Saturday, March 31, 2012

Food Facts Friday: Organic or Conventional?

Is it smart to buy organic produce? How about organic, grass-fed beef? Are all organic foods good for you? I know one thing, it is definitely more expensive!

I spend the extra $$$ and buy organic when purchasing fruits and veggies that are in the "Dirty Dozen " list: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, Kale and collard greens. To help with the cost, I try to buy these fruits and veggies when they are in season. With the extra cost, though, I usually hear myself saying, "Pay now, or pay later ..."

Then there are times I choose to buy organic products because I feel better knowing that there are some long-term benefits to purchasing these products. I like knowing I can help our planet by purchasing products produced using sustainable farming practices, which helps reduce environmental pollution, improve soil matter, minimizes energy use and pesticide residues in our food and water, all while enhancing biodiversity.

Maybe that's why the organic food market has enjoyed a huge explosion in growth over the last few years. Even Wal-Mart now sells organic dairy products!

When buying organic foods,
 look to make sure they have this special certifiable symbol:
Some products are"made with" organic ingredients,
but they are not 100% certifiably organic
Foods that are certified organic must be produced according to the USDA National Organic Program. But does this mean organically produced foods are healthier than their conventional counterparts? Well, according to a meta-analysis of research compiled by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the answer to that questions is:
Yeay, I'm not throwing $$$ away after all!!!
I guess I'm not totally crazed for spending those extra bucks!
Agh, that's right. I keep forgetting, I'm only Half-Crazed!

So, if you're in the store, and you're wondering if you should buy organic, here's a list of reasons how and why organic foods are better for your health than their conventional counterparts:

Retrieved from, American Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition:

  1. Increase Phytochemicals: Some organic fruits and veggies may contain more phytochemicals. Last week, I spoke about nutritional benefits of phytochemicals and antioxidants as it relates to muscle recovery and increased aerobic capacity. 
  2. Protection Against Bacteria:  Eating meat from cows that are constantly fed antibiotics may increase antibiotic resistance, BUT eating organic meat (not fed a daily dose of antibiotics) can reduce the development of human antibiotic resistance. Think about it, when the only bacteria that survive are the ones resistant to the antibiotic, what's going to happen to you when you need an antibiotic? It's simple, the antibiotic will not work because the bacteria will be resistant!
  3. Increase Consumption of Essential Fatty Acids: Consuming organic milk lowers the risk of eczema during the first two years of life. Organic milk has higher omega-3 fatty acids (and possibly more omega-6 fatty acids), which can protect children from eczema. Researchers also noted that mom's who breastfeed and eat foods high in the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids can also provide their infant and toddler protection against eczema! Re: Breast is Best!
  4. Promote a Diverse EnvironmentBiodiversity is enhanced in organic agricultural systems, which makes crops more resilient to unpredictable weather patterns, pests and diseases. Also, because organic seeds and plants are not genetically modified, sterile entities, they offer protection on farmland. This protection is called a shelterbelt. Shelterbelts provide shelter, pollen and nectar to our pollinators, which keeps biodiversity, plant and animal resiliency alive!
  5. Protect Our Environment and Our Bodies: Organically cultivated foods promote sustainable farming systems, which help to reduce soil erosion and exposure to pesticides. Reducing pesticide contamination of our food and water is particularly important for high-risk groups: pregnant women, infants, young children, and farm workers

Does this means that all organic foods are good for you? Well, organic potato chips, aren't exactly a a nutrient-dense food. As with everything:
Moderation and Variety are Key to a Healthy Diet


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hot Granny Panties

Okay, so I read lots of of stuff on lots of runner's blogs and it's odd, but much of what I read is about
Everyone thinks this word, the act ...or the sounds are so hilarious! Also, everyone agrees, the odor, unless of course it is their own, is most obnoxious and vomitrocious - is that a word?

And no, I am not going to post about farts, their sounds, smells or discomfort they may cause. Instead, I am going to talk about something else, something I never see anyone blog about ...
Aunt Flow!

You know, that bit*h can really get in the way! Up to two weeks before she comes to visit, she can announce her stay with aches and pains. About a month ago, in between my son breaking his collar bone and my daughter getting a concussion, I actually had to have an emergency ultrasound for pain that made me think I'd rather be delivering a baby. At least with a delivery, you get a little fun person to feed, cuddle and love ...until of course they become teens, and think you're as dumb as a stick. Anyway, that pain was awful. It turned out to be a torqued ovary cyst, blah, blah, blah ....let's put it this way, it was worse than any gas pain!

