Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coach Becca breaks up a carb party

Nutrition Nutrition Nutrition.  I love it, I need it.  I live it, it helps!  Here is Coach Becca's thoughts on fueling, both as a human and as a marathoner.

If your workout is going to be longer than an hour (such as our Saturday runs) - that's when you need to start adding calories. This can be in the form of sports drinks vs. water (which also have some electrolytes, though not enough to replace your electrolyte losses), sport beans, GU, power gel, power bars, etc. Or, the old fashioned way is to eat real things. You have to determine what works for you.. Others hate them and swear by GU and power gel. It is really individual. The only thing that is definitely true for everyone is whatever you choose should be easily digested and fairly simple. 

Now that we are consistently running more than an hour (especially on our Saturday runs) we need to start adding calories. This can be in the form of sports drinks vs. water (which also have some electrolytes, though not enough to replace your electrolyte losses), sport beans, GU, power gel, power bars, etc. Or, the old fashioned way is to eat real things. You have to determine what works for you, one year for me it was pop tarts, I was sick of everything else.  I don't mind power bars and GU, but it's is really individual. The only thing that is definitely true for everyone is whatever you choose should be easily digested and fairly simple.
Although many theories have come and gone, the basics have remained the same:

1. Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods
2. Control your weight
3. Eat a diet relatively high in fiber
4. Eat a diet relatively low in high-cholesterol foods and fat
5. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
6. Eat regular meals
7. Eat fewer simple sugars (candy, table sugar, sweets, etc)
8. Avoid junk
9. Avoid salty foods
10. Drink little alcohol
11. Make dietary changes gradually
12.Learn about your body, and whether high blood pressure, diabetes, blood cholesterol or other factors should influence your diet.
13.Rely on food, not pills for your nutrients, though consider a multivitamin supplement

Set yourself up for feeling great and and feeling energized!  Remember our bodies are like cars and gas. Our cars can't run without gas and our bodies cant run without fuel so just pay attention to what you are and are not consuming.. 

The best current thinking is not new.. Rely on a variety of whole, unprocessed foods, Have food items in balance and in moderation. No one food supplies all of the many vitamins and minerals that we need. And there are probably still nutrients yet to be discovered. Too much  or too little of many foods is detrimental. It's like tire pressure. Too little air and you have too much rolling resistance. Too much and too little and you risk flat tires!!! There are no truly good or bad foods. Its all a question of moderation. The USDA nutrition pyramid (which I will bring one for everyone) is an excellent guideline. Make carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, rice, breads, and cereals) the center of your meal. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Add relatively small quantities  of protein and fat for their nutritional balance, taste and variety. That's it, simple!

The recommended "healthful diet" for the general population is very close to the same diet as endurance athletes: high in carbo There are a few variations I will discuss below. Although marathoners may require more nutrients than the general population, the increased calories they consume usually compensate for their increased requirements.

Marathoners Nutrition:
Carbohydrates- Fuel for endurance athletes
Aerobic athletic performance demands glycogen, a storage form of carbohydrate. Your body makes glycogen from the carbs you ingest, not from fat or protein. The body can store about 2,000 calories in glycogen. For those who exercise for more than an hour per day, there's a good chance that a diet high in carbs and low in fat will help your body make glycogen and continue to perform at a high level.

Carbo Loading and Reloading
Carbohydrate loading in a technique you've probably heard about- increasing intake of complex carbohydrates for a few days before a long run/race should boost performance. It's helpful so scoop up the pasta, potatoes and breads before your event (or long run).
Carbo reloading- promptly replacing carbohydrates after activity is very important to help recover.

Extra Sodium
Marathon training, day after day especially in the heat will deplete our body's sodium. Sweat contains about one gram of sodium per quart. On hot days when working hard, many of us will sweat more than that. The average runner ingests two-four grams of sodium per day. Since most of us exercise a few hours at a time, sodium is usually not a problem. Adding salt to our diet before, during and after exercise will help maintain exercise intensity, assist in hydration and re-hydration and prevent hypoontremia (sodium depletion in the blood) which is a lethal consequence of exercise. Sodium-rich foods and salting foods are suggested under these circumstances.

Is it was that you need when exercising. Drink before you are thirsty. Clear urine is an indication of appropriate re-hydration. Dark urine can we a warning that you are dehydrated  and need to drink more. Drink one quart (32 ounces/one nalgene bottle) or fluids per hour when exercising hard or in hot weather. It's possible to lose several quarts of sweat per hour, its hard for the stomach to absorb more than 32 ounce per hour.

Trying out new foods
Now is the time! Experiment away before, during and after your training run for the big day!
Pre-training Nutrition
A good breakfast is key to a good start on the day.  If your running an all out fast short race a big breakfast isn't a good idea. If you are going for a long run, fuel your body. A half-hour before training, you'll want to top-off your energy supplies and make sure you are well hydrated. Again, a  high-carb, low-fat diet works best. You will be able to run farther and faster if you do.

Gatorade/ Sports drinks
Gatorade helps you hydrate and get some calories and its easy on the stomach. If its too sweet, dilute it to one half strength. When it's hot (and I keep mentioning this as we approach hot weather) you are working hard and it's hard to get down solid food. Even sugar solutions with a 6 percent concentration is difficult to digest. The solution to getting calories while exercising is maltodextrins (carbs that keep the concentration down, but add calories by increasing particle size) So...look at nutrition facts labels, then look for TOTAL CARB, then look at Sugars. The difference is usually the carb calories from maltodextrins.

Energy Bars/ GU
They are convenient sources of calories while running and they fit in your fuel belt or pocket. GU makes some flavors with extra caffeine. GU's are not a solid; not a drink. You suck gel into your mouth and then chase with 6 ounces of water. Get used to these, you will be happy you did.

