These last few days have been pretty mentally challenging for me and it so wonderful to read the reassuring comments when life’s stresses seem to be getting in the way. It is always great for me to take a step back and maybe even try to be a little less selfish. After a phone call from a best friend telling me she was coming into town from Denver for the weekend and a visit from my boy who I haven’t been able to see since returning from Philly, my mood elevated immensely. Sometimes you just need a little cheering up and those two things were the best possible for me today.
These were 1/3 cup Scottish oats (still my absolute favorite) cooked in water and vanilla unsweetened almond milk for at least ten minutes. I truly feel that the longer I cook oats (or the longer oats take to cook?) the better they are. Maybe this is solely because they are more creamy. I cooked 1/4 of a large banana into the oats with half a tablespoon of chia seeds for some extra plumpness. For the banana scramble, I followed Ashley’s version, with a few alterations: 1/4 banana, excluded coconut and half a tablespoon of vanilla almond butter instead of peanut butter. This mash was so sweet that I didn’t need any stevia, agave, or maple to sweeten this morning’s oats, just a few shakes of cinnamon. The rest of our raspberries were poured on top and mashed throughout while eating.
I was really interested to read your thoughts about high fashion magazines. I love the art by the stylists, clothing designers, and photographers created for a magazine spread, but the unhealthy images can sometimes overshadow. Fashion magazines have emphasized the waif since the 60’s and 70’s. Examples are Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy, & Veruschka. Kate Moss even recently said her motto was “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to Women’s Wear Daily. She even admitted, “That’s one of them. You try to remember, but it never works.” Such an unhealthy motto from a model doesn’t surprise me, but it does make me sad. Another model quoted in the Telegraph shot back with “Millions of girls aspire to be like Kate Moss. These comments are shocking and irresponsible.” I definitely agree. Can you imagine the number of teen girls (and older) who aspire to be like her and read such detrimental words from someone they idealize?
Have you heard about the CFDA Health Initiative that was started in 2007? You must read this amazingly truthful diary of model Kim Noorda’s struggles with an eating disorder that was featured in Vogue this fall. Here is a great review of the article, showcasing the fact that “Every bit of Kim’s journal shows how hard it is to be in an industry, especially as an adolescent, where people criticize your appearance all day every day because all that matters is what you look like.”
In the last year, a few designers and magazines have attempted to portray healthier, more normal sized women. However, at times, I feel it can be drastic. It is often purely sample size vs. plus size with not much in between.
-Vice Magazine’s “One Size Fits All” featured Jacquelyn Jablonski and Crystal Renn, two models of different sizes, in the same garments.
-Mark Fast had three “average sized” women walk down the runway in his body conscious dresses.
-Karl Lagerfeld had “plus size” (in model terms) Crystal Renn walk down his Chanel Resort show runway.
It is hard for me to see a real shift happening but maybe model’s sizes are evolving into something more realistic, at least some of the time.
Now, onto my lunch…
I wasn’t too hungry for a big lunch so decided on a hummus filled wrap with extra veggies. The salad I craved couldn’t come together when I saw that we had eaten all the spinach in two days. With my sister in the house, I wasn’t surprised the spinach was gone and actually pretty happy to find that my she is just as enamored with fresh produce as I am. She mentioned that her last few weeks of school were too stressful to grocery shop, so I am sure she is loving the abundance of goods she finds in the fridge here. In the wrap was a few spoonfuls of spinach, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, avocado, carrot, and broccoli. The rest of the broccoli I ate on the side with some of the marinade from last night’s stir fry.
During a trip to the library and fabric store, my sister and I split a Strawberry Kombucha. I realized that the Honest Tea varieties are less sour than the GT Synergy brand, but I enjoy both in different ways. A grocery stop was mandatory, but I kept my purchases to a minimum when I realized the store we went to was more expensive for some of my favorites. I grabbed some spinach for dinner, two bunches of kale, dark chocolate, oranges, a new-to-me kombucha flavor, and some vino.
I decided a peanut butter filled banana boat would do the trick for some pre-run fuel.
Yes, that is one UGly picture but I hope to change these shots tomorrow!
