Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I got the "DOMS"

Delayed
Onset
Muscle
Soreness

Ouch, I am suffering from the DOMS! Since we were in Chicago, enjoying the sights...

Kids on top of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) 
and did not have access to all of the wonderful equipment in our local home gym, I thought I would mixed it up a bit, here, in the local Sports Club. Boy did I give my legs a nice little work out. With 10lbs. dumbells in each hand, I performed the following routine:
  • 8 front lunges, 
  • 8 gobblet squats/pseudo side lunges.
  • 8 back lunges, 
  • Change leg 
  • Repeat four times
  • Follow-up with four sets of a Parisi Speed School Plyometric (A Football Combine) Leg routine.
And now, two days later - I am suffering from the DOMS. So, why did I do it? I weight train to:
  • Increase bone mass
  • Improve my running economy.

Power = Force (strength) X Speed. Running economy is the rate at which your body can produce power - so if I have the leg strength, I can create power - then, each foot strike will feel like less of an effort! Yeay!

According to the NSCA, weight training at a high intensity with few reps combined with plyometrics helps improve neural muscular adaptations. These neural adaptations allow your body to be able to recruit muscles at a faster rate. 

Now, that I have strength and speed, I got the POWER! ... And this all translates into a better running economy - but for now, The DOMS!

Train Smart Today!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Post-Irene

Hurricane Irene
In spite of knowing that Hurricane Irene was coming, we decided to continue with our plans and travel to Chicago. While we were away, we had family stop by the house to make sure the yard didn't flood or trees didn't crash through the roof. Thank God, we did not have any damage.

Many people were evacuated because their streets became flooded. Others had their basements flood, and others had trees fall on their homes or their cars. We have been spared - it is an answered prayer. This is not to say that there is not cleaning up to be done - there are many small to medium sized branches down all over the yard that need to be collected. Then, I can't wait to blog about my crazy runs along Lake Michigan! Here's a preview:


It was weird to travel to Chicago for fun - and not because I planned to run in a half-marathon. Also, it is never easy being the only one getting up early on vacation to run. I had to search my brain for motivators, like:
  1. The views along Lake Michigan were unbelievably beautiful!
  2. It was easy to run along the lake because it was flat.
  3. I've never been to Chicago for fun - only business! So it was my own way to get out and explore Chicago's Lakeshore Area in my running kicks!
These motivators worked for me - but I am always up to hear what other people use to help motivate them to keep up their training while on vacation. Until then ...

Train Smart Today!



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Food Facts Friday: Macronutrients

I love reading the American Dietetic Association SCAN (Sport, Cardiovascular & Wellness Nutrition) Newsletters. Here are some sport nutrition facts I learned from the 2011 summer issue:

Carbohydrates:

  • During exercise lasting less than 45' there is no need to consume carbs.
  • During exercise lasting 1-2.5 hours, you want to consume about 30-60grams of carbs per hour.
  • During exercise lasting more than 2.5 hours, 60-90grams of carbs per hour.
For reference:
  • A banana or 1 Gu packet is about 25grams
  • An 8oz. glass of lowfat chocolate milk is about 32grams 
  • A power bar is about 40grams carbs.

Protein:
  • Since we rebuild our muscles at rest, like when we sleep, consuming a small amount, about 100kcals, of a high protein snack pre-bedtime can help you rebuild your muscles.
For reference:
  • A couple of slices of turkey breast, a cheese-stick, 1Tbs of peanut butter or around 16 almonds is about 100Kcals.
Fat:
  • Eating before exercise - like eating breakfast in the AM - has been shown to increase VO2max (oxygen consumption) and fat utilization. So, eating breakfast before moderate exercise may enhance weight loss.
I thought the "fat fact" was the most fun because it is a little controversial. There have been some recent studies manipulating trained endurance athlete's by having them do intense workouts in a fasted state. The thought here is that the athlete will train their bodies to burn fat stores more efficiently, so when glycogen - the energy stores used by our muscles - run low (like at the end of a half marathon or full marathon), the athlete's body will turn to fat for energy. This is sort of a catch 22 - fasting before exercise limits one's ability to train at intense levels. So, if your goal is to do speed work, it makes sense to feed your body pre-work out, so you can optimize your efforts.

