Not a Foodie

March 27, 2012 § 8 Comments

I have never been a picky eater. But I have never been a particularly healthy eater, either. Growing up, I learned quickly that chocolate and ice cream taste better than apples and salads. And I stuck with that as a mantra well into adulthood…..aka last week. Having Hillary as a coach undoubtedly puts food on my radar more. Having followed her progress as a triathlete for years now, I have also followed her evolution with diet. Aside from that, it’s pretty much common sense that if you want to be an elite athlete, you have to take care of your body.

Up until now, I have made some feeble attempts to become more aware of what I am eating. But, if I felt like eating crappy food for a day, I did it. I deserved 3 bowls of ice cream when I got up in the morning to swim that day, right? If three Cokes a day got me through my 8 hours of work, then so be it! Why eat a banana when this bag of jellybeans is sitting right here?

While I have had successes in endurance sport with my current diet, I’m no fool: it’s time to make some changes. In fact, that time was probably years ago. But better late than never, right? So, I sent my food log over to coach and will spare you the details, but when her reply includes a line like “once I got over the initial shock…” you  know you have work to do 🙂 Before I got to work though, I had to send Coach some photographic proof that two of my diet staple items do, in fact, actually exist and are currently in my cupboard.

Right off the bat there were some big things we saw I could change. I know the way I work, so I think I can best accomplish this diet improvement with a series of substitutions, some small changes…and a heck of a lot of will power. Hopefully, all of these small changes will eventually equal one big change. My priorities right now are to focus on:

  1. Laying off the sugar. Part of this is working in “good” sweeteners into the diet. Apparently there are alternatives to the mounds of sugar I usually dump into my coffee which taste just as good! I am also limiting my intake of sugary cereals and Coke – this is the most challenging as I had become accustomed to a minimum of 2 Cokes per day. And no more lunch time trips to the grocery store to come back with family size packs of Twizzlers. {Allegedly} Choosing more healthy options will become easier as time goes on – something about my taste buds will trick me into thinking healthy things actually taste good. I’ll believe that when I taste(?) it!
  2. Eating more live things. I ate one salad the week I food logged….and that was partially because in my head I thought “shoot, I’m food logging, I should include something healthy.” The toughest parts for me about eating fruit/veggies are that a) they are confusing to buy (I don’t know what they are like when they are ripe, too ripe, not ripe enough, whatever) and then b) I feel like as soon as I buy them they go bad. Seriously, you know how people say cars are terrible investments because of their depreciation when you drive them off the lot? Well, I’m fairly convinced fruit is way worse. No Dole stock for this girl. Just yesterday I threw out bananas because it turns out that stacking them on top of other grapefruits makes them gross really fast (note: this may or may not be factual, but it is my latest observation). Meanwhile, Carly’s counter-top sitting bananas have looked great and healthy for days. Steep learning curve here people!
  3. Eating more often. As it is, I am a champion snacker. But, I do tend to wait until I’m hungry to snack. And that usually results in bingeing….not the best route, especially when the snacks to this point have been cookies, chips, soda, candy, etc. So, I’m subbing in what I can for healthier options. I like apples when they have peanut butter so that’s a good start. And hummus. And applesauce (even when it doesn’t have sugar.)

One thing I know I will keep in my diet though is dessert. Lucky for me, coach just posted some Hillary-approved options! And I tried out making some Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding the other day. Not my favorite – but it could work in a pinch. The recipe I used was:

 1/4 cup Chia Seeds

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp brown rice syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir it up, then place in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow it to thicken up. Then enjoy!

For what it’s worth, the recipe says it like that – “enjoy!” ….I would say something more along the lines of “then eat and dream of PR’s to rationalize why you are eating these goopy tasting seeds and pretending it’s as good as ice cream.”

But hey – whatever works. Any other suggestions? Fellow HB-er Laura shouted out the Soda Stream on Twitter today and I have been contemplating getting one – that may be crucial to my ability to reduce the soda intake!

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No Baggage, No Cry

March 26, 2012 § 3 Comments

Remember this post, where I came out to the world about being a bag lady?

Well, times are changing and I am handing in my bag lady card….I’m like the opposite of a bag lady now….also known as a regular looking girl going to the gym/pool.

What happened that changed my life so drastically? BLUE SEVENTY! They are sharing the love this year and are one of the great sponsors of the Rev3 family. I was so excited when I heard that news since I’ve had my eye on the Transition TZ bag for awhile now.  If you are currently in the market for a new transition bag – or a swim bag, or a run bag, or a bike bag, or a swim to run bag, or a bike to run bag, or a swim to bike bag, or shoot, if you’re going camping – get this bag!!!