Then, Aunt Flow, starts to bug you in other ways. Like a childhood bully, she is constantly poking at you ...maybe in the breast area. Ouch, that swollen, uncomfortable feeling when you go to lift anything, like groceries, a laundry basket or the garbage. There she is, whispering to you in that God-awful, nails on the chalkboard tone, "I'm coming, dear. Just making sure your ready."

If your lucky, maybe your Aunt Flow isn't as bad as I am describing. But, my Aunt Flow is so bad, I nearly hurled the other day, just trying to get through 5miles. And, Lord, where did I read, you should eat fish twice a week? 'Cause I baked some Cod last night and all Aunt Flow could tell me was, "Breathe in dear, you're never gonna get that fish smell out of your nose." And like an evil witch, she left me sipping flat soda, trying to get passed the nausea with her steady poking, that was so relentless, I had pain all the way up to under my underarm pits!

Ugh! I can't stand her!

Then, there's her she-devil taunting:

Aunt Flow: "Have you looked in the mirror lately? It looks like you've put on a few pounds."
Half-crazed: "Just shut up, Aunt Flow. Besides, a few pounds would be good for me. I don't know if you've noticed, but I crap everything out! HELLOOOOO ...I got Crohn's."
Aunt Flow: "Yeah, but these pounds are where you never want them. Look. Look. Go to the mirror and looooook. Your ass and stomach are growing! And your thighs, hah! They are losing muscle, soon fat will take over those thighs and you will lose speed."
Of course it does not help that you feel swollen on every inch of your body,
crave chocolate like you'll die without it
and your head is pounding, like a freight train
just drove down the middle of your brain.

There is just no way to reason when your head is in that much pain. 
Thoughts like:
"Why do I still get pimples? I got freakin' wrinkles, do I really need pimples, too?"
"How can I run 5miles today? I don't even have the energy to run 1mile, let alone 5!"
How about remembering, ANYthing?
"And I have a huge exam tomorrow and crap, I forgot to buy bread today!"
Then, there is of course, 
the resounding ...
"OMG. My life is in the crapper."

And, after all her taunting and teasing, Aunt Flow finally comes!
Well, I say...
"I'm ready for ya', Bit*h. 
I got my pads, 
I got my Tampax, 
I got my Advil - for the pains in the back and in the front,
And, I've got my 'Granny Panties.'

Only this time, my Granny Panties are HOT! 

That's right! 
I'm tired of Aunt Flow making me feel like crap when she comes to visit! So I went to VS, and bought me some extra hot Aunt Flow Undies!
That's right Aunt Flow, You want a piece of me?
And, now, Aunt Flow, You must excuse me, 'cause I'm going for my run!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Food Facts Friday/Saturday: Phytochemicals, what's new?

Lifestyle and diet can really impact an athlete's performance. In fact, I would hedge to bet anyone would agree that if you are active, whether an elite or an amateur athlete, you need to make sure you have the proper amount of sleep, fluids and nutrition to maximize your competitive edge and minimize injury. When it comes to sleep, although there is no magic number, the general recommendation is between 7-8hours of sleep per night. Regarding beverages, the general recommendation is 64oz of fluids per day, but depending on temperature, humidity and activity level, this amount may need to be increased. As soon as we turn our attention to fluids supplying nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes or phytochemicals, like food, the debates start and research reports are made!
That's because, overall, nutrition is a very young science.
Just a babe, that nutrition stuff!
And clinical studies of plant-derived chemical compounds, such as phytochemicals, 
are really in their infancy. 

Now, when we talk about how long phytochemicals have been studied as supplements to improve athletic performance, we are even taking that one step further than infancy! Fetal-like!
Phytochemicals, improving athletic performance?
Now that's a really young science!
So although, there has been some new, cool research on phytochemicals and their anti-inflammatory and aerobic-inducing benefits, much more research needs to be conducted before phytochemicals standards are established and supplement doses to enhance athletic performance are recommended.

Nonetheless, some new research has been reported and heck, if your gonna eat food - why not choose foods that offer some competitive athletic advantages?