On that note blogger friends, I am escaping hurricane Irene hitting us hear on the northeast and will be back in a few days. In the meanwhile,

Train Smart Today!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Recovery" Speed Work

Okay, I got to the track to train with my coach and he said that I was to do "recovery speed work" Isn't that an oxymoron? It went like this:
  • Two mile warm-up
  • Run 2:30' at tempo pace, walk 30'
  • Run 2:20' at tempo pace, walk 30'
  • Run 2:10' at tempo pace, walk 30'
  • Run 2:00' at tempo pace, walk 30'
  • Repeat down to 30'
  • One mile cool down
  • Stretch
Wow! I am really glad he went "easy" on me! I'm a little tired today, so the stretching was a welcomed end to today's training.
I am not big on stretching before I run - this is based on the recent articles that state pre-competition stretching may compromise a muscle's ability to produce maximal force and decrease performance. Plus, it always makes sense that stretching should be done after the muscles are warmed up. Since the ACSM recommends that stretches are held for at least 20-30 seconds, I like to use my Garmin to make sure I hold a nice easy stretch for this amount of time.

So today, was a good little workout that allowed me to still have enough energy to invite my nephew's family to dinner! Yeay, I get to see my little Grand-niece! Since I did the Pikermi, I wasn't able to celebrate her 1 year old birthday this past Sunday - but tonight will be great!


Tonight's menu: Roasted chicken with artichoke hearts, black olives and green peppers, Whole grain rice, string beans salad with feta and a green salad with tomatoes. I always use olive oil when I  cook and in my salad dressings and according to the ADA, those who regularly use olive oil for cooking and in their salad dressings have a 41% lower risk of stroke than those who never use olive oil in their diet! 

Buon Apetito and... 
Train Smart Today!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Daydream Believer: Internal or External Focus

So, are you like me - do your thoughts wander when you run? Do you daydream when you run?

When I ran this past Sunday in the Drake Well Half Marathon, my thoughts kept wandering - I mean it was hard to not want to take in the beautiful valley, trees and smell of rain. Then I would catch myself and think,  'I think should be concentrating on my breathing, my glutes, my quads and hamstrings or maybe my feet - or maybe the "PRIZE"':
My Beloved Drake Well Pikermi Medal
When I got home, I started thinking about what I focus on when I run. It always seems that when I daydream - and I don't think about running - that's when I run freely - almost like I am floating.

It also always seems the first 10 minutes of going for a run is a struggle.  At this time, I really concentrate on my movements, my body, my speed - any aches and pains - or how long I have to run. After about  10 minutes, when I reach a steady state, all of these thoughts start to fade.


I think that when people first take up running, they don't enjoy it very much because they are concentrating on their breathing, their body parts - feet, legs, arms  - they feel every time their feet strike the ground - and stress about how long or far they should run. This is actually referred to as one's internal focus.

Conditioned runners often switch from an external focus to an internal focus when they increase their intensity - say during speed workouts or a race. So, what's best - an internal or external focus?

According to an article in the Journal of Sports Sciences (October 2009), well-trained runners  consumed less oxygen when they focussed on their environment, as opposed to when they focussed on their breathing or their running movement:

I knew daydreaming wasn't all that bad...

This explains why when we start our runs, and are internally focussed, it seems much harder than when we relax, fall into a steady pace and focus externally. The authors did caution that this may not apply in race situations - when athletes may need to focus on internal body signs to regulate physical responses.

I interpret this to mean that my daydreaming is beneficial during my daily runs because they allow me to go into "auto pilot mode" and improve my running economy by reducing my body's need to consume oxygen. And it's even okay to daydream during a race because this can also help improve economy of effort (by lowering VO2 consumption) ... but only to a point. I am still going to want to focus internally from time to time - check my pace, tune into my body and my breathing - so I can make specific adjustments  - speed up or slow down  - in order to meet my race goals.

So, happy daydreaming and -

Train Smart Today!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Drake Well Half Marathon


Agh! I can't sleep anymore - it's about 5:45AM - I was ready for the Drake Well Half Marathon. I woke-up from the soft squishy - not comfortable - "Comfort" Inn bed and threw on my clothes and gear. I mixed Gatorade01 with water in my 20oz. Camelback water bottle and start spreading peanut butter on some Triscuits. I figure the peanut butter is a great source of protein and Triscuits are a good whole grain carb. Before I knew it, it was time to get over to the race.

