Friday, October 28, 2011

Food Facts Friday: What do you eat when you work out?

This week I kept stumbling across articles on 'what to eat when you work out?'

One of the articles I stumbled across was by Nancy Clark ...aaaah my sports nutrition idol...
But I digress!
Nancy Clark's blogpost presented a great little guide that gives some ideas on what to eat, while training or competing, depending on the length of your workout:

For example, if you are exercising less than 45-60 minutes, Nancy says that there is no need to eat during your workout, just consider a pre-exercise meal or snack, such as oatmeal or a banana. I like my "runner's toast": some whole wheat bread with a smear of peanut butter. Together, the whole wheat and the peanut butter make a complete protein!
If you are exercising less than 1-2hours, Nancy says that you should consume about 30-60grams of carbohydrates per hour. That is about 120-240 calories per hour. She suggests sports drinks, gummies (Im thinking Clif Shot Bloks), gels, dried pineapple or banana.

This week, I came across a great way to make a homemade "gu" or "gel":
7&1/3 TBS Honey
3/4tsp Molasses
1/10 tsp Iodized Salt.

I think I'll try to make some tomorrow. I'm going to use organic honey and molasses. It sounds promising: the honey is full of antioxidants and the molasses is a great source of Iron and Calcium. I may even plug the ingredients into the SELF Nutrition Data Site to get the total nutritional profile! If I do, I will definitely post the nutrition info!

Last of all, Nancy recommends that if you are exercising for more than 2.5hours, you should consume 60-90grams of carbohydrate per hour. This is about 240-360calories per hour. She suggests fruit, chocolate bars, cookies, sports drinks, candies and gels, peanut butter and honey, beef jerky, granola bars, chicken broth and cheese sticks.

Okay, so I don't like all of her suggestions, but some of them, I never even thought of, like chicken broth. Today, it was very cold on the track and if I include my warm-up and cool-down, I was out there for almost 2&1/2 hours! It would have been nice to have sipped on some broth. And this week, I stumbled on Pacific Natural Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth!
Mmm, mmm good!
Nancy Clark's blog has some great posts. I am not always hungry when I am doing a long run or running a half marathon, but I know my muscles need the carbohydrates. Knowing how, what and when to feed our muscles will help us to stay healthy, avoid injury and

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Norman Rockwell 1933
Everyday it's the same speech, said in a different way to motivate these little pains in the, I mean my lovely children:
  • Try to make honor roll. C'mon it's public education - not some fancy private boarding school!
  • Plan to run, lift, study at specific times of the day. If they have time to spend on Facebook and U-tube, they got the time to pound out a couple of miles, pump some iron or finish that homework!
  • Maintain your desktop calendar and schedule your activities, homework, tests, etc. Post a  "To-Do List". They begged me for the fancy Apple laptops, heck put those i-Cals to work!
  • And if you screw up's okay. Just figure out why and what can you do to go forward and how you can avoid that negative situation in the future? Don't put yourself down. Stay positive!
It's funny, but this is the same speech that I gave myself, today! 

See, I had every intention to run 5-6 miles, then: 
  • It started raining - cats and dogs! Really! So, fine, I'll run on the treadmill before my class. But then ...I lost power! 
  • I still had to go to class, food shop and cook dinner. New Plan: I would run when I got home from class, while dinner was cooking! ...if we had power.
  • Yes, my power is back! But after spending 5hours at school pumping out FoodWorks Labs (does anyone know what these are? and if so, please commiserate with me!) I am too tired to run 5miles. I tried to at least squeez out 3!
  • Next time it's raining, I may need to go to the treadmill at the gym. I don't know why, but the treadmills at the gym are not as boring. I guess people watching is a good distraction! At least I got 3 little miles in!

Self-management is one of the most important pieces of a successful exercise program. Still, crazy schedules, weather, family and work responsibilities can throw us off. The best way to stay on track is to:
  • Set some goals - not crazy one' s, but those that are in reach, so you don't get discouraged.
  • Set a schedule: Plan your activities. Studies show that if you set a specific time aside each day for exercise, you will be more successful in your exercise program!
  • Monitor yourself: Are you reaching your goals? If not, maybe you need some help? A little coaching, a friend to work out with? Use your calendar to keep track of your goals and your schedule.
  • Identify and overcome setbacks: Figure out what's holding you back and brainstorm to rise above it. Plan to avoid future setbacks. And remember don't put yourself down! Stay positive and

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bye, bye love handles, pinch an inch and muffin tops!