In the January-March American College of Sports Medicine Certified News issue, three phytochemicals, curcumin, quercitin and resveratrol, were highlighted for having been studied for their applications in improving athletic performance.

Curcumin is a component of the herb, turmeric.

Curcumin is responsible for the yellow color in turmeric, which is used in making mustard and curry. Recently, curcumin has gained a great deal of popularity amongst endurance athletes, especially the more mature endurance athletes (quite like myself) due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to help improve muscle recovery. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation suggests that curcumin can prevent and reduce joint inflammation!

Quercitin is a flavonoid, which is a subclass of the phytochemicals. 

It is found in onions, scallions, kale, broccoli, capers, chamomile and green tea. Quercitin can also be found in dark fruit, like apples or grapes, blueberries, blackberries and cherries. Recently, quercitin has gained popularity and is even now found in some commercial sports beverages because it has been linked to improving the endurance performance of our cells by improving how our cells produce energy. According to the American Cancer Society, quercitin is also an anti-oxidant and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, working to prevent certain illnesses, such as cancer and arthritis.

Resveratrol is a stilbene, another subclass of phytochemical. 

The primary food source of resveratrol is the skin of grapes or wine. Recent research shows that like quercitin, resveratrol can improve endurance performance, aerobic capacity and increase time to fatigue. According to the Department of Agriculture, resveratrol can also help lower cholesterol fight cancer and reduce inflammation.

Phytochemicals are plant substances that help plants fight off diseases and infections. Once consumed, these plant substances can help us fight off disease, infection and improve sports performance. Unlike vitamins and minerals, though, there are no recommended daily intake (RDI) amounts established for phytochemicals. Until more placebo-controlled, randomized, controlled double-blind research is completed and an RDI supplement is established, I think I'll stick with the food sources.
Mmm, mmm good!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday at the track: Runners in the mist

It always fascinates me that the closer we get to warmer days, more people come out to run on the track. Then, once the New Jersey hazy, hot and humid days set in, the numbers drop back down, again.

This week, we have had unseasonably warm weather, from 60*F(15.5*C) to 75*F(23.8*C). I was even shocked this morning when I looked out my window and saw the purple plum in front of my house already in bloom!
Purple plum in the morning mist!
Even though it was really misty out when I got to the track, there were still lots of runners. I guess the warmer weather motivated them to start their "yogging" routine this week and they forged ahead, even in the mist. Kudos for them!

 It's definitely wild, Anchor Man!
It also never ceases to amaze me how many men will speed up to either not let you pass them, or to try to stay ahead of you. I just want to yell over to them:

"Dude, I'm out here all winter long. 
Even if you pass me, you will not be able to keep that pace up!"

I can see why one of the women with whom I train always looks to beat the guys. And I quote, "The younger, the better. I love to beat the guys! It's all about the win, you know?" 
She is super fast. 
She trains tough. 
She is in great shape. 
She deserves to beat anyone she can!

Well, once I warmed up and ran my 6 strides, the new peeps on the track figured out they should keep the 1st lane open for the crazy lady, who was drooling and had snot running from her nose. Hey, what can I say ...I was focussed on my pace and Coach had me running at a pretty good pace today.

My workout consisted of three sets. For each set, I had to run four 300meters. After each 300meters, I jogged 100meters. The first set of 300meters was at a 7minute mile pace, the second set was at a 6:40minute mile pace and the third set was at a 6:30minute mile pace.
Whew! What a workout!

After my mile(+) cool down and some stretches, I left the track with my legs feeling tight, as if I had the leg muscles of an 18year old boy. 
Cool, right? 
Now, if only I could get my BUTT to look that tight!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Sneaker Factory 10K Female Bobble Head

After the race yesterday, runners were instructed to go into town to the Sneaker Factory store for post race fun, food and awards. Even though I didn't run my ideal 7'15"/mile pace, I still placed 1st in my age group, and I wanted my award. I thought it was going to be some kind of medal - not very thrilling - but if I earned it, I wanted it!

When the runners started to get to the store, we were told that we had to wait for the all the runners to finish. After everyone finished, the van would come with the results. Someone told me, "Relax, grab a sandwich and browse" (echem, buy somethin').

