Tag Archives: Energy

Swim Hunger

I’ve always though it was just me, but I am a hungry hungry hippo after I swim. No matter how hard or easy my workout is from the moment I get out of the pool or lake until the moment I go to sleep I.AM.HUNGRY.

I’ve made up a number of excuses for always feeling starving post swim, including:

  • Maybe you engage more muscles during swimming than other activity so your body needs more nutrients to refuel?
  • I’m a terrible swimmer so I burn 8 million calories trying to stay afloat.
  • Okay maybe I’m not terrible, but very inefficient.
  • I rarely fuel up as well pre-swim in comparison to pre-bike or pre-run, so it’s only a matter of time before I get hungry.
  • It’s mental. Because the whole swimming process takes so many steps (pack bag, get to pool, change clothes, get wet, shower, deal with we belongings, get dressed, sigh) I feel like I deserve a more substantial refuel than I do.

Today Training Peaks’ blog posted an entry called Why Swimming Makes You Want To Eat Your Young. No I don’t have any young, but I know exactly what they mean!

The basic answer is that cold water (pool or lake) triggers our bodies to believe that they are hungry to encourage us to fuel up (gain body fat) to protect us against the cold.  The theory makes sense to me, though I wonder why running or cycling in cold temperatures wouldn’t have the same effect. Thoughts?

I must say though, I’m sad to hear that my swim sessions don’t actually warrant the refuel that I crave!

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Filed under Swim, Training

12 k’s of Christmas: Race Recap

Ever since I crossed the finish line of a successful-but-not-fulfilling Seattle Half I’ve been looking forward to this race. A good opportunity to redeem my racing self, a fun opportunity to race with a few friends, and delicious team brunch as a post-race reward. Perfect Sunday. I stayed wary after Seattle and didn’t register too far out, but my foot has stayed healthy so I’ve been training to truly try to race this event. And that I did!

I was really grateful for a late race start this morning. The rain was forecasted to lighten and clear 30 minutes prior to the gun firing, and honestly, I’ve just been tired lately! I don’t have a problem racing in the rain (well, at least not for a 12k), but the past couple weeks getting out of bed has been the biggest battle of the day. Last night I was enjoying couch time so much I suddenly realized it was passed my bedtime (10pm!) and I just didn’t feel like rushing. I was also happy to wake up and have a leisurely breakfast with coffee and some household chores before heading out for the day. Yeah, athletes have to empty dishwashers, too. 😦

I suited up and off to Kirkland we went!

As usual we were one hundred years early, just how I like it, so I had plenty of time to warm up in the car, pee more times than necessary, then re-hydrate only to pee more. With  30 minutes left to go I went out into the cold and rain (weather forecast = NOT correct), and circled the area for a warm-up in. All the while knowing that by the time I started I’d be cold again anyway. My warm-up got cut short anyway once I saw how long the line for the bathrooms was! But while I was waiting I spotted my coach and a few friends so I had company while the line inched forward slowly. Well, actually they spotted me thanks to my favorite neon shirt!

And then I peed.  And then we waited for the 5k to start. And then we waited more because they had to tow a car that was parked illegally and in the way. And then the 5k started. And all the while I got really really cold, like could feel the individual hairs on the back of my neck cold, and then we finally got to enter the corrals. And then, we ran!

12k // Time: 52:08 // 6:56 min/mi

I’m going to start this part by saying that I am very proud of this race for a few reasons.

First and foremost I followed the plan, which included: Don’t look at your Garmin, go out fast and without fear, and push yourself past where you’ve been. Running fast is a different kind of tired and pain than running long, and it’s something I’m not accustomed to. It’s also something I don’t consider myself good at. When the gun went off I ran and I didn’t let myself or other runners hold me back. I tried to operate on omigod this is hard omigod this is hard omigod this is hard keep going keep going keep going for the whole 12k, and maintained that feeling rather than viewing my pace and measuring performance from that data.

Secondly, sub 7 minute miles? For 12k? I remember not that long ago when running one single mile in less than 8 minutes was VICTORY for me. I can now acknowledge that I’m a better than average runner, but I don’t consider myself to be fast. But I do smile a huge smile at the thought of that progress… I’m getting faster! And I have numbers to back up the progress: Though my pace was significantly faster, my average heart rate was lower than my previous 12k.

