Season Pass

Dear DVR,
I like you. Alot. I mean, I "like you" like you.
Your friend,
Staci

I awoke this morning to the sound of rain pouring out of the gutters like an engorged waterfall. With the weather service predicting more rain and thunderstorms all day (and a flood watch in effect) my plans of getting 15-20 miles in at the Lake puddled at my feet and flowed downhill to drain with the rainwater.

So here I stand (sit), poised on the brink of multiple hours upon my trusty treadmill, DVR remote in hand. Instead of a morning surrounded by deer, blue heron, bunny rabbits, turkeys and turkey vultures - I'm about to spend 20 miles with Booth, Bones, The Piemaker, Gibbs, Ziva, Sam and Michael Weston. If only the Sci Fi (I refuse to acknowledge the switch to SyFy) channel came in on the downstairs Tivo. Then I'd truly be well taken care of.

Syndicated and basic cable TV shows are a distance runner's best friend when nature throws a lightening bolt our way. Of course, without commercial interruption most TV shows run roughly 42 minutes, necessitating multiple shows per run.

Today, I'll be blowing through at least 4 one hour shows plus a "How I Met Your Mother" to round out the 15-20 miles.

The Treadmill and the DVR. Like peanut butter and jelly, oreos and milk, macaroni and cheese.

Some things were just meant to be.


Delayed, But Not Forgotten

Ah, the joy of resuming a training regime. The feeling of accomplishment, basking in the sweaty glow of hard work. The adrenaline rush after finishing a heavy set of squats. The heart pounding of doing a WOD for time, and actually pushing yourself.

Waking up the next morning to screaming muscles, unable to fly quickly down the stairs. The inability to sneeze without searing pain in your abdomeninal musculature. Lifting your arms to blow dry your hair, only to find that they don't seem to reach as far as they used to.

DOMS. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The muscle pain and soreness that occurs roughly 24-48 hours after exercise. Most often at the beginning a new exercise program, a change in your sport, or a significant increase in exercise intensity. In my case, it's the welcome back present after a month away from the barbell.

Luckily, the pain is fleeting. It lasts just a few days, and rarely reoccurs. More importantly, it's a normal bodily response to unusual (or somewhat forgotten) exertion, and is part of the pysiological adaptation process that will eventually lead to increased strenth and endurance as the muscles rebuild (think "Better, stronger, faster" like the Six Million Dollar Man).

According to a Google search, the #1 treatment for DOMS is to wait. Just be patient and it will subside on it's own. You can sit in an ice bath, take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (though I'd be careful with those), do Yoga or get a massage. Personally I subscribe to more of an active-recovery technique (a.k.a, suck it up and keep on going). Obviously you should avoid anything vigorous that aggravates the existing discomfort (here's a perfect example of "Do as I say, not as I do").

I was surprised to find that there is no evidence that stretching is helpful, nor is performing a cool down after exercise. However, warming up (particularly before a new and unfamiliar movement) results in a small reduction of the onset of DOMS symptoms.

I should point out, as well, that there is a different between the pain associated with DOMS is different than the acute pain resulting from an injury - if the pain is sudden, specific and accompanied by bruising or swelling (or blood), stop and take stock and treat the injury as advised by a doctor or sports coach.

Hobble on, oh brave weight room warriors. Hobble on.

Belly Up

I was recently on a message board reading a thread dedicated to women with bellies (and the men who love them). One woman stated that she was significantly larger than her husband, and that he likes it that way. In fact, whenever she attempts to lose weight his response is to bring all sorts of fattening goodies into the home in order to derail her and keep her at the size he prefers.

Wow.

I love that we all come in different shapes and sizes. I love that for each of us, there is someone who adores us - as is. I envy women who are at ease in their skin, who don't feel constant pressure to be something other than what they are.

But I feel that there is a huge difference between not being rail thin, and being (for lack of a better phrase) obese by design.
My new favorite breakfast:

This recipe is a modification of a winner of the Quaker®Silver Plate recipe contest. Egg substitute replaces whole eggs, and skim milk keeps saturated fat content low. Source: What’s For Breakfast, by Donna Roy, MS,RD & Kathleen Flores, MS,RD, ©1994, Appletree Press, Inc.

