Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fuel for Success

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries, avocado, cucumber,
tomato, garbanzo beans, chicken, and light mozzarella.  
Many athletes, including myself, have fallen into the trap of 'well I did a hard workout today so therefore I can eat whatever I want'.  For some it works out just great and they continue to improve and get stronger.  For others, including myself, this type of thinking leads to bad habits and we have to remind ourselves that what we eat and when we eat is fuel for the next workout or nutrients to recover from the previous workout.  It is important that as we train and break our bodies down not only do we take the proper physical time to rest and recover but also to provide the body the nutrients it needs to repair and become stronger so our next workout is even better.  Our body also needs the proper fuel to get us through that days workout.  You wouldn't expect your car to run on empty, so why ask your body to run on empty?

Recovery fuel is essential after a long hard workout, such as a weekly long run or brick workout.  One of my favorite recovery drinks is fat free chocolate milk!  Cold, delicious and the perfect 4:1 card to protein ratio that your muscles need to repair.  I don't use chocolate milk all that often as my key recovery aide though, it is too addicting and I would end up drinking a 1/2 gallon every day.  A cup of cereal with milk or almond milk is also great for a quick recovery food if it's not quite time for a meal.

What's your favorite way to recover from a hard workout?

Day to day nutrition is also important to keep your body running smoothly and efficiently.  I like to load a salad up with greens, spinach, and and all fruits and veges from my fridge, protein (beans, meat, almonds) and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Aim for natural foods as much as possible.  Limit added sugars, fats, sodium, and cholesterol in your diet.  An easy way to do this is not to eat pre-packaged foods.  You'll have to watch out on other items you choose to eat too but an apple is more filling and more delicious than a Little Debbie, which won't make you so little after all.  That being said, if you do treat yourself every once in awhile or succumb to the pressures of a delicious looking dessert it's ok!  Don't think you've fallen off the wagon, you're still on it.  Completely eliminating foods from your nutrition plan can cause you to crave them so allow yourself to have something in moderation if you really like it.

How do you pack nutrients into your meals to fuel for success?

Rock Creek
Just as important, and often overlooked, as our physiological fuel is our psychological fuel.  Where do you get your drive and desire from? Why do you race?  Is it the feeling you have during training or racing, the feeling after, the direct health benefits of exercise, to be at one with yourself, nature and everything surrounding you? Sunday is a day of recovery for me - mostly active recovery.  Today I set out on a recovery run and enjoy the beautiful Easter Sunday weather along Rock Creek Trail.  I felt lightyears away from the big city at some points.  It was a nice change of scenery and reminder what drives my desire.  As much as I try and strive, strain, and stretch for perfection I will never reach such a level.  I can say though, I give my all – all of the time. I do not give up. I do not give in.  I do not give out. I am the Lord’s warrior – a competitor by conviction and a disciple of determination.

It's important to take a short time every week or day to spend some quiet time however you like best.  Be thankful for all that has been given and all that has yet to come.  If you have never checked out Team FCA-E go ahead and check it out! 

“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:2, NAS)

Why do you race / train?  How do you get your psychological fuel?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Breaking Barriers

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Christopher Robin to Pooh

In order to achieve something we've never had we must be willing to do something we've never done.  I have been hitting new pace's in my races and targeting new distances in my long runs.  I have been improving in my speed work slightly week to week but last week I finished feeling like I knew that I was capable of more.  I had to remember that, yes, my legs and body are capable but I need to tell my mind that it's capable! 

Have you been breaking barriers in your training or in any other part of  your life?

Today was awesome, I destroyed barriers that my mind had set in front of me, both in the pool and on the track.  What a great feeling of confidence and accomplishment this gave me. Every new stride and every increase in a workout brings the Augusta 70.3 closer and closer to reality.  The anticipation is building and I am so excited to get tri season underway!  Break down new walls, set new PRs and hopefully place (win!) in my age group at a couple races. The schedule still needs to be completed for July and August, but I am confident that challenging, competitive, exciting races shall be added.

What race are you most looking forward to this season?

New wetsuit and a scary face!
Don't let your mind hold you back from pushing harder in your training.  Remember you are stronger than you seem!  Sometimes it takes another person running or swimming in the lane next to us to bring out out competitive edge and push the pace.  As my swim and run have been improving I really want to start improving my cycling - this is probably where my biggest mental block is.  I do not like riding into the wind, at all.  

Do you have any bike workouts or ideas to push yourself on the bike?

Sunday, April 3, 2011


What have you done today to make you feel proud?  Yes, I know cliche from Biggest Loser but I am 'erked' that it is no longer the theme song.  Who doesn't like being able to look back on their day and be proud of what they accomplished?  I saw a quote recently that I really liked.  "To go to bed with satisfaction, you have to wake up with determination."  So true.

Today was the day of the ever famous Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington, D.C.  Unbeknownset to many, this was my first 10-mile race.  So yes, of course I PR'd!  I also had multiple friends from school run, with a few of them PRing and my brother amazed us all turning in a time of 1:14:42.  I was also very proud of my PR of 1:24:13 - yes, this time was good enough to move me up a start wave for next year!  Thank goodness, with so many people this race is notorious for having a slow start.  The less people in front of me, the less-slow the start? I kept a solid pace the entire race.  I shouldn't knock the slow start, I think it help reign me in and keep my pace at 8:26/mile.  And I couldn't be happier for my wonderful friends who also completed the Cherry Blossom 10-miler - Jack, Sarah, Cristin, Ashley, Anique, Kim, and Mindy.

As I lined up to start the race I overheard the two women in front of me talking about how crazy their husband's are because they wake up every morning at 6 to run.  Of course following this came "Oh, he's just Crazy."  I though to myself, well the you'd think I'm crazy too - or better yet just read my Incredible Machine Post.  It's a satisfaction, something to be proud of when people say you're crazy for following your dreams.

The night before the race I found some motivation in watching the Spirit of The Marathon (free on Hulu) and A Shot at Glory: Triathlon Laura Bennet (also free on Hulu).  Both were pretty awesome and tell some great stories - and, yes, I am sure these athletes are also used to being called crazy.  I know a couple people who have recently decided to run marathons without training for them, at all.  Now, that I might call crazy.  Completing the marathon is something to be proud of, but not being able to walk at all for more than a week after?  Respecting your body and making healthy decisions - I'm not quite sure this fits the bill.  It may be mental for them and better if they have less time to think about the task at hand.  I'm not sure what the motivation is to do such a thing, but it's not something I would recommend.  Respect the Distance.

What have you done today, to make you feel proud?

Oh and P.S. - Tri Season is here!  Next Race = Kinetic Sprint Tri 5/15/11!

Have you ever run a race without training for it, if so how did it go?