Monday, November 8, 2010

New Home

It is time! Moving to some new digs. Come visit. It will be fun!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Since the day I introduced cross into my life, I've made one huge, recurring mistake: I consistently underestimate it's power. Last year, when I first picked up the sport, I assumed I'd be fine. I spent a few days learning how to dismount, remount and rode around Gravelly for kicks. And then I fell 230 times at Charm City, DNF'd for the first time ever, and was incredibly, royally humbled. Lesson number 1: cross is very, very hard. Even when you think you are good at mounting and dismounting, you still aren't. Practice, practice, practice.

Of late, I've been complaining a lot about my inability to recover from cross races. Two and three days afterward, I'd still feel super lethargic and really unmotivated to get on the bike for even an easy recovery spin. After two weeks in a row of this, I'd had more than enough. Less number 2: just because cross is "fun" and is done during the "off-season" doesn't mean it isn't incredibly hard (reference paragraph 1) and successfully put you in the red for a solid 45 minutes straight. I've never raced as hard on the road as I have on a cross course - there is no one to draft of of and certainly no time for recovery.

And to make a long story short, I simply wasn't looking at post-race recovery the way I would after a road race. This past road season, I was incredibly diligent about my Paleo post-race shake - tons of glucose to immediately replenish glycogen stores and prep my body for the next tough workout. After a cross race, I'd settle for some fruit or the rest of a Snickers bar or a sip of Brian's Belgian beer. Just didn't cut it.

Before DCCX last weekend (which was a ridiculously hard/fun course and a total blast - my favorite racing weekend of the year! way to go DCMTB), I made the conscious decision to return to my post-race ritual. I changed up my shake a bit, however, just for kicks. Here's what was in the mix:

Rice milk
1/2 frozen banana
Smidge of chia seeds
Smidge of glutamine
Accelerade (not ideal, but all we had in our cabinet - and ended up sitting well with the tum, luckily)

and blend. It ended up tasting quite enjoyable, and I immediately noticed a difference the following day. Lesson learned.

And because it is Halloween, I'll leave you with a truly scary image from DCCX. Grrr.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Body Composition Part II - Fish Oil

Firstly - I reread my blog from yesterday, and I absolutely abhor how incredibly me-oriented it is. Really.

Anywho. I will make up for it today. Less about me, more about the title of this post (and the last, which was a bit of a tease, I admit).

To begin, a few solid reads on body composition:

Now let's talk about fish oil. I wrote of fish oil quite awhile ago, and have since made the supplement a daily habit before breakfast. I've been taking it regularly now for over 3 months or so, and I'm going to be honest with you. I actually do notice a difference in my body composition.

I'm not saying it's entirely related to the fish oil...but I haven't really changed much about my diet or training. I only recently started to strength train again (this is the end of my second week - so not nearly enough time to start seeing any visible results). The only major change was within the past month, when I moved into an apartment that forces me to walk up three flights of stairs every day. Other than that, business as usual. Here is the version I take:

As someone who lives with me everyday, I've noticed that when I gain weight, I usually do so in the thigh region. Unfortunate, but such is life. Since the end of road season I've put on somewhere between 3 and 5 lbs - and what I've noticed is that the added weight LOOKS different. Seriously. Not so much fat as...just plain mass. Muscle, perhaps?

An eye-opening study from Matt Fitzgerald's site:

Fish Oil Supplementation Improves Body Composition
You already know that fish oil supplementation enhances cellular health, heart health, and nervous system function. Now there's evidence that it may also improve body composition. Researchers from Gettysburg University separated 44 men and women into two groups, giving one group a daily fish oil supplement for six weeks and the other group a safflower oil supplement for the same period. After six weeks, members of the fish oil group exhibited an average lean body mass increase of 1.1 lbs. and an equal amount of body fat loss, whereas changes in the safflower oil group were much smaller. There was evidence that the positive changes in body composition seen in the fish oil group were related to a decrease in cortisol levels. The results of the study were published in the online Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

I did a bunch of research before I decided on a brand, and ultimately went with Nell Stephenson's recommendation. I like that it totally masks the fishy flavor (it actually tastes like lemon!). There is a wealth of information on the interwebs about fish oil, and I suggest you people get to reading:

+ Whole 9...and a calculator (I take 2 pills every morning before breakfast)

Lastly, in regards to my recovery issues, I reread this blog entry by Joe Friel. Noted.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Body Composition

Interesting insight (thanks to Joe Friel for posting):

Thanks to some inspiration from one of my fabulous co-bloggers, I am attempting a new pumpkin recipe this evening. I frequent a handful of food blogs - from gluten-free to vegan - and this recipe recently made the rounds, with lots of favorable reviews. So, we'll give it a whirl. In short, it's a chili stuffed baked pumpkin. Kinda like a stuffed baked pepper...only, not. I've made a version of this in the past (using spicy sausage), and it turned out nicely. I'm going to add some ground chicken to the mix (the Clarendon WF didn't get their ground turkey delivery this morning, how unfort) to add protein. Will report back.

