Saturday, June 11, 2011

Detox Debrief

I've found that the hardest thing to do in a detox is to pre-prepare food and to think about what I'm eating.

I think most of us probably eat what's available, what we *want* at that exact moment (cravings!), or what's served to us. I found myself constantly wondering when I'd last thought about food this much. It's sort of embarrassing, really. Shouldn't we be thinking about what it is that we put into our bodies? I spend more time thinking about fueling my car (well, really about how I'm going to afford to fuel my car) than I do about how to fuel my body.

Part of this problem for me has been that Chadd and I have entirely different metabolisms. We have similar tastes in food, but entirely different reactions to them. The more fat, carbs, and fatty protein that Chadd eats, the better he looks (when he survives on salads he looks more like a camp victim). When I eat those same foods, you can guess the reaction (if you can't, it's a strong 180 degrees from Chadd's reaction).

I enjoy cooking as a form of stress relief. After a hectic day, cooking is my way of unwinding and also a way to do something nice for Chadd. Problem? I haven't taken the time to learn how to make a dual dinner--something where I can cook a similar dish for both of us, one needs to be low-cal, low-fat and the other needs to be high on the fatty protein and carbs. I know there are tips and tricks to doing example:

Cajun Shrimp and Tomato Pasta
- Tomatos
- Mushrooms
- Onion
- Pasta
- Shrimp
- Cajun seasoning
- Cream
- Parmesan Cheese

- Marinate the shrimp in a ton of cajun seasoning and a little bit of olive oil. 15min - 1 hour
- Cut up tomatos, mushrooms, and onions
- Boil water for pasta
- Heat saute pan and cook shrimp, once slightly pink, add veggies and more cajun seasoning and salt to taste

Here is where I can take out my serving of the shrimp mix, put it next to veggies and maybe some whole grain rice, and voila. Protein rich, good food.

For Chadd:
- once pasta is cooked, dump out water and put pasta back in large pot on heat
- add shrimp mix and cream (I have NO idea how much, it's a thing that you just begin to see) and cook until cream gets thick
- before serving, add more cajun seasoning, salt, and a handful of parmesan, stir til cheese is melted, and commence to fatten up the boyfriend.

I need more recipes like that. Anyone have any recommendations?

The great thing about this detox is that it's forced me to focus on what I put into my body. I've been drinking a lot more water and eating a ton of fruit and vegetables. I've experimented with quinoa like you wouldn't believe (I'll post a recipe later that will blow your mind), and stayed away from alcohol.

I feel lean, well hydrated, and healthy. I have been battling my share of cravings: pizza (or anything with melted cheese, I'd have done illegal things for a quesadilla this week), chocolate (which I normally never crave), and diet coke (sparkling water helped cut that one back a bit); but I feel a lot more in control of what I eat, instead of letting what I eat control me.

When the detox is over (or more likely, when I get to the beach trip where I won't have control over the food available to me), I plan to introduce everything back into my diet--dairy, wheat, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol--but I plan to do it in moderation. I've really enjoyed experimenting with different grains and the amount of water I've been drinking instead of coffee and diet coke is much healthier, no matter how you slice it. If I can keep the life style I'm living now (heavy on the real foods with my mind on fueling my body, not filling it), I'll be in a much better position.

Do you think you focus on what you eat?
What food are you most reliant on?
How would you deal with cravings?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sweat it Out

About the whole water's a great article from Runner's World on knowing your sweat rate!,7120,s6-242-302--10084-0,00.html

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Water water everywhere

As part of the four week detox, a lot of my favorite beverages are off limits:
- diet coke
- coffee
- alcohol

A lot of fruit juices also add sugar, so I'm just going to steer clear. This means I need to renew my love of water.

I'm on my second 22 ounce bottle of the day. I'll have at least one more while I'm at the office, probably closer to 2 more, then I'll have at least one before/during/after spin class tonight.

But what is the "right" amount of water? It took a little scrolling down the google return since the internet is getting clogged these days...but Mayo Clinic has this article:

With this guidance:

  • Replacement approach. The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day. You lose close to an additional liter (about 4 cups) of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace your lost fluids.
  • Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Another approach to water intake is the "8 x 8 rule" — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). The rule could also be stated, "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day," as all fluids count toward the daily total. Although the approach really isn't supported by scientific evidence, many people use this easy-to-remember rule as a guideline for how much water and other fluids to drink.
  • Dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
So, let's just go with the 8x8 rule since we've all heard it a billion times. That's 64 ounces, or three of my water bottle.

