Wednesday, March 31, 2010

new bike shoes

A friend of mine reminded me it's been a while since I posted. I've been swamped because of my dog's radiation, turning 40, and working full time. But I'm traveling right now, sitting in my hotel room, and blogging! Ahhh, how I miss telling everyone what I think! :-)

These pics were sent to me from that friend, Carrie. How awesome is this? From a truly impractical standpoint.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Lesson I Learned Swimming Today

Today my swim set called for 30 x 25 yards with 20 seconds rest. Except I did it wrong. Even though I had written it down correctly and actually looked at the card while I was swimming, I still did it wrong. I actually did 30 x 50 yards. Ooops, double. They were supposed to be done at a moderately fast pace, with focus on form. That was the key, the form. So I did the first 24 of them, keeping the same time. But at the 25th, I felt my form totally falling apart. So I decided to slow it down a little and bring the focus back to my form. And you know what? Even though I slowed it down, my time was still exactly the same as the other ones. Why? Because my form was better!

The lesson today kids is:

Your form is uber-crucial in swimming. If you don't have it, take lessons. Do drills, have someone watch you, take a clinic. Lots of yardage in the pool will not help you much, except if you like injured shoulders and me passing you! :-) Spend the time that you need to so you do it right.

Happy swimming!
- LaVonne

Friday, March 19, 2010

Team LUNA Chix Training Videos

Check out the training videos on the Team LUNA Chix site! They are done by the pro's with good tips on training and nutrition. There are three:

Swim Tips
Sports Nutrition for Women
Bike Handeling Skills

Watch them all!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Race Report: Snake River Canyon Half Marathon

Here is a race report from a race I did a couple of weeks ago. This year I'm continuing to work on race pacing, keeping good running form, and having a positive attitude always!!

I've been spending a lot of time in Pullman, WA at the Washington State University Vet School there because my dog is going through radiation (which is going well). When we were making plans for our second trip back I just happened to notice that there was a half marathon going on near there Saturday March 6th. That sounds like a fun thing to do while killing time in the Palouse! Plus, I decided not to do the hilly half I had been planning on (because of lack of training), so I was itching to do one. I was determined to go under 2 hours, since I had come close, but not done it at the Seattle Half last year. And look at the elevation profile from the website!

Start |______________________________________________| Turn around
Finish


Totally flat. 20 feet of elevation gain. I knew I could make my goal!

Saturday morning I got up nice and late (in the day) because the race didn't start until 10:00 - gotta love that! I did head out early, planning on getting to the race start with plenty of time, like over an hour early. I got in the car and put in Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual" CD, nothing like 80's music to get you going! Blasting "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and feeling relaxed and in a good mood, I left the hotel. Except I headed out the wrong way on the highway and ended up in the next town a half hour away. A quick stop at a gas station, verbal directions and studying of the map, I was on my way BACK to Pullman, past the Pullman turn-off, and made the right turn heading down, down, down the canyon to the Snake River.

I ended up getting there about 20 minutes before the race started - ACK! And of course I was parked about a mile away from the race start. So I walked there quickly as a pre-warm-up, and then stood in the mega line for packet pick-up. Luckily that went quickly, but I still had to go back to my car, use the bathroom, and do a warm-up. So, to multi-task I jogged to the car, peed beside it (somewhat out of view), then jogged back to the race start. That would have to be good enough for my warm-up. That and some jumping in place before the gun went off.

This is a small race. 600 people. No timing chip, but not a lot of hassle either. It was great, you can drop your extra clothing off along the way at a water station and they bring it back to you. They had a sports drink on course designed by students at WSU called Raza. I didn't try it because of nothing new on race day, and because I had the yummy but discontinued LUNA Sport Chocolate Smoothie recovery drink for afterwords.

