Recovery Week and a #RunFail

What’s shakin’ bacon? Hope everyone had a good week! Mine was a recovery week. It was nice to hit it a little easier, but most of all, it was nice to SLEEP IN.  Since I only needed to do one a day, I moved all of my workouts to the evening and slept in til 7:30am everyday. I got 8 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT!  How’s that for recovery!?

The last workout of my week was an 8 mile easy run. Things did not go as well as planned. I was out of town for family on Saturday, so Sunday ended up being pretty busy. I ran around most of the morning doing errands, chores, church, and meetings. I hadn’t planned my meals well, so by the time I was ready to run, it’d been hours since breakfast. There was no way on earth I would get 8 miles done without eating lunch – so I made lunch. Tortellini with sautéed kale, meatballs, parmesan and olive oil – DEEEE-licious. I sat for about 30 minutes, then set out on the run. BIG mistake.

I spent miles 2, 3, and 4 wishing I would puke so I could just get it over with. It was seriously gruesome. I’m not prone to gastrointestinal distress while running, but now I realllllllly feel for those of you who are – I don’t know how you do it! Nausea is not for sissies! Mile 5 and 6 were better, but I could feel myself losing steam and knew I needed to get some water. (Somehow I thought that since the calendar said SPRING that the water fountains in the park would be running again…they weren’t.) I stopped and bought a bottle from the vendor in the park, drank as much of it as I could, dropped the half full bottle in the recycling and carried on. As all that water sloshed around in my gut, I changed my tune and wished for mile 8. #RunFail.

BUT – I survived. In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened. It was my first bad run of this training cycle, and I got through it. I kept going, sucked it up, and got ‘er done. And I will never ever eat a heavy meal less than two hours before a run ever, ever again. Lesson learned.

On a much happier note, I got a very exciting package this week!

IMG_0081

Beautifully, locally made running gear from Only Atoms! I’ve been eyeing their stuff for awhile (I mean, how could you not?), but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger to have one shirt shipped my way. Luckily, inspiration struck me a few weeks ago and I realized that I could justify shipping for one shirt to me IF another item came with it for someone else. So I ordered one for me, and one for my momma. She broke her sternum in a car accident in January and can’t run right now, BUT she’s still working out and she will run again, so what better to cheer her up than a super stylish run tank! Amiright?

Spoiler alert – she liked it! How could she not? Check out these gorgeous tops (I wish I could show you how soft they are. So, so soft! Also, forgive my complete lack of picture taking ability):

IMG_0082

They even come with little hair ties made out of the extra shirt fabric! How great is that? Now, Only Atoms gear is NOT cheap, but it’s not CHEAP either. They are literally made of the softest fabric I’ve ever felt. They’re also 100% made in New York City. Unlike the gear I pick up from Target and Old Navy, you know that everyone who worked on these shirts was paid a fair wage, in safe conditions.  So high quality + responsible business practices + beautifully designed = higher price. It’s worth it – and their clothes make a great gift! Also – let’s be real – it’s not more expensive that Lululemon or Athleta, and you know there’s bad juju going into their clothes.

If you’re interested in sustainable and ethical fashion, I recommend this great interview on the Rich Roll Podcast. It got me through two hours on the trainer on Friday night – effing snow – and I learned a lot!

Do you make any purchase decisions based on ethical or sustainability considerations?

Weekend Nutrition Edition

Hey-O! How’s everyone’s weekend going? I had a blast this morning, cheering for all the half marathoners running the United Airlines NYC Half with my Back on My Feet teammates. I made a couple of signs yesterday and they turned out to be a huge hit – with the runners and the cheerers! You can catch a video of the inspiring Lorenzo letting the runners know just how #badass they are on my instagram. I always have such a blast with BoMF and I can’t tell you enougpostersh how proud I am to be a member of the amazing BoMF NYC team! (Reminder- I’m fund-race-ing the NYC Triathlon for the org, and you can make a donation here. I will be eternally grateful, and it will be the best money you’ll ever spend. There are also NYC Marathon spots available if YOU want to fund-race for BoMF – you know you want to!)

But let’s get to what this post is really about – FOOD! As I may have mentioned, one of my biggest lessons in training this year has been the importance of nutrition. I borrowed The Complete Nutrition Guide for Triathletes from library (on my iPad), and it’s definitely helped me out. There’s nothing here you can’t find in various web articles, but it was great to have it all in one comprehensive source with charts and tips. The information I picked up there has informed how I fuel when I’m on the bike (or on the run), and changed how much water I take in mid-training sesh.  Apparently, there’s something called “cardiac drift” (not to be mistaken with Tokyo Drift of The Fast and the Furious fame), and it happens when you start dehydrating. Hence, when you are dehydrated, your heart has to pump faster and you don’t perform as well. So staying hydrated is a big part of a winning race plan. I know you’re all thinking, “DUH Aubrie,” but I’ve always been a “eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty” kind of racer. As it turns out, this strategy may have been hurting my performance, and planning out my nutrition and hydration in advance – based on how much I sweat and the length of a race – could really help me out. It definitely seems to be making a difference in my workouts!

