Holiday Eating

It is always nice to be able to come home and rest after a few busy weeks in Raleigh. And if you are like me, home means family, relaxing, and good food and plenty of it. Today’s blog post will be about a few tips on how to eat when you have broken routine and have hit the road for the holiday season.

1. It is ok to eat you favorite holiday foods….after all they do only come around once a year!! The key to enjoying these foods is to eat them slowly and in moderation. This means, don’t eat the entire pie but rather cut yourself a small slice and eat each bite slowly so you are actually getting to taste it.

2. Watch out for liquid calories! They add up fast!!! The holidays are full of fun calorie dense beverages…be on the lookout especially at your favorite coffee shops. If you must have your flipped dipped frappa macka swoody doopdy latte be sure you are ordering the smallest size. Also be careful with the alcohol. A good option here is to have a water between every beverage. This will not only keep you from getting a little too buzzed around the relatives but also help to keep that waistline trim.

3. Holiday meal time! YUM!! So many delicious options it is hard to decide on what to start with. So I will make it simple, start by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are nutrient dense and low in calories. Starting with these will help you keep from over consumption as they will fill you up but not stuff you!

4. Avoid the “Extras”…avoid the gravy, extra butter, jelly, etc. These are extra calories that can, like beverages, add up fast.

5. Eat slowly. It takes about 20min for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that it is full. A good way to be sure to eat slowly is to set your fork down between bites and have a sip of water. Also engaging yourself in conversation can aid in keeping you from eating too fast.

6. Don’t skip meals to “save calories” for the big meal. This leads to over eating at the big meal. Skipping breakfast especially will create a downward spiral for you all day.

7. When traveling be sure to pack healthy snacks. I know when I am on the road I love to have something to munch on. Some good on the road snacks include nuts (no salt/seasonings), seeds (be sure to have a spit cup if you are choosing sunflower seeds), popped plain, no salt added popcorn, bananas, carrots, celery, grapes, and apples.

8. Traveling during meal time? Pack that meal with you. Often times if I am going to be on the road during a meal I will pack a sandwich. This helps to avoid fast food which can be loaded with extra calories, fat, and salt.

9. Drink water before sitting down to a big meal. This will help you to feel full faster and keep from over eating.

10. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION.

I hope this helps you to navigate through the holiday season as you make it from the early morning coffee shop to the late night bar.

Happy Holidays Y’all!

Saturday workout

After a week of resting and taking it easy, today I made it back to the gym for a good sweaty workout. I used the Nike Fit Club app to guide my workout. This is a great app since it talks to you and keeps track of time for you. There is even a continuous countdown timer of how long you have left that is super motivating (atleast for me).  Also it has a lot of different workouts based on what you are trying to accomplish (get lean, strength, etc.) and has beginner, intermediate, and advanced options.  
I chose to do the “Drill Sargent” workout from the intermediate strength section. Although the app does do a warm up and a stretching cool down as apart of the workout, I started out on the elliptical for 5min. This helped to get my heart rate up a little but more importantly it helped wake me up a bit since I was super lazy this morning. For cool down I did the couple min of stretching that the app included but then added a few more of my own.
It felt good to get sweaty and to start working on my offseason goals. On the subject of goals… I worked on my post workout nutrition goal by having a whole wheat English muffin with almond butter and coconut shreds immediately after the workout. It was delicious and hit the spot. 
What’d you do for your workout today? 

Raleigh 70.3

I could’t hold out any longer….I signed up for my next race this evening. I will be in Raleigh for Ironman 70.3 June 1st!!

I volunteered at this race last year and it was an amazing event so I cannot wait to see what it will be like to be an athlete participating in the event this time around. I am even more excited because it is in the city I have grown to love so much over the last few years.

Until about mid January I will be in the maintaining, offseason phase of training but come mid January…Training will begin!! I will hopefully be able to start back up with my coach from last season who helped me prepare for Carolina Half back in September. She was great!!

I am so happy to have a race on the calendar for 2014! Do you have any races you are looking forward to for 2014?

Ironman 70.3 Raleigh 2013…volunteering at the 2 / 11mile run course aid station 🙂 

Off Season

Offseason…the best and worst time of the year. Offseason is great because it gives you body a chance to recover after a long grueling year of training but it is also the worst because laziness can set it. Not having a race to prepare for often times makes even the most dedicated athletes a little lazy. That is why, starting after Thanksgiving (I promised my mom I would rest and take it super easy till Thanksgiving) I have set some goals for myself for this offseason:

1. Don’t let your running base completely fade away. Currently, I can run 20ish miles without much of an issue, come the end of offseason I can usually only run 5-6miles no issue. This year the goal is to come out of the offseason with a 10-15mile base.

2. Increase strength. I am a very strong person but I have noticed that as I have been competing in these long endurance events, I am not as strong as I once was. I hope by increasing strength I am able to better avoid injuries.

3. Increase flexibility. Due to all the repetitive motions of running, biking, and swimming, my muscles have become very tight. I know this hinders my performance. Just like strength, by increasing flexibility I hope to be able to avoid injuries.

