Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Healthy Eating Choices Quiz

Rate Your Restaurant Diet

The link above is a fun way to explore your dining out habits.  Which breakfast choices are better than others?  Can you find the healthiest item on the fast food menu?  What's your favorite movie snack, and is there a healthier alternative?

This little quiz will make you think before you eat!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

To Tame The Wild Locks

Swimmer hair.

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.  Dry, brittle, damaged and unmanageable hair bleached by harsh chlorine and nasty chemicals.  Hair that has a mind of it's own when it comes to trying to style it.  Hair that puts the f in frizz or the s in straw, and the U-G-L-Y in, well you know.   Hair is just a never ending problem for swimmers.

I'm skeptical to try new products because I've never found anything that tames my mangy locks, until now.  Can I get  a "woot woot" for my new find at Interbike 2011?  New Reflect H20 shampoo and condish, pre-swim gel and chamois cream.

I brought home samples of their four products from Vegas, skeptical.  Man, was I wrong. 

First off, the shampoo smells deliciously fresh with a hint of...apple possibly?  One dose of the shampoo brought back some luster and shine to my hair, all the while smelling devine!  The conditioner turned my hair into smooth, style-able tresses that felt soft and ultra-conditioned even after I dried it.  My hair hadn't felt that good since I had a Keratin treatment several months before.  And I happily noticed that the Reflect H20 products are sulfate free, making them perfectly safe to use after an expensive salon treatment like a Brazilian Blowout.

The gals at Reflect also designed a pre-swim gel that I am now faithfully using before every swim.  It seals in the hair follicles so they won't absorb so much chlorine in the pool.  I used to try and wet my hair before I got into the water, but this gel is so much more convenient.  I love it!

And lastly, the Hoo Ha Glide chamois cream is beyond.  According their website, the cream is loaded with stuff like eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and tea tree oils.  Not to give you TMI, but long hours in sweaty, chafing cycling shorts can really do a number on those girlie parts.  I love the Hoo Ha Glide and endorse it 100 percent. 

I was SO taken with the Reflect Sports products that I contacted the company to see how I could spread the love.  They sent me samples and gave me a product code TEAM1125 for 25 percent off any of their products when you order online (helps with shipping if you can't find it locally).  They also list on their website where you can find their products locally.

I honestly hope they keep making their products forever.  I'm a girl with a new "do" now, thanks to Reflect H20.   And my undercarriage is pretty happy, too.

Check out their website at www.reflectsports.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tales from A Marathon Newbie

I LOVE race recaps from marathon virgins.  Rhonna chose the Top of Utah Marathon as her first attempt at 26.2  I loved her honest, detailed account of her journey and asked her if I could share it here. 

New Marathoner, Rhonna Farrer
It was raining the morning of the marathon.  We woke up super early, got all of our stuff & kissed the kiddos goodbye and took off. I was a bundle of nerves.
Excited. Skeered. Nauseous.

I'd been super sick the two days before and when I talked to my mom the night before the marathon, I asked her to pray for me...I was worried I'd still be sick in the morning...but, prayer works! I felt great!

Rain. Dark. Buses. Lines.  It was fun.

Jeff and I got on the bus and headed up the canyon with all of the other runners. Crazy to think that the whole time we were driving (it was about a 45 min. bus ride) we would be RUNNING that! Oy vey!  I tweeted & Instagrammed as long as I could, but once we got up the canyon I didn't have any service for a while, hence no touting, Tweeting or Instagrams. Sad, but hey, ya gotta roll with the punches.

So, it was still rainy & COLD at the starting line. I kissed Jeff goodbye and he took off.

I ran slowly, pacing myself the whole time, careful to NOT give in to my adrenaline that was egging me on to sprint! It was so exciting!

Pretty soon, it started to rain harder.

Mile 6. Raining. I'm wet. Still have my jacket on & had been planning on leaving it at one of the aid stations early on in the race.  No go.

Mile 10. Pouring.  Still feeling great, even though I was getting wetter & wetter.  Each aid station I took some Gatorade. I ended up stopping three times to use the bathrooms.  Oy!