Some people like new shoes, a new pocketbook, jewelry, cars ... I like books! Not just any books - I like texts - and not the kind you get on the cell phone

I used to think I wasn't a "reader" - sssh, don't tell my kids. I'm not one for novels, was never into the book club thing and aside from the latest raunchy Chelsea Handler novel, I couldn't tell you the latest who's who on the Pulitzer Prize winner list. Just give me the facts - give me a textbook - and I am all set! Especially a science text!
And my most recent pride and joy .....
Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism
It all started in my Advanced Nutrition Class. Oh, the macromolecule, LIPID! The poor thing - fat gets such a bad rap! I kept asking my professor about fat metabolism - and she suggested this book - actually the other students in the class were like, "Girl, just shut up, so we can get outta here!"

But I wanted to know - Is the fat burning "zone" a myth? 
  • When exercising lightly (walking), we get 87.5% of our energy from fat and 12.5% of our energy from carbs. 
  • When exercising moderately (hiking), we get 55% of our energy from fat and 45% of our energy from carbs.
  • When we are exercising intensely (running), we get 33% of our energy from fat and 67% of our energy from carbs.
  • When resting or sleeping, we mainly use fat as our energy source.
Looks like we burn fat all the time - Who came up with the
"Fat Burning Zone"?
It seems we are always in that ZONE!

And if that's the case, why is there an obesity epidemic in America?
From the above information, 
doesn't it look like all we have to do is sleep and walk and we will burn fat? 

Well, here's the catch - the fat we use during exercise doesn't come from our love handles, our pinch an inch or our muffin tops! 

Our energy from fats comes from the kind that is circulating in our blood as triglycerides in the HDL, LDL, VLDL and chylomicrons
We are not recruiting energy from our stores of fat. 
I'm sorry - didn't mean to break it to you like that!
So, why exercise at all?
OMG! Did I  just say that?
Quick, wash my mouth out with soap!

But seriously, what's the key to burning off those love handles?

So, if you are just starting a new exercise program:
Give yourself a pat on the back and keep up the good work!

'Cause fat metabolism can be manipulated through 
exercise, exercise training and diet. 

The more we exercise and train, the more we stimulate metabolic pathways that help us burn fat more efficiently. One of these involves the release of a hormone, called "Growth Hormone" - a huge contributor in fat metabolism. This helps our bodies to be better at using fat for energy.

The more we exercise, the more fit we become - so what once was our "intense" exercise is now our "moderate" exercise ...and we are back to burning fat at a higher rate!
Don't stop training at high intensities. 
During intervals of high intensity, 
your body is learning new ways on how to use fat for energy!
This is the reason why trained athletes
burn more fat at very-high-intensity exercise!

Add in a healthy diet - full of nutrient dense foods, with complex carbohydrates, lean protein and very little saturated fat - and you are a fat burning machine! In this case, you will be storing less fat and the fat reserves will eventually be broken down for energy - this part is what I want to read more about!

I can't wait to get my book by Dr. Gropper - I will be able to share even more information on fat metabolism - so we can all ...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Food Fact Friday: Tea!

My New Slogan: 
You know you are really busy when you are stealing hours from your sleep to get stuff done!

The stress and lack of sleep is trying to catch up to me! You know that feeling ...nose gets a little stuffy, throat is scratchy - you cannot concentrate. No! I absolutely refuse to get sick!

I have been fighting a cold for weeks now. 
Some of my tricks:
Although I love the Celestial Seasonings, Decaf Green Tea (can ya' tell?), my absolute favorite teas are the Traditional Medicinals. I love the Traditional Medicinal teas because they are clinically tested and have some great organic selections. Some of my favorites are: Organic Throat Coat, Gypsy Cold Care, Organic Ginger Aid and Organic Chamomile, but my absolutely, all-time favorite is:
Organic Echinacea Plus Tea

Mmmm Good!
I like to drink the Organic Echinacea Plus Tea because of the Traditional Medicinals claims that this tea supports a healthy immune system by activating and stimulating immune cells. And, like I said, I have been fighting off a cold for the past three weeks - it must be working! Plus, it's sooo tasty!

Providing you have no allergies to Echinacea, try some Organic Echinacea Plus Tea when you get stressed out, sleep deprived or feeling under the weather because it really does helps your immune system work to its absolute best potential!

