Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'll take a little etiquette with that workout, please!

Lots of black ice on the path in the little park, where I warm-up before my track work-outs. 
Even being careful, I almost took a dive! 
Wo, Woo, Woooo!
We got about 3" of snow the other day - you know, that real heavy, wet kind? The kind that when you pass under a tree, you unsuspectingly get a huge bunch of icy slush dumped on your head!
Ripe and ready for dumping! Next victim, please!
Don't let it's beauty "snow" you!
But really - all in all - what's a little snow on the head? 
Snow, I like!
Ice ....no thank you! 
Although, when the snow is on the track, it's a real pain! I do believe that the people who come to the park and run on the track really must think that the snow magically disappears from the track!
People: "Oh look at that, there's no snow on the track.
Why how that Mother Nature is so darn thoughtful!"
Okay, hate to burst your bubble people, but the snow gets removed from the track one way ....my Coach! Yes my adorable Coach brings his shovel to the park and shovels the track so that the people he coaches (A-type personality, middle aged women, and high school teen boys and girls) can use the track to trainNovel idea, that training, don't you think?
Sometimes Coach will only shovel one lane, but if there's not that much snow, he'll shovel a few more lanes. If, where he didn't shovel, the snow melts and freezes overnight, there's gonna be some black ice on the track. So, after my warm-up, I ran my sprints around the track, to check and see if  there was any black ice on the track. 
This would be so much safer. Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas?
No black ice, but I still want one of those indoor tracks! Don't they look lush?
Coach had me run 800meters @ 7minute pace, jog 400meters, run 1mile @ 7:20pace, jog 400meters. and repeat the 800meters @7minute pace. It was a great little work-out, with one exception. During one turn, only one lane (Lane#1) was completely shoveled, so I had to excuse myself through a bunch of seniors. I hate having to ask people to move out of Lane #1 - and this time was no exception because asking them to move meant they had to walk in lane 2 or 3, which was still covered in ice and snow. I gave them fair warning, and started yelling when I was about 50meters away. Eventually, it was like the parting of the sea.
Three gals went to the right and two gals went to the left!
I yelled out, "thank you!" and they yelled back, "No problem, Just keep it up!"
 They were great!
During my 400meter cool down, I apologized for having to ask them to move and they kept telling me that it was quite alright. They're a great bunch of ladies, and I see them on the track, most every time I train! 
These ladies know Coach and are amongst the few that know he shovels the track.
Well, wouldn't you know, though, 
I would have the same problem, 
in the exact same area of the track, 
running the mile Coach assigned. 
This time it was a female jogger ...probably about my age. She was jogging, listening to her iPod, in her own world, and didn't hear me say, "On your left. On Your Left, ON YOUR LEFT! So, I thought, when I run by her, I'll sort of just "hold" her. This way she won't get startled, and run into the ice & snow in the other lanes. I thought I was doing the right thing, but, I guess coming up from behind her and holding her while I ran past, frightened the bajeezus out of her! She let out a huge scream! I, of course, kept running (I was being timed), and Coach, well broke out into hysterical laughter! 
Needless to say, this women was not happy. 
And she was also intent on giving me a piece of her mind! 
After my track work out, I met with Coach for my weekly homework/running assignments. As we were reviewing the goals for my race on Saturday, I heard, a very nasty, "Excuse me, Excuse me." I turned around, and she yelled, "Hey, you are not allowed to touch people when they are running. You hear me?"

If she only knew how nice I was trying to be, then what came out of my mouth afterward wouldn't have sounded so awful. I yelled back, "Well, you shouldn't be running in the 1st lane when someone is training! It's the training lane." She retorted, "You don't own this track. I can run anywhere I want!"
Which brings me back to my original thought .....
I do believe that people who come to the park to run on the track really must think that the snow magically disappears from the track!
So, I ask you, 
* When you walk on a path, sidewalk or in a hallway, do you stay to the right?
* If you're walking with a group of people, and see someone approaching your group, do you fall behind the people you are walking with, to give the person headed your way, some space to walk?
* When you are jogging on the track, do you avoid using Lane#1? 
* When you are training on the track, do you stick to Lane#1, so you don't mow down anyone going slower than you?
** Tell me, how do you practice road etiquette? **
Train Smart Today!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Food Facts: Turkey Chili ...mmm, mmm, good!