Mile 13. Felt amazing. Sooo excited. Loved the scenery...loved my music. Happy.

Hail. Yup...it hailed so hard that it was actually HURTING me! LOL! But... i went on.

Sometime around 10AM, my dear friend Sande picked up my kids at the hotel (er hubby was running, too) so they could be at the finish line to see us. Thanks, sweet friend...you'll never know how much I appreciate that!

Mile 16.  I got the text that Jeff had finished 21 miles. I was giddy for him!  Giddy. I think I giggled out loud!  Still rained.

Mile 19.  I felt great, but could NOT believe how hard it was raining. It was going sideways and I was drenched...still left my jacket on 'cause it was COLD rain! LOVED the great volunteers at the aid stations, they were troopers in that weather!

Mile 20.  Got the text that Jeff had finished. I'm not gonna lie. I cried a little bit. I was so sooo proud of him! 3:25!!!! He is amazing.  Raining.

Mile 24. I lost it. I mentally had a break down & started bawling. Miles 20-24 were tough for me. I seriously was wiping the tears off my face, & started panicking cuz I couldn't breathe....my lungs started closing cuz of the emotions....

I had to calm down.

I started to talk myself down...pumping myself up...& then this song came on my playlist:  Press to Play's Let's Dance.   All I heard was: Let's RUN.


I pulled it together & kept my eye up on the Logan Temple...seriously.....it's what I kept looking at to keep my focus.

The sun started shining.

I blew through the mile 25 aid station cause I could feel that if I even slowed down, my legs would freeze up.  So. I ran.  Strong and hard til I hit the finish line.  26.2 miles.

The sun shone bright.

I was soo excited, I ran through fist pumping & hollerin'....some guy was there and held out both hands...I slapped them and jumped up and down.  It felt. a.mazing.

Sadly, my chip didn't warn my family with a text at Mile 21, so they weren't prepared and only got the text that I'd finished and they were at the car.  It was OK. I cheered for myself and frankly it was celebration with them later. So no worries.

We brought a huge cooler full of ice in the back of our car so we could ice immediately after.  And, the sun felt amazing!   Stretched out and was in heaven. Felt sooo great.  Amazing, really.

I learned so much from this entire journey... Here goes:

If I worked hard enough & was consistent with my training...i got stronger.

When I had ANY negative thoughts come in like:
I'm too tired.
I don't feel like it.
I'm fat.
I don't like this.
I'm not fast.
I hurt.
I'm sick.
I can't do this.
Then, i was right.  
But, if I didn't give in to any of those feelings, I came out stronger, happier.

Training for a marathon does NOT help you lose weight! LOL! 

Music put a spring in my step.

It was a mental game as well as a physical game. No joke.

I had to fuel up and sleep well and drink up, or my body no likey.

I have to talk to myself whilst I run. Really. It's part of my mental game.

Running quotes REALLY inspire me.

Support means *everything* to me. I'm so thankful. For family. Friends. Bloggers.  A heartfelt thank you to everyone!

My body is a miracle. Seriously, it amazed me. Grateful to have been ABLE to run.

Jeff is my hero. 

Nature is so beautiful, it makes me want to run!

Hail, buckets of rain & temporary melt downs only make the journey more interesting!

I believe.

I do.

And...4 days later..I'm already planning on my next half marathon & trying to decide on my next full marathon.

Yea. I got the bug.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Topping Off - A Great Article From Trainingpeaks.com

Load-Reload-Top off Your Tank

If you are like many endurance athletes, you prefer to train first thing in the morning. One of the most common issues I address with the athletes I coach around the world is their pre-training fuel (or the lack thereof). A number of athletes choose not to eat or drink anything prior to their early morning workout. In questioning athletes over the years on why they choose not to eat prior to exercise, they respond by saying; “I am just not hungry in the morning.” “My stomach gets upset if I eat anything.” “I am trying to lose weight, so if I do not eat before exercise, I will lose more weight.” “I am only going to train for 45 minutes to one hour, so I do not need calories for this workout; I will just drink water.”

