An All New Nuun

Say that 10 times fast…

Nuun announced a change in formula this week AND a new flavor. My order of Mango Orange Energy hasn’t arrived yet but I’m excited to try it and will report back. In terms of the change in formula, I’m excited to see that they have swapped to plant based sweeteners (it was previously a sugar alcohol) and that they are certified gluten-free, dairy free, soy free and most importantly, clean sport certified. In a time when too many athletes are claiming that they didn’t know what they were putting in their body, it’s important for companies to provide this information and for us to take full responsibility for what we ingest. It’s also nicer on our stomachs to digest plant-based sweeteners rather than sugar alcohols.

Finally, Nuun is clearing out some retiring flavors on sale including cherry limeade, Kona Cola and lemon tea. None of these are my true loves (although I like lemon tea) but if you live for them, stock up now before they are gone forever.

Olympic Trials Preview 2016

I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit bittersweet for Olympic Trials Week to arrive. During my training cycle this fall, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about what it would be like to toe the line in LA, how it would feel to don an Olympic Marathon Trials bib. When that didn’t become a reality AND I had a bad race in Philly, it was hard to not just throw my running shoes away entirely. I’m past that and inspired to be back to training but it still stings to not have made it to this coming weekend.

I’m still excited to watch the race next Saturday to see who will be our “three” in Rio. My prediction is that Desi will win, with Shalane and Amy Hastings Cragg hanging on for 2/3. There are a few dark horses in the field who might challenge early but ultimately, I think experience will win out. On the men’s side, I’m a lot less educated but expect it will include Rupp and Meb plus a dark horse. I wish I thought Ritz would get it together but he just hasn’t demonstrated the durability for the marathon.

Runner’s World did a cool infographic on the qualifiers. Looks like I have the right name but should have gone for the marathon standard instead of the half (which I already knew and considered…). New goal: get Vermont on the map the next time around!

Who do you think will make up the US Marathon team?

Week in Review 2/1/16 to 2/7/16

Monday: 5.25 mile run plus 300 abs. Took a great sliding fall outside and spent the rest of my run covered in mud.

Tuesday: 6 miles with 4 at tempo pace on the treadmill. Felt super comfortable. Legs after.

Wednesday: 6.5 easy outside. Core challenge after.

Thursday: 7.1 mile run.

Friday: Didn’t get good sleep on Thursday night so thought I could run after mid-call but didn’t get home until after 8 so unplanned day off.

Saturday: 5 mile progression run on the treadmill before long call.

The benefit of working early mornings is that you get to see some incredible sunrises.

The benefit of working early mornings is that you get to see some incredible sunrises. Saturday morning’s show.

Sunday: 8 miles on the treadmill plus arms.

Total Miles: 38

Really happy with this week of training. I added a couple new races to the coming months including a return to the half marathon in May and had an awesome tempo run on Tuesday that made me feel like I was getting back to normal. Starting a new clerkship isn’t easy and Medicine is a 6 day a week schedule but I don’t have to be in until 7 and get out early afternoon on some days, which is definitely a recipe for better running.

Now that the snowshoe race for the All Terrain series got changed to the Northeast Snowshoe Championships in March, I need to get my spring training schedule ironed out. Ultimately I’d like to put in a decent performance at the half in Plattsburgh but I also need to have serviceable performances at the trail run in April and the mountain run in July. Given that this is a bit out of my usual comfort zone, Will and I are doing some research to figure out how to get me ready for these events. As that gets ironed out, I’ll share what we’ve learned on here.

It’s My Body and I’ll Billboard If I Want To

As my post on Thursday alluded, it’s a rough time for endurance sports. Perhaps some of this comes from the insanity associated with chasing after and keeping sponsorships, most of which have performance requirements tied to them. When you have to perform to pay the bills, it’s not a huge leap to see why people might be willing to bend or outright break the rules.

That’s why I find this letter by Nick Symmonds incredibly timely. As he says, major contracts are few and far between (and increasingly a thing of the past). As such, many of us cobble together sponsorships to support our running. When we race, we want to acknowledge the companies who support us. We want to make sure everyone knows which products we believe in and count on. As the rules are now, however, my body isn’t my body at USATF events. The Nuun tattoo I wear to thank that company isn’t allowed. If I want to recognize a sponsor in addition to my team, I essentially have to rely on pre and post race gear to get the word out. It’s not that this doesn’t work: I spent 2 hours after the Craft Brew race answering questions about Nuun thanks to my trucker cap and tattoo. But it would be nice to have my singlet adorned with the logos of the companies that got me there.

In nordic skiing, for example, athlete uniforms reflect all of their sponsors. This year, for example, the US women have white uniforms that have nordic related sponsors like Craft Performance, Fischer and Rossignol next to non-nordic specific sponsors like Visa and Subaru. The other nice feature of the U.S. Ski Team is that although there are team specific sponsors (Craft, L.L. Bean and others), athletes can also personalize their uniforms and hats with other sponsors, such as their boot maker or fuel company.

I’m not saying I want to look like a NASCAR rig. I neither have that many sponsors nor the intention of making my quads a billboard. What I am saying (and what Symmonds is saying) is that athletes should have the opportunity to recognize all their sponsors on their race gear without penalty and that companies should have their logo readily visible on the athletes they so graciously sponsor.

What do you think the solution is? Should USATF be able to dictate what athletes put on their bodies? Where do we draw the line on bodies as billboards?