Last week, I e-mailed Jaimee, the Titusville Leisure Services Director, to ask her about the course. See, she sent out an e-mail which said something about the course being run on a bike trail. I thought, 'oh no, not another race on dirt roads - not like two weeks ago.' I'm not a big baby, really, it's just that about 8 years ago, I had two emergency retinal surgeries and since then, I really can't see depth that well when I am running - so I can't really tell if the road is dipping or how deep a pot hole may be - I like paved roads! Anyway, Jamie was nice enough to tell me the race was on a paved bike trail. In fact, one of the reasons Titusville hosts the Drake Well marathon/half-marathon race is to raise money for the construction of a 5.3 mile trail, Queen City Trail, a segment in a 200+mile trail system connecting Bayfront in Erie to Point in Pittsburgh. The second reason is to help the Titusville Rotary Club in its efforts to eradicate polio. So, see, there are so many reasons to run - it really makes me feel good that I am a part of such positive human efforts.

Before the race, my Wing-man and I met the most interesting man, Jim. He told me he ran over 800 hundred marathons! I asked him if he ran one in every state - he told me that he ran one in each state about 12 times! OMG! What an amazing man! He was, in his 60's(?) and he was in GREAT shape! Wow! I told him that I wanted to run at least one marathon - he was so encouraging, he said, "You can do it. If you get tired, walk a little - and then keep going!" He didn't look like anything was stopping him - and you can bet I will be thinking of him when I run my first marathon!

We lined up to start and it looked like it might rain. Then, we started. At first, the course goes straight uphill, but then the  trail levels out. There are some changes in elevation, but for the most part mile 1-6 are pretty easy. The course was very beautiful.
Drakewell Half Marathon Course

As you can see, it runs through Oil Creek State Park. Through the race, you could see the clouds hanging in the trees - it was very quiet, it was serene - it was just beautiful. At mile six there was a turn around and we ran back on the trail to the start. It wasn't a very crowded race, so this worked out well. This race is only in its fourth year, but in the future, as this race gains popularity and becomes more crowded, I could see some running jams at the turn around  - I am sure this will work itself out with the goal to lengthen this trail.

After mile 6, it started thundering and lightening, but we all kept running. I tried to run faster  to get under the next tree canopy to dodge some rain. The rain really didn't bother me - it was the lightening that was a bit frightening. I was so glad they didn't stop the race due to the lightening!

Remember I said that the first 1-6miles were easy? Well they became challenging when you had to run them in reverse from mile 7-12! Somewhere after mile 7, I lost satellite connection on my Garmin. Yuk! I couldn't tell my pace or my heart rate. Thank goodness, this race was very well run and every 2 miles there was a marker and a Gatorade and water station. The volunteers were so very nice - and so was everyone in the race - very encouraging - it was a great race - except for the end, when we had to run on grass. Its me, I get nervous running on grass - like with dirts roads, I just don't see changes in the terrain that well - plus the grass was wet and a bit slippery. In the organizer's defense, they marked the grass with big orange arrows, so the runners knew which direction to run.

The race finished on the high school track - I sprinted the last 200 meters and finished 10th overall, 3rd overall female and set a new PR: 1:41:02!
Drakewell Half Marathon Finsh
They had plenty of water and oranges - so I grabbed a bottle, sipped on some H2O, ate some oranges and put on some dry clothes. Like always, I kept moving - it helps the muscles in your legs "milk" the blood in your veins back to the heart.

Then, I stretched ...
YES!
... and reveled in accomplishing my PA half marathon!

Train Smart Today!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Touring Pennsylvania

The road trip to the Pikermi started Friday night and continued into Saturday. Titusville was about 5+ hours away, so we thought we would break it up and take in some sights along the way. Since the Little League World Series was in progress, we stopped off in Williamsport and caught a game - we watched the Aruba vs. Chinese Taipei ballgame. Wow - these little league players are very serious athletes - and so happy to be there. Yes, we did watch the ballplayer from Aruba rockin' out in the outfield. He was adorable!

The fans are equally as happy and excited to be there!  Reportedly 42,000 fans packed into the stadium on Friday night - I think this was the largest crowd the Little League World Series has ever seen.