The Traditional Medicinals teas are a great little secret to help you stay well and

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In the Spirit of Running

It was just by chance I stumbled across that piece of paper in my drawer this morning. It's my anniversary - I would have been married 21years. I was looking through my drawer - where I keep old cards and stuff - I just wanted to find some card that would show me his chicken scratch handwriting with words that read:
"I love you, tons." 

Instead, I found that piece of paper: 'Isaiah 55:8&9'. Okay, maybe I am supposed to read it -  it's got a 5 & a 9 in there and after all, my late husband was born in 1959. Maybe I will find some answer - something I can pull strength on to get through the next week: 2 papers, 2exams, laundry, rushed dinners, wilting summer flowers in a window box dying to be retired - you know that list - it always just goes on and on. So, I read:

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Okay, that was nice. I thought, "Now what? This isn't what I thought I would read, but okay. Agh, c'mon - it was just a slip of paper - focus girl, you still have to make lunches, get the kids to school and write a paper that is due!"


I knew if I were to maintain whatever sanity I have left - I needed to sneak in a run. Afterall, it rained all day yesterday and I spent 15hours working on a paper  - and that was not the paper that was due today - I still haft do that one!

I got the kids off to school and ran - and ran, and ran, and ran. It was glorious - a breezy day, 64*, NO HUMIDITY! My favorite running weather!

I was happy - running, praying, thanking God for all my blessings. Then, I heard Josh Groban on my iPad with his beautiful voice singing, "You Raise Me Up". I played it three, 3, yes, three, times! I felt God's peace take over my stressed out body - It was a good run!
My mind wandered - I couldn't help but wonder if Ryan Hall listens to this song when he runs. I was so curious that when I came home, I did a Google search: 'Ryan Hall and his faith'. This is what I read from a Running Times article, "Ryan Hall: The Faith Interview":
WOW! IDK, 55:9 - the same verse I read this morning ...a little freaky! I needed to read on...

There are some things that Ryan said in this interview
that really hit home with me:
  1. God can do something miraculous through me - Yeay, there is still hope for me!
  2. God has always provided enough strength for me to do what He wants me to do. AMEN!
  3. It is easy to feel God's presence when He is taking us to new levels, but it took me years to feel God's presence when I was struggling or having an ordinary day. Ech, ain't that the truth!
These statements really found a home in my heart. And if you think about why they hold so much power and truth - the answer can be found simply stated in Isaiah 55:8&9: because
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I love that I found that piece of paper this morning - I really needed some inspiration today. I think I need to meditate on these verses because I just don't know how I am going to get through all I need to do this semester without some divine intervention!

I also love how Ryan Hall feels that his ministry is his running - what an inspirational Christian. He has even decided to lean on his faith to guide him, and has recently parted with his longtime coach.
Wow! For me, that would truly be a leap of faith!

Yeah, I think I'll stick with my coach! I'm not in that elite athlete category. I think I will allow God to use my Coach to help guide me to ...
Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gaining Perpsective from Marie Antoinette

The other day I was reminded of last summer - I took a trip to Paris with my children. During that trip, we toured the Chateau de of Versailles. 
Girlfriend in The Hall of Mirrors!
A Young Girl's Dream Room!
I remember listening to stories of Marie Antoinette. 
Once regarded as a charming Queen to all of France, 
Marie Antoinette eventually fell victim to a declining reputation. 
To save her image, she focussed on what she felt was her most important role in life:

Marie Antoinette the "MOTHER" 

Marie Antoinette wanted to show the people of France that she was human - not some promiscuous spendthrift the public labeled her as. So, in 1787, Marie Antoinette ordered the above portrait to be painted by Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun.  

It's funny how things work out - at the same time, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun was trying to show the people of France that she was a talented female artist, and she was intent on making a name for herself. So, while Marie Antoinette wanted to be known, remembered and respected for her most important role in life, mom, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun also wanted to be known, remembered and respected for what was important to her, her role as an artist.

Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun was successful in her goal - she is recognized as the most famous painter of the 18th century. Marie  Antoinette was not successful as her character will always be questioned. 

I thought of this story when my sister-in-law circulated the poem, The Invisible Mom, in an e-mail the other day. It always makes me cry:

It started to happen gradually. One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, 'Who is that with you, young fella?' 'Nobody,' he shrugged. Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, 'Oh my goodness, nobody?'