Break the bank on a water bottle you love so you want to carry it around. I'm lucky enough that my two favs (one for the office, one for home) were both free. I like the camelbaks and the nathan hydration systems because of their straws. I can absentmindedly sip from it while I'm doing other things.

Make it a priority and I'll bet you have less headaches, healthier skin, and a smaller appetite.

The hardest part now is avoiding coffee...and alcohol.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Four Week Detox

So. I bought a beautiful bathing suit at Victorias Secret yesterday with Aria. We rocked Sunday like it was our job:

1) I taught/she attended 20-20-20 AND my spin class (subbed for Tyler--subbing again next weekend!)
2) We did a quick change and headed out in search of deliciousness and found ourselves at Tacklebox. If you follow my personal twitter account, you saw what a pile of fried oysters and a lobster roll looks like
3) Shopped through Georgetown
4) Hugged it out
5) Rocked the car karaoke

Back to the bathing suit. This bathing suit is HOT. Hot hot hot stuff. Leopard print (with tiny black skulls!!! zomg!) bikini. This thing is a motivator. Could I walk out there in it now and rock it pretty well? Totally. Would I like to hop onto the beach OWNING it? You bet.

To that extent, one of my wonderful running friends and amazing entrepreneurs, Melanie Spring of Sisarina ( and has started a 4 week detox that I'll be participating in. Before you all wig out about a detox, read the rules from Melanie (you can follow the adventure on her blog!)

RULES:Remove all of the following from diet:
  • Fried food
  • Wheat
  • Refined Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
TIMING: June 5 - July 2, 2011 
KEEPING TRACK: Follow our eating/drinking habits on our handy-dandy spreadsheet 
On Twitter, you can see what we're up to with: Twitter handles: @MelanieSpring, @DSklarin, @MRommel and @LaureeeO Hashtag: #4weekdetox
I'm starting 2 days late, well, a day and a half late, but it's better late than never! Glad I have some bell pepper to stuff tonight :)

I promise before and after photos. ....maybe.

How to Ragnar, Pt. 1

If you know me at all, you've heard me talk about Ragnar like it's my only passion. If you don't know me, let me enlighten you to the amazing race that is the Ragnar Relay.

Ragnar Relays are a roughly 200 mile team relay race. A team of 12 or 6 (ultra) completes the race in under 36 hours. We run through the night with the support of our friends, teammates, and the kindness of the small towns that we visit.

Ragnar currently has 15 races across the country, ranging from Napa Valley to Washington, DC.

I've been lucky enough to complete three of them: DC (Cumberland, MD to the National Harbor), Florida Keys (Miami to Key West), and New England (Yale to Harvard). I'll be taking on PA (Lancaster to Mt. Pocono) and TN (Chattanooga to Nashville) this year too.

I am even more lucky to be a part of the Ragnar Brigade, a volunteer staff of Ragnar runners in the DC area who attend race expos, running clubs, and other events to tell people about the Ragnar experience. I got pretty cool swag out of the deal (Chadd will tell you I almost never take off my Ragnar brigade jacket). Part of that position also includes the amazing opportunity to work as SWAT (our safety/volunteer coordinators on the race) for the DC race this year.

Now that you have my background with Ragnar, I'm going to tell you about how to run a Ragnar. I'm in the middle of working on a Captain's Bible to share with other captains, especially first time Captains.

The first time I was introduced to Ragnar was a little over a year ago. Some guy at an expo asked me to hear him out about Ragnar, I said no thanks and he said as I walked away "Hey, hear me out. Or are you too chicken to do it?" ...if you know me, you know those were the magic words. I turned around on a dime and in about a month, I had about a half team and signed us up. I am ever grateful to whoever it was who shouted me down at the Cherry Blossom expo.

Of the three Ragnars I've done, I've captained two of them. Of the remainder, my co-captain and I have agreed to co-captain all of them. That's another blog post for another day, but, lesson one:

How to Form a Team
The scariest part of being a captain is plunking down your credit card to pay for a team before you have 11 other people to run with you. In reality, it's actually the easiest part.

