Monday, June 6, 2016

Run Houston! Clear Lake 10K (Virtual)


Months ago I had signed up for the virtual race for the 3rd in a series of 5 races run by Run! Houston.  I have grown to love these races as I've reduced my running and mileage.  10K's are easy enough to do with my current workouts which include HIIT, lifting, but w minimal distances, and more concentration on speed.
I knew I wouldn't want to drive to Clear Lake and thankfully Run! Houston allows for virtual so you can continue the streak, and receive the extra swag at the end of the year for completing all 5 races.  By the way they have a 5K option as well, and any combination of distances still qualifies.
With the weather the way it has been all week, flooding...etc., I asked if treadmill distance would be allowed.  Little did I know that this is an option year round.  The distances don't have to be done outside if you are virtual, again that can be attractive to those that don't like to run outside EVER.  LOL.
For virtual runners, you must provide proof of the run.  Typically I would have posted a pic of my Garmin, however since I had to run the distance inside, I have the picture of the treadmill screen.  Additionally you cannot post to their FB page, or send via email, but must provide a link of either your app, or something to show the proof.  Now I can just link this blog post :O)
June Vidrine
Run! Houston 10K/Clear Lake

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Costa Rica 2016 - (Partial) Photo Dump

I finally did it.  I finally checked off an item from my bucket list.  7 glorious days spent in a remote area within Costa Rica.  For reference its in the Guanacaste region, on the Pacific side.  While there are portions of this area known to be more of the tourist-y parts, I researched to find a remote place to lay my head each night, and travel to the places I wanted to visit, but not be inundated with tourists.
One of my goals for this trip was to immerse myself in the culture as best I could with the time I had.  I managed that quite well, however I'll definitely be going back to explore a bit more of this region as it wasn't in my plans to be going, going, going the entire time.  Staying where I did I did have to spend some time traveling via bus/shuttle but its Costa Rica so the views were well worth the time spent on the roads.
Day 1 - Arrived mid-day and spent the afternoon settling in, unpacking, and finding the monkey trail to a local little place I had read about that was a must go to near where I was staying
Day 2 - Spent the day exploring close by, scheduling my day trips, laying by the pool, sunset and the beach massage
Day 3 - Long day.  Travel to Arenal where we stopped on the way in a couple of small towns for breaks, lunch, and views.  Hiking through the rainforest near MonteVerde Cloud/Rain Forest, spectacular views of Arenal, suspension bridges, and then a relaxing late afternoon at Arenal Springs Spa/Resort, before having a lovely dinner and then the long trip back on some VERY dark and VERY windy, steep roads...
Day 4 - Day trip to go to a not so far away organic farm run by a family.  Horseback ride up a side of a mountain then took 10 zip-lines down (platform to platform) high atop and sometimes THROUGH the trees (near another volcano: Rincon de la Vieja)...more hiking afterwards down to the volcano ash (which they mix with water) mud baths. Smelled HORRIBLE with the sulphur but oh so refreshing when rinsing off under a waterfall.  Then spent some time in natural hot springs followed by a great lunch all grown (and raised) there. 
Day 5 - Grabbed myself a driver and headed to a nearby small town.  Needed more sunscreen (I went through it FAST down there and it was EXPENSIVE on site where I was staying so I needed a local pharmacia), and wanted to explore another area, have some lunch and mix with the locals, night out with some friends made
Day 6 - Winded down with an easy day, spent mostly at the pool
Day 7 - My last day..womp womp.  got up and did my last run with the monkeys and wildlife (got up close and personal with a coatimundi!!)  I had a late flight out of Liberia so I got to enjoy my morning and not be rushing around.

Note: I ran every single morning I was there with the exception of Day 3.  I had to be up extra early that day to go to Arenal, and knew I would be doing a lot of hiking and climbing so I wanted to just be fresh for the days activities.

While where I stayed was remote (not in a town, but rather close to a nearby small town), I was still able to find lots of trail and got in a 40min to 1 hour long run each morning.  It obviously wasn't continuously running as I stopped along the way to check out things, mostly monkeys swinging from trees, or the locals bringing livestock in, etc. 

