Spring Training – What are you doing this Spring?


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What are you doing this spring?

The first thing we delete from our busy schedules is what can help us handle it best: healthy diet/eating, exercise and proper sleep.

Because I am acutely aware of this, I make a point to put these priorities, and family time, first and sometimes the extras are set aside (like posting regularly to my blog). I’ve missed it.

Spring is a crazy time of year for so many of us (as are summer, fall and winter, it doesn’t stop). Some weekends may have nothing happening (if you are a lucky one), but then other weekends it seems that everything is happening: family events, children’s soccer games AND little league games, many social activities, city-wide events/festivals to enjoy, and a holiday/birthday/anniversary thrown into the mix.

Another sign of spring, at least for me, is that nearly every weekend has a running or biking event in which I am participating or I would like to take part.

In just a couple of weeks, for our household, it starts: between my husband and I we have something every weekend.

  • April 16: Albuquerque Half Marathon – I’m losing track of how many 13.1 milers now, but Athlinks.com says this will be my 8th.
  • April 24: Easter Sunday and my niece’s first birthday…it this throwing you off this year?
  • May 1: Run for the Zoo 10K, which is a tradition for me now AND the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5 mile walk (thrown off by Easter this year).
  • May 8: Mother’s Day and my first SPRINT Triathlon: Jay Benson. Swimming is in the pool in case you were wondering.
  • May 15: Santa Fe Century, which for me is a half century…because this is a hard century.
  • May 21: a special weekend with my husband, which will likely include a bike ride
  • May 28: Iron Horse Bicycle Classic from Durango to Silverton (Colorado) – This is not my event, but my husband’s, but I get to still drive to Colorado
  • June 4: Albuquerque Century Tour de Cure, in which this year I will once again attempt a 100 mile bike ride in one day. Last year, I was not successful with the 100 miles, but a “mere” 65 due to >100 degree temps.
  • June 11: Valles Caldera 10K – my first time here too. They also have a marathon and half marathon, but I plan on taking a break this weekend.
  • Jun 17-18: Relay for Life in Albuquerque – a walk, but a very important one.

Is this crazy? Nah, this is our regular spring in my household. The summer becomes more erratic with events, but once September comes around, things pick up again for a couple of months. It’s all good.

Let me know if you are doing any of these events, or anything throughout the U.S.; I would love to hear about it.

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Operation Gratitude 2010 HUGE Success

Hard to see the candy, but it is in there!

For the 2009 holidays, as part of our annual Maintain, Don’t Gain program at work, I facilitated the collection of unwanted Halloween candy. The day after Halloween, and over the course of the week, people brought me their Halloween candy and shipped it to an organization that puts it in the care packages for our troops serving overseas. We collected about 65 pounds of candy in 2009.

Fast forward to 2010, and think a bit bigger. With a team, I got the entire UNM campus involved. Using the Staff Council, we promoted the program and started our collection November 1 and wrapped it up on Veteran’s Day, November 11. We promoted the program not as weight management, but as a way to give back and share with the troops serving overseas. Having no idea what the response would be, I hoped to double last year’s collection and reach 150 pounds.

SHOCK AND AWE: nearly 550 pounds of candy collected throughout the UNM campus. I heard a rumor that the Children’s Campus (the childcare center) trick-or-treated for the troops and donated all of their candy (sniff-tissue, please). I think we got the most from them!

I am grateful. The campus, the teamwork and everyone who collected, donated and supported this event: THANK YOU. The team at Operation Gratitude has also extended their thanks when I tweeted our sweet success. This is what Operation Gratitude does with the candy:

Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000 care packages containing approximately 50 assorted snacks, toiletries, entertainment items and personal letters. The Halloween candy is added in by the handfuls to fill in every space in the box.

“Halloween candy reminds the troops of the great traditions we celebrate at home– which they are protecting by serving in harm’s way” said Operation Gratitude Founder Carolyn Blashek. “In addition, the troops give the candy to the children in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the ‘winning hearts and minds’ strategy.  Often the children will provide critical information in return, prompting one Marine to write: ‘You are not just putting smiles on our faces, you are saving our lives.'”

As a dietitian, I can’t help but add that I am very happy that the UNM community donated all of that candy since it is not going into our mouths and not going to “waists.” Every little bit helps.

