Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top 10 Gifts For the Triathlete in Your Life - 2013

1) Transition Bag: It will carry all of your triathlete's gear and then some. This is a lifesaver when packing for a triathlon and comes complete with helmet pocket and waterproof compartment. The blueseventy Transition Bag is the top of the line and probably the most popular bag out there but if you want something a bit more affordable, the TYR SPORT Transition Backpack does a great job too.

2) Injury Prevention: Anyone who runs will likely experience an injury at some point. The book, Anatomy for Runners is a must have reference for any runner as a guide for injury prevention, rehab and improving your running bio-mechanics. Recommended by many elite runners, this one is definitely on my list this year!

3) Massage: The Grid Revolutionary Foam Roller (available here or here) is way better than your typical foam roller, it features a three dimensional surface to help break up those sore knots. It also comes in a travel-friendly size (available here or here) that you can fit into your transition bag or suitcase. Every triathlete should have one of these to help combat injuries.

4) Smart Training: First Time Triathlon or Triathlon Trainer iPhone Apps- Whether they are training for their first sprint triathlon or are training for an Olympic Distance, these iPhone apps can help. The number one ranked training Apps in the iTunes App store, they have helped countless athletes reach their goals. Disclaimer: These were designed by me so of course I think they are great! (Learn how to gift an App to someone here.)

5) Tri-Bling: Congratulate your triathlete on an amazing accomplishment with a dog tag style triathlon necklace hand stamped with the 3 distances of each discipline.

6) Biking Shorts: You can never have enough biking shorts- especially a comfortable pair. Being a triathlete myself, I can tell you that we spend a lot of time training and log many hours on the bike so its important to have well padded shorts. Pearl Izumi makes great shorts and the Elite In-R-Cool Short for men and the Symphony Short for women come highly recommended.

7) Chain Cleaner: Keep that motor moving smoothly with the Finish Line Bicycle Chain Cleaner. Not your typical gift but your triathlete will wonder why they never had one before! This easy to use tool will save them time, greasy hands and money.

8) Pretty Prints: Why not gift your triathlete with an elegant gold foil endurance print that they can frame and put up in their house to help motivate them. Available in my new Etsy store!

9) Functional Fitness: Functional strength training is an important part of any successful triathletes training and the TRX Suspension Trainer is the most popular tool to help them build strength, power and flexibility. Best of all its so easy to use and portable so whether you are a newbie or an experienced triathlete it can help you bring your training to the next level.

10) Race Ready: These are the latest and greatest race day helpers - skip the long lines to have someone write your race number on your body with these professional looking numbers. The TriTats Pro Tattoo are easily applied the night before with the box containing 200 numbers for countless events that are both USAT and ITU compliant.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fit Friday: Changing How I Eat.

While most of us stuffed ourselves on Thanksgiving (myself included!) this post is not meant to make you feel guilty but perhaps help you to start thinking about a few things you can change in your diet before another holiday onslaught of food is upon us.

A few months ago I went through a period of time where I just wasn't feeling good. It started with a bad cold that just wouldn't go away but I also felt lethargic and unmotivated day after day. My energy levels were just sapped and while I could use the excuse of having small kids I knew it was more than that. Something needed to change but I wasn't sure what.

After chatting with a friend about it she convinced me to change my diet for just a few weeks to see if it would help. She had a similar experience and found that changing what she ate made a big difference. So, for two weeks I ate gluten free, sugar free and dairy free. I have to admit I was skeptical but within those two weeks my cold was finally gone and my energy levels returned.

Since then I have adjusted my diet to include dairy again - mainly yogurt, cottage cheese and occasionally cheese but I now drink unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of non-fat milk. I also must confess that I am not completely gluten free as I don't consider myself to be allergic but have severely cut the amount I eat. I feel more balanced as I don't feel deprived so I can have the occasional piece of pie or bagel with friends. I just don't eat it on a daily basis and so far my energy levels have remained high. (I still buy wheat bread, etc. for my kids and husband but many meals are replaced with gluten free versions which they enjoy and overall are healthier.)

