9/14/13

Kona training update and food is fuel (yummy)


This body is not disappointing me despite pushing it to higher limits and challenging workouts. Thanks coach Karel!

Today's workout was a breakthrough. I owe it to two great recovery days last week (Mon off, Tues 3000 recovery swim) and a balanced training plan since IM Lake Placid that has allowed my body to train hard but recover harder. I still don't forget that I didn't run for 90 days in Feb  - April but I thank my body constantly. Sometimes I even do it out loud. 

Wednesday - UNF masters swim team (joined Karel who has really benefited from this group and Coach Mel's assistance with his stroke)
Main set:
100 fast, 50 EZ
2 x 100 fast, 50 EZ
3 x 100 fast, 50 EZ
4 x 100 fast 50 EZ
The goal was to get faster with the fast as the set went on (2 minute cycle) but to be consistent. I really woke up my fast twitch fibers and oh boy was my body filled with lactic acid. I went from 1:16 to holding 1:14 on the last 4 and I was done after that. Whewww.

After the swim Karel and I went for a 90 minute bike, I included 8 x 2 min "fast" w/ 3 min EZ to wake up the body before Thursday's workout.

Thursday: Brick (bike + run)
Bike main set:
10 x 3 min Z4, 2 min Z3 low (Recover in IM watts) - loved this set!

Run off the bike
1 mile EZ (8:10), 1 min walk
Main set: 4 x 1 miles @ 7:30-7:40 min/mile pace w/ 1 min walk/rest in between
1 mile steady (8:10 min/mile)

Fri - 5000
Main set:
2 x 800's IM pace w/ 1 min rest
3 x 400's IM pace w/ 1 min rest
Hip/core work

Saturday: 3:37 bike (71 miles) + 1 hour run (7.2 miles)
Bike:
1 hour warm-up (building to 15 watts below IM pace)
Main set 4x's:
35 min at IM pace (my new pace is now 12 watts higher - yippe for training smarter, less is more) w/ 4 min EZ
(this set went by super fast and my body felt strong, no residual fatigue as the set went on. Sport nutrition liquid fueling was spot on (I don't do any solid foods in my training/racing) and haven't had any stomach distress with any of my IM training in many many years.)

Run off the bike:
6 x 1 miles @ interval of goal IM pace (the focus was to run faster than goal IM pace and then walk until the goal IM pace cycle was up. My goal IM pace is 8:30 so I was running comfortably 7:57-8 min/miles and then walking 30-35 sec in between. Great set, loved it! It got hard on the last mile as I was super hot and running out of my drinks in my two flasks.
10 min cool jog down (this felt sooo good to run 8:50 min/mile pace after that)


The other day while I was working in the hospital (I work PRN as an inpatient Clinical RD) I had a patient who was admitted for Jaundice and electrolyte imbalance. This patient was also diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia.

As we all know electrolytes are vital as our nerves, cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle all rely on them on a daily basis. They also help control pH balance in the blood and body fluids. Our electrolytes are best obtained from food but as we know as athletes, we also find them in sport drinks. Electrolytes are tightly controlled in body fluids (ex. plasma, blood and interstitial fluid) and must remain in specific concentrations or else serious medical conditions may arise.

Now as a clinical RD, it is appropriate for me to let everyone know that restricting food or purging food will lead to an electrolyte imbalance (among many other issues) and may cause further stress on the kidneys and heart. 

I'm sure we can all agree that restricting food for anyone is not recommended for we can put the body into a very serious situation of poor health as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

So why is it that so many athletes feel that they don't need sport nutrition during workouts? As if the body is just fine with water (or nothing) and that dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, organ failure and even cardiovascular issues are not likely because training for a sporting event means that you are immune from these issues. 

Seeing that the body can "shut" down to try to resume balance without adding exercising into the mix when a person voluntarily restricts food (for whatever reason), this is why I am very adamant about not only consuming a balanced diet for athletes and fitness enthusiasts and learning how to fuel the body for health and for fitness/performance but also supporting the body with sport nutrition during training- when the body is under the most physiological stress. Sure, you can argue with me about fat burning and that your body doesn't need it but how about training the body to need it and then training the body so that the body takes care of itself to get stronger and more efficient?