Saturday was no different - the fans came out in droves. I was super impressed at how very well organized the entire event was. We parked Radar Luv and walked to the ball fields - on our way to the playing fields, this is what we saw:


Everwhere, fans were carrying resin chairs with the two back legs sawed off. These chairs make it possible to sit comfortably on the side of the hill adjacent to the ball field:

Fans lining up chairs on the hillside along the ball field
After the game, we visited the Little League Hall of Fame Museum. Walking toward the museum, we saw kids with cardboard squares, sledding down the hills on the side of the walkway. It was hysterical!



Little League Hall of Fame Museum
Upon entering the museum, there was a ProFootball Hall Of Fame Exhibit with paraphernalia from pro-football players who were also Little League ball players in their youth. Throughout the museum, there were many artifacts about Little League and how the rules and equipment have evolved over time. 

Me and My Wing-Man in front of The Little League Hall of Fame
I was most impressed with the Hall of Excellence. It was amazing to see the number of famous people who have played Little League in their youth. For example, there was a dedication to President George W. Bush, Rudolph Giuliani, Tony Dungee, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Selleck, Kathy Gerring and the first female to ever play catcher in the Little League World Series, US Olympian Krissy Wendell! This was a wonderful tribute!

At the end of the Hall of Fame, there was a dedication to two special Little Leaguers: Michael Cammarata, a NYC firefighter, who perished in the September 11 Attacks on the WTC, and Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was born on September 11, 2001, and mercilessly shot and killed in the January 2011 Tucson, Arizona mass shooting. This year, at the 65th Little League World Series, the Cammarata and Green Families threw out the first ceremonial pitch, in commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11:


After seeing all the exhibits in the museum, we went into Williamsport to grab a bite to eat. We found a very charming little pub, The Bull Frog Brewery. We would definitely go back to the Bull Frog Brewery if we visited Williamsport again.


The pub was gorgeous: hardwood floors, paneling and tin ceilings. The food and the beer was perfect. In fact, we wanted to stay and watch more of the Little League World Series on the TV's, but we couldn't - Titusville was still another 3 hours west of Williansport!



We made it to the Titusville Community Center to pick up the race packet by the skin of our teeth! We were definitely worn out by the drive. Pennsylvania is beautiful country - BIG beautiful country. I did not realize there were so many rolling mountains - and land - speckled with farms, here and there - but lots and lots of land. This was a real treat for us - growing up in Northern New Jersey - you don't get too see very far - there are so many buildings - and not much land. 

Titusville is very rural, but it has some rich history. In 1859, oil was successfully drilled in Titusville, PA. The town grew from 250 to 10,000 people almost overnight! In 1871, the first oil exchange in the USA  was established in Titusville, PA. Dedication to Edwin L. Drake, the man who successfully drilled oil in Titusville, is seen throughout the town, as in the statue above, the Drakewell Monument and the Drakewell Museum.
Edwin L. Drake

Drakewell Monument
Next stop: Check in at the Comfort Inn in Titusville, PA and dinner. We found another cute microbrewery, right in Titusville, called The Blue Canoe Brewery. We couldn't believe there was no wait for a table on a Saturday night. We would have had to wait about 45 mins. to one hour to be seated at this time of night in NJ - especially in a place like this - a great brewpub with charm, great food and great beer!


Since the race started at 7AM, I started getting worried about what to do for breakfast. It didn't look like anything, but McDonald's was going to be open for breakfast - and you know how I feel about fast food. It made sense to go across the street, after dinner, and get some whole wheat bread and peanut butter at the CVS. So, after dinner, we drove across the street, but the CVS looked closed. When we pulled into the parking lot, all the outside light were turned off! This was hysterical - the CVS in Titusville closes at 10PM on a Saturday night! Every CVS, by me in NJ, is open 24 hours. And even when stores in NJ close, they never shut off their outside lights - for security reasons.  Thank goodness for the Country-Fare - it was like a minimart attached to the gas station. I bought Triscuits, peanut butter,  Gatorade and water and when I went to pay, I saw the largest selection of chewing tobacco that I have ever, ever seen! Wow! It was an entire wall! 