One of my favorite easy lunches, salad mixed with quinoa and topped with tofu.

What foods have you added/increased? I'm eating a lot more fruits, veggies, and nuts so instead of grabbing my typical snack of crackers, I'll grab an apple with some almond butter or some veggies and hummus. In addition, I also eat more quinoa, rice, legumes, buckwheat and healthy fats such as avocado.

Quinoa salad with green beans and tomatoes.

What foods have you limited? Sugar, white flour, wheat and easy to grab snacks that were around for my kids. Less processed foods overall which I feel so much better about as I was finding that I was just grabbing easy to eat foods for convenience rather than for the nutrition.

I'm not going to say it was super easy to change how I eat as it did take time to figure out different recipes to cook but it is definitely worth it. I'm starting to have a pretty good set of dishes to cook and often just make extra to have for lunch or dinner the next day. I'll try to share some of the recipes on my blog in the near future as many of them my kids love as well.

I'm not posting this to say everyone should eat less gluten but more so to encourage you to take a look at your daily diet and see what changes you could make that might help you to feel better or just eat healthier.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Victoria's Secret VS Sport Review

I have to admit I was skeptical at first when Victoria's Secret first came out with a fitness line. I like to sweat and am not worried about being sexy while I'm working out. However, after trying a few items, I have to say the quality, fit and price are right.

I bought the cutest pair of VS Knockout Capris (above) with a sheer polka dot window on the legs and I get compliments every time I wear them. I've run many times in them and even did a fast-paced 10-miler with no chaffing or having to pull them up as I ran. While the above style is not available anymore, the same capri is and they always have cute prints and great colors (like the ones below) with more on their website.


I also tried on a couple of the sport bras and they were both very well made and supportive. The first one was the VS Runway Sport Bra and I absolutely love it. It is supportive, fun and has a bit of padding which is always a plus for us smaller-busted ladies! The padding does, however, make it a warmer bra so I would probably only wear it for indoor activities during the summer but it's perfect for the fall and winter months. 
VS Runway Sport Bra
The next bra I tried was the VS Sport Knockout Bra but it just wasn't for me. It is better suited for a larger-busted woman as it has underwire and is super supportive. Below are two bras by VS Sport that work well for larger busted women...

Knockout Sport Bra
Standout Sport Bra

And how cute is this brand new bra, the VS Angel Sport Bra? I may just have to try this one too!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Race Report: Missing My Munchkins

I knew I wanted to do one more triathlon before the season was over and so decided about four weeks before to fly to Oceanside for an Olympic Distance race that would help me qualify to race pro again. I figured it wasn't too far away and I could go solo in order to focus on the race. I also thought a bit of a mommy break might be good for me as I hadn't been away from my girls for more than one night since they were born. It all seemed like a good idea...

However, I forgot what a pain it is to travel with a bike, it must have been humorous watching me trying to fit my huge bike box into my rental car by myself. The first day and night in Oceanside were fine as I was busy prepping for the race and I got to sleep in which was absolute bliss! That hasn't happened in 5 years!

The second day was lonely though and I missed my family like crazy. Admittedly I was miserable, truly miserable and just couldn't get psyched for the race. I guess it was a bit of a reality check in that if I'm going to try and race pro again there are going to be many times when I have to leave my family and for longer periods.

My heart just wasn't into racing and the fact that it was freezing didn't help either as I don't do well in cold. My fingers were so frozen in the second transition that I could not for the life of me get my helmet off. It was also hard not having anyone at the finish line for me as I really didn't know anyone at the race. I managed to finish though but didn't push myself and just raced comfortably thinking the entire time that I couldn't wait to be home. Made me realize how much I love those little girls, drama queen antics, mess makers and all. ;)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nike's Printed Kicks

Check out the latest "Nike's Printed Kicks" post as these models are all no longer available.

