Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WINutrition Pick: P.T.'s Grille

One of the most common challenges to eating healthy is going out to eat.  It's easy to cook healthy foods when you are the one controlling the ingredients.  However, when you go out to a restaurant it's sometimes hard to know what the healthiest thing on the menu is.  A seemingly healthy salad can be sabotaged when topped with croutons, fried tortilla strips, blue cheese, and creamy dressing.  No matter where you go, there is usually a way to make a healthy choice.  I'm going to start giving my WINutrition picks from some of the restaurants here in Wilmington so that you'll always know what the most nutritious item on the menu is without having to stress over it!

First up.... P.T.'s Grille!

1437 Military Cutoff Rd. Wilmington NC 28412
It's not a secret that P.T.'s Grille offers stellar fresh-never-frozen burgers & hand-cut fries.  However, if you are looking for the most nutrient-dense option here's what I'd suggest:

Selection #1:  323 calories, 9.8 g fat, 1.6 g sat fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10.1 g fiber, 19g protein, 49 g carbs
Black Bean Burger on 100% whole wheat bun w/ ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, & onion
Side salad with 1/2 portion (2 Tbsp) of Lite Italian dressing [no cheese, no croutons]
Unsweet iced tea

I sampled the black bean burger & side salad and it was tasty!

Selection #2:  439 calories, 10.6 g fat, 1.8 g sat fat, 112 mg cholesterol, 5.9 g fiber, 45 g protein, 37 g carbs
Grilled chicken sandwich on 100% whole wheat bun w/ ketchup, lettuce, tomato, & onion
Side salad w/ 1/2 portion (2 Tbsp) of Lite Italian dressing [no cheese, no croutons]
Unsweet iced tea

I also got a chance to catch up with P.T.'s owners Mark and Jane Warren who are very health conscious themselves.  Jane says "Health and nutrition are a priority for myself as well as my family. I enjoy eating at home, but when I do go to P.T.'s I love getting the black bean burger on top of a salad.  I also request grilled onions and mushrooms to be added and balsamic vinegar for my dressing.  These items are not on the menu, but all you have to do is ask for them!"

To browse more of the options available at P.T.'s, here is a link to the full menu.

Look for my WINutrition picks at P.T.'s Grille and more local restaurants coming soon!  In the meantime, here are some quick tips for how to make healthy choices when eating out:

  • Include whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and lean protein in your meal
  • Don't be afraid to ask how things are prepared and request healthy modifications:
    • Steam veggies instead of sautéing in butter or oil
    • Grill/bake/broil meat instead of battering & deep frying
    • Ask for cheese to be left out of the dish
  • Ask for dressings on the side and use only minimal amounts
    • When in doubt, you can always dress salads with balsamic vinegar
  • Avoid butter, oil, fried foods, cheeses, white sauces, & gravies!
  • Opt for healthier spreads like mustard & hummus vs. mayonnaise & cheese
  • Pay extra attention to your hunger/fullness cues.  Restaurant meals are often oversized in portions; don't feel like you need to eat everything on the plate!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Race Report: Quintiles Marathon

On Sunday March 16 the 2014 Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon went down and it was nothing short of amazing!  The morning started off very smoothly, a foretelling prelude to how the race itself would unfold.  I woke up at 5 am, ate some vegan blueberry pancakes I had made the night before,  a cup of OJ, and a few swigs of coffee.  It just so happened that all of that totaled to exactly 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram - perfect!  I drove to the race start, hit absolutely no traffic, and found an open parking spot literally 50 yds from the start of the race.  With no transition to set up, I sat down for a little bit and waited for the right time to warm up - I didn't feel rushed or stressed.  Thirty minutes prior to the gun going off, I downed three shot blocks and went for a little jaunt.  Dropped my backpack off at bag drop-off without any snafus and even the line at the port-a-potties seemed to go unusually quickly.  Weather was perfect - it was in the 50's and rain had held off.  I met up with all my Without Limits teammates at the starting line and was feeling good.  There was a contagious feeling of excitement in the air and everything was lining up perfectly for a good day!

When the race started I felt like I was in a dream, almost in disbelief that I was actually about to run another marathon!

  • My first marathon was 8 years ago - New York City in 2006; I finished in 3:48; my PR.  
  • I accompanied my brother at Richmond in 2007; a 5 hrs + change slog.  
  • My most recent marathon was in 2008, at the end of the Beach2Battleship triathlon, in which I held a leisurely 10:50 pace to produce a 4:45 split.  
So, I was a little giddy at the start at the prospect of my first marathon in quite some time!  Thankfully I was in a very experienced pace group consisting of WOL'ers Shawn, Taye, & Donnie.  These guys have pacing down to a science and I knew that if I stayed behind them it would keep me under control and I wouldn't go out too fast.  (They were also great wind-blockers).  We ran together for the first 12 miles of the race and it was so much fun!  It felt like we were just out on another Saturday morning long run and I thoroughly enjoyed the company!  I also met a TMS-IOS triathlete who was also named Tara and who was also a dietitian!  What a coincidence - she was doing the half and put up with our incessant pace-checking until the Mojave Desert, aka the split point where all the half marathoners turned right and we continued running straight.