I've said it before but I fuel before every workout, during every workout and after every workout. I never sabotage my body by not fueling it properly, especially when I want it to perform as beautifully as possible during training in order to get stronger and to recover faster.

Here are a few of my recent creations to help you continue your quest of learning how to develop a healthy relationship with food as an athlete. Remember - food is for fuel, for health and for pleasure. 

Brown Rice
Frozen Veggies
Boca veggie "meat" crumbles
Frozen edamame
Marinara sauce
Mozzarella cheese
topping: Sesame seeds
1. Microwave ingredients in bowl and top with sesame seeds.

Breakfast bread (nuts and dried fruit - Publix grocery store, made fresh daily)
Fresh fruit - raspberries, bananas
Greek yogurt (daily eats - 0% Fage)
Scrambled eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg white)
Kale w/ olive oil (sauteed)

Roasted veggies - peppers, eggplant, onions (purple), mushrooms
Millet
Asparagus w/ garlic
Sunflower seeds
Goat cheese
Olive oil
Salt to taste
Marinara sauce
1. In 425 degree oven place veggies in large casserole and toss lightly in olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
2. Steam asparagus and then place in small casserole dish and top with chopped garlic and bake until golden brown (15 minutes).
3. Prepare millet (1/2 cup dry prepares 3 cups cooked) - 25-30 minutes
4. Place 1/2 - 1 cup millet in bowl and stir in marinara. Top with roasted veggies and asparagus and top with cheese and seeds. Season to taste.


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Pre training snack: flat bread cracker + peanut butter, banana slices, cinnamon and honey

1/2 cup oatmeal (dry)
Apples
Peaches
Raspberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
~10g whey protein powder
Almonds
Water (to meet consistency needs)
Raisins

I love supporting small businesses especially the bakers and bread makers at the farmers market. I went to the Bartram Farmers market on Thursday and as I was browsing the breads, many tables where trying to pitch me their treats/breads by what was not in the ingredients (sugar, salt, fat, gluten, etc). I guess they don't know my personal philosophy and what I am all about when it comes to eating for fuel, for health and for pleasure.
I decided on Hugo's muffins because I could tell he was truly passionate about his food and he knew I would feel great eating it.... And I did, gluten and all. C
heck out Hugo's story HERE!
YAY - Campy walks are the best!! The most looked forward part of my day (for both of us).
(Pampered shades from Oakley Women)



9/12/13

Where do you get your nutrition advice?




With so much nutrition advice available, how do you know what to believe? 

For example, my friend Jason asked me if I heard about Almased, not because he was interested in it but because he was shocked at the diet plan and that it was endorsed by a Registered Dietitian (RD). So, if a MD and RD recommend Almased, does that mean that you should use the product to lose weight and follow the diet plan? 

At the beginning, you only drink vegetable broth, water and three Almased® shakes per day. For each “meal”, eight level tablespoons of Almased® with cold water (bottled or filtered) or milk (skim, unsweetened almond or soy). The weight loss during this phase may be higher than for the rest of the diet. You can stay in this Starting Phase for a couple of days or up to 2 weeks if you feel good. Then you begin the Reduction Phase, during which you replace two meals (preferably breakfast and dinner) with an Almased® drink and eat one healthy meal. This phase lasts about 6 weeks or until you reach your ideal body weight. Then you enter the Stability Phase. For several weeks, replace one meal a day with Almased® in order to avoid the dreaded yo-yo effect that causes pounds to come back on quickly after a diet. Weight loss continues during this phase.

If you replace your dinner with Almased®, you speed up the fat burning process during the night. Almased® not only curbs your hunger but also improves thermogenesis, the conversion of fat into heat. The body takes the energy it needs for the nightly repair of cells that were damaged during the day from fat cells – you lose weight while sleeping.


