Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Thanksgiving! Go Sissy!

I miss reading all my blog friends' posts. I am so thankful I have gotten to know all of you. I love cheering on your training, and all of what is important to you - your family, friends, and pets. I hope this holiday season is a happy and healthy one for all of you!
It has been an unbelievably busy past few months. 
I am barely hanging on to my training, let alone my blogging.
Yesterday was my first run since Sunday!
And it was a great one.
I got up, stuffed and prepped a 21 lb turkey. Set the internal thermometer for 170*F and put that bird in the oven. I drank some coffee, beet juice, and 1/2 an energy/protein bar, and met my sister for the Ashenfelter Classic 8K. This race celebrates and honors Horace Ashenfelter's accomplishments and Olympic success. Horace lives in town, so it really is a "Classic" run.
Go Horace!
The Thanksgiving run is always great and
I love that it honors your accomplishments
Since Sissy and I both have Crohn's, I told her to meet me by the port-o-johns! :D
I told her we would warm up together - so I told her we would run four 100meter strides. After four, she was like, "Okay. Enough. I just want to run the race."
And that she did!
Last year, Sissy ran a 10+ minute mile pace. Not this year! She blew her time out of the water and ran a whole minute faster per mile! She rocked it!
Sissy and me!
So proud of my Sissy!
Celebratory Bloody's!
Of course!
Train Smart Today!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ech. I hate running!

I run about 30-33 miles per week.
That's about all I can squeeze in for now.
I dream of running and training for a marathon one day, but for now I'm just training for my next half, going to school and working to become a Registered Dietitian.
When I tell people I'm trying to run a half marathon in every state, I either get, "Wow, that's so cool. How many states have you done? How do you train for that." And sometimes I even get, "What do you eat?"
More often than not I get:
 "Ech. I hate running."
Whenever someone responds that way, I feel a slight tinge of hurt. It's almost as if they've told me directly that they don't like me. Running has been a part of my life since I was 17.5 years old. Over the years, when people have asked me how I stay in shape. It's no secret - I run. If they told me they play tennis - I wouldn't say, "Oh, I hate playing tennis." So why do people feel it's okay to tell me they hate running? When I was younger, it used to really irk me, but now that I'm older I usually take a deep breath, smile, and say:
"That's okay.
Running isn't for everyone. 
What do you like to do?"
Now, I just try to suppress my anxieties when I hear them say, 
"I don't do anything." 
Which is the purpose of my post.
"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can."
 ~ Sydney Smith
Everyday I see people in the hospital with depression, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. There are some main contributors to this in the United States:
Smoking, 
which is the most preventable cause of death in the USA. 
Inactivity
which is the second most preventable cause of death in the USA, 
leading to our overweight and obesity epidemic.
About 75% of Americans are overweight and obese
So, you don't like running? That's okay ....
but dooooooo something. 
PLEEEEEEASE!
Listen to your body. Listen to what it likes to do, and
Just freakin' Do Something!
Harvard Health even has a list of things you can do to burn calories in 30 minutes. There are hundreds of ways to stay active. I usually find myself rattling back things from this list. 
The next rebuttal I hear is: 
"I don't have time." 
These are usually the same people that tell me what TV shows they like to watch each night! You gotta make the time! The ACSM recommends 150 minutes per week of physical activity. That's only 30 minutes every weekday - just 21 little minutes a day. It could mean just waking up 25 minutes earlier each day! 
This past week, I heard about this guy at work. 
He has two full-time jobs - grant it he doesn't have small kids. He works 5am - 1pm. Goes to the gym. Works out. Showers, and then goes to his second full-time job, from 3pm - 11pm. Wow! Now that's dedication! That's inspiration!
The next excuse I hear is: "I can't run. I have bad knees."
First, I look at the person. If they are 50-100 pounds overweight, I often wonder if their knees would be so bad if they weighed less. It's a catch 22. The bottom line, if you have a physical or medical ailment, ask your doctor what physical activity he/she would recommended. 
Funny....
I see plenty of people who have gotten the "big scare" and are actively participating in hospital cardiac rehab centers.
But my question, 
"Why wait until you have a heart attack?
What if you aren't as lucky, and you don't survive your heart attack?"
Then, I think of people that inspire me, like Warrior Woman and another woman I have had the honor to train alongside of, Rebecca. Rebecca was hit by a car two years ago. The car broke her hip. She had major surgery. After the surgery, they told her she would have problems walking, and she would probably never be able to run. Rebecca just completed her first Marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes! She was determined! She wasn't going to let her accident stop her. 
But she was smart. 
She started slow:
She trained and built up her strength and endurance, gradually. 
She stayed focussed 
and eventually met her goals.
So, set some physical activity goals. Of course, check with your doctor if you have physical or medical problems. You don't have to like running! Find something you like and start small. Life unfolds, maybe it will take awhile to reach your goals. Rebecca didn't get out there and run a marathon right away - it took her two years. She started small, with that 1st mile, but she stayed focussed, and was consistent.
Give yourself freedom to change your goals,
 especially if the ones you set no longer work for you!
Do what you can - 
and remember:
Train Smart Today!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Alcohol and Athletic Performance

