Monday, July 21, 2014

Nutrition & Fuel

Runners Tell All:

July 21 - Nutrition/Fuel
What's your go-to fuel to optimize training and get you through race day? Do you have a race-day fueling strategy? What about training runs? Do share!

To be honest, I am probably the worst person to be giving advice about nutrition and fueling for a race.  That's because I don't really do anything in particular in terms of fueling for any race I do.  This could be because I mostly do shorter races where I don't need to worry about fueling for the long haul.  Also, I think it differs for every person how they prepare and succeed when it comes race time.  However, I have collected a few tips from my own experience that I can share anyway.

Before a race I tend not to eat anything.  I prefer to run, or exercise in general, on an empty stomach (assuming this is first thing in the morning).  This is mostly because I am either a) not hungry enough to eat first thing in the morning or b) I am too nervous that I will get a cramp or have to stop at the bathroom during the race.  If I am going to eat anything before, I have found that bananas don't seem to bother me and help keep me going.  

During the race I also tend not to eat anything because either a) there is nothing provided or b) again with the cramps and bathroom thing.  I don't really like those energy gels so I never use those.  I have done a few races where oranges were provided and I did enjoy that.  They didn't bother my stomach and they gave me a little sugar boost that my body needed.  I always take the water when it's offered though because I always get so thirsty while running.  I also don't like carrying a water bottle so it's perfect. 

As far as post race fueling, anything goes.  If it was a long run I am usually very hungry by this point.  When food and snacks are provided at the race, I tend to go for the bagels and the fruit.  Definitely have to get some more water too.  

Any recommendations for some good pre-race fueling??

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brain On Fire

This month's book club choice was Brain On Fire by Susannah Cahalan.  

The Story:  
This book is an autobiography written by a writer for the New York Post.  In the book, Susannah describes her journey (or as much as she can remember) with a rare autoimmune disease.  She details her life before she was diagnosed through when she started noticing some changes in herself all the way through her long diagnosis which eventually lead to her recovery.  Since her disease is so new, it took a while for doctors to figure out what was exactly wrong with Susannah.  Based on all the tests and scans, there was nothing wrong with her.  However, she was physically and mentally deteriorating for no apparent reason.  The disease was causing seizures, drastic mood swings, and memory loss.  It was often described in the book as, 'her brain was attacking her body'.

My Opinion:  
I really enjoyed this book.  For starters I love autobiographies because I just find it so interesting to read about these crazy events that happen in people's lives.  I had never heard of the disease until I read this book.  Her disease was called Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.  To be honest I still don't exactly understand it, so I'd advice a little Google search for more information if you're curious.  But it sounds like something was triggered in her brain (the reason it's triggered is unknown) to attack these receptors in her brain which lead to the psychological side effects detailed in the book.  

The book really got me thinking about our current medical practices.  I am so thankful how far we have come in the medicinal field with all of the illnesses we are able to prevent and cure compared to even just 100 years ago.  However, Susannah made a comment in the book that really got me thinking.  She mentioned how busy doctors can be and sometimes they may rush to get you in and out and not always take the extra time when you know something is wrong.  I think this often leads to misdiagnosis and putting people on the wrong medicine.  Since there was nothing physically coming up on any of the tests done, this disease was being considered as schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder.  And since this autoimmune disease is so new (discovered in 2007) it makes me wonder how many people out there have been misdiagnosed or have been placed in a psychiatric ward when they need completely different treatment.  

I have never taken an anatomy or psychology class so I am not very knowledgeable about this topic.  But I find it so interesting how complicated the brain is and how one minor offset can completely change how your body operates.  I would recommend this book to a friend.  It is an interesting read and I felt like I learned something.  It also kept me thinking and curious to learn more, even after reading it, which is never a bad thing. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What's in my bag?

I decided to do this link-up today because it just sounded too fun to pass up.  I have seen these type of posts on several blogs and even on YouTube.  I don't what it is about seeing other people's stuff that is so intriguing.  But for some reason I really enjoy looking at all the cool stuff people have or maybe some helpful things that I should be carrying around too!  So instead of just snooping around other people's bags, I decided to join in and share my stuff too. 

For starters, my bag is Michael Kors.  It was my Christmas present to myself last year and also a congratulations for being at my job for one year.  This is my first and only brand name purse.  I usually just get my purses from Target, but I felt like it was time that I get at least one grown up, legit purse.  And I love it!  So I didn't feel so bad for splurging on it, but the holiday sales sure helped too.  Does anyone else feel like they have to justify in their heads before buying expensive things?  Because I do. 

