers invest Fair Trade revenues into projects like scholarships and organic certification.
-Environmental sustainability - Ecofriendly farming methods protect farmers' health and preserve valued ecosystems. No harmful chemicals or genetically modified foods are used.

Purchasing these products is an investment in farms, communities and the environment. It helps farmers lift themselves out of poverty by developing business skills needed to compete in the global marketplace.
Since it began certifying coffee in 1998, TransFair estimates farmers have received close to $200 million more in revenue than they would have without fair-trade status. Though buyers buy more for Fair Trade products, the consumer doesn't necessarily. Coffees and chocolates, for example, are competitively priced with other gourmet and specialty foods. As Fair Trade goods become more available, look for increased competition to help lower prices.




Consider yourself up-to-date with breaking news!

12/14/10

Sweet Treats From Czech

I don't have a sweet tooth like my hubby. But I just can't pass up a few of these delicious chocolates from the Czech Republic!!



I am so happy to have a wonderful father-in-law in the Czech Republic.....Karel and I always look forward to December.
Now I'm just waiting on a box of homemade Czech Cookies from the Mother-in-Law. And when it comes to the cookies, I am sure to keep balance in mind. I get really creative when it comes to incorporating homemade cookies into my breakfast, lunch and dinner meals :) I just love a recovery smoothie with homemade ginger bread cookies.

Remember my motto "If you eat well most of the time, you don't have to worry 'bout the rest of the time"

12/13/10

Off - Season Exercise

Wheew. Just finished my next Iron Girl article. What a long day! Thank goodness this is a bit of a taper week for me. Gotta get my legs rested for the Jax 1/2 marathon on Sunday!

It is about 20 something-degrees here in Jacksonville and for Florida....we are cold! So, on behalf of all of you that have snow....it is officially the off-season!
And by the way....if you are already sick of the snow, send some this way. I'd love to play in it right about now!


I've written lots of articles. But there are a few that tend to stick out depending on the time of the year. Even if you are training for a winter road race or early-season triathlon, I think we'd all agree that the off-season is happily welcomed.

I have several new blog readers so I thought I would post this article for either a new read or a re-fresher. This was an article I wrote in the Jan 2008 Hammer Endurance News newsletter. It is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I'm always happy to help!

(stay warm!)


Hammer Endurance News Issue 57
pg 16

12/12/10

Spaghetti with Kale - Creations

I received a beautiful batch of fresh produce from my community nutrition preceptor. She sure does know me well. I don't know many people that get SO excited about fresh fruits and vegetables. Well, I guess you (my blog reader) and I should feel lucky that we have learned to develop a love for fresh and wholesome food.
Karel and I both had pretty intense workouts last Thurs. I did a 5 mile interval/tempo workout on the treadmill (after a 30 min warm-up on the elliptical) which included 5 x 2 min @ 1% incline @ 8.8 mph, with 3 min @ 7.5mph. My run workouts have been so enjoyable over this winter partly because I am cross training (using the elliptical and water jogging) and mixing in swimming, biking and weight training. I'm really excited for the Jax 1/2 marathon next Sun. It will be my first half marathon in 2 years! Wow, I've done 3 half ironman's and 2 Ironman's since 2008 but yet to do a solo half marathon. I'd love a PR but more than anything, I plan to cross the finish line smiling..knowing that I am training for races as a injury-free, balanced athlete.
So after my run workout, Karel joined me at the Y (after he ran 2 miles to get there) for a plyometric session. I took it a little easy on my legs but still enjoyed some box jumps, bosu plyo's, walking lunges, push-ups and core exercises. Karel is experienced at Plyo's but it took him a bit of time to get to that level. I recommend plyo's for all athletes but taking into consideration that every individual is different and we all have different fitness levels. After our workout, I drove home to get ready for a day of interning at a Nursing Home and Karel ran home 2 miles to soak his legs in Epson Salt.

What better than to make a comforting meal rich in vitamins and minerals. Not sure about you, but there is nothing "unhealthy" about this pasta dish. Enjoy!