Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oh My Aching Body

So often I hear people comment that they have some part of their body bothering them so they are starting to stretch more.  Even more often people contact me for a massage because they suddenly are having pain somewhere.  It seems that most people neglect both stretching and getting a massage until something hurts.  I am always telling my clients they need to be more consistent with pre and post workout stretching and getting maintenance massages.  Before workouts warming up with active or moving stretching is very important.  Equally important is your routine after your workout, which should include foam rolling followed by stretching. 

If you suddenly have pain and then think that stretching will miraculously make it go away you are wrong.  In fact I would suggest against doing a lot of stretching if you possibly injured something.  When you have an acute injury stretching may not be the best option it may need a several days to recover before you stretch it.  The same goes for massage having someone really work an area that may have been injured and is painful is not necessarily the best option.  When something hurts all of the sudden you really don’t know what is wrong.  Giving it a few days to calm down and for the inflammation to calm down is your best option in that situation. 

Preventing injury is best done with a well-rounded program that includes all aspects of training.  Cardio, strength train including functional movements, stretching/warm-up (pre and post), foam-roll, and massage are all components of a good workout program.   Don’t wait until something hurts to start or resume one aspect of your training.  Take the time to get it all done and that may require shortening one aspect of your training.  Maybe instead of spending one hour on strength training, spend 45 minutes so that you can include time for stretching. 

Don’t just get a massage when things hurt.   I typically suggest at least one massage a month mostly because people can’t afford a weekly massage.  If you can afford to get a massage two times a month then that is even better.  If you wait until you are in pain it will be hard for one massage to take care of your issue.  Sometimes people wait until they can hardly move before they come in for a massage.  They come in with knots so bad that it’s pretty much impossible to work all of them out with one massage.  I can provide some relief but typically they will need a few more sessions depending on their issue.   By getting a massage once or twice a month you can prevent some of the major knots that build up over time. 

You may not know what stretches to do but there are many resources online to help you develop a good stretching routine.  You can search youtube for some great videos on stretching.  On Facebook there is a page called stretching that has some great information  I created a laminated sheet that includes a stretch routine for my clients.  It is simple and easy to use and if you complete all the stretches you will target your entire body.   Here are just a few examples:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Athletic And Vegetarian - It Can Work!

The first question people ask when they find out that I am a vegetarian and an athlete is, “how do you get enough protein?”  I once thought the same thing about vegetarians or vegans.  I quit eating any meat except chicken and turkey when I was 15 and I am 46 now.  I never really had the desire to eat it and honestly I didn’t really like chicken and turkey I just thought that all my muscle would wither away if I didn’t eat it.  Reluctantly I ate chicken and turkey and not think about the fact that it was once alive.   I didn’t like to eat any chicken on the bone because it grossed me out I just ate chicken breast or turkey breast and tried not to think about it too much.  Last year I finally had enough and I told myself that I was going to slowly eliminate it from my diet.  I wasn’t telling myself I couldn’t have it but I was going eat less of it.  My boyfriend who is a huge meat eater was not too happy but I told him it wouldn’t have any impact on him at all.  I went about a week and didn’t miss chicken at all and when I tried some I didn’t even want or like it.  Its been over 6 months and I am so glad I decided to stop eating it and I know I will never go back.  I think I actually eat healthier getting more vegetables, good grains such as quinoa, and lentils and beans.  I rarely ate quinoa, lentils and beans before and I can’t believe what I was missing! 

Since I stopped eating chicken and turkey I have kept track of my muscle mass, which I originally thought was going to wither away.  I am still the same weight, same body-fat with the same amount of muscle.  I feel great and have lots of energy and I do get enough protein from many different sources.  I eat eggs and egg whites, cottage cheese, beans, legumes, quinoa, nuts, humus (beans), and once in a while a protein shake.  I personally don’t love shakes so I don’t drink too many of them and that’s just my personal preference.  I am not opposed to using shakes I would just rather eat my food if I can.  Honestly I am not obsessed with getting protein I know I eat a variety of foods and I know my body composition has remained the same. My main focus is on eating healthy foods with lots of nutrients and slowly limiting my bad choices.  I am not perfect with my food choices but I do eat pretty well and make more good choices then bad choices. 

If you want to eliminate meat because you love animals then I am 100% for that.  If you want to become a vegan or vegetarian because you think you will lose weight then don’t bother.  Being vegetarian is a way of life and it takes some work because you have to think more about what you are going to eat.  Things should be planned and I always make more than enough to have it left over for a few days.  Its not as easy to grab something quick to eat that is healthy when you don't eat meat.  The first time we went to a neighbor’s house for dinner it was a bit of a challenge since 90% of the meal was meat.  Turkey, chicken, duck, and meat lasagna with a salad was what was for dinner.  I opted for salad and then ate when I got home. 

