Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dynamic Warm Up

All throughout high school cross-country, track and even through all my years of ballet we always did a warm up. In ballet it was at the barre to warm up before moving to floor work. During track and cross country we always did a dynamic warm up and this continued, literally using the same exercises, during my years of rowing. I understood the idea of waking the muscles up before working out and warming things up before asking your body to go full force but I had never really thought too much more about it. My coaches for triathlon also always talked about it but I just didn’t spend any time on it once I moved to triathlon.

At the coaching certification they talked A LOT about the dynamic warm up. Examples of what I am talking about are:

-arm circles
-leg swings
-knee highs
-butt kicks
-the inch worm
-hip openers/closers

The list goes on….
The term they used to explain the importance of this was neuromuscular activation, which basically means waking up the pathways of communication from our brains to our muscles. So this goes further than getting our heart rate up and blood pumping to our muscles so they can begin doing work. The dynamic warm up also wakes up our coordination and motor skills. As a typical un-coordinated triathlete, this can only be a good thing J I think everyone has experienced that first mile or 2 of your run that just sucks. You feel wonky and sort of out of control of your body. Doing a dynamic warm up inhibits this because it awakens the pathways before your workout. I have started doing about 5 minutes of this before most of my runs. Sometimes I forget and just take off running..oops. Other times I just do like 2 minutes and get over it. As of late, now about a month after the clinic, I am much better about completing an adequate warm up and do think it is saving my first mile from being absolute crap and helping with my coordination! If nothing else, it is definitely helping with injury prevention!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

USAT Coaching Clinic

I started with my coach about 3 and a half years ago. I had gone abroad for the spring semester of my junior year and upon returning decided I did not want to return to the crew team. I also knew I did not want to be without structure and guidance. After a summer where I competed in a few triathlons and planned my first Olympic up in Maine, The Lobsterman Triathlon, I decided to get a coach that fall. I owe SO MUCH to Mideast Multisport. I decided it might be fun to get certified to coach as something to do while in school so at the end of February I went to Charlotte, NC for one of their coaching clinics.

It was 2 full days of listening to lectures ranging from nutrition, bike skills, periodization and planning, swimming, triathlon skills and strength training. I most enjoyed Bob Seebohar’s talks. He was a super good speaker and after reading his book about nutrition and metabolic efficiency it was nice to hear everything he believes in first hand.

I probably learned the most from the talk about “mental fitness”. One of the things I struggle with most while racing is my thought process. This is obviously common and goes along with all the things you hear, like:
            -Sports are 20% physical and 80% mental
            -The major difference between a great athlete and an Olympic athlete is their mind
            -People that can push themselves to athletic achievements have a better ability to endure pain

Even thought I have heard this over and over again it doesn’t make fighting the mental demons any easier. Yeah, it’s a great fact and wonderful to know that the person next to me also feels like crap but these facts do nothing to tell me how to conquer my thoughts of sucky-ness. Dara, the instructor for this part of the lecture, went over tools we can use like visualization and mental mapping/preparation to try and turn situations where you are battling your brain around. So once I start triathlon-ing again I will give these tricks a go!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Butter Made Better...for reals

Irrelevant fact: the word butter comes from a latinisation of the Greek word bouturon (feels good to say that word) which means "cow-cheese"; I loved this phrase as well. Cow cheese.

Butter is good. My sister and I always talk about how we used to eat pats of butter from my grandmothers fridge...that doesn't appeal to me now but I wont deny that I did it. Now something that I love more than butter is any type of  butter made from almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts....the list goes on. Not this type....

That is, the stick type. That's disgusting and it would never spread smoothly on that bread unless it was warm.

Anyways I have been eating a lot of the Justin's packets of almond butter and chocolate hazelnut butter during the day and they really are so good. The grocery sells little 1 serving packs and they are perfect to throw in the purse.
My fav is chocolate hazelnut
SOOOO good.

The other day my mom made a discovery at Whole Foods! It's called PB2 and it is pretty great. It is peanut butter in powdered form! They basically crush and squeeze the peanuts to get rid of all of the oils and fats. A lot of these fats are healthy but a lot of them are not. Then you can use this powder in so many things. I have had it in a smoothie, oatmeal, and, my fav, 2 scoops with coconut milk after a workout. The kind I have has cocoa powder in it, so that adds antioxidants and wonderful flavor making it a great treat. You can also just add a bit of water and make peanut butter! Just reconstituted.

So this is super yummy and I highly recommend it. Sometimes peanut butter hurts my stomach because it can be too heavy but this stuff is perfect.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


This past weekend was the 5K in Louisville. Despite many storms trying to stop me from getting to the ville I made it. Lexington and Louisville had made it on the Today show as the 2 cities in the bright red circle on the weather map. We had tornado watches from 12-8 so I booked it to Louisville to avoid them.

One thing I did to prepare for this race is something I have never done before but I read about it in a mental race planning article.  The article suggested you print out the race map and write notes to yourself on the course and things pertaining to your plan. So I wrote a few notes along the way and some of my goals, mainly to break 20 minutes.

I spent the afternoon on Friday, in a tank top outside, attempting to run the race course. It was so warm with the storms coming so it was great running weather. This was only an attempt because the race map was labeled incorrectly.  The first right turn was at the 1 mile mark onto Ohio St. Well this street didn't exist there so I ran on and eventually just turned around because the area was getting sketchy. So fail.

My sister and her husband live right on Main Street across from Slugger Field where packet pick up was so I got this out of the way and got my 2 hour trainer ride in while watching the news on the coming storms. My sister got out of work early but we were lucky enough not to get any of the severe weather. It did hit a lot of areas close by and these cities were pretty devastated by the storms. Kentucky made it onto the Today show again, unfortunately. Some pictures and coverage are here.

Race morning was not so good. I like to wake up 2 and a half to 3 hours before a race so I set my alarm for 5:30, woke up, pressed snooze, woke up, thought I pressed snooze again, then woke up at 6:45 and said an expletive. I quickly got out of bed, dressed and reluctantly bolted some oatmeal. My sister is super supportive so she woke up and walked down to the race start with me where I left her to get a warm up in of ~7 minutes of dynamic exercises followed by a 15 min run.

The only mistake I really made was starting too far back. I spent the first mile really jockeying for position with people and weaving my way through the crowd. I have also never come so close to so many spit wads! Everyone I came up on was like hacking lugeys right in front of me; I'm lucky I didn't end up with one on my bod.  It was frustrating but did work as a pretty great distraction so the race flew by. I came in at 19:58 so I met my goal but was not that thrilled with the result because I really thought I could have done better. Considering it is just the beginning of March and this was just a gauge of fitness at the end of a build week, I will take it.

Also, I got to go cuddle with this (my main motivation) after my race:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Impending 5K

First race of the season will be this weekend! Well, this is only sort of a is just a 5K so no triathlons yet but they are fast approaching. Coach recommended I do some early season road races to take a peak at where my fitness/speed is leading into the last few months of training for my first REAL big race. I must admit I am pretty excited for this one and have a goal time in mind. I have not done an open 5K for a few years so I am hoping to shave a few seconds off!

The course is right downtown, outside the door of my sister's apartment so it is pretty ideal. I have been doing my hill repeats at a pace right around where I want to average for the 5K so I know what it is suppose to feel like. This was not very comforting today while I was doing those repeats and knew it would be similar but without the nice, leisurely 6 minute downhill cool down between the 1k's. This distance is tricky because it gets very painful but the whole time you are racing, you are telling yourself how little you have left. I'm sure my mental strength will be challenged during this one...I will just have to kick it into high gear and try to have fun!