Friday, December 28, 2012

About Hydration Made Simple

Just about everyone knows the benefit of proper hydration.  Whether you are an athlete or not, this is one of the staples of good health.  Before I get to the meat of this post, here's a quick reminder:

The amounts of water that is recommended to drink is staggering.  Well, staggering if you don't drink enough water.  Actually, the recommended daily intake of water is determined by a host of factors... body weight, activity, weather, etc.. again, we're not here to talk about this...

For me, it's recommended that I compliment my daily intake with 64 oz of water. "Compliment" because water comes from a bunch of different sources, mostly the foods we eat.

I always had a hard time trying to drink up.  Took a bottle of water with me around all day long, and it usually made it home at night.  Hardly touched.

I think the issue was that I was looking at the 64 oz and figured "I could never do that".

So I broke it down to it's lowest common denominator, or to an amount that I could easily put my hands around.  It turns out that if I drink 4 oz per hour for 16 hrs a day, I would consume my recommended amount.

Second problem was to figure a way to remember to do this each and every hour.

Here's the solution:

This Nalgene water bottle holds exactly 32 oz.  As you can see, I made hourly marks on the bottle every four ounces.  After drinking the 2 pm portion, I refill the bottle and it's ready for the rest of the day.  This bottle is BPA free, made in the USA and there are no plastic bottles to throw away.  Added benefits.

It was difficult at first getting used to drinking all this water.  The timing of being away from facilities had to be just right.  But now my body is getting used to this new routine.

Yes, it was as simple as that.  Take the big picture (64 oz) and break it down into manageable pieces ( 4 oz /  hr).

Come on over this blog's facebook page and click "like"... Easiest way to keep up to date with my "Journey Beyond Ironman"

Sunday, December 23, 2012

About 26.4.26 Final Public Thoughts

"Final Public Thoughts" because from here on out, I need to quietly and privately reflect on the events of yesterday, the week behind it and December 14, 2012 and how they affected me, my family, those around me and our county.

All across the country everyone has been paying tribute and memorial to this horrible day in history.  We, in Nashville were no different.  You can read my account on how this came about by clicking here.

As predicted, the running and triathlon community (and I would venture to guess that a few non-runners were present as well), responded in a manner and fashion worthy of high praise.  Total tally was 1012 runners, running over 10,000 miles and over $30,000 in donations collected.  This does not take into account the on-line donations.  Final count to be announced soon.

The angel assigned to me, or the one that I randomly picked, I can't remember how it happened, was Dawn Hochsprung, 47.  She was the school principal.  I promptly put her in a pocket designed for the iPod shuffle my running hat has.  Today I would carry my angel here, not my iPod.

My wife and both our daughters had joined the run.  They were there early in the morning for we had a job to do.  After we all had our angel assignments  we proceeded  to inflate 27 balloons with helium   Yes, we chose to inflate one for the "mom" as well.  This was my daughter's idea.  We all agreed. 

These balloons were to be released right before the run started.

I took all 27 balloons with me and weaved through the crowd handing one each to random runners.  It seemed like everyone wanted a balloon, but when I explained that we only had 27, everyone understood.

These are two video clips that were made from yesterday.  They captured the spirit of the event, so I will not go into detail because I'm afraid I can't do any better than this.

I've become aware of a couple of occurrences that took place before the run  that have left me wondering and scratching my head a bit.

1).  As we lined up ready for the start, the balloons were scattered throughout the crowd.  As they were released, it appeared that the wing gathered them all together as the floated up to the heavens.  I thought I had imagined this, but several folks mentioned the same thing to me.

2).  My brother lives in Florida, outside Tampa.  He had been following the events that led to this run.  Being a runner and a new triathlete he wanted to help.  He signed up and committed to running 26 miles.  His longest run ever.

Since he couldn't be here, he decided to make his own angel.  This is what he did...

And because he couldn't be here, I picked up an angel for him, and this is it...

He did not know I had him an angel, I did not know he made his own. When I told him and we realized the coincidence, we didn't know what to say.

3). This morning as I was going through facebook, I read a reply to a post.  It appears that my friend Shari's angel was Benjamin.  Again, and angel picked or assigned randomly.  Shari was one of the first people to get a balloon. I picked one from the bunch.  Shari's balloon was Benjamin's.

Additionally, upon discussing this new found information, my wife Monica told me that the same thing happened to her.  Both angel and balloon were one and the same... Chase!

4).  My sister noticed:  "Funny you would get the principal's name since you're very much a teacher/mentor to so many..."

I don't know what this all means, perhaps you could make some sense of it.  I am not a believer of coincidences per se; I believe that there's a greater power in control.  To me, this was obvious yesterday.

As I try to decompress and move forward, I'm taking with me the fact that I now have my very own guarding angel.  From here on out, every race I run, every event I participate in, I will carry the brave Principal's memory with me and I know that just as she had her student's back that December morning, she will have mine.

For Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan, Dawn, Madeliene, Catherine, Chase, Nancy, Jesse, Ana, James, Grace, Anne, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin and Allison...I will never forget and May You Rest In Peace!

Friday, December 21, 2012

About "Normal to Excellent"

Last week at a regular scheduled semi-annual visit with my doctor he ordered a host of "tests" to run. So many that when I arrived to get blood drawn the nurse came in with so many vials that you would have thought I was there to donate blood, not to get blood work done.

And why so many tests, you may ask?  Well, this was the result of conversation with Doc regarding how I was feeling; overly tired, sleepy, etc...  I had never experienced this at this level before, when I had it was very manageable.  I would just take a day or two of extra rest and problem be gone.  This time around, this feeling just kept hanging around.  Of course you can imagine my concerns.

I arrived at the doctors office this morning with a lot of expectation.  Not sure what I was going to hear, I expected the worst.  Not sure what the "worst" was, but I was ready!  Bring it on, I thought!

When he came in to the examining room, he had a big smile on his face.  Maybe he always carried that smile; he's been my doctor for over 25 years, maybe I just hadn't noticed before.

After all the normal pleasantries, he opened my file, which by now it looks like volume "R" of Encyclopedia Britannica, and quickly began to hum and scratch his head.  "Ohh oh" I thought.  "What is he looking at?"

"Well" he said, "Everything looks good.  No... everything looks great!"  Now I was the one with the smile.  He proceeded to tell me that "Each and everyone of the numerous tests he requested came back "Normal To Excellent"; physiologically there's no real reason for you to be feeling the way you are."

So what was the problem?

After some discussion regarding my peculiar situation, he concluded my visit by saying:  "You're not as young as you used to be.  Listen to your body and take an extra day or two or three of rest.  You can't be out there running and cycling and swimming with kids half your age and expect to keep up with them."

So, there you are!  Proof Positive once again that Exercise, Diet and a Healthy life style is the way to Go!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

About 26.4.26

If you live in the Middle Tennessee area and you happen to be a member of its outstanding running community, or one of your friends happens to be a runner and is on facebook, perhaps you have heard about the amazing event that is taking place this coming Saturday at 8 AM, here in Nashville.

On Monday afternoon, Robbie Bruce had the bright idea to involve a few of his friends in a 26 mile run in memory of each of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  So he texted his business partner and friend to solicit feedback.  Two texts later the decision had been made.

Later on that evening, my daughter recruited me to be one of the 26 runners that would participate in this event.  Yes, the idea was to have 26 people (individuals or relay teams) each run 26 miles. Each person would also donate $1 per mile.  These funds would go to the United Way of Western Connecticut.  WOW.. How awesome.  Immediately I agreed.

I posted on facebook my intentions to participate.  I read Robbie's post about the "why" of this event and it made all kinds of sense.  He has a 7 year old son and a mother and sister who are teachers.  He felt the need to do something.  I agreed.

Immediately all of us who had committed started recruiting.  We needed to find the 26 individuals or enough to fill relay teams.  Before we had a chance to take a deep breath the ball started rolling.  Everyone who could or though they could committed to running.  I think by the end of that night the initial goal had been reached and surpassed.

Within the first 24 hours the numbers had jumped to over 200.  And they were rolling in faster than could be tracked.  A facebook page was created for the event so folks could get the information needed.  This event had taken a life of its own.  People were asked to go here and agree to "attend".

Information was coming out rapidly.  All TV Stations in Middle Tennessee reported on the event yesterday, as did the local newspaper.   People were getting excited.  The numbers kept growing.  Changes would have to be made to the original plan.

As of this writing 640 people have committed through the fb page to participate.  This number has grown to a point where the original route has been changed.  We are now running from Nashville's LP Stadium.  The Nashville Running Company had originally agreed to host the event.  WOW, who knew! Thank you Lee Wilson for being there willing to do this.

Folks can run, walk or a combination of both.  They can do 6.5 miles, 13 miles, 19.5 miles or all 26.  As a matter of fact you can do any distance you want. There will be no starting gun, no timing chip, no finish line.  This is being done to "remember and support".

We expect the number to surpass 1000.  We just do.  We have no doubt, just how many past that will be an awesome number to see.

Additionally, many runnres who will be out of town, or that have heard of this event, have pledged to run their miles on their own and make a donation on line.

You don't have to run to participate.  A page has been set up so donations can be made.  Click here to go to this page.  There's also a option to purchase bumper stickers or tee shirts. Click here for more information.

A personal message from me to the Nashville and Middle Tennessee Running Community:  I am proud and honored to be associated with such magnificent, caring and giving people.  I am thankful that you folks have allowed me the opportunity to get to know you through these past few years.  You encompass the true meaning of Love.  Thank You!