4. Work on post workout nutrition. In the past I have just eaten whatever looked good as I walked through the door after a workout, this offseason I want to work on being intentional about what I am eating to better aid in my recovery.

What are your goals for the offseason?

Morning Boot Camp

Yay for getting up before the sun again! That 5am alarm is brutal but getting to teach boot camp makes it all worth it. Today we mixed it up and had 5 rounds of different circuits. The point of this workout is to have as high of intensity as possible taking short breaks when needed. This format worked great for a group fitness class because it could be done at any fitness level since the participant could choose how fast/slow they wanted to complete the exercise and breaks can be taken when necessary (when I say breaks I mean stand for 5-10sec, catch you breath and start again). Here is what todays workout looked like….

This workout can easily be completed in about 55-60min when you include a warm up and cool down. The workout itself, taking 1min rest between rounds takes 45min. I have included a few links below on some of the exercises that may be unfamiliar. 
Happy Working Out!! 🙂 

Things I’m Loving Tuesday….Week 2!

Back again with a new list of things that I am loving….

This has been my go to wine since this summer…super sweet and pretty cheap at about $8 a bottle!! 
Lululemon headband. My mom just bought me two of them recently and they are great!! They stay put well and don’t pull your hair. I have them in gray and white. I defiantly want to get a couple fun colors. 
Delicious! And even better than the fact that they taste great, they are an easy on the go snack since they peel really easily. 
Adidas Team Speed Crew Socks. I think they sometimes look a little ridiculous on but they are probably my all time favorite pair of socks (and yes I have them in pink).
That’s it for this week’s “Things I’m Loving Tuesday” 🙂

Eating Healthy Quick

Often times I find that my life is go go go and I feel like I don’t have time to breathe let alone cook fabulous, nutritious meals. This is why I keep a few essentials on hand all the time. Below you will see a picture of MyPlate. This is what replaced the food pyramid. You do not have to have all your meals look like this plate but it should be used as a general guideline when you are planning your meals. I placed my everyday essentials on the plate so that you can see where things fit….

What are some essential that you always try to have on hand? 

FAQ

Here are a handful of questions that I get on a regular basis from friends and family…

1. What [race] is next?
Short answer, I don’t know. I am on the look out for my next half ironman and Raleigh Half (June 1st) is looking pretty good to me. 

2. I want to run a race, what do I do?

Most vague question of the century!!! However, even with that I do have a few starting points for you:
1. Get fitted for a running shoe at your local running/tri store.
2. Pick a goal race. 
3. Figure out a training plan (happy to help you here) that works for you and stick with it where you can and make adjustments when you need to.

3. What kind of running shoes do you wear? Why did you pick those?
I run in Brooks Glycerin. They are a neutral shoe with high cushion. And I didn’t pick them, they picked me. This is what happens at a running shoe fitting. They allow you to try on multiple shoes based on some initial evaluations of your feet and you pick the one that feels best.  My added touch to my running shoes are speed laces. I discovered these my first season of triathlon and will never go back to running without them. They are great for triathlons because they make your shoes easy to slip on in transition but they are even better for me because they allow your shoes to stretch. This is so important to me because my feet swell terribly when I am running and that little extra give makes the swollen feet a little more tolerable. 

4. What do you eat before you workout? After?
Two answers, if I am working out and its not going to be a super strenuous workout it is some kind of bar (KIND bars are my current favorite but this rotates). If I am going to be doing a harder/longer workout an english muffin with almond butter and dried coconut is my go to. As far as after…this is something I need to work on!! I try to eat within the hour something that has carbs and protein but what usually happens is something sugary because that is what I crave as I walk through the door. Getting better at eating post workout is a goal of mine for this off season/up coming season.

5. School is coming to an end, what are you doing after you graduate?
This is the million dollar question and I wish I could answer it. Right now I am applying for jobs in the Raleigh and Charlotte area in hopes of finding something full time. I am looking for a health/wellness position. I have applied for several personal training openings and am currently waiting to hear back from them. 

6. Why do you like running so much?
Because its cheaper than therapy 😉 Running has always been my release but I also love how it makes me feel afterwards. No matter how bad the run is, its always better than no run at all. Running has also become social for me, this is a time I get to chat with friends uninterrupted which is super awesome in todays world. 

7. My (fill in body part) hurts, what should I do?
PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE!!! NEWS FLASH…I AM NOT A DOCTOR!!! My answer will always be either how I delt with that injury myself or a returned question of have you gone to the doctor. If you haven’t gone to the doctor I will tell you to do that first and if you have I am happy to help you on your recovery. Often times the “cure” is RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and work on flexibility. 

8. What is your favorite race distance?
My favorite distance race is the half ironman. It pushes you wayyyyyyyyyyyyy out of your comfort zone but is still a do-able distance to train for with a hectic schedule. I love that it is a race where you are both strategizing but also pushing yourself to your limits. 


I hope this answers a few of those burning question. What other questions do you have?

Thunder Road Marathon

Although I finished, today didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. I even finished 12min past the worst case scenario I had played out in my head. To recap today… 

6:00 am, the alarm goes off. I quickly head downstairs to make my usual breakfast of an English muffin and almond butter. I had a harder time than normal eating it but I just accounted that for race day nerves. 