What did we do with all those turkey leftovers?
We made Turkey Chili, of course!
Mmm, mmm good!
Makes: 11.5 cups
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 cups cooked, cubed turkey meat (leftover from Thanksgiving, ofcourse!)
16 oz. of Organic Chicken Stock
One 4.5 can chopped green chiles
One 1.25 oz package of white chicken chili seasoning mix
Three 16 oz cans of navy beans, drained

Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium/high heat, for about 5 minutes, or until onion gets tender. Stir in turkey and next three ingredients. Add the three cans of navy beans. Stir into chicken chili seasoning mix. Bring to a boil, stirring often; cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer and stir occasionally for another 15 minutes. Serve with topping.

Avocado-Mango Salsa Topping:
2 Avocados
3 Mangoes
2 Limes
1/3 cup chopped red onion
Fresh Cilantro Leaves
Chop the avocado and mango into 1/2-inch chunks
Mix together in a large bowl
Add juice of two limes and red onion
Stir together avocado, mango, red onion and lime juice 
If more heat is desired, stir in one chopped hot fresh chili pepper

Quesadilla:
6 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (or monterey cheese)
Six 6-inch tortillas in non 
Shred the 6 oz of cheese
Heat and toast a tortilla in non-stick skillet
Add cheese to the center of the tortilla
Fold tortillas are continue to toast until cheese is melted
Slice each tortilla into halves.
Repeat for the other 5 tortillas

Spoon the chili into a bowl, top with salsa and serve with quesadilla - or leftover biscuits, if your lucky enough to have any of those guys leftover!
Train Smart Today!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ashenfelter Classic Recap: A New PR

Another mug has been Achieved!
Thanksgiving started on a positive note. I ran the local Ashenfelter Classic with my sissy! 
My goal: 7:20'/mile
My watch time: 7:11'/mile
Race time: 7:13'/mile
A NEW 8K PR!
So the turkey went into the oven at 11:30AM, instead of 10AM; and dinner didn't get served until 5PM, instead of 4PM! No one starved ...that's for sure!
We are very blessed.
And it's always a joy watching my Sissy basque in the glory of finishing a 5mile run!
Go Sissy!
Sissy got lots of cheers for her Restore the Shore Tee
Train Smart Today!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bark Less, Wag More!

I really haven't had the time to post lately.
My tummy woes have been pretty good.
And I have no complaints on how my training is going.
Coach is in Florida, taking a break from the cold, so I followed his directions for my Wednesday Track Work Out. It was a good little workout: 1.5mile warm-up, six 100meter strides and two 1.5miles of speed work. I was supposed to run 7:20pace, but I wound up doing 7:08min/mile pace. The cool down between runs was a 1/2mile jog. I ran couple miles cool down and I was off to a warm shower (it was so windy and cold on the track) and my Medical Nutrition Therapy class.

Coach has me running a 4mile next day "recovery from speed work" run, and 6miles the following day - which has really been better than going for 5miles on the 2 days following my speed work. During that 6mile run, I have actually had the energy to do some pick-ups here and there: 10seconds fast, 20 seconds slow, fast up hills, slow down hills. I like this new weekly schedule.

School has been going pretty good - all 80's and 90's - on reports, quizzes and exams. I am learning a good deal on how much the media lags behind medical nutrition findings. I've been seeing how this pans out in society. At the hospital, the nutritionists have a hard time getting patient's to change their ideas on foods because a doctor told the patient something - five/ten years ago, which was the thinking then - but has since been disproven!

Besides training, studying, cooking and cleaning for my family, and trying to help my daughter with her college applications, I have done some visiting and reaching out to some people in my life who are struggling with health issues. My Mom-in-law, who has done an excellent job at combating her non-Hodgkins lymphoma for the last 12years, is now failing. Her ascites is causing pressure on her diaphragm and spine, making her lower extremities feel as if they are on fire and causing a tremendous amount of pain. Hospice care is monitoring/managing her pain and administering palliative care. It's hard to see anyone in pain, especially a person who has been so wonderful to you. I am very blessed because I know, I have had THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST MOTHER-IN-LAW of all time. I can probably count on one hand the number of people I know that can say that. My brother-in-law and I share a joke - we both say that we married our spouses because we fell in love with our mother-in-law! I know if he read this, he'd say, "I'm not joking! Why'd you say I'm joking?" ...love ya', Tom!