There appears to be many nutrition experts out there with plenty of conflicting information. I work with many athletes and fitness enthusiasts and patients in the hospital, who ask me about different diets, foods, products, etc. and although I hear similar questions over and over again, there is always a question or two that makes me a bit upset that there are actually people out there with no credentials who speak so strongly about how a person should eat and people actually go to certain lengths to pay money for their advice.  


Just like with a tri or running coach, a lawyer, a doctor, accountant, etc, you always want to put your trust in a person based on his/her credentials. Certainly, experience goes a long way but there is something very important in society for individuals to gain an education in an area before practicing in that area.

But what about a personal philosophy? With so many experts out there (with and without credentials), who do you trust when your health is involved....and you are willing to pay money for help/advice?

 I feel right there, this would take away a lot of confusion with nutrition for if you want nutrition help, direct your energy toward someone who has a reason to provide nutrition advice and then go with the philosophy that you feel will better your life and will fit your needs. Although I
 highly recommend working with a registered dietitian when it comes to eating for health and a RD specializing in sports when it comes to performance, your choice of who you receive your nutrition advice from should be based on a personal philosophy of the expert. Credentials or no credentials, there is a lot of advice available to the public and you don't have to believe everything that you hear. 

To help you out when it comes eating to improve your health and/or changing your diet for performance/body composition, here are a few tips to follow. 

-Ask yourself if the philosophy of your expert gives you happiness.
-Does the philosophy have meaning?
-Is the advice practice, useful and valuable during all stages of life?
- Can the philosophy apply in all situations and circumstances in life?
-Does the advice seem healthy? Would the advice of this expert work for a child, an elderly person or an individual who just beat cancer? Sure, everyone has different nutrient needs and different eating styles but is the recommendation so extreme for you that it would not be appropriate for others in some way or fashion?
-Does the philosophy work for a lifetime - what about when the quick fix phase is over?
-Can the advice of the expert carry you through the good and bad times in life? Is the advice only appropriate for you to be 100% in control all day every day?
-Does the philosophy seem appropriate to meet your personal needs and goals?
-Is your expert open to change or does he/she give extreme or black/white rules?
-Is your expert open to many ways of thinking about how to improve your health? You don't have to accept every philosophy so don't limit yourself to believe that you only have live one way for the rest of your life. 

-Does your expert appear to be an expert at everything or is his/her philosophy based on a specialty? 
-Does your expert practice what he/she preaches?
-Does your expert have an answer for everything or is he/she constantly exploring new ways of thinking to ensure that you live the best life possible?


The bottom line is where do you draw the line when it comes to believing everything you hear and read? Even when you are most vulnerable, desperate and needy to try anything and everything or feel frustrated that you have failed in the past, consider your primary goals both short and long term with your body, health and fitness/performance before you search for a person who has a philosophy that meets your individual needs.


9/10/13

How we eat: The Sumbal's

Every day we go to bed with happy tummy's  and wake up with a body that is energized and ready to train and have a great day. We owe it all to real food that fuels our active lifestyle and keeps our immune system healthy and our brain thinking clearly. 
No matter how many legs you have in the Sumbal house, we all love real food. 

I created the plant strong meal for Karel  (see below - my entire dinner) and he finished it off with Kuřecí řízek (chicken schnitzel) and local sourdough fresh bread. Nothing like European food that brings memories from home. 

So simple yet so delicious. Frozen mixed veggies with fresh mushrooms and sliced onions sautéed in olive oil with toasted quinoa and brown rice. I can't believe my 21 year plant strong diet is gearing me up for my seventh Ironman in 32 days. Yay for real food that makes my tummy and body happy.

