Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Running In A Winter Wonderland

Since last weekend everyone has been in a panic about Leon.  (Apparently we've been naming winter storms for a while now, though somehow this is complete news to me.)  They started closing schools over the weekend, days before the storm was scheduled to arrive, and on Tuesday morning they declared that we were in a "state of emergency."  Tuesday afternoon I got out of work early and set out on a 10-miler just as Leon was making his way into town.  It was freezing cold, wet, windy, and by the time I was done my jacket and gloves were literally covered in ice.  Not the most pleasant experience.

It iced/snowed all night and when I woke up all roads were covered in a thick layer of ice with a few inches of snow on top.  I was debating on whether I should go to a treadmill or run outside.  In the end, the great outdoors won out and I'm so glad it did because I had one of the funnest runs I've had in a while!   It was like being out on one big playground :)

It was a bit treacherous getting out onto the main roads b/c the side streets hadn't been plowed at all!  This made for slow goings at times.  I had heard the beach was covered in snow and I wanted to see this because I feel like it probably doesn't happen that often, so I ran down to the beach and it was pretty darn cool! 

I then decided to run a few miles on the beach because running on the packed sand close to the ocean afforded a lower fall risk than running on the roads.  And it was pretty!  On my way from Johnny Mercer's Pier to the Oceanic's Pier I saw people sledding!  What a great idea!  I almost asked if I could try it, but just settled for a picture.  Though why people who live here have sleds on hand I'm not so sure?

I made it to the Oceanic and stopped in to see this guy:

He offered me jokes and some pink lemonade that tasted like the Atlantic Ocean.  Thanks Jester!!!  After that I decided to head back on the roads.  Unfortunately the South end hadn't been plowed very well/at all.  I was running on this road

when all of a sudden a cop got out of his car, started yelling at me, and the following conversation ensued...

Cop:  Are you serious right now!!!???  Are you serious!!!???
Me:  Um, yeah.
Cop:  I don't think you get my point.
Me:  What's your point?
Cop:  You are running down the middle of a sheet of ice and cars are having to go into the other lane to get around you.  You could get hit.  These clowns have no business being on the road in conditions like this!
Me:  I know, that's why I'm out here running because I thought it would be unsafe to drive to the gym.
Cop:  Rolls his eyes but nods in agreement.  Why are you running in the middle of the road?
Me:  Because the traction is better where vehicles have gone over the snow; it's more slippery and icy  on the sides.  Look, what do you want me to do?
Cop:  You should probably go home.
Me:  I am, but I'm still about 4 miles away from my house.  I'll try running closer to the side of the road, ok?
Cop:  Ok, fine.  Be careful.

This was an annoying turn of events because there were hardly any cars even out!  And it slowed me down to 9 minute miles for a stretch until I got back to clearer roads.  Despite that minor brush with the law, it was a really fun inspiring run and great to be out in nature's elements!  That being said, I'm glad that it's going to be in the upper 60's this weekend because although it was fun for a day, I would not want to have to deal with running in this type of weather all the time!  I don't know how your Northerner's do it, but I give you much respect.  Play it safe out there everyone!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Healthy Evening Snack: Edamame

Earlier this year when I was in FL I ate at a sushi restaurant and one of my friends ordered steamed edamame as an appetizer.  I loved it and have been ordering it every single time I go out for sushi ever since.  I've remarked many times that I wish I could whip this up easily at home while watching a movie instead of popcorn.  Well now I can because I found this today at Costco!!!

I'm SO excited because this is SO easy and SO healthy!  To prepare, all you do is put one of the steamable bags of edamame in the microwave and heat for 2.5-3 minutes.  It also comes with little packets of sea salt if you want to sprinkle some on top.

This is a great evening snack for when you are watching the boob tube and want something to munch on.  One bag has only 140 calories and 12 grams of healthy plant protein!  I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as I have been! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

EPIC Food Company

So I'm kind of obsessed with EPIC Food Company.  It's easily in the list of my top 5 favorite places to eat in Wilmington and if you haven't been there before you need to check it out ASAP!  Every menu item is a taste explosion of whole foods and fresh ingredients.  And the real kicker is that the food is actually good for you too!  Chef and owner James Bain is an avid surfer & paddle boarder and is as passionate about his food as he is spending time in the surf.  I sat down with him recently to find out more about this magical place called EPIC...