It was SO invigorating to explore via my feet and to have the physicality to be able to enjoy the views doing something I loved.  No watch, no nothing.  Just me, my feet and Costa Rica.  While it was beyond hot and humid (you think Houston is bad? Ha!), it was so wonderful!  I just love, love, loved my experience and know I need to go back because I need at least another week before I am done with Costa Rica!

OK, so the pictures below I just drag and dropped from my Dropbox, so they aren't in any order etc.  I will put captions on them.  I had SO many pictures and some videos (mostly again of monkeys and wildlife seen along my runs each day).  I did have the album marked as public on FB for a bit, but since then changed it back.  If you're a real life friend and on my FB, then you've seen allllllllllllllllllll the photos and videos.  :O)

View from my patio

The first place I wanted to find near my home base:  Monkey Bar and Restaurant
View walking west along the beach

Entrance in to what is known as the monkey trail.  At least one entrance that is; right across from the bar pictured above
Its most cow and horse manure packed I found out later...Lots of livestock apparently also are brought through here, or rather roam through here

Sunset view from my balcony

Full day 1 spent relaxing and getting to know my surroundings

I ran every day but one while I was there; so exhilarating!!

Had a lovely massage here as the sun was setting

Cloud/Rain Forest hiking near MonteVerde

Arenal in the background; Me I'm standing on a suspension bridge so high up I wanted to scream


These little guys were EVERYWHERE near where I ran.  If you ran at the right time morning or late afternoon you were just surrounded by them

This guy I ran into on another road.  No matter which side of the tree I went to he would turn the other way.  He just didn't want anything to do with me OR my phone camera :O)

Last morning run...the Pacific at the edge of that beach
Sunrise the last morning run; headed back to mi casa

Coatimundi!!!  And yes I was really that close!  He came out of nowhere scaring me at first! I was running LITERALLY through the jungle to get back on path after hanging out with the monkeys when he came scrambling down a tree straight for me

This was a common site most mornings on my run.  That and lots of cattle

Indeed.  Till we meet again Costa, until we meet again....
I couldn't get the photos to insert above in any order that I liked so I am adding them here...These are from my side day trip to Coco, and a few from Rincon de la Vieja.
This was SO COOL.  Old fashioned way of extracting cane juice from cane stalks.  Round and round he'd go and the juice would be squeezed out.  SO GOOD.  Especially as a sweetener in the magnificient coffee I had there too!
Headed down to the volcanic mud and natural springs and waterfall
Wash the mud off!
Bridge back to civilization and a fantastic lunch!!!
I have a whole other post to do about this trip; around being single and traveling alone. 
It doesn't have to be scary.  Or weird.
No matter WHAT people might think.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Post Workout Options and Why Nuts are an Excellent Choice

Prior to starting IIFYM, I have had a few trainers along the way, all of who would tell me the importance of certain nutrients within a time frame of finishing a workout.  However I never really believed it was a big deal.  Of course I have changed my mind on that the past several months, and have reaped the benefits of actually listening, and DOING.

Getting in protein right after working out looks to be a definite way develop an Arnold-worthy physique, but the form and variety may come down to personal preference.  I have tried several different things, and honestly I tend to always come back to REAL food as my go to!

Whole-food sources can provide all of the building blocks necessary for a full recovery, but lugging a turkey sandwich to the gym in a lunchbox fun, or even practical.  

Also, some gym-goers might find it hard to force down food after exercise. Side note:  I once saw a woman lifting (looking fit and fab by the way) eating McD's French fries WHILE working out at 24 Hour Fitness.  This was before I knew about IIFYM and thought to myself "what an idiot".  However also thinking man she's jacked, looks fab..(jealousy)

Anyway, the reason: During exercise, blood makes its way from the stomach to the working muscles, making it hard to digest whole foods right away.
Post-workout nutrition is an intriguing topic and rightfully so. The basic idea is threefold:
The body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on activity.
What you consume before, during, and especially after your workout is important.
By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts (aka post-workout nutrition), you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery.