I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like 'Turn the TV down, please' - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, 'Would someone turn the TV down?' Nothing.

Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, 'I'm ready to go when you are.' He just kept right on talking.

That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me.
I don't think anyone can see me.
I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. 
I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this?
Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going... she's going... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home.

And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. 

We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. 

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Life is not always fair - and I don't ever recall someone saying it is easy - but we must keep going forward in a positive fashion, focussing on the important things: our family, our health, our faith and our love for one another.

For me, running gives me the time to meditate and focus on what I think is important. At the same time, it helps me feel as if I am moving forward in a positive direction - and therein lies something very powerful! 
Keep moving forward and ....
Train Smart Today!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Fauja Singh is Incredible! 
Congratulations, Fauja Singh!
He now holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to finish a full (26.2miles) marathon in Toronto, Canada this past Sunday! 

It took Mr. Singh eight hours to complete this marathon ...WOW! 
I will be happy just to be able to stand for 8 hours when/if I make it to 100! 

What he said was also so incredible: He said that he was overjoyed - and that finishing this marathon was like getting married again! Awwww, how great is that?

Talk about inspirational - this was Mr. Singh's 8th marathon - but get this - his first was at age 89! There is hope for me, yet! Maybe after 50 Halves in every state - I will go on to 50 full marathons in every state! ... AMEN!

The best part - he has more goals: He hopes he can participate in the torch relay for the 2012 London Games!

Well,  Mr. Fauja Singh, I hope I get to see you carry that torch! 
You are an amazing person and an inspirational role model for runners of all ages!
Keep up the great work and

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Terri Roemer Paramus 10K Run Recap

I done good!
1st Place in my Age Group!
Just finished the Terri Roemer Paramus 10K Run and I am happy with my time. It feels so much better to say that after my last, very frustrating 13.1 in Connecticut.

I did not meet my 7:25'/mile pace goal, but I did get close: 7:26'/mile pace. I like the 7:20'mile pace my watch displayed - I think I may need a new watch - I have so so many problems with this watch - but that's another story...

The Terri Roemer Paramus 10K Run was so well organized. They weren't kidding when they said that the goodie bag was chock full of stuff: coupons to Sports Authority, a water bottle, a chip bag clip, a red flashing light for night-time running and coupons galore! Wow!

It felt good to run in this 10K, too - the proceeds support scholarships for graduating Paramus High School students. So far, they have provided over $500,000 in scholarships.

Wow, I hope I can say that one day - I give a scholarship, in my late husband's name, to graduating seniors who have financial need and plan to study either finance or music - two of my late husband's passions in life.

The people in the town were so nice - they were yelling and cheering everyone on - one woman yelled, "Thank you so much for running in this race!" Awww - What great community support!

Even the community businesses lined the parking lot of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Bonefish Grill Restaurant. There were booths galore: Kessler, Core Fitness, Gold's Gym, Smart Tea, Trader Joes ...

And the other runners were so friendly! I met someone who made my day - she thought (from behind - which makes it even greater!) that I was this 17year old that she sees running around the resevation by where she lives!  Wow! That has to be the greatest compliment ever - she was so full of energy and so pretty - I had to get a picture of her, her husband and their friend ....

The runner on the left is now one of my favorite all time peeps!
I also met some incredible "Masters" from the NJ Master's Runners Association. What a great bunch of people! They had a collage of runners in their group - some of which were in their 70's and 80's - I was in awe at how remarkably young they all looked! Their secret .....

.... You got it ....RUNNING!

There was just one oxymoron to the whole set up and that was the Wendy's BBQ.
I must admit - the burgers absolutely smelled delicious - but at about 19 grams of fat for a cheeseburger - 7 of which are saturated fat - I passed!

Overall, it was great Sunday here in New Jersey - and a great day for a run race!
Stay Well 
Train Smart Today!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Facts Friday: Rethinking the Soy-fully Delicious Protein Bar!

I am currently reading Food, Inc.
Maybe some of you have seen the documentary?

I was shocked when I read the information on genetically modified food crops. How did so many crops fall victim to genetic modifications in such a short period of time in human history - in only 20 years?

Don't get me wrong, I know the arguments for genetically engineered (GE) foods: Better crop output, drought resistant crops and veggies with a longer shelf life - to name a few. But what is unnerving is the unknown. How do GE crops affect our environment and our health?