So, what is the best way to handle your pre-workout…to fuel or not to fuel?

When we ingest carbohydrates, glycogen is formed. Glycogen, which is fuel for our body, is then stored in our muscles (some is stored in our liver). Now, let’s go back to last night's dinner. Following a nutritious, balanced dinner that included carbohydrates, protein and fat, glycogen is formed and stored in our muscles and liver. Our muscle glycogen tank is now topped off. Following dinner, we sleep 7-8 hours. Upon awakening, we are normally slightly glycogen depleted and slightly dehydrated. When we deplete our body of glycogen, our body becomes less efficient, and our performance will be hindered in training. So, if we choose to workout at this point, and we are not properly fueled, we will continue to deplete muscle glycogen. The return on our investment at this point is not nearly as good as it could be.

The solution to the above scenario is to top off your tank. We want to top off our glycogen stores upon awakening. When you train on a full tank of gas, your performance will be that much greater (as will your recovery; better recovery leads to better performance). You will notice that you will be able to train harder at lower heart rates, you will feel more “alive” during your workout, and your post-training soreness will be minimized. You may still question the whole “upset stomach issue” with pre-training nutrition. Well, just as you have trained your body to run, bike, etc. for certain distances, you can train your GI system to handle pre-workout fuel as well.

Let’s examine some pre-training fuel that will take your workouts to the next level. If you are not accustomed to fueling before workouts, no worries; let’s crawl before we walk. Liquid calories are a great place to start. These tend to be easily tolerated by one’s digestive system. Ideally, you want to find a pre-workout fuel that contains carbohydrates as well as some protein and dietary fat (the amount of total calories will vary based on your body weight, gender, length of workout, intensity of workout, etc.). One big advantage to liquid calories is that you can ingest these liquids just minutes prior to your workout without any gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Many athletes have an ‘iron-gut’ and can handle a variety of pre training fuel sources. Solid fuel works very well; for example, a bagel and peanut butter will help to power you through a workout.

As an endurance athlete, you want to spare glycogen in order to facilitate fat as your primary fuel source. In order to spare glycogen, you must load and reload your muscle glycogen. When your body begins to spare glycogen, your body’s efficiency will increase. In time, you will find yourself training longer, harder and faster at the same or lower heart rates.

If you are already fueling prior to training, you are to be commended; keep up the good work. If pre-training nutrition is foreign to you, no worries; you are not alone. Just as you train your body to swim, bike, and run, you can train your body to properly handle pre-training nutrition. Start with the liquid fuel and you will soon notice enhanced early morning workouts as well as improved recovery for the next days training session. Enjoy the new pre-training fuel, top off your tank, and take your training and racing to the next level!

Dr. Rick Kattouf II is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc., Host of Rx Nutrition,
author of Forever Fit, ITCA Certified Triathlon Coach, MMA Conditioning Coach, Food
Psychology Coach, Wellness and Nutrition Consultant, Sports Nutrition Consultant,
Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Inspirational Speaker, Creator of of TeamKattouf
Nutrition Supplements and Moderator of TrainingPeaks Q&A Nutrition Forum.
Rick’s training & meal plans can be found on TrainingPeaks. Rick can be reached at
www.teamkattouf.com or rick@rickkattouf.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Favorite Bike at Interbike

Excuse the iPhone photo, but I loved this bike.  It's by Ritte Van Vlaanderen.  Here's the story behind the company.

"The very nature of riding a bicycle is to have fun and be free, so pretense and attitude just doesn’t have a place in our world. Ritte Van Vlaanderen Bicycles began with this simple goal: to offer cyclists the best possible racing bicycles at the best possible value. No gimmicks, no attitude, no BS.

We're a small company devoted to offering dedicated enthusiasts and racers the best racing bikes at the best possible prices. If we couldn't do this with the best intentions, then we wouldn't do it at all, so please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, critiques and/or excellent slow-cooker recipes you can think of. "

I liked these bikes.  They were different and had some nice edginess to them.  They're definitely worth a second look.