Corned Beef and CabbageThe more fun part of this conversation is all of the delicious food I get to eat when I’m NOT training! For starters – like most of you, I’m busy! I don’t have time to cook everyday. So I spend a few hours a week, usually on Sunday, to cook and prep things for the week. Nine times out of ten, I’m making a recipe I found on Pinterest. Last week I made corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, and a thai curry with shrimp. While I don’t restrict myself of anything, I try to eat meals that are balanced with lots of veggies and a good amount of protein. I’ll usually eat salmon once a week (mostly canned salmon – I’m cheap), and get my protein from plant based sources (beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and nut butters) & dairy for about 1/3-1/2 of my meals each week. I eat more carbs now that I’m training, and I consume more calories with pre, during, and post-workout fuel (one or the other, pre or post is typically regular meal), but my eating habits haven’t changed a ton. I’m still experimenting, but on the whole, I think things are going pretty well!

If you’re looking for inspiration on the food (and general badass athlete) front, check out Athlete Food, or Ask Lauren Fleshman. Both are awesome!

What’s your nutrition strategy? Have a good resource for me to check out?

I’m going streaking (or four things I’m excited about right now)

I’ve never been a streaker, you know someone who runs every day for a streak of time, but I figured I needed a kick in the bum, so I signed up for the #Spartan30 Mile a Day Challenge (exciting thing #1).  I figure a mile a day won’t get me into trouble with any overuse injuries- and on these cold days, it’s enough motivation to get me into the gym (once I’m there, I’ll actually work).  I’m on day 2, and I’ve kept up with it.
Whooooo streaking!

#Spartan30

The next thing I’m psyched about is all of the MONEY I’ve been spending lately.  I spent $500 on two items this week.  Seriously, I’m like a sieve with broth – the dollars are just passing right through my fingers.  My first big purchase was an entry into The Nation’s Tri (#2)!

Ever since I finished my first sprint tri last August, I’ve wanted to do an Olympic distance race.  Since I lived in DC for years, I know it’s one of my favorite places to run (I went on a casual morning run without a watch while visiting for a bachelorette party last spring and ended up running 8 miles).  I have some amazing friends who still live in the district, AND I know where I can get a killer bloody mary post-race.

VEGGIES
ALL THE VEGGIES

My second major purchase was to join a CSA (3)!  I’ve been planning to join one for literally 3 years, and every spring I found a reason not to.  In 2011, I was in grad school and could never make the pick up times.  In 2012, I didn’t try to sign up early enough and all the shares were gone.  In 2013, I just couldn’t bring myself to pony up the $350 all at once.  Well I finally did it (thanks to a little liquid courage and distress over the Eagles game), and I’m really looking forward to a summer full of farm fresh veggies.  I am also very excited to finally be supporting a local farm.  Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is really in line with my views on health, the environment, and (what I hope will be) the future of agricultural policy in this country.  If you want to learn more about CSA’s, and if you live in New York City and want to join one, check out justfood.org.

Finally, I’m really excited about this podcast I just listened to on The Fat Burning Man Show (4).  Now, before you judge (YES Abel James looks like such a DOUCHE, but it really is a pretty good podcast), give it a listen.  Don’t watch the video – seriously, who can stand looking at so much V-neck – just listen to the podcast.  Download it on iTunes and listen to it on the subway, or in the car, or at the gym, because it is the BEST conversation on optimum human diet that I have ever listened to.

It’s nothing revolutionary, but Chris Kresser discusses how he evaluates which studies and claims are actually good and which are not, and concludes that there is not a “one size fits all” perfect diet that works for everyone.  There’s a baseline of things that are clearly pretty good for you, and a baseline of things that are clearly pretty bad for you, but you have to fine tune your eating habits based on your body’s reactions to different foods.  I’m so tired of being fed these all or nothing approaches, so this discussion (and probably the subject of Chris’s book The Personal Paleo Code – which I have not read) was super refreshing.  Yay for common sense!

So those are my four exciting things of the moment – oh, and you know what, one more – some of my amazing friends have hooked me up with some great new recipes after my call for help last post!  THANK YOU!

What’s exciting in your world right now?