Our Pollinators: Honey bees and Monarch Butterflies
So far, we have a few horror stories, like the genetically engineered corn that was poisonous to Monarch Butterflies. Perhaps there is a link between GE crops and the recent decline in the North American Bee Population?

C'mon, really - our honey bees?

The human health stories are no better. Is it possible that we can actually create the potential for viruses to mutate into more virulent forms - so much so that our human bodies will not be able to defend themselves? That's scary!
Are we increasing our risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer by dairy products made from cows treated with the genetically engineered hormone, rBGH? They say there is a connection to these GE hormones and those specific cancers. I already have Crohn's Disease - I don't need to take any more risks in getting colon cancer! I definitely feel better about buying organic milk and cheeses - or some specialty cheeses from Europe - since the European Union bans GE hormones!

Then I read on...SOY! 91% of soybeans are genetically engineered! Okay, I just bought some organic roasted (unsatlted) soybeans - so I am in the clear, right?
Organic Soy Nuts

Hahahahahah! Surely I jest! 
Ever read food labels? 
According to Healthy Child Healthy World,  soy is the #2 US Agricultural commodity and 60% of all processed food contains soy ingredients - from soda, cereal and bread to candy!

That's when it hit me ...PROTEIN BARS and PROTEIN DRINKS & SHAKES. Noooo, not the protein bars that I give my son when he comes home after training 3hours at wrestling club? 
What am I giving him?

Protein bars are full of whey and soy protein. And why not? Whey and soy proteins are an excellent source of digestible protein - it makes sense to put them in a protein, power or energy bar, drink, shake or recovery food. Specifically, soy - it provides antioxidants (histidines) and enhance muscle recovery following a workout. Recently, soy has even been touted as a great preworkout supplement because
  1. It contains a phytonutrient (genistein) that has been shown to increase nitric-oxide levels (which helps to control blood pressure and blood flow during exercise via vasodialation), 
  2. Contains high levels of phenylalanine and tyrosine - amino acids known to increase alertness, which can be helpful during an endurance run.
  3. Contains high levels of aspartic acid, which plays an important role in energy production (via the Krebs Cycle).
But Hold On ... let's keep things in perspective: According to Runner's World Magazine, Soy is no "Miracle Food" and too much soy can be harmful.

Looks like, too much of a good thing - is not a good thing! With controversies like that, it is good to know that if we stay informed, we can vote with our dollars to buy foods that are safe for human health and the environment.

I guess my son is going to have to start enjoying the organic roasted soybeans - which he said, and I quote, "Look like dog food!" Ah, at least this will moderate his soy intake. He will thank me later ...I hope!
"More Roasted Soy Nuts, Mom ...PLEASE!"
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Terri Roemer Paramus 10K Run

It's Pumpkin Weather in New Jersey!

And I just signed up for the Terri Roemer Paramus Run10K on October 16th. I couldn't find a half marathon that made sense with my insane schedule and my coach said I needed to run at least one race in October. Of course, I do - this is the absolute best weather to run in...Pumpkin Weather!

In the Spring, I had Cherry Blossoms

The last 10K I ran was in April - I ran in the Newark Cherry Blossom Race; It is always such a beautiful race. My pace was 7:35'/mile, but this Sunday, my goal pace is 7:25'/mile. Hopefully, I will come in the top 10 in my age group - there are some pretty fast ladies out there!

Today, I started to scale back a bit - I only ran 3miles at an average 8:30'pace with faster times for eight 200meter intervals at 41seconds for a total of 1.5miles. Friday, I will only run 4 miles.

Aaaagh - It's hard to scale back mileage on these cool NJ October days - the weather is so cooperative - the temperature is about 55-65*F and the humidity drops - it is perfect running weather! It's also so great for the hair - less frizz!
These are not fake!
This Sunday's Terri Roemer Paramus Run should be fun - this will be the 33rd year for this run! I did not plan that - I signed up for the run first, and then read the details! Yup, my late husband, John, is always with me - every time I see a 3, 33 or 333 - I think of John. So when something like a '33' pops up  - it's a great reminder that he is always around!

Got my sights on the 33rd Annual 10K!

Train Smart Today!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Plyometrics Today: The DOMS Tomorrow!

I have incorporated a new plyometric exercise into my leg routine and I must say, it is well worth it! For about three days after incorporating this routine, I had some trouble doing some basic movements - like walking!