Post-Training Nutrition
Even if you've had a good breakfast, even if you have fueled while running, long runs still leave you calorically depleted. Replenish your body's carbs with a few hundred calories within the first half hour after a training run, and then again within the next two hours. This will help you recover, replace your glycogen and be ready for your next run.

(Below is an actual picture of my bran flakes cereal with bananas, cranberries, and no sugar added vanilla almond milk from....TRADER JOE'S!) Carb party!

Sick and tired of being

Sick and tired.  Somebody turn the lights on...somebody tell... OK enough singing.  Kids, I have been so sick this week and because I am a glutton for punishment, I still force myself to go to work because of the deadlines that hang out there.  It hasn't been helpful because my training is the one that suffers.  I have only been able to get my body to do one workout since Sunday....and now its thursday.  I ran with my middle school training group on wednesday and participated in a pacer activity and 15 minute run, but I was wayyy winded, so I decided that the elliptical would have to do.

Tonight I'm going to Brookline High School to listen to a presentation on how the mind heals the body. WOAH, exactly what I need!  I will definitely come back with a recap.  Here is the event info:
"On this evening, we will take a closer look at the mind/body phenomenon, explore the possible relationship between daily stress, emotions, and chronic illness, and discover how we can use our mind to heal our body."

This is exactly what I've been going through this year and it needs to stop.  Seriously!  I am queen of optimism and good times; I never let some tough times get me down.  However, my stress levels are significantly impacting my work and home life productivity.  Seriously, its not ok.

I'm ready to go from this....

to this:  

Here are the steps I think I'm going to take until I start to feel more energetic.

1.  Its time to start prioritizing my life and maybe make some cuts to my social calendar.  I'm pretty sure I've overbooked myself in all areas of my life.

2. Censored by Gomomgo.  It had to do with making sure you limit your alcohol consumption.  Good thing I'm almost 28.

3. Get enough sleep.  I haven't been sleeping that well since like the beginning of january, I want to start really getting into a night time routine that ensures a good nights rest.

4. Continue my healthy eating/running lifestyle.  I summed it up all in that statement.

5. Manage stress levels at work. I'm pretty sure I've vented in almost every post about how the year is going for me.  I basically dread waking up every morning.

6. Think about going to see Dr. Slavsky.    I just want to see if she has any recommendations or just make sure nothing is medically uncool, yo.  I don't mind doctors whatsoever, but, doctor really just, doesn't hold back.  She's as blunt as a blunt object. Yea...I might also start thinking about going to see a therapist, to kind of keep myself in check. I won't apologize for making that decision.  I'm a school psychologist, I'm going to promote counseling.  Sorry. 

7. Continue to listen to my body.  I know myself really really well, and when my mind and body is off, its definitely off.  When I need to take a break exercising, I definitely do it because pushing myself to run sometimes stresses me out even more.  Chicken and egg kind of thing.  Ya heard?

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Armlin's Army

As you all know, I'm training with Team in Training for this here marathon in San Diego. I signed up for the marathon originally on a whim; a manic moment because I was struggling with my own personal life and wanted to prove that I was stronger than those difficult times.  However, as I have become more involved with the LLS organization (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) I realize that I want my training to be more than proving to others that I can push myself.  

When I partnered with the organization, I found an overwhelming support network of people who are working together to raise awareness and funds to cure blood cancers.  As the training has progressed, I have been working with TnT and receiving more information about families that have benefited from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's efforts.   However, it is at this time that I wanted to share a story of a family who fought so incredibly hard to win the battle over Lymphoma, yet lost the fight in the end.

This is the story of Geoffrey Armlin.

I became aware of Geoffrey and his struggle upon attending my sister's high school graduation in June of 2010.  She shared with me that one of Geoff's goals throughout his battle, was to simply be able to graduate.  When he walked across the stage in order to receive his diploma, he was met with a standing ovation and hundreds of tears and applause.  

Geoffrey relapsed in October of 2010, yet because of his unfailing ability to connect to other people, paired with his humble personality, the community quickly came to his side.  Local television stations and radio stations within the Albany area began to take on Geoff's cause and promote awareness of his diagnosis.  Below is a summary of Geoff's struggle, from the Fly 92 radio station webpage.  A similar story can also be viewed through the Your News Now (YNN) website seen here.

"Geoffrey Armlin is 18 years old from Middleburgh, NY and is a talented musician. He plays guitar, piano, drums and is learning to play violin. He loves the outdoors, camping, rock climbing and paintball. Geoff was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Burkitts Lymphoma in March of 2010 and on October 31st he relapsed. Geoff  was accepted into Utica IT as a math and linguistics major, but because of his treatments, he's unable to attend.

The Armlins are a very tight knit family and Geoff is the oldest along with 4 brothers (Geoff's twin, Jarod-18, Jon-15, Jacob-17, Floydie-9) and sister, (Jaylynn-7). Tammy (mom) and Floyd Jr. (dad) along with the rest of the Armlin family are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany while Geoffrey is being treated at Albany Medical Center.

Tammy reached out to FLY 92.3 to see if we could play Geoff's favorite band, Second Hand Serenade, because he is such a big fan of their music. We made arrangements for the lead singer, John, to give Geoff a call. They spoke for a while about music and it was a thrill for Geoff.

Upon hearing the story of the Armlin Family, three local businessmen and very close friends of FLY 92.3, realizing that time was of the essence, decided to pool their resources together to grant this family an Insta-Christmas. Al Hannoush, (Hannoush Jewelers), Bobby Mallozzi (Mallozzi Family of Restaurants and Banquet Halls), and James Goyette (Mohawk Honda), as we affectionately dubbed "Armlin's Army", have received the family's "gift list" and are in the process of helping them celebrate an Insta-Christmas."