There are a lot of little pockets inside which helps the purse not turn into a black hole.  In the pockets I usually carry lotion, some band-aids, hand sanitizer, chapstick, hair ties and clips.  The usual necessities for any girl.  We are so prepared! 

In the zipper is where I like to keep the things that I don't necessarily want people to see if they were to look inside my purse.  Don't worry, I'm not hiding anything crazy, just some super girly things.  Which include tampons, birth control, tissues, more chapstick, and more band-aids.  

The rest of my stuff just gets thrown in the middle of the purse because I use it the most or it's too big to fit in a pocket.  This would be my wallet, these amazing headphones, a notepad, phone charger, gum, cough drops, water bottle, and my keys.  

Seriously though, I am obsessed with those headphones.  They are the only pair I have ever found to not fall out of my ear.  Which is perfect for working out when you get all sweaty or even just walking around, if you accidentally pull on the cord they don't get ripped out of your ear.  I also like to keep a notepad in there because you never know when you're gonna think of something important that you don't want to forget.  Honestly the cough drops were hiding on the bottom and have probably been in there since winter.  This was a good excuse to clean out my purse. 

And that is it.  Sure doesn't seem like I have that much stuff in there until I empty it all out.  

In Its Time

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Plum Pie

I really wish every weekend was a three day weekend.  It would make Monday and the week ahead not seem so bad.  And everyone would be in a good mood because they just had three days to relax instead of two.  Which would then make people more productive because they only have four days to get the work done.  Too bad I don't see this happening anytime soon, so I must enjoy the few three day weekends I do get. 

Which was this weekend with it being Fourth of July and all.  I made no big plans this weekend and loved every second of it.  I was able to relax, read, tan, and bake.  It was awesome!  I read The Fault In Our Stars and really enjoyed it!  The author did a great job of capturing the typical teenager attitude and made the characters seem very real.  It also captured the true struggles with life and how nothings perfect.  I then saw the movie with my mom and we cried like the babies.  You could literally hear the entire theater crying at some parts.  It was quite an experience and I just have to say that I think Shailene Woodley is an incredible actress. 

But I digress.  The rest of my weekend was spent baking.  Partly outside in the sun tanning and reading, and partly in the kitchen.  It is plum time again at my parents house.  They already made two different kinds of plum bread and a plum coffee cake.  So I decided to try making a plum pie.  Crust and all.  To be honest, it really wasn't that hard.  I don't know why I was so intimidated by making crust this whole time. 

For the crust I just used Martha Stewart's Basic Pie Crust recipe.  I am not sure where the rest of the pie recipe came from because I got it from my Dad who probably found it online somewhere.  But here is what I used:

Plum Pie:
4 c sliced plums (8-12 plums)
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients and pour into your pie shell.  The recipe also came with a crumble topping that I have used before and is delicious.  But this time I decided to try to make a more traditional pie with the lattice top.  To make the lattice top I cut the rolled out dough into ~3/4" strips.  Then start layering them on until you have covered the entire top.  If you need some help I suggest YouTube because there's a video for everything now.  

Bake @375 50-60 minutes.  Cover the crust edges with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking to prevent over browning.  

If you are interesting in using the crumble top here's what I have used:
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp cold butter
1.  Combine all ingredients except butter.  Cut in the butter until coarse crumbles.  Sprinkle over your filled pie. 

Either way this is a delicious pie recipe.  Hope you all had a Happy Fourth of July! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monthly Challenge: June

Wow I can't believe it is June (well now almost July) already.  Where does the time go?  I don't know why but I feel old saying that.  You never notice how fast the time goes by when you're younger.  Then you grow up and realize every year that flies by means you are just getting another year older.  Good thing I'm not old yet!  I think it's all a mental thing anyway right? 

Well that little rant has nothing to do with this month's challenge but that's just how I'm feeling lately.  So this month's challenge was called The Little Black Dress Challenge.  Now this one is my favorite so far!  It progressed just enough to where it was still a bit of a challenge every day.  I like that the exercises don't take too long either.  They aren't like a full workout or anything.  I was just looking for ones that would add different types of exercises to my daily routine that I don't normally do. 

I really liked that this one included different exercises instead of just the same one everyday.  And I also liked that it alternated every couple days.  This type of routine helps me to not get bored of working out.  Because let's be honest, sometimes you just don't want to do it.

I don't know about you, but I haven't done jumping jacks since maybe middle school P.E.  So that was fun.  Overall, this is a really good one if you're looking for some full body workout exercises.  Some days it works the arms, some days the legs, and some days it just gets your heart pumping.  I would definitely do this one again.  And I hope it all pays off, because I am planning to wear a black dress this weekend!