The Government Shutdown Cancelled My Race

I’m supposed to be running the last few miles of a half marathon on the beach right now.  It was going to be my last race of the year (since I’m throwing in the towel on my full marathon in November), I was going to run it with my parents, and there was a post-race party planned.  In short, today was going to be an awesome time.

Unfortunately, that race was the Jersery Shore Half Marathon, and it takes place in Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, NJ- a national park.   I received an email on Tuesday:

“Dear Runners;
With the Government shutdown starting on Tuesday Oct 1, 2013, The Park at Sandy Hook is closed. It is a National Park. If the Government reopens by Friday we will have the race on Sunday October 6, 2013. If the Government is still shutdown, we have to cancel the race. You may defer to 2014 or pick up your shirt at the McLoone?s Parking Lot in Sea Bright onSunday October 6, 2013 starting at 7:00 a.m. Sorry, there are no refunds and we do not mail out shirts.

Please check our website http://jerseyshorehalfmarathon.com/
Jersey Shore Running web site at: http://www.jsrc.org/
Freehold Area Running Club at: http://www.farcnj.com/

Thank you for your understanding; it is an issue out of our control.
Yours in Running, the Race Committee
Jersey Shore Half Marathon.”

The black toenail I earned in training will get no glory!
The black toenail I earned in training will get no glory!

Well, all know what happened next. Thanks a lot Congress.  You’re getting in the way of my healthy fun!  Frankly, the shutdown has just dealt me a solid disappointment – not the end of the world – but there are thousands of people directly affected by the shutdown (and these goats- ha!).  My hope is that our policymakers get their sh*t together and learn to work across the aisle to get things done.  It’s going to be a very rocky road for all of us if they continue to live in ideological bubbles.

So I want to know, what are your thoughts on the shutdown?  Has it affected you at all?

A Healthy Family Weekend

Do you ever feel like you need a weekend to recover from your weekend?  Yea – that’s me right now.  I’m parked on the couch, with dinners for the week cooking in the oven, wishing that tomorrow was Sunday instead of Monday.  Alas!

Although I’m wiped, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.  I spent a little time out on Friday with my love and some friends, had a good class on Saturday morning, and had a great time hanging with my family for the rest of the weekend.  Win, win, win!

I may have told you already, but it’s worth repeating, my family is amazing.  My parents are incredible role models.  They are both healthy, fit individuals who have balanced parenthood, their relationship, and careers with grace – and a sense of humor (seriously, is there any other way to get through this crazy life?).   My little brother, Liam, is totally inspiring.  He’s following his dreams and pursuing a career as an actor – I’m so proud of him!  Anyhow, we’re four pretty busy people, and since we haven’t all lived in the same house in  nine years, we don’t get to spend that much time together.

PINK SPRINKLES

Liam and I made dinner on Saturday night – bison burgers on lettuce wraps with asparagus and sweet potato fries – and then we hit up a long-time family favorite: Annie’s Water Ice!  (If you don’t know what water ice is- go here- then find the closest place that sells it, because it is wonderful.)  I picked a small twist soft-serve with PINK sprinkles.  I know they’re the same as the rainbow sprinkles, but there’s just something so delightful about the fact that they are all pink.  Worth the indulgence!

On Sunday, we were up and out bright and early to head to Philadelphia for the Four Seasons Parkway Run and Walk.   The 5K run and walk raises funds for the cancer center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and we were there to run as Kellen’s Crusaders.  Kellen is an enormously adorable young man (ok, he’s two) and a cancer survivor.   His mom happens to be a friend/co-worker of my mom, so we were lucky enough to be able to celebrate Kellen and support CHOP.   I’d like to note that we all look EXCEPTIONAL at 8am on a Saturday…

Kellens Crusaders

Anyhow, all four of us ran the ENTIRE 5K together.  Given the general congestion at big races like this, I was super impressed.  We nailed it – weren’t too fast – but we did it as a family, and it was phenomenal.  (Sidenote- how is it that my brother is so much taller than the rest of us?)

After the race, I bummed a ride back to Brooklyn and we had lunch at a cute Italian place in Carroll Gardens.  Instead of ordering our own dishes, we ordered two protein dishes and one pasta dish and split them!  It was a great way to get to enjoy everything that comes with eating Italian food, without overeating or overloading on carbohydrates.  (We may or may not have gotten fro yo later on, but we’ll excuse that unhealthy bit as a celebration that we were all together.  Cool.)

I’m so grateful to have a family that enjoys running, moving, celebrating life, AND eating together.  A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and my family has given me a really great sense of how to find that balance.

Do you enjoy healthy activities with your family?  Are you looking for ways to get your family on board with your healthy lifestyle?  I’d love to hear what others are doing!