Marine Corps Marathon Registration Starts Today!

Attention anyone who wants to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon: registration opens TODAY at noon!

 

Here’s the link.

 

I’ve heard they probably won’t sell out until the weekend, but you might as well commit and sign up today so you can start mentally preparing yourself for the race on October 30. Mal and I ran it last year and it was such a great, flat course with spectators to help you all the way to 26.2 (and the Finisher’s Medal was awesome). We’re going to do it again this year and you should too!

 

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St. Patrick’s Day 8K on 3/13/11

Here’s the link. Hope to see you all there!

Love the Run You’re With 5K – Race Recap!

Last Sunday, Mal and I and a bunch of other people we know ran in the Love the Run You’re With 5K, a race in Pentagon City put on by Pacers. It was such a fun, great race. As usual, Pacers put on a well-organized event and we all had a blast!

We didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn – the race started at 9am – but with her bib on, Mal was ready to run!

We were able to stay warm in Champps, a sports bar that opened its doors early to runners until the race started.

Please note that a guy at the bar on the left side of the picture is taking “carbo-loading” to another level…by drinking a beer literally 5 minutes before the race starts. Not sure what his finishing time was…

Here we are pre-race!

 

My dad and sister ran the race too. Please notice my dad’s “existential” – his words – bib, hanging from the zipper on his jacket and not attached the “standard” way with safety pins 🙂

 

And our good friends Cat and Peter ran it too

My friend Kathryn ran it also, but we weren’t able to get a picture with her…next time KT!

After about 10 minutes watching the guy drink his beer and just doing some quality people watching (and watching Comcast SportsNet’s exclusive and exhaustive coverage of the Wizards first road win of the year), we made our way to the start. It was packed!

After a slow start because of crowds, we finally broke away and were able to run almost as fast as we wanted to. We ended up finishing in 25:18. We wanted to break 25 mins, but considering the very slow, crowded start, we were ok with it. Plus…it’s a Valentine’s Day race – we just had fun running with all our friends and family!

Next race for Mal and I is the St. Patrick’s Day 8k on March 13. 8K is about 5 miles, so it’s an in-between distance for those of you who like a 5K, but want a bit more of a challenge without going all the way up to a 10K yet. It’s a great, relatively flat course that winds through some cool parts of downtown DC – around the Mall – and finishes very close to the Metro Center metro stop, so it’s easy to get home. And also, it starts at 9am so you don’t even have to get up that early. No reason not to sign up! Here’s the link. DO IT!

Finally, it looks like the weather is FINALLY getting warmer around DC. Take advantage of it and go for a jog this weekend! There’s no football on and no snow on the ground, so go for a short run Sunday afternoon. It’s a great way to enjoy the weather and get a nice workout in. Have a great weekend!

Eating Right to Get the Most Out of Your Workouts

First let me say that I’m sorry for “neglecting” the blog this past week. School was insanely busy and I was working just trying to get things done for class. Ok, enough excuses.

One of the projects I worked on for school was a presentation with my buddy David. We researched different aspects of sports nutrition and our topics overlapped in a great and somewhat unexpected way.

I focused on the importance of a balanced ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in your diet in order to ensure maximum results in athletic events. Whether it’s a training session or the actual competition, it’s vital to get a balanced diet of these three nutrients. And while we studied sports nutrition, this post and the nutritional breakdown applies to everyone, not just athletes.

Accepted nutrition suggests that the athlete should get about 45-65% of daily calories from carbs (whole grains, fruits, beans, sweet potatoes) like these:

20-35% healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil) like these:

with only 10% of that 20-35% coming from saturated fats, like these:

and 10-35% from lean proteins (fish, chicken, shrimp, and red meat IN MODERATION!) like these:

There can be wiggle room in those percentages, but in order to ensure optimal health, you should try to be in those ranges.

In short, carbs break down into glycogen, which is kept in storage in your muscles and liver, and gives you quick-burst energy to exercise. The closer your glycogen stores are to capacity the more energy you will have, especially for short, high-exertion activities (like a sprint). Your body can only store about 2,000 calories of glycogen, so after about 20 mins of moderate activity, you start to dip into your fat stores for energy.

The average body stores 70,000 calories of fat (to calculate your fat stores, multiply your weight by your body fat percentage, then multiply by 3,500 – the number of calories in one pound of fat). Fats give you energy for long-distance, low-intensity exercises (like marathons) and your body uses a higher percentage of fat as energy during these long periods of exertion. Don’t be scared of fat! Try to fall in that 20-35% category, but your body needs fat to function.