2-3/4 cup water
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup egg substitute, thawed
1/4 cup sugar (I used Splenda for Baking)
1-1/3 cups skim milk (I used unsweetened Almond Milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup dried fruit (your choice) (I omitted)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Vegetable cooking spray

Boil water in covered saucepan. Stir in oats. Return to a boil, reduce heat and continue to boil. Cook uncovered for about one minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside.

In large bowl, mix next five ingredients. Add cooked oatmeal, dried fruit and cinnamon to egg mixture and mix well. Pour into 8-inch square pan, coated with vegetable cooking spray. Place in larger pan of hot water. Bake in 350ºF. oven for one hour, or until set. Makes 4 servings.

Per Serving (without fruit): 156 Calories; 2g Fat; 7g Protein; 30 g Carb; 3g Fiber; 90mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; 0g Sat. Fat..

*The way I made it, the nutritional value gave me a breakfast with a WW points value of 2 points per serving.

As RX'd

To train, or not to train? That is the question.

As I sit here covered in hives, struggling to swallow anything more substantial than liquid, I debate the age old dilemma of whether or not to stick to my schedule. I've got 7 miles on tap for today, and in an ideal world they'd be comprised of a warm up, mile repeats and a cool down.

Considering that my past two workouts were power walks performed shirtless on the treadmill (you have no idea how much a shirt and sports bra can torment a poor, itchy girl) - the odds of making it through a track workout (without being arrested) are slim to none.

Which leaves me with a home-based workout option. I can head downstairs, hop on the treadmill and see if I actually can run. Or just walk easy for an hour or so, catch up on some mindless entertainment. Problem with this scenario is that sweat makes the hives worse. Oh, and the swallowing thing sucks too.

Another cup of tea, another dose of prednisone.

The Mighty Pen(cil)

If you've looked at my training log the past few weeks, you'll notice that there seems to be something missing - weight training. Yes, it's true. I fell into the familiarity of marathon training and have neglected the barbell. Partially, this is due to shorter work weeks - if I'm missing full days of work I am reluctant to skip out mid day to hit the gym. But I think that a good portion of it has to do with just feeling a bit unfocused with my training. It's difficult to motivate myself for a workout when I have no clear objective. It's also a result of not having my workouts scheduled for specific days (as my running schedule is).

For myself, I find that if I have a workout set for a specific day - I'll do it. Period. And if I can't do it the day it's written in, I bust my tush to fit it in elsewhere during the week. But if I leave it open it has a tendency to be skipped entirely. It's amazing how powerful an excel spreadsheet can be :)

When I have a run written in, it glares at me. Taunts me. If I don't complete it (either that day, or within the week), it will haunt me.

The question in my mind is whether it's the ultimate goal (marathon) or the schedule itself that has such power over me. Will I adhere to a training regime if it's written out day by day, or do I need to have a concrete goal in mind?

How about you? What compels you to stick to your training?

Weighty Issues

160 pounds = 2(10 + 25 + 45)

Bumpers, that is. Oh! And I ordered orange muscle clamps, too ;)

Orders placed, counting the days until the shipment is received.

Ease On Down the Road

I was reading a book the other day that was talking about building a foundation for success. The author likened it to training for a marathon:

"You wouldn't just sign up today and run a 25-mile race tomorrow. You need to do lots of practice runs to build up your strength and stamina. Without training and practice, you're likely to become
discouraged and drop out of the race."
-Judith S. Beck, Ph. D.


Aside from the obvious error (25-mile race), the above quote is pretty brilliant. When I decide on a race, the first thing I do is prepare a training plan. I don't even think about running until the schedule is mapped out and I'm as prepared for every eventuality as I can be. Then, and only then, does the training begin. If I skip any of the key training runs along the way, I'm decreasing the likelihood of a desirable end result.

Why then don't we apply this sort of preparation to other areas of our lives? Dr. Beck is referring to buiding a foundation for diet success - regardless of the type of nutritional plan you follow, you are less likely to succeed if you don't "train", "building up your diet muscles and stamina" using cognitive therapy techniques and learning "skills that enable you to tolerate hunger and resisting cravings".