Before the run, I decided that I should try to run without any distractions (meaning music) for a change. A thunderstorm seemed to be looming and sometimes I forget to really focus on the run when I am listening to great tunes (some of my favorites on my running playlist are Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun, MGMT, M.I.A., and Phoenix). There were years when I ran without music because previous coaches didn’t approve. Music can aid and hinder runs for me. I definitely can feel a sense of adrenaline when a fast beat comes on and I tend to start running fast. This can lead to over-training by simply just running too fast too soon, which is a problem I’ve had on many occasions. Without music today, I had a chance to really be in the moment and concentrate on my pace. It was great to hear my labored breathing and my feet hit the road, but it was also challenging. I tried to maintain a steady pace and for the distance, I felt it was harder without music. I guess I may have to include more running without music days so I can get used to my own rhythm again. When I got back, I felt such an amazing sense of accomplishment that I might not normally feel with my Ipod strapped on. I grabbed my pups leash and she ran out with me for a short cool down followed by a walk around the neighborhood. The thunder started within the last block and a few raindrops hit my nose as I ran across the driveway.
Dinner was served.
After some light yoga stretching alongside Bessie (my pup always likes to lie right down on the mat), I threw together one of my favorite summer salads. Baby Spinach with carrots, tomatoes, avocado, chickpeas, tempeh bacon, chickpeas, and pepitas was tossed with goddess dressing and apple cider vinegar. Sea Salt might have made its way on there too. In the warmer months, I eat this combination often for lunch. Other staples I tend to include are beets and cucumber.
Of course chocolate was involved.
Although it was pretty humid out, I felt like a nice bath tonight. I don’t treat myself to them that often but every few months it is just what my muscles need.
- How do you feel about the CFDA health initiative? Do you think there may be a shift to include more healthy models in the future, if not yet? Were you surprised to see that Vogue featured an article about a model‘s struggles to maintain her unhealthy body weight? I find it reassuring to actually see that designers and magazine editors are more and more aware (and admitting it) of the unhealthy effects of the industry. Instead of hiding these instances, it is great that they are bringing them up and maybe even changing some things. I don’t know how much WILL actually change but even just including Kim Noorda’s diary regarding her eating issues because of the fashion world in Vogue’s pages is a big step.
-Have you read Gena’s guest posts (part 1 and part 2) on the Eat the Damn Cake blog? I loved to finally read her personal story and her choice to opt out. I hope you read both these posts. Gena has a way with words that I adore.
- Do you run with or without music? or a mix of both? Do you feel music improves or hinders your running?
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
I really can’t start this post without saying a big thank you to everyone for understanding or trying to see where I was coming from when I wrote “tired of defending my choices.” Before posting, I was worried others would feel it was just a good whining session, but so many of you knew exactly where I was coming from and instead of fearing comments, I was full of joy reading each one over the last day.
Here are a few words/conclusions about the topic of having to defend or explain our food choices:
- Many of you have also had instances where you were criticized or even poked fun because of the way you choose to eat.
- When met with questions of curiosity concerning the way we eat, we are more than willing to answer and explain ourselves.
- If we feel criticized or attacked by our food choices, it is best to try to keep our responses simple and maybe, try to shrug or laugh it off if you can.
- Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself when others refuse to believe you are getting adequate protein, fat, and other nutrients. Many times, people are not aware that you make sure to take care of yourself and try your best to make your diet well-rounded, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, etc.
- Most importantly, as long as we feel personally satisfied and proud of the way we eat, there is no reason to be embarrassed by not eating what most would consider the “norm.” No one else needs to play a role in our personal food decisions.
As I mentioned before, I will be heading to Philadelphia this weekend for my younger sister’s fashion show and graduation. I knew I probably would be unable to post but when my camera starting acting up yesterday, I realized it might be close to impossible this weekend. I think it is time to think about purchasing myself a “real camera.”
