Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chocolate Milk

This may not be news to you, but it's relatively new news to me. I thought that I should share as summer training schedules really get underway.

In 2006, the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism completed a study about using Chocolate Milk as a recovery drink for athletes, specifically cyclists. They followed “healthy, non-smoking, highly-trained cyclists” monitoring their workouts and recovery time. Joel Stager tested the effects of Chocolate Milk, Fluid Recovery and Carbohydrate Recover drinks. The athletes cycled to exhaustion, then drank one of the drinks during recovery. Afterward, they cycled to exhaustion a second time. The study claims that "athletes who drank chocolate milk after an intense bout of exercise were able to work out longer and with more power during a second workout compared to athletes who drank commercial sports beverages."

Many magazines and news stations picked up the story. Fitness Magazine caught the story, but warned everyone from immediately switch to chocolate milk after light exercises. “A drink like chocolate milk is most useful to a cyclist, swimmer, or long-distance runner. These sports stress high endurance levels and constant, sustained movement. Competing athletes need high levels of calories, carbs, and protein to sustain that level of performance.”

Gatorade, on the other hand, was not as impressed with the study and has challenged the results. It was the fluid replacement drink referred to in the study and had results comparable to chocolate milk. The Gatorade company found the study a little misleading; “Gatorade which has less than one-third the calories of chocolate milk performed equally as well as chocolate milk” - and both performed better than carbohydrate replacement drinks.

I generally drink water while I am working out and after working out. I never really bought into the hype of fluid recovery or carbohydrate recovery drinks. Although, this year is the first year, I am actually training regularly and pushing myself to new limits every week. Chocolate milk fresh from the local farmer's market does seem to provide great motivation, much more than the sweet tropical punch Gatorade. It’s also important that we don’t forget water.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Running In Groups

I have new feelings toward running. I am getting stronger and I can run farther. Last Saturday, I ran 4 miles without stopping. It was the farthest I have ever run. Every Saturday during my training, I will be running the farthest I ever have. It is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

I was running with the ZOOMA Training Group. I can’t tell you how much running with a group makes a difference, especially when you are trying to push yourself. For some, it may be the group mentality that helps runners pushes themselves; no one wants to be the person who walks amongst the others who are running. For me, it is purely competition. I do not want to be last. I have found some great people through a MeetUp site. I have found sites for biking, hiking, and running. At first, I was intimidated. In many ways, I still am. All the same, running with people who are stronger than me has helped me improved my training. In the past three months, I have moved my running base from about 1 mile to 3 miles. I have increased my speed at the same time.

This philosophy does not work as well for me during race events. I spend a great deal of time trying to convince my friends to run in the events with me. I am genuinely excited to finish the race together. Yet, I regret that decision, as soon as the horn sounds for the beginning of a race. It is amazing to me that I may have become a stronger runner than some of my friends. The same people who were beating me last summer are the ones holding me back.

This year, I have done 3 5ks – so far, they have all been with Charm City Run.

Jan 1 – Resolution Run 5k – 36:23: I had a few setbacks with my foot and back. I still finished.

Feb 6 – Super Bowl 5k – 33:38: I ran with a friend, who wanted to walk a bit. It wasn’t until the second mile that I decided to just keep going on my own. It was hilly, and I walked a little here and there, but I was impressed myself with my improved my time.

March 13 – Kelly Shamrock 5k – 31:28: This was a mostly downhill course, but over 4000 runners. I could have done better if I had not had to dodge all the walkers and slower runners. I also had the same problem of being faster than my friend.

I struggle with running ahead of my friends because I feel like I am providing them the motivation the way my running partners helped me. Is it fair to leave that behind to shave off a few minutes on the clock? When is it appropriate to push forward for yourself and not the group?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon &10K

I am an ambassador for the ZOOMA Annapolis 10k and Half Marathon. It is perfect activity as I begin to embrace running. I am honored and excited. It is a great organization – the ZOOMA vision is to promote women’s and girls’ health and fitness by encouraging them to participate in a challenging and fun running event.