And for fun…550 pounds of candy, I estimated the following:  

  • 300 pounds of chocolate candy (average Reese’s, M&M’s, snickers and all the others)
  • 100 pounds of Twizzlers, Starburst, and other chewy candies
  • 100 pound of hard candies including lollipops
  • 50 pounds of bubble gum

Is about: 1,086,700 calories (yes, that is over 1 million calories)

Which is about 310.5 pounds we aren’t gaining this year!

Happy, happy holiday’s everyone!

What is Your Winter Motivation?

Putting something here, helps motivate through the winter.

My 2010 “race” season is over. I am being generous calling that. “Event season” is probably the better description, since I “participate” more than race.

After my last event each year, I struggle with motivation. I find that I don’t continue with running or cycling much unless there is something I’m running or biking for. Some people don’t get this, but over the years, I have found that if I don’t have a race in mind or a bike event I want to do, I don’t run or bike so much. What is ironic: I will do step aerobics even though I have never participated in a step aerobics “event.”

Oh, and my biggest excuse: no turkey trots or “fun runs.” Why do that when I can run 3-6 miles around my neighborhood for free? And I don’t have to drive anywhere to start.

I’m planning my 2011 calendar in the next month, but how to keep up the running and biking in November, December and January?

Side note for you non-New Mexicans: Albuquerque averages below freezing at night November-January and the highs average 48-58 degrees. I talked to people who think they can come here in the winter for a warm get-away.

So, what do you do to keep yourself motivated through the winter?

Runners in all shapes and sizes – and they show up!

They may not be fast, but they show up to the race!

There are two major running events in Albuquerque each year: Run for the Zoo and Duke City Marathon.  Every spring, the first Sunday in May is the Run for the Zoo, what is known as the largest running event in Albuquerque, has 5K and 10K events and every fall, in mid-October, the Duke City Marathon includes the marathon, half marathon and 5K events. There are many other runs in Albuquerque, but these are the two “big ones” that most people know about, even the “non-runners.”

Since my first 5K in October 2004, if I am in town and not injured (or recovering from an injury), I have registered and participated in these events.

Yesterday I ran my seventh half marathon (second with Duke City Marathon). Originally I signed up for the marathon, but time constraints on my training and having already checked off two marathons from my “life list,” I was okay with changing races on Saturday at the packet pick-up.

But this is a different race report: this is about my observations and thrill about the people who are there with numbers pinned to their shirts.

It thrills me to see people of all ages participating in these events. In my first 5K in 2004 an 84 year-old woman beat me. She is not racing anymore, but was still listed in the results a couple of years ago with pretty much the same time as when she beat me. She is my inspiration for when I am 80-years-old. This year, a 13-year-old won the women’s 5K followed 17  seconds later by a 60-year-old.

But it isn’t the people who come in first place that impress me. Really, it isn’t. I am a middle of the pack person, and I am content there. I aim to finish, and sometimes like to finish better than I did last time, but whatever… What impress me are the people who have the guts to register, pick up their packet and t-shirt, and still wake up early in the morning on race day and actually show up at the starting line.

There are butterflies in the stomach and mind-games that something will happen, but they are there at the starting line, while so many other people are still in bed. Some of these people are overweight, some are obese. Some a former obese people excited with their “new” bodies. They are slow runners, or they aren’t sure how they will do and they start in the back. But they will never “win” or be in the top 3 in their category. Heck, many won’t even make it back in-time for the awards ceremony. But they are there and they are participating. They signed up and they showed up. They are runners, and they are finishers.

The winners don’t impress me as much as these people impress me! I want to stop and hug them and congratulate them and tell them that I am so proud of them! But, I’m afraid of being arrested. I stink too.

Sign of Insanity

Tomorrow I embark on a bike ride. Not just any bike ride. The Albuquerque Century which is also the local American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure. Theoretically I am doing my second century bike ride tomorrow, 100 miles.

Theoretically? One year ago I completed my first century bike ride (thanks to my husband). But, tomorrow Albuquerque will likely break 100 degrees. I will cover head to foot with sunscreen, start early, and hydrate often.

Albuquerque is a good size, at 180 square miles. But not that big that the 100 miles is all in town. We ride through the city as well as Isleta Pueblo, Corrales, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, and Sandia Pueblo. Beautiful ride with plenty of support.

This is a ride for both fitness and for the American Diabetes Association. I expect surviving through to announce a full recovery, without major blood sugar spikes or lows (lesson learned from last year). Any guesses on how many calories I will burn?

Time to Train

I am a runner!