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch - my calves were killing me. Even last Friday when I got a pedicure I had to tell the technician to go easy on the calf massage. I felt like I was missing out on my whole "Ochocinco Experience". Yes, I call Friday "Ochocinco Day" because like the great football player, I like  manicures or pedicures - and Friday is the only day I have time to squeeze in one little beauty treat, like a pedicure or a manicure.

I made up for the lack of massage with the foam roller, later in the week! 
Love the foam roller!

I got my new speed and and agility tip from the Parisi Speed School. I was looking for a new plyometric routine  - I thought I needed to add more power to my sprint and my kick going uphill.
In my search, I came across this routine:

It doesn't look like much, right? 
Well buyer beware....

I thought this would be a harmless exercise to add to my leg routine - NO! This is an intense little movement. It's different than calf raises or presses because it is not about isolating your calf muscles (gastrocnemius muscles - I love that muscle's name). Instead, this exercise is aimed at developing better neuromuscular (nerve & muscle) connections to increase speed and strength (=power) in your calves. This occurs because you are not only rapidly switching your feet while pulling your legs up - but each time your foot strikes the floor, you are pressing and stretching back (at a 45* angle) which adds just the right amount of resistance.   
I really think the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) I suffered from after doing this plyometric routine came from this exact combination: rapidly pulling my leg up and forcefully pushing/stretching my leg down at that little "innocent-looking" angle. 

This routine trained my calves, surrounding muscles (i.e., plantaris muscle) and tendons like they have never been trained before! And maybe it's psychological, but for the last few runs, I really do feel like I have more power in my kick! 

Thank you Parisi Speed School for Speed Tip #11,
it is definitely worth incorporating into any workout. 

Plyometric exercises can be incorporated into any routine - just remember to warm-up first, wear cushioned sneakers and rest between sets. Plyometrics exercises are used to prevent injuries because they build strength when the muscle is in its most vulnerable position - a stretch position - but, like any new exercise, start slowly (small jumps), stop if you feel pain or discomfort and of course,

Train Smart Today!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Celebrating a Birthday: But no age class change!

Today went so fast, I almost didn't get my long run in. Even when I finally ran, those thirteen and a half miles went so fast! I ended with some sprints and by the time I was done - my legs were losing the battle against form. My legs were Gumby-like!

Ever see Gumby run? It's not pretty!
I usually run my long run on Sundays, but yesterday, I could only squeeze out 5 miles.
Sweet Birthday Celebration!
Eating this couldn't have been the culprit! Right?. Besides, I shared it with everyone. You can't really tell, but there was a marzipan wafer under that pear! Once I mentioned that the wafer under the pear was marzipan - everyone wanted a piece!

It's a funny thing about birthdays, now that I am competing in these half marathons - another birthday is no big deal. No, really - it's no biggie UNLESS I move to a new age class! And this birthday was no biggie - because I did not move to a new age class! It was just another birthday!

I have had some very funny "age class" conversations. It's silly how a little thing like moving into a new age class is such a big deal for runners - I always get a kick out of someone whose face lights up when they explain that they are now in a new age class. You could feel their excitement - like they are now going to run with fresh legs and a fresh outlook!

Well, no new age class for me, just some foam roller exercises tonight so I feel like I have fresh legs! And each day, just simply being with this old friend and lifelong companion - running - it's easy to have a fresh outlook and to 
Train Smart Today!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Food Facts Friday: Nutrition Fact Labels

When someone comes to me because their child is struggling with food and fitness issues, my heart aches for them. They don't know where to turn and it's sad. Mostly, I hear from Mom's who want to help their struggling teen, but are afraid to say the wrong things because they are afraid to make things worse.

This week, I got an e-mail from the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) dietary practice group. They were promoting their FREE "Teens Eat Right" handouts and I had to have them, immediately!

After reading these handouts, I found out that:
  • 30% of our American teens are either overweight or obese
  • Most teens only eat 1/2 of the required 5-A-Day fruits and vegetables
  • There are 17 teaspoons of sugar in a 20-ounce bottle of soda (YIKES!)
One particular handout talked about food labels.
I started to wonder:
How many adults, never mind teens, know how to read a food label?

The US Food & Drug Association has a VERY thorough explanation on how to read Consumer Nutrition Fact Labels. I have gone to this website more than anyone would care to know. Still, I always feel there is some kind of disconnect between:

 "What the label says"
"What the label means"

Trying to make sense of it all, I started to hear that little voice in my head: 
"Just tell me what I need to know to eat healthy!" 