I believe that the same techniques can be used in preparing for, and implementing, your strength training plan as well. It's all about learning how to silence the negative thoughts, reframe them into something positive and getting out of your own way. If we pave the road to success, we're less like to get a flat tire while driving over a sink hole.

Over the next six weeks, I'm going to apply Dr. Beck's Cognitive Therapy methods to my training regime. Feel free to join in - I'll be posting the daily tasks, as well as my progress. If you've got any questions about it along the way, just ask!


Left. Right. Repeat.

One step closer.

Thanks!

Training partners are the world's gift to hard working athletes. As such, they are to be treated with respect and deference. If you are lucky enough to have found someone to meet at the gym, someone to drag your tush out of bed for a weekend run - cherish them.

Training with a partner is a privilege. That person has graciously agreed to spend quality training time with you. Often, they have adjusted their workout or training pace to accomodate your needs or abilities.

It is not your training partner's obligation to schedule their life around you.

Just as I don't expect my running partner to clear her Hawaiin vacation with me, or my workout partner to schedule her work obligations so that they're convenient for me - you shouldn't anticipate your partner being available for every run or WOD. You can plan all you like, but life comes with plenty of detours. What is important is that you continue with your training plan regardless - alone or partnered, the work still needs to be done.

So the next time you workout with a partner, be thankful. Be appreciative. Remember that someone is choosing to share the trials and tribulations of testing their physical limits with you out of kindness. It's not compulsatory, and should not be treated as such.

Thank you Mary Pat and Gillian for being there for me, on the roads and under the bar.
"She comes on like a rose but everybody knows
She'll get you in Dutch
Now you can look but you better not touch

Poison iv-y-y-y-y, poison iv-y-y-y-y
Late at night while you're sleepin' poison ivy comes a'creepin'
Arou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ound

She's pretty as a daisy but look out man she's crazy
She'll really do you in
Now if you let her under your skin

Poison iv-y-y-y-y, poison iv-y-y-y-y
Late at night while you're sleepin' poison ivy comes a'creepin'
Arou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ound

Measles make you bumpy
And mumps'll make you lumpy
And chicken pox'll make you jump and twitch
A common cold'll fool ya
And whooping cough'll cool ya
But poison ivy, Lord'll make you itch!!

You're gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion
You'll be scratchin' like a hound
The minute you start to mess around

Poison iv-y-y-y-y, poison iv-y-y-y-y
Late at night while you're sleepin' poison ivy comes a'creepin'
Arou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ound

Measles make you bumpy
And mumps'll make you lumpy
And chicken pox'll make you jump and twitch
A common cold'll fool ya
And whooping cough'll cool ya
But poison ivy, Lord'll make you itch!!

You're gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion
You'll be scratchin' like a hound
The minute you start to mess around

Poison iv-y-y-y-y, poison iv-y-y-y-y
Late at night while you're sleepin' poison ivy comes a'creepin'
Arou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ound


la da la da la da
la da la da la da
la da la da la da
la da la da la da" - The Coasters
Heading to the dermatologist in a bit, to see if the three-leaf-lady is responsible for my current state of misery...

Hop To It

On Saturday, I ran the Women's Distance Festival 5K. - a local race that benefits the Rockland Family Sheleter. 3.1 miles around Rockland Lake, this race has a little of something for everyone. The morning begins with a kid's fun run, then moves on to the runner's race. Shortly thereafter, the walker's 5k gets underway. There is an enormous amount of spectator support - husbands and kids and dogs are everywhere you look :)

For me, this race is particularly momentous. On July 9th, 2005, I toed the start (takes place in the middle of a gravel parking lot) for my very first race. Ever. On that day I took the first step (no pun intended) toward a healthier future and opened myself up to a world of opportunities.

Whereas for that first race I had only just succeeded at running 3 continuous miles, this weekend I ran 15 miles the afternoon prior. But strangely enough the sense of accomplishment was just as strong. 3 miles or 30, there is something magical about testing your limits and discovering that you are only limited by your imagination.

Whether you're just starting out or have been running since learing how to tie your shoes, take a moment and congratulate yourself on a job well done. You deserve it. And tomorrow, push yourself a little bit. Change it up. If you're a speed demon, stop and smell the roses. Slow and steady? Sprint to the next street light. Run up a hill or stop and just take a walk around the block.