There were two tables in front of the store. One was filled with the most beautiful 6'subs that I have ever seen. I'm not one for salty deli meat, but these sandwiches were gorgeous. I was in luck - they had tuna! It was like they were ready for an oddball like me! Wow.
Thank you Sneaker Factory, you really outdid yourselves! 

I grabbed a tuna and perused towards the other table, which was adorned with the awards....That's when I saw her. She was beautiful. I had to have her! I circled the table where she sat. I heard the ZZ Top song playing in my head ...'She's got legs, she knows how to use them. She never begs, she knows how to choose them....Oh, I want her! Sh*t, I got to have her. The girl is alright, she is alright!'

I started to get upset. Darn, if only I ran faster! She would be mine! I circled the table. Wait, what's in that box? There were more. I think I may get to have her! I started to reason in my head ..."I placed. I didn't run as fast as I wanted to, but I placed. Okay, girl, calm down. Don't get too crazy. Don't let on how much you want that Female Runner Bobble Head! These people will think your nuts, uh, you mean, half-crazed. Your brother is nuts, remember?"

Isn't she adorable?
There she stood. Each time I looked over towards the table, my heart leapt a little. I couldn't wait for the van to get there. I wanted my very own Female Bobble Head Runner!

I finished my sandwich, grabbed a water and browsed the Sneaker Factory store. It's a good thing I left my wallet in the car. I loved every neon shirt, hat and jacket. I even felt phantom pains that would justify me buying mini-foam rollers, compression clothing and something I have never seen before, injury tape. Interesting.

I met the most adorable young lady, Nickie, who at 14years old, loves to run and placed 2nd in her age group in this 10K race! Congratulations, Nickie! Keep running, girl!

Then, finally, they announced that they would be giving out the awards. I was obsessed. All I kept thinking was, "I want that bobble head, I want that bobble head, I want that bobble head!"

They started announcing the winners and I confided in the person next to me, "I really want one of those bobble head trophies." She told me that she didn't think they had enough to give out to everyone, but she knew someone who placed that wasn't there to collect, so if I wanted to go up as that person ..." What? Not enough bobbles? What the heck? The tuna in my stomach started swimming! I smiled at her, thought about what she said, and responded, "I don't think I'd pass for 20."

I was nervous, would they have enough bobbles to make it to the 40-49 age class? Finally, they announced my age class. Bobble to the third place winner, bobble to the second place winner and bobble to the ..."That's me! That's my bobble! Oh, my goodness, I got a bobble! I am so happy! Thank you so much! Thank you, really, thank you!"

I was so excited. I jumped up and down a few times and then tried to calm myself down. I didn't want to steal anyone else's thunder and excitement over winning their very own bobble. I couldn't wait to show her off and share her with my family!

I am so pleased to say that I have a new addition to my shelf that is above my desk. Positioned just so I can lean back, ever so slightly, and glimpse 'till my heart content, is my Sneaker Factory10K Female Bobble Head.
"Train Smart Today!"
Aaaah, a girl after my own heart ...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fruit Food Facts Friday: A healthy glow

Don't you love the rosy cheeks and healthy glow you get after you go for a run? 

I have been known to go into those expensive cosmetic-up stores and ask the salesperson, "Do you have the kinda' of blush that will make me look like I just finished running about five miles!"
"Nope, not in this store hunny!"
Well maybe, if I eat more fruits and veggies, I won't need any blush! That's because according to researchers from the University in St Andrews, in Scotland, the pigments in certain fruits and veggies are not only beneficial for their phytochemical, anti-oxidant fighting powers, but can also add pigment to your skin's tone, plump up skin and fight wrinkles! 
No spray tan for me, Snooki!
Wow! The pigments in fruits and veggies can give you that healthy-looking, just ran 5 miles, glow. Okay, the researchers from the University in St Andrews did not actually compare the healthy fruit and veggie glow to that look you get after running 5 miles ...that was my spin, but still.

The fruits and veggies that promote rosy skin tones are tomatoes, carrots and red peppers. Carotenoids, the phytochemicals that give these fruits and veggies their distinct color, not only help the body fight sickness, but also help give you a rosy-glow!

And to get a smoother, more plump look to your skin, head for an alligator pear, otherwise known as avocado. I love avocado for its creamy texture and also because it is a great source of Vitamins B, E and K. Avocado also provides essential fatty acids which helps increase HDL(good cholesterol), while lowering LDL(bad cholesterol).