And for my little furry child who is not a fan of any type of dog food (we've tried so many!), even Campy got a real food dinner tonight. He loved his Trimarni creation of boiled shredded chicken breast with mixed veggies, eggs and brown rice. (if you make your dog real food - please send me a recipe because Campy is a bit picky with his food and he would rather play outside than eat doggy food)


I wanted to share part of the lecture I gave to Wesleyan University in Macon, GA last week (Thursday). I absolutely love public speaking and having the opportunity to change lifestyles.
Sadly, my camera stopped working but I hope you enjoy the first part!
To conclude the part of my talk that was not recorded (the tip on developing a healthy relationship with food and the body), I find that many people do extreme things when they let a number on the scale run or ruin their day. Sure, the scale can be used wisely but many people use it irresponsibly. For I would never put Campy on a fast, a cleanse or a juice diet if he gained 5 lbs. I would never over exercise him or restrict his diet. So if it seems absolutely ridiculous for me to hypothetically do these things to Campy if he gained 5 lbs, why would you ever put your body through such extreme measures just because you are letting a household appliance determine your "health". Create a positive relationship with food and the body and stop using words like off limit, bad, fat, guilty, ugly, disgusting, gross, horrible, cheating and instead, give your body some credit for what it allows you to do on a daily basis such as getting you up in the morning, having a productive day, crossing finishing line and enjoying your one and only life. 




                             

9/9/13

Training the body: thanking the body.



My legs were tired, it was hot and humid, the wind was blowing and I was riding behind Karel on his new Speed Concept.

33 days until Kona and I think I just finished one of my hardest training blocks ever.

Thank you BODY!

-Sunday's workout-

5 hour ride + 15 min run

Bike:
1 hour warm-up, building to 10 watts below IM pace (legs took a while to warm-up thanks to the stress I placed on my body from Saturday's 3:15 bike + 9.5 mile run).
35 min IM pace w/ 5 min EZ
Main set 3x's:
35 minutes @ Half IM pace (watts) w/ 4 minutes in between (see below of details of this set)
Steady riding upper Z2 until finished
Total hours: 4:58
Miles: 99.3

15 min run off the bike (RPE 75-80%, ended up holding 8-8:15 min/miles)

Since Karel is training for a half IM (Miami 70.3 in the end of October), his training is a bit different than mine right now. He ran 1 hour before the bike and then joined me on my 2nd interval. After I did 35 minutes of riding at my IM pace and then recovered for 5 minutes, Karel joined me and we were ready for the main set.

The duration for the main sets has grown over the past few weeks and no more am I feeling the "low" I use to feel around 2.5 hours during my long rides. While training for IM Lake Placid, I knew that my endurance was going to come slowly after not running for 90 days (Feb - April) due to my chronic hip/back issues. But I continue to focus on the CANs with my exercise/training routine and enjoying everyday with my healthy, pain free body. Now, I feel my endurance is better than ever and since the training is getting very intense and specific, I am super mindful of resting my body before I really need to rest it. I really love the progression that Karel has given me with my training for it was a work in progress. I spent all last year working on my speed as Karel did not want me to do an IM but instead work on the little things that will improve my endurance. Hence, get faster before you go longer.  I remember blogging last year about doing my first Olympic distance tri in 4 years! Oh the nerves!! Then there was The Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater . Then another Olympic distance tri (first time for Karel!). And then I was able to put it all together at Branson 70.3

Anyways, the body is an amazing thing and I don't feel it is always respected. It takes a lot of time to train the body and mind, not only in athletics but with anything in life. You just have to have patience and I think our society loves quick fixes. Our society wants something to happen today just like.

Sometimes we have to shut up the mind to make the body go that extra mile to get stronger but many times, we don't listen to the body when it is speaking.

I feel athletes are no more stubborn than the rest of the population for many people push the body (or don't listen to it) when it needs to rest or slow down. I think for many of us, we just don't want to miss out on life and because of that, this is the reason why we should listen and constantly pay attention to the body and what we choose to feed it, do with it and most importantly, how we speak to it.

On Sunday, my main set was more than just 35 minutes at Half IM pace. It involved no tail wind (thanks to Karel choosing country roads with the long blades of grass blowing right at me or to my side) and very little shade from the heat. It was perfect Kona prep and Karel constantly reminded me what I was about to do with my body in Kona in about 4 weeks for 140.6 miles. "It's not going to be easy Marni. You can never beat the wind."