I also had the opportunity to sit with my friend, here in town. What a great lady. She's the kind of person you like to listen to 'cause she approaches life in a very clear cut manner. Life, from her perspective is simple, there are no bells and whistles, you just do what you gotta do in life. Right now, she's gotta get herself healthy. No bells and whistles, she has to go through the chemo and radiation treatments, and beat her newly diagnosed lung cancer that has been 'causing complications with her brain. I can't even come to say/write what's going on - let alone imagine what she and her family are going through or how they are dealing with everything. I did tell my friend about Warrior Woman, an amazing woman who beat brain cancer. Part of it, I think was Warrior Woman's positive thinking - each time she went for chemo/radiation treatments, she told me that she would look at her son, then about three/four years old, and tell him,
"Mommy is going to kick some cancer butt today!" 
Wow! 
Right? 
Just, Wow!
God, I hope my friend kicks some cancer ASS!
So, after visiting with Mom and my friend, here in town, I lost it a little. A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream of another friend, Anne, who lives 1/2 way across the country. Anne is a StageIV breast cancer survivor. The cancer metastasized and traveled to her bones and brain. She was all clear this past May - Eight years in remission.
Anne is another female hero of mine. 
Another person who looks at life very simply - 
you just do what you gotta do. 
That's it. 
So, when she called in June to tell me she was diagnosed with a different form of brain cancer, I was so unbelieving that I defied her.
"No, girl, I have a very aggressive brain tumor and I am already losing control of my left side." 
WTF?
Anne and her family decided to be very private with her care and progress of the disease this time around. Her sister posts updates on Caring Bridges, but after my dream, I wanted to reach out. I called the house, I called Anne's cell - no answer. No return call. Okay, so I Googled her husband's name. I know he's a vet, and I found out where he works. I wrote down the number, but didn't call.
Side-kick told me not to call - that I must respect their choice to be private. 
I couldn't take it anymore, especially this week, after seeing people I love in pain and knowing that I can't touch Anne and her family, I can't give them hugs, or pray with them - it's just too much. So, I called her husband's work and left a message. He, like Anne, is so kind - kind enough to call me back. It's hard not to be able to help - I said a bunch of stupid crap, which I know didn't make sense and won't help - what do you say? I guess I just wanted Anne's family to know that I'm praying for them and that I care.
I said to Anne's husband, "You must be so proud of the girls?" 
They have 3 girls, who are all pitching in and helping to make Anne as comfortable as possible. Of course he agreed. I said that it's amazing that they don't take the "Poor Me" approach. He told me,
"No, they would never. Anne didn't raise them that way. 
In fact, Anne always said, 'Why not me? Why should I be special?'"
"Yeah," I said, "but, Uncle!"
I told him how I told my Mom-in-law that I sometimes feel that God has earphones in and is listening to loud music! She gave me a response, that I thought Anne and my friend here in town would say,
"Good for Him!"
It's amazing, how these very strong and selfless women all have one thing in common: they're all about their family. They are grateful in life just because they were blessed with a family.
That's it. 
Nothing fancy - they love their family.
I am blessed because I know them.
Each day, I hear Anne's favorite expression in my head and I'm trying (really hard) to make it a reality, in my life:
Bark Less, Wag More!


Train Smart Today!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Food Facts: Five Hints for a No Weight/Fat Gain Holiday Season

I can't believe Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Losing power for 11days after Hurricane Sandy really has thrown me off. Like today, I rarely go to the gym on Saturdays - it's too crowded, but without power, it was so dark and cold in the house that getting up & out at 5AM, just wasn't happening.

This morning, I wanted to go to the gym - so I ate a pre-work out meal: cold cereal & fruit, while reading ZITE. ZITE is a free personalized magazine for the iPad. It can be addicting. It's something I don't do too often, 'cause I never have the time and you can get sucked into reading for hours. Because you customize this virtual magazine, every article is like an excitotoxin for your brain, calling you, "Read me, read me. Baby, I got what you want ...read me!" Before you know it your panicking because you should've been somewhere, like an hour ago!

Today was no different, but I did notice a trend in my nutrition and diet section - lots of articles on how not to gain weight through the holidays. Some articles offered good advice, and I thought I'd make an attempt to summarize what I read. So, here goes:
Half-Crazed Runners Five Hints on Eating Healthy Through The Holidays:

1. Arm yourself when eating out. Of course you eat out more often through the holiday season. Friends and/or family comes to visit, your out shopping for gifts, or taking on some volunteer project - whatever - you find yourself, at a restaurant with a glass of wine, beer or Jack, looking at a menu reading the side that has the foods you would never eat, unless of course, it's the holidays. There are lots of ways to keep it honest when you eat out. I love the Apps they make these days that list restaurants, meals, nutrient content, calories, fat, protein, carbs. I listed my favorite Apps in one of my Food Fact Posts. Check them out, they can really help.