Monday, December 17, 2012

About Winter's Ab Workout

Having had to nurse an aching back for the past few weeks, my winter workout/challenge has been delayed for a spell.  Two years ago I started, what I hope now is a trend, to dedicate the winter months to a specific workout.  First it was P90X in 2010 and the 100 Push-Up Challenge in 2011.

Today I started with the following chapter.  I found out last year that the most productive work I could do to help with my swim, bike and run was to work on my core.  This I have always heard, but had never really put into full and constant practice.  I would do stuff to work on the mid section but never really concentrating exclusively on this.  I am not ignoring the rest of my muscle groups, I'm just going to focus in this area for the next thirty days.

Here's what my routing will be, each day for the next 30 days...

1).  50 CRUNCHES.  Ideally, the crunches would be done freestyle.  However, due to my bad back I have to do the assisted type.  I will do the Ab Machine Crunch.

2).  15 PUSH UPS.  Perfect Form Push Ups.


5).  10 ROLL OUTS


7).  15 PUSH UPS.  Perfect Form Push Ups.



10). 50 CRUNCHES.


12). 10 ROLL OUTS.


14).  50 CRUNCHES.

This routine is performed without stopping in between exercises.

After finishing this routine, I will do:

1).  PRESS UPS:  Press up and hold for 8-10 seconds.  Repeat for a 10 count.

2)  CHILD POSE:  Will hold for about two minutes and repeat two times.

Please navigate over to this page's facebook page and click "like". 

(Thank You to my G+ friend Neila Lott for the inspiration for this workout)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quick & Easy Meal Planning & Prep for Athletes, Part 4

This post is part of an ongoing series of articles addressing meal planning, prep, and menu ideas for endurance athletes. To view the firstsecond, and third articles in this series, please click on the corresponding links.

As promised earlier, today's post will provide some healthy, quick, and easy meal ideas with links to corresponding recipes (from my recipe blog) that can be used during training season. Listed below are two ideas for each dish category:

1. Homemade Muesli - Deceptively simple and packed with high-energy nutrients, this is a great choice for those days when you just don't feel like eating the usual (i.e., store-bought, boxed cereals). It's also an excellent alternative to hot cereal, especially when the warmer weather rolls around. I often make big batches of it and then store it in a large, resealable plastic bag.
2. Blueberry-Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes - When most people think of pancakes, probably the last thing that comes to mind is health. ;) However, that's what sets these pancakes apart. They're healthy AND delicious, not to mention, extremely quick and easy to make; plus, they're real people-pleasers for both children and adults alike. They just taste like regular, honest-to-goodness pancakes, but the great thing is that the batter isn't made with a single drop of butter. Surprise your family by making them this special treat on a weekend day, and just watch their faces light up with smiles. :) There's nothing quite like the taste of light and airy buttermilk pancakes with warm, gooey blueberries that just melt in your mouth.

Lunches & Dinners:
1. Teriyaki Salmon Burgers - This meal is a nice alternative to regular (beef) hamburgers, especially if you're trying to up your Omega-3's and reduce your weekly red meat consumption for health reasons. Not only is salmon a rich source of Omega-3's, which are great for reducing post-exercise inflammation, but it's also a great source of protein. For more nutrients and less contaminants, be sure to choose wild salmon over farm-raised whenever possible. Wild salmon contains more Omega-3's than farm-raised; it's also 20% higher in protein but 20% lower in fat.
2. "Cheat Sheet" Chili - Made with lean ground turkey meat, beans, vegetables, tomatoes, and a bunch of dried spices, this dish is great for those times when you are tired from a busy day of work and workouts and just don't feel like putting in a lot of effort to cook. :) This chili is also portable and freezes well, so you can make it in advance and take it to work with you or eat it for future dinners. It's a huge time-saver!

1. Shirazi salad - This recipe contains just 3 major vegetables (OK, technically a tomato is a fruit, so 1 fruit and 2 vegetables) and a very short list of ingredients. Plus, you don't even have to turn on the stove. Can't get much easier than that, eh?! It's not just healthy, but it's so fresh, crisp, and delicious! Try it for lunch and add a protein source like shrimp, grilled chicken or beef, or if you're vegan/vegetarian, add tofu, black beans, or chickpeas instead. Or serve it for dinner as a prelude to other Mediterranean courses like falafel, pita spread with hummus or babaganoush, or shish kebabs made on the grill.
2. Cucumber, Tomato, & Artichoke Salad - Here'a another very simple but tasty, 3-ingredient salad. The dressing is easy enough to make, and you can make it ahead to save time. Or, do I what I do: Plan ahead and make a large batch of dressing, which can be poured onto salads in future. (The dressing will actually keep for quite a while.)