Despite his efforts and unparalleled optimism, Geoffrey died on December 9, 2010, at the young age of 18.  His family has set up an organization in memory of his life called Armlin's Army, which is a nonprofit organization that raises money for families of seriously ill children and lessens the financial burden of dealing with these diagnoses.  I encourage you to check it out, or pass on the information to others who are in need of support.  You can also became of fan of Geoff's community page on facebook

In the meantime, I have asked the family's permission to dedicate the last 10k (6.2 miles) of my marathon to Geoff. (And don't be surprised when you see me slip into a shirt with his face on it at mile 20!) His story is exactly why I am running my marathon with Team in Training; so that families like the Armlins do not have to suffer the loss of a child due to a blood cancer diagnosis.  The money you donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is used to support families throughout the diagnosis of a blood cancer.  It also raises the money to be able to find a cure.  If you could please visit my donation page and make even a $5 contribution, you have no idea whose life you could potentially be saving or the cures that could become available.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sick Contest

I am sick, my loves, so if you've noticed a lag in posts, its because I don't really have the energy to think of creative and witty things to say.  However, there is kind of a big deal contest happening at entitled  I posted the whole link so you knew how important the link was.  Go ahead and click, and sign up for the contest.  I know I know, I'm blogging about it because she told me to, but I'm also blogging about her because she runs in makeup...which would only make her my biggest idol and hero ever.  Plus, she wears a ton of pink and doesn't make excuses for it.

(photo courtesy of website.  Obviously I didn't go over there and stalk her while she stood perfectly still for me to take the pic and run.)

As for me, I need a day off from training.  I really don't feel good and am starting to sound and feel like when you unplug a robot.  You know, because we all unplug robots so often.  I might try to hit up the gym later, but it took every ounce of energy I had to stay awake enough to go to work.  Let's review: Thursday I did some cardio and weights, friday-5 mile run, Saturday 6 mile run, and Sunday a 4 mile run.  The mileage gets upped again this weekend.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stretching for Rock stars

A little lesson on stretching, thanks to my coach, Becca.  Also download beautiful people by Chris Brown. Good song.
STRETCHING may help prevent injuries and strains. This is the current, common thinking, but it's not proven. Stretching reduces post-training soreness. Evidence suggests that longer muscles and tendons are more powerful and have better elastic properties, and so probably improve running economy. Stretching is effective in increasing flexibility, and again, that is why so many runners partake in yoga. Joint motion is limited by joint capsules, ligaments, tendons and muscles. These tissues can be successfully elongated with stretching exercises. Some stretching has a merely temporary effect, based on the elastic properties of the tissue stretched. Other effects of stretching can be long-lasting.
When NOT to stretch:
Please be cautious about stretching when injured. Don't aggravate an injury by pulling more on an injured area. Use stretching to prevent reinjury when healed. An exception: some muscles/ligaments can be stretched at the other end, away from an injury. For example, when your IT band is a problem, you can stretch the other end, near your hip. Sit down, and with both hands pull your knees towards the opposite armpit. Stretching before running, when the muscles are COLD may sprain ligaments or strain muscles, stretch inside when possible.
Guidelines to Stretching:
-A stretch workout can be done in 15 minutes. If you have the time, it can easily occupy a half hour.
-Develop a stretching routine, and stretch in the same order. This is great for no missing any stretches.
-Stretch the muscle groups that are most important for you early in your routine.
-Some joints can be stretched in several directions. Develop your routine so as to stretch these motions in sequence.
-Stretch sloooooooooooooooooowly and gradually. DO NOT BOUNCE when you are stretching.  There is a basic neurological reflex called the stretch flexor. When a muscle is suddenly stretched, the reflex contracts/shortens the muscle. If you stretch slowly, the reflex is not activated. Fast stretching is usually counterproductive.
-Stretch to tightness, but not to the point of pain.
-Hold stretches for at least 29 seconds and up to 60 seconds- everyone will be different on this one
-Stretching is more effective when your muscles are warm. Avoid stretching first thing in the morning when you are otherwise stiff. If your routine provides the time to stretch in the am, first jog for 10 minutes or do some other general exercise.
-As discussed above, (and it's important, so I am throwing it in again) do not stretch an injury.
Put Your Mind in Your Muscle:
Concentrate on how the muscle being stretched feels during the stretch. This will help in ensuring proper tension and help you to maximize gains, utilize proper form and prevent injury. If you pay more attention to the range of motion than to how the muscle feels, you tendency will be for you to "cheat" yourself. (for example if you are doing the hamstring stretch, if you focus on placing your head to your knee, the tendency will be to bend the back and flex the neck  in effort to help get your head to your knee, BUT the hamstring will not to properly stretched- so again, focus on what you are stretching, really pay attention.
Also, a super happy birthday yesterday to my Megaloon!  Welcome to 27, my love!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Paris

In honor of Grace Potter being at the House of Blues, and me missing it. Here is a little track from my ipod playlist.

Fuelbelts: surprisingly the most uncool things ever.

Sadly, I was a bit underwhelmed when I got my fuelbelt in the mail today.  I don't know why I thought it would be super awesome, like the best thing that ever happened to me.  I mean, its going to keep me hydrated and I can stick snacks in it, but, um, its so awkward and clunky.  I was also hoping to wear that bad boy around my hips, but realized its supposed to go on your waist.  Fuelbelts are basically the runner's equivalent of a fanny pack.  Yayyyyyyyy......

(Also, leave me alone about these pictures.  My roommate is a surgeon, aka is gone a lot, so I have to use mirrors and self-timers to help out with training pics. pffftt.) 

OK well another thing that came in the mail were my Chia Seeds.  Remember how I said that Chia Seeds hold about 12x their weight in water, and help to curb appetite and insulin production?  Well, we're going to see just how awesome they are.  You can sprinkle them on top of food, put them in your drink, or soak them in liquid and they turn into gel and take on the taste of the liquid.  

WAIT!  I just got an AWESOME idea.  I'm going straight to my fridge to put them in gatorade.  Ok, so while I finish this post, I'll wait for the Chia seeds to grow into a gel blob.  I'm a little freaked out though because Chia seeds make me think of the movie Gremlins, where you splash water on those cute and cuddly suckers but as a result they turn into scary gremlins.  Anyway...