Ragnar 1 (DC):
I sent out an email to about 20 people, praying that half of them would say yes. Instead, I had 3. I almost called it off. I waited for a week or two, emailed out a few more times, twittered, begged, but no one wanted to take the challenge. I am forever grateful to FJ, Pete, and Katie for taking the chance and saying yes up front.

But don't worry. That happens to everyone. The next step was using the Ragnar Facebook Page. Since my DC race, they've added discussion boards per race where you can search for runners. I found my co-captain, Brannon, and Kevan, Sandeep, Rachel, and her friends there. A friend I had originally emailed also sent my email on to a friend of his who joined our team. Jason is an accomplished cyclist and runner and we were so fortunate to add him to our team. Just keep asking people to ask their friends.

There's another resource for teams--when you form your team, you can check a box on the Ragnar team page that says you are looking for runners. That actually may have been how we found Rachel. Anyone looking to join a team is given a link to contact the captain about a place on the team.

By the time Brannon and I had finished DC, we'd heard from a number of our friends that they were really interested in joining our team. Most people are worried about that first time (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID...sorry) but when you do it once, people suddenly realize that what seems impossible is actually quite possible. Our little PSA Ragnar video (made by Bran) didn't hurt either:

Brannon captained our Keys team and filled it pretty quickly with her friends. People had heard the good word and were 100% in.

New England:
We sent out emails again and within 2 weeks, we'd filled a team. This time, we both took over a van. Filling my van was pretty easy. A mutual friend of Katie and mine (Sarah) had seen us run two and wanted in. One of her friends from Boston (where she grew up) joined us (Kristen), then one of the other Brigade members (and one of my newest dear friends) Justin opted in when I posted on the Brigade facebook page and brought one of his DC teammates (Ayla) into our race. Our Iron Man/Gazelle/Bambino, FJ, has promised to be with me for every race (and for this we are all so grateful). My van was full within days, Brannon's van was full almost as fast.

My New England van immediately re-signed (you guys are my Seal Team Six) and over the past two weeks, people I've reached out to over the past few races have started asking. Seems like 4th time is a charm. We'll likely be experimenting with the feasibility of a dual team--signing two teams with four vans and doing a _____ vs ______ theme (my current favorite is pirates v. ninjas)

- Build 1 email you can forward again and again and again with the following information:

  • What is a Ragnar
  • When and where is the Ragnar
  • How a Ragnar works
  • How much the registration fee is and a rough estimate of other costs (between 130-250 pending on if you travel to the race and how much stuff you have lying around...if you have a 12 passenger van, you are waaaay ahead of the game)
  • When you need to know if they are in or out (ask for a definite "no", too)
  • Ask them to invite friends
- Build a second email for people who have said yes. When you're ready to pull the trigger, you can do one of two things:

  • Pre-collect money (we suggest paypal!) from all your participants so you can immediately wipe the transaction off of your credit card
  • Pay then collect monies via PayPal (this works best when you register without a full team)
To determine who gets on the team and what spot, we've done the "first paid, first pick" method. Brannon and I believe in taking the legs that no one else wants. We typically split up one of us in each van, usually with people who have said "I'm scared, but I love you, I need to be in your van." And then we take the 6th spot. This has lead to some intense pain and many miles, but if you're not willing to take the worst leg of the bunch, then I don't suggest you captain a Ragnar team.

The second email you send to people who have paid should give them an outline of info you'll need:
- What position they'd like to have or if they're more concerned about who they're with (van selection)
- What their t-shirt size is
- Cell phone number
- Travel arrangements (if necessary)
- If they have any sweet hook-ups (AAA, costco, status with a car rental company, etc.)
- Their pace (if you care)

Your email should also tell them how to log-on, accept the invitation, and SIGN THE WAIVER. It'll make your life much easier if you're not running around trying to track down people who have paid, but haven't accepted their invitation.

I recommend starting a shared google document for this (excel) and keeping track.

Next post on dock:
Logistics, Part II: Travel, major expenses, major responsibility.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Beauty of Muscle Control

In other news, how beautiful is the human body?

I would love muscular control like that. I want to learn how to do that.

How It All Fits

Originally, I was going to write a Ragnar post, and I probably will this weekend, but a conversation I've been having with Chadd got the better of me and I need to spill.

This post is all about body image. I'm going to go ahead and throw a disclaimer out there. I'm going to use a lot of inclusive terms like "every woman" and "all women." If you are one of those women who does not feel this way, awesome! I wish to bottle your essence and sell it.

