In Case You’re Wandering: Health Reads & Eats Edition

Guys. It is RAINING here. I don’t even know what to say about this. My rainboots are dusty. My rain-jacket hasn’t been used in months. I’m so used to eating lunch outside in the sunshine that I really had to think about where to put my plate today. (All, 100% #firstworldproblems. I know.)

Meanwhile, the farms all around the central coast of California are rejoicing and you can hear the Hallelujahs from miles away! So, good for that.

Since I can’t sit here and watch a movie with you on this rainy day, I’ll keep you busy with something else – pretty damn good reads and quotes I’ve found by wandering around the internets recently. I’ve taken the 15+ browser tabs open on my Chrome right now and passed the highlights right along to you!

No problemo, amigos.

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Coach heather sign

The Truth About Cholesterol
– Whole9Life.com

Do you know your numbers? We test them for our clients and I spend a lot of time discussing TG, HDL, LDL and other acronyms related to health risks. As per usual, the Whole9 team gives a great, easy to comprehend recap.

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trailhoghalf_H3

Is your Hydration drink making you Dehydrated?
Interview with Osmo’s Dr. Stacy Sims – OutsideMagazine.com

I’ve received a little tough-love from the coach lately about hydration and endurance training. That little 12-oz water bottle I’ve finally learned to carry around on runs and during races isn’t doing me quite as many favors as I once thought. I’ve gone from Nuun to Skratch Labs mix (because of the sugar alcohol in Nuun), and now to Osmo Nutrition drinks. It’s a long story. Let’s let Dr. Sims do the talking.

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California International Marathon (CIM)
Running Tips 

Speaking of running, a big race in a little city of California is coming up and a certain someone in this house is running it! He’s got a lofty goal in mind, and I’m pretty pumped to see him crush it after months of dealing with me giving him MAF runs. We’re about 5 weeks out from his race-day and the plans are coming together (lodging, shuttle-catching, race-day strategizing, etc.).

Any other hands-raised for this one?

Alternative read: Josh Cox’s CIM race report

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What you eat affects your productivity – HBR

In other words, the above-pictured lunch may not be your best workday option. A goal set with a lot of my clients is to revamp the midday meal, because it can drastically affect how the rest of your day plays out.

“Unhealthy lunch options also tend to be cheaper and faster than healthy alternatives, making them all the more alluring in the middle of a busy workday. They feel efficient. Which is where our lunchtime decisions lead us astray. We save 10 minutes now and pay for it with weaker performance the rest of the day.” Read more by clicking above.

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pumpkin-soup-dietitian on the run

What kind of Halloween post would this be
without some PUMPKIN love?

33 Pumpkin Recipes a la Anne @ fANNEtastic food

My favorite (spiced) pumpkin soup                 &

How to make your own pumpkin puree (skip the can!)

(And while I may not be dressing up this elaborately this year, I give you this 2006 flashback. Mmhm. Purple-people-eater was the exact color, in case you’re wondering.)

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And last but not least, this thought has consumed my post-MCM mind. Let it sit and let it change a decision you’re having trouble making.

never give up

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Filed under Dietitians, food, health, in the News, random, recipes

New Kicks, Same Game: Mizuno Wave Rider 18s (Review)

This  post is part of a sponsored campaign with Mizuno on behalf of Fitfluential. Opinions are my own.

MIzuno WaveRider18 Run

Over the past few weeks you may have seen a new kid on the blocks, making waves in the Bay. The Mizuno WaveRider 18 has arrived, with a sleek new design, just enough support and the influence of “Hado” at its back.

Hado –
intrinsic vibrational life force energy
that promotes powerful transformations.

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As of last fall I’ve been a Mizuno-runner, through and through. I was converted by the 17’s, which have now run two marathons with me, blaze the trails with my Hayates, and save the Sayonaras for short races and/or Wednesdays…when we wear pink.

Now, my little Mizuno family has grown by two feet:  Mizuno WaveRider18_group1

Mizuno circle_waverider 18

They didn’t arrive in time for marathon adjustments, so I’ve used them in-between long runs to switch it up. We’re still getting to know this little black sheep, but the kicks have made a few first impressions:

- Lightweight – 7.8 oz, to be exact.

- Neutral – which is the only way I take my shoes.

- Balance – of fit and performance. They’re trained and designed to take the energy of your run and give you a smooth, sleek ride.

- Familiarity – the same, trusted Mizuno-patented Wave Technology that responds to your stride and provides support for your run. They’re also very wide-foot-friendly! WF gals know what I’m talkin ‘bout.