And most importantly, I had fun. I donned Christmas socks and lined up with antler-wearing crazies in 42 degree misting rain and I ran uphill. And it was awesome. The misting rain and running uphill is actually not abnormal, but Christmas socks? Who am I? And enjoying antlers and Christmas tututs (question: what do tutus have to do with Christmas?)? Normally out of the question. But I embraced the holiday cheer and went with it, and found myself among one of my favorite types of people: my fellow crazies. And we ran and it was fun.

Today makes me look forward to my next 5 races even more than I already was. They’re another chance to push myself and see what I can do and  to soak in the race environment. And, another chance for a race-day video! What race day video, you might ask? Well stay tuned. Because one is coming, and it’s going to be awesome.

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Exercise Improves Cognitive Health

I think anyone who is an athlete would make the argument, completely blind, that their focus on physical activity makes them smarter, as well as function more highly in other areas of their life. Personally, even after an exhausting 20 miler I can’t help but be a machine. After running for hours the next thing on my mind is to conquer whatever’s next, be it the day’s errands, cleaning, reading, or all of the above, and as quickly as possible!

Well, now it’s proven.

NY Times Well Blog – How Exercise Benefits the Brain

Read it. And then go out for a swim/bike/run.

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My Muffins Are Delicious

Maybe I’m biased because I baked them. But truly after the first crack at ‘em I was in love. This girl doesn’t bake, but these were so delicious that I kept baking them, and then baked some more, and at this point our freezer is getting bare if there isn’t at least one container of emergency Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins being hoarded away for a muffin emergency. But really. I could eat these muffins all day long without getting sick, or sick of them. Yeah, yeah, that’s what she said. Or he said. Or something. Anyway…

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com a while back, but I’ve made a few tweaks and changes (including perfecting a loaf recipe into muffin form) so I feel I’ve put enough of my own mark on it to call it mine. I also like to think it’s not completely terrible for you; lots of egg, lots of pumpkin, spices, healthy! The sugar not so much, but that’s part of what I’ve perfected so let’s get to the recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 1 cup vegetable oil
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2/3 cup water
  5. 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  6. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  10. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  11. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Muffin cup-ize your muffin pan. Recipe should yield 32 small muffins, or less if you prefer your muffins large.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between muffin cups.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean. About 20-22 minutes.
  5. Enjoy! Make sure if you want to freeze them that you allow them to get to room temperature before you lock them up. In this house, if we don’t freeze them, they don’t last more than a handful of days.

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Never Stop Running

Somedays, well, pretty regularly actually, I wish this could be my real life.

Never Stop Running.

I hear that some haters think this ad perfectly depicts why it wouldn’t be possible to never stop running. How about stop hating. Next, start running. Then you’ll understand!

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Post Run Yummy

Or, in the case of this morning, Pre Run Yummy.

This time of year I can’t resist anything that’s pumpkin flavored, so when Lululemon blogged about their autumn take on the smoothie on Friday I made it a point to collect the ingredients yesterday to go alongside my run today. But, with those ingredients sitting calling out to me and whispering my name I couldn’t handle waiting until post-run for some yum, so I tried the Post Run Pumpkin Smoothie as a pre-run fuel up.

The results: Two enthusiastic thumbs up in all categories including taste, energy, easy assembly, and painless cleanup.

The ingredients for their Post Run Pumpkin Smoothie are pretty simple:

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk (I used soy)
  • ½ a banana
  • 1 tbsp of raisins
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger

I’ll admit, I skipped the raisins because I couldn’t really picture those going very well in the blender, but I still can’t wait to make it again. I’m not much of a smoothie girl; I’d generally much rather chew my calories, or drink them via wine or beer, but this recipe is simple and delicious, and I have a feeling it’s going to become a regular cold weather snack or breakfast alongside a latte.

For any other pumpkin lovers out there, I’ll share another delicious pumpkin tip that I learned during my seasonal craze last year: pumpkin oatmeal! Make some plain oatmeal with water or milk, add some pumpkin puree for taste and consistency, a sprinkle or two of cinnamon and ginger, and as much brown sugar as your sweet tooth can take in the morning. Voila! Pumpkin Oat Delicious!

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Filed under Fuel For the Cause