Riding with Karel is amazing. I can't tell you how much I learn and benefit from him as a cat 1 cyclist for many many years. His knowledge of bikes is one thing as well as his passion for anything on two wheels but it is his attention to details and tactics that really make him so smart as an athlete.

The set was as follows:
10 minutes of me in front riding half IM pace.
Then Karel would go in front and hold a similar pace (he did this workout for me so he obviously wasn't pushing his watts) and I had to stay draft legal (7 meters) behind Karel. He wanted me to pay attention to my speed and watts and to stay draft legal but still be "competitive" with who was in front of me. This is something I have a hard time with as I typically stay a bit too focused on myself and don't take a lot of risks when it comes to being pushed by the other girls who pass me. Karel wanted me to be relentless within my own ability and I felt like this was one of the hardest sets I have ever done and it really pushed my limits (physically and mentally).


I repeat myself quite often but the thought in my mind is that I am always grateful for what my body allows me to do. There have been many times in my life when I have wanted to give up - when things aren't easy, when obstacles arise or when it seems like everyone else has it easier than me. 

For the past few years, I have experienced a lot in life and I owe it all to my body. We go to great lengths to reach goals together and because of it, I have really taken advantage of life. 

You see, success in life- whether sports, career or anything in between - is having a purpose and then thinking in a positive way as to how YOU can go about reaching your goal.

I constantly remind myself that my body does not have to let me do "this". When I train I push my body and challenge myself. I get sore, tired and rely on sport nutrition because I am depleting my body of nutrients, fluids and electrolytes. I see patients in the hospital who are too tired to get out of bed, lay in pain, are unable to think straight and feel miserable - not because they just did a marathon or an IM or biked 100 miles that day but because their body is failing them at that time.

I find so many people are so focused on what everyone else is doing that they forget who they should really be paying attention to on a daily basis - their own body.

This morning I received an email from a Trimarni follower and it 100% sums up everything I believe in. With permission from Sarah S. I wanted to share this note from her which she shares her thoughts after finishing her first Ironman distance triathlon. There's a great lesson in thanking the body. 


I started Ironman Arizona last November but DNF'd due to dehydration about 100 miles into the bike....Rev 3 Cedar Point was my redemption race.

First of all though, you really have changed the way I think about my body and my relationship with food. I don't come from an athletic background at all....I couldn't run over a mile until 2009, never really rode a bike until 2010 and couldn't swim a lap until 2011. So this has been quite the journey! 

I never have had a healthy relationship with food but reading your blog has taught me that as athletes especially food is FUEL and we need to treat our bodies right. Also, thanks to you the whole day yesterday I kept reminding myself to thank my body for being awesome. 

When it got hard (which it did a lot) and I wasn't preforming how I *thought* I should, or going as fast as I had hoped, instead of being angry at my body or dragging myself down, like I used to do, I thanked my body for letting me get through training and for carrying me through this race. 

In the past I would have felt bad for myself and thought "you're so slow, you're near the back, why do you even do this?" but yesterday not a single negative thought entered my mind the whole day. 

I spent hours thanking my legs and my lungs and encouraging my body to keep moving forward. It's still a new way of thinking for me, but I love it!

How did Sarah's race turn out? Here's the end of her race report:


Miles 18-22 were the worst, I just gritted my teeth and used every single ounce of grit and determination and will I could to move one foot in front of the other. With about 4 miles to go I started feeling good again! I actually did a little bit of slow running and let myself get a tiny bit excited about finishing but not too much because I still had over an hour to go at my pace. I could see the lights of cedar point getting closer and soon I could see and hear the finish line. Miraculously once I got in the chute all the pain vanished and I was able to run again. I took it all in…everyone cheering my name like I was a rockstar and the tears started flowing….I did it! A 6:23 marathon isn't what I hoped for (about an hour slower) but it didn't matter, I was so proud of myself. After 15:19 of swim, bike, and run! I am an Ironman! After years of training and a DNF last year, I did it. It was the hardest day of my life and nothing anyone can do or say will prepare you for how deep you have to dig out there. I am just so proud of myself!