Nike is just killin' it right now with cool printed kicks. I can't decide which pair (or two...or three!) to get:

Colorful Wild Prints 

Fun Tie Dye

Monday, September 9, 2013

Race Report: What Not To Do In A Triathlon.

That's me in the middle!
This post is WAY overdue but better late than never right?! Life and work have been a bit overwhelming so my blog has taken a back seat. Here (finally) is my race report:

My first triathlon race since I retired many years ago was a comedy of sorts just to get to the start line but I can't complain too much as I was happy with the result. I ended up third woman overall, which isn't too bad for this mom of two and with only seven weeks of official triathlon training in my back pocket.

Why a comedy? Well, I pretty much did everything I tell my athletes not to do. (Why not get all the kinks worked out in my first race back right?) Well, it wasn't exactly planned that way but this time around things are a whole lot  different with a lot more on my plate. It used to be all about me when I was single without kids and now my family comes first and foremost. I decided to do this race a bit last minute and didn't have all the equipment necessary so most of my failures were due to this.

What not to do:

1) Put triathlon aero bars on your bike the day before the race. (Yup, guilty, I scrambled around to borrow a pair to put on my road bike as I wasn't ready to invest just yet.)

2) Get a wetsuit the morning of the race and try it on for the first time. (I had borrowed a wetsuit that I thought would fit but lo and behold two days before the race it just wasn't going to work. I ended up borrowing a male friend's wetsuit who brought it to the race and squeezed my hips into it. Yup, there is a reason there are female specific wetsuits, lol!)

3) Don't warm up before the swim start. (Guilty but it wasn't exactly my fault. The race director decided to change our start time to 10 minutes earlier and failed to tell about a third of us women.)

4) Underestimate your caloric needs and bonk on the run. (I was so focused on getting my equipment together that I completely forgot that I recently switched to a sports drink that had almost no calories. Doh! I had forgotten what it felt like to bonk and kept thinking I was just hot as the temperature was supposed to rise up to 109 degrees that day.)

I'm certain my next race will go a bit smoother. I will also hopefully have a triathlon-specific bike, race wheels and my own wetsuit but it just felt good to race again. I am thankful my body is letting me race - as I described in an earlier post, at one point I thought I'd never run again let alone be competitive.

Thanks to my sponsors Moo Motion Sports and Fleet Feet Sports Davis for helping me get back to it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

So far so good.

I'm on my fifth week of training with Purple Patch Fitness and so far so good. I can feel my body remembering what it used to do and I'm improving each week. Of course I didn't come into this schedule completely out of shape but I certainly wasn't doing this kind of intensity or volume. I definitely found some muscles that had been hibernating!

I have to say though, it feels really good to be getting back into race shape. I've given (willingly) so much of my body to other things these last years (two babies, breastfeeding, hip surgery & recovery) that it's nice to focus a bit on me these days.

I was admittedly pretty tired this week as the training was starting to catch up with me but reminded myself that rest days can be equally important. It was clear to me that I needed to back off for a day or two and let my body absorb all the hard work that I have done. I'm glad I did as I'm feeling rested and ready to go back at it tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Best Workout Skirts

I finally bought a running skirt and love it! I've wanted one for a while now and just couldn't pass up this adorable skort from Zella. It's called the 'So Sweet' skort and the flirty ruffles give it an extra girly look. I had to have it!

I ran in it yesterday and it was very comfortable so I'm hooked now.  I've already been picking out which ones to buy next. :)
 More fun workout skirts:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Fit Friday: Running Music Playlist - Dance Edition

While catching up with a high school friend recently at lunch she mentioned that she'd like to start running but found it boring. I suggested finding a local running group to join for a bit of motivation and then we started talking about music and how it can motivate you especially when running alone. I run with music a lot and definitely use it to help push me on long runs or torturous speed days. And I'll admit it, I like booty shaking music to run to as I used to love to go out dancing but now that I'm a mom that just doesn't happen anymore. So, when out on a run, in my mind, I really think I'm doing this...