Many people become vegetarian and eat too much processed food.  In most cases these vegetarians are overweight and not very healthy with various health issues.  If you don’t cook and want to become vegetarian then you will have tough time eating healthy.  You may get caught up eating all the fake meat you will find in your frozen section in the store.  Most of this contains processed soy and other things that are not very healthy.  I personally don’t like how my body reacts to soy that is why I don’t eat tofu (I also don’t’ like it).  I would rather eat something that I prepare that is healthy.  You can get lots of veggie burgers in the frozen food section but you can also make your own. 

Black Bean Veggie Burger Patties

2 cups cooked rinsed black beans
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup cooked whole-grain brown rice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup of your favorite shredded cheese or dairy free cheese
1 large cooking onion, peeled and grated (or chopped in blender)
1 large handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp tamari sauce
1 to 2 cups fresh bread crumbs made from sprouted bread
Coconut oil
3 tbsp sea salt

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, oats, rice, nutritional yeast, and cheese.  Mix thoroughly with your hands.

In a blender, combine the onion, cilantro, coriander, paprika, mustard, and tamari.  Blend just until mixed.

Add the onion mixture to the bean mixture and mix well, adding salt.  After mixing, adjust salt if necessary to taste.  Add the bread crumbs and mix with your hands until the mixture is firm to the touch and no longer sticky.  You will find that the bread crumbs and oats absorb the moisture and it will become harder to mix.

Form the mixture into 3/4 – inch thick patties. 

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add a little coconut oil.  Fry patties until lightly brown, about 1 minute per side. 

You CAN eat vegetarian and be a top performing athlete.  I have the book and cookbook called Thrive and it has some great information about being vegan and being an athlete.  Since I stopped eating chicken I have read a few articles on how the chicken in the US is being shipped to China for processing and then being shipped back to the US.  This is horrible especially because in China the standards for processing are non-existent.  I am so glad I made the decision to quit eating chicken and turkey making me a real vegetarian!  Here I am in my most two recent races and one of them I was the overall female finisher so I guess it hasn't hurt my performance! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Race Recap - 70.3 St. George - racing well trained vs. racing sub-optimal training

I completed St. George 70.3 on Saturday May 2nd and had a tough day but that’s what happens when your training leading up to an event is sub-optimal.  I did not plan to do the race but my boyfriend signed up so I figured I would do it.  My last race was Ironman Cozumel about 6 months ago and after that race I took about 2 ½ months off from running to let a plantar fasciitis in my foot heal.  I have been running a little but very cautiously as I didn’t want to get re-injured.  I have lacked motivation to get outside on my bike so most of my training on the bike was on my trainer and even that was less than what I should have been doing.  I went into the race knowing that I would not have a great race so it was about being with friends and having fun.  I did this race 2 years ago and it was 2-weeks after Ironman South Africa. I was very fit and recovered really great after IM SA.  I finished St. George in 2013 in 5:30 and on that hard course I felt pretty good about my time.  At that time I was running really great and did a 1:53 on a very hilly tough run course.  I knew there was no chance of that and I was hoping for less than 6 hours.  I felt my swim training was good so I thought I would go all out in the swim and see what I could do since this race was just for fun anyway.  I did this strategy at the full in November at Cozumel and I came out of the water 2nd in my age group with a PR Ironman swim of 58 minutes.  Keep in mind Cozumel was very warm water and St. George was very cold. I didn’t think that would be a problem but it turned out to be a bad decision to try and swim fast in the cold water.  I seem to be prone to hypothermia and starting off really fast seemed to trigger my asthma.  I actually had to stop and breast stroke to catch my breath, which for me has never happened.  I slowed down significantly and was able to continue but my overall swim time as 4 minutes slower than I had hoped.  Coming out of the water I was shivering so that made for a slow transition.  The bike is a very hilly course with lots of down hills and I am strong the uphill but I am not very good at descending.  Even though I hadn’t been out on my bike in a while I had a pretty good time on the bike and I even stopped for a few minutes because a guy crashed on the descent.  As I came upon him some other guy stopped to help and was trying to get him out of the way.  People were flying by and it was a very dangerous situation because they were not slowing down in fact they were yelling at us to move.  I was pretty shocked how people reacted when this guy could have been seriously hurt.  In the end a it’s only a race and caring about people is far more important.  The guy who stopped first seemed to have things under control and told me I could carry on after I had been there a few minutes.  My bike time was only 2 minutes slower than in 2013 and considering I stopped that’s not too bad.   While on the bike I started feeling some pain in my toe but, I didn’t think too much of it.  It started hurting worse off the bike on the run. 
My toe not sure what happened to it
I was also having trouble breathing from the swim that carried on to the bike and then to the run.  Because of this and because my run fitness was not nearly as good as 2013, my run time was much slower this year.  My overall time was about 25 minutes slower.   I guess that’s the difference between going into a race really well trained and not so well trained.  It’s time to get serious about my training since I have my A race at Ironman Chattanooga in September.  
Best part of racing is breakfast after

The female winner

The male winner