Race start. It was WINDY! Really windy. Luckily, it was a headwind going out, and a tailwind coming back. But the wind made it cold the first half, so I wore and extra layer. My plan was to do the first mile between a 9:10 and 9:20 pace, as not to commit race suicide (as my boyfriend said). First mile 8:45 - oops! It felt easy and so many people passing me! But I have to remember that even though it feels badly to go slow in the beginning and have everyone passing you, it feels so much better to feel strong at the end and pass so many people!!! So I slowed it down and just watched my heart rate and mile splits and kept a steady pace. By mile 5 I was getting demoralized by the wind. It was relentless. But I just kept tucking behind people and keeping a positive attitude. I could see the turn-around coming up, and I knew it would get so much easier at that point. And it did! It was like I was on a different course after that, wind at my back, nice and warm, beautiful view:


I ditched my long sleeve shirt at the next water stop and picked up my pace. Every mile or so raising my HR a few beats. I knew because of my lack of training (esp. compared to how ready I was for the Seattle Half) I did not have much top end speed, so I saved my all out pace until the last 200 yards. And I really focused on keeping my running form - quick and light on my feet! I tend to really slog when I'm tired, stomping my feet and hunching over. But I've found that running the B-52's song "Rock Lobster" through my head really helps, because I match my cadence to the tempo! With 3 miles to go I was picking off people right and left. The big thrill was passing the man with the M-Dot tattoo on his calf! ;-)

And I crossed the finish line with my new half marathon PR: 1:57:37! Yippeeee!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

5 Reasons to Love (Good) Fat

From Health.com

If you skimp on healthy fats—omega-3s in fish, supplements, and some plant and dairy products—you’re missing out on a great way to help prevent a host of common problems. Here’s a quick look at how good these fats really are, and the best ways to work them into your life.

1. Fight those aches
How omega-3s help: Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that nearly two-thirds of patients suffering from chronic neck and back pain stopped needing anti-inflammatory pain pills after taking fish-oil pills for 20 to 30 days. The key may be omega-3s’ ability to fight inflammation.

How to get them: You don’t necessarily have to take the pills, says Joseph C. Maroon, MD, a University of Pittsburgh neurosurgeon. Cold-water ocean fish (salmon, mackerel, herring) and lake trout are the best sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

2. Stay slim
How omega-3s help: Mood swings can lead to bring-on-the-brownies moments that sabotage your efforts to lose weight. Omega-3s may help by stabilizing your moods, says Douglas Bibus, PhD, an omega-3 researcher and scientist at the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center.
How to get them: Bibus recommends taking a high-quality supplement for 30 days. If you don’t notice a difference, increase your dosage.

3. Have more “up” days
How omega-3s help: Another form of omega-3s known as DHA makes up 25 percent of your body’s brain fat and manages the production and flow of the feel-good chemical serotonin. People who battle depression seem to be DHA-deficient.

How to get them: Researchers believe a DHA supplement may be a gentler (and ultimately more effective) alternative to antidepressants, says David Perlmutter, MD, author of The Better Brain Book and an expert on the relationship between nutrition and neurological disorders. But don’t count on just any supplement available at a drugstore or on the Web. Here’s a list of omega-3 supplements judged in independent tests to be fresh and free of contaminants, and to have the amount of good fats listed on the label.

4. Breathe easier
How omega-3s help: Omega-3s may help reduce the inflammation associated with asthma. In a recent Indiana University study, patients taking fish-oil supplements were better at controlling exercise-triggered symptoms than people taking a placebo or just eating a normal diet were.
How to get them: A supplement is your best bet, Bibus says.

