Friday, September 30, 2011

Injuries and Doubt

The past two weeks has been an emotional ride and I know that it’s affected my blogging.
It began more than two Saturday’s ago after I ran a long run on 9/11. I knew by the end of the day that the next day, when I was supposed to run another 4 hours, was going to be a struggle. The outside of my knees were sore and my Achilles hurt. The knee soreness was not related to the knees. It was my iliotibial bands (ITB), the tissue that runs from the hips to the knees on the outside of the legs. I knew what the problem was since I had a history of similar episodes. Both the ITB and Achilles issues were from overuse; too much too soon. It’s always a delicate balance between under and over training and it appeared that my body was revolting.
I got out at 4:00 am on Sunday, my usual time, and I...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Worst Foods in My Fridge

WebMD is a great Website for nutritional and health information. They recently published an article in their newsletter: Worst Foods in Your Fridge.
Instead or rehashing the article, I’ll give you my spin on this and which of these are in my refrigerator.
Keep in mind, I’m not a nutrition expert. Remember the word “moderation” as you read this.
Here are ten unhealthy foods in your refrigerator according to WebMD and whether or not they are in mine:

1.       Mayonnaise
Yes, this is in my refrigerator. I don’t like the flavor of low-fat mayonnaise so I get the regular kind. In our house we use mayonnaise in tuna and chicken salads. Occasionally when I want a change from mustard, I’ll put a thin layer on bread for a sandwich. Keep the quantities low and don’t eat it everyday.

2.       Soda and other sweet drinks
We avoid these drinks at all cost. These culprits are one of the reasons for obesity in children. We have 1% milk and water in our refrigerator. We do have apple juice sometimes, but it has apples and ascorbic acid – not sugar. I noticed that ginger ale has 26 grams of sugar. Keep it below 10 grams per serving.

3.       Alcoholic beverages
We do have a bottle of wine in our refrigerator. Once again, moderation. Don’t have alcohol occupying a shelf or a chiller drawer, taking away space from fruits and vegetables.

4.       Processed lunch meat
I was buying pre-packaged meats for awhile until I read the sodium content. Lately we’ve been eating tuna and I make chicken salad from baked chicken. If I buy any cold cuts, it’s turkey. I avoid ham and red meats. The ham is too high in sodium and the red meat is higher in fat and the body has a harder time absorbing the protein from red meats.

5.       Hot dogs and sausage
Yuck! Especially hot dogs. I read an article in Discover magazine about how they are made and it turned my off. I was eating the no fat hot dogs until my wife noticed white material inside. What is that white stuff? Nasty!
Here’s the Discover article:

A hot dog toaster. Are you serious! Toss it!

6.       Whole milk products
We don’t stock whole mild products. 1% milk and we eat light cheese when we are in the mood for cheese and crackers. We love sliced European Cucumbers, tomatoes, or red onion with our cheese and crackers. Every Friday is pizza night. We make our own pizza using part-skim mazzorella.

7.       Gourmet ice cream
I do love the occasional ice cream and I do have a full fat ice cream in the freezer now. We don’t eat it regularly and sometimes it’s in there so long that we need to toss it due to freezer burn.

8.       Creamy salad dressing
There is one bottle of creamy in there now, but it is light. Generally we eat light balsamic vinaigrette. If you want creamy, try light. Even if you use light, measure it until you get used to a serving. You’ll be amazed how much you put on without measuring.

9.       Stick butter or margarine
We eat butter. I do not like margarine. When I do eat butter, it is just enough for flavor. Don’t put so much on that you wear it when eating. You won’t see it dripping from the sides of my mouth when eating toast. We only cook with olive oil, not butter.

10.   Frozen french fries
Not good. We love potatoes, but we don’t eat French fries unless they are homemade and baked. Our potatoes are either roasted with some olive oil, baked, or mashed. Try roast potatoes with malt vinegar. Pass me the malt vinegar my dear.

By using some common sense and educating yourself a little, you can be in better shape. The shape you want to avoid is round. Add some activities like walking, and you’ll be golden.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 11th Weekend

It was a weekend of remembrance. We are and shall always be free.
On Saturday I completed my four hour run. The weather was just right - 58 degrees and clear. I was under a time crunch, but it wasn’t to see how fast I could run. See, I agreed to help with a 5K race in my hometown in the morning.
The race director was nice enough to put the “50 Steps to a Healthier Future” brochure in the runners’ packets. Getting out at 4:00 am will allow me enough time to get to the race, so there was no time to waste.
The night before, I asked Jenn if she was willing to take some pictures of me running. It’s been awhile since I’ve added any new photos. I promised that it would be at the end of the run so I would not drag her out of bed too early. We agreed on 7:30.
Less than a mile into my run, I attempted to get some fantastic pictures of the moon. Unfortunately, my phone takes cruddy pictures so they were not worth keeping. Pictures would not have done them justice anyway. There, I feel better about not getting them. 
As I stopped to take moon shot – the one in the sky that is - a car stops at the intersection behind me and just waited. That’s bizarre, I thought. There’s no traffic and the car was not moving. Shortly after, it slowly came up from behind. I felt strange....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Push Week

This week has been a push week - pushing too hard that is.

I’m sitting at home eating a bowl of oatmeal for a snack with an ice pack on my Achilles after a job interview this morning, and a before-lunch tempo (moderate pace) run. Yes, an ice pack. I can feel some strain on my lower body from running and the brain after the interview. Maybe I should throw some ice on my head, too.

After the hills on Tuesday, which I did more than usual, I noticed twinges in my left upper thigh and I could feel aches in my Achilles. I’ve been fortunate to avoid overuse strains for many months. The way my training has been going, I can be sore after a hard run, but I’m usually feeling better by the end of the day or the next morning. Recovery has been...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day and Post Week 8

Happy Labor Day!
Well, the legs and feet feel good after the two long runs over the weekend.
I successfully completed the second half of my two-day long runs: 31.3 miles Saturday in 5 hours followed by 24.5 miles in 4 hours yesterday. It’s hard to determine what was the better day. I went out faster Saturday than Sunday, which was a mistake, especially when I need to run 4 hours on Sunday. Because I never ran back-to-back really long runs, I was concerned. Would I...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Halfway Through the Most Challenging Weekend

The first half of my hardest training weekend went well. The training calls for a 5 hour run on Saturday followed with a 4 hour run on Sunday. Today I completed 31.3 miles in 5 hours. The goal is not about how fast I can run; instead it’s about time on my feet. If you recall, I have trouble holding back.
I was up at 3:00 am so I could be out the door by 4:00. I like to start early when it is cooler and so the run does not cut into family time too much.
My day began by eating a banana and bread pudding, chased with a cup of coffee. For any other training I would begin fueling 2 hours before, but I am not getting up at 1:00 am. Now onto the training mat for my daily back stretches, crunches, and leg raises. I’m fanatical about...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eating Healthier Doesn't Need to be Complicated or Costly

We all have a dietary Achilles Heel. I’m a carbohydrate junkie and I love desserts, if you remember my Oreo Meltdown blog. So I need to make sure that I get enough protein and watch my sugar intake. Fiber is not an issue because when eating carbohydrates, I try to eat complex carbohydrates, which are higher in fiber.

This may sound complicated and a royal pain, but it’s easier than you think. Learning how to eat healthy in a fast food world is a learning experience and takes time, similar to learning various running training routines, such as intervals, fartleks, hills, and distance.

When I began running again, I naturally began making healthier food choices. First, I stopped eating a bag of...