And how about wrinkles? These are cute wrinkles ....
When they are on my face, they're not so cute!

According to the researchers at the University of St Andrews, Vitamin C has wrinkle-fighting powers. Fruits most high in Vitamin C include peppers and strawberries. Unfortunately, not all peppers were created equally. Red peppers have twice the amount of Vitamin C than green peppers! And one red pepper has about 3X more Vitamin C than a medium sized orange!

Strawberries are also high in Vitamin C, and they contain ellagic acid, which according to this same research, can increase your skin's ability to hold moisture and fade dark spots.
Wow! I REALLY love Strawberries!
I always look for Organic when I buy Red Peppers and Strawberries because they are both on the Dirty Dozen list (not the movie!). The Dirty Dozen is a group of fruits and veggies that are recognized as those which consistently carry high levels of pesticide residues.

Since I want to get every ounce of out of my 'looks like I just ran about five miles', rosy-cheek-plumping, wrinkle-fighting, moisture-adding, dark spot-fading fruits and veggies, I'm going for the organic, non-pesticide-ridden types to make sure I'm healthy inside and out!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday at the track: Unplugged!

I'm still not over last Friday morning's leg work out. It was my first leg workout, with weights, in three weeks and I guess I was a little over zealous with the power cleans and goblet squats. My lower back is still tight and my legs still feel heavy. Since I'm running in a local 10K on Sunday, I hope my legs recover. I guess that's why when Coach told me what my workout was going to be today, I said, "Really? You know I'm running in that race on Sunday, right?"

Just a little tired going into Sunday. Hello?
Coach wasn't swayed by my sad, pleading look, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. C'mon, six strides."
Thank goodness he doesn't own a whip!

After my mile warm-up, and six strides, I had to run, "unplugged" for 15minutes. I could use my Garmin to keep track of my time, mileage and pace, I just couldn't look at it.

You know when someone mentions something that you can't do, how you want to do it all the more? All I could think of was my watch.

Garmin withdrawals!
This was really a lot harder to do than I thought. I kept thinking in a low whisper to myself, like Coach could hear my thoughts, "Just one peek. See how fast you're going. Look, now. Yeah, when your across the track, Coach won't see."
Look.     Look.     LOOK!

I'm proud to say, I didn't give in to that annoying inner voice. I just told her to shut up, keep running and BREATHE!

After fifteen minutes of this psychological and physical torture, I accumulated 1700meters. My pace was about 7min17sec/mile. I got a 4minute rest before had to run three more sets and now I could look at my Garmin. YEAY!
I love my Garmin!
In the next three sets, I had to run 1/2 of whatever distance I covered in the fifteen minute run at about a 7min10sec/mile pace. Between each of the last three sets, I got a 2minute rest!

After the track work out, I ran a 1.25mile cool down, stretched and couldn't wait to head home. I was wiped! It's been about 20*F hotter than normal for the last couple of days, and I think that has something to do with feeling extra tired.

I'm glad the rest of the week is only full of 4mile runs, which should give my legs plenty of rest for Sunday's 10K.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back in the ER!

Today, I paid another visit to the ER. Twice in one month. This is a new record for me.
Last month, it was mini-man, with a broken clavicle.
Mini-man in the orthopedist's office
Today, it was girlfriend, with a concussion. 

She was so proud of herself, too. On the drive over to the hospital, she told me, "Mom, you should have seen me. You would have been so proud. I was blocking this boy, he is about 6feet 2inches tall. He jumped up to score a basket. I jumped to block him. I jumped so high. I actually knocked the ball away from the basket. The only thing, when he came down, he bumped into me and I went flying. First my elbows hit, then, my head. The next thing I knew, I was crying and the teacher was asking me if I knew what day it was. Why is it so foggy, out?"

Yeah, it's a crystal clear, sunny day, dear. Let's go for a ride to the ER ....
At least girlfriend's spirits are up!
This is my tough little drama queen. No girly hysteria, but definitely loaded with female whiles. See that hospital band, I'm sure it's gonna get a lot of play! It's the red hair. I swear her hair gives her secret powers ...secret, manipulative powers! Don't let that cute little smile fool ya'!