I really was feeling great when I got out of Landfall and made the turn back towards the beach.  It was here where Taye's first pacer and my pacer extraordinaire, Erin Hogston, joined us.  Taye's plan was to start picking it up at this point and since I felt really good I decided to stay with him.  So the four of us ran together and the pace dropped to 7:05/mi.  Now I was running.  The four of us stayed together until around mile 16 when I got a cramp and Taye swapped pacer #1 for pacer #2, i.e. Miss Christa Iammarino, Olympic marathon trialist.  The two of them picked it up a bit while I tried to get my cramp to go away.  Once it did, we caught back up with them and all worked together for a while.

Things started getting EXTREMELY difficult the second time through landfall.  This was probably 18-20 miles into it and I was not feeling good.  With every step I just wanted to stop.  But I had Erin there, encouraging me and pushing me (literally at times) forward every step of the way!  I think if I had been alone I would have slowed down or maybe even stopped!  My legs hurt so bad and I remembered a text that my friend and marathon expert, Tricia Winters, had sent me the night before, "Remember, it's all mental."  But the pain wasn't in my mind, it was in my quads!!!  I couldn't stop though.  We had caught sight of the 3:10 pace group around mile 20 and Erin was hell-bent on us reeling it in.  We dropped a few 6:50's, but I wasn't as excited about them as Erin - I just wanted to make it to the finish line ... alive.  It gave me a boost running past family and friends, especially my parents & all my TOPS peeps - you guys were great!  Thanks for the support & cheers!  And then finally mile 25 appeared and I only had 1 more mile to go.  It was a struggle and it hurt like hell, but I knew I could do it.  I looked down at my watch and saw that I had a chance at going under 3:10.  This became my goal for the last mile.  With Erin shouting encouragement at me and the music from the finish line getting louder and louder that goal materialized.  I felt extremely happy at the end and satisfied with the day's effort and rewards.  

My chip time was 3:08:56 (7:13/mi); gun time was 3:09:10 (7:14/mi).  It wasn't what I had originally hoped for when I started training 19 weeks ago.  However, with all of my setbacks that resulted in a weekly average of 40.5 mi/week, I am elated about my new 40 minute PR!!!!  Thanks Tom Clifford for all the great coaching & tough track practices that helped me get there!  I was also pretty happy about this growler that I won for placing 1st in my age group (5th overall):

So what's next?  First step is to recover my tired body and legs!  I am not kidding when I say I could barely walk today!  And then next up, I have some plans, but those will be for my next blog :)

Lastly, one thing that I have learned from this race and know for sure is that the marathon is not for the faint of heart.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quintiles On The Horizon

Four months ago I started training for Quintiles Marathon and I'm in shock that it's now only 2 weeks away! 

At the beginning I was all geared up and psyched about my sub 3-hour goal, which seemed like it might be in the cards for me.  However, due to illness and injury (wah wah wah) during the weeks which should have been my bulk training, my mileage has been sub-par (cough, understatement). 

Week      Miles
1               31
2               44
3               41
4               44
5               49
6               52
7               29
8               56
9               56
10             20 - sick
11             22 - sick
12             55
13             21 - injured
14             25 - injured
15             50
16             51
17             45
18             40 planned
19             25 planned

So, as I see it I have 3 options:

1.  Drop down to the half marathon.
2.  Skip Quintiles all together and choose another race in a few months.
3.  Run the full marathon and adjust goals.

At this point, I have chosen #3.  I don't think I've put in the speed work to run a PR in the half and I know there are some speedy folks coming in ready to rip that race to shreds.  So I think I'd be disappointed if I did that.  I nixed #2 because I've already paid for the race and I'm kind of itching to do a race.  I was supposed to do a tune up half in Myrtle earlier this month, but was just coming back from injury, so it's really been a while since I've been able to go into race mode.  Now granted I won't be able to really race this race cause I'm neither in race shape nor at race weight, but I think I will still enjoy getting out there and seeing what kind of a time I can throw down.  My plan is to start out conservative and aim to feel completely comfortable through the first 10-15 miles.  All bets may be off after that ;)

The last thing I really need to do before this race is come up with a playlist for my ipod.  Thinking of including the following below, but am open to suggestions!  What tunes get you pumped up?  More imporantly, what is going to get me through the final 10k???? 

50 Cent
-In Da Club
-Patiently Waiting
-Poor Lil Rich

Adam Lambert
-For Your Entertainment
-If I Had You

-Sail (dubstep remix)

-Sweet Dreams

Bruno Mars
-Locked Out Of Heaven
-Marry You
-Money Make Her Smile
-Our First Time
-Runaway Baby
-Somewhere In Brooklyn

Britney Spears
-Break The Ice
-Get Naked
-Gimme More
-Inside Out
-Me Against the Music
-Piece of Me
-Til The World Ends

David Guetta

Ellie Goulding
-I Need Your Love

-Cold Wind Blows
-Forgot About Dre
-I Need A Doctor
-I'm Not Afraid
-Kill You
-Love Game
-My Band
-No Love
-Rap God
-Rhyme or Reason
-So Bad
-So Far
-So Much Better
-The Monster
-The Real Slim Shady
-Who Knew

Enrique Iglesias
-Heart Attack
-Tonight I'm Loving You


-Don't Stop Believing

Katy Perry

Lady Gaga
-Bad Romance
-Do What You Want
-Just Dance

-Party Rock
-Sexy & I Know It

Maroon 5
-Doin' Dirt
-Harder to Breathe
-Lucky Strike

-Still Into You

-Can't Remember to Forget You
-Don't Stop the Music
-Only Girl
-We Found Love