Here are some of the delicious eats from yesterday:
I have tried Angela’s Vegan Overnight Oats before in Banana Split form, but I wanted to try them again after seeing them on Ashley’s blog with coconut milk kefir. Instead of the kefir, I used my So Delicious coconut milk yogurt that I purchased with a coupon. I love this stuff! The combination I used was:
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/3 cup coconut milk plain yogurt (you could use other flavors, but I find them all too sweet for my taste buds)
- 2/3 cup almond milk
- T ground flaxseed
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t vanilla
- packet stevia (this was too sweet for me…I should have opted to forgo the sweetener)
Instead of whipping up some of Gena’s Banana Soft Serve, I decided for something a little warmer after seeing that it was another dreary day. On the stove top, I heated up half a thinly sliced banana with frozen black raspberries in a saucepan with a little maple syrup coconut oil, and almond milk. These compote toppings inspired by this one has seriously made me craving oats everyday. I love a nice berry and banana topper but when spring is nowhere to be seen, simmered fruit compotes are just what I desire. I layered the overnight oats and compote and then added a spoonful of Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter to sweeten the deal. This was another satisfying and delicious way to start the day.
After trying to eat my breakfast outdoors, I quickly resorted to the warmth of my own kitchen to read up about healthy body fat percentages for women and runners.
A few things I learned about body fat percentages and runners:
-My body fat is on the low-end of the average athletes percentage
-All women need 10-12% essential body fat
-Female athletes tend to have 14-20% body fat
-Fit women should have 21-24% body fat
-Acceptable female body fat is 25-31%, anything over is considered obese
-Often, runners who cover the greatest distance in training have lower body fat levels. They also eat tend to eat more food than those who do less running.
-The low body fat content of female distance runners is particularly striking; values of less than 10-15% are commonly reported among elite performers, but are seldom seen in healthy women outside sport.
-Reducing fat levels will not automatically guarantee success and may even be counter-productive.
-A reduction in body fat may well boost running performance, but if you cut down your food intake drastically, not only will training quality suffer, but the risk of illness and injury also increases dramatically.
-Generally speaking, sprinters have powerfully developed musculature of the upper body and of the legs, while distance runners have low body mass, with smaller muscles and extremely low body fat levels.
-It is probably not sensible for women’s body fat to fall below about 10-15%.
-For female athletes, there are some very immediate consequences of a low body fat level, including especially a fall in circulating oestrogen levels. This in turn can lead to a loss of bone mass, causing problems for women in later life through an increased risk of bone fracture.
I am nowhere near an elite runner, therefore, it was very interesting to find that my body fat fits within this range. It has been a long time since I have competed in races, but I will be upping my mileage in hopes of finishing my first marathon in the fall. At the same time, I will be working with a trainer at my gym occasionally so that I can monitor my body fat in order stay healthy. More resistance training will also be added to my current weekly plan. It has always been hard for me to maintain strength workouts alone, therefore, I feel it may be best at this time to seek some assistance from a trainer (being pushed always helps me). I haven’t discussed my injuries over the years, but I was over-trained at a much too young age and left with many shin splints turned into stress fractures. I once ran on a broken foot without being aware it was broken for over a month. These next six months will be all about listening to my body as much as possible and striving for a distance goal over a time goal. Of course I will aim to train with times in mind, but I definitely think it is important for me to remember that I have never ran close to as far as a marathon distance, and this needs to show in my times, as well. It is hard as a former consistent 5K runner to learn to slow down. I wish I could find more people to run with but haven’t had luck in my area. This is just one reason I miss living in Boston and New York so much.
I hope that you found the body fat percentage information among runners just as interesting as I did. I am sure many other runners also seem to have lower than average body fat percentages that we should not necessarily worry about, but be aware of. I don’t talk about this often, but when I first went to college I had many symptoms of the female athlete triad develop from not properly fueling myself. If you are interested in reading about the Female Athlete Triad, here are some links:
Now back to the eats…
After a quick shop at Whole Foods for traveling goodies, I picked up another packet of the Brown Rice Tortillas when I saw they were on sale. When it was time for lunch, I spread one with hummus, homemade pesto, bbq tempeh, and sun-dried tomatoes and warmed it up a few minutes in the oven. On the side, I sautéed the remainder of the swiss chard with tamari, lemon, and ginger.
This is around the time that I realized things were not looking so great with my little fujifilm camera and started obsessively roaming amazon and ebay for a nice new DSLR. Maybe my wishes will come true in the next month. Canon or Nikon? Any suggestions? I want something with better photo quality, but it also needs to be easy to use considering I’ve never studied photography.