My favorite part is the compartment at the bottom that is fully waterproof. No longer will I be pulling damp work clothes out of my bag as I unpack at home in the evenings! The large middle compartment is also huge enough for me to carry all of my necessities – TRISWIM shamp/condish/bodywash/lotion, towel, running clothes, clothes for after, nicer clothes for after (just in case dinner plans aren’t at a triathlete friendly venue), makeup, hair dryer, etc. Then there’s also plenty of other compartments along the outside. I keep my keys, lock, gym pass in top easy to reach zip pocket. There’s also spots for shoes, water bottle holders, and even a spot for a helmet! I am no longer walking out the door with 15,000 bags in the morning as I have managed to consolidate down to 2 – this one and my work purse! It’s a pretty amazing feeling of freedom, I have to say.

St. Patty’s Day Duathlon Race Report: Limerick Edition

March 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

There was a blonde girl named Alyssa,

Who signed up to race her friend Christa;

They ran fast together,

Then biked like a mother,

If you blinked you wouldda missed-ah!

Before!

After!

Some Sponsor Love!

March 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

It’s been awhile since I gave some sponsor love, and this is Part 1 of some very exciting news coming from Rev3! We have some AMAZING companies supporting us this year, and I mean it when I say that in only 3 months they have already made a difference in my training and racing. I want to focus on two of the great companies in this post….PowerBar and Swiftwick.

PowerBar

The support that this company gives to not only triathlon – but all athletes, in so many sports, all over the world – is undeniable. Just check out their Team Elite Roster. From Ironman Champions to age groupers, PowerBar is with us every step of the way, fueling us and helping us recover faster. I have three absolute favorite products from PowerBar: RESTORE Sports Drink Mix, Cola Energy Blasts, and the Triple Threat Caramel Peanut Fusion energy bar.

Cola Energy Blasts are my go to morning pre-workout snack. It’s usually too early for me to eat anything too substantial, but the energy blasts trick me into thinking they are candy. They aren’t too big or hard to chew, so I can easily get enough in to get me calories to make it through my intervals on the trainer or the track.

Lately I have been bringing the Triple Threat bars on rides. At 220 calories they are a quick and easy snack that’s easy to eat on the bike – even with gloves on (very important for those colder rides). These are also a staple of my swim bag and my purse at work for go-to snacks. I have found it’s important to have something handy for immediately after workouts to help tie me over until I can get a real meal in me.

And I have been most excited to have found the RESTORE recovery beverage. The best part is when it arrived at my doorstep it was uniquely packaged:

I have not finished a ride yet this season and not been mixing a bottle of this within minutes! It tastes like Sunny D, so it brings me back to my childhood, but luckily I can fix up a serving larger than those silly little bottles Sunny D came in that you could finish in one gulp. I have noticed that the addition of this as a post-workout beverage has left me feeling stronger and more ready to tackle the tough workouts the next day.

If you have any other questions about PowerBar products, shout them out to me or any member of the Rev3 team!

Swiftwick

I didn’t start using compression socks until last summer during the drive out to Louisville. A regular of getting cankles, I was willing to try them to stop those cankles from forming during travel…and they work! I have since incorporated them into the recovery process, and as I sit here with my legs up getting ready to race this weekend, you know they’re on my legs!

The Swiftwick website is really user friendly and allows you to shop around for socks based off of sport, height, material, color, etc so you know you are finding the perfect pair. I have also been wearing the Aspire One and will be sporting those this weekend for the DU. No foot problems whatsoever since I started wearing them. And for my Baltimore readers I will keep you updated about local places to find these socks, but they are at my favorite bike shop, Twenty20!

Girls & Sports

March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

A few days ago Lauren Harrison posted on her blog, the infamous Slog, about the importance of sports in her life. Inspired after overhearing some remarks by young girls in the pool locker room, she wrote compellingly on the issues that girls face in today’s world and how sports have helped her overcome them. Yes, today’s world. In case you have been under a rock, women’s rights isn’t just an issue for the history books.

Lauren points out that throughout her life sports were an outlet for her that taught her how to combat the negative thoughts that seep into every young girl’s mind. I had a similar experience. In addition to playing competitive soccer growing up, I was lucky to have an older sister who set an example of how to work hard and pursue dreams; she went on to Columbia Law School and is becoming a kick-ass lawyer in NYC (think future Diane Lockhart from The Good Wife). I have parents that sent me outside to play with the neighborhood kids knowing that they were mostly boys and never minding that I was coming home with grass stains on my jeans instead of barbies or makeup. All of these things – sports, a supportive family, caring mentors/coaches – were enough to keep my head on straight and ready to battle the negative influences I’d experience throughout my life.

I never had the awareness as I grew up that I was, in fact, facing threats to my own progressive thinking every single day. The magazines. TV (though I didn’t have cable as a kid which probably helped!). The internet (Facebook certainly has it’s downsides!). The fact that going to USNA for 2 years of undergrad meant I was lucky to take an English class – women’s studies or anything remotely related was practically a curse word. Throughout all of this, sports remained the center of my life teaching me valuable lessons, many of which I probably still haven’t even realized are there.