I know she likes to get down too so I'm hoping some of these songs will help to motivate her and perhaps you too!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A box of cereal can make your day.

It's true, buying a box of cereal can make your day and someone else's too.

With all the bad things that have happened recently (Boston Marathon bombing, the Cleveland kidnappings, etc.) I had been feeling pretty bad about this world and had to stop watching the news for a few days because I literally couldn't stop thinking about all the innocent people that were affected. Soon after, I read an article somewhere about a blogger that had started doing random nice things for strangers as a way to spread some positivity.

So, I decided a few weeks ago that I would start to do some unexpected nice things for total strangers too. Why not? It reminds myself and others that there are good people in this world. And that those people can be total strangers. The first thing I did was pay for someone's Starbucks behind me in the drive thru line and it felt great even though they hadn't even seen my face.

Just today I was at my local grocery store and noticed a young woman (a college student as far as I could tell) in line behind me with only a box of cereal. I remember being a college student and not having a lot of extra cash for food at times. Pay it forward right? So I told the checker to add her cereal to my bill.

The young woman was of course very surprised and kept thanking me and said yes, she was indeed a college student. Even the checker was a bit shocked as he started to pack the cereal into my grocery bags and then realized what he was doing. For only about $3.50, I'm sure both the student and the checker will remember this small act of kindness and hopefully do something nice for someone else as well.

Of course there are so many other ways to show random acts of kindness and they don't have to involve money at all. What will you do this week?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Upgrade

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday. I had a fun day and was spoiled with flowers, a gift certificate for a massage and some adorable cards from my girls. I especially love getting the homemade cards that are made at pre-school because you just never know what your kids will say when you aren't around.

This was what my Mother's Day card from last year said about me that was made by my oldest daughter when she was three:

I thought it was the cutest thing and got the biggest laugh from it. I couldn't help but think she might need therapy when she's older because most of the time mommy probably smells like sweat because of all the working out I do. I don't ever wear perfume so I'm not sure exactly what this lovely smell is that she is experiencing- maybe my deodorant? Or perhaps a lingering of sunscreen mixed with sweat? Of course when Father's Day rolled around my husband got a card saying "I love my daddy because he cuddles with me and reads me books at night." So unfair.

Well luckily this year mommy got an upgrade and she finally realized that mommy does many other things than just smells lovely. :)

What funny things have your kids written about you at school?

Never say never.

Racing in the lava fields
I did it, I finally decided to give triathlons another go. I'll never say never again. My husband called it when we first got married telling me he knew I would race again and as much as I hate to admit it, he was right. As some of you know, I raced professionally for a number of years but quit after years of disappointing results and chronic injuries. After having my first daughter and suffering through more debilitating injuries, I was finally correctly diagnosed with FAI in my hips. To make a long story short, I had major hip surgery with a wonderful doctor from Stanford and when I went in for my final check up after having my second daughter he said, "All looks good. Now let's get you back racing again." What?!? Really?!? I wasn't expecting that. At all.

So, after much thought and contemplation I have decided to give it a go. Why not right?! I am happy to be working with Matt Dixon from Purple Patch Fitness as I know even though I coach athletes myself, I need a coach to be held accountable too and I am honored to be a part of such a phenomenal group of athletes. It's time to step it up as I officially start today, gulp.

I know some may think I'm crazy (I probably am) but I think it will be worth it. In the least, I can show my daughters that you pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and never give up on a dream. Here we go!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Roasted Ratatouille

We signed up for a Farm Fresh To You box a few months ago and it's been a wonderful addition to our meals. While you can request what you don't want in the box, you still don't know exactly what you get each time which makes it fun. I'll admit that there have been a few times when my husband and I are looking at a vegetable trying to figure out exactly what it is.

