quinoa-blackbeans-lime

The Okc Memorial Marathon and a little quinoa with black beans!

Holy crap, reality just smacked me in the face!  We’re only a little over 3½ weeks from the Okc Memorial Marathon….and the nerves are starting to build.

I really shouldn’t be nervous.  This is my 3rd marathon and I know what to expect.  But I think I’m putting a boatload of pressure on myself to finish strong. 

My first two marathons were kind of disasters. I had no idea how to train properly or hydrate properly.  Nutrition was a mystery and I probably OD’d on electrolyte tablets during the second race!

This marathon training season has been very, very different.  I have my hydration in order and I’ve figured out when to eat and how much.  My only problems have been hitting a wall at about mile 16/17 but I think that’s because I wasn’t using any electrolyte replacement to help.  That will change on Sunday during our final 20 mile training run.  

I also have a nagging little sore spot on my right Achilles.  It’s not like an Achilles problem though.  And it doesn’t hurt when I walk or run!  But it will need to be addressed so I’m heading to see my sports chiropractor next week to have him work on the muscles surrounding it.

*******
Lately I’ve been obsessed with quinoa and black beans so I thought I’d post an unofficial recipe (meaning, this is not included in my recipe archive) for you to try.

Quinoa and Black Bean Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 15oz can organic black beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ½ a fresh tomato, diced
  • Small handful of peanuts or cashews…or both!
  • ¼ fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ or less (eyeball it) goat cheese crumbles
  • 1-2 tbl salsa we’ve been using a tomatillo and tomato salsa.  Both are great.  Your choice!
  • Avocado, sliced or diced
  • 1 lime

Directions:

  1. In a sauce pan, place the quinoa and 2 cups of water.  Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil then cover and simmer just below medium for about 12 minutes.  Check it to make sure the water has soaked in but it isn’t too dry.  You don’t want to scrape quinoa off the bottom of your pan.
  2. Meanwhile, place the beans in a sauce pan with the cumin and heat them according to the directions on the can.
  3. While the quinoa and beans are cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients:  dice the tomato; if using cashews, crush them into large chunks (use a butcher knife), chop your cilantro, slice or dice the avocado, and cut the lime in half
  4. Once the quinoa and black beans have finished cooking/warming, spoon some quinoa into a bowl and top with some black beans.  The amounts are up to you.
  5. Squeeze some lime over each bowl.  I use about ½ a lime for each bowl. 
  6. Top the mixture with S&P, some tomatoes, some peanuts/cashews, cilantro, goat cheese, salsa, and avocado.
  7. Keep the leftover ingredients (in separate containers) for lunch the next day.

Note: The portions above are just a rough estimate.  I cut up and cook a lot, then use if in different ways each week.  Although, I hate brown avocados so I tend to eat the entire thing once I’ve sliced one.

You can add any spice or any other ingredient  to this you like.  There have been times I’ve sauteed onions and mushrooms and even used that.

In addition, if you want more protein, fry an egg and place on top!

1307-run-treadmill

5 Reasons to get off the couch

When I finally decided to get off my butt and exercise in late 2011 it opened up a whole new world to me.  I’ve met new friends and had experiences I never would have dreamed about in the previous years.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I wish I would have started this exercise regime years ago, but it took a great amount of effort and frustration to finally say, I’ve had enough!

I know it’s tough, trust me!  We’re Americans.  That means we’re fat, lazy, and addicted to television.  But you can change your life for the better.

So here are 5 reasons to get off the couch and do something healthy.

  1. It will help you live a better life.  I know, you think your life is pretty damn good as it is.  So ask yourself this, have you ever gone on vacation somewhere and skipped an activity because you thought it might  exert too much effort?  You might get winded?  Think about the things you haven’t seen because of your lack of physical ability.

    Would this guy have reached this amazing peak if he said, "no, I can't hike?"

    Would this guy have reached this amazing peak if he said, “no, I can’t hike?”