Ok, so my run my run my run.  Another fail of a five miler.  I tried my best to fuel up properly before the run, got some gatorade, made sure I ate some carbs, went to the bathroom, and stretched.  However, I got out there and needed to stop every half mile because the area above my ankle that is also a part of the calf muscle often gets tight and cramped.  I felt fine physically, but once that area gets tight, I'm no good; its like someone pinches the muscles and makes it feel like I'm wearing weights.

After doing some research, I stumbled upon an article in the Scientific American that discusses this very issue, which I suspected to be Lactic Acid buildup.  My susipcians were confirmed upon reading this paragraph:

"Contrary to popular opinion, lactate or, as it is often called, lactic acid buildup is not responsible for the muscle soreness felt in the days following strenuous exercise. Rather, the production of lactate and other metabolites during extreme exertion results in the burning sensation often felt in active muscles, though which exact metabolites are involved remains unclear. This often painful sensation also gets us to stop overworking the body, thus forcing a recovery period in which the body clears the lactate and other metabolites."

I find this condition to be SUPER annoying because it hurts.  It's also SUPER annoying because you know your body can run, but then these muscle areas make it hard to do anything.  I even had to stop and sit on the pavement to massage the area in question.  
In my research, I realize that I need to do a lot more targeted stretching before and after a run.  I also need to do more tempo runs to improve my lactate threshold.  I believe what is happening, upon intense examinations of my recent runs, is that my body is having a freakout moment over the increased speed and longer runs that I am requiring it to do.  A tempo run just helps to train your body to run faster for longer periods of time.  I do see myself getting faster but also having a hard time sustaining that speed.  Like...tonight I ran 5 miles just under 40 minutes.  My pace lately has been very quick, but my legs are having a hard time keeping up.

The remedy?  I need to slow down a little and let my body adjust.  Then, as I continue doing speedwork and long runs, my body should be able to handle the changes accordingly.  So instead of a 7:30-8:00 min mile, I should try to run at an 8:30 pace, until my body acclimates itself to the intensity.  

Also, I should foamroll a hella lot when I get back.  Sorry for the foul language.

You's welcome for those pictures.

Hey...lets check on the chia seeds now!


Well they tasted completely gel-like.  Like gatorade jelly.  This should be interesting.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Its for the children

Wellllll I'm tirreeeddd today so I'll just talk briefly about my food choices on this fine Wednesday, as well as an event I'm participating in with some really awesome middle school athletes.  First, let us discuss my sweet eats. Actually, let's just talk about breakfast and dinner because lunch was just leftovers from my evening out with Sara aka Baby Snake last night.

For breakfast, I've realllly switched things up by having annnn...wait for it...wait for it...

Today's omelet included cage free liquid eggs from Trader Joe's (35 calories a serving), a ton ton ton of spinach, half a tomato, a sprinkling of dried cranberries, and my new best friend, Honey Goat Cheese.  Let us fondly mourn the loss of our Cranberry Goat Cheese that is a seasonal food item at Trader Joe's.  A moment of silence, please.


Instead, let us cherish the birth of my new seasonal goat cheese of choice: 
Trader Joe's Chevre with Honey Fresh Goat Cheese.  
Tis' Awesome.

I have also switched to strawberry cream cheese from my seasonal pumpkin cheese to top off my multigrain english muffin.  Its pretty rad, too.  
By the way, their cows just so Nooooooo to hormones.

As you all know, I have switched from tea to coffee, but have recently discovered Yogi Organic Teas and really enjoy their array of flavors.  Currently, I am in love with their Stomach Ease brand.  I haven't had a stomach ache in the three days I have been drinking this tea!  And you all know how bad my stomach aches can get.  Um, well if you don't know, they are really bad sometimes.  Its my stress house. Anyway, here is the description, as told by Yogi.

"At home, dining out or traveling, enjoy a cup of Stomach Ease after your meal to help with healthy digestion. Our delicious traditional medley of all organic herbs and spices is specially formulated to support digestive health. We combine fennel seed with licorice, two fragrant and flavorful herbs that naturally soothe the stomach. Refreshing peppermint and warming herbs such as cardamom, coriander, and ginger help promote digestion. So try a warm cup of Stomach Ease after your meal as a gentle and effective aid to digestion."

I also snacked on a banana around 9, an orange around 3:30, and then a Kids Clif Bar around I was starrrvvingggg.

For dinner, I decided that I had had a lot of bready-like carbs, so I went the veggie route.
Here, we have a salad...but not just any salad, an Herb Salad Mix with mushrooms, tomatoes, half of a small avocado, honey goat cheese, a small sprinkling of pecans, and my Champagne Pear Vinaigrette a la Trader Joe's (only 45 calories, what whattt!)

Nom nom nom.  I try to be healthy for the children.  I also, have decided to join in on some fun.  Say what?

Well well well, I've officially signed up with two administrators and 40 students within the two middle schools in my district to help run the Club 115 Relay Challenge through the Boston Athletic Association (BAA, and yes, THE BAA of the Boston Marathon).  Here is a picture of my shirt that I received today during one of our four practices.  P.s., I also get a coaches track jacket. YESSS.

Anyway, so the Club 115 Relay Challenge happens on April 16, 2011, two days before the Boston Marathon.  The BAA sponsors this youth running program, in which middle school age running groups (larger than 20, less than 50) compete at a relay race along 8 locations on the marathon route.  However, our middle school team competes at the finish line in Copley Square. HOW COOL IS THAT?! The program lasts a total of four weeks, and kids train to run the relay.  Because the team I joined has been training together in a rec running league, and have attended this event for four years, I really just get to join in on the fun and feel the excitement instead of actually coaching.  I can't wait!  I guess I'll just have to switch my long run from that day to happen on Sunday, instead of with my running team. Phooeeyyy.