5. Keep your heart healthy
How omega-3s help: In addition to fighting inflammation, omega-3s may lower blood pressure and reduce clotting. And they may help fight diabetes, too. “Diabetes has a strong inflammatory component, which leads to a much greater risk of developing heart disease,” Bibus explains. Omega-3s help cells lower blood sugar, a key to avoiding diabetes, Perlmutter adds.
How to get them: Eat plant foods like flax, walnuts, spinach, arugula, avocados, and canola oil, and soy products like full-fat tofu and edamame. They have a form of omega-3s called ALA that may help prevent heart disease, according to Harvard Medical School scientists. Also eat coldwater fish twice a week. And if you like eggs, shop for brands like Eggland’s Best that contain high levels of omega-3s. Bon app├ętit.

by Julia Rosien

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

8 Tips to Training the Open Water

So you’re ready to get out there and do some open water swimming to prepare for your next triathlon? Before you go dipping into your local body of water, keep these tips in mind:

1. Never swim alone. For safety purposes, always swim with a group or bring along a friend. Given the unknown elements, a dangerous situation may arise such as fog, currents, boats, etc. where you will be in much better shape with others around.

2. Adjust to cold water. If the water you are training in is cold, below 66 degrees fahrenheit, be prepared. Wetsuits are necessary. Wearing a swim cap and earplugs can help keep your head warm. Get in the water slowly and only get in for 5-20 minutes the first time out, gradually increasing your time in the water with each swim.

4. Upon exit of your cold water swim, drink warm fluids, take off your wetsuit, and dress warmly.

3. On sunny days, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before getting in (especially for those with light skin!).

4. Be careful of the fog. It is easy to get lost in foggy weather and lose sight of the shore.

5. Watch the seaweed. If you are ocean swimming and come across seaweed, stay high in the water and do not kick. The seaweed can wrap around you if your legs are kicking.

6. Never swim in a lightning storm.

7. Open water swimming can cause chaffing. Use petroleum jelly if this is a problem.

8. Goggle color. Use dark lenses on sunny days, blue lenses on cloudy days.

Open water swimming can be challenging, but for many it is FUN and a nice change from “following the black line” at the bottom of the pool. Enjoy, and remember, “when in doubt, get out.”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Learning to Breathe Bilaterally

You may already have heard the most commonly asked question in the swimming world today. Which of the following techniques is superior: breathing to one side, or bilateral breathing?

Until just one year ago, I breathed to the right side every time I got in the pool. Why, do you ask? Simply because taking breaths on the opposite side didn’t feel right! Indeed, this is the primary reason that the majority of swimmers take breaths on just one side. About a year ago, however, I was getting a massage, and the therapist noticed that the muscles on the left side of my back were considerably more developed than those on the right. Thinking for a moment, I realized that thousands of laps of breathing only on the the right side had caused these muscles to balloon as I balanced on my left arm while sucking in air!

So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, the answer is bilateral breathing. The primary reason is that bilateral breathing will work to balance your stroke (not to mention leave your back looking normal!). If you continue to breath to one side, you risk having your stroke become lopsided. In just one hour in the pool, you’ll roll to your breathing side approximately one thousand times. A stroke that is lopsided can quickly become pernanent when you practice a lot!

There are other benefits to bilateral breathing, as well. Once you lose your “weak side”, you’ll no longer be blind in that direction. If you’re an open water swimmer, you’ll be able to avoid chop, check for landmarks, and keep pesky swimmers from splashing you in the face (or even punching you as they jockey for position!).

So how do you obtain these benefits? Simply by practicing bilateral breathing at every opportunity possible. In my evening session, I’ll have swimmers breathe each 3 or 5 strokes, as they warm up or down. Of course, in practice, this kind of drill shouldn’t be limited to workouts alone. To be sure, at first you will probably feel quite awkward. You’ll quickly find, however, that bilateral breathing becomes more natural as you practice. Before you know it, you’ll be breathing to both sides like a champ.

Here are some tips to get you breathing on both sides, while keeping your workouts interesting.

1. Breathe to alternate sides each length: once to the left, and once to the right. This way, you’ll get the oxygen you need, while developing the symmetrical stroke you’re after.

2. During warm-ups, warm-downs, and slow sets, breathe to your weaker side.

3. Experiment with different patterns such as three left, three right, or four left, four right, until you find what works for you.