  2. TV is making you stupid.  There’s nothing else I have to add to this!
  3. You will feel so much better.  True, it will take some time to get into shape and you’ll be sore.  That’s just how it goes.  But after a while you start to enjoy the soreness because it means there was progress.
  4. Your clothes will fit better and you’ll look better.  Although, after losing 40 lbs, I still don’t have an ass!
  5. And most importantly, to get healthy.  Jen and I haven’t been truly sick since 2010 or 2011.  I had an allergy attack this week that lasted for about a day.  That has been the extent of my illness over the last 3+ years.  I’m an insurers dream.  I have to pay premiums but I never use the service.

Now get off the couch and run!

Bathroom-run

Let’s talk about poop!

Want to know what stinks?  Having to drop a sea biscuit during a race.  Don’t get me wrong, there are other issues during a race and greater fears, but unloading a batch of cigars ranks at or near the top!

Running a short race like a 5k or 10k isn’t an issue.  But slogging through a half or full marathon is a nightmare when you gotta go!

It doesn’t matter how many times you visit the Chamber of Secrets before a race.  There’s always an additional call of doodey that appears.  

One of the ways to wipe away these issues is to eat properly before the race….and I mean the DAY before!  I try to stay away from fiber and heavy foods the day before a race so I’m not dealing with the rumbles the morning of!

Now, I don’t know the science behind it all, but here’s the way I handle nutrition before a long run or race…

Two days before I start drinking more water than normal.  This means adding another 32 ounce glass of water to my normal intake, which is already about 64+ ounces.

I eat normally two days prior but I change up my diet the day before the run.  I eat a normal breakfast but I add additional carbs at lunch, NOT dinner.  

Do you really want to eat a heavy pasta dinner 12 hours before a race when you know it won’t complete it’s travels?

For dinner the night before, I do something small.  I might eat a little hummus or even do a protein smoothie.

When I wake up on race/run day, I stop my water intake and drink a cup of coffee.  I’ve found this works for me.  It might not work for you so don’t take this as gospel.  I don’t drink a lot of coffee; maybe 8 ounces.

I also eat a vegan chia protein bar about an hour before the race.  I’ve noticed I get a little boost of energy to start the race if I do this.

During the run, I only drink water.  I haven’t touched Gatorade or Powerade in over a year and it has worked out much better for me.  Besides the fact that those products contain flame retardants and other horrible chemicals, water is what my body needs.  

It has taken me a long time to figure out how to properly take in water and food during a race.  At the moment, I am running well on taking two cups of water at races.  Since they only fill the cup about 1/3 of the way, I grab 2 cups so I get about 6-7 oz of water.   

After an hour, I dig into my food.  My go-to nutrition is a Coconut Date Ball.  I discovered these a couple of years ago when my friend Julie posted the recipe.  Since then I’ve continued to tweak the recipe to serve my nutritional needs.  I add protein powder and a cacao chia mix from Spectrum so I get a little higher energy boost.

If I get lazy and don’t want to make the balls, I just de-seed some dates and eat those during the water stops.

So even through all of that, I still have had instances when I needed to drop anchor.  I’m chocking it up to nerves at this point!  My last race I visited the bathroom FOUR times before the race and STILL had to go again at about mile 12.  

Tomorrow is the second 20 mile training run for our OKC Memorial Training series and I’m going to follow the plan above with the date balls and chia bars.  The good part of this run is that we’re training on the OKC Memorial course so there are plenty of places to release the chocolate hostages.  

But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!

How do you nutritionize!  Have you ever had to stop, drop, and release a roll on a run/race?

{puns and slang courtesy Wiktionary.org}

female-bench-press

Strength Training for Runners

I know…I know!  It has been a millennium since I last posted.  The truth is, I just haven’t had anything to say.  Any my momma used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it in your head until it boils and boils…..finally exploding in a cacophony of rage that…..”  Well, you get the point.