Also, side bar.  Last thing, I mean it.  I've officially booked my fundraising party for May 7th at the Battery Park Bar and Lounge in the financial district.  I think I'll charge a cover of $10 (suggestions on upping it to $15 or $20?) which includes appetizers (donated by the bar because the manager is also a Team in Training fan) and a raffle ticket towards an ipod (which I'm hoping Apple donates to my event...I've head they've done that in the past).  I am also going to raffle off Red Sox tickets, as well as having a fun balloon pop, where you pay $5-$10 for a balloon and inside, everyone is a winner (as I will be getting donations from area restaurants, spas, clothing stores, etc!).  HOORAYYYYY!  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Adele - Set Fire to the Rain

I love this song more than anything right now.  Listen to it. (Thanks Molly!)

Anyway, so today I didn't exercise because I knew I wouldn't have time, so I made it my rest day. Instead, I got my pupils dilated to the size of my actual eyeball, cried in the car because I need new glasses because my eyes are getting worse but they are so expensive and I NEED them in order to survive because my vision is terrrrrible, on top of that I have to buy contacts, aaaand then became happy again once I calmed myself down and told Sara I was going to meet her in Coolidge Corner in Brookline for dinner.

I pride myself in feeling my feelings and then moving on from them.  I don't dwell on much because I work through them just as quickly as they come on (with a few exceptions because, remember, I just found out I'm human).  So, the remainder of my evening was phenomenal because I took a picture of my eyes...

Then went to Trader Joe's to grocery shop the snoopy snap out of that place (where I also picked up some almond flour and chocolate chips to check out a new recipe this weekend).

Went to dinner with Sara at Coolidge Corner clubhouse where I ate my third favorite food group behind nachos and frosting; Sweet Potato Fries!....

Drove past the Citgo sign reminding of my spring and summer nights spent in Fenway with the beautiful Red Sox....

And then came home to put away my new multivitamins and my restock of Omega-3 Fish oil, which is sure to make my skin and bones more beautiful.  

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I did it!!!!!

That's right little birdies.  I did it.  You might be asking yourselves, what, lauren, did you in Well, this week, I have really stayed on top of my training goals, even though it might not be the fastest week of my life.  Since friday, I have run every single day and still feel strong and injury free.  Friday, 4 miles.  Saturday, 10 miles.  Sunday 3 miles (before the southie st. patty's day festivities), and now Monday, 5.5 miles (at the gym.  It snowed, first day of spring.  I couldn't bear going outside.  Oh man, its that question of bear or bare again.  Bear. Its bear.)  So what if every mile I had to stop and reset my brain.  Because I know its not my body that needs help, its my brain.  So, what did Lauren do to get out of her funk....or at least to stay in the moment and be mindful of her funk...let's review, shall we?

1.) Get back on top of your eating habits.  Below is my typical long run breakfast: toast with strawberry organic cream cheese with real strawberries, almonds, cranberries, and a banana.  Let us not forget my big glass of water and think fondly of the gummy bears I consume post run every week.

2.) Listen to really good music.  Right now my pandora can't get enough of the Adele radio station I created.  It plays hits from Adele, Ray Lamontagne, and Etta James.  BE still my beating heart!

3.) Enjoy yourself when life presents itself in fun and lasting memories.  AKA, the parade day in Southie.  Good treats, thanks to my friends Lindsey and Anya (Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, as well as peanut butter rice krispie treats!!!!).

After the food and before the parade, a Southie tradition of high fiving your friends on their lawns and roofdecks was certainly in order.  Here, we have me, my love Jeffy, and Olivia my bestie. 

Next, we have my two favorite ladies, Megan and Kristy.  Both SUPER athletic super heroins. Kristy runs marathons like it ain't no thang and Megan is a gymrat that could kick your butt at boxing and yoga, AT THE SAME TIME.  Oh, and please don't mind my rogue staph infection aka cut on my hand.  It mysteriously showed up at the end of a school day, with no pain involved.  I have no idea where it came from. 

4.) Last but not least, when you are in a funk...write yourself a love letter.  Send it to people if you need to.  I did...and I know everything. So, in my love letter, I promised that I was going to be more mindful of the moments I am in.  I promise to be appreciative of where I am in life, even if its been a little trying at times, and that I am exactly where I am meant to be.  I also need to make sure I don't always run myself ragged to say that I'm awesome and that I can do everything, because.... I found out the other day that I'm human? or I have the same limitations as everyone else.    

I also promised to start loving me for me.  I mean, I repeatedly tell people I'm awesome, but, I'm not sure if I believe it half the time.  I told myself I'm going to repeat a daily mantra and that I am to love the me I am through thick and thin.  Marathon or no marathon, Boston or no Boston, Blonde hair or  Yes I'm me blonde hair or no blonde hair.  I am always me.  I also promised myself that I deserve healthy relationships with everyone in my life. 
Aren't you excited to be experiencing all of this with me?  I told you it would be the ups and downs of training for a marathon.  Like, listen to this...

I was on the phone today with GomomGo and she was like, I'm worried that after this marathon, you will be right back to where you started...that you'll have to set some other goal that you feel like you need to accomplish, in order to feel like you are living your life.

Um, goMoMgo.  Why did you make my brain think so hard?  But, she has a point.  I know I signed up for the marathon to be like, BAM, I just ran a marathon.  However, I had to reassure her that while pushing myself to the extreme in athleticism, I have also discovered some wonderful things along the way.  Maybe I do thrive on proving to people that I can accomplish anything I set out to do, and that she has a point that sometimes and somehow I just need to learn to be happy with my everyday life.  Yet in the process of all of this learning and doing, I've discovered that I am a strong and beautiful girl, who enjoys going for a run and enjoys focusing her life on healthy living instead of living for saturday nights.  Maybe I will need to readjust myself at the end of all of this, but for the time being, I'm going to live in the moment of where I am, and appreciate every second of it.  Like, how I get to eat more carbs. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Etta James Don't cry baby

Ray LaMontagne Trouble

Guess whhhattt

I bought some GU and got new SHOES!!! I went to Marathon Sports, where they check out your swagger, and they still recommended pink shoes to me.  EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T ask!  Maybe I should call myself Pink Panther.  Mmm.  Maybe not.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

All the ingredients for a terrible long run.