Here are some things I am packing for my road trip/long weekend in Philadelphia. I know it is a very veg-friendly city, but I was not in charge of choosing the restaurants and have already realized some may not be easy for me to be well-fed.
These photos are upsetting me but I thought you might like to see what I bought. The Whole Foods Coupons may have influenced me in some of the purchases (clif c bars & dagoba chocolate).
- Figs & Mulberries – dried fruit is one of my favorite oatmeal toppings
- Apples – road trip. enough said.
- Tea – always great for a pick me up when in a hotel room before going out or to relax after a long day
- Almond butter – another favorite oatmeal topping or in case I need some healthy fats to go with fruit. Justin’s packs really make me smile when I can’t fit in a jar for the weekend. I need to try the chocolate hazelnut butter soon.
- Vega & Hempshake – these are two of my favorite vegan protein powder sources. I am sure there will be a time when I feel protein deprived over the weekend. I have had times in the past where the only vegan option was a white bagel. These are always good to have on hand.
- Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar – I’ve only had this flavor once before, but I loved the crunchy texture and banana flavor. The Banana Bread Flax bar is also pretty good for a chewy snack when you feel an energy crash.
- Clif C bars – I haven’t tried these yet but have heard good and bad things. The good thing is that they are all natural fruit and nut bars, so they can’t hurt.
- Larabars – I only pictured one because I later picked up two more at my boyfriends. The tropical fruit tart is not a favorite flavor but it will work when I need some fruit and nut nourishment. I am also bringing apple pie, peanut butter cookie, and cashew cookie.
For dinner, I reheated one of Angela’s “In a Jiffy Spelt Veggie Burgers” that I had made about a month ago. It was eaten with spinach and bbq sauce on a Rudi’s Bakery multigrain bagel that was in the freezer. I have been thinking of trying to stick to a wheat-free diet (vs. gluten-free) when I get back from Philadelphia because since reintroducing wheat into my days, I haven’t slept as well. In the meantime, it is best to eat what we have now before restocking the carbs. The bagel I had the day before made me crave another. There were days in high school in college cross-country season where I ate up to three bagels. I have a feeling that may happen as I start upping my running mileage. Maybe not three, but definitely one. I also have been missing the Ezekiel english muffins tremendously. Sprouted grains are so fulfilling and what I missed most during the gluten-free challenge week.
On the side I made a massaged kale salad like the one I often eat from Whole Foods, and that has been seen across the blog world. I simply mixed avocado, lemon, and red onion and massaged it for a few minutes before topping it with large daikon radish shreds (read about some benefits here).
Later, some Chocolate Mousse was eaten before heading out for the night. The lack of camera has really been upsetting today, but I hope to at least borrow one for some better photos over the weekend.
-Would you be interested in hearing more about the Female Athlete Triad? I have never opened up about it on the blog myself, but it is definitely something I would consider researching more or even talking about my own personal experiences.
-Do you like to pack snacks or meal components when traveling? Any favorites? I have made the mistake in the past of not bringing enough things to complement my meals on vacation. I tend to get cranky when not eating often enough and definitely always need breakfast to fuel the day.
Any Philly tips? I will have a limited amount of time to do anything straying from the graduation/fashion show schedule but would love to have some more ideas in mind.
Here is the thing. I am completely satisfied with my daily “diet.” I never feel deprived or lacking in something by eating all plant-based foods. However, last night I had to defend the way I eat. Sometimes I am more than willing to talk about why I choose to eat the way I do. I can give facts about how the world is negatively impacted by the livestock industry. I can talk about how “cage free” can mean that chickens are allowed to leave their usual coop for only one hour a day. I can talk about these things or I can just suggest some good books, films, or articles. I just don’t always want to. Sometimes I just want to be quiet and not have to justify myself. Sometimes people are in the mood to criticize my beliefs and say thing like “Claire, you know all little fish are eaten by big fish.” Really, I had no idea. This may seem like a rant but I am just a little tired of it. I work hard to make sure I am educated about receiving enough nutrients I may be lacking in. I KNOW that I am not deficient in protein and vitamin B12. Should I have to defend myself to everyone? When I suggest trying to read a book to see my view or watch a movie, why should you refuse? I am fine with people who don’t share my views. My boyfriend is a meat eater, but is well aware of the industries that are cruel and tries his best to choose better, more humane choices. It just upsets me when someone refuses to educate themselves in order to see both sides. I am not suggesting someone change their ways, but purely to look at it from both sides and accept it. I remember Averie talking about why she doesn’t feel like she needs to explain herself and her choices. I don’t always feel that I need to either, but then there are times where I just feel attacked. This is what I am tired of.