Numerous studies have examined everything from the composition of the carbohydrate in post-workout drinks to exact amino acid combinations. Studies continue to reveal effective post-workout nutrition strategies for athletes and recreational exercisers of all types.
Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:
    Replenish glycogen
    Decrease protein breakdown
    Increase protein synthesis
    In other words, athletes/exercisers want to replenish their energy stores, increase muscle size and/or quality, and repair any damage caused by the workout.
In doing so, they want to increase performance, improve their appearance, and enable their bodies to remain injury-free.
Proposed benefits of good post-workout nutrition include: improved recovery, less muscle soreness, improve immune function, improved bone mass and improved ability to utilize body fat.

These benefits seem to work for everyone, regardless of gender or age.
Some refer to this workout and post-workout phenomenon as “the window of opportunity”.
During this window, your muscles are primed to accept nutrients that can stimulate muscle repair, muscle growth, and muscle strength.
This window opens immediately after your workout and starts to close pretty quickly. Research suggests that while protein synthesis persists for at least 48 hours after exercise, it’s most important to get postworkout nutrition immediately, and within 2 hours afterwards.
If you feed your body properly while this window is open, you’ll get the benefits.
If you don’t provide adequate post exercise nutrition fast enough — even if you delay by only a couple of hours — you decrease muscle glycogen storage and protein synthesis.
Downing protein after a workout is often just part of the routine, and for good reason. Consuming protein has been shown to speed up recovery time and increase strength before the next gym session. The magic results from amino acids (tiny parts of proteins), which act as a building block for muscle. After pumping iron, eating (or drinking) foods high in protein supplies the body with amino acids to start repairing the damaged tissue (mainly muscles). Protein shakes offer one method of getting in some muscle-building nutrients after a workout. But are they really more effective than high-protein foods such as chicken or egg? 
After pressing, curling, sprinting, and crunching, the next logical step for many is shaking. Protein shakes, bars, and gels are marketed to be as essential as anything for an effective workout. But are these packaged and powdered foods really necessary for an effective recovery, or do the whole-food alternatives have them beat? 

Since I work out after work I typically will just have my dinner.  If for some reason I am low on my protein grams for the day and dinner isn't going to cover those, I will have an extra protein source WHILE cooking that dinner.  That is generally either nuts, egg whites or a protein shake.

I no longer run for super long distances, 10K is the most you are going to see out of my any more; but I do lift heavy several days a week, run one long run (5 miles typically) on the weekend and do HIIT as well several times a week so I workout HARD for shorter periods of time.
Pitting powder against whole food, research indicates that the supplements may have a slight advantage. The quick source of amino acids increased the fractional synthesis rate of muscle (a fancy term for rate of muscle building) more than just a regular meal. In addition to adding size, it proves to be effective at increasing workout performance. One study using whey protein found that supplementation did increase hypertrophy (read: muscle size) and strength in participants. A similar study showed that individuals chugging protein could jump higher following a training program than their shake-less counterparts.
A good sports drink has 14-15 grams of carbohydrate in 8 ounces. It should also have about 110 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium in the same volume.
If you're exercising to lose weight, stick to water or a "lighter" version of sports drinks with fewer carbs and calories.
Look for energy bars that have about 5 grams of protein, with some carbohydrate and very little fat.

I mention these only because I know a lot of folks swear by them.  I gave up sports drinks before, during and after my long runs during training.  Even foregoing the stuff at water stops during the longer distance races.

Water is best before and during, then get that chocolate milk in afterwards.  Along with more water of course.

Before your stomach recoils, take a look at chocolate milk's ingredient list. For a high-endurance athlete, Stager's team sees it as a catch-all workout recovery drink. Compared to plain milk, water, or most sports drinks, it has double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles.

Remember that "energy" means calories, so watch out for high-calorie bars. They are helpful for athletes on the go, so if you can't eat before a long tennis match, an energy bar can help.
Choose protein powders made from whey protein or milk proteins. Use them within 30 minutes after exercising to provide needed amino acids to muscles.