Remember how earlier in the week I posted a one sentence post entitled Worst Run Ever?  Well I should have just called this week the worst week of running, ever.  I'm not experiencing pain or muscle stiffness (although I am going to Marathon Sports today to get new shoes, because I definitely can tell that they've broken down), but instead I've gone out on every run feeling tired and defeated.

I notice this pattern happens to me quite often in March.  I take on too much throughout the year and then typically have a mental health meltdown right around the tail end of the month.  It all started in high school where in the same weekend I had to study for a big test on case law and the Constitution, was hosting a foreign exchange student for the weekend, participated in track practice, and had dress rehearsals while I was the lead in the high school musical.   Come Tuesday when I got the test back....and although I was a straight A student....I wound up getting a 30 and started crying in the middle of class.  I missed school for three days after that because I was just cooked.  I slept the entire time.

Looks like history is rearing its ugly head!  I work an exhausting job (blah blah blah yes I get school vacations but I work all summer at my adventure camp.  On top of that, working in schools is a mentally exhausting profession!) which leaves me little time in the morning to get a workout in, so I have to save my therapy sesh's for when I get home.  I also notice that I like to do everything and anything I can to stay active socially and within my community.  This year, I have played both outdoor and indoor soccer, and softball in the summer.  However, for my own sake, I took off the second session of indoor because it was becoming too much of a hassle and less about being fun!  I also am trying to stay current within my profession, so I participate in monthly Massachusetts School Psych Association meetings.  Sara aka Baby Snake and I also decided that we needed a little more spice in our life, so we instituted Cultural Thursdays, where we attend cultural events throughout the city. Most importantly, I make sure that I say yes to every social event that I can feasibly attend.  All while training for a marathon.  Needless to say, I have left dating by the wayside.  I also seem to live in the philosophy that I'll sleep when I'm dead.

That, my friends, is a terrible terrible philosophy.  I had the worst long run in my own personal history, where it took me over an hour and a half to finish 10 miles!  Areee you serious?  I started out moving at a snails pace, and even had to take several walking breaks! AHHHHH.  I've run better than that even when I ran my first half with very little training!

I can tell, my brain is fried.  In attempt to stay on my game, I joined my favorite ladies for dinner at The King and I Thai Restaurant, and then got some BoYo frozen yogurt (25 calories for the frozen yogurt itself!)  Here are some pics of the highlights.  First off we have my chicken and vegetables. with green curry dish, that also included bamboo shoots and coconut milk.  I paired it with some brown rice on the side.  Although delicious, I realize that eating Thai food the night before a long run is the worst idea ever.  Cue lauren's bathroom.

Steph and Olivia eating their boYo!

Molly and I enjoying our tasty treats!

Yum, yogurt chips and crushed Reese's! 

I think this food might have been better consumed on an evening that didn't come before a long run, as mentioned above the break.  Pfffttt.  I'm hoping that staying better hydrated throughout the week and somehow getting an actual uninterrupted night of sleep will help.  Oh a brain filled with thoughts!

I also know that I've been feeling a little low lately with relationshipy stuff, and that has also impacted my ability to want to kill it on the weekends.  No need to go into detail, but I'm sure that a lot of you can relate to how blips in your personal life can affect your runs....if you let it.  That's why today's terrible terrible long run was important.  I saw the effects of taking on too much, not eating properly, and letting your brain get in the way can make you want to just give up.  However, as I began my long run, I realized that today wasn't about running for time, and instead was about completion.  I knew that if I could get through this, I would feel better starting tomorrow (especially in time for the St. Patrick's Day parade in Southie!).  That, and nothing a new pair of running shoes can't fix! All in time for my 12 miler next saturday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Strength Training for Dummies, no offense. :)

My coach, Becca, sent our marathon training team another email this week.  This time, her lesson focuses on strength training.  Below, is a picture of me and my guns, as I have hung out with weights since I was a senior in high school using my dad's Bowflex to shape me like a rock.

DANG!  I'm just waiting for some Batman Comics noises to start playing.  For those of you who don't  understand every pop culture reference I make in the blog, the noises would sound like this: BAM, POW, SNAP!

Ok, so back to the importance of strength training during your training program.  Take it away Becca!

Strength Training:
Strength Training is one of the three foundations of fitness. The other two are aerobic conditioning and and flexibility (why a lot of runners partake in yoga). Runners lift weights as they believe it will make their muscles stronger and more powerful and improve their running. 

Lifting weights has a number of other benefits:
-Helps develop overall body strength
-Helps to strengthen back and stomach muscles and helps to reduce back problems.
-Helps to correct imbalances and postural changes and helps to achieve symmetrical right and left sided strength and helps to balance against/antagonist muscles (push/pull) muscles

Most marathon coaches endorse weight work, it is entirely up to you runners (what you have time for, whether or not you have access to a gym, pending how tired you are etc). However, it is not always an essential element to a marathon training program.  Strength training can and should occur during the off season.  

Marathon specific work may also help, meaning hill work, stairs workouts, etc. 

Just remember, WE ARE ENDURANCE RUNNERS, NOT WEIGHT LIFTERS. You are looking to lift a small amount of weights, several times, we are NOT trying to get big, rather just tighten our muscles. It takes months for our bodies to adapt to lifting. It is easy to be injured by attempting to lift more than our bodies are ready to lift. It's common for muscles to strengthen faster than supporting tendons and ligaments. Again, start out small, very small. Ask for help at the gym, tell them you are training for a marathon or half marathon.