I am sorry to sound so defensive, but when someone you care about so much and is supposed to care about you refuses to see your side, than why should you try to see theirs? If they are unwilling to make even the smallest change in their life for their health and the world, it upsets me. I hope you can see where I am coming from at least in a small little way.
I woke up this morning feeling like I “had” to change things up, as though I had to prove that my eats aren’t boring. I had a bowl of So Delicious Coconut milk yogurt topped with Puffins, a handful of Smart Bran (not gluten-free, uh oh!), raspberries, and ground flaxseed.
This did not hold me over like my usual oatmeal concoctions do. I think that I was still upset about the night before and was trying to overcompensate by changing things up. Why should I change it if it is something I love? Not quite sure, obviously I am still working out some thoughts…
I decided lunch time was prime time to try out Angela’s Nut Butter Crusted Parsnip Fries via Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. I didn’t want to use my fancy Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter so whipped up a combo of peanuts, almonds, and coconut oil in the food processor to coat my root veggies. I only had one parsnip left from my mother’s day meal, so I used two carrots to bulk it up. More nut butter should have been used, but these were delicious.
I was running behind and didn’t want to overfill my belly before a fitness evaluation at my gym so I headed out the door with an apple and kombucha like the day before. Halfway through the car ride I realized that this was not a smart choice. I was wishing that I ate a big salad or wrap with the fries, but munched on the apple in hopes of some pre workout fuel.
The fitness evaluation was really great. I haven’t worked with a trainer since college and am not that great at keeping all areas of fitness in check by myself. I must admit that I was spoiled during my high school and college cross-country days with coaches and other team members. Healthworks in Boston also really kept me motivated with the help of a great trainer and classes like Running into Yoga (= total bliss). In the past year, my running has slipped and I haven’t taken care of myself in the same way. Of course, I know I eat well and work out moderately, but I thought I was no where near my old days of activity heading into this appointment. Wow, I was wrong. I have talked about my current career choice recently, and how it often keeps me running around all day but I had no idea it has also kept my endurance and other areas in check. Weight is something I don’t care to discuss on this blog because I have never thought it was a good measurement of fitness. I honestly don’t own a scale or use one. However, I was seriously shocked by the low number of my body fat percentage. It was only 1% higher than my peak racing days and apparently off the charts low. The trainer was kind of floored, as was I. At the same time, I became worried. A low body fat for women equals loss of menstruation, iron deficiencies, etc. I will be reading a lot more about this tomorrow and the next day to evaluate this more clearly. In the next few months I plan on significantly upping my workouts for half marathon training and then full marathon training for a race in the fall. There is no way I will let myself get unhealthy while training and hope to also stay injury free. I want to be significantly fueled and have enough energy for a fast paced job and great runs. I had all sorts of tests done other than body fat. If you are all more interested, I can go into more detail about the tests and results tomorrow. Honestly, a lot of it seems to go over my head. I am better at pace, time, and distance than I am with heart rate and the other logistics. It shall be interesting to see how these next few months shape up. Goals will start with distances covered and pace will be more focused on later.
Afterwards, I came home to re-carb with a sprouted cinnamon raisin bagel topped with better than cream cheese, and crofters on one side and grated carrots on the other. My day was looking low in greens. In the blender went almond milk, a frozen banana, and a few cups of spinach. Yes, I finished the bag of spinach in two days.
It had been way too long since I had a bagel and I realize that I totally slipped from the gluten-free eats today. I couldn’t help it, but hope to do better tomorrow. Maybe all the wheat will fuel a nice cross training session planned in the morning. Dinner looked strikingly similar to our Mother’s Day feast. The chickpea and sweet potato tagine has really stretched for days and I don’t mind. The Mousse Pie was a nice close to the day.