We've had a pretty busy week with dinners out and I didn't want the veggies from our recent box to go bad so the first thing that came to mind was ratatouille! The best thing about ratatouille is you can add just about any vegetable and I did just that - adding the baby bok choy that came in our box which is not something I would normally use. Since I've been into roasting vegetables lately I found this great ratatouille recipe that calls for roasting them and it turned out great.

Ready to roast: Zucchinni, baby bok choy, red bell pepper, red onion & cherry tomatoes. 

I edited the recipe a bit as I didn't have all the ingredients and I wanted to use the veggies we had on hand. It was a big hit with the family and the best part was that it was super easy to make. I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

A delicious yet easy way to eat your vegetables!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mother's Day Guide for a Fit Mama!

Mother's Day Guide for a Fit Mama!

1. Moving Comfort Flow Burnout Tee - lightweight & cute cinchable side hem
2. Moving Comfort Serena Sports Bra - seamless fabric & very supportive
4. Moving Comfort Serendipity Headband - a no slip headband!
5. Athleta Bob & Weave Active Dress - sporty & sexy
6. Sweaty Bands 'Be A Dahlia' Head Wrap - another no slip headband
7. Nike Flex 2013 Run - lightweight & comfy
8. Athleta Neon Stripe Racerback Tank - stretchy with a built-in support
9. GapFit Gfast Capris - great fit & a fun color
10. Oakley Ideal Sunglasses - sporty & chic in a smaller frame

Friday, April 26, 2013

Not Your Little Sisters Workout Bikini!

Now that I'm starting to swim more and summer is coming I was on the search for a flattering but cute two-piece suit to workout in. I searched high and low and was about to give up until I found the perfect suit below! Carve Designs makes some of the cutest sporty two-piece suits along with other surf-inspired apparel and best of all, they fit an athletic women's body (yes, even one that has had two babies!) rather than a teens body like many of the other brands design for. The colors and prints are gorgeous and they are very flattering.

As you know, I love to encourage entrepreneurial women and as I learned more about Carve Designs I was impressed to find out that it was started by two women (Jenn and Thayer) who were passionate about surfing but frustrated with the lack of comfortable surf clothes available for women. They both quit their jobs and dove in head first to fill a need that they had a hunch about and I'd say they did the right thing!

Check out some of the other Carve Designs clothing below:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fit Friday: Cycle Chic

Whether you are an around the town gal or veteran roadie, spring is here and it's time to ride your bike! Take advantage of the nice weather and burn some easy calories by biking to the store instead of sitting in a car. On average you'll burn about six times more calories!

Fit Friday: Cycle Chic

1. Giro Skyla with a women's specific fit.
2. Check out Moxie Cycling's new Spring line!
3. Get a grip with the Pearl Izumi women's ELITE Gel Glove.
4. I love these well-padded Pearl Izumi Symphony Shorts.
5. I love this girly water bottle by Sweaty Betty.
6. I Want To Ride My Bike print

Happy cycling!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston in our Hearts

Boston in our Hearts
I will be running this week in honor of those in Boston and I hope you will too. Peace.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fit Friday: Swim Workout

I'm back in the pool! I never thought it would happen again when I quit triathlons back in 2007 but I'm enjoying myself and it feels good. Who knows maybe I'll actually compete in a triathlon this season. :) Anyways, we've got a small group meeting at the pool a couple of days a week to help motivate each other and we've been sharing workouts. My friends son is swimming on the local high school team and he's been assigning her some of their brutal sets (he writes them up for her and tells her what she should swim that day - what a cool kid!). We edit the workouts for a more reasonable distance (9,000 yard workouts are not my cup of tea) and I thought I'd share one for any of you getting ready for triathlon season or just wanting a good swim workout.

