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As a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, I thoroughly enjoy helping others achieve optimal health and peak fitness performance through creation of custom menu plans and personalized nutrition coaching with my company Fuel Factor as well as creation of custom sports drinks with Infinit Nutrition, I company I partially own and serve as Chief Formulation Specialist for. As a long-time athlete, having competed at the ITU, 70.3, and Ironman World Championships, I use my own practical experiences on the ‘field’ as well as the latest research in nutritional science as means to establish daily training and race/game day nutritional strategies for my clients. I am also currently working putting the wraps on research for my book, Performance Ingredients and Supplements for the Athlete, with a hopeful release by my publisher Human Kinetics late in spring 2013. I am currently expecting my first little speedster due to arrive in May of 2013. After she is born, I will be striving to knock 9 minutes off my current marathon PR of 2:52 to secure a spot at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finding my Strong-est in 2012

Every year, I like to set running goals for myself and this year is no different only I knew I was going to encounter some major time roadlbocks finishing up writing for my first book (due May 15th, to be published by Human Kinetics this Fall!!!) all the meanwhile managing my nutrition coaching business, Fuel Factor, serving as part-owner and nutrition consultant for Infinit Nutrition, nutritionally helping athletes sponsored by Infinite Running, preparing to speak at Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietetics Association Annual Conference, and holding some resemblance of a social life. So, how has my Spring racing gone thus far, you may ask?  Honestly, it has arguably been one of my strongest seasons as an athlete to date and I couldn't be prouder and thankful for all the support my family, friends, training buddies, coach and sponsors have provided me.  Here's a little recap...

Coronado Valentine's Day 10k : 2/12/12

As the name indicates, this race falls over everyone's favorite (or not so much) Hallmark holiday.  Shouldn't love be shared year-round?  Don't get me wrong, I'm a chick so I like to receive little tokens of affection including on V-Day but it doesn't need to come from a chocolate box, teddy bear, or Hallmark card.  The past 2 years, my primary tokens of affection have been received by a killer 10k road race and I couldn't have been more satisfied with the outcome.  Both years have been run in the midst of a heavy marathon training block but despite adding my heavy workload to my running agenda this year, I ran my fastest road 10k ever, posting a 36:39 good for the age group win, 4th overall chick behind an Olympian, professional trackster, and the reigning Xterra World Champion.  I think I was most pleased by the fact that I ran over a minute faster than I ran on the exact same course last year.  Stress, aging...bah!  I'm growing faster with it =) 

Hanging with my speedy gal pals, Kimmie Rouse and Lesley Patterson

San Diego Half Marathon  3/11/12

Race #2 of 2012 doubled as an opportunity to share my knowledge of race day nutrition to the tens of thousands of athletes rolling through Petco Park, which certainly rivals as one of my favorite clinic backdrops ever.  What do you think?

Backdrop for the pre-race nutrition clinic I gave, pretty sweet!
For a first time race, I can't say enough good things about the organization, the volunteers, and the scenic course that took you through downtown San Diego, along San Diego Harbor, through Liberty Station, up (and up and up and up) Washington Street to wind through scenic Mission Hills before dropping down by Balboa Park for a dramatic finish within Petco Park.  I actually lead for about 10 miles of the race, which was kind of cool because my name apparently kept popping up on the Jumbo Tron at Petco (that's a first for me). Sadly, I was passed but did hold on to finish 4th overall (again) and a dominant age group win in a near PR of 1:21:56, just 16 seconds off the W. Again, not bad considering a killer 1+ mile hill around mile 8 and a maxed out stress-load with work.  I was happy and also stoked for my team, WPC (Women Podium Chasers) for being the fastest chicks on the course that morning.  Way to go gals! To top off the awesome day, Lifehouse rocked out the post-race party.