Although, this post isn’t about rage.  

So, I’ve been in training for the Okc Memorial Marathon on April 27th.  This will be my third marathon and my second Memorial.  Last year was freakin’ miserable for me.  My quads started seizing at mile 17 and that made the last 9 miles a nightmare.  I was on pace for a pretty good marathon up to that point.  But a PR or any semblance of a decent time went out the window.

This year I’m determined to have a good marathon.  I’ve been running well.  I’m healthy.  And I’ve incorporated some strength training into my training regimen.  

Unfortunately, I’ve been slacking lately.  I was attending a boot camp about three days a week.  But a financially disastrous Jan/Feb put an end to that.  

We’re now members at Gold’s; a membership we got through Jen’s work for a great price.  But now I’m having problems getting any kind of organized strength regimen implemented.  I go to the gym but really have no idea what to do, so I end up doing a few weighted squats and some exercises I learned in boot camp and call it a day.  

But that’s about to change.  

My friend Gena posted this article on Facebook today so I thought I would give this a try.  It looks like a decent series of strength exercises that will work perfectly for my goals.

Feel free to copy/steal/share….after all, that’s what I did!

If you don’t understand the description, Google it!  I did and it was really helpful for a few of them.

Workout A

Keep rest minimal between exercises. Take 1-2 minutes between sets.

1A. Goblet Squat: 4×6

Hold a kettlebell upside down or a dumbbell underneath the weighted end at chest level. Feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width. Sit down and back as if you’re sitting into a chair until the elbows nearly touch the knees, or 90 degrees. Press through the heels and stand up, extending the hips at the top.

1B. Side Plank: 4×30 seconds

Lie on the side of your body with legs fully extended. Place forearm on mat under shoulder and elevate the body. With body raised maintain a neutral spine and hold position for time. Repeat with the other side.

2A. Dumbbell 1-arm Row: 3×8

Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip (palm facing in). Kneel on a bench and keep the spine neutral and core engaged. Fully extend your elbow then drive your elbow back until the dumbbell reaches your torso.

2B. Dumbbell Bench Press: 3×8

Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in both hands and feet pressed firmly into the ground. Press the weight out in front over your shoulders and chest. Return under control and repeat.

3A. Step back Lunge: 3×8

Stand tall with two dumbbells in each hand. Take a controlled step backwards and drop the hips until the back knee nearly touches the ground. Push off the back foot and stand tall with hips extended. Repeat for desired reps before repeating with other leg.

3B. Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3×8

Stand tall with two dumbbells held at shoulder height. Squeeze the glutes and press the dumbbells overhead, lockout the elbows and slowly return the dumbbells back to shoulder height. Repeat for desired reps.

Workout B

1A. Lateral Band Walk: 2×12/side

Choose a low-moderate strength resistance band (often yellow or green). Wrap the band above the ankle and stand with the feet at shoulder width. Bend the knees into an athletic position and take a lateral step with the right foot, followed by the right foot. Maintain tension and hip level during the exercise. Perform all reps with one leg then repeat on opposite side.

1B. Plank: 2×30-60 seconds

Lie prone on with the body propped up on the forearms and toes. Feet should be placed together and elbows positioned underneath the shoulders. Raise body upward into a straight line, maintaining neutral spine. Hold position for time.

2. Single Arm DB Snatch: 3×5

Start with an overhand grip on a dumbbell in between your legs, your feet about shoulder width apart, and your core engaged. Bend your knees and hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight. The dumbbell should be about knee height. Explosively extend your hips, knees, and ankles while shrugging your shoulder at the same time. Catch the dumbbell overhead with your knees softy bent and your elbow locked out. Stand up tall and slowly lower the weight before repeating.

3A. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 3×6-8

Start with a dumbbell in both hands and feet planted firmly on the floor. Slightly bend the knees and hinge at the hips, pushing your butt as far back possible while keeping the shoulders retracted. Go slightly below the base of the knee and return to standing by fully extending your hips and standing tall.