Each week, keep your ultimate goal of bilateral breathing in mind. Perhaps most importantly, however, don’t get too hung up on getting the breaths exact. Have fun, and enjoy your swim, because breathing to both sides will eventually come naturally!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jedi Mind Tricks


by Ben Greenfield on January 12, 2010 in Triathlon Training

Are you ready to learn ways to instantly motivate yourself when you're feeling too tired to workout, unsure about whether to sign-up for an event, or tempted to give up during a race? Consider these Top 5 Jedi Mind Tricks from the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at http://www.rockstartriathlete.com to be your ultimate secret weapon for motivation. Are you ready?

1) 2 Minute Rule. Don't get scared by the seven-syllable word in this tip...but physiologically, several changes take place in your body during the first 120 seconds of exercise. Namely, at about that 2 minute mark, your cells begin to more easily utilize oxygen as a fuel, muscle temperature begins to rise, and exercise suddenly becomes easier. So what is the take-away trick for using the 2 Minute Rule in triathlon motivation? If you just got home from work and you're "too tired" to train, or you're trying to tear yourself out of bed at 5am, just tell yourself: get through the first 2 minutes. You'll be consistently pleased with what happens after that point!

2) Use Irrational Psychology. This is a powerful trick for triathlon motivation, and involves affecting the appeal of one workout choice by comparing it to other choices. Here are some examples. Say it's time for a 90 minute hard cycling session, and you just don't have the triathlon motivation to get on your bike and head out. So give yourself three choices, and make two of those choices more unpleasant: Choice #1 - go on a 5 hour easy bike ride; Choice #2 - Do a 90 minute interval run on a treadmill instead; Choice #3 - do your 90 minute bike ride. The 90 minute bike ride suddenly seems relatively not all that bad. Or imagine the pool is "too cold" to go for a swim. So go in the locker room and take a cold shower. Suddenly the pool becomes relatively appealing. Or imagine you're running up a hill and you have an overwhelming urge to walk. Start sprinting on the hill much faster than you are running. Stop 5 seconds. Start running again at your normal pace. The hill running will instantly feel easier (yes, the brain is a strange thing).

3) Use Very Small Goals. In the middle of a race and feel like giving up? This trick works very well. Tell yourself that you're going to take just 200 more steps, or 100 more pedal strokes, or get to one more buoy. Promise yourself that at that point you can either A) stop or B) keep going. By giving your brain the reward of having completed a small, intermediate goal, there is a slight infusion of dopamine that occurs which drives you to keep going when you get to that point. Again, it is a strange phenomenon, but works very well for triathlon motivation, especially in a race.

4) Use Extrinsic Motivation. Humans have an innate desire to be accepted, and an innate detest for being rejected. We internally fear being judged by our failures, and crave to be accepted for delivering on our promises. Here's how to use this principle for triathlon motivation: the next time you're waffling on a workout, go to Facebook, go to Twitter, go to your blog, or call your best friend or spouse and tell them, "I'm just about to go to workout ______ (you fill in the blanks) Should be fun!". This tiny social expression will instantly give you a powerful urge to deliver on your promises. It also works well if you're on the fence about signing up for a race for which you're unsure you will have fitness. Tell the world you're going to sign-up, and the extrinsic motivation of not wanting to let the world down will make you far more likely to do it.

5) Re-Train Your Brain. There is a big difference between wanting something and being prepared to receive it. In other words, it's not enough to have triathlon motivation goals and want to achieve them. Instead, you must actually train your subconscious to realistically see yourself achieving your goals. Want to know exactly how to re-train your brain? Do 2 things: 1) Read Ben Greenfield's comprehensive article in the February 2010 issue of Triathlete magazine; 2) Visit the Rock Star Triathlete Academy at http://www.rockstartriathlete.com, where you will find an online triathlon school that features weekly handpicked articles on triathlon motivation and lifestyle.

