Thursday, July 28, 2011

Honey Buns!

No, this is not a moniker for Dan...Actually, it is the name of this tasty treat I find myself eating ALL the time these days.  It could not be simpler; low cost, low effort, and low calorie.

First, toast up some delicious Trader Joe's 7-grain Sprouted Wheat Bread (60 calories per slice), or any healthy bread of your choice)*.  
Next, drizzle with honey. No sharing with babies under 1 year of age- can you say, "botulism?"  FYI, 1 tbsp contains about 60 calories.  

Top with cinnamon...and enjoy!
*Butter is optional.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Staying Cool

Oh my word, it is H-O-T outside!  As a former Miami resident, heat is a (dear) old friend of mine, but we didn't always get along.  I had to come up with a formula in order to stay active during the summer months and not totally wilt.  Here is my recipe, from top to bottom for running in the heat...and humidity!

Step one: Set the alarm early!  When running a long distance, sneaking in a few miles before sunrise will keep you moving better for longer and help to maintain hydration.  Lucky for me, Ryan usually wakes me up before the alarm clock has a chance too ; )
Step two: Pick a route that is shaded (as much as possible) and well-supported with water fountains.  
Step three: Bring along some means to carry water on you as well.  I use these small 10 oz bottles so I can sip as I go and fill them up as needed.  I make it a rule, to never let my bottle go dry.  Personally, I don't like things on my hips so I don't use a Fuel Belt, so carrying this small bottle, assuming I am able to refill it, is a good alternative.  Another option is dropping water bottles along your route beforehand.  


Hat or visor of choice to keep your face shaded and protected from the sun.

 Well-fitting sunglasses with UV protection.
Shirt (optional).  Choose something lightweight, breathable, and sleeveless.
Shorts. Again, lightweight, breathable and functional.  These Brooks HVAC Synergy shorts are my new favorite.  They are short, but not too short, they don't flap in the wind, and they have 3 mini pockets that I fill with all of my running essentials including: electrolyte tablets, gu, mp3 player (held in ziploc baggy for moisture protection), bus card, ID, emergency contact info, keys, and some money.  Yes, I actually bring all of these items on my long runs- I guess that is why I love these shorts!  BONUS: they have reflectors  that are great for early morning or late evenings.
Cool, non-cotton socks.  I am still on the hunt for my perfect socks...I have a few contenders, but am still narrowing it down.  TBA. 

Tip: Whether you are grooming yourself, or getting a pedicure, don't sand down all of your calluses;  with all the excess perspiration, you want as much protection against blisters as possible. 

Great shoes. 
Stick with what works...I guess, at least one of these pairs can be tossed!
Step four: Drizzle with sunscreen and get ready to cook!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Love at first roll?

Truth be told, love was NOT what I felt the first time my flesh met the foam roller. Agony was more like it.

Despite the pain, I continued rolling and pretty much haven't stopped.  That was 7 years ago!  I don't think it is a coincidence that I have piled on a lot of miles in the last 7 years and have managed to stay injury-free.

What is a foam roller?  

The name says it all; a foam roller is a cylindrical piece of foam 6 inches in diameter and 36 inches (they do have a shorter travel size, too) long.  Foam rollers are used to knead muscles and myofascial tissue, and in turn lengthen (read more about autogenic inhibition here) them to reduce strain on these tissues, as well as joints.  Most commonly, foam rollers are used to treat Iliotibial Band pain, or knee & hip pain derived from the ITB in endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists.  Repeated movement can cause adhesions of the myofascial tissue that can not be healed by stretching alone.   Additionally, foam rollers can be used to alleviate muscle tightness; quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius,  and latissimus dorsi, to name a few.  

Is there a difference between foam rollers (white vs. blue vs. black)?  

Yes!  Rather than sort by color, though, check the type of foam from which it was constructed.  

Types of Foam Rollers:
1. White, AKA low density foam roller.
2. Blue, AKA EVA foam roller.
3. Black, AKA Molded foam roller.

When using or buying a FR, look for the most dense and compact foam that you can find.  These will create greater pressure and last longer than the softer versions.  In my experience, more expensive (ahem, black FR) actually is better. If you are new to rolling, you may want to start with lower density foam and work your way up.  There is no delicate way to say this- foam rolling is painful.  Sorry.  If torn about spending the money, just think of the money you will save by not needing to go get a massage.  You can tip me later.  

When should I roll?  

Whenever you can! Rolling before and after workouts, as well as on rest days, will help you to recover better, maintain greater range of motion, and stave off injury.  There is no steadfast rule for how long you should roll, so use your best judgement and body awareness.  When you feel the transition from tender to supple, this is a good indicator of rolling success.  For beginner rollers, this transition may be difficult to detect and/or achieve initially, but be patient, relief will come!  High frequency and symmetry are the most important tenets of any rolling routine- always roll both sides! 

How do I use a Foam Roller?

FR's rely on simple system of body weight + gravity to apply pressure to problem areas.  As a result, the control is all yours and dependent on the pressure you wish to apply.  Keys to successful rolling include:

1. Stay relaxed.  Flaccid muscles will allow for optimal lengthening of tissues.  Expect pain, but continue to stay relaxed- do not contract the targeted tissue.  This will take a great deal of conscious effort, but is necessary for lengthening to occur.
2. Roll through the entire targeted area, stopping to focus on troublesome knots, or adhesions.  Imagine the roller is a rolling pin and your tissue is the dough.  Try to avoid boney areas.
3. Don't wait until you have an ache or pain to roll; roll regularly to stay injury-free. 

ITB Rolling
Quad Rolling
Glute Rolling

To roll, or not to roll? There is no question!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Iron Update has been slow-going, but I am happy to say that I am on my way to Ironman Wisconsin.  I'll be honest, there have been a lot of ups and downs in the past 6 months, lots of wavering on whether or not I can do this.  That is probably why I haven't written much about it...  

Today (ask me again tomorrow), I feel more confident and think I am in a good spot.  I will not go over the top and say that I am in the best spot that I could be, but I am getting there.  

Over the weekend, I completed some great workouts including an 80 mile bike ride with Dan and my sister, and a 13 mile run with Brandon Flowers. 

I felt just like the chick in his video.

Today, I am feeling something I haven't felt in a long time- I am beat! 

This is a good thing, though.  I mean beat in the greatest sense of the word.  Worked.  Exhausted.  Accomplished?  

I remember feeling this way walking into work on Monday mornings after a weekend of long hot miles in the Miami sun.  I would be tired, but always happy that I had finished some tough workouts.  I feel the same way today, and I love it.  

It feels SO good to be getting back to a level of fitness that seemed so unattainable during pregnancy.  I don't say things like this very often, but I am proud of myself.  I have worked hard to get back here.

Happy Fourth!