Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's official ...

I've turned into a podcast junkie! I don't know how it happened because I was always the one who never listened to anything but music when I trained (FYI: I never ride my bike outside with headphones on). I couldn't imagine listening to talk radio or anything talk while training. BORING! Or so I thought. Seriously, I think I was abducted by aliens. First I changed my eating, then I changed up my training, now no music? WTH?

I especially enjoy running while I listen to podcasts. Some of my favorites to listen to are:

  • America's Angriest Trainer
  • Fit Fat Fast
  • Fat Burning Man
  • 10 Minute Marathon Training
  • Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor
  • PRS Fit Nation
  • RunnersConnect
  • Smarter Science of Slim
  • Rock Star Triathlete Academy
  • Endurance Planet
  • Nutrition Diva's Quick & Dirty Tips
  • Get Fit Guy's Quick & Dirty Tips

You can find all of them on iTunes.

Now I have a question for some of you audiobook nerds out there. I'm thinking I'd like to listen to audiobooks while I run but I'm somewhat confused with all the different apps. I have Amazon, Kindle, Audible, iBook, and a few others already on my ipad/ipods but I'm not sure which one is the best. Can I buy an audiobook and then put it on my shuffle? Will it fit? When you buy an audiobook, can you put it on multiple devices? I have so many questions. I think I'm making it harder than it really is.

And since I'm all about changing things up, the blog is not spared either. I added a neat little feature that I heard about on a podcast (see how much I'm learning listening to podcasts?) on this here blog and it
s called SpeakPipe. Take a look over to the ride hand side, middle of the page. If you are like me, with very limited amount of time to read other bloggers blogs and then leave a comment, you can now leave a voice message and it will be sent to my email. You have to have a microphone on whatever device you are using and that's it. Easy peasy!

What are some of you favorite podcasts or audiobooks to listen to when you run or ride the trainer inside? I'm always open to recommendations.

Much love and peace out!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Headphones that rock even in the rain

I have always had a love hate relationship with the apple ipod shuffle. I've had the pleasure of owning all the generations and the frustration with some of them. 

From left to right: Gen 1,2,3,4. 

Yes, all of those pictured above are mine. I'm not sure why I am saving the first 2 because they died a sad death many moons ago. Generation 1 shuffle was cool back in the day because of its compact size. It doesn't look so compact next to the later one's anymore. The one thing I didn't like about it was the string that it came with, so you could put it around your neck. Nope, there was no clip to clip it on to your shorts, belt, or hat. Design fail if you ask me. Anyway, that one ended up biting the dust after awhile but thankfully gen 2 came out, so I quickly snapped that one up. It ended up lasting about a year, then died. 

Generation 3 ipod shuffle = big fail!

Then I bought the gen 3 model. The smallest one yet and the biggest piece of ipod shuffle crap ever made! Some genius over on the west coast thought it would be a great idea to put the controls on the headset as you can see in the picture above. Sounded like a great idea but it never quite ended up working very well, especially in humid climates. I even went to so far as to google about the problem and read up on a few possible solutions like wrapping the control thing-a-ma-jig with some plumbing tape. That didn't work. Then I took it back to the apple store and they had no clue, so they gave me a new one. Within 7 minutes into a run, the new shuffle crapped out because the controls didn't function. Not having those apple specific earphones rendered this shuffle useless. I threw it in a drawer and used my ipod classic instead, which kinda sucked because I had to run with a waist belt specifically made for the ipod classic. I got used to it but still preferred the smallness of the shuffle for running.

Just recently, I was introduced to these beauties made by a company called X-1 Audio and if you go here, you can check em' out.
Remember the company that made the H20 audio for swimming? They changed their name to X-1 Audio. 