Memorize these mind tricks and add them to your triathlon motivation arsenal, and you'll be the person everyone is talking about when they say, "They're like the Energizer bunny! They keep going, and going, and going...".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

THE 10 RULES OF WEIGHT LOSS

Nutritionist Nancy Clark shares 10 tips all runners should know if they want to drop some pounds.
By Nancy Clark [Nancy Clark rocks! -L]

from RunnersWorld.com

1. To lose 10 pounds of body fat a year, you need to eat 100 calories less per day. Cutting too many calories from your daily intake will sap your energy level and increase your hunger, making you more susceptible to splurging on high-calorie foods.

2. Don't skip breakfast. Eat within two hours of waking.

3. In fact, eat more breakfast than you think you should. Trade in some of your dinner calories for more calories at breakfast.

4. Don't allow yourself to get hungry. Eat at least every four hours, and split a meal in half to make sure you properly fuel up pre- and postrun. For example, eat part of your breakfast before your morning run (a banana) and the rest of your breakfast afterward (a bagel with peanut butter).

5. Eat at least three kinds of food each meal from these four categories: breads, cereals, and grains; fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy and soy; and lean meats, fish, and nuts. Breads, cereals, and grains should be the foundation of each meal, with protein as an accompaniment.

6. Shoot for a gradual loss of body fat. You're more likely to put the weight back on (and more) if you drop weight too quickly.

7. Liquid calories add up fast and can lead to weight gain. Minimize the amount of sodas, juices, store-bought smoothies, sports drinks, coffee drinks, and alcohol you consume.

8. Eat closer to the earth, enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Minimize the amount of processed foods you eat; they tend to offer less fiber and are less satiating.

9. If you can't resist fast food, ask for nutritional information before you make your choices (or check in advance via restaurant Web sites). Avoid any menu items with the words "fried," "crispy," and "special sauce," which are guaranteed to be high calorie.

10. Remember that the calories in the energy bars, sports drinks, and gels you consume during a run add up, even though you're running. Consume them only as needed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quote for the Day

Sorry for two in a row, but I think these are good! I did a half marathon this weekend and noticed that for the last three miles me feet where stomping the ground and I did not have the quick turnover that I've been working on for the last six months. So I really focused on that, shortening my stride and keeping my upper body relaxed. As mentally hard as it was to do that, I knew it would it would make my running easier. Plus I kept the B-52's song "Rock Lobster" going through my head, trying to match my tempo to that quick beat! :-)

Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually pain passes and the flow returns. It's part of racing.

Frank Shorter

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quote for the Day

Running should be a lifelong activity. Approach it patiently and intelligently, and it will reward you for a long, long time.

Michael Sargent

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ask the Experts: Long Runs After Long Rides, by Jeff Vicario

Interesting article from the Training Peaks Blog.


Question: I have a question related to scheduling my longest run. My legs often feel tired on my Sunday long runs following my Saturday long rides, I keep telling myself that my legs are going to be tired during my race so I should train them this way. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Answer: You are making a crucial mistake by running your longest of the week the day after your long ride. This (long run) should be done when your legs are at their freshest time in the week, not the day after a long bike ride. This will not prepare you for what you will experience in the race.

“Chronic fatigue,” the kind you have the day after a long ride, is not the same as “acute fatigue,” the kind you have immediately after a long ride. Running long with chronic fatigue is a good way to become injured. If the weekends are the only time to get that long ride and run in then make Saturday your long run and Sunday your long ride. Your fitness will progress faster and you’ll avoid common breakdowns.

Many qualified experts on training and nutrition use TrainingPeaks to help manage their business. Now, a select few are offering professional training and nutrition advice on our blog. The views expressed here are the opinions of the experts and as such do not represent the official position of TrainingPeaks.

About the author: Jeff Vicario, an Elite TrainingBible and USAT Coach, can be contacted for further information at jvicario@TrainingBible.com.