Cheers Mate!
As we approach the season of "joy and merriment", 
I thought I would highlight some of what SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition) and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) have outlined regarding alcohol and its effects on athletic performance.
Alcohol, according to Merriam-Webster, 
is defined as a "colorless, volatile, flammable liquid."
Sounds scary, doesn't it?
After reading that, if you still choose to drink, it's good to keep in mind serving and portion guidelines. The number of servings per day for men should not exceed one to two, and the number of servings per day for women should not exceed one. As for portion sizes "one" drink equals 12 oz of beer or a wine cooler (about 150 calories), 5 oz of wine (about 100 calories), and 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor (also about 100 calories). Binge drinking is considered 5 or > drinks for men and 4 or > drinks for women within a two-hour period.
Once ingested,
alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood stream.
This is why when you drink on an empty stomach, you feel its effects quickly. Alcohol is then metabolized either for energy or stored as fat ...ech. Since alcohol suppresses the central nervous system, it's also considered a drug. That's why drinking alcohol can slow reaction time, hand-eye coordination, accuracy, balance, judgment, focus, stamina, strength, power and speed for up to 72 hours, or three days, which could also lead to sports injuries.
Regular consumption of alcohol can 
depress the immune system 
and slow down the body's ability to heal. 
Alcohol can interfere with the body's ability to absorb B vitamins, like Folate and B12, as well as vitamin A and Calcium. These are important micronutrients because they help the body maintain healthy cells, help muscles contract, and aid in muscle repair. Sometimes drinking alcohol will interfere with eating nutritious foods - this could lead to poor magnesium, iron, and zinc levels - which are really important for athletic performance.
Drinking alcohol also causes you to pee.
An all too familiar sight!
Yup, alcohol is dehydrating - i.e., the dreaded hangover headache. When dehydrated, athletic performance tanks. Dehydration can cause an increase in core temperature, heart rate, and contribute to fatigue - all hurting athletic performance. It doesn't take much, either - athletic performance can decrease by 11.4% just by losing 2-3% of your body weight!
What about post race celebrations and all those post race beer gardens?
Wow!
I love a good free beer post race. 
The key is to not go crazy overboard because drinking after a race can affect recovery by affecting blood sugar levels, and muscle energy synthesis and storage. This could hurt you in future races. After a race, decreased muscle energy (glycogen stores) should be replenished with nutrient dense carbohydrates and some protein (like chocolate milk). The protein can also help with muscle repairs.
And let's not forget sleep ...
Alcohol interferes with sleep, especially REM sleep. Even though you may fall asleep faster, or rather ... pass out, staying asleep can be a problem with even just a few drinks.
And what about body composition?
Alcohol can be mixed with sugary sodas, juices, or even topped with whipped cream. Sounds yummy - but drinking empty calories could lead to an increase in body fat accumulation. For males, drinking alcohol could result in reduced testosterone production, which could affect the ability to gain muscle mass, compounding the effects alcohol has on body composition and performance.
I hate to be a kill joy - so here's a plan ...
As a rule of thumb, 
athletes should sustain from drinking alcohol at least 48 hours prior to competition, with the ideal being 72 hours before competing. So, if you are going out to eat, or catching up with friends before a race, plan ahead. Maybe you can be the designated driver.
Share your goals with family and friends. 
The other day, I was at work and one woman, who lost 50 pounds, told me she did it by going vegan. Sitting next to her was a co-worker, who was eating pizza. This co-worker shoved the pizza under the vegan's nose, and said, "Loooook, mmmm, smellll! This is what you are missssssing...." I scolded the pizza-eater, "That's just wrong."
My point:
 Recruit positive support from everyone around you.
Seek out those who will support your goals.
'Cause that's what friends do!
Pace yourself. 
If you're going to have a drink, or two, alternate alcohol with non-alcohol beverages. Start with water. Re: Alcohol is dehydrating. It's not uncommon to feel thirsty and wind up drinking more than you planned. Take small sips to slow down how much you drink, and drink one drink at a time - this way you won't lose track of how many you've had. This also helps you drink at your own pace - not someone else's. 
My personal fave:
Don't drink on an empty stomach!
Eating before drinking will slow down the rate alcohol enters your blood stream. Also, eating while drinking can slow down your drinking pace.
And last, but not least,
end the evening with water.
Cassidy Phillips, the founder of Trigger Point (TPTherapy), believes that most sports injuries occur because the athlete is dehydrated.
So drink up ... but make it a water! 
Do you have any tricks to slow down or limit the number of drinks you have at a party, celebration or holiday?
Train Smart Today!