Do you feel the need to justify your diet, even if it isn’t vegetarian or vegan? Do people criticize you for your healthy choices? Are you ever tired of explaining yourself?
Have you ever had your body fat tested? Did you feel like it was beneficial to your training or important to know? Part of me feels as though I didn’t need this information. Will my body fat really affect the way I train and race?…maybe, but sometimes I feel like trainers are so quick to spew out facts based on what they feel works and not what is universal to everyone. At the same time, I am more interested in the body fat percentage than weight. After an injury years ago, I had my body fat tested and it was higher although I weighed less. Just some thoughts.
Every time I take my usual stroll to the farmer’s market I come up with an exciting plan of bringing home elaborate produce I have not yet tried. Of course I have to still remember that I am a college student with not only a budget, but also without any real space for more food in my miniscule refrigerator. After an attack of fruit flies, I had to force all my apples and bananas into the fridge as well. Often I joke about how it is a maze to find things in this fridge, but that is actually true. This current apartment was thought to be temporary stay of 2-3 weeks and I am now realizing that I may have to invest in an additional fridge because this college dorm-like mini fridge is a huge damper on my usual investment in fresh fruits and veggies.
This week’s trip to the farmer’s market was rather uneventful in terms of purchases but I caught sight of some fall beauties…
I am ashamed to admit that I have never had this variety of kale. Usually sticking with the curly kale, this dinosaur kale is rather enticing…
Another moment of excitement on Friday was when I went to one of my favorite stores, Marathon Sports. Now I will use a little bit of runner’s lingo to tell you about some recent shoe/injury drama. Considering how injury-prone I have been throughout my entire running career, I am often quite hesitant when buying new shoes. The last news I heard when I went to this store was that I had been wearing the wrong type of shoes for my high arched feet for over 4 years. My left foot has a bone that is a tiny bit higher on top than the right and my mother calls it the “cavanaugh bump” (family name). Although I still get that bump confused with one on many of my family member’s nose also considered a family bump (I don’t think I have that one). In the last few weeks leading up to my Cross Country season I was feeling pain on the top part of my foot that I kept confusing with pain from shoes being tied to tight. After numerous times of undoing the laces throughout one run, I consulted my coach who informed me I had something that sounded like extensor tendonitis. To minimize risk of more injury I took the usual few days off to cross train and went to Marathon Sports where they told me that the Asic 21 series of shoes I had been buying since my sophomore year of high school were causing my foot to roll farther out than it already did naturally. Basically, my high arches cause my feet to supinate or underpronate, especially on my left. I needed shoes to help fix this problem and I switched to Adidas. As a loyal Asics supporter over the last 7-8 years, I was truly sad to stop wearing them.
Ironically I was sore for the first week or so of training in my Adidas but my foot injury as since faded. The calves were getting more stress than they had before because all the weight of my running was going to my shins and feet (bones!) instead of the muscles that should of been absorbing the shock more than the bones. Most people don’t realize that their feet change over the years as well as their form and stride so it is important to continue asking people at specialty running stores to help you find the perfect pair of shoes for you.
The newest shoe drama was when I tried to compete over a week ago in a Cross Country 5K race but had to stop because of increasing pain in my shin. This injury is nothing new to anyone who has run and I have had my fair share of them. I don’t like to admit when I have shin splints because I always thought they were the new runner’s injury but they can be caused by simply overtraining, not only training too much too fast. The new Nike Spikes I was wearing were making my nagging pain considerably worse throughout the race. I was going fast but my feet were yet again rolling outwards and the shins were shocked…tears were coming down my face when I stopped at only 7 minutes at about 1.2 miles. Another return to Marathon Sports and another pair of shoes later, I am trying out these racing flats: Mizuno’s that only weigh 6 oz! If you live near or in Boston, I recommend going to Marathon Sports where they care about how you feel in your running shoes. They took back my racing spikes after I wore them in dirt and mud, although they will probably never be able to sell them again (don’t worry I asked-they recycle the shoes!) and I only had to pay a small difference in price of the two pairs. A student discount doesn’t hurt either…
Lastly, today was the Tufts 10K for women and I was amazed by all the women running from ages 10-90. I stuck around for the awards as saw a lady getting a medal at age 82. It was truly inspirational. The Olympic Marathon champion, Joan Benoit Samuelson, also ran and spoke as the spokesperson of the race. These women are true athletes and I can only wish to continue running as long as they have.