3B. Pushups: 3×6-8

4A. Barbell Glute Bridge: 3×8

Load a barbell and slide your hips underneath. Consider using a mat and position the bar in the crease of your hips. Lie flat on the floor with hands on the bar at shoulder length. Drive through your heels and extend your hips fully. The weight should be supported by your upper back and your heels. Slowly return the weight to the floor and repeat for reps.

4B. Inverted Row (bodyweight): 3×8

Position yourself underneath a secured barbell or TRX suspension trainer. Horizontally facing the ceiling with extended arms grab the barbell and pull your chest to the bar while keeping the core braced.

  • Record and chart all exercises and weights used. Progressively overloading the body is vital to obtaining both long and short-term training benefits.
  • Improving strength with multi-joint strength movements is a missing link in training for runners. Strength training will delay the onset of muscle fatigue, decrease the loss of energy during stride impact, and increase the ability to generate force for sprint speed. Two days per week, 45 minutes per workout will help you build a faster, stronger, more resilient body to improve your running performance.
nutritional-yeast1

What the heck is nutritional yeast?

Several months ago, Jen and I were volunteering with our local running club at the Redman Triathlon.  One of our friends, Adi, mentioned a food truck, The Loaded Bowl, was nearby.  The Loaded Bowl is our only (I think!) vegetarian/vegan food truck.  

They have an incredible vegan mac & cheese that was absolute crack!

Adi told me it was easy to make with nutritional yeast.  After asking, “WTF is nutritional yeast,” I decided to look up some recipes.   What I found was a plethora of salad dressings, cheese substitutes, and other great recipes where creaminess is needed.

After my last post, I decided to do a little more digging into what exactly this stuff is…and is it good or bad for me?!

Continue reading

Vegan-Black-Eyed-Pea-Dip

Healthier Super Bowl Food

With the Super Bowl taking place this Sunday, I thought I’d dig through my recipe stash and try to come up with some healthy alternatives to the usual junk food that litters the table at most Super Bowl parties.

I’m not saying that stuff doesn’t taste amazing; I’m just saying that it’s so, so bad for you and I’m really trying to minimize my intake of that junk, even every so often!

Since I’m in the middle of marathon training season, I really don’t want to eat crappy food and have to get up Monday morning to run.  Those high fat, sugary, and chemical filled foods make me feel like shit and basically knock me out pretty quickly because of the difficulty in digesting the bad ingredients.

Continue reading

kidFlu

Diet and getting sick

sneezing How many days over the last three years have you been sick?  How many lost work hours?  How many missed events?  If you’re a runner, how many times have you missed a run because you had a cold or the flu?  Want to know how many I’ve missed?  

ZERO!

In the fall of 2011 I began a health kick.  As quickly as mid-2012 I was a vegetarian and by the end of the year I was moving to vegan.  I’m back to vegetarian now, January of 2014.

I haven’t had one sick day since 2011.  I haven’t had one allergy attack.  I’ve missed zero days of work and the only time I’ve missed a run was because of laziness, not illness.

Am I a great runner?  Hell no.  I’m slightly below average.  I can run a 26:30 5k and a 2 hour half marathon, but I’m by no means a great runner or athlete. 

I have a lot…and I mean a lot…of friends who are great athletes.  Over the last few years I’ve watched them get sick at various times.  So what’s the difference between those spectacular people and me?

Well, the only difference I can see is diet.  I’m not talking about being a vegan or vegetarian.  I’m talking about eating quality, non-GMO, organic food, especially produce.  {Yes, I know it’s expensive and not everyone can buy it and blah, blah, blah….}

Obviously this isn’t a scientific fact and I have absolutely no proof that the reason I’ve been well and those people catch a cold or the flu is because of diet.  It’s just that the only difference I can truly see is the difference in our diets.  