Gather your friends and coworkers and get a group together. I ran this 10k race last year; it is a beautiful, well designed course through downtown Annapolis. Even if you are not local, there are plenty of hotels in the area and it is a perfect place for a girls’ getaway weekend.

In an effort to get 4000 women participating in the event, this year, the Ambassador’s are leading training runs. Even if you are a little nervous, please come out to one of the Saturday Runs. These are no drop rides, and all paces are welcome. The training schedule is designed to build up mileage, so that everyone will be ready on RACE DAY! For more information and meet up locations – click here!

This year’s proceeds go to support the Got Your Back Network. GYBN works to help and support the families of our military heroes. GYBN works to bring some brightness, joy, comfort and encouragement to military families who feel adrift or are facing a difficult time in their lives. We offer military families dealing with the ultimate loss a way to see a brighter day through a variety of special events, activities, mentoring and guidance services.

If you have ever had any interest in a 10k or Half Marathon, I encourage all women to pick any of the ZOOMA races: Austin, Annapolis, Colorado Springs or Atlanta.

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 is the year that I embrace RUNNING.

I have hated running; I am not good at it, nor do I find it enjoyable. I am only interested in it because I like the triathlons. The tri in triathlon stands for 3 sports - swim, bike, run. I like swimming and I like to bike, but that pesky running part kept getting in the way.

I am improving my running. A year ago at this time, I could barely do a mile in less than 12 minutes. When I go for a run, I have to push myself at every moment. It’s not my lungs that get tired, it is my mind. And then I begin looking for excuses – my foot begins to hurt, my back starts to spasm. I try music and friends, but still just cannot get my mind around running for miles. It can’t help, that I continually say, “I hate running”.

A few months ago, I started Physical Therapy with some wonderful people at Harborview Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy. They have a running clinic – where they do running evaluations to determine ways to improve running and avoid injuries.

I was running wrong. I had a low cadence and a very hard, loud heel strike. No wonder my foot hurts when I ran. No wonder I hated it. I was doing it all wrong.

In a few short months, I have increased my cadence – running almost 180 steps/minute. This small step was incredibly easy. I bought a metronome – set it for 180 beats each minute. I just practiced stepping in time with the beat. As I increased my cadence, my stride became much shorter – nearly eliminating my heel strike and alleviating most of my foot pain.

With each week, my endurance is increasing and my pain is decreasing. The pain isn’t the only thing decreasing; my hatred for running is slowly dissipating.

I still don’t love running, but I certainly don’t hate it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Renewed Commitment.

After chatting with a new friend of mine about her fitness blog, I realized it had been weeks, since I have posted here. This week, I actually made a renewed commitment to my training, which makes this a perfect time to return to blogging.

Even though I have not been blogging regularly, I have been tracking my kilometers. So far, March has been a great month to get back on track - I have logged over 100km this month alone.

I have gotten back on the wagon, while to be more specific - the bike. I am still looking for a decent spin class at my current gym. I have gone to three different classes. So far, the instructors are very nice, but require a great deal of personal motivation. The best one was with Mike, who did the whole class with a Michael Jackson playlist. At this time, 60 minutes on the bike is difficult… I am certainly not ready to also train my mind; I go to the class It’s much better for me when the instructor uses imagery and convinces me I am in a race. I definitely have a competitive streak. So when she says, "only three racers to beat, let's catch them on the climb", it is much more motivating, then only 2 more minutes.

My local triathlon club meets regularly for bike rides. This past weekend was a “beginner ride”. It turns out, I need a PRE-Beginner Ride. On a good day, I am definitely closer to 11-13 mph, maybe even a little less when there are hills. I love my bike, and love to ride it – but didn’t realize 16 miles of rolling hills at 14-16mph was BEGINNER.

After a little prodding from my sister and the encouragement from the group’s leader, I decided to go. It was tough. It was fun. I finished all 16 miles, even 2 excruciating climbs – in about 1:22 – about 11 or so mph. It was an accomplishment and I DIDN’T COME IN LAST.

Total as of Today = 297.50km

Goal = 2011km in 2011.