Once, back at the Comfort Inn, I got everything ready: 
  • My new, interesting food, Chia Chargers and Sport Beans with caffeine - my pre-race foods, CHECK.
  • Gu for mile 8 and a Power Bar for after the run, CHECK.
  • Garmin & heart rate monitor, Road ID, long socks, shorts, shirt - CHECK.
  • Butterflies in the stomach and pre-race Jitters, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

Train Smart Today!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off to the Titusville, PA Pikermi

Are you the kind of person that plans on leaving at a set time, but leaves 2 - okay 3 - hours later? I am notorious for having great intentions on leaving at a certain time, but I never do. My excuse this time:
  • I had to board my Jack Russell
Jig is an Irish Shorty with a broken coat
  • I ordered an iPad to help me on my blogging journey and waited for it to be delivered.
  • It decided to pour rain, thunder and lightening, just when we were ready to leave!
So, we finally packed up Radar Luv and headed for a halfway point between home and Titusville, PA: Danville, PA.

Radar Luv

To me, Danville, PA is very rural. By the time we got there, there were no restaurants open and we were starving. We had, what we call a "what dinner?" at Wendy's. This is actually a big step for me. I would rather go hungry than pay homage to the fast food industry, which has contributed to the "oversizing" of our nation. But, as an amateur endurance athlete, I know eating every two hours is recommended and I should never skip a meal - so you do what you must. At least they have salads at Wendy's - and honestly, with a tiny bit of dressing on my spicy chicken salad - it wasn't all that bad. That's right - there - okay - I'll admit it - it wasn't that bad. Besides chicken is a good low fat source of protein - especially alanine, which I have been concentrating on working into my diet to increase muscle endurance, muscle strength and power.

With dinner out of the way, we were off to the Best Western Plus in Danville, PA for some good R&R:

Train Smart Today!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Melissa's Inspiring Map My Run Story

In the August User Story section of MapMyRun, Melissa shares her story from being obese to getting in shape, becoming a personal trainer and a childhood obesity specialist. She is truly and inspiration. I love how she describes the points at which she realized she wanted to make a change, how she committed to that change and the wonderful goals (Chicago Marathon) she has set for herself. So many times, for all of us, the desire for change is there, but the willingness and commitment lag. So, let's here it for Melissa!!! You go girl!

Let's here it for MapMyRun, too.


I love this website. Last year, I was taking a graduate Applied Exercise Physiology class when one of my classmates asked me how my half marathon training was going. She shared that she was increasing her mileage in hopes of running a half in the Spring 2011. She said, "How do you do it - I hate just running around and around the same streets to reach my mileage."


"No, no, no, girl! OMG! Don't do that!" I was totally afraid for her - I thought 'she's gotta be bored out of her gourd' - this could totally squash her goal to run a 13.1 - or worse - (cringe and look away) - she might get so bored, she could give up running completely! No, no, no - we couldn't have that.

I immediately guided her to MapMyRun. I told her, to go to the pull down tab labeled "Route", Click "Map A Run" and when the new screen pops up, type in your "Starting Location", "Type of Activity" and why you are doing the run: "This is for ___". The next screen is a map with the streets in your area, just aim your mouse pointer, click and Map A Run. I mentioned that if she wants to "undo" something, the controls are in a Control Box in upper right corner of the map, which also tells you the distance of your run, as you map it.

My Professor was impressed, too, explaining to the class that this is exactly what the class, Applied Exercise Physiology, was all about! He also loved my explanation of what constitutes a great pair of running socks, but I won't bore you with those details . . . yet.

MapMyRun is a great tool. Even on short runs - like my simple 3.75 miles run today (I am still scaling back for my half marathon in Titusville, PA on Sunday). I can use it to map a run on streets that I have never been on before or for a completely different course around a local park. It just spices up your runs - especially those long weekly runs. I encourage you to go on MapMyRun and play around with the site, plan a run and, as always -

Train Smart Today! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Heart of The Matter

I always wear a heart rate monitor - and I follow the American College of Sports Medicine Hear Rate Reserve Method (HRR) to calculate my maximum (80%) and minimum (60%) efforts. So, today, when I read RunnerDude's Blog on Heart Rate Training, of course, I had to give kudos to a well written post.


