Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Is True...


Monday, September 28, 2009

Solitary Refinement

I was alone today, well, except for the cats. Alone with my thoughts, my ipod in one ear, and the cats who seem to rule their nighttime kingdom. I had a 21 miler and my friends were tapering for St. George. So I ran solo, with my mind talk to keep me company.

While I ran I mished and mashed the conversations going on in my head. I wanted to tell my marathon friends good luck and good racing. In no particular order, here is a compiled collection of several hours of solitary head ramblings.

First, you are ready. I know because I was with you on those 3:15a.m. long runs. You have worked hard. You have tapered. You have followed a plan and worked toward a goal. Now go out and show me the money!

Second, there will be miles that just hurt. It might be mile 10, it might be mile 19. When that happens, let your muscle memory take over and try and flush all that pain out of your system. Go to your happy place. Keep on keepin' on and you will get a second wind. You will feel better. And you will get stronger again during the next mile or two.

Third, remember to smile. Natascha Badmann, one of my favorite triathletes, is known for her smiles. She smiles through the entire Ironman and none's the wiser if she is in pain or not. She's just happy to be there. She's thankful for her health. She's glad to be part of the race. Here she is:
Lastly, be proud. You're going out there to do something on Saturday that not many people would even consider doing in their entire life. You've chosen something hard. You've challenged yourself. You've gone out of your comfort zone to something a little scary and daunting. So walk tall. Run proud. Finish strong. Then pat yourselves on the back. Because you're going to finish a marathon. And that, my friends, is cool.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Helmet Head

Just a little heads up...helmets get dirty. They get that salty film on the straps and it is gross. So go ahead and take your helmet into the shower with you. Lather it up. Rinse it off. Get it nice and clean. Nobody wants to look at that dried salt on the side of your head.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just a little more about food...

Did you know that the average American should eat about .08/kg of protein per pound of body weight per day? That equals about 8 grams of protein per 20 pounds of body weight. BUT, an endurance athlete should eat about 1.4 kg/protein per pound per day. Almost double. Are most marathoners and triathletes eating lots of protein? I don't think so.

There are many good sources of protein out there-- veggies, beans, nuts, whole grains, even a bowl of cereal and milk are all good places to start. But these proteins are usually incomplete proteins, which means they lack the essential amino acids not manufactured by the body. Animal proteins are complete proteins but you should think twice about a big slab of steak for dinner every night. A six ounce porterhouse packs 38 grams of protein but it also contains 44 grams of fat, 16 of them saturated.

What to do, what to do? First, be aware of what you put on your plate. Most reasonable diets will provide you with adequate protein. But like I said before, make your plate colorful, with lots of variety in the mix. Second, look for leaner alternatives. Skim milk, fish, and leaner cuts of red meat are all good choices for anyone. And third, keep carbs as part of your diet. A well-balanced meal is the premium gasoline for your little engine.

Now pass the edamame. It has 8g/per half cup. Chicken breast (good sized) 45 grams. An egg, 6 grams. One cup tomato puree, 4.1 grams.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Preferred Pasta

Channelling my inner Jessica Seinfeld, I've made a little tweek to our spaghetti dinners. I started using whole wheat pasta instead of white flour noodles. At first, I had to secretly mix half of the white pasta with half of the whole wheat noodles. But my kids' taste buds have matured and they are now okay with the healthier noodles.

I think they have made improvements to whole wheat pasta in the past year. My original attempts with whole wheat noodles seemed to taste about as good as warmed-up cardboard. I've since experimented with different brands and De Cecco and Barilla seem to get our family's vote.

We don't miss the white stuff anymore. Whole wheat is delicious, healthy and most importantly, easy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Great Find

The new Camelbak water bottles are sweet.

Just when you thought Polar had a nice thing going with their insulated 24 ounce bottles, Camelbak comes up with something better. These bottles are insulated too, but they have this great leak-proof lid that lets you sip your beverage of choice without having to raise and lower the valve. They are called Podium bottles and you can tip them up, down, sideways, whatever, and nothing will drip or spill or make a mess. Kind of like a sippy cup for adults.