2. Portion control: Well you searched & searched those apps, but still couldn't find a similar restaurant or anything that resembles what you wanted to order, now what? Portion control! First, know the difference between serving size and portion. A serving size is usually found on a Nutrition Fact Label, on the side of the cereal, pasta ....ice cream container. Serving sizes are given in teaspoons, tablespoons, 1/4, 1/2 or full cup measures, or in fluid ounces - like 4oz or 8oz. Serving sizes can also be given in fractional amounts, like 1/2 a pizza or 1/4 of a pie or cake. Serving size can also be distinct units like one slice of bread or two cookies.  Whereas a portion is the the amount of food that you choose to eat. A portion is the amount that you put on your plate or grab. So, you may take three handfuls of chips - but that could be three times the serving size listed on the bag - unless you got little hands, it may be only be 1/2 of the suggested serving size.
Poor Dooneese. She can only grab a few chips at a time!
A picture speaks a thousand words, and this is one is a great reference illustrating portion sizes:
So, if your out with friends around the holidays, hungry, but don't want that 8oz burger & fries - look over at the kids menu - same food, smaller portions! Now, you can order a 4oz hamburger. If, like me,  your tummy can't handle fries, replace them with grilled veggies or a tossed salad, dressing on the side, of course!

3. Know thyself ...and thy hunger signs. Did you know that:
Light thirst can feel like hunger?
Emotions (any type) can trigger feelings that your hungry?
Being tired, or drained can make you feel hungry?
There are many sides to hunger:
Pre-hunger: About 30minutes before a meal. Feels like you're starting to get hungry. You start thinking about your next snack or meal.
Moderately Hunger: About 30minutes after pre-hunger. Stomach feels empty, and you may hear a slight growl. Your tummy is definitely starting to ask for food!
Starving:  You could & would eat anything. Your dizzy, lightheaded, maybe a little shaky & irritable, you may even have a headache.
Satisfied: Not hungry, anymore. Not bloated. Just content with what you ate.
Full: Stomach is full of food. You may want eat more, but the food doesn't taste as intense or as good as it did when you first started eating. You may feel like you need to take a rest from eating.
Overstuffed: You ate too much and vow that you will never, ever do this again. You may even experience gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn). You feel very bloated.

4. No time to exercise. It can be hard to keep your normal exercise routine around the holidays. Maybe you're out later than usual, and can't get up for that AM workout. Or you have a business dinner, late meeting, whatever - you just can't  get to the gym, on the track, treadmill, road... Make your work outs shorter, but more intense. Did you know that circuit training was designed to help people lose weight, build strength and endurance? Circuit training mixes aerobic and anaerobic training all-in-one, it's a great way to exercise if you are short on time - and it doesn't have to be on the "circuit". All you need is to think of 5- upper-body and 5-lower-body exercises, and two - three core exercises. Circuit training is designed to alternately exercise upper-body and lower-body, with a 15second rest between sets, which can range from 10 to 20reps. Run through a circuit (made up any large upper and lower body muscles) two times and you have a nice little intense aerobic/anaerobic pick-me-up-workout to keep you in shape through the holiday season!

5. Lighten up: So you went a little overboard and still don't have time to exercise ...lighten up, literally. A couple of days of careless eating and drinking does not define your year, or your goals. When possible try to incorporate fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and high fiber/high protein foods with healthy fats. Learn some lean substitutions, too:
Lighten up!
If a recipe calls for 1cup butter, replace 1/2 with applesauce. Instead of fatty beef, use lean beef and trim off the fat. Trim skin from poultry, thicken soups with 1%milk & cornstartch, instead of whole milk. Baste meat with wine, orange or lemon juice, instead of fat drippings. Use spices, instead of salt or fat, to increase flavor. Use less oil when frying by adding a little water, and use a large pot cover to cover the food you are frying to "steam-fry".

That's basically a summation of lots of articles I read, plus some of my own strategies to stay on a healthy path for a No Weight/Fat Gain Holiday Season!
If you have any other hints, share 'em. I'd love to learn more!
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Track Work Out: Kenyan Style

It was frigid on the track today.
Why?
It was so windy, it felt as if it were 10*F! 
After commiserating with Coach that I still don't have power ....and may not get power until some time next week, Coach told me to warm up about 1.5miles.
Ugh. That first mile was so cold.
After warming up, I ran my six 100meter strides. The wind was blowing so hard that my strides were actually off by 3-4seconds. Amazing how the wind can destroy all attempts at speed!
Next, Coach had me run what he called "A track work out, Kenyan Style".
It was tough.
Yes, I dropped a few F-Bombs.
I had to run 6:40pace for one minute. Jog one minute and repeat 14 more times. At the end, those jogs got slower and slower, as I gasped for air.
I wound down with another 1.5miles and lots of stretches. I'm definitely going to do the foam roller tonight. I bought the "Rumble Roller":
I have this little compact size Rumble Roller.
You wouldn't think something this torturous looking could actually make you feel better!
Relief is on its way!
TRAIN SMART TODAY!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jersey Strong!