Why all this fuss about heart rates, training and monitors? Well, a few weeks ago, a friend went running, after work, on a very hot day. Sadly, later that evening, he died of a heart attack. So many people, just like him, come home from work, about 5-6PM, when it is still one of the hottest times of the day, and think, "I'm going for a run to get rid of this tension." The goal, of course, is to feel better, but unless we consider the weather, time of day, fatigue, hydration and/or illness (to name a few) - we can wind up feeling worse - and a lot of that can be avoided if we paid attention to our heart rates.

Check out the Hear Rate Reserve Method (HRR) calculations
on RunnerDude's Blog 
to calculate your maximum heart rate.

Knowing your heart rate can help you avoid cardiac drift, too. This is a (little scary) phenomenon that occurs when the body wants to cool itself off. Simply put, your body sends blood to your skin's surface so it can get rid of heat by sending the heat out to the environment. As a result, the amount of blood returning to the heart is less. So, what does the heart due to compensate? It beats faster in order to supply oxygenated blood to the muscles you are using to run. 
Note: The top line shows a Cardiac Drift heart rate response. Only 10 minutes to climb 10+ beats!
Unless you're wearing a heart rate monitor, all you will think is, "Wow, it's hot" or "This run is tough." But you can monitor your heart rate, and slow down your pace when your heart rate gets too high - and avoid too much stress on your body, like cardiac drift.

Train Smart Today!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

69 is HOT!

What? No, of course I didn't mean that - I meant that after all of the hot weather here in Jersey, you would think that running this morning in temperatures that are about 69*F should feel, well ... cooler. 

So... even though it was a bit breezy this AM, the humidity is still about 40% and it really doesn't make it feel any cooler. Anyway, I love Wednesdays because I meet with my coach. I really enjoy the training because he is very encouraging, patient and, above all he knows his "*hit"! 


I tend to always want to push myself to exhaustion, but Coach is always telling (yelling at) me to pull back, go slower, heart rate is too high or my favorite, "What are you crazy, why would you do that? Don't you know your body has to recover. Your muscles have small micro tears in them - why would you do that?" This is what I hear when I run too fast in a recovery run or when I push too hard on my strength training days.

Sorry Coach!
Today, the humidity was a little hard at first because we went into Hoboken last night. You gotta love a city with a street called Frank Sinatra Drive - which, runs along the Hudson River, on the opposite side of NYC.

First we went to the Madison Bar & Grill for dinner:


 .. and then to City Bistro for a drink on top of the roof.


City Bistro was a cool place and we got to see the Yankees beat the Royals (9-7) on some huge bar screens. We stayed out a little too late. So getting up for my track W/O was a little rough. Still trained hard, but I am glad I didn't need to go all out because I need to get my legs ready for Sunday's Half in PA.
Training
  • Two miles warm-up
  • Six 100m sprints
  • Three sets of:Two 200m @ 6:08 Pace with a 200m jog. Then, one 300m @ 6:40 Pace with a 3 minute rest.
  • One mile cool down
  • Lots of stretching
  • Ab Roller - 100
Train Smart Today!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

America's Camp Send-Off

Today both kids left for America's Camp.
This is the last year for America's Camp, which is pretty sad. For the last six years, my children have gone to this camp where they have bonded with other kids who lost a parent in the WTC attacks. Once the kids reach 16/17 years old, they can become a counselor in training (CIT) and the following year, they can become a counselor. Since we are moving away from the events of 9/11 and the kids are growing older, there are now more counselors and CIT's than there are campers.

So, even though all the Moms stood around in the parking lot, smiling and waving to their campers, we all knew, as the bus pulled away, it was just another chapter coming to a close, in this long, post 9/11 journey. Every parent gets those moments, when they look at their children, and realize, 'Wow, they are growing up so fast!' Well, this was definitely one of those moments - it's just sometimes hard to know you all got there without your spouse.

So, if I do not put in my five miles today and get those endocannabinoids stirring, I will be sitting around with the Kleenex box!

I know, what the heck is an endocannabinoid? Well, apparently endorphins got all the credit in the past for the runner's high, but it is now believed to be a chemical called, endocannabinoid, which the body creates while running, to yield those feelings of "pure happiness and elation, unity with one's self and/or nature - endless peacefulness and inner harmony" ....much like you guessed, cannabis!

Just another reason why running is good for self, soul and sanity.