One thing to keep in mind: they feel a little tighter in the heel, and definitely take a run or two until they’re warmed up and ready to go. As with any new shoe, give them  an intro phase and take it easy! Throw in a few strides on your second or third run and let the responsive technology kick in.

Mizuno WaveRider18 Black

If you’re looking for a new yin to your foot’s yang, give the Wave line a try. I’ve yet to consider any Mizuno shoe a bad fit.

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Filed under gear, new things!, running, running gear, training

District: Charged (MCM 2014 Recap)

As with every time we step up to a starting line to see what exactly this race day will bring, it’s over way too quickly. Anticipation fills months, weeks and days before the gun goes off.  Thankfully I know every mile on this course; I needed that small dose of familiarity and comfort. Otherwise, I’ve never been so nervous to go out and test the systems…

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I stayed with Anne & Matt on Saturday night so the trek to the starting line was very easy (pre-race pumpkin carving is one way to take your mind off the nerves!).   We arrived to the Rosslyn metro around 6:35 a.m. and parted ways. They hopped on the train to the Smithsonian stop (10K start); I followed crowds of runners in sweats on their way toward these familiar arches.

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Coach K and I worked out a very specific plan. I know from experience that you have to be careful in the beginning of this race, even more so than other marathons – I’ve never fully mastered the art of it. Even though I’d have to average out to 8:00 min/miles, the plan started with 8:30s. “There is more elevation gain in the first 2.5 miles of the MCM course than there is in the 5 mile stretch through Newton Hills on the Boston Marathon course.”  Round 3, and I still forgot how rowdy that Lee Highway hill is! Going up OR down too quickly will wreak havoc; take it easy. Save it. (Had a brief conversation about this on the plane coming back to CA last night; a fellow racer complained about how quickly/hard he went out on those hills, and the detriment it caused later. I hear ya! I’ve been there.)

This year was different; stuck to the plan, even though it felt a little slow, and put faith in what my legs are well trained to do with fatigue.

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Other tools in the game-day box: rainbows and a few mantras. This race wasn’t gonna go down without a lot of mental stamina.

Miles 1-8 were pretty unremarkable. We had beautiful fall views throughout Arlington and into Georgetown. It was warming up to the high of 65+ and everyone was happily in summer-style running gear.

A few things have changed since 2012, but the best upgrade was skipping MacArthur and turning right off the Key Bridge. We immediately headed into my stomping grounds: Rock Creek Park. You can’t have a bad run in RCP. The crowds were loud and dense, runners were happy!

Around mile 9 I needed my thoughts to calm down and the pace to feel a little easier. I needed mile 20 to be a little closer*, and I needed to zone out for a little while.

None of that really happened, but somehow I did manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other just fast enough to maintain an 8:00-8:15 pace.  I managed to carefully barrel my mind behind the wall, keeping it with me, not against me.

Choose courageNot comfort. 

MCM 2014_haines pt MCM 2014_mile 17
Photo credit, obviously: MarathonFoto.com

There’s no explaining needed here – I think those faces speak for themselves.  I also think miles 10-17 of most marathons will always fall similarly along the spectrum of “uncomfortable”, no matter how the day is going.

In these moments: Your focus shifts from miles, paces, nutrition and frequency of aid stations to pour all the energy you can mightily muster to shut off the mind. It’s ready to quit long before your legs are trained to.

Right after we passed the Capital I briefly walked through the water station to dump blissfully chilled H2O on my head. That would be the last luxury of a  ‘break’ my legs got.*Kate was waiting for me right where I expected her (mile 19.5), with all the energy she reliably carries on the run.

Kate’s mission would be to pull me through 7:30-45s during the last 10K. I refused to verbalize that those numbers weren’t in the cards (not that I had the energy or lung capacity to speak, anyway), or concede to any thought that it wouldn’t happen. Physically, I knew. But when you give up mentally, it’s a different kind of failure. She’s a smart cookie – I knew she would know, and we’d do what we could with what was left.

We’ve done this before, she knows the drill! BEAT. THE. BRIDGE.

That freaking bridge….

Miles 20-22 are too familiar; people are suffering to tackle the undulations of the 14th street bridge. If they’re in my head, they’re also trying to fathom HOW IT IS SO LONG and hoping with all hope that it ends soon.

As we came down and off the ramp, we were joined by two strangers. Jeff was wearing the same TAD visor and accompanied by his friend, as instructed by Katie. He immediately said “We’re here to pace you to Boston!!”. Oh, man. I WISH that’s what you were going to do, Jeff, but that math is not working in my favor at this point. This was the moment I realized there would be none of the usual mile 23-25 intermittent walk breaks – not a chance of letting down any guard, even though there was also not a chance I was hitting my goal. When two strangers and one kick-ass friend give up their morning to run with you? You put on your tough-girl pants and you run.

