Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hydrate Naturally

These look sooooo yummy! From Runner's World.

Iced Green Tea
When: Pre- or postrun and on easy runs less than an hour

Why: Green tea is a stellar source of catechins, antioxidants that fight heart disease and cancer. According to research, catechins can reduce muscle damage caused by exercise, and also speed recovery. A recent study found that people who had the equivalent of five cups of green tea daily for three months and exercised lost more belly fat than those who only exercised. Iced green tea is a tasty alternative to water on easy, short runs, says Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition at the Pittsburgh Medical Center. Plus, tea contains caffeine, which boosts speed and endurance. If you drink iced green tea often, go with unsweetened, says Kimball, to avoid taking in excess calories.

Sipping Points: Steep tea bags for at least three minutes to release more catechins. If you buy bottled, choose brands with fewer than 15 grams of sugar per eight ounces.

Coconut Water
When: Pre- or postrun or on runs of about 60 minutes

Why: Coconut water, the clear liquid found inside the fruit, contains none of the fat found in coconut milk and has a tangy, light almond flavor. Eleven ounces contain 14 grams of sugar and 670 milligrams of potassium—way more than sports drinks. "Potassium works closely with sodium to maintain water balance and helps trigger muscles to contract and relax optimally," says Suzanne Girard Eberle, R.D., author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. Coconut water has enough carbohydrates for an hour-long run but not enough sodium for longer efforts.

Sipping Points: Coconut water, which is fat-free, comes plain or flavored with mango, orange peel, or passion fruit.

Chocolate Milk
When: Postrun

Why: The drink you loved as a kid has the ideal amount of carbohydrates and protein that tired muscles need for recovery, says Joel Stager, Ph.D., director of the department of kinesiology at Indiana University. According to a study Stager led, drinking chocolate milk postexercise speeds up recovery and increases the time it takes to reach exhaustion during a subsequent exercise session better than sports drinks. And a 2007 British study found that regular milk is better than water or a sports drink at restoring fluid levels following a bout of exercise in the heat. Plus, milk contains bone-strengthening vitamin D and calcium.

Sipping Points: Single-serving containers are handy for tossing into a cooler for a postrun treat and for portion control.

Cherry Juice
When: After a hard run

Why: If George Washington was more of an athlete, he never would have felled his dad's cherry tree. A study done in 2008 by British researchers found that runners who drank 16 ounces of tart cherry juice in the days before, the day of, and two days after a marathon decreased inflammation, oxidative stress, and muscle damage. "Cherry juice is very useful for postexercise recovery," says Declan Connolly, Ph.D., professor of physical education and exercise science at the University of Vermont. Cherries are higher in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties than many other types of fruit. Try drinking a cup of tart cherry juice after exercise—particularly during heavy training. But don't guzzle it like it's tap water: One cup has about 30 grams of natural sugar and 130 calories.

Sipping Points: If cherry juice is too tart for you, try a sweeter blend with cherries and other 100 percent fruit juices.

Vegetable Juice
When: Postrun

Why: Chock-full of a variety of nutrients in a concentrated package, 100 percent vegetable juice is a tasty way to get a serving or two of veggies. Those made mostly with tomatoes have lots of lycopene, an antioxidant that a British Journal of Nutrition study found protects muscles from oxidative stress caused by exercise. Many brands have three to five times the amount of sodium and 13 to 17 times the amount of potassium in sports drinks, "which makes vegetable juice an ideal part of a postrun snack or meal that includes carbs and protein," says Kimball.

Sipping Points: Sodium levels can range from 140 to 620 milligrams in regular (non—low sodium) brands. Choose higher levels if you crave salt postrun.

Monday, June 22, 2009

PS: Saturday Run

Wasn't awful. Wasn't great. But I did it. 10 miles in 80 degree weather at 6am.
First of four 10 milers under my belt. It felt good to start.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mmmm, I love junk food.

I've said it once, I've said it 1,000 times. I love food that is not good for me. I'll be honest and say that I do indulge more than I should, but I will also say that I am not a glutton. :)

So, marathon time, right? The week's training has gone pretty well and I'm heading out on my first 10 miler in some sweltering North Carolina heat tomorrow.

I've really contemplated going on a junk food fast for the marathon. Hrm. Contemplated would be the word I would use. I've done it twice in the past few years and the benefits have been amazing but I'm not sure I'm willing to take the plunge, well, because I love junk food. So then I think I'll strike a balance and say treats only on Saturdays after runs, but then Saturdays turn into Sunday and I've got a tummy full of ice cream on my Monday morning run. Then it goes down hill from there.

