On the road again: NYC Marathon

The inspiration for this entry arrived around mile 4.  It was at this point where I felt bold enough to ask you, the reader, to consider this neglected blog once again.  It seemed like a good idea at the time; I was on an emotional high while running the streets of New York City on marathon Sunday.   The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering, and everyone and their brother, sister, uncle, grandmother, neighbor, bellman, and so on, was sporting a bib (yes, it was that crowded).  At mile 4 I was feeling great.  After all, I had already accomplished my first victory of the day; reach the starting line.   Read the rest of this entry »

Monday, Monday….

Better Bundle Up!

There’s a rumor going around that Blue Monday is simply a ploy, instigated by the travel industry, to get people inspired to go somewhere exotic during the winter.  It makes sense; why wouldn’t you think about heading out to someplace warm and far, far away if all you can see when you look out your window is snow and you haven’t been able to feel your toes or fingertips for weeks?

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Tips to Keep Moving (and Avoid Winter Weight Woes)

I recently read an article detailing the fact that it’s not okay to let yourself go during the holidays and over the next few wintery months.  

I agree completely.  It’s not okay to take a sabatical and then try to get back at it full-speed-ahead come spring (injuries and obesity anyone?).  After all, a formerly-fit person can become soft and sedentary pretty quick when given the opportunity and a nice comfy couch.   So here are some tips I’ve employed over the years to motivate myself to brave the elements and stay well while exericsing this winter.

1.  Bundle Up Already!  

Clearly you aren’t going to head out into the snow wearing shorts a la Mark Remy but there are some additional techniques to keep in mind when bundling up.  The first is to remember your layers.  If you put a few layers on top, you can easily shed them as you go along and warm up.  I usually don’t see the need for layering pants but in frigid temps, you might need to.  Layered socks is an option and your winter running shoes may need to be a 1/2 size larger for this reason.  And don’t forget the hat and the mittens (an informal surgey confirms that they keep your fingers warmer than gloves).   If you aren’t convinced that snow on the ground is conducive to running and need a lillte more help[, check out Brooks Running Cascadia shoe which has great traction (and laughs in the face of snow drifts).

2. Just because you can eat the snow doesn’t mean you’re hydrated.

I swear I’m not the only one who chomps on the snow – white only please- when thirst hits during a run … right?   For all you snow leopards out there, remember, a few snowflakes here and there does not constitute optimal hydration.  Keep up your fluid intake during these cold months by enjoying warm beverages such as herbal teas and coffee before the run and topping off the tank with warm water before you head out the door. The warm beverages help heat up your system and give you an edge over the cold befor you head outdoors.  If you plan to be out in the elements for a while, remember to stash some fluids along your route. During the winter months, I stash warm water or tepid PowerBar Perform along the course and by the time I swing by for a sip, it’s a cool drink (instead of a rock solid bottle of ice).

3. Take advantage of a free ice bath.

My neighbors must think I’m crazy when they pass by and I’m stretching out in the middle of my snow-covered lawn during the winter months.  But in actuality, I’m clever – not crazy -  taking full advantage of the snow which serves as an ice bath and helps with recovery after long winter runs.  Note to reader:  make sure you have a warm shower ready to go immediately after trying this technique. 

4.  When going long, remember to refuel.

Remember those gels you consumed while training this summer? Well, they also come in handy during winter training.   The best part is that those formerly hot, syrupy gels now offer a cooler option.  Over the years, I’ve used the PowerBar Gel in Double Latte flavor and if I stash the gel in the snow along my route (and use my imagination), then by the time I imbibe, the gel becomes an enjoyable Iced Latte (when chased with water). 

And while on the subject of fueling in the cold, remember those chews you liked so much during the summer training season?  They turn into a solid piece of candy in the cold.  Biter beware!

5. Reward yourself when finished.

When you’re finished fighting off the daily pull of sedentary behavior, pat yourself on the back, warm up (soon after finishing!) with a nice warm shower, and re-fuel with something warm.  Winter soups and stews that are packed with veggies, whole grain pastas, and lean meats (clear, broth-based please!) are a great recovery option and help warm you to the core following a long winter’s run.  And after you’ve finined re-fueling, don’t forget to brag to your friends that you were brave enough to get out there and – now that you’ve exercised- find yourself a comfy couch.