Anyway, the nurse checked her vitals, her vision, her balance, her eyes and ears. Then, they took girlfriend for some x-rays because she was complaining about having some pain in her neck. No dahling, that's me. I got on the subject as to why your English grade dropped!

Anyway, no CAT-scan because as time passed she got better, not worse, and because she didn't puke or lose consciousness - even though she was quite dazed after the fall. They told her no activity for at least seven days and to follow-up with her regular pediatrician.

Seven days! I feel bad for girlfriend, she just joined the crew team and was working out steadily. She was really feeling good about it too - I was so excited for her. Girlfriend is pretty athletic, she can catch, throw and sprint pretty fast, but she never wanted to be involved in sports. After years and years of trying to get her to play a sport, she is finally on a team. And now, she is sidelined. We all know how awful that feels.
Even the Greats get sidelined!
If someone told me that I couldn't do anything for at least a week, I would probably be Full-Crazed! I once had a professor who told me I should take yoga would "calm" me. He just didn't get it. My idea of gaining peace and calm is running. The more peace and calm I need, the harder or longer I run.

Girlfriend doesn't have a problem with rest. 
Someone tells her to take it easy ....she is on it! 
Full force!
Heal quickly, baby!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Food Facts Friday: No, sorry, it's not strawberry soft serve

Pink Slime
You may have heard of 'Pink Slime', it's been in the news a whole big bunch the last few days.
So, why the re-iteration?
Because it IRKS me that the USDA would purchase 7million pounds of this Pink Slime for the National School Lunch Program.

And here is a chance - as knowledgeable adults, who have freedom of speech and who care about children - to speak up and say, "NO MORE PINK SLIME IN THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM!"
Simply sign a petition that tells 
the USDA to STOP 
putting Pink Slime in the National School Lunch Program.

Even if you don't have kids or can't stand the little buggers or could care less about what kids eat in school, you should know about Pink Slime, otherwise known as ammoniated beef. 
Because it is in 70% of all American Ground Beef.

Got your interest, now? 
What is this Pink Slime?
Pink Slime is the meat manufacturers way of ripping us off. Or better yet, as coined by Chef and TV personality, Jamie Oliver, it is a "food product being sold that has no respect for food, people or children."

The meat industry takes fatty beef trimmings and connective tissue, which was once used as dog food or rendered for cooking oil, and processes it with ammonia gas. 
Ammonia gas processing of "meat" trimmings 
Why ammonia gas? Because the trimmings are at risk for E.coli and Salmonella contamination and the ammonia kills those pathogens. The end product, Pink Slime, is packaged, frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers, so it can be added to your ground beef and sold to you, the unsuspecting consumers. 

Why no labels, like:
 "CAUTION: This Ground Beef Contains Disgusting Pink Slime" 
Get ready for the soap opera-like twist to this story ...
Because USDA Officials, with ties to the beef industry, labelled it meat!

This is true, former undersecretary of agriculture, Joann Smith, approved it as meat. As a result, Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) has made millions of dollars getting their Pink Slime into our food supply. What's Smith doing nowadays, besides avoiding phone calls from reporters ....She is on the Board of Directors for BPI's major supplier, where she has worked for 17 years, and where she reportedly has earned a total whopping 1.2million US dollars.
Well, surprise, surprise! 
Big corporations and a politician or two in the USA made a profit by tainting our food supply with ________!
I'll leave it to you to fill in the blank...

And if you are so inclined, 
please sign the petition that tells 
the USDA to STOP
putting Pink Slime in the National School Lunch Program.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday at the track

Today's track workout was totally straight forward. I ran a 1.3mile warm-up and only had to do four 100 meter strides.

"Huh? Why? I always do six?"

Coach explained only four strides because today, I was going to train for a total of four miles. No special workout names today, just a straight forward workout. I ran three sets of 1600meters at a 6':50" - 7min pace, with a 400meter recovery run between sets.

Honestly, it wasn't that bad. Tonight, my legs are a bit heavy and sore, but at the track, I felt pretty good.
I hope, this year, 
I can run a twenty-one minute 5K. 
I just have to link all the sets together ...without getting tired!
A twenty-one minute 5K, Aaah ...a piece of cake!
I was off for a nice little 1.25mile recovery run, which I topped off with plyometrics and some stretching.