What is your culinary background?
I grew up right here in Wilmington and spent most of my younger years surfing.  I would work in various restaurants, save up enough money to travel to places with waves (like Hawaii & Australia), surf until my money ran out, and then get another job at a restaurant.  I repeated this cycle for quite a while until I decided I should do something with my life.  I then enrolled in culinary school at Johnson & Whales and became a chef and worked in fine dining for the next 10 years.

What inspired you to open EPIC?
I'm curious by nature and when I start learning about something new I really delve in.  As my career as a chef progressed I naturally began wanting to know more about nutrition.  I also started getting into paddle boarding and triathlon.  I realized that what you get out of your body is equivalent to what you put into it.  I wanted to shift gears away from heavy French-style and rich Southern-style cooking and focus on making delicious healthy food to fuel an active lifestyle.  I also wanted a new challenge!

What does the name EPIC mean to you?
Epic is an adjective frequently used by surfers to describe the condition of the surf when the waves just can't get any better!  Additionally EPIC stands for "Energetic People In the Community." The thought behind the design of the restaurant was for it to be a place where active members in the community can come together to share good times and good eats.  We have a chalk wall where we write all the upcoming local races so everyone always knows the time and place of the next event!

What is your food philosophy?
I believe that the best dishes are created from using fresh and natural ingredients.  My signature is surprising the palate with just the right amount of acidity and always using fresh herbs!  I purchase local and organic ingredients whenever possible and only use organic, grass-fed proteins. 

What is your favorite item on the menu?
I love vegetables so one of my favorites is the Hawaiian Salad, which is bean sprouts, pickled radish & cucumber, cilantro, tomatoes, ginger veggies, and scallions on top of a bed of fresh baby greens.

Thanks James!

So of course I have to put in my two cents here - my favorite thing to get is a bowl of brown sticky rice topped with pressed tofu, edamame, roasted red peppers, string carrots, sweet potatoes, and bok choy with a spicy peanut sauce!  It's soooo good, soooo healthy, and filling too!

EPIC is located in the forum across from Mayfaire.  If you want to try some of this tasty food come to my nutrition talk tomorrow at 12:30 at TOPS Athletics where we will be sampling some of his excellent fare.  See ya there!  :-)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner ... Except The Flu

OMG, I've been so deathly sick.  It's been horrible.  10 days ago I started feeling something deep in my chest, but I chalked it up to having done a lot of cleaning the day before and thought it was probably because I had breathed in a lot of bleach.  So I went to track practice as usual and everyone was on point that night, running really fast splits on the 5x1000 that we did.  I was definitely pushing my body to try to keep up w/ my group and maybe that workout put me over the edge.

The next day I woke up and felt pretty terrible.  All day I was alternating between really hot and really cold.  I was either sweating or had goosebumps.  I felt like Jack Black in Tropic Thunder when he's coming down off his "jelly beans."  By Friday I was so miserable that I actually went to the doctor.  My temp was 103 and they told me I had the flu.  I ached all over, had a headache, no energy, and a very deep cough.  Ew gross, I haven't been really sick like this in so long. 

I thought if I rested over the weekend and took a couple more days off running I'd be fine.  I took Tamiflu, alternated w/ Ibuprofen & Tylenol, & drank codeine cough syrup at night.  But Monday rolled around, I was still ill, and I unfortunately haven't accrued any sick leave.  So I trudged out last week feeling less than stellar.  By Wednesday I hadn't run at all in an entire week!  Seven days and my mileage was a big goose egg!  I wanted to run, but I just hadn't felt up to it. 

Thursday, I decided that even though I wasn't better I HAD to start exercising again b/c taking that much time off was starting to take a physical and a mental toll on me.  I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and was feeling somewhat optimistic that this was the start of me getting back on track.  However, Friday I had a migraine after work and felt a little nauseous so I didn't run.  This morning I got in an hour, but didn't feel very good.  It was cold and windy and I whined to myself about summer being so far away.  Tomorrow I'm planning on running for 90 minutes and I'm really hoping that I'm going to feel better. 

Overall I think I am getting better, even though the process has been so painfully slow.  The worst part is when I think about how much I was putting into my running before and how much I was gaining.  I had finally gotten up to about 60 miles per week, was up to 20 miles on my long run, and was routinely putting in the hard work at the track on Wednesdays.  I was confident that I was doing the proper preparation to set myself up for success at Quintiles.  Now I just feel like I've lost all that fitness!  I mean, I know I couldn't have lost my entire base, but I do know that if you are not conditioning, you are deconditioning and this process begins to happen pretty quickly.  It's so frustrating b/c I'm in a phase of training that is really important for my marathon which is only about 2 months away now.  I'm worried that this is going to affect my ability to reach my sub 3 hour goal and that does not make me a happy camper at the moment. 