Stay warm my friends!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

A funny thing happens when you hit the decade mark in terms of how long you’ve been competitively running.  You become arrogant.
This is the boat I’m in.  But before you start to judge, let me recoil by saying that I’m not supercilious in terms of race times or awards won (I’m simply not that fast).  No, I’m arrogant in a nerdy know-it-all kind of way.  My vice is that I think I know a lot; a lot about training methods, a lot about gear, and (of course) a lot about nutrition.

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Biking- do you know what you’re missing?

If I was to take a survey concerning my current mode of transportation, I’d proudly select “cycling” as my primary mode of transport, with “my own 2 feet” coming in a close second.

In truth, I haven’t driven my car in weeks.  My husband would argue that this is because I (he?) lost the keys, but actually it’s because I like biking.  By biking to work (15 miles each way) I can fit in additional IM workout, I’m civil to my coworkers throughout the day, and I eat whatever I want (which I would do anyway but I feel a little bit better knowing I’ll burn off those animal crackers I just ate by the time I get home).

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The Real Reasons Behind Running

Today for lunch, I had vegetables with a side of fries.  That’s right, I said fries.   Before I lose all credibility as a sports RD, let me tell you what else I did today- I got up with the sun and rode my bike to work.  I’ll ride it home too (only option) and then go for a run.  This past weekend, I ran a marathon.  So like many of you, I feel entitled to a little junk food now and then (keeps my sanity in check).  Read the rest of this entry »

Eating Healthy Starts at Home

As a RD who loves to teach clients and culinary student how to cook more healthfully,  I relish the fact that the kitchen (be it gourmet and granite-topped, commercial and covered in stainless,  or a simple 5′ x 5′ room containing a stove and sink)  has the power to totally change one’s health and lifestyle.   I love the fact that any one of us can taking a dish that was once laden with fat, calories, and other junk, and add or subtract oils, fruit, vegetables, spices, herbs, and other items to give it a “healthy face lift” of sorts. 

To a nutrition nerd, these changes sometimes seem obvious, and consequently I’m floored by tales of fat-laden mashed potaotes and sugar-filled zucchni breads that commonly fill commerical kitchens (and sometime the home-kitchen too!).   While I was hoping that these nutrition follies were unusual, it seems that some of the cooking mistakes commonly performed in my own kitchen (by a client or, ahem, myself!) happen across the nation. 

For an always entertaining read, check out Jenna’s blog, Eat Right Around Chicago, to learn more about common cooking mistakes (and how to remedy those mistakes)!http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/eat-right-around-chicago/2010/07/healthy-eats-gives-11-healthy-cooking-mistakes.html

Bon Appetite!

Missing: Pager

This weekend while riding, a terrible event happened.  I lost my pager.  Yes, that’s right, I said pager.  You probably thought those things no longer existed thanks to the advent of the cell phone.  You’re not alone.   First of all, I should back up.  I do not wear a uber-cool pager 24/7.  I only wear it evenings and weekends while I’m on-call at the local hospital.   I know what you’re thinking- hasn’t medicine advanced far enough to eliminate the need for pagers?  Won’t cell phones suffice? -  I agree completely and can’t believe I have to wear the thing. 

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A Tribute

Any long-time runner can tell you that all running partners are unique.  Some are simply perfect; everyone wants to run with them because they are entertaining and make the miles fly by.  Others come from the bottom of the running-buddy-barrel; they may have never heard the word “deodorant” , wear alarmingly short running shorts, have really bad running-hygiene habits, ask too many questions during a speed session and so on.  Some running buddies are chatty-Cathys  while others appear mute.  Some never let you stop to use the facilities while others always need you to stop so they can use the facilities.  The list goes on and on. 

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Jenna:1, Pam: not so much

If you’re like me, when you hear that a friend, relative, nemesis, or even a complete stranger has competed in a sporting event, you get curious.  You start to worry; what if they’re faster than me?  No… no, it can’t be possible.   To ease your fears, you begin to stalk them- I’m talking on-line race results stalking (only).  You know the drill; you go to the race website, click on results and either ease your worries or confirm your greatest fear.

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