Lifting tips:
-Comfortable clothes make for an easier workout
-Shoes should be supportive (actual running sneakers are best, where they support your ankles)
-Warm up and stretch to prevent injury
- Develop a routine and go from exercise to exercise wasting little time, but have enough rest between sets so that your heart rate covers quickly
- Try to be efficient, allowing your workout to take about an hour
-Work large muscle groups before small ones
-Work first the muscle groups that are most important to you (our quads, thighs and arms) that way if you are interrupted or have limited time, you'll be sure to have done the most important exercises
-Increase weights gradually and steadily and keep reps around 15
-BREATHE- Breath OUT during POWER/LIFTING breathe IN during the relaxation phase

How often:
Runners should lift two times a week, in the case you can pick up a third day go for it!

Repetitions and Sets:
Repetitions are the number of times in a row an exercise is performed. Groups of reps are called a set. For example, doing an exercise 15 times, resting, then going again is 2 sets of 15 reps.

How much should you lift?
Well, it is trial and error, finding an amount that can be lifted 15 times. As training progresses, weight can be added when the number of reps performed exceeds a nominal number, for examples 20 reps.

Circuit Training
Circuit Training is weight training in which the rest intervals between different exercises are short. This is a combination of weight training with cardio benefit and heart rates int he aerobic training range. If you are using this system, there is no need to mix in cardio workout in the weight room and reduce the focus on strength training. More on this tomorrow.

There are hundreds of exercises you can use. Many  can be done at a gym, or a "home gym. You will need a couple of barbells, 150 lbs in weights and a bench with leg-extensions and leg-curl bars. Push-ups and sit-ups require no equipment and are also super useful. Again, ask for help at the gym, usually they are so friendly and happy to help!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Shamrocks, Purple Pandas, Pink Surprises, and... Chia Pets?

I had such a busy day at work, the only thing that reminded me it was St. Patrick's day was my green shirt and wristband that had a green clover on it.  Oh, and the cupcake that I ate (aka licked off the frosting and threw out the cake part) was bedazzled in green shamrock love!  Honestly, if there is one thing I love more than nachos, its frosting.  

After school, I had to participate in the March Madness basketball tournament.  Students pair up with their opposite gendered teachers and form teams of 3 that compete in a bracket tournament.  The students loooveee this tournament because they get to design costumes for the team to wear.  So, everyone looks silly on top of having fun playing basketball. I only had one team this year.  Our names were the Purple Pandas.  Needless to say, we won't be making it to the finals that happen tomorrow.  Oh well!  

As for the rest of my St. Patrick's day...I'm unsure where the night will take me.  Although after my phone call, just this second with Sara Baby Snake, it looks like I'm heading to the Atlantic Beer Garden. Many of you readers know that Boston is front and center in the festivities, and a lot of us South Boston residents save our celebrations for parade Sunday.  However, because its such a beautiful day, I may very well try to venture out this evening.  This will all happen after Jessica and I finish The Fighter, as I walked home into its open arms.

I hate to admit it though, because of the timing of everything that happened today, it doesn't look like I'm going to get in a run.  I feel a little frustrated by that.  Some days, I just have to remind myself that its ok to take a day off.  I plan on running 5-6 miles tomorrow after school (before heading out to The King and I Thai Cuisine for dinner with my favorites) and then am getting in a 10 mile run on Saturday morning with my training team.  Ce la vie! 

Oh yea...and guess what I bought from amazon!
A PINK FUELBELT HAHAHAH.  Yay for pink outdoor gear. Fuel belts become important once you start trekking out into the world longer than ten miles.  Maybe an elite athlete could do without one, but surely a first time marathoner can't.  It will hold all my super awesome fueling gear such as water, gatorade, and energy GU.

 I also bought a three pound bag of Chia Seeds after obsessing over Hungry Runner Girl's Blog.  I love love love her blog, although I'm totally jealous that her entire body is the size of my arm.  Ok, so why would I eat Chia seeds that basically are known to the public through the wonders of Chia Pets?  Well let me tell you.  Ok you either you sprinkle Chia on food, or dissolve chia in which point it turns into a gel that you suck down.  Why that's awesome is because it can hold 12x its weight in gold er water.  So, it fills you up like woah.  It also helps to hydrate you before, during, or after long runs without weighing you down with too much water.  Chia seeds also help to balance your blood sugar, which is great, because between 8 and 9 a.m. every morning I feel a crash and go on carb witch hunts.  Its a bloody mess. ON TOP OF all of those wonderful qualities, it also helps to regulate your digestive system, which lordy lord knows I need all the help I can get.

I can't wait to show you my new "toys" when they get here!  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In an octopus' garden in the shadeeee

I ate, not only raw, but still alive octopus this evening.  I would have given anything to have photographed the meal I just indulged in at Samurai Sushi on Boylston Street in Boston.  Thank you restaurant week for making that experience possible.  My meal consisted of Tako Capaccio Thinly Sliced Raw Octopus, Fotumaki, and a mix of tiramisu and Mochi Ice Cream.  Seriously the LIVE octopus was the highlight.  My date, however, was not.  Yay for lauren and her life! 
Oh yar, and as for my run this evening, I did a little more speed training.  Because of the amount of rain that was falling down from the Heavens, I decided to take my run indoors at the gym.  I ran at a speed of 6.7 (8:57 min mile pace) for a warm up mile, then ran at a pace of 7.5 (8:00 min mile pace) for half a mile x2, with a cool down of 7.0 (8:34 min mile pace) x2 in between.  Lastly, I ran a cool down mile at a 6.7 mile pace with a total distance of 4 miles.  I took to the weight room to do some bicep curls and hamstring curls but because I was sick, I called it quits early. 