I'm not the most graceful cyclist you've ever seen, so these new bottles are a real bonus for me. I like the silicone tip you drink out of, along the lines Camelbak's hydration system you wear on your back. The bottles hold 20 ounces of fluid so they are substantial, yet do not crowd your bottle cages. I bought mine for $10.99 at my local bike shop, but I'm sure there are online deals out there for them. Either way they're a good purchase for anyone who wants to invest in something that beats all the other water bottles on the market.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Utah Peaches

The box just arrived from Utah and it is already empty... Utah peaches in all their wonderful deliciousness. We couldn't keep our hands off them and now I am wondering if you can eat too many peaches in one day?

I'm going to assume that the reason Utah peaches are so great is because they are picked, boxed and delivered within a few days of leaving the tree. By the time they arrive at my house, they have reached the peak of their peach perfection. Nature's candy, a slice of heaven? It's all that and more.

Last year I tried freezing peaches to take on my long bike rides. Eh, not that great of an idea. They unthawed too soon and I was left with a slimy mess all inside my bento box.

Because I am not much of a cooked fruit gal, I recommend eating the tasty treats ASAP. I'm not a canner, I'm not a pie maker, I prefer my peaches fresh from the cardboard box from which they arrive.

Eating seasonal fruits and veggies ensures that you are getting the right mix of nutrients that nature intended for us at the right time of year. Fruit that is available out of season has either traveled thousands of miles and been picked before it's ripeness, or has been stored for some time and lost some of it's nutritional content. If possible, get yourself to a fruit stand or farmer's market where the produce is local, fresh and naturally perfect.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Resounding Advice

Two things struck me this week:

1. At Masters, Coach Paul told us that the best way to practice correct swimming technique is on the recovery laps. He said that going slow is just as important as going fast in the water. It's easy to get lulled into a long set of slow, mind-numbing 500s in the pool, letting your mind wander, and forgetting if that was lap 9 or 11. On the flip side, it's easy to take off doing fast 25s pounding the water like you were going to war with it. To purify your workout, swim fast sets and slow sets. It's a better use of your time in the water.

Similarly in open water, try and alternate 21 or 30 fast strokes with 21 or 30 recovery strokes. You will start to feel faster on the slow and more efficient going fast. Makes sense?

2. Running with fast Amy was brutal today. At one point I said "I am going to die!" Her reply was simple. "Get past the die and keep going." Not as easy as it sounds. But still important. Your body will surprise you if you TRY to go past your limits. I think we all need to be reminded of that.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Sometimes you need a reason to keep going. Here is one for today. Sorry I don't know much about posting videos. But this one is worth pasting into your browser and watching. I promise.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Super Sexy Magical Clothing

I'm not claiming to understand it, but I do enjoy the effects of compression tights after a long run. Tomorrow's run is 18 miles, and you better believe I will be donning those beauties under my yoga pants as I cruise the ailes of Fresh 'N Easy post run.

My first experience with compression anything was a pair of socks I bought and wore at Ironman Arizona. I have to say, they made my calves feel great. But they were a tad bit uncomfortable heat-wise during the race. I ended up rolling them down halfway through the marathon, which voided any good they would have done anyway.

However, last winter I purchased the full compression recovery tights by Zoot. Now these, my friends are a little hidden gem. Zoot has designed these babies to wear after your long workouts to stimulate the circulation in your lower extremities. I describe it as a mini massage for your calves, knees, hamstrings and quads. Doesn't that sound lovely? And it really does work!

I endorse this product 100 percent. I wear them after every long run or ride I do. I've even slept in them because they are super attractive. Haha. And though they are pricey, I believe that investing in good gear keeps your mind and your body stimulated and in tip top shape.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Heart Smart

Here is a test to estimate your risk factors for heart disease. It's hard to get away from family history. But it's also interesting that a few choices can alter your score pretty easily.