And on that note, I'm getting a little bored about bike reviews now.  Onto something else!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pinarello Love

Ooooh, color.  Isn't this bike pretty?  It's a touring bike from Pinrello.  Strickly for fun, boppin around town, a bike to be SEEN in.  

But ALL of Pinarello bikes are bikes to be seen in.  Pinarellos are sexy and sleek.  Their tri bike, the GRAAL is an amazing piece of machinery.  But ex-pen-sive!  If you've got the bucks, you should look into this line.  You'll impress your friends and neighbors. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Swiss Made BMC

Here's the bike that Cadel Evans rode in this year's Tour de France.  Fastest man on a bike, Cadel.  He won this year's TdF on his trusty BMC.

The designers of BMC have taken that same technology and given triathlete's the ultimate ride,  The Time Machine One (TM01).  For 13 grand, this baby can be yours.  

But for a more modest price of $3,000, the Time Machine 02 (TM02) is the way to go.  

The TM02 has 30 different position combinations between its seat tube and angled stem.   It's lines are clean and squared off.  It's top tube is flat as a pancake. 

Details, details, details -- BMS has covered them all.  Well done, Swiss engineers.  I like your style.   

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Porn For Cyclists

Stand ready.  I've just returned from Interbike.  Wow.

But for overload purposes, I'm going to only post one photo of a beautiful bike per day.

I am really amazed at the research and development that goes into these bikes.  The manufacturers give such attention to detail.  The angles, the colors, the aerodynamics, the simplicty.  Ahh, I love bikes.

Exhibit A.  Bianchi.

Bianchi has an amazing line of bikes.  They have a signature color called Celeste #227 painted on every bike.   Here's the story. 

Bianchi has been around since 1885.  The Italian cycling company has stand out bikes that give the air of simplicity and peace.  This is the bike you should buy if you want to go out and ride just for the enjoyment of the wind in your hair.    

Monday, September 12, 2011

Winding Down

Triathlon season is slowing down.  There's a couple of marathons on the horizon, Top of Utah, St. George, and Ironman Arizona, of course.  But for many triathletes, the regimented training programs taper down in favor of REST!

Bob Seebohar, the nutritionist guru with a whole bunch of letters after his name, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., C.S.C.S. had this to say about end of the season training.

"If you allow your body to do one thing during this cycle, it should be to learn the difference between training and exercising.  This is the most important point you can emphasize as you move from your competition season to your off-season.  Let me explain this further.  During this cycle most athletes take a couple of weeks to a couple of months of downtime from their primary sport to rejuvenate their bodies and minds.  This is a very necessary component of the sport and well-deserved after coming off of a long competition season.  If you continue to follow a structured training program, as you have been the last 8-11 months, then you are not in an off-season.

One of the best things you can do to improve metabolic efficiency is to reduce the intensity of your exercise and focus on aerobic exercise once again.  I usually do NOT promote the use of heart rate monitors or other pieces of technology as monitoring devices during this time of year.  Use subjective measures such as rate of perceived exertion as cues and by all means, have fun.  Make the mental switch from "training" to "exercising, focus on aerobic activity and try new ways to get the heart pumping."

Or in other words, ski season is on the horizon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bee Careful

There's not much about trail running that makes me nervous.

Except rattlesnakes.

I'd hate to run in to one of those bad boys all curled up in my path, rattle shakin', ready to strike.  That's more than a little scary.  That, and gila monsters, javalenas, scorpions and maybe a mountain lion.  But never BEES.  I've never been afraid of a cute little honey bee.

Until last week.

It was hiking day once again on the ole' Wind Caves Trail.  This time I was going with some guys who knew how to get to the summit, which is about .5 miles up from the actual caves.  The trail gets a little confusing once you pass this point.  And we were climbing over boulders, dodging cactus and squeezing by ledges -- all for the glorious views from the Superstition Mountains.