X-1 was kind enough to send me a pair of their women's specific headphones to test out. Not only are they waterproof, but I was able to raise my 3rd gen ipod shuffle from the dead. There are many colors and styles to chose from. I was so happy to get these especially with about 90% of my running being done in very humid and super sweaty conditions. Apple should look into this design because X-1 nailed it. Just by looking at the controls, you can see where it is encased much better to protect from the elements. I've done about 2 weeks of running with them and they have been flawless unlike the apple one's that lasted 7 minutes. 

If you are in need of some very well made headphones, or any kind of waterproof casing for various sports and many devices like iphones and cameras, I would recommend checking out X-1 audio.

Much love and peace out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Experimenting in the kitchen

I mentioned recently that I quit eating anything with sugar and anything grain related, which has forced me to become less lazy in the kitchen. Not a bad thing at all. There have been many firsts like eating avocados, eating full fat Greek yogurt, using heavy whipping cream in my organic coffee, and using grass fed butter, just to name a few. Hard to believe it only took me 42 years to finally eat an avocado!

Let me tell you, I'm shocked on a daily basis at how almost EVERYTHING has some form of sugar as an ingredient. Why? Does tomato sauce really need sugar? Do flavored coffee beans need sugar? Does salad dressing need sugar? Probably not, yet, I challenge you to find a food on your grocers shelf that doesn't contain some form of sugar ...if it ends in OSE, be aware, that's sugar by a different name.  FructOSE, GlucOSE, DextrOSE, etc ...if you'd like to see even more aliases for sugar, check out this document here that I saved on my google drive.

Now this is the part where I get to show off my chef like ninja skills. My first attempt at making a pizza with the a crust made out of cauliflower was a success. I'm not going to post the recipe because there are so many if you google. Some are easier than others.

The basics

I kept this one simple by topping it with some chopped up veggies and shredded Parmesan cheese just in case it came out like crap, I wouldn't feel so bad if I dumped it in the garbage.

Beautiful cauliflower pizza crust with Italian seasonings sprinkled in

But, as you can see, we gobbled it up! Even Joel liked it. I have some minor changes to make the next time I make it, like cooking time needs to be longer, more protein based toppings, and add some almond flour to the crust to firm it up a bit more.

Speaking of almond flour and cauliflower, I got this little, handy dandy gadget to help me whip up the almonds into flour and the cauliflower into a grain like consistency. It's also awesome for making one of my favorite go to breakfasts ...bullet proof coffee. I'll save the bullet proof coffee for a blog post all of its own because it deserves it.

My sweetheart gave me this for Valentine's Day

If you are interested in making meals without sugars and grains, there are tons of excellent recipes on Pinterest. I use the search function and BAM, tons of great ideas. I don't label the way I eat as Paleo or Primal, but if you search by those key words on Pinterest or Google, there is a plethora of info and recipes to die for that fall into a no sugars, no grain criteria.

There's one more thing I'd like to share that I recently learned while listening to a Ben Greenfield podcast with Dr. Jayson and Mira Calton, the authors of the book, Rich Food, Poor Food. Did you know those little stickers you see on loose fruits and vegetables have a secret code on them? The code, also known as the PLU number, which stands for Price Look Up can tell you something important about what you are buying. PLU codes are also universal.

~ organic produce has a 5 digit PLU code that begins with the number 9.
~ conventional produce (those grown with pesticides and fertilizer) have a 4 digit number that begins with the number 4.
~ genetically modified produce (GMO = bad!) has a 5 digit PLU code that begins with the number 8.

My non-organic (starts with the number 4) avocado and J-Man's #4 bananas.

As a side note, I found this great link that tells you what fruits and vegetables you should buy organic and which one's don't really matter. The produce pictured above can be bought conventionally grown because supposedly, the pesticide and fertilizer cannot penetrate the inside.

Much love and peace out!