Train Smart Today!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rainy Monday

Nooo. Not two rainy days back to back. . . .


I like the Weather Channel much better than I like NOAA. It seems weather.com forecasts are always just a little sunnier, cheerful - optimistic! So, I always believe when they show that it is going to clear up. Today, the Weather Channel said that it was not going to rain today, until 11AM. - so I believed them! I get really upset if I can't get my runs in as planned. It's the whole sanity thing.

So when it was raining at 7, 8 and 9AM - I thought I would lose it - I did not want to run my long run on the treadmill. Well, 10AM and three loads of laundry completed, I had to start my long run - yup, on the treadmill. As luck would have it, it stopped raining after I finished 3 miles, so, I strapped on my Garmin and took off for 7 more miles. Even though it was drizzling here and there, it was a nice little run and overall, I put in 11.26 miles.

Strength & conditioning today consisted of legs and shoulders. Since I have been doing the power cleans, I like working in some shoulder by doing upright rows, shoulder press and front raises. I had a professor that really stressed protracting your shoulder when working the deltoids. Since I have been concentrating on this when training my deltoids, I rarely get that stiff neck feeling or aches in my upper back after running 13+ miles.

My favorite exercise today, though, goes to the Glute Machine:
Strengthening glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors - it's all good for that extra kick in those last few miles or for a good strong sprint.

I had to cut my workout short to take the kiddies to the cardiologist. Due to the recent increase in high school athlete deaths from undetected heart problems, the kid's pediatrician (and now some high schools) want all student athletes to get baseline EKG tests. One cool fact that I learned while talking to the cardiologist about replenishing body salts (especially after working out in the heat and sweating) was that 1/4 cup of raisins yields 9% of your RDA of potassium!

Cute, convenient and transportable!

Train Smart Today!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rainy Sunday

It's pouring rain today. I do not like when it rains on Sunday because it's my long run day. Some people don't mind running in the rain - I don't mind the drizzling rain - sometimes it feels good, especially on a hot summer day - but the pouring rain can ruin sneakers - so, I'd rather not run in the rain.

Since we got a lot of snow last winter and the snow was piled high, everywhere, there was literally no where to run on these small Jersey streets. So, I decided to buy a new treadmill. I donated my older treadmill to the high school in town and researched what would be a good fit for me. My coach recommended a few, so I went to Leisure Fitness and tried them out. I really liked the Landice treadmills. So, I purchased the ProSports L7 Model. I like that I can watch my position on a 400 meter track, along with monitoring my heart rate, pace, distance and overall time.


On rainy days, like today, it really helps to be able to hop on a treadmill and log in some miles.

Today's W/O: Run 5miles. Slow pace 8:50. I can't ever seem to run very fast on the treadmill.
Conditioning: Abs/Core: Ab Fitness Slide & Scissor Kicks.

NOTE: I really love the Ab Slide and the Ab Wheel - two great ab products worthy of investing in!!!

Train Smart Today!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I play the radio ....

Thursday night Jazz, Art Baron and Friends was great! I am always amazed by those who can play an instrument. I can't play an instrument ....I play the radio!

The saxophone player was 96 years old! He was amazing! I also have never seen anyone play the lap steel guitar before, which was interesting. The young boy playing that guitar was so very talented - he made it sound polynesian in one song and country western in another. Art Baron had the little kids singing and dancing. One little boy was pretending he was playing trombone - he was adorable.





I have no musical talent - that's why, I play the radio! My daughter, though, is extremely talented, musically. That's why she spent the summer at Berklee College of Music (Interesting fact: Art Baron is an alumnus of Berklee!).


The program ended today. I am so glad that she was able to take part in this program. She really got a lot out of it.

The drive up and back in the summer is exhausting. Lots of traffic on I-95. So after that ride, I did not want to run 4 miles - But when does someone ever say, "I wish I did not go for that run?" Usually it's the opposite, "I am so glad I pushed, that felt good!" Before those times when I do not feel like running, I know, the first 1/2 mile will be the hardest, then my music on my iPOD sets in and I find my pace. Good thing I always think of the Nike ads:
 "Just do it!"
Train Smart Today


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Scaling back

Okay, I am already scaling back to prepare for my next half in Titutusville, Pennsylvania. This better be good because I am missing my one year old "grand" nieces birthday!