In other food-related news, I'm testing out a new breakfast. I'd been an eggs + avocado + turkey bacon kind of gal for quite a while, and while I heart this protein/fat/carb combo, I simply wasn't getting enough carbohydrate to power me through noon workouts (or evening workouts, for that matter). I've started to experiment with various gluten-free cereals, mostly Nature's Path brands, and have found that my stomach can handle SOME non-gluten grain in the morning. I have a hunch that my body does a much better job of digesting things early in the day, although I'm not sure why. I add some hemp protein powder (chocolate flavored, yum) as well as Psyllium Husk (fiber) to round out the nutritional profile, and then top with either hemp or almond milk. So far, so good.

I am simply falling head over heels in love with cross. Hyattsville was the hardest I have ever raced, period. I took the first turn entirely too hot (they were offering $100 for the winner of the first lap! unheard of in C4), washed out, dropped my chain and stood there, staring at it in disbelief, for about 30 seconds. Some fabulous individual helped me get it back on and gave me a push - THANK YOU, whoever you are! - and I started back out DFL. I thought about the two gels and the Snickers bar I had just ingested, and figured I shouldn't let such precious fuel go to waste (or end up somewhere on my thighs, for that matter) - so I turned it back on and managed to catch the field. Thanks to Bruce & the B's encouragement, I managed to keep the gas on the entire race, as I started to close the gap. I finally caught the two leaders with two to go. I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure they'd be nice and rested and I'd have to fight for the lead...but they were tired. Thank the lord. First win in CX - and it felt great. Until I puked up one of my gels. Eh, details.

P90X is an ass-kicker. No two ways about it. I am sore every day and only do it twice a week, with three days of rest in between. I don't know why I ever stopped strength training - it is such a critical part of being a well-rounded female athlete. I can now do 8 push ups - REAL push ups. This sounds incredibly lame. But two weeks ago, I couldn't do one. Unacceptable.

I have one more thing to say (yes, also about myself), and then I shall sign off. I have had a LOT of trouble recovering from cross races. As least three days of feeling totally wasted. I need to figure out why this is, because it's really hard to bounce back into even recovery training when you feel like a total D. I have a feeling my recovery nutrition should be better (haven't been bringing my Paleo shakes to races - purely being lazy), but other than that I'm not quite sure what to do. Does anyone else have this problem?

Ciao for now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Pancake Fail and Snickers Bars

Right, so...the pumpkin pancakes were a complete DISAST. It turned out more like pumpkin mush. Tasted good, but looked like a hot, sloppy mess. Pureed punpkin is just super sticky and doesn't lend well to pancakes sans flour - really needed something to change up the consistency. Banana, sunflower seed butter and egg did not suffice. I had it for breakfast this morning, however, and it was still totally edible. Just not something I would recommend everyone run out and make. No sir. I didn't take a picture because, essentially, it looked like cat food. No one wants to see that.

I had the pleasure of doing my first Kelly Acres ride on Saturday. It was a blast - solid time on the bike with a good group and a nice little climb thrown in near the end. My legs held up pretty well, but I felt bonk-tastic for most of the first two hours or more (even having eaten FOUR gels - come on, now? WTF). We stopped at a gas station right around that 2 hour mark, and I ate an almond Snickers bar. Definitely playing with fire. At no point in recent memory have I been able to stomach any form of candy bar. But I threw caution to the wind (after reading the ingredients and deciding it actually wasn't the worst combination of all time, as I had originally assumed). Turns out, I felt fan-friggin-tastic for the remainder of the ride. I was able to carry on a conversation and hang out on the front for a bit with our fearless leader, and instantly felt a million times better. It is clear I need more sugar in my life.

When I find things that work once, I figure they will work again. I planned to eat another Snickers before today's cx race @ Winchester, but there was no time for gas station shenanegans before the race. As such, I opted for one as my post-race nutrition on the way home. 5 grams of protein and 24 grams of sugar - almost a 4:1 ratio, even! Once again, my stomach cooperated. Shocking, really. Something very interesting is going on. Not sure what, and certainly don't want to jinx it. But the tum has been acting like a total gem the past few days. I digress. Winchester was fantastic. First cx race of the season for me - perfect weather, a lovely roadie-friendly course (only two dismounts) and a nice-sized women's 4 field. Really can't ask for anything more.