After you've replenished your muscle glycogen with a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-protein, aim to eat 10 to 25 grams of plant-based protein in your post-workout meal from a variety of sources to get a full spectrum of amino acids. Beans, nuts, legumes and organic soy are all options.
Nuts and dried fruit. As you work out, your body starts to deplete the levels of glucose in your blood, and must turn to glycogen – carbohydrates stored in your liver and muscle tissue – to fuel your movement. A 4-to-1 carb-to-protein snack speeds the uptake of glycogen back into your muscles and initiates muscle building. Look for foods with the majority carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. I usually grab a handful of almonds and dried fruit, like raisins, to replenish muscle glycogen immediately post-workout. I then wait at least 20 minutes before consuming my high-protein meal.
The final decision on which products you use is up to you. My purpose here was simply to describe why you might be hearing so much hype about chocolate milk. When I create nutrition plans for my clients, I will often choose to use whole foods such as chocolate milk instead of specially engineered sports products. The reason for this is two-fold:
For starters, I like to keep cost in mind because athletes tend to need more calories and more food than the standard person. More food means more money so any place you can cut costs without sacrificing nutrition is a good thing to focus on.  Again nuts are economical!
Secondly, I feel that the further away we get from “real” foods, the more complicated our diets become. I don’t like when I see diets in which the majority of calories and nutrients come from powders and pills. No powder or pill can replicate the array of vitamins, nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals we get from eating a variety of whole foods.

Simple is best and an optimal sports nutrition diet can be achieved without the use of supplements or specially engineered foods.

Nuts are easy, portable and delicious!  On a side note I am in the midst of planning a 14 day trek across New Zealand in March 2017 and you can bet I will have PLENTY of nuts (and dried fruit/mix) portioned out in snack bags to stash in my backpack!!!

However, the choice is yours. No matter what product you select just be sure that it is safe, well tolerated by your body, and is something that you enjoy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Texas 10 Series - Sienna Plantation - Race Photos

Susan and I post race

Post Race with Susan

Add caption

I am here to tell you ladies...if you are struggling with weight gain, mid-section flab, and overall yucky body syndrome from pre/menopause/post, MACROS WILL HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR BODY!! 
That goes for everyone but for me its the ONLY thing that has worked on this old body of mine!
If you want to lose BODYFAT, BUILD MUSCLE, and don't want to worry about the scale OR what you can and cannot eat, hit me up!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Texas 10 Series - Sienna