Monday, March 14, 2011


Wow.  Just wow.  I was reading an interview with Josh Cox, who holds the American 50k record (roughly 31 miles.  Someday. Someday), and he was discussing his habits as an elite athlete, as well as what he uses to crosstrain in order to become a more efficient runner.  First off, he recommends not maintaining the same level of intensity throughout the year, and instead believes in the power of Periodization (an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time. It is a way of alternating training to its peak during season.  Thanks wikipedia).  He is also a huge advocate of strength training and core work, which I also absolutely believe in, yet am having a hard time getting myself to do anything other than running lately.

Anyway, so Josh Cox touches lightly on this product called the ElliptiGO and Runners World provided a link to this crosstraining device. LOOK AT IT!  HERE!  The only sad part about this crosstraining machine is that it currently retails at $2500.  Welp, there's no way I could afford that, but it looks seriously amazing.  Its half bike, half run, all awesome.  The website boasts ahem, claims that the Elliptigo can be better than running as it is low impact (doesn't cause damage to the joints), offers a quicker recovery (longer and more intense training with less days off), and is MORE exhilarating because you can take it out on the road and into the outdoors.  The video even shows an elite athlete biking on the sand!  Sign me up, please!

Even if you can't afford the ElliptiGO, the moral of the story is that Josh Cox recommends crosstraining and "downtime" when trying to maintain your level of fitness.  Downtime doesn't mean no exercise whatsoever, it just means that you should switch things up once in a while. 

As a side bar, I'm going to check out Niketown's Running Club with my good friend and soccer teammate, Mario.  Apparently runners and walkers of all types meet at Niketown on Newbury Street in Boston on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and decide to run either 3, 5, or 7 miles.  After finishing your run, Niketown provides refreshments.  I have read in a random blog that they will also occasionally provide speakers discussing various topics involving running (anywhere from shoes, to fueling, to style, to pizazz).  I think we are going to try to go this wednesday, but, um, I think I already have plans.  Either way, we are hitting this up! (Thanks to for the photo!)

worst run ever.

I basically just ran the worst 5 miles ever.  The end.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Adventures in Eating

Wow. I think all I did was eat this weekend. Jackpot.  It helps that I'm running more, but I've also been hungrier more. I have to be careful though, because...well let's play a game of True or False.

Question: Because you are running, a lot, you can eat, whatever and whenever you want. True or False?

Answer: False.  That is false.  Just pure lies.  Sure, you definitely have a larger calorie deficit but you can't make life a feeding free for all.

Because I have, let's look at the highlights.

First we have my friday night babysitting party.  My good friend, Ru-bear, indulged in Amy's pizza. Organic and good.  Although its probably a healthier choice than grabbing a pizza from a pizzeria, it was still 330 calories for just a third of the pie.  No thanks.

Instead, I made spaghetti (not whole wheat but it's all I had to choose from) with broccoli, cherry tomatoes, montery jack cheese, italian spices, and a smidge of olive oil.  Ru-bear's mom conducts research on the food industry.  Because of this, I always know that they are buying the freshest and best ingredients for their home. 

This cheese is one that they have in their home every time I babysit.  Its amazing.  One summer, I stayed with the family in Vermont while the mom studied dairy farming and cheese production (I hung out with the Bear) and I know this is one that got the Grade A stamp.

The next day, I got out there with my team and ran 8 miles. What I neglected to tell you was that I came back from the run and chomped on gummy bears, provided by my coach.  Eh.  

My day also included a birthday party for the one and only Nolan Bear (notice a pattern in nicknames?) which was the best birthday party I have ever been to...and he only turned 1.  I didn't really eat the meal meal that my friend's provided and instead devoured cheese and crackers, some turkey cold cuts, and macaroni salad.  I was making room for the cake below, which was topped off with the best frosting in the world.  It was a homemade cake, by the way.  DELICIOSO! 

That evening, my friends and I headed to Remy's on Seaport.  Jerry Remy is an announcer for the Red Sox (my loves) and has opened two locations of his Remy's sports bar and grille.  The seaport location provides views of the harbor, as its situated right on the water.   I mean, its incredible, and its not even summer yet!  I can't wait! The only sad part was that I wasn't feeling well and decided to go home early (after consuming some sweet potato fries), which is very unusual for me.  I put myself to bed and woke up the next morning feeling semi-anxious that I actually had a day off that included no plans.  I woke up and immediately called Sara aka Baby Snake, and she invited me on her walk to MIT to her meet her boyfriend, Tal.  

At 11:00 a.m. and with no shower, we hoofed it from Southie on Seaport to Kendall/Central Square.  It  was a gorgeous walk, but the pictures I took look too gloom and doom because of the weather.  Instead, I will report on our meal at Cafe Luna, which is a Zagat rated restaurant.  I was originally lured in by the offering of CORNED BEEF HASH, my absolute favorite (!), but instead went in a completely different direction.  I started with a cappuccino with non-fat milk.  I wound up ordering an omelet with butternut squash, caramelized onions, and goat cheese, instead of anything having to do with hash.  That was only because the side portion of hash was $8.  HOW RIDICULOUS.  The three of us also split a half portion of french toast drizzled in chocolate and served with bananas.  It. was. awesome.

What was also fun about Cafe Luna was that they give you crayons to draw on their paper tablecloths.  Here is the mermaid I drew.  I always draw mermaids.  I have no idea whatsoever why that is.

After a filling meal that served appropriate portions, we headed on the rest of our errands, which included me laying on a mural, taking a picture in the middle of central square, hitting up Trader Joe's, searching for Jamba Juice for Tal...which was closed at Northeastern University (my old grad school haunt), going to TJ MAXX to get exercise clothing, heading to Iparty to get St. Patrick's Day gear, and finally stopping at Target to pick up makeup.  (FYI, I bought waterproof makeup for my runs.  Judge me all you want, but I'm ok with who I am. Boooyahh!)

(Trader Joe's. Thank you for always being there.)


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