Made the jumbo-tron, woohoo!!!
Heading up the 1+ mile intense Washington St climb at mile 8, notice my hang loose response =)
Team WPC (Women's Podium Chasers) were the speediest chicks on the course!!!
Enjoying the post-race party with Lifehouse rocking the stage

LA Marathon 3/18/12

It's not often (ok, I have never done it) that I take on back-to-back endurance races but after being asked to join team Powered By Red fairly last minute, I jumped on the opportunity. As a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, I am a huge believer in the power of natural foods on recovery and amongst these foods are tart cherries. Tart cherries contain powerful compounds called anthocyanins that have demonstrated just as potent anti-inflammatory properties as NSAIDs without having the harsh effects on the stomach.  Ever since reading about athletes drinking tart cherry juice to combat the inflammatory stress associated with Olympic competition in combination with smog and heat, I have implemented it into my daily regimen. I drink anywhere from 8-16 ounces daily depending on my training for the day.  It works, try it!  I certainly was drinking it daily after finishing up San Diego Half to help my recovery in preparation for LA Marathon just 7 days later.  In addition, I extended my carbo-loading to 6-days to accommodate both reloading and loading.  Carbo-loading entails that you consume approximately 4-5 grams of carbs per pound of lean body mass (it's a lot).  Here is what it looks like to give you an idea:
What carbo-loading looks like

I took the train up from San Diego to LA with hopes that I would avoid traffic associated with the weather (rain and lots of wind) Mother Nature was bringing to the area.  Sadly, the bus I anticipated taking me directly to Dodger Stadium fails to run on weekends so I ended up being dropped off luggage in tote with about a mile walk straight uphill to get to the expo for packet pick-up.  Not the most ideal thing to be doing before running a marathon but as luck would have it on that day, there were no taxis to be found.  I eventually did get my packet (and a nice hill workout as well as a shower in the downpour en route to my hotel) at which point, I wish I could say I chilled at my hotel but instead, worked on my book most the day until my boyfriend Mark arrived. 

Race morning quickly arrived and while I wasn't really nervous about running the race, I was nervous about getting to the race on time after getting stuck in a huge traffic jam at 5am in the morning.  Is LA ever traffic-less?  It did give me time to consume my pre-race ritual of a Pure Fit Nutrition Bar, Infinit Run, and of course my morning caffeine. The good news is that I did make it to Dodger Stadium (the start) but only with about 15 minutes to spare for derobing, bathroom, and fighting my way to the front line.  Guess that works for a warm-up, right? 

The first few miles were a total blur as I was still amped up about getting to the race on time.  I  did quickly get into a pace groove though and thoroughly enjoyed the diverse downtown LA crowd as well as the diverse terrain (think hills, more than I anticipated).  What I didn't enjoy was Mother Nature's energy as she threw in a nice headwind that we battled the entire duration of the point-to-point course. When I could, I tucked in behind some of the taller peeps around me but that didn't happen too often so I just rolled with the extra challenge. It could have been a lot worse. As most athletes do, I encountered some mental demons when my calves started to cramp up (I'm a forefoot striker so 39.3 racing miles in a week is a lot of stress on them) midway through the race. Fortunately, I am quite bullheaded and hate even saying the word quit.  I once got pulled off a race course after my O2 sat dropped dangerously low causing me to pass out. When I was being treated, I asked the medical directors if they could drop me back off on the course so I could finish.  Anyways, I carried on despite the calf cramps but allowed stretch breaks as needed. Even with the calf cramps, I felt extremely strong and was able to surge at the end for my 4th sub 3 finish (2:59:47 officially) for 11th overall chick on the day, 2nd in my AG. It felt great to run in honor of my amazing grandpa who 1-week after I ran LA left this world a mere 3 weeks from his 102nd birthday! He definitely has inspired me to conquer life's many marathons with a smile on my face.  Love him always.

Finding my strong, thanks Saucony!
Officially 2:59:47 good for 11th OA chick on the day

 Powered by Red

Love you grandpa!

After the race, I downed some tart cherry concentrate with water, received a wonderful massage from the awesome race volunteers, and joined Mark for a post-race celebraton with my brother Kevin who also happened to be celebrating his 34th birthday.  All and all, it's been an amazing year thus far and I look forward to continuing to find my strong-est in 2012. Thanks to my wonderful family, friends, training buddies, Mark, San Diego Track Club teammates, coach Paul Greer, sponsor, Armones Core Connection (pilates and strength sessions keys to my success), Jerry Moylan & Ryan Schuler (they help keep me healthy)....the list could go on.  I am so thankful for everyone in my my coach would say, you all make a difference and to say it is inspiring is a vast understatement. Love you all!
Next up: Vancouver Marathon on May 6