I love the Texas 10 Series. 
When I was starting to reduce my race distances, I quickly learned that the 10 miler is indeed one that I love.
I didn't however, love the 10 miler in the warm up series here in the Houston area...I think it was (and might still be) the Space City something or other..Usually held a couple of weeks before the Houston Half at the end of October.
The distance though in general seems to be gaining popularity.  As does the 10K but that's a different post altogether.
Probably next year I might do more of the 7 races in their calendar but I have done Katy (10) and now Sienna (5).
The reason I dropped to the 5 mile option is probably evident.  My focus leading up to this race has been elsewhere as it pertains to running.
Which brings me to my next point, I LOVE that they have the 10 and 5 mile option.
I hadn't done a 5 miler in probably 2011..something like that.  Back when they had Park to Park which I loved but then they just stopped having it.
I believe my PR is about 47min or something like that, I would have to go and look it up.
Anyway I dropped to the 5 mile option a few weeks back.  And now I wonder if the 5 miler is my new 10 miler as the 10K is my new half marathon?
All I know is I am working on getting faster at the shorter distances (well working might be too strong of a word, but it is my intent to train better with my 400, 800 and 1000m workouts in the near future).
So going in to this race first off I was tired as hell.  While I didn't do anything on Saturday, my workouts during the week are 6 days of hard shit man.  And not having a workout on Saturday didn't mean I sat around and rested.  I had a lot of things to do plus the week had just been super stressful with the flooding, and chaos etc.
Plus waking up at 4:30am is never fun for me.  THEN the dang race was farther away than I had anticipated which pissed me off too :O)
Factor in I had NO idea of a strategy other than I wanted to get as close to top 3 as I possibly could in my AG.  I figured I needed about 48 min to be a contender.  And I was right. 
HAD I made my goal I would have been 2nd or 3rd.  Whereas I ended up 6th because I totally blew it.
I totally fell apart late in mile 3 and by the time I could recover in the last 3/4 of mile 5 it was too late.  My 6th place was 4 min slower than what I needed; telling me that nothing I did late even mattered. 
Even with the 7th place woman 2 full minutes behind me yeah, maybe at least what I did gave me at least that.  Ugh.
So I finished in 52:01.  Shit even if I had hit 51:59 I would have felt better.  I actually stopped about 600m from the Finish and selected my go to song.  4 people passed me in those seconds and when that song hit I literally took off faster than I knew I could run.  Looking at my stats I can see that it was a 7:57 pace for the next 600m.
Maybe those all-outs at 8 and 9mph OTF are working. 
But I will say that my quads were SCREAMING.  I just ran too hard too soon.  I need to strategize better on the next 5 miler (October); then I will have one in Nov and one in Dec.  I WILL get that AG at the distance!  Even today my quads HURT like a muthafocker.  Going down the stairs.  What?  Crazy.  What that tells me is that I left it all out there.  And that's a great feeling.  I didn't know I would EVER be back to running decent for me times again!
Honestly the 48 min was a stretch since my PR is at 47 but then I did a 10K at 9:44 pace just about a month ago.  I don't know.  As I said, just wasn't feeling the race.  Plus it was HUMID as hell and warm and well acclimation to that hasn't been attained with it only being April.
Thanks flooding and water soaked ground!
One thing I hope they change for next year is the course.  It was in a fairly new part of Sienna Plantation and there were a lot of twists and turns through homes being constructed.  Like they really had to WORK at getting a 5 mile loop to work (their races are always 2 loops).  Anyway I would like to see them figure that out for next year.  Just convoluted to me; all twisty turny.
Once I get a race photo back I will post it.  All I saw was the one photographer at the finish.  Definitely not as well planned or thought out as their other races.
But this being a new course, I will cut them some slack.
Now to be ready to do my next 10K the first week of June.  That one will NOT be a PR kind of race that's for sure! #Summer

Now I am off off off to Costa Rica for a glorious long overdue vacation!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Run Houston! Minute Maid 10K - 2016

Official Time: 59:48
3rd in Age Group
While I don't discount the effort, which after about a 5, maybe 6 year drought, I broke 1:00 at the 6.2 distance, I know that 'normally' this time would not be good enough for 3rd in my AG.  There are a LOT of much faster women but since the Bayou City Classic was the same day, they were all at that grabbing those HARRA points.
Also the usual suspects of choice runners don't really show up for the Run Houston! series which is fine by me.  Personally I love the series since I've reduced my running.  You get 5 races a year, really nice medals, free photo download and shirts, a virtual option, and if you do the 5, you get a holder for the medals at the end.
I did the Racepark one (but don't think I've blogged that yet..) on January 1st in the rain, wind and cold.  This one was post rain but the wind???!!! At least it wasn't freezing (until afterwards of course). Plus its 2 loops per usual for Run! Houston, but this one was 4 times over the Elysian.  I didn't realize this until the day before and thought "I thought they were gonna blow that bridge up due to wear and tear!"
It wasn't so bad as OrangeTheory and my change in health over the past couple of months prepared me for the up and overs.
I WISH I had downloaded at least one of my pics from the 1st race on Jan 1.  But I didn't because they definitely showed the weight and fat gain.  I might try and go back to find them because the difference even astonished me.  Its weird that while I knew I had gained a lot and was generally out of shape due to excessive running and in the steady state cardio zone and not eating enough (yes NOT EATING ENOUGH)...the proof is in the pudding so they say...UPDATED...I went and found the Jan 1st race photo...see below for side by side comparison.
I promise to go back and write the 6 or 7 drafts I have saved; my reminders of the topic are at least there.  Its a start.

Left = January 1, 2016
Started OTF on January 4
Bod pod and started macros on January 20
Right = March 19, 2016

I've actually only lost a pound or two, but obviously losing fat over muscle is a BIG deal...I am excited to see my official results for %'s etc which is on April 13th.