I have practice at 7am so I will try out the new racing flats with some speedwork and report back about how they feel. Good night everyone. I hope you all had a fabulous Columbus day!
It happens to be one of those gray days here in Boston today and I can’t say I mind it one bit. With a busy day ahead, I decided it was the perfect occasion to get in a few miles before the city wakes up. Standing in the courtyard outside my apartment building, I took in the fresh air and memories flew into my head of High School Cross Country camp. Running twice a day may seem crazy to some but there is nothing better than enjoying two of what I consider to be the best times of the day, early morning and early evening. My former coach would pile us into a van and head out to a park with wood chip trails and dew still on the grass. I missed the paths and tree lined dirt roads of the Midwest. I missed my best friends who I told my deepest and darkest secrets as we ran mile after mile. I wondered how I could make it all come back or maybe just recreate it to the best of my ability. Although it is only August, I could smell the Fall approaching as I ran along the Charles river at seven this morning. The drizzle began as I finished my the last few strides and I remembered something one of my best friends and high school teammate said to me.
“The perfect weather for running is when it looks like it might rain.”
Early September will bring about a change in my current environment. Moving outside of the inner city of Boston, I will be going back to the suburbs for my last few months of college. Of course I will be returning to the city for class everyday but still I can’t help but feel a small amount of excitement for the parks, paths, trees, dirt roads, and early morning runs.
Being injury prone since my young start, I was eager to buy this book about the famous FIRST approach to training. Published my Runner’s World, it had to be a respectable purchase and it has made me think about my health and fitness in a new light. Recommended workouts in the book insist on quality over quantity to insure you steer clear of overuse injuries by focusing on less runs a week. My injury of choice (not really choice, but you know what I mean) is the shin splint, which develops into stress fractures. It can be caused by too much too fast which I assumed was the first reason they started about eight years ago, but because they have come back over and over again, I know it is just something I will be dealing with forever. Knock on wood right now though, I am safe so far this summer. One trick I learned from a former captain is to use a dixie cup (not exactly green friendly, I know). Fill up a few cups with water and pop them in the freezer. After a tough workout, rub the mouth of the ice filled cups up and down your shins and as they melt, peel away the sides. The way the ice forms to your leg is great and I have relied on it for injury prevention. Trust me, it feels much better than an ice bath.
The post run fuel was a half a small tortilla with almond butter, half a banana, flax meal, and a small amount of agave nectar. My advice is to think of food before and after your run as fuel. The ideal ratio of carbs to protein after an endurance sport is four to one. Maybe I don’t always stick with it but I try my best. Honestly, the best way to reach this ratio is with yogurt (try these) or milk (almond for me), cereal (with protein and fiber-KASHI), topped with berries and half a banana. The muscles need this to recover properly and you are doing more harm than good if you skip a post workout snack. These are just some tips that have proven to work with me over the years.
Stretching in the gym this morning, I caught Matt Lauer talking about Michael Phelps’ 200 meter freestyle win last night. In a short interview after the swim, he said he didn’t feel that well but that definitely didn’t hinder his performance. What an amazing athlete he is.
One last photo to close with is another to prepare for my Martha’s Vineyard arrival on Friday…
Here I am sailing on Lake Tashmoo with two of my cousins, Tom and Dinah. Early High School I wore this red bikini all summer. I wonder where it is…
Recently, it seems as though I have become a night athlete. There are times I don’t make it to the gym until 10:30 p.m. to fit in a quick run and/or strength training routine. Of course the Olympics late night airings doesn’t help me abandon this new schedule, but pushes me harder and further. The Olympic athletes continue to impress and inspire me as I pound one last mile on the treadmill. Tonight I incorporated some speed intervals into my run by upping the miles per hour to 8.5 during the commercial breaks. If you are keeping up with the games, you know that these breaks are often brief because of NBC’s exclusive live coverage. This created the perfect opportunity to focus on my running form and pick up the pace.