Today was a good day. And even though I felt pretty good leaving the track, when I got home, I felt even better, 'cause this is what I saw on my front lawn:

I love these crocuses. Each year they greet me to tell me:
"Get ready Half-Crazed ...Spring is just around the corner!"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm the crazy one, here ...Get it straight!

My brother's post on Facebook
So, this is my brother's way of being funny, I take it? Hahahahaha. Yeah, I'm laughing dude! Very funny!

But, do I ever get a comment on my posts? ...Noooo.
A Google recommendation? ...Nooo.
Do I ever get a, "Sure I'll follow you, sissy!" ....Noooo.

Doesn't he realize, I've reserved the crazy status in the family?
And I proudly publish that status 2-3 times weekly in my blog: "Half-Crazed Runner"

Some people have so much nerve...Yadadyadada yadada - 'Yeah, I (my brother) trained with Ireland's Olympic runner, Eamon Coghlin at Villanova.'
Eamon, aaah, what a crush I had on you
 when you stayed with us that Thanksgiving!
No wonder the local Turkey Trot race is my fave!

And the stories of your poor achilles tendon being shredded at NYC's Jacob Javitz Center. Yea, I know still ran 110miles or more a week. I get it. I get it. You've been vying for "Crazy" longer than I have, being ten years my senior.
Still, as I stand here today, 
I defend my crazy. 
Let's say're just NUTS!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Food Facts Friday: Fooducate

Is it just me, or are the nutrition facts and ingredient labels getting smaller and smaller each time you go to the grocery store? The words and letters on food labels are really becoming harder to see. It's bad enough that I am super goal-oriented and purposefully scrutinize every label to make sure there's no:
HFCS (check)
Trans fat (check)
Partially hydrogenated fat or oil (check)
And of course no soy, no soy nuts, no soy oil, no soy lecithin - unless, of course,  it's organic and not genetically modified! Check, check, CHECK!

Food shopping can simply be exhausting - all the squinting, reading and checking of food labels. And those fluorescent lights - somehow, they can make my wrinkles look so obvious, but they do absolutely nothing for illuminating all that tiny print. Before I know it, I've wasted precious time, just trying to make sure that the food I bring home is basically, nutritious.

In comes Fooducate, a personal grocery advisor, in the form of an iPhone App:
Fooducate is an iPhone app that can help you choose healthy food products (as you shop). All you need to do is point your phone camera toward the UPC bar code of the food product and viola: nutritional facts about the item are revealed! If you don't have a camera phone, you can manually enter the bar code or the name of the food product in the search box to get the same info.

And, the best part ...the App is free!

So, take for example, today, after I came home from my six mile run that ended in a grueling six 100 meter strides (thanks, coach), I was thirsty and a little hungry. I drank some coconut water and grabbed a 'yobaby Stoneyfield yogurt'.

I wish I could drink organic skim chocolate milk, but the running alone does a number on my tummy, and it would get really, really ugly if I sucked down any kind of milk after a run! 

Anyway, I figure the yogurt has about the same stuff, the carbs and whey, so, it's a good little replacement and I'm digging on these mini yobaby sizes. BUT, how nutritious are they? 
I'll just read the label....
Now, surely you jest. 
Here is the label on that container.
Someone is playin' a joke on me, right?
So, I grab my iPhone, tapped on the Fooducate App, typed in yobaby blueberry Stonyfield yogurt and, voila, a whole bunch of info popped up. I got a picture, which confirmed to my troubled eyes, that this was the product I was looking for, and I got a review.

The review told me that the yobaby blueberry Stonyfield yogurt has grade equal to an A- and 89% of the peeps who reviewed it, clicked "like it". It also explained that this yogurt has 110 calories, 3tsp sugar and is a good source of Vitamin A.

At the bottom of the App, I can click on a link that will give me alternative food choices and a link that will add this food to a Shopping List.

If your having trouble with all this, and find yourself wishing, like I do, that you had the computer mind of your eight or ten year old niece or nephew, there's link at the top left corner, which opens to a page with a bunch of links to things like FAQ, your Shopping List and "Daily Tips", the Fooducate Blog.

It's not all-inclusive, but it's fun, and a little addicting. Get the App and you'll see - you won't want to stop zooming in on the UPC bar codes on the food in your pantry and refrigerator!