So my question to you is this: how do you find your balance? Not necessarily just in running and exercising, but just in life? I'm really an all or nothin' kinda girl and I'd like to move towards balance in my life.

Have a great weekend everyone. Go for a run and you Cali girls, enjoy that cool morning weather for me, ok?

** Disclosure. I am not happy about this heat and running in it. Just in case you couldn't infer from my previous complaints in this post and others. Just sayin'. I'll be a big girl though. I can do it. Right? Right. Right.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weight Workout Tonight

And so starts my training. June 15 - weight lifting with Jona.

Here goes:
Squats, 4 sets of 12
Lat pulldowns (pullups if you can do them) 3 sets of 12
Leg extensions 3 sets of 12
Bench press 3 sets of 12
Calf raises 3 sets of 12
Shoulder press 3 sets of 12

Optional exercises: deadlift, dips, dumbbell flies, preacher curl.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Call Me Crazy, But I Think I'm Going to Do It

June 20 means marathon training. Hot, muggy marathon training for the Nike Women's Marathon, October 18, 2009. And you know what? I think I am going to do this crazy training schedule that I brought up earlier this month.

June 20, 27, July 4, 11: 10 miles
July 18, 25, August 1, 8: 12 miles (*****12 miles in CA, 8/1 or 7/31*****)
August 15, 22, 29, September 5: 14 miles
September 12, 19, 26, October 3: 16 miles
October 10: 12 miles
October 18: 26.2

The goal for each of the weeks is to weight lift once a week, spin once every other week, hill train once every other week and then squeeze in two to three runs during the week (3-8 miles) as well. It will be flexible, but a spin or hill train AND a weight lift must happen once each week.

Wish me luck. It's getting hot here and mornings are coming earlier and earlier. Check in on me. Make sure I'm doing what I've said I should be doing. I need a little accountability.

So exciting. Here goes nothin'. Number 11.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Road Trip Replacements

It's summer and that means road trips, and lots of times road trips mean junk food. Not this year though! Here are some alternatives from to help curb those junk food cravings while on the road.

  • Sports Drink: One Gatorade Thirst Quencher powder pack mixes up to 17 ounces.
  • Energy Bars: Clif Bars and Kashi TLC Bars supply both carbs and protein.
  • Instant Oatmeal: Heat water in the hotel coffeemaker.
  • Granola: Top your yogurt with Bear Naked Snack-Packs.
  • Honey: Snag single-serving packets at any fast-food joint.
  • Crackers: Kashi TLC crackers are 130 calories a bag.
  • Fruit: Apples, oranges, and bananas hold up well.
  • String Cheese: A good source of low-fat protein.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Be sure to peel before you leave.
  • Hummus: Try squeeze-tubes of Wild Garden hummus.
  • Carrots: Mini snack bags pair perfectly with hummus.
  • Chocolate: Portion control with individual squares.

Monday, June 1, 2009

i {want to} give up...

...but i won't.

But I want to.

I've tried nine times - yes NINE times - to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. 1:59:59 is all I'm askin' here folks. And I can't seem to do it.

Sure, for some of those races {cough cough, Nike Women's, cough cough} it just wasn't attainable. But yesterday, I ran in the See Jane Run half marathon in Alameda, CA. It's flat. It's nearly at sea-level. And I had trained at a 9-minute mile pace and under. I trained mostly with two other girls.

They both made it in under 2 hours.

They both made it in WELL under 2 hours, not just seconds to spare.

I started off great...and I paced myself so I wouldn't crash. And then "crash" I did. My legs just would not keep up. I felt okay, I pushed myself and I was giving it my all. But I guess my 'all' just wasn't good enough.

And it leaves me to wonder. Some people just have it in them. They're just runners. It's easy for them and they're naturally good at it. Running is not easy for me. And I'm not naturally good at it. But, I do take pride in the fact that I've worked hard at it and I feel good when I do it. And I usually enjoy the results of improvement.

Yesterday, I didn't enjoy those results. I ran a PR {personal record}, but for some reason that wasn't enough. It wasn't my goal. The ONLY reason I signed up for this race was to run it in under two hours. That didn't happen and now I'm just bummed that I'm out the money and the time it took. I could have run 13.1 miles around my neighborhood...and had a less stressful week.

I'm contemplating just becoming a trainer. I seem to have a nack for running with others who have goals...and they always reach their goals. Maybe I'm just a good supporter and encourager...and maybe I just haven't found the right kind of support or encouragement that I need at that crucial point in the race {probably because they're all ahead of me by that point}. I don't know.

But...I'd love some tips. To those of you who have set goals and attained them...what are your secrets? How can I run faster. How can I not crash? How can I start to really enjoy running again???