I will say that a lot of those friends work with the public and that could be a big contributing factor.  In addition, we have several teachers in the group and working in a school is like swimming in the flu and strep!  However, I’m also pretty close to a lot of these people because I’m a “hugger” and I still haven’t gotten sick.  

If I had the know-how and some training in research, it would be interesting to see if my point is valid.  Can someone give me several million in grant money so I can carry out my research?

:)

In the meantime, try to start swapping out something bad for something good in your diet and make a positive change!  Who knows, maybe you will see your sick-time reduce to zero too.   

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ll never get sick again, but the frequency of illness has reduced to almost nil.

Shit, watch me wake up tomorrow with the flu!

baby-spinach-leaves

Health benefits of spinach

eat-more-spinach-copy I don’t like kale.  

I’m totally a texture guy and kale just doesn’t do it for me.  But I love the benefits of kale so I needed a replacement.

Introducing: spinach!

We go through a lot of spinach in my house.  I load my smoothies with the green stuff after each workout.  Yes, it makes the smoothie look horrible, especially when you pair it with blueberries (your smoothie will turn black!), but if you can get past the color you’ll enjoy a great smoothie.  

Spinach was thought to have originated in Asia or Persia a few thousand years ago, well before Popeye declared it a super food.  Today, China is the world’s largest producer of spinach and the U.S. is the second biggest commercial producer. *

Health Benefits

Here’s what the experts say…

  • It’s an excellent source of vitamin K, C, and folic acid as well as manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B2, B6, E, and B1.
  • It decreases the risk of colon cancer.
  • It helps with eyesight.
  • It could help reduce heart disease.
  • It helps regulate body pH.

But here are the statistics I find important (per 100g/3.5oz)…

  • 23 calories
  • 0.26g of fat 
  • 2.97g of protein
  • 70mg sodium (This is the naturally occurring sodium, not the shit you find in a can of soup!  Which you shouldn’t consume in the first place.)

Want to know more?

Check out the references listed below.  Or don’t!  Just eat lots of spinach and reap the health benefits.

  1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
  2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
  3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. 
  4. de Vogel J, Jonker-Termont DS, Katan MB, van der Meer R. Natural chlorophyll but not chlorophyllin prevents heme-induced cytotoxic and hyperproliferative effects in rat colon. J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1995-2000. PMID: 16046728.
  5. Renzi LM, Johnson EJ. Lutein and age-related ocular disorders in the older adult: a review. J Nutr Elder. 2007;26(3-4):139-57. PMID: 18285296.
  6. Christen WG, Liu S, Glynn RJ, Gaziano JM, Buring JE. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and risk of cataract in women: a prospective study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Jan;126(1):102-9. PMID: 18195226.
  7. Vu HT, Robman L, Hodge A, McCarty CA, Taylor HR. Lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of cataract: the Melbourne visual impairment project. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Sep;47(9):3783-6. PMID: 16936087.
  8. Refsum H, Ueland PM, Nyg�rd O, Vollset SE. Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease. Annu Rev Med. 1998;49:31-62. PMID: 9509248.

This post is a recap from Elements 4 Health dot com.

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Target, privacy, and why you should never, EVER give your personal information to a retailer!

target

So hackers suck!  Yeah, I’m talking about the Target hack that exposed 70 million CC numbers and other personal information.  You think your information is safe, but then something like this happens.  But the bigger question in this maddening mess is the problem of privacy.

For too long now, people have readily given up their personal information to all sorts of retailers and websites.  I’m not by any means saying I’m immune.  I’ve entered personal information on scores of websites that required it to create a registration profile.  But there’s one thing I never, ever, ever do: give my personal information to retailers.  

Here’s an interesting quote from an article on CNN Money:

The problem is that you are trusting the stores to safeguard it. Criminals who steal your credit or debit card information can do more damage if they have your contact information. It’s easier for them to commit fraud or even trick you into revealing more via fake emails, letters and phone calls.