Besides, who has the time when grocery shopping - after work or between carting the kids from one activity to the next - to stand there and read food labels?

That's why this one handout was so great - it hit some great points and I feel so fortunate to be able to share them here:

  • First, check the serving size to determine how many servings per container/package.
  • Multiply calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat values by the serving size to get the total amount for the whole package.
  • "Low Calorie" means 40 calories or less per serving.
  • "Low Sodium" has <140mg per serving.
  • "High Sodium" has >480mg per serving, which is common in processed foods.
  • "High in Fiber" foods contain at least 3g of fiber per serving.
  • "Sugar" means "simple sugar". If something says it has "X" grams of "sugar" divide that by 4 to get the number of teaspoons (of sugar). So, if a label says "sugar=16g" , it has 4 teaspoons of sugar. 
  • Shoot for < 3grams of sugar per serving.
  • The average 2000-calorie diet for a healthy adult should contain between 50g-175g of protein per day.
  • Cholesterol: Look for 15mg per serving or less on packaged foods. Aim for no more than 50-60mg per meal and around 200mg per day.
  • Low fat means there are 3g or less of total fat per 100-calories.
  • Aim for food low in saturated fat. Nutrition Fact labels will show a % Daily Value (DV): Shoot for foods with showing a DV of about 5% saturated fat.
  • Avoid foods with trans fat ALTOGETHER.
If a food has partially hydrogenated oil in its ingredients list, it contains trans fat
Here's the Twist
If a product has less than 0.5g or less per serving, companies are not required to show that the food includes "trans fat" on the Nutrition Facts label. Although 0.5g doesn't seem like a big deal - think again - this stuff can add up - especially if you are munching down multiple servings of nutrition, energy or breakfast bars, chips, cookies or crackers! Why is trans fat frowned upon - because it raises your LDL cholesterol, which promotes cardiovascular disease.

I also found some cool "Shopping Tactics" posted by Marissa Lippert, RD. These helpful hints are designed as a basic guideline to help decode food labels, even when the product claims to be "all-natural" or "healthy". Ms. Lippert suggests avoiding foods if:
  • It has 3 or more ingredients that you can't pronounce.
  • Any of the ingredients on the food label end in -ol or -ose; this usually means it's probably an artificial sweetener (malitol, sorbitol and sucralose).
  • It claims to be sugar-free, fat-free, low-carbs or double fiber.
  • It contains: high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.
High fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils are two of my pet peeves! I don't like feeling as if I am an ignorant consumer and can be deceived into believing something is good for me because it is marketed as an "all-natural", "healthy" or "high energy" product.

If we, as adults, put forth an effort to understand food labels, we can help our children understand food labels - giving them the power to make healthy decisions and
Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Exercise or ADL?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently made some changes to their 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for adults. One of the most important aspects of these guidelines is the ACSM definition of regular exercise. For example, after my run, I spent some doing a little gardening. 

Gardening is not easy stuff - there's bending, squatting, reaching, pulling (fighting with weeds!), walking back and forth, picking up, throwing out and carting of garbage/compost. And yet, according to the ACSM, gardening is not exercise. Nope - neither is dusting, vacuuming or shoveling snow! 
The ACSM considers these ADL: "Activities for Daily Living"

So, what is exercise? The ACSM says that for adults to stay fit, we need to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week and this exercise should include the following:
  • Cardiorespiratory (aerobic): Moderate aerobic exercise could be anywhere from 30+ minutes five times a week or vigorous aerobic exercise 20+ minutes three days per week.
      Wing-man getting a cardio workout on the dirt bike!
  • Resistance training: Train each major muscle group 2-3 times per week with a variety of free weights and lifting equipment/machines.

  • Flexibility: Also 2-3 days per week. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds. It's better to stretch after your muscles are warmed up to prevent tearing a muscle.
No mini-man, reaching to open a bottle on the bottom of your
REEF sandals does not constitute stretching! 
  • Neuromotor Exercise or "Functional Fitness": This is the up and coming buzz word in the fitness industry and includes training for balance, agility and gait. 


This is a very general guideline for adult fitness. For some - these guidelines are goals to be met - stuff New Year's resolutions are made out of - and for others - who need more, to stay sane (me, myself and I) - these guidelines are the essential skeletal framework for something more. Either end of the spectrum - as long as you stay active - the benefits far outweigh any excuse!

Train Smart Today!