Those three. They should probably never know what was going through my head, but they SHOULD know that they did an incredible thing. The success of the day: there wasn’t a single point in the last 10K that we stopped, paused or mentally quit. Instead, we ran a pace that felt like walking but was actually, miraculously, pretty consistent.

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And then there was the “Mile 26” sign. And the crowds couldn’t possibly have been any thicker, louder or more amped up for us! And there was the hill this race is famous for.

And then it was done.

MCM 2014 Finish

MCM 2014 splits

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I’ve had to let this one sit and sink in, and am still not completely done processing it. But a lot of strong people have been quick to remind me there is always something to pull from any race day, and this is no different. The about-to-puke finish feeling , some HR data and my barely-moving-today legs have plenty to say. I ran exactly what I could and I did it well enough to keep running through every mile. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it’s how this day played out. I got to charge through my favorite city on one of my favorite days and with one of my favorite people. Success!

2014-10-26 12.12.56  2014-10-26 12.19.40

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And now we run…

We’re here. Two days out!

It’s time to think less and feel more. To trust the training and know everything that could have been done has been done. It’s time to calm the crazies and just enjoy these few short days in the District. Feet up, mind off. Heart and legs? Jumpy, filling up on a steady adrenaline drip, and totes ready to go.

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The Coach passed along a quote that encompasses the decision made multiple times throughout any race, if not pretty much every second of every mile:

Courage or comfort.MCM 2014

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Those two truths are coming along with me to starting line on Sunday morning. The only thing that’s left to do? Run.

To all racers joining the MCM party this weekend – run strong! Have fun! High-five the Marines and spectators! Remember the hills at the beginning, the bridge in the middle and the sweet finish line that’s waiting for you at the end. See ya out there!

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Filed under DC, Goals, marathon, running, things I Love

Salad Towers: Salmon, Squash, Seeds & Sesame Toppers

My brain and your eyes could probably take a break from all this incessant MCM talk. Today’s a mind-taper day, and a reminder that there’s another big aspect of training – well, life, in general – that has gone mostly unmentioned here. THE EATS.

Working from home allows for more flexibility with meals. If I were in the office, you’d still see a lot of pumped-up salads, they just wouldn’t be plated quite so nicely. And they wouldn’t be consumed in the backyard sunshine – my way of supplementing lunch with some Vitamin D. I choose a salad for lunch because it ensures a huge vegetable serving, is completely versatile for flavors and toppers, and gives me a high volume of healthy foods.

WIN, Win.

Let’s walk through a basic salad construction….

I don’t consume meat or poultry, but protein is always part of the salad equation here. I opt for one or more of the following: fish (usually leftover from the night before – baked/grilled), pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, hard-boiled egg and/or avocado.

You don’t have to have “greens” to make it a salad, but I usually do. I buy the organic mixed greens from Trader Joe’s and may mix in some raw kale, arugula and/or spinach for extra nutrients. Then I pile on the rainbow! My goal is to have at least 3 colors in my salad, which may come from peppers, onion, carrots, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, dried/fresh fruits, avocado and/or leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner.

At the end, I go for a little flavor with a “dressing” of sorts. I never do a store-bought dressing, nor do I take the time to mix anything together. I keep it simple: fresh lemon squeeze, drizzle of EVOO or a drizzle of Sesame oil.

Here are a few salad towers I’ve created lately:

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The season hasn’t changed much here in California, but the display at Trader Joe’s suggests it may officially be fall. And therefore we have squash.

Tower toppers: leftover roasted salmon (seasoned with chili powder), roasted kabocha squash (seasoned with cumin, salt/pepper), chopped cucumbers, red peppers and carrots, sunflower seeds. Dressing: sesame oil.

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If there’s only one thing you takeaway from this post: you cannot have too much avocado on your salad.

Toppers: tomatoes (still farm-fresh at the farmer’s market!), cucumbers, avocado, red pepper and sunflower seeds. Dressing: lemon squeeze, salt & pepper.

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I like to have my salads with a side of brain-puzzle, too.

Toppers: baked Mahi Mahi (seasoned with dried green chile powder), chopped carrots, cucumber and pistachios. Dressing: drizzle of EVOO.

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What are some of your go-to weekday lunches?

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Filed under health, Nutrition, recipes, training, what to eat