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Gasparilla Half Marathon (not really) Race Report

Gasparilla has the coolest bling of any race I've ever done

I use the words "race" and "report" very loosely this time around. It was my best and worst half marathon. Worst marathon if you use time as an indicator and best if you consider discipline as the indicator. I fully intended to NOT race this race. Having done an ironman in November and then a marathon in mid January, I pretty much knew that I was going into this race with a have fun and just run mentality. I used it as a training run and ran strictly sticking to a pre-determined heart rate zone. I promised myself and a good friend that I would stick to my guns and not let the speedy race craziness get the best of me. I also told said good friend, that I would send her my Garmin stats after all was said and done. I find it really does help to tell someone your good intentions so that you stick to them. Unfortunately, best laid plans don't always work out so I had to adjust on the fly. My heart rate monitor was going berserk with all kinds of crazy high heart rate readings. Possibly picking up others around me?? I knew my heart rate wasn't 243 and resorted to go by my perceived rate of exertion, which is usually spot on. I hope whoever had a 243 heart rate goes to see a cardiologist soon. But I digress ...I also knew that if I kept my pace at around 9:15 per mile, that I would be within where I had planned on running.

I'm proud to say, I did exactly what I said I was going to do. The only time I turned up the speed a couple of gears was at the very end, with about 200 yards to go. Normally, I can't run for about 3-4 days after this race because the roads are all concrete and beat your legs to a pulp. But this time, no soreness at all. Yay for small victories.

Me and the Murf showing off out bling and race shirts at work! It was her first half marathon. Go girl!

For the first time in a very, very long time, I have been looking forward to running again. Yesterday's half marathon reinforced that for me. Somewhere in the midst of training for ironman races, I lost sight of the pleasure that running used to give me and it became more of a chore. I blame myself for that. Even just recently running the Disney marathon, I was not enjoying the journey. The best way to describe my mindset with the running these last few years has been a hurry up and get it done mindset. In other words, I went out and ran the long distances as fast as I could and completely ignored building a solid aerobic foundation. What I began to notice was my times and speed weren't improving the way I would expect. If not just stagnant, they were getting slower. NOT ACCEPTABLE! Which leads me to this old saying:

I love Einstein! Not only because he was so damn smart and witty but because he too LOVED and appreciated bicycles.

Anywho, long story short, and without boring you with the details, I am revamping, reconstructing, rethinking, my training. I'm not going to make it difficult or complicated, but as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm going to focus on training smarter, not harder and to not get caught in thinking that I have to go balls to the wall every workout, which I have been guilty of many, many times. There is a time and place for that training too and I need to still do it but not nearly as much. See? I understand this, now I just need to apply it to myself and build from there. Upward and Onward!

Much love and peace out!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

KC: The Extreme Makeover and Update Edition

As many of you know from reading my blog for a few years, I have been in the health, wellness, and fitness field for about 20 years to some degree. In the 1990’s until around 2005, I was working full-time in the field.

Back in the day at the old st. Anthony's wellness center ...yes, that would be as in St. Anthony's Triathlon too.

These days, I just dabble in it here and there by choice. I may have removed myself from the fitness industry but my heart and soul are always in it. I still love reading and studying about nutrition, exercise, training techniques and the list goes on. Last year, I came down with a severe respiratory infection that kicked my butt. That was in February 2012. I found myself recovering for almost a full month, with lots of residual issues for another 2 months after that. I felt like I was starting all of my training from scratch again. One of the main residuals I noticed was that my taste buds got all whacked out. The liquid antibiotic I was taking, left a weird taste in my mouth. Add to that, my appetite was next to nothing. I soon found myself eating gummy bears and oranges all day (no joke!) to get that antibiotic taste out of my mouth. I was basically shoveling sugar down my throat and you know what? It was good! Something I had been so disciplined about avoiding for several years, quickly grabbed hold of me. Even though I started to feel better and better each month, I didn’t lose that taste for the sugar and allowed myself to continue this unusual (unusual for me) pattern of eating. As I continued to allow the sugar to creep back into my life, not just with sweets but with grains too, my body started to gradually change in a way that did not make me happy and I felt out of sorts. Despite training less and planning rest days more than i ever had in the past, I was still tired. Even though I worked my ass off training for Ironman Florida 2012 - working my ass off is in my DNA - I still wasn’t nearly as lean as I was in 2010 and 2011 and I felt more tired than ever before.