Michael Phelps and three fellow American swimmers won the 4 by 100 meter freestyle relay tonight (or this morning in Beijing) and the joy and excitement these boys showed was amazing. Phelps is unbelievable but it was also great to see his teammate, Jason Lezak, swim the final leg with a record-breaking time.
Blake, Deena, and Magdelena (US Marathon team) runnersworld.com
Throughout the night I had the chance to catch quite a few events but I am still eagerly awaiting for track and field to begin on Friday, August 15th. This happens to be the day I arrive to Martha’s Vineyard and I hope my family won’t mind that I will be eager to watch these races (it only happens once every four years!). The first night will close with the 10,000 meters featuring one of my all time favorites, Kara Goucher. Two days later, the women’s marathon will take place at 7:30p.m. and I am rooting for Deena Kastor to win. Paula Radcliffe, the English world record holder in the marathon will be competing, however she has been out due to injury recently and did not finish in Athens in 2004. The following Friday will be the women’s 5,000 meter event and a there has been a small controversy over whether or not Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan will both compete in the 5K and 10K. A week is a good amount of time to recover from a 10K and I hope both women stick to each race considering they have proven to be the best Americans at the track trials in Eugene, Oregon. Last is the men’s marathon on the 24th, at the same time as the women’s. Ryan Hall will be the American to beat but the two other Americans in the race hit close to home, literally. Dathan Ritzehein was a high school Cross Country star when I was running in Michigan and I can still remember hearing his name called over the loudspeaker at my freshman year state championship meet. He won of course. The other athlete is Brian Sell, who continues to train with the Hanson’s team in Rochester, Michigan. The Hanson’s Distance Project was started by two brothers whom own the store I bought my first pair of running shoes. Those are just a few races of interest that I suggest watching over the course of the Olympics. Runner’s World has the full schedule of events found here.
Something about Nike makes me ready to run and it is probably beacause the marketing has proven to work on me (I am still a loyal Asics shoe wearer). I am considering this race because I see the handouts are at every Starbucks I have visited the last few weeks. Maybe you should partake.
Lastly, if this post was of interest to you, I recommend grabbing the September issue of Runner’s World. The magazine has all types of changes to the layout and it is wonderful. As a magazine junkie (collector?), I can say that this redesign has improved a publication that did not even need improving. Other positive elements of the issue were the “Secrets of the Olympians,” the international runners featured in the issue, and gear: Sports Bras.
Goodnight. Tomorrow I will be posting about my fabulous dinner of Edamame Dumplings. Here is a peak…
The last of the swiss chard had to be eaten tonight.
A post-run dinner is always a leftover or something extremely quick and easy to prepare. I marinated tofu for thirty minutes after pressing it dry with paper towels and a heavy cookbook for an hour. The constant craving for asian flavors wasn’t going away any time soon. I had this marinated tofu served with chard, water chesnuts, and shiitake mushrooms. I would double the marinade for vegetables added next time and add 1/2 of the sauce with cornstarch and water to the pan while cooking.
Simple Soy-Agave Marinade
2T soy sauce
1 ½ t rice vinegar
T agave nectar
½ t sesame oil
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes
Slice half of a 14 oz package of extra firm tofu in half and reserve half for later use. Cut tofu into one-inch cubes and place in whisked marinade. Refrigerate tofu in marinade for thirty minutes. Heat medium pan and one tablespoon of sesame oil (peanut or canola work well too) on medium-high heat. Sauté for two minutes each side, until browned. Serve with stir-fried vegetables and eat immediately. (serves 2)
Broccoli (broccolini or broccoli rabe)
Toasted Sesame Seeds
I am excited about this right now:
Recently I have been focusing on running injury-free. After years of shin splints resulting in stress fractures, I know that I have overdone my training too many times. One workout to rely on is the Tempo Run. This run, focusing on intensity would be an 8 out of 10 on exertion level. It is believed that tempo runs should be a slower mile warm up, 2-4 miles at tempo pace, and a nice one mile cool-down at an easy pace. The tempo run increases your lactate threshold level, which challenges your capacity to keep a faster speed for a longer amount of time. Instead of trying to run farther every time, try a fartlek or tempo run next time.