0 No family history of heart disease
5 One family member with a heart attack or stroke over the age of 60
10 One family member with a heart attack or stroke under the age of 60
15 2-3 family members deceased from heart disease before the age of 60

Gender and Age:
0 Female under the age of 55
0 Male under the age of 40
1 Male 40-55 years of age
2 Male or female over the age of 55

Cardiac History:
0 No known heart disease
10 Diagnosis of angina or other cardiac disease
15 History of heart attack, heart surgery or a stroke after the age of 55
25 History of heart attack, heart surgery or a stroke before the age of 55

Blood Pressure:
0 If the upper number is lower than 130 and the bottom number is lower than 65
4 If the upper number is 131-160 and the lower number is 86-95
8 If the upper number is 161-180 and the lower number is 96-105
12 If the upper number is 180 and the lower number is above 105

0 Never smoked or quit smoking more than 10 years ago
3 Quit less than 10 years ago
8 Smoke 1/2 to 1 pack a day
12 Smokes or smokes and takes birth control pills

0 Below 205
3 Between 205-230
5 Between 231-280
10 Greater than 280
4 Don't know

Diet consists of:
0 Mostly fish/poultry, 3 or less servings a week of red meat,
cheese and eggs, a moderate amount of margarine and skim milk
5 One serving or less a week of shellfish or organ meats, six or less
servings a week of red meat or eggs, use low fat milk products, margarine and a small amount of cheese
10 More than one serving a week of shellfish or organ meats, one serving or more a day of red meat, eggs, butter, whole milk products or cheese

0 Optimal weight or 5-10 lbs. underweight
2 11-20 lbs. overweight
3 21-35 lbs. overweight
6 36-50 lbs. overweight
10 51 lbs. or more overweight


0 3 or more times a week for 30 minutes
3 1-2 times a week for 30 minutes
5 Sedentary job with none to minimal exercises

0 Easy going, seldom impatient and true ability to relax
3 Impatient at times, sense a time urgency at times, or cannot
relax at times
5 Sense of time urgency, fiercely impatient, cannot relax or
all work/no play

0 No family history and no symptoms
1 Family history and no symptoms
3 Borderline diabetic
5 Mild diabetic with dietary control
8 Oral medication control
12 Insulin control

Your Risk is ....
0-15 = minimal
16-29 = low
30-50 = moderate
51-75 = high
76-188 = dangerously high

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

quick quick quick

Cadence counts. I realize that as I run with faster runners. To keep up with them, my strides need to be shorter and my turnover needs to be quicker.

Mark Allen reports that if you can have a steady cadence of 80-85 revolutions per minute for an entire Ironman, you will be a more efficient athlete. Sometimes swimmers put a waterproof metronome in their caps to keep their arms moving at a steady pace. I am not kidding. Cycle computers are manufactured with cadence sensors on the bike so you can see how fast your tires are circling. All that's left is keeping your feet up to tempo on the run.

One way to do this is by counting your foot strikes on your left (or right) foot for 30 seconds. You should aim for about 40 strikes per 30 seconds. Ditch the ipod sometime and give it a try. Concentrate of how fast you are turning over your legs. Listen as your foot hits the street and count each time that same foot turns over. It's not easy to keep that cadence up as you tire during your workout. But you can even slow down and STILL keep your cadence up. Often you can practice your quick cadence even on a warm up. If you do, you will realize that quick legs equal faster times.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hood To Coast

This just in. My brother Dave did the Hood To Coast Relay this weekend, a 197 mile race with a team of 12 runners who run from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast. I love to hear about races that might be fun to try in the upcoming years. According to Dave, I should put this one on the calendar for 2010. Here is his report:

If you ever get a chance to go, jump on it. Unbelievable course and Nike puts on a good show. Relay races like that really expose the training (or lack thereof) that you’ve put in. I found out that all the time I put on the bike training for 1000 Warriors didn’t help me at all for the hills, rollers, and distances required for this race. I felt great the first leg, started to feel the burn my second, and was absolutely shot by the time I started my third. I’m walking around like an 80-year old man with replaced knees and avoiding stairs like the plague.

Here are a few specifics:
Nike Hood To Coast Relay
197 miles
12,000 runners
28th Annual Year
3,500 volunteers
Largest Relay in the World!
Incredible Adventure with Unbeatable Scenery
Fundraise for Charity of Choice: American Cancer Society
From majestic Mt. Hood to beautiful Pacific Ocean in Seaside

I need a team of 12. Who's in?
Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True