On August 1, in just over 8 weeks, the 45th Annual La Luz Trail Run will be held. On October 17, in just over 19 weeks, the 27th Annual Duke City Marathon will be held. Both of these events are significant to me.   

The La Luz Trail Run is a 9 mile trail run from the base of the Sandia Mountains at Tramway, up the mountain to Sandia Crest. Most of the run, 7.2 miles, is trail and the overall grade  is 12%. This is a lottery event with only 400 participants. Every year since 2007 I have entered the lottery and each time  my name is drawn in the first round. This year I enter a new age group, so I allegedly have an advantage over the other women in my category. 

The Duke City Marathon (DCM) is the other significant event for me. In 2004 I ran my very first event: a 5K. I finished and didn’t die (just sore) and decided: “I can do this running thing.” I decided then to set a goal to run my first marathon before I was 40 – five years in the future. Two years after my first race, in 2006, I ran my first Half Marathon, and two years after that, in 2008, I ran my first Marathon both of which were DCM events. After a 4:28:02 marathon I swore I would never run a marathon again…it was checked off the list. Since my first race in 2004 I have run 10K events, half marathons, and a second marathon (Rock ‘N’ Roll San Antonio November 2009). I didn’t do very well in my second marathon and have decided that I am not going out with a “bad” finish. So, I have registered for the DCM once again, and vow that I will do well. 

Unfortunately, I cannot do well if I don’t train. I have lost my motivation and have not been doing well with my training. I know I will finish, but how well? Not well, if I don’t get going! I need to get up and train, cross train and continue to train. I have the shoes; I have the music; I have the gear; like most people, I have plenty of excuses. But they are not real excuses! 

Motivation comes from within and I need find it and dig it out from deep inside. Starting next week? Starting Monday? NO! Starting in the morning I train. I have two months to get going on the trail and four and a half months to go the distance.  

I post this for two reasons: to show, despite outward appearances, and what we teach: “we” in the profession still lose our motivation and need to work at “it” too. And I will make sure that I train.

Chef’s Bistro IS a Restuarant too!

Chef's Elegant Catering

Chef's Elegant Catering

UPDATE: On September 19, 2010 We went to Chef’s for a brunch and it was CLOSED. A sign for a new restaurant already in place. We were disappointed to lose a descent place close to our home.

Today, I finally got to go to Chef’s Bistro near our home; a small restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday – Sunday from 7:00 am – 2:00 pm.

My husband and I enjoy an occasional breakfast out, and have wanted to find somewhere near our home that isn’t one of those 24-hour-serve-breakfast-when-you-want chains. We live off of I-40 and what was once the edge of town, so there are a lot of those chains with poor service nearby. We want something we can ride our bikes to or even walk to if we want.

Chef’s Elegant Catering is a catering company that has been in business in Sequoia Square at Coors and Sequoia for three years. Just over a year ago, they open up the restaurant (Chef’s Bistro) part of the business. Serving breakfast and lunch only, it covers a nice variety, though not overwhelming, of breakfast and lunch dishes.  They don’t serve alcohol, which makes sense, since they don’t serve dinner; but someone did ask about beer.

We went a little after noon and I was still in the mood for breakfast. Having read a review on Yelp.com, I wanted the “New Orleans Famous Bananas Foster” French toast. I almost always get French toast when eating breakfast out, and love bananas foster, so this was something I had to try. French bread, bananas, and bananas foster syrup – which wasn’t too sweet. Chef’s also serves breakfast burritos, skillets, and classic breakfast plates including omelets and Huevos Rancheros.

My husband wanted a hearty lunch, since he had a long bike ride this morning. He initially chose “The Zia,” a grilled chicken breast simmered in green chile with a black bean salad. However, at the last-minute he changed his mind and ordered a Po’ boy: an original hot roast beef with gravy. Po’ boys come in 6” or 12”, and the 6” was fine with him. I ate half of his sweet potato fries. Several other lunch favorites are available too: burgers, sandwiches, salads, Po’ boys and some hot plates with fish, chicken and New Mexico favorites including enchiladas and burritos.

Chef Michael, a friendly fellow, was our server as well as the owner. I told him that I had wanted to come by for several months, but would remember at 1:30, and they close at 2:00. He says that if people come by at 1:59, they will serve them since his kitchen is the catering kitchen as well. This is a nice neighborhood restaurant with about a dozen tables. We will be regulars. To date, there isn’t a website for the Bistro, just the catering portion of the business.