My run today was only 4 miles. I also did some core: abs via crunches and planks (bridges).

I also used my foam roller for my iliotibial band and piriformis, calves and feet. This really helps break up the fascia tissue to speed healing - especially since I am squeezing 2 halves so close together.

Tonight, I am in for a treat! Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Time Warner Building. Art Baron and Friends will be playing in a studio in the Time Warner building where Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder have both recorded. He is voluntarily playing, for Tuesday's Children families - WOW, what a blessing!


Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Track W/O

Training with coach today at the track this morning consisted of:


Warm up: 2 miles
Speed: Six 100m Sprints & 10 400M @ 6:40Pace
Cool down: 1 mile


Lunchtime @ the Gym:
Chest & Core:
Chest: Flies & Pushups.
Abs: 100 Crunches, Reverse crunch w/dumbells 50. Planks: Prone & Side.

Still psyched that the Mets won last night! What a great game!
Mets at Citi Field
Train Smart Today!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

EZ Five

EZ 5. Just another run. Keeping sane enjoying all of the fragrances from the blooming hydrangea trees.

Eating/Drinking: Tart cherry juice for inflammation, sore L. knee and R. foot. Pushed too hard on Monday after race :(
Train: Strengthen core. Abs. & Bi's.
Run: 8:20. 10' faster than my 10K pace up hill for strength.

Tonight: CITI Field! Mets vs. Padres @ Home
Thank you Tuesday's Children for the Meet & Greet & Tickets!



Train Smart Today!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monadnock Half Marathon

The Monadnock Half Marathon proved to be a grueling half marathon. No PR's on this one, but I did claim second in my age group!

Since the website showed some major elevation changes, I expected this course to be very challenging. In order to prepare, physically, I hired a trainer to teach me the correct way to perform a power clean. Combining power cleans with lunges and dead lifts really helped me to strengthen my glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and core. This way, I could run (not walk) all 13.1 of those beautiful, hilly New Hampshire miles! And that I did - even mile 11!

I did not expect my Garmin watch to go crazy at mile 6. Never again will I:
1. Not lock the bezel of my watch after a race starts.
2. Grab water at a water stop with my watch hand.

Unfortunately, my watch froze on satellite strength and kept beeping. I thought I broke it. I couldn't get my heart rate or my pace. Oddly enough, with every mile I completed, it flashed me the mile and the time. I love my Forerunner 405CX!

I also did not expect the dirt roads. I never ran a half where part of the course was on dirt roads. So, when they announced the barefoot runner, Theresa Withee, as she crossed the finish line, I was super impressed. Apparently Theresa is the only barefoot runner to complete the Boston Marathon. You go girl! I don't know how she plowed through the ruts in the roads - or how she made it through all those rocks.

Many runners were upset that there was no water station after mile 6 ... until mile 10. I was glad I tucked a GU in my sock, At that mile 10, I had to stop. I sucked down my GU and drank a full glass of water. That really helped my energy levels - I think that is why I was able to run up the 220 feet to mile 11 (Elevation: 1,193 feet).

Additionally, nutrition-wise, I tried something new, Chia Chargers. They are "un-baked" cookies made with agave nectar, chia seeds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cranberries, oats and paprika. They are sweet, crunchy and the sun-dried paprika really packs a punch. There are 3 cookies to a package, which total 120 calories, 16g carbs., 5g fat, 3g protein, 3g fiber, 0 cholesterol. They are touted as a "superfood", rich in phytochemicals, which help reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. But the real reason I ate the Chia Chargers is because I read that the chia seeds absorb a lot of water. Once in the stomach, the seeds and the water form a gel, which slows digestion (making you feel fuller longer), but more importantly, this helps endurance runners stay hydrated! I believe they helped - especially with that missing water station!

Chia Chargers
This race was the Inaugural Monadnock Half Marathon, and although they need to iron out some kinks, kudos to Christopher Bernier, for pulling it off. The only thing I was really disappointed in was the lack of cow bells when running up Witt Hill Road to mile 11. I thought more supporters were going to cheer us on - ringing the quaint little cow bells that were supplied and promoted in the description of the half on the www.halfmarathon.net website. After all, New England is all about quaint!

We need more cowbells!
Train Smart Today!