It may be as simple as Left, Right, Repeat but no one said you couldn't hop on one foot. Spice it up, keep it interesting and keep moving forward.

Food Find, July 12th

Move over Cheez Whiz. There's a new kid in town. May I introduce to you the "Batter Blaster" - organic pancake and waffle batter that you shoot out of a pressurize can.
























We took this on our camping trip last weekend, and were pleasantly surprised. Perfectly acceptable pancakes! High on the fun factor (who doesn't like to use the spray nozzle), and a light, fresh taste (didn't taste canned, or fake). Short ingredient list, all organic and words I actually recognize.

So, while it may not be a "real" food - it's definitely real good.

Oooh, I'm envisioning an pressurized can meal - Batter Blaster Pancakes, some with Cheez Whiz (savory pancakes rock, btw) and the others smothered in Redi Whip, for more of a Belgian Waffle/Pancake experience....

Auld Lang Synw

Last night, there was a (suspected) tornado about 20 miles away. Golf sized hail. In July.


In a freaky kind of way, the winter wonderland symbolism is particularly appropriate right now. The holiday season leads up to the new year, when slates are wiped clean and the year begins anew.


This weekend the 2009 CrossFit Games are being held in Aromas, CA. For the competitors it is the culmination of a year of preparation, if not more. Months of sweat, blood and more sweat. All coming to a head for two days of athletic war games.


While I'm not competing, my training partner is. So on a personal level the end of the Games heralds the beginning of a new training cycle for us, not to mention the harbinger of lots of exciting change (more on that in the future).


So as I look at pictures of a parking lot covered in icy hail, I'll heat up some hot cocoa and brush up on the lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne".


Here's to a very happy New Year :)

If you decide to clean your room, turn to page 5. If you decide to nap, turn to page 7.

I love the weekend. Two days to relax, decompress, unwind and spend time with Mr. Diva, Doc and pu. Not to mention the amazing big red couch (our couch is quite likely the most amazing piece of furniture in existence).


Lately though, I've been relaxing entirely too much. I get my long run in on Saturday morning, and that's the last productive thing I manage to accomplish. My To-Do list languishes untouched. My kettlebell gathers dust. My plyo-box acts as pu's scratching post. And my nutrition goes haywire. Across the board, the choices I make on Saturday and Sunday are less than stellar. And let's be honest here - it's always a choice. Regardless of whether we are talking about house cleaning, exercise or food - life is most definitely a "Choose Your Own Adventure" experience.


We need to remember that there are 7 days in a week. 7 days. Not 5 days and 2 freebies. The rules don't change just because the day begins with the letter "S".


If only I could cheat and flip ahead a few pages, and change my mind if I don't like the direction the story is headed :)

Food for Thought

If you're not already a subscriber, I suggest you purchase July's Performance Menu Journal for Rachel Izzo's article on Disordered Eating. Very insightful, honest and articulate. You will very likely see shades of yourself within her story (I don't think I know any athlete who wouldn't, men as well as women).

Running Topless






















I have yet to count them, but what you're looking at is 4 years worth of race T-shirts (the technical shirts automatically survive the cut). Almost two full dresser drawers filled with poorly fitting Ts, many of which sport the exact same design (NYRR lacks artistic creativity). The majority of these shirts have been worn exactly one time.

New rule: unless it's got a cool design, is a color other than white, or is a technical T...I will refrain from taking my free race shirt. It's time to run clutter-free.

Closet Case

I'm off from work this week, but it's anything but a vacation. Instead, I am devoting this week to de-cluttering. NOT an easy task. In addition to the typical "Oh, this was my favorite sweatshirt in college" types of hoarded items, my home is over run with running paraphernalia.

Last week, I introduced you to the running bib collection. Today, I give you close to 4 years of running sneakers:
















I actually have one of my first pair of "real" running sneakers. Why hold on to all of these high-mileage sneakers, you ask? Well, I had intended to donate them to a running organization. Instead, they languished at the top of my closet (obscuring my electric Menorah for 3 years, I might add....finally found it last night!).

Today, it's time to say goodbye to these remnants of my first 5M Turkey Trot, the Inaugural IU mini marathon, and the 2006 Philadelphia marathon.

Happy Trails.