I’m appalled at some of the things retailers ask for….but what’s more appalling is that people give it to them.  Ever wonder why, and how, you receive all that junk mail?  It’s because you gave your zip code to companies stores like Academy or the GAP.  Wonder why you receive shitloads of phones calls trying to sell you electronics or satellite TV?  You gave your phone number to Best Buy.

Once Jen and I started refusing to give our personal information out, almost all of these annoying calls and junk mail stopped.  We still receive some junk mail but not like before.  The only phone calls we started receiving are from charities or political…and those are almost impossible to stop.  Actually, the only way we’ve been able to stop them is to unplug the phone.  The only reason we even keep a land line is for the alarm system so we just unplugged the damn thing.

In the future, think twice before you hand out even the most mundane of personal information to any retailers.  Here’s what I would suggest:

  1. Never, ever give out your phone number.
  2. Never, ever, ever, EVER give out your cell number!
  3. Refuse to give your zip code.  The GAP used to claim that they wanted it to determine where they need to build new stores.  That’s the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard!  GAPs (mostly) build in shopping malls and have a wide berth of demographics.  They are not looking to build more stores.  They’re looking to accomplish two things: drill down the demographics of the shoppers walking into their stores and send you junk mail.  Just refuse!
  4. Just pay cash.  I know, cash is a fading anomaly in our ever connected society.  But you have a choice.  Take a chance on your CC number getting hacked, or just pay cash and laugh at the others who did get hacked!
new-year-fireworks

2014 Predictions

Most people have been posting recaps of 2013 or New Year’s resolutions for 2014.  I decided to go a different way this year and write about the things I want to see in 2014 from the rest of the world!

Seriously, do you really give a crap what my resolutions are?  If you regularly read this blog, you know what I wrote in 2013 so there’s no need to recap.  All four of my readers are intelligent enough to remember.

Let’s get started:

  1. MSNBC finally confirms that Tim Tebow has a cocaine addiction after he’s caught in a hotel with three black, male, midget prostitutes.  Timmy claims he was proselytizing but his story falls apart when police release a picture of him with his nose covered in a white powder  wearing a diaper with Ride me like a Bronco written on his ass!
  2. Miley Cyrus gets busted masturbating on stage.  She reveals she was stoned and had an Itchy, twitchy twat!
  3. Justin Beiber ACTUALLY RETIRES!  He moves away to a remote island where he raises monkeys he has trained to write music for Miley Cyrus. 
  4. Phil from Duck Dynasty is killed in an unfortunate hunting accident where Bigfoot hunters mistake him for a yeti.  Fox News claims it was a liberal conspiracy.  Pat Robertson blames it on homosexuality.  The states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia merge into one massive right-wing hell named Phil-a-fornia.
  5. Mitt Romney blames affirmative action for his African American grandchild.
  6. NSA data collection and wire taps actually reveal that Elvis is alive and living in a cabin on the Idaho/Canada border.  Authorities started listening in on his phone conversations when someone revealed that truckloads of chocolate milk, peanut butter, bananas, and Twinkies were being delivered to the remote site every week.
  7. American Idol is FINALLY canceled.
  8. Kanye West’s ego finally gets so big his head literally explodes.  It saves the world from years of douchebagery and idiocy.
  9. Five gay, American male ice skaters at the Sochi Olympics meet Vladimir Putin and take turns punching him in the balls.  Billy Jean King then provides the knockout punch to his throat.
  10. Netflix finally provides movies made in the last decade!
  11. Ted Cruz reveals he was actually born in North Korea but claims he will retain dual citizenship in the US and North Korea but dump his Canadian citizenship because it’s too fucking cold up there!
  12. And finally….Snapchat gets hacked and it’s revealed that Newt Gingrich has been sending penis selfies to Hillary Clinton.   

Run…Eat…Bike…Repeat! Ask your doctor if getting off your ass is right for you!