6:45 we are headed out of the house and into the city. 

7:20-7:35 warm up and social time. We ran into one of my best friends (Bre) who was running the half marathon and of course and had to have a few hugs and some last minute race chat. 

7:40 national anthem and pre race speech. This year’s speech was given by a Boston survivor. She was great and very inspirational. 

7:45 the race car fired up its engine and the green flag was waved. Kimberly and I got off to our usual quick start but shortly settled in at the 3:45:00 pace. 
We made it to about the 10k (6.2mils) mark and I realized I was in trouble. Although I am in probably the best shape of my life, I was having a hard time breathing. At about the 9mile mark I got my first cramp in my abdomen. I was hurting pretty bad but made it through this one with out stopping. I then had about 2-3miles of feeling ok before I really started feeling bad. 

Kimberly and I ran together to about mile 14-15 before I told her to go ahead. At this point I was starting to have a hard time breathing as my upper abdomen was constantly cramping. I started walking at about mile 16. I would walk a bit, the cramping would release a bit but as soon as I started up again I was cramping again. This was super frustrating.  

Mile 18 things turned for the worst, I now not only was cramping but I was starting to get light headed. I significantly slowed down at this point. I was basically doing a walk/jog now. I saw my family at about 20 and they could tell I was in trouble but they were awesome and cheered me on as if I was in first (marathon fans are the best fans on the planet). Mile 22 rolled around and my dad ran over to me to make sure I was ok, he even asked if I felt like I needed to stop. I knew I looked bad but what I didn’t know was I had gone completely white. I also was not even sweating anymore (for those of you who don’t know me super well, I sweat a lot and super easily). I was what you’d call miserable but I told my dad I was going to finish. That was the last place I saw them till the finish line. 

The light headedness and stomach cramping didn’t go away but I managed to tough it out to the finish line. My final time was 4:12:??. 
I wasn’t happy with the outcome but had I stayed strong and fought till the end. I hope for a better outcome in my next race! 

Kimberly and I at packet pick-up and health and wellness expo Friday evening. 

Race Packing

As fun as it is to travel, sometimes traveling for a big race is a bit of a nightmare. This is because you have all the “what if” scenarios that you actually have to take into account. For example packing for tomorrows race, I can check the weather 10times but up until the morning of I won’t know exactly what it’s like outside. Plus 50 degrees and humid is totally different than 50 degrees and windy. So here is my list of race essentials then I will go into packing for the weather.

RACE ESSENTIALS:

– Watch ( I love my Garmin 🙂 )
– Race Belt (this is to hold my number on which ever layer is the outer most at the time)
– Road ID (I never hit the roads without it…kinda like my little security blanket)
– Compression Socks
– KT Tape
– Extra Hair Ties (nothing worse than having to run a race with your hair down if it broke at the start line)
– Body Glide (best stuff ever!!!)
– A good fitting sports bra (I may not be big chested but I can certainly still tell if I don’t have a good one on…ouch!!)
– Running Shoes with bungee laces (If your feet swell like mine the bungee laces are a must!!)
– Fuel

**I’ll touch on fuel, KT Taps, and Compression Socks at a later date 🙂

CLOTHING…Packing for the weather:

Scenario 1: HOT HOT HOT
Minimal clothing.  One days like this I tend to only wear my short and sports bra then strap that race belt around my waste. Days like this are essential for body glide as their will be friction when you get super sweaty.

Scenario 2: 50-60degree…nice day
This is the perfect running weather, throw on a pair of shorts and your favorite running top and you’re good to go.

Scenario 3: 40-45degrees
This is a range I tend to struggle with cause at the end of the day 40 is cold but running will warm you right up. I tend to go with shorts and 2 layers up top, a tank or tee with a light weight long sleeve over top. On days like this I try and do about a mile run close to where I am started to see what all I really want to have on. Somedays I keep it all and other days I shed that top layer. I will also break out the gloves at this point….I hate cold fingers.

Scenario 4: Below 40degrees
This is when I start to layer up especially up top. It is extremely important to keep your chest warm when you are working out in the cold. You’re already breathing in that cold air thats going to burn in your lungs so lets not put a double whammy on that and have a cold chest too. For my layers I start with a tight fitting long sleeve then add another lighter layer long sleeve and usually a fleece vest on top of all that. For the bottom half I wear my running tights (….this is the only good thing about cold running, I love wearing my running tights). Gloves and a hat or ear warmers are essential at this point.

A few tips for dressing for the weather in a race (or just a run)…
– As a general rule of thumb you want to dress like it is 15ish degrees warmer than what it says. For example if it says 50, pretend its about 65.
– Do a “warm-up” mile close to your starting point is really helpful. This will help you to decide exactly what is essential for your run ahead.
– Wear what is comfortable for you and don’t change it up on race day!! (I had some nice bloody feet after a race where I used new socks…not good!)
– If it’s cold, keep those layers on as long as you can before that gun goes off…I usually only have about 2min worth of feeling chilled at the start line.

I hope this helps a little bit as you are preparing/packing for your next race 🙂