Lauren was right and I second her applause to those young girls out there who are learning to play sports, and to the parents who are schlepping them back and forth to practices. And I want to add my own CHEERS to Lauren (and LJ!). To Hillary. To Linsey, Beth W., and Kelly. These are just a few of the women who are forging the path in the sport that I now play in my adult life. And who are making a name for themselves professionally and/or athletically. Who are teaching the young girls out there – as well as the twenty-somethings like myself – that you can do it. That you can be a mom and a triathlete – or hold off on that whole mom thing – and either way it’s okay. That you can choose everything from your career, to your birth control, to the bike you want to ride fast on.

And on a lighter note, here’s to hoping someone takes Lauren up on her offer to take a carpool shift, or swim or bike with their daughter, because I’d love to read the blog about that!

Weekend Riding Recap!

March 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

I apologize for my lack of blogging about Camp Biswelsiek this past weekend, but I assure you it was for good reason: it was tough and left no energy for typing! I am eager to read Dawn and Michelle’s reports of the actual camp, but judging from the Twitter activity, and Hillary’s blogging,  it looked like a lot of fun was had and a lot of fitness was gained. I am sure the group dynamic played a huge role in getting the campers through the workouts. Dawn was so kind as to send me some virtual love since she knew I was camping solo-style on the East Coast, and believe me, I needed that on Saturday!

It was a big weekend of riding (which bodes well for a weekend celebration of DST!), and while I have been on the trainer this winter more than I ever have been before, it will always take a good few rides outside before I really feel like I’m getting my riding legs under me again. Saturday I had a 5 hour ride on tap. I pieced together several of my favorite rides to create a 75 mile loop, figuring that worst case scenario, it would take me all 5 hours. Best case, I’d swing through a park on my way home to add a few more miles. Unfortunately for me, this was a worst case scenario type of day! When I had mapped the ride, I completely ignored 2 things: 1. Coach’s instructions that it doesn’t have to be a hard ride, I just need good time in the aero bars, and 2. The weather report. Had I simply paid attention to the forecast, and which direction the gusting winds were going that day, I could have ridden out a tail wind for most of the ride. Instead, I headed into some crazy crosswinds and a headwind for 45+ miles of the ride. For a girl who is used to sitting on the back during a group ride, this was a rude awakening! I also probably could have helped myself by finding a flat route and not deciding to ride up every single huge hill within a 40 mile radius of Baltimore. I have no clue if 4,300+ feet of climbing really is that much over 75 miles, but it sure felt like it! As I was on a climb towards the middle of the ride I actually had the “thank god I’m wearing a road-ID so they can identify me in case I don’t make it back” thought. A little dramatic, sure, but I have never had my butt kicked like that before.

Sunday proved to be a better day for riding. I duped a couple girls I know into coming with me for an early start. It was going to be an early start BEFORE daylight savings….so it was double early with the clocks rolling back on Sunday morning. Which also meant cold! But Christa and Amy were troopers and we rode out to Patapsco together. I had a longer ride on the agenda, so they headed back, but it’s always nice to have some company on any portion of a ride. That gave me some more motivation to tackle the hills of Columbia before heading home.

This weekend is St. Patty’s Day Du; I think it will be a good measure for the early season! And with temps in the 70’s all week I am hoping for some solid weather.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

March 7, 2012 § 13 Comments

If you asked me what my favorite holiday is, you may never guess my answer. Probably because most people don’t necessarily think of this day as a holiday: Daylight Savings Time: Spring Version! Trading in one (albeit precious) hour of sleep pales in comparison to the hours of afternoon daylight I will now be experiencing. Since my morning workouts are usually runs or swims anyway (or the occasional trainer sesh), I crave getting out of work and still finding daylight abundant for my afternoon workout. I don’t mind that I may be pushed back in my morning sunrise. And since this was a Leapyear, I don’t want to hear any complaining about the lost hour – you already got an entire day for free!

Daylight Savings means that a lot of things are near. The feel of summer is in the air. Snowball stands will be open soon. Miss Twist will start coming by my house at 10pm again! Thursday night group rides are only a few weeks away! It won’t feel like 11pm when I’m eating dinner at 8:30p. Driving with the windows down, and letting the breeze blow through open windows in the house. Not to mention I swear this improves the morale of all of America because of the increase in Vitamin D people get from sunlight.

It also means tri season is just around the corner! I am literally counting down the days until my season opening race at Rev3 Knoxville……Only 59 days left!!

An added bonus of my favorite time of the year is that this weekend coincides with “Camp Biswelsiek” (yes, I made that up myself….if you google that you probably won’t get anywhere)….Since I am unable to get out to Arizona for Coach Hillary and Maik’s 4-day Tuscon Smashfest, I have worked out an East coast version of the camp with Coach and will be putting in the work along with everyone else Friday – Monday! Let the fun begin!

 

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