Recovery Snacks & Beverages:
1. Almond-Cherry-Sesame Crunch Bars - These energy bars are not only easy to make but they also make great on-the-go snacks as well. They can either be eaten as a regular snack during the day, eaten as recovery snacks, or consumed as fuel a few hours before a workout. If you're in a rush to get out the door in the morning but don't want to miss breakfast, you can also grab them to take with you as you're walking out the door. This high-energy bar is basically a complete meal in bar form, so it will provide you with all of the essential nutrients to keep you going throughout your busy day. And, it's much healthier for you (and fresher-tasting!) than most commercially sold energy and meal replacement bars.
2. All-Natural, Watermelon-Coconut Sports Recovery Drink - This drink is ideal for endurance athletes because it's got the perfect mix of key ingredients to ensure proper recovery (i.e., essential electrolytes, Omega-3's and powerful antioxidants) and contains the recommended 4:1 carbs to protein ratio to replenish glycogen stores and repair muscle. For maximum effectiveness, be sure to consume this drink 15-20 minutes after a workout. If you're short on time, you can skip the green tea and just replace it with more coconut water, or just brew some green tea in advance and store it in the fridge for future drink-mixing.

If you'd like more healthy, athlete-centric recipe ideas, you are welcome to visit my recipe blog or check out the list of fitness and nutritional lifestyle books that feature my recipes, menu plans, and sports nutrition content. These books are part of Brett Stewart's 7 Weeks to Fitness series (from Ulysses Press).

Best wishes for health & happiness,

-Corey (a.k.a. "Cyberpenguin.")

 For more tips on healthy eating, sports nutrition, and wellness, feel free to follow my public Facebook feed, recipe/nutrition blog, Cooking with Corey, and/or running blog, See Corey Run. My recipes and sports nutrition insights will also be featured in an upcoming series of nutritional lifestyle books for athletes. For more information, please visit The Athlete's Cookbook Facebook page.

Friday, December 7, 2012

About ACME Closing The Doors

Just a few days ago we received the sad news.  Our local Tri Shop is closing its doors!

I was in total shock and disbelief.

My very first contact with the world of triathlons was at ACME Multisports just a few days into 2008.  I remember walking in the doors this particular Saturday afternoon and having one of the owners, Mark Evans, spend more than a couple of hours with me.  He answered, very patiently I may add, every question I had.  I know some of them seemed a bit elementary and maybe bizarre, but nonetheless he answered them all.  I returned a couple of days later and purchased my first bike.  Thanks to Mark, I entered the world of triathlons.

I cannot remember a time during the past four years when I didn't have a question or two or twenty that Alan Curtis (another one of the owners) or his staff did not take the time to answer for me.  If I were to calculate the amount of money, and time, I spent inside their store, I'm sure I would surprise myself.  A quick summary shows that we bought three bikes and at least 10 pair of shoes (mine, wife's and daughter's combined).

But I guess that was not enough to help keep them open.

I am not sure that the triathlon community in Middle Tennessee is aware of the void that will be left when ACME closes their doors.

I cannot remember a local event where ACME was not involved in one way or another.  It seems like whenever anyone planned a race, a ride, whatever, their first contact for support was ACME, and they were  always there.  I look at my race bibs and so many of them have their logo in the background.

And how about sponsorships?  Just about every tri team or club within a hundred mile radius was supported by ACME.  Not just with sponsorship fees but with great discounts to members. 

And lets talk race support.  ACME was always there with their bike repair trailer, pumping tires, replacing parts, getting everyone ready to race.

I understand the business side of the decision, but it doesn't make it any easier to accept.  I understand that no matter how hard they tried, sales were not there.  In an era of Internet competition, independently owned and operated business like Allen's and Mark's have a tough go at it.  They cannot compete in price with the faceless business promising a cut price and two day delivery.

I am an avid supporter of locally owned and operated business.  I fight on their behalf on a daily basis.  I see posts on facebook of someone asking for recommendations of where to buy this, that or the other thing, and it annoys me to no end when most recommendations are directed towards Internet sites.

We need to take a step back and ponder a bit.  Where are we going to go get our tri questions (equipment or otherwise) answered in a manner that only ACME could?  Where are we going to go to get our races and events supported and sponsored in a way that only ACME did?  I'm just not sure.

I hope that we have learned some sort of a lesson here.  Sure, ACME may not have been able to compete (in prices) with those faceless Internet sites, and ultimately they fell victim to this but it goes deeper than just the few bucks we saved. How many of those Internet companies where there when you crossed the finish line?  When you finished your first race?  When you struggled with your Ironman training?

When you spend your money in the Internet, remember that NO taxes are contributed to your local economy and specifically your schools and that NO Internet supplier provides employment to your next door neighbor.

To Allen, Mark and the rest of the ACME staff... We will miss you!  And Thank YOU!