Warm Up 300-500 yards choice

8 x 75 yards freestyle w' middle 25 drill

4 - 6 x (3 minute swim freestyle, 2 minute swim freestyle, 1 minute swim freestyle)
(Find a distance you can swim within the time limit that allows you a bit of rest in between ~ 5-20 sec, for example, a 175 yards for the 3 min. swim, 125 for the 2 min. swim and a 75 yard swim for 1 min.) 
Take an additional 30 second rest between each set after the 1 minute swim.

4 x 100 yard freestyle building each lap from slow to fast
Take 10 seconds rest in between.

Cool down 200 yards choice

Total yards: 3,000 - 4,400

Have a great workout!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

High Hamstring Tendinitis in Runners

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a high hamstring injury that I'm dealing with and while it's still a bit of an issue, it is slowly getting better. Everything I've read about it says it's a tough injury to get rid of so I'm trying to stay positive.

This past week and a half I was able to do two very slow 3 mile runs and a 4 mile run yesterday. Progress! I am making sure to take 2-3 days off in between opting for cycling and/or swimming so as not to do too much and re-injure myself.

I've had plenty of other injuries but never a hamstring injury so this is new territory for me. I thought I would describe what I've been doing to heal and list some of the articles that have been great resources in guiding me in how to rehab on my own. Hopefully if any of you are dealing with a similar injury, this can help you too. (However, I am not a doctor so you definitely want to consult with your physician first as to what you should and shouldn't do!)

When this injury first cropped up, it was literally a pain in my butt and I had to massage those muscles out to finally figure out that the real issue was my hamstring. After backing off of workouts altogether with no relief, I visited a local doctor who is doing some new treatments for these types of injuries. He took an ultrasound of my hamstring and found exactly where the injury was and then used the ultrasound screen to guide a needle into the injured area. He uses the needle to break up the scar tissue  and then flushes the area with a combination of lidocaine and a water solution. (Much safer than a steroid injection!)  The action of breaking up the scar tissue is supposed to help the tissues to realign correctly and heal. He also told me that he thought my job (working in front of a computer at home for hours at a time) probably contributed to this injury.

I did get some relief from the treatment but realized that there was some sort of weakness that contributed to this injury that I would need to fix in order to heal and not have it happen again. Furthermore, my surrounding muscles were still tight so I opted to get a couple of sports massages which helped relieve some tightness in my glutes, IT band and lower hamstring area- in addition to having the massage therapist work directly on my high hamstring.

I highly recommend reading these two articles if you think you are dealing with a similar injury:

A Pain in the Rear: High Hamstring Tendinitis

High Hamstring Tendinopathy Injuries

Here is what I've been doing in addition to the treatments written about above:

1) Core: I didn't realize that having a weak core can contribute to hamstring issues but, yep, it can. After having two babies my abs were less like steel and more like...well, you know. While I was doing some core work here and there I really wasn't keeping to a regular routine and more often than not they were being neglected. I now make sure to do some core work every other day and this has made the biggest difference in my healing. I am determined to continue doing regular core work- and I know it will help prevent future injuries.

2) Rehab Exercises: I have been doing a combination of the exercises from the above two recommended articles which so far includes the bridging, squats, side-lying hip and the two plank exercises. This week I will be adding the leg press and Swiss ball exercises as I feel like I've progressed enough to add those in.

3) Rolling: I can't afford to go to the massage therapist every week and I bet most of you can't either so I've been using the The Grid Foam Roller almost everyday after workouts to help stay loose.

4) Stretching: I've been stretching my hamstring very gently a few times a day in addition to these stretches post workout.

I hope this post can help you a little if you are suffering from a similar injury and if you found something that helped you recover please post below!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

GapFit Motion T

I just picked up my first GapFit Motion T and I have to say, I love it! It's super soft, fits well and does a good job wicking sweat. A great workout top for the price and they have quite a few colors on sale right now so run don't walk to snap one of these up!

The picture of me above doesn't do it justice but you can see the nice mesh detailing in the upper neck/chest area and on the side/waist area below. The fabric is seamless and is so comfortable that I was tempted to sleep in it. :)