So, all I can really do is continue to rest and eat right and do what I can training-wise until I'm healthy again.  Then I've got to assess where I'm at and get back into my training plan.  I'm not the first athlete to get sick and take some forced time off training, but when you're in this position you almost feel like you are the only one on the world going through it.  Anyhow, hope this post finds the rest of you in good health and good spirits!  Hopefully I'll be back out there w/ you all SOON!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh and here's a funny Eminem song from MMLP2 called Baby that I was listening to on my run and gave me the idea for the title of this blog :-)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Garmin 220

Was it coincidence or fate that my multisport watch (Garmin Forerunner 305) died at exactly the same time that I retired from triathlon?  For a while after that I ran without a GPS-enabled watch and even raced two times with just my old Timex.  I'll admit it was kind of freeing to run entirely on feel without any way to monitor pace or how far I was going.  But once I made the decision to start marathon training, I was in the market again for a good, trusty sports watch.

My choices at the time were:  Garmin 910, Garmin 610, Garmin 210, or wait for the Garmin 620 or 220 to come out.  Not being one to want to wait, I naturally nixed the last two.  As a triathlon-specific watch, the 910 has waaay more functions than I'll need for marathon training and a heavy price tag to boot (though I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired it).  So it came down to the 610 and 210 and b/c I wasn't feeling the touchscreen on the 610 I went with the 210.

First of all, the 210 was neither sleek nor sexy, but I tried not to judge a book by it's cover.  Still, from the very first run I didn't love it.  I gave it some time, but it wasn't very intuitive and worst of all it wouldn't allow me (or at least I couldn't figure it out) how to set a specific number of intervals at a specific pace with a specific amount of recovery in between.  For me this was really the deal breaker.

I took the watch back and what perfect timing!  The 620 and the 220 had just come out.  As soon as I looked at the 220 I thought it was cool and I wanted it.  After running with it once I knew it was the watch for me.  Here is what I like about it:

* As stated above, it looks cool.  AND it's my favorite color!

* It's very easy to use and intuitive. 

* Color screen (no, not necessary, but kind of nice)

*Waterproof in the rain. 

* Comes with a heart rate monitor.  More data is more better.

* Blue tooth capability for wireless upsynch to Garmin Connect.  Upon original purchase I thought this would be a bell/whistle I'd never use.  However, I use it all the time and LOVE it!  Once you log in to Garmin Connect on the web, all you have to do is download the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone and pair your watch to your phone.  (Step-by-step directions for doing this are in the Quick Start Manual that come with the watch.)  Then, anytime you open the Garmin Connect app on your phone and bring it close to your watch, all of your data will automatically upload to Garmin Connect where you can analyze it 'til your heart's content!  You can also create workouts in Garmin Connect (like the specific interval pace workouts that I like to do) and then wirelessly download them to your watch.  It really is super simple and so useful!

In summary, the Garmin 220 is the perfect watch for anyone wanting a GPS watch for running.  I highly highly recommend it!  And I also highly highly recommend purchasing it from Trysports because if you are unsatisfied with your purchase (like I was with the 210) they will let you return it and work with you to find the item that best fits your needs!  :-)


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

W.I.N. in the New Year!

Happy New Year 2014!!!!
I couldn't be more excited about 2014 b/c with the new year I have some exciting new news to announce!  I am re-launching my sports nutrition & weight loss consulting business, Whole Impact Nutrition, and taking new clients again!  So whether you want to lose weight, feel better, look better, have more energy, swim/bike/run faster, tone up, gain muscle, or just get healthier, I can help you reach your goals! 

I am partnering with one of Wilmington's premier strength & conditioning facilities, TOPS Athletics.  TOPS offers personal training and small group sessions in a state-of-the-art gym with knowledgeable and experienced trainers.  What's really cool is that we also have the equipment to do body fat testing (skinfolds & bioelectric impedance), resting metabolic rate testing, and VO2 max testing!  These tools are invaluable ways to take your training to the next level, dial into your daily caloric needs, and objectively measure your improvements. 

My new office is located inside the TOPS Athletics facility at 7215 Ogden Business Lane Unit 106 in Wilmington NC.  Come see me and meet owner Jeff Smith and the rest of the gang!  Make an appointment in person, online, or by phone (910-821-0257).  Let us get your engine revved up for 2014 and help push you to get in better shape than you ever thought possible!  This is your year!!!!



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