Day 7: Still no power!
But, we will rise above!
We are Jersey Strong!
I did break down, though ...
I bought a generator.
There's one problem with a generator: it runs on gas .... and there's a gas shortage!
Gas closed, only the mini-mart is open.
It's actually really scary. Two-three hour wait on line for gas. The lines are 1-2miles long! People are running out of gas, while waiting on line! The stations that had power pumped all their gas. The refineries were not up and running - they are in Newark, which had no power for about 5days. Roads are blocked, so deliveries of gas from outside NJ/NY area have been limited. The NJ turnpike was closed up here in the north because the water rose so high, it lifted the cargo trains off the tracks and then dumped them across the turnpike! Eventually, as some gas stations regained power, and when people found out that a station was opened, the lines started and before you knew it, they were out of gas, with no promise of another delivery. 

Sidekick actually drove to Northeastern Pennsylvania with gas cans, to get gas for our generator! Thank goodness I listened to my dad, before Sandy hit. Dad lives in the throws of hurricane alley, in Florida, so he warned me about a potential gas shortage - he told me to fill up all the cars with gas.
Thanks, Dad!
I just had to get the generator, in spite of the dismal gas situation. Besides it being really dark, at night, it got to about 40*F in the house. And a Nor'eastern is headed our way, with temperatures expected to drop to the low 30's. I couldn't watch my kids going to bed cold and freezing one more night!
Besides, it's soooo great to have heat and hot water. 
Since the generator isn't hard wired into the house, we are limited to what we can run and hook up, which is why, I haven't been able to blog! We are limited by the fact that we only have a few extension cords. Stores are sold out of extension cords within a 100mile radius ...at least! You get a real big dose of reality when a natural disaster hits. Even though, I believe that  have had my fill of reality. 
Hello, God? ...Uncle!
I really feel blessed, in spite of it all. I lost a small tree, my purple Plum, which you can't tell, landed on a small white decorative fence. The fence is repairable, though, not too much damage.
Pulled the roots right out of the ground!
This tree was nowhere near as large as some of the trees down in my neighborhood. Here are some pics from my first run, after Hurricane Sandy hit ...

This tree took two days to clear!


So sad. This was such a beautiful shade tree



Even in my little park, where I love to run!
Some trees hit homes, some hit power lines, and others crushed cars! Thank goodness, I didn't here of anyone getting hurt. Up here, in Northern NJ, even though there has been a great deal of damage from downed trees, it is nowhere near as awful as in South Jersey, Staten Island, or Long Island. One of my neighbor's, whom I know from the gym, has had a hard time reaching his Dad, who lives in Long Beach, Long Island. His Dad is 89years old. I haven't seen my neighbor since Friday, so I don't know if he has heard from his dad, yet. It is very sad.

My Sissy owns a second home in South Jersey. She and her husband were in tears after seeing the damage that Sandy did to their home ...
This is the back, where their dock used to be!
Their neighbor's shed is in their back yard
This is their front yard
Sissy and her husband believe the house was moved right off of the foundation. I had to hold back the tears ...it's their whole savings. This is where they retreat to. This is where they find peace and solace.

Still, we must be strong, and forge ahead. We have to be grateful that we have each other and that we are safe (and warm). This is not to say that I am not aware of those, and pray for those, who lost their homes in the floods or the fires that started afterward. I pray for those people who lost family members - children were ripped out of their mother's arms from rushing waters, and those who drowned because they got trapped in their homes, or the frail and the elderly, whom help did not reach in time. We will continue to pray for all of you and your families.

Yesterday, they called off the NYC Marathon. There were several people in my town who trained for marathon. Yesterday, a group of us gathered to cheer on the runners, who did 3 8mile loops in town. We all took a loop and ran with them, cheering them on and psyching them up to the finish.
It's a lot like what we have to do, now, after Sandy: 
Deal with the disappointment, the frustration, the sadness; 
Cheer each other on and help each other in whatever way we can;
Strive to continue to go forward...
Jersey Strong!
TRAIN SMART TODAY!