I know a few women who have dated men who have suggested to them that they lose weight. I can count at least 5 without really thinking too hard. And almost always in a terrible way. I have had many a glass of wine with friends who have gushed about a boy for weeks, gone on a few dates, become official, then, the dude goes and "hey, you know, I was thinking *grab* what if we hit the gym together?"

Gentlemen. I don't know how to tell you how stupid this is. Any woman who stays with you after that is very tolerant or you're Bradley Cooper. If I could wake up with Bradley Cooper every morning and the first words out of his mouth were "hit the gym, fatty." I'd giggle, put on my gym shorts, and off I'd go. But that isn't happening in this life time.

There is no way to say "hit the gym" to the woman you love without inflicting some pain. I won't even offer you advice, but I want to show you the conversation I had with Chadd. This conversation was spawned from me watching Say Yes to the Dress Big Bliss. I told Chadd I was copy pasting our conversation to save me the time.

Chadd: girls are so sensitive about that stuff
me: well, because it says "you're not beautiful, change and I'll think you're more beautiful."
Chadd: but it becomes this incredible taboo; is that not true about everything else in life though or is this category somehow more sacred because it's a core category to a woman
me: it's because it's something that is SO important to the image of women; it's an ISSUE because what we're told is beautiful is basically unobtainable. For example. I wear a size 4 or 6 depending on the cut and a small and in the back of my mind, I constantly hear "You are so fat. How can you call yourself a runner? You're huge." I don't know one woman who doesn't hear that voice and the thing is, we know we're crazy, so we try to ignore it, but when someone we try so hard to impress someone and want to be beautiful for and hear "you need to workout," our worst fears are realized--that voice is right.
Me: you know what it would be like for men? If the first time you slept with someone, she said "we need to do something about…you know. I hear there are some great supplements."
Chadd: I think that's slightly overstating it, although the point is taken
me: no, I think it's pretty similar; we're that sensitive about our weight
Chadd: no it really isn't it's similar in that it's sensitive, and that is true. It's not similar in that one can to a degree be more easily rectified than the other
Me: and I didn't say easily rectified; I'm talking about how the comment feels
Chadd: ah well...
Me: men don't contract mental illnesses over their YA KNOW. women starve themselves to death. literally.
Chadd: true

But here's the secret.

Ladies. The reality is that we're lovely, no matter how we "look" because we possess the charm of a woman. If a woman walks into a bar and reeks of being down on herself, she'll look like it--even if she's stunning. 

You can leave the gym, sweaty, leftover make up running all over your face, and if you tell yourself "damn I look good" and believe it, men see that more than they see anything else.

And now, back to Big Bliss.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day

Happy National Running Day!

Runner's World weighs in:

I kicked off running day by jumping out of bed bright and early and going for a 5k!

Before you throw running shoes in my direction, here's what really happened:
- my alarm went off at 5:45am
- I reset until 6:15
- I hit snooze until 6:20
- I responded to a gym buddy's text somewhere in this timeframe with "woot"
- I dragged my butt out of bed at 6:47
- Arrived at gym at 7:11 and threw down a painful fartlek-esque workout.

I must not be a serious runner, because I still cannot say "fartlek" without cracking up.

In case you didn't know:
Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is a form of interval training which puts stress on the whole aerobic energy system due to the continuous nature of the exercise. The difference between this type of training and continuous training is that the intensity or speed of the exercise varies, meaning that aerobic and anaerobic systems can be put under stress. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed can be varied whenever the athlete wishes. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise.

You can read more on wikipedia, any serious running blog, Runners World, etc.

My fartlek (hehee) went like this:
- 1 minute walking warm up
- 2 minute easy jog (6.5)
- 5 minute tempo run (7.0)
- 2 minute above tempo (7.5-8.0)
- 2 minute walk
- 5 minute tempo (7.0)
- 3 minute above tempo (7.5-8.0)
- 3 minute walk
- 1 to 1 minute tempo to above tempo (7.0 to 8.0) for 10 minutes)
- 5 minute walk

I'm telling myself I'll go lift tonight, but what's more than likely to happen is that I'll work late, go home, maybe go see Hangover II with Chadd, then pass out before my early workout with Sarah and Klo.

Go for a run and celebrate Running Day!