Now let’s fast forward to December 2012. I happened to be reading this cool chic's blog and stumbled upon this podcast that opened my eyes and mind to a whole new way of eating, training and living. I don’t mean to sound so dramatic, but I truly believe this has completely changed my life forever. I have basically done a 180. Most everything I thought I was doing right really wasn't. Everything that I had learned about in all of my nutrition courses has been turned upside down on its head. I no longer subscribe to the conventional wisdom that I was taught in college. I'm drink the NO SUGAR-NO GRAINS (NSNG for short) kool-aid now and this subject is a welcome topic of discussion, not debate, on my blog. If you are reading this and feel the need to debate about it, you can just walk away right now. I refuse to waste my time with close minded people. Mark Twain said it best ...

Mark Twain

“Do not argue with an idiot they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

― Mark Twain

My original intention was to see if I could go a week without eating any sugars or grains. I thought it was going to be really tough, if not, almost impossible. I was so wrong! It was easy and I can honestly say that I don't miss any of it and have had zero cravings. The last 2+ months have been amazing for so many reasons. I don't have to eat every 2 hours through out the day anymore. Eating small meals every 2 hours is something I had been doing for 15 years or more, so now I'm no longer a prisoner of my dietary habits.  Since eliminating anything with sugar and/or grains, my energy level has gone through the roof. I no longer hold the title of Nap Queen. I don't need as much sleep and wake up at 4am without having to hit the snooze button. I also don't find myself having to go to bed by 8:30pm in order to wake up at 4am anymore ...winning! I have gotten compliments on how great my skin looks and I no longer feel bloated at the end of the workday, which sounds weird but all the whole wheat crackers with cheese, fat free and lowfat yogurts, and whole wheat wraps were killing me. Sadly, it had become normal for me to feel that way. That is, until i stopped eating all things with sugars and grains, and it was like my entire GI system was brand new. Simply put, I feel so incredibly healthy, energetic, and happier than ever since eliminating  the sugars and grains that I was poisoning myself with on a daily basis. Funny thing is, I think most people would have thought the way I was eating before was super healthy, yet it was really super crappy and I didn't even realize it.   

This blog is ready to take a new direction. I will blog about training for and racing an Ironman on a NSNG lifestyle. I know it can be done with some practice/experimenting. There are many elite and pro endurance athletes who have become “fat adaptive” and are training and racing with way less sugar, as their main source of fuel. Let me be clear though, I know you can’t do 100+ mile races without some type of carbohydrate based fuel but you can teach your body to not need as much. Where the athlete who still buys into the need for a shit ton of simple sugary carbs while training and racing, like 1 gel packet every 20-30 minutes, the NSNG athlete would maybe only use 1/4 to 1/2 of a packet of gel every 60 minutes, at the most. The NSNG athlete has taught their body to become more fat adaptive. And, the fat adapted athlete will also include some type of fat, like cream cheese or macadamia nuts as a source of fuel. In other words, the NSNG athlete’s body can easily use fat as a fuel much better than the person who eats sugar and grains on a daily basis. 

I'm taking this year, 2013, to reconstruct my mind and body from the ground up. I recently started training by heart rate and will work on training smarter, not harder. I'm going back into the deep archives of my brain where all the exercise physiology files are stored and bringing them back into daily practice. I started cooking more and learning how to adapt recipes to fit into the NSNG lifestyle. 

There is so much more detail that goes into fully understanding how all of this works and I'm still learning, so I compiled a list of wonderful resources that can be found by clicking here. 

Last but not least, my other goal this year, is to blog on a more regular basis, so there you have it. Speaking of future blog posts, stay tuned for a half marathon (sort of) race report and some reviews on a few cool things I have gotten my lucky little hands on.

Much love and peace out!