As for protein, it’s the least important nutrient for energy during exercise; it only gives you about 10% of your total energy during physical activity. That being said, some people think they need tons of protein to build muscle and to get “huge.” Protein is absolutely an important nutrient for muscle recovery, as it provides amino acids that adhere to your muscle protein, which fixes the muscle fibers that are broken during intense physical activity. If you want to maximize recovery with protein, you should try to eat a good balance of proteins and carbs within 30 minutes of the end of your workout.

But do protein supplements make you bigger and stronger? David focused on supplements in athletics (ranging from protein to creatine to HGH to multivitamins) and he found out that additional protein in the form of supplements (protein shakes, protein bars, etc) don’t necessarily lead to increased muscle mass. In fact, studies have shown that if your carb intake is optimal, any additional protein beyond your normal intake doesn’t lead to any increased performance.

So basically what David and I found out is that the best way to be as healthy as possible and to get the most out of your workouts is to eat a balanced diet of carbs, fats, and proteins. If you eat balanced and are vigilant with your calories, you don’t need supplements; calories-in, calories-out is what determines your weight. If you want to gain weight in the form of muscle mass, eat more calories from all three groups and be sure they fit into that percentage breakdown so you don’t eat too much of one nutrient. There are tons of ways to eat healthy, but the basic principle of calories-in, calories-out is undeniable. The best way to lose weight is to cut calories – and stop drinking soda!

Hope you guys found this informative and interesting. I really enjoyed doing the research for the project and just thought I would share a bit of what we learned!

A few more small things. First: GO PACK GO! SUPER BOWL CHAMPS!

Second: The Love the Run You’re With 5K this Sunday is sold out, but come out and cheer all of us on! The weather looks decently warm and it’s always great to see familiar faces at the end of a race. Here’s the link so you guys can see where the race is. Hope to see you there!

Try to get out there and run this weekend! Looks like warmer weather is right around the corner! Have a great weekend!

Conquering the Wintry Weather

How beautiful. And how treacherous! It’s not easy, is it? Having to run outside in sub-freezing temperatures and having to dodge black ice. It’s not a lot of fun, but if you’re like me you have to get those hazardous outdoor winter runs in to stay sane.

This winter in DC hasn’t been nearly as bad as last year’s snowfest, but it has been cold! I wrote about going to Florida with Mal for a race, which gave us a break from the freezing weather, but now it’s back to reality. I haven’t been running nearly as much as I would like, due to a miserable combination of a very minor knee “injury” and the wintry weather. That being said, Mal and I (and a bunch of other loyal readers 🙂 ) are registered for the Love the Run You’re With 5K race on February 13. So we need to get out there and get acclimatized.

Running on a sidewalk that looks like this is annoying.

and if you’re not extremely careful it’s also dangerous. I try not to go running outside right after a snowfall or when the sidewalks aren’t clear. As boring and dull as running on a DREADmill is, it’s much less painful than falling down and breaking your wrist on a concrete sidewalk. So if it’s icy, stay on that horrible machine that makes you feel like a hamster in a wheel.

Ahh. The Treadmill. To keep your attention and interest when you’re on a DREADmill, be sure to mix speeds and incline levels up. Whenever I have to bite the bullet and head to the gym for an “awesome” indoor run, I warm up for a few minutes and then I don’t keep the speed and/or incline the same for more than 30 seconds. If I do, I get bored and lose interest remarkably quickly; it’s like I have the attention span of a goldfish. Trust me: doing different intervals (high speed, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for about 25 mins), and shifting speed and incline levels will keep your attention and you will get more out of your indoor running workout.

Like I said, what I like to do on the treadmill is intervals. Typically I warm up at my average pace and then i crank up the speed, almost to a full sprint. I do 30 seconds on, then I jump on the sides and rest 30 seconds. I repeat that for about 20 or 25 mins, depending on how fast I am running. As an alternative, but for just as good a workout, I change speeds and inclines. So I do the same warm up, but then increase speed by .2 mph every 30 seconds and increase incline by .5 every minute for the first 5 mins. Then I gradually bring it down a bit – to just above my warm up pace – for about a minute. Then I increase the speed and intervals again. When I do a workout like that I stay on for around 30 mins. Neither one of them is ideal (or as fun as an outdoor run) but it gets the job done.

As I have said in previous posts, if you are able (or willing) to run outside in cold weather, be sure to dress appropriately. Some sort of compression shirt, gloves, and a hat are all key items. People say you should dress as though it’s 20 degrees warmer than it actually is, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that if it’s sub-32 degrees, that advice goes out the window. You should dress like it’s sub-freezing. Because it is. And that’s cold. And yes, you are indeed awesome for braving the low temperatures!

So who feels ready for the Love the Run You’re With 5K in a couple weeks?! Once again if you haven’t signed up, here’s the link. And if you have, see you at the start!