We rounded a bend nearly to the summit and over my right shoulder, I heard -- then saw -- the largest swirling mass of black Africanized bees I'd ever seen.  Ooh, that is NOT a fun sound to hear.

Steve, one of my fellow hikers and former park ranger at this very park let out the loudest screaming expletive that I've ever heard and started high tailing his way down the mountain.  You could hear the bees start to get irritated that we had ventured near their domain and suddenly, they were upon us.

Lyndon, the other hiker, kept yelling out to us "Bees can smell fear.  Back away slowly.  Don't get them agitated!" (Lyndon recently ran with the bulls in Pamplona, so I'm not putting too much stock in his advice).
Not the actual hive, but similar.
Me, I RAN.  My heart was pumping as I scurried down the boulders that blocked us from gravel path below.  I could hear one particularly angry bee swirling his way into my hair. I kept swatting at him, only encouraging his rage.  My flesh was his pursuit and he was not giving up without a fight.

Suddenly Mr. Bee freed himself from my tangled hair and launched his final suicide mission up over my head and down into my tank top, leaving his stinger dead center in my chest.  My anxiety abated but the pain grew as I realized his bulls eye gift was painful indeed.  Yet happily, I was free of the hysterical insect.   Silence was never so sweet.

Bee stings hurt.  And itch.  And I'm not sure what brings relief except constantly scratching that dang bite.  I've learned my lesson, Mr. Bee.  I'll stay away.  The Wind Caves summit is your to enjoy.  I respect your territory, and I'll choose another summit next time.

Bee-lieve me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Running at the Blevins Trail

In the spirit of 'Try New Things This Summer', it was only appropriate to explore the Blevins Trail for a little holiday trail running this Labor Day.

Blevins Trail is located just inside the Usery Mountain Regional Park on the outskirts of Mesa.  Legend tells a tale of stage coach robbers Usery and Blevins, who acquired some  gold during one such robbery.  While Usery was convicted and served his time, Blevins was never found guilty.   I guess dead men tell no tales.

If you've never been out to this spectacular park, you're really missing out.  The saguaros and Palo Verdes and barrel cactus that dot the landscape are especially beautiful at sunrise.  The gravel trails twist and turn through the desert vegetation and lead you through dry river beds and over sandy hills.  The facilities are so well maintained, I've yet to see one piece of trash anywhere.

If you're looking for a way to spice up your morning runs, this is IT.

There are some great benefits to trail running:  stronger ankles, higher knees, as well as core and balance workouts.  Spending time in such a beautiful location, surrounded by the Superstition Mountains with distant views of downtown Phoenix is more a boost for the soul than anything.

You can find out more about the Usery Trails here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I don't run with music.

There.  I've said it.  No, I don't have an uplifting playlist that gets me through my tempo run.  And I don't plug one ear into my ipod while tackling the climbs on Usery or Las Sendas.  I don't even particularly like the music they play at the hot yoga studio I've been going to lately.

Don't get me wrong, I DO love music.  I love it's power and beauty, it's beat.  I know it's what helped me get my marathon PR last year.  I put my ear buds in and turned up the most heart-pounding, invigorating tunes I could find.  I drowned out my overwhelmingly loud breathing and focused on the Best of Glee.   I set my play list to have Lenny Kravitz's American Woman push me across the finish line.  Yes, I do love the power of music.

But these days, the silence is what I prefer.  Everything on mute.  I ride and hike mostly with friends.  And we talk.  And laugh.  And breathe.  But there are also moments of reticence, spaces of reflection, stillness of mind.

Not to get too churchy, but there is a scripture that says "Be still.  And know that I am God."

Mostly in life, I am not still.  I like getting up and getting going.  I like loud music in the car.  I prefer jumping on my bike to sitting in a movie.  I love diving into a pool to swim my laps with Masters and moving through the water.

Stillness, however, is a gift to myself.  Stillness of mind and body.  Reflection. Quiet. Peace.  I love that I can unclutter my mind while climbing in the canyon, or chasing the group on my bike.

Music will always be there for me.

But today, I choose to be still.

Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True