After KA on Saturday, the B and I paid a visit to the mickimood booth at the Del Ray arts fair. Don & Michelle Saroff do REALLY nice work. We bought a fabulous bowl from the Peppermint Series - absolutely love it. Nice work, those two. One day I want pottery to be my hobby. At this juncture, however, the purchase of a kiln does not seem a likely item for the to do list.

Finally - I got p90x in the mail yesterday. Training 2x per week starts on Tuesday. I am prepared to be sore.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Good Matt Fitzgerald Read...and Pumpkin!

Sports Nutrition Made Easy...for women, but definitely applicable for mens too:

In other news, Harris Teeter has 2 for $5 canned organic pumpkin! Planning to try on a pumpkin smoothie for size, as well as some pumpkin pancakes. I'm thinking eggs, sunflower seed butter, pumpkin and cinnamon for the 'cakes. P'raps a banana if I feel so inclined. Will report back. Sunflower seed butter, for the record, is the best thing since sliced gluten-free bread.

Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin

The move is finally complete. We officially live in the 'burbs now. Shirlington. I like it! And I now shop at Harris Teeter, not Whole Foods. I bought 10 cans of salmon for $10!! That is quite a steal. I am sure it has higher levels of mercury...or something. I will miss you, Whole Foods. But I will like having an extra $500/month in my bank account.

I don't really ride my bike all that often these days. But I am signed up for Winchester. Eek.

My brain is fried. I'm sure that's evident in the disjointed, 3-word sentences in this post.

We actually moved ourselves - as in, no movers. I am unfamiliar with this concept. However, it would appear people move themselves all the time. It is horrible. I do not recommend it. I like movers. We live on the third floor with no elevator. It was harder than any Goon or Contes ride I have ever done. It took 2 full weeks.

P90X starts on Monday. I broke down and ordered it, after researching a bit online. Didn't find much beyond p90x. Those cats know how to market their product, I'll give them that. To start, I'm going to do 2x a week, and build to 3. I am excited to get back into strength training. It's been awhile, and I have to build up some leg strength to get me up and down these three flights of stairs 5 times a day. Whooo-wheee! Workout city here in Shirlington.

Ciao for now.

Friday, September 17, 2010


It has been a minute, has it not? Goodness gracious. I detest the feeling of blog neglection (not a word, according to Blogger). However, I've had a lot on my plate. Here are the excuses for today's entry:

1. I am consulting. I like it. Keeps the brain moving. I go to meetings, tell people what to do, then leave. Glory!
2. We are moving. This weekend! Across the river. Skeery.
3. I am officially wedding planning. And enjoying it. Who would have thought it?
4. I am renting my condo. Also known as the most stressful thing ever invented.
5. Lots of other stuff. Believe me.

Anywho. Today, I'd like to discuss with you...coconuts. Specifically, two products thereof. As you people (person?) know, I am not one to tout processed foods. I shun them, in fact. However, this past Sunday I had a jonesing for something sweet (ice cream ice cream ice cream ice cream) and simply could not stop thinking about fulfilling said jonesing. When I get this sort of feeling, I go to Max's Best ice cream (quite literally, the best), get some form of cinnamon ice cream, and deal with the repercussions post hoc. Unfortunately for me, this past Sunday, they were already closed. DISASTER. Brian, luckily, is a solutions-man, and we headed to the Whole Foods freezer section instead. While he opted for some sort of pistachio thing (protein?), I went for this:

1. Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (quite a mouthful!)

It tasted delicious. I will say, I won't partake in this again most likely, as it did do it's job to destroy my stomach. Most likely the soy ingredients. But I signed up for it. Here are the ingredients:

Servings Size 1/2 Cup (85g)
Servings Per Container 4
Amount Per Servings
Calories 210 Calories from Fat 120


The second coconut product I'd like to discuss is Vita-Coco. I am obsessed with it.

2. Vita-Coco

I imagine it's a bit of an acquired taste, and I like to mix mine with 1/2 water to tone it down a bit. But absolutely loving it in my water bottles on longer rides. Loads of electrolytes (naturally) and a high mineral content. For folks who sweat a lot (and lose lots of salt), might not be the best fit - it's primarily potassium, not sodium:

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 11.2 fl oz

Amount per Serving
  • Calories 60Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 0g0%
  • Saturated Fat 0g0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 35mg1%
  • Potassium 660mg19%
  • Total Carbohydrate 15g5%
  • Dietary Fiber 0g0%
  • Sugars 15g
  • Protein 0g0%
  • Calcium5%
  • Magnesium9%
  • Manganese50%
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 0.0% Carbs 100.0%
Protein 0.0%

Time to pack.