Good Eats: Vegan Chickpea Curry Stew

Vegan Chickpea Curry Stew

Tis the season for hearty stews. The beautiful part about this stew is that it packs a ton of healthy ingredients into a gluten free, dairy free, vegan stew that (almost) anyone will love.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic (or 2 cloves freshly chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 3 sweet potatoes chopped
  • 2 cups of cooked, pureed squash
  • 2 cans of chickpeas drained
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups of fresh spinach
  • sea salt
  • crushed black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Directions

Saute the onions, garlic and coconut oil until onions are translucent. Turn down the heat and add sweet potatoes and squash and stir until combined. Add salt, pepper, curry, bay leaves, cumin and red pepper flakes and stir in. Add chickpeas and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Add spinach and serve once wilted into the mix.

For Added Protein

Add in one box of silken tofu, crumbled into small pieces

For Added Carbs

Serve over rice or quinoa

Nutrition Facts (easy to do for any recipe: just enter ingredients here)

Recipe as above serves 6

Recipe as above serves 6

A New Low in Cheating

It hasn’t been the greatest year for running with the NOP scandal and Russian doping bust but I guess we can take some solace in the fact that we have at least avoided putting motors in our legs (to date). For those who missed the headline, a professional cyclist at the World Championships for cyclocross was busted for having a hidden motor in one of her bikes. A motor.

What is going on in professional endurance sports that we have given up on chasing the next level the natural way? Is winning worth a lifetime of knowing you cheated and the risk of getting caught? What is the punishment for someone (arguably barely an adult) who participated in this?

Walk It Out

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I’ve never been one to wear a pedometer; after all, I run almost every day and never have trouble getting to 10,000 steps. I was curious, however, just how much I move on a daily basis while I’m in the hospital. My phone comes with a built in pedometer (S Health, for those on Android) that I don’t have to think about so I turned it on a couple of weeks ago. What I learned is pretty interesting. On any given day, I get about 2000 steps in during the first hour of my day. Between walking to the hospital and rounds, I get the day off right with lots of motion. Then my day diverges depending on the plan for the day. If I have clinic, I end the day around 5000 steps. If I’m in the OR, however, I end up at least near 10,000 and sometimes higher. My highest last week was 13,561 steps!

What I’ve learned from my little experiment is that especially after OR days, doing a workout and expecting a good result is ridiculous. 10,000 steps is something like 6 miles walked on top of my regular run and isn’t a good setup for a speed workout. I was also interested, however, to see how few steps I take during clinic even though I feel fairly active because I’m up and down a lot to see patients.

Do you use a pedometer? How active is your daily life?

 

Feel the Burn

No, this isn’t a political post even if I’m from Vermont and Bernie Sanders was in fact a bit of a track star.  This is about that burn that we all chase as endurance athletes, the one that part of us shrinks from and the other part of us reaches for.

It’s not that I can’t get good lung burn when I run but I’ve been doing it long enough that it’s rare for me to really hurt during most workouts. On Saturday, however, I remembered what it’s like to suffer. I started the day by skiing. In a normal year, I ski most days of the winter and besides the first couple days, I’m generally happy except on the steepest of hills. Thanks to surgery this winter, however, I’ve only been on my skis a handful of times. As such, I put myself in a bit of an exhausted hole by the end of the races on Saturday morning. Then I head out to run on my snowshoes. I wanted to try it before the race and with another melt on the way, it seemed like Saturday was my best bet. I set off at a good clip (read: in motion) across the fields at MMU with the plan of running our new XC course a couple of times. By the time I had climbed the first big hill, I was gasping for air and looked down at my watch: 4 minutes. Shit. As the run went on, I got more efficient and learned how to run hills without totally going into oxygen debt but one thing is for sure: snowshoe running is no joke. I’ll be thrilled if I run 11 minute miles next weekend.

And this wasn't even deep snow!!

And this wasn’t even deep snow!!

On the way home, I was invigorated in a way I haven’t been after a run in a long time. Yes, I was humbled and exhausted, but I was also so excited to be challenged and to find a new way to expand my fitness.

What activity have you done lately that humbled you? What’s your surefire way to make your lungs burn?

How to Start Running: Month 2

Congratulations: you are now up to running 5 1/2 minutes at a time!**

In Month 2, we’ll head from 10 minutes to 15 minutes and from 5 1/2 minutes of running to 10 minutes.

Week Workout Plan
Week 5  12 minutes (2:00 walk 2:00 run. Repeat 3 times)
Week 6 13 minutes (2:00 walk 2:30 run. Repeat 3 times)
Week 7 14 minutes (1:00 walk 2:00 run. Repeat 4 times. 2 min walk to end)
Week 8 15 minutes (1:00 walk 2:00 run. Repeat 5 times)

**If you are just tuning in, check out Month 1 first.

Who’s still with us?! (And welcome to Molly who is working towards her first 5K).

Week in Review 1.25.15 to 1.31.15

Monday: 4 mile recovery run.

Tuesday: 6 mile run.

Wednesday: 9.2 mile run midweek!! Woo!

Thursday: 6 mile run plus arms.

Friday: 6 mile progression run. Legs after.

Saturday: All of the snow activities. 15K of skiing at the race then 20 minutes of snowshoe running.

Sunday: Sore! Yoga first thing then a lovely easy 5 with Megan.

Total Miles: 36.4

Total Miles for January: 138

Happy with this week and hopeful that I’ll crack 40 for next week. The weather is still all over the place up here and it’s left some very icy sidewalks but I’ve still been able to be outside a few days a week. I’m not sure the snowshoe race is going to go next weekend with temperatures in the 50s tomorrow but I’m keeping